The Party Leaders debates in this General Election have been many and varied. The conduct of the participants has been low-level and worse than their performances in 2010. In part this can be attributed to the expanded format that includes the smaller political parties, who have taken full advantage of the opportunities to promote themselves and their policies. Unfortunately for the voting public this has not resulted in an informed debate, leaving many questions unanswered or not even asked in the first place. The television channels are to blame for this state of affairs, with their obsession about viewing numbers and ratings. Entertainment is the priority, with the consequence that the debates have more in common with the X-Factor or the Weakest Link. This is compounded by the way studio audiences are chosen and vetted for party affiliation, supposedly to achieve balance but in effect resulting in a bias towards the progressive parties that are in the majority. The debates at their worst, when all seven leaders are present, resemble a staged Hollywood western saloon-room brawl where everyone fights everyone until the last man standing is the exhausted winner. Read the rest of this entry »
Who ate all the sausage rolls? Was it the young people who do not have a vote in this general election, or was it the adults who do have a vote? These are the questions being asked by Hampshire Constabulary following a complaint against UKIP by a rival political party. The facts as reported are not disputed. A UKIP parliamentary candidate in Southampton organised an event in February, well before the official election campaign period that started at the end of March. Kim Rose had invited snooker player Jimmy White to play pool with children at a community centre. He charged adults £2.00. He provided refreshments at the event comprising tea, coffee and sandwiches, in addition to the sausage rolls.
Kim Rose is accused of treating, which is the giving or providing of any food, drink, entertainment or provision to corruptly influence any voter to vote or refrain from voting. Treating requires a corrupt intent and does not apply to ordinary hospitality. The offence can be committed before, during or after the official campaign period. Kim Rose stated, “I am sure people are not going to change their mind for a sausage roll” and “Thank God they didn’t find out about the Jaffa Cakes”. Read the rest of this entry »
Fifth March 2015 was the 7th anniversary of the day democracy died in the United Kingdom. On that day of infamy in 2008 a majority of the elected representatives of the people voted in the House of Commons against holding a referendum on the Lisbon (European Reform) Treaty. They did this contrary to the pledges, in the manifestos of all the main political parties in the 2005 General Election, that they would hold a referendum on the European Union Constitution. The Labour and Liberal Democrat parties reneged on their pledges, going through contortions in the process. Both parties tried to justify their stance by claiming that the Lisbon Treaty and the Constitution were not the same, even though a clause by clause comparison proved they were.
Tony Blair, when Prime Minister, was an architect and champion of the Constitution and its derivative Treaties. Acting through the EU Council, comprising all the Heads of Government, they directed the work of the European Commission and its President. He does not have clean hands on this and his pledge in the 2005 Labour manifesto to hold a referendum was a cynical political move to counter the Conservative Party pledge. Gordon Brown was PM by the time a vote was held in the House of Commons and applied the Party whip to force Labour MPs to vote against holding a referendum. To their credit 29 Labour MPs revolted in favour of the referendum with 308 dishonouring their manifesto promise. Read the rest of this entry »