UKIP and the Tories: Snog, Marry, Avoid?

It’s the day after the night before, and the real story of the 2013 local election is that UKIP are now a serious force to be reckoned with. Gaining 139 council seats, they’ve bypassed the Greens in terms of councillors in one night. It seems, for the time being, UKIP are here to stay.

This, of course, presents a conundrum for Conservative Party, with many pundits claiming  the party is haemorrhaging votes to the new darling of the right. What is the best way for the Conservatives to deal with the ‘Kippers? They have three options available to them; snog, marry, avoid…

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A Call to Arms: Spenders of the World, Unite!

First posted, here, on Canvas – an award winning student-run online journal at the University of Sheffield. I have been treasurer of Canvas since February 2012.

“This article explores how capitalism itself can be used to force banking reform and how the power of demand can create more ethical high street banking.”

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Fascism and Communism: A Problem of PR?

“Why is it that people are fine to associate with communists, but not fascists?”

Not a question I quite expected to be asked, especially by my friend’s step-father. But asked I was, and I had no answer to give. Nothing. Not even a stab-in-the-dark guess. Five years studying politics, and it’s something I’d never considered.

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The Living Wage: Killing business?

Happy Living Wage week! How are you celebrating? You’re not? What a surprise. Whilst most people could probably have a guess at what the Living Wage Foundation is lobbying for, thanks to its largely self-explanatory title, let’s just take a moment to clear up what it actually means. The Living Wage is a minimum wage that aims to provide a level of income that accurately reflects the cost of living, currently £8.55 in London and £7.45 in the rest of the UK (why it is fair to have different wage rates in and out of London, but regional pay in public services is a no-go for the left is a baffling hypocrisy that will not be examined here). For the purpose of this blog, we will be using non-London figures for a 21 year old worker doing 35 hours a week in the current tax year.

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The Conservatives and the state: A new perspective?

There is a deep rooted myth that has taken hold of the Conservative Party in recent decades, based around the role of the state. Amongst others, Thatcherites, classical liberals and libertarians have all denounced the public sphere and bowed down to the private. This idea seeped into the Labour consciousness and was epitomised under Blair – with many on the left complaining about this historical trend. We seem now to have reached a balancing point in most levels of government where services are contracted out to the private sector via a tendering system that aims to use competition to deliver near-optimal results, whilst checked by politicians.

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The UN Security Council: Syria and the need for reform

As day after day the situation in Syria gets worse, the startling inadequacies of the United Nations Security Council are laid bare for all to see. Any attempt by the ‘international community’ (read:the West) to do anything is blocked by Russian and Chinese vetoes that ensure that more Syrians are slaughtered by both pro- and anti- Assad forces. It is not an exaggeration to say that both the Russian and Chinese governments have blood on their hands, but part of the blame must be accepted by the UK, the US and France for opposing what has been necessary since the end of the Cold War – a radical reform of the UN Security Council.

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Turkey and the EU: “She doesn’t even go here.”

Yes, all blogs should start with a Mean Girls reference.

I’ve never really been a huge fan of the EU, or the Euro,  but nor have I been a massive critic either. The EU to me, like many other people I imagine, is just not an interesting project. So, in order to expand my knowledge of the body I took a module in ‘The  Politics and Government of the European Union’. I’ve finished this module with no new burning passion to rise up and defend the EU from its critics, nor do I want to burn it to the ground and start afresh. Placing myself firmly in the ‘liberal intergovernmentalist’ camp alongside Andrew Moravcsik I see the EU as nothing more really than the sum of the various national governments – yes, here and there a European bureaucrat may be able to make a few decisions without consulting nation states, but the big, important things are down the member states… Or just Germany and we should all follow lest Poland get nervous. As such, I’m apathetic – well, in most areas. The one area that seemed to really interest me was the issue of enlargement, especially with regard to Turkish enlargement. I can not see how a credible case can be made for the EU to enlarge to include Turkey without fundamentally changing the inherent nature of the European Union.

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