Author Archives: harrysaunders92

The London Mayoral Election: Stand Alone Campaign or Practical Opinion Polling?

As we rapidly approach May 3rd, polling day for local elections up and down the country, the closely anticipated and much scrutinized London Mayoral Election begins to dominate more and more of the nation’s media coverage. Given its presence as the central focus of campaigning for all of the major parties, and also some of the minor ones, during this round of voting, the press has clamored to attach as much meaning and substance to it as possible, apparently bestowing upon it the status of unofficial comment on the success of the coalition government’s first term up to this point. But in such circumstances it is important to ask, how significant is this election with regards to public opinion on the government’s performance? Read the rest of this entry

Ron Paul – The most dangerous man in America?

As the Republican primary season enters into its crucial stages, it is easy to forget the role of its more improbable candidates. The two-horse race that has emerged between Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich has, in many ways, eclipsed the memory of Rick Santorum’s shock win in Iowa, as well as the sure and steady campaign of Texan Congressman Ron Paul. Paul’s role for much of the early stages of the race was, like his campaign in 2008, to keep the other candidates honest, dismissed as he was for his eccentric, libertarian standpoint. But with the progression of the primary, Paul’s support base has grown. Mainly made up of a young, increasingly revolutionary element within the Republican Party – a community of college-educated bloggers and social media users – they are determined that their voice will be heard, in this instance through the election of the 76-year old former obstetrician.

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Sleaze in political lobbying – are we surprised?

Ever since last week’s exposé of the political lobbying industry in The Independent, the media has been rife with politicians and lobbyists alike scrambling to pass comment on the issue. The exposure of underhanded tactics and dirty tricks within the industry, as well as the inappropriately intimate relationships between lobbyists and senior Government Ministers has resulted in widespread condemnation of the lobbying profession, but in reality there are two questions that must be asked. Firstly, are we surprised by this revelation relating to the prevalence of corruption in politics? But secondly, how concerned should we be? Read the rest of this entry

Can the Republicans beat Obama on Foreign Policy?

As former House Speaker Newt Gingrich took his spot as the latest frontrunner in the Republican race for the White House, the candidates assembled in their nation’s capital on Tuesday for the latest debate in this most chaotic of races, this time to discuss foreign policy. Previous debates have revolved mainly around domestic affairs, addressing the pressing issues of unemployment and the economy, alongside other matters such as healthcare and social security.

While these debates have been rife with criticism and contention between the candidates, ideology over broader policy measures has been fairly consistent, with mediators constantly being forced to bring up smaller and more divisive issues in order to stimulate more engaging debate. Indeed, up to this point, the televised debates have been characterized predominantly by the high-profile gaffes made by the candidates, rather than any sort of wholesale division over federal policy. Foreign policy, however, marks an interesting turning point, as it forces the Republican candidates to look beyond America’s borders and express a coherent world vision. Everyone knows their respective records on employment and the economy, but now is the time to test their knowledge on what is happening outside of their North American bubble. Read the rest of this entry

Why the Legal Aid cuts are bad for everyone

Since the introduction of Legal Aid more than 60 years ago by Prime Minister Clement Attlee, the service has helped the poor and socially disenfranchised in our society gain the legal assistance they would often otherwise be unable to afford. The Coalition Government’s Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders (LASPO) Bill has, in the last week, had its first reading in the House of Lords, and aims to cut around £350 million from Legal Aid in spite of almost universal public criticism. Overseen by Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke and the Minister in charge of Legal Aid reform Jonathan Djanogly, the Bill has highlighted in many people’s eyes the inability of the Government both to sympathise with those at the lower end of the economic spectrum, and deliver lasting and well thought out reforms to the public sector. Read the rest of this entry

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