Friday, 31 December 2010

Top ten political events of 2010

10. A new blog is founded (clearly one of the more important political events of the year)
9. The Greens get an MP
8. Gillian Duffy goes to the shops and meets the Prime Minister
7. First TV election debates
6. Ed Miliband beats his brother
5. Cleggmania comes and goes
4. Gordon Brown resigns as Labour Leader
3. Gordon Brown resigns again, this time as Prime Minister
2. David Cameron becomes Prime Minister
1. First coalition government in 65 years

All years have unexpected and bizarre events, but in terms of British politics, 2010 has been extraordinary. Had you told me exactly 12 months ago the political events of 2010, I would have believed it. In fact, I still find it hard to believe.

Labour losing the election and David Cameron becoming Prime Minister were expected, but a Coalition between the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives was inconceivable. And yet, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg is a reality.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Protests have the opposite effect

As I have said before, the British people don't like violent protests. More than that, protests have little use in liberal democracies.

On Thursday, the Coalition faced its first rebellion in the House of Commons with more than half of the Liberal Democratic's voting against their own government. Yet, all the TV news reports that night, and all the newspapers the next morning, showed images of windows at the Treasury being smashed, flags being pulled down at the Cenotaph and the heir to the thrown being attacked. The story of the tripling of tuition fees and rebellion in the Commons was lost. I wonder if those protesters who decided to turn violent are pleased with themselves.

In the end, the bill past and tuition fees will rises. The protests have achieved little to change the will of the government. In dictatorships, change can often come from the streets as that is the only place where the people's voice can be heard, but this is not the cases in democracies where the government is chosen by the people.

Voting in elections is where the people are heard and their will expressed. Ironically, the demographic least likely to vote are those who were protesting last week. People aged between 18-25 (a group to which I belong) are far less likely to vote than any other age group. If they want their voices to be heard by those in elected office, they should actually vote in elections instead of rioting in the streets.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Strange vote on tuition fees

A week today the House of Commons will vote on controversially removing the cap on tuition fees. The Minister who has written the Bill, Vince Cable, has said that he may abstain on the vote.

It seems a little bizarre than Mr. Cable will not be supporting his own legislation, but it shows how nervous the Liberal Democrats are on this issue.

Most Liberal Democrat MPs signed a pledge before the election stating that they would vote against any rise in tuition fees. This was economically unadvisable, but most Liberal Democrats didn't think they'd get into government.

Now student protesters are burning effigies of senior Liberal Democrats. If nothing else, it's a sign that the Liberal Democrats are now powerful, though in a democracy, that can be toxic to a political party.