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Nick Clegg: voice of opposition?

In a speech somewhat overshadowed by other events, Nick Clegg yesterday made a marked attack on the Conservative policy of a tax break for married couples. Perhaps emboldened by the Prime Minister’s recent actions, backbench Tory MPs have reportedly been increasing pressure for the manifesto policy to be enacted by the Government, a move that would clearly not meet with the Deputy Prime Minister’s approval.

The speech was supposedly designed to lay out Clegg’s political philosophy, but while the contents of the speech went much further than the comments on marriage, it is indicative of his present standing that his political voice is now heard only within the context of the Coalition. The issue at hand is, though, extremely important. Clegg may have entered government seeking Lords reform, changes to party political funding  and a narrowing of inequality, but the austerity agenda to which he has so firmly tied his party will undoubtedly overshadow any of this. The effects of George Osborne’s economic policy will be felt well beyond the Treasury. What Conservatives may feel is merely support for the institution of marriage appears to others just part of a wider symbolic attempt to reinforce the traditional institutions of marriage, the family, the church and voluntary organisations as the role of the state is so brutally undermined. Read the rest of this entry


European Union Act; Safeguarding British Sovereignty or ‘legislative PR’?

During my Masters, my tutor recommended that we all sign up for alerts for FCO press alerts. This is something which has proved invaluable as a tool for me as I quickly found out there you can get much more in-depth knowledge about the events of the world than if you were to rely on the articles found in a lot of newspapers. One such article cropped up in my inbox the other day; the European Union Act has now entered into force. One of the main elements of this piece of legislation is that it is now a legal requirement for the government to hold a referendum before ministers agree for the transfer of any power from Westminster to Brussels. The government argue that in effect it stops future governments from being able to go behind the backs of their people with such things as the Lisbon Treaty. Read the rest of this entry

Our reactionary Prime Minister and his Andy Coulson problem

David Cameron has found himself under a barrage of criticism. Having come from a PR background he should be used to dealing with situations of this kind; and indeed he is. A smooth operator both at PMQs and press conferences, with his ability to take the sting out of questions and frame the answers in a context that suits him and with language that suits the people, Cameron shows why he was once thought of as the heir to Blair. But now the News International shit-storm has engulfed him, doubts are beginning to linger about his leadership. Click here to keep reading

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