Archive Page 2

08
May
12

Time to enfranchise the great ignored. A guest post from Liam Young.

For over a year now I have been stating the case for a campaign that is close to my heart; lowering the voting age to 16. When I was a young boy, at roughly the age of 6, I told my family that one day, I wanted to be the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Ten years on, I still hold that dream.

In ten years I have attended events ranging from local party meetings to national conferences, I have spoken at events that ranged from local council chambers to conference halls and I have spent hours of every day reviewing the latest political gossip and checking up on the political scene. If they were to mean test me and judge whether I was of a ‘sound mind’ to vote, then I’m pretty sure, and hopeful, that I would pass.

You may think that my story is unique and one that is not often unheard of; but you’re wrong. I think it is possible to accept that not many people want to be the Prime Minister, and I believe you’re probably right in thinking that no one would exclaim it at such a young age; but young people are interested in politics. At the age of 16 many people undergo tutorials in politics at sixth form, and from the age of 12, when compulsory citizenship education comes into effect, we begin to learn about government and our political surroundings. Young people become aware of what they believe in, but they cannot voice their feelings through the ballot.

The bulk of people involved in last years rioting belonged to that ‘youth’ category. Maybe one reason that they voiced their anger against society through brutality and destruction is because they had no other way to do so. Maybe if they were taught that they had the ability to make a difference, then they would have pursued different avenues.

If I can legally sleep with my MP, if I can legally marry my MP, if I can pay tax to my MP and if I can go to a distant land and fight for my MP, why shouldn’t I be able to vote for my MP?

David Cameron spoke about the ‘great ignored’ during his election campaign in 2010, when he promised to ‘engage and represent’ this group of people in society. By disenfranchising young people, he fails to keep this promise. He called this group of people, “the hard-working, tax-paying, law-abiding majority.” Maybe he should think about the 1.7 million 16-17 year olds who work hard, often pay some form of tax and abide by the laws of the country, but are denied the vote simply because they are deemed too ‘immature’ to be given the right to vote.

In the local elections just passed, over 70% of adults who were eligible to vote decided against doing so. Let’s give young people the chance to show that they can accept the responsibility of voting and can build on the dismal turn out of the already so called ‘mature’ population. It’s time to enfranchise the great ignored, it’s time for votes at 16.

Thanks go to Harry Barham and the Red Blog for the publication of this post.

Liam is a 16 year old Labour activist and blogger. To follow his campaign or his political trails, follow him on twitter @liamyoung.

26
Apr
12

Stealing a March on the Green Agenda – Guest Post, Alex Hylan

A friend recently told me how, now that the local elections are fast approaching, the Green Party have suddenly reawaken from their slumber and started leafleting him again. Presumably the Greens, like the flower, only blossom when the bees come out to play.

I’ve always found the Green Party quite curious because, like the Labour party, they identify with the centre-left and it’s messages of sustainability, investment and fairness, but yet seem occupied with attacking Labour in the many leaflets that, wastefully, tumble through letterboxes up and down Britain every election time.

But despite this I’ve always had a lot of sympathy with the party. I think they’ve got a really good message and I do worry that the politics of the 21st Century are becoming the politics of maintenance; an accusation that is frequently levelled at the three main parties. Whatever you think of the Green Party, you can’t say that they lack a compelling vision for the future.

The fact is that sooner or later our existing sources of energy are going to run out, and when this starts looming on the horizon it’s going to become increasingly economically viable to pursue green sources of energy. But these changes don’t just happen; their needs to be strong political leadership to make the brave decision to invest in these new technologies.

This is where the Labour party comes in, a party with a track record of striving towards a sustainable economy for the future, not just for now. With today’s figures showing our economy tumbling back in to recession it is clear that we are crying out for investment; to get people back in to work, to readdress the way we harness our energy and to build for the future. This could be the first step in building a new, high-tech green economy that will help to secure our future. It’s just a dream, but maybe one day soon we can stop burying our heads in the sands of Saudi Arabia and work to secure our own energy security. Sure it would cost money, but don’t tell me there’s no money when you’re able to give a tax cut to millionaires.

There has always been an ethical argument for the green agenda, but increasingly there’s an economic argument too. Why can’t Labour be the party that brings that change to the mainstream?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alex is a 19 year old Labour party activist and member of Sheffield Labour Students; studying Politics & Sociology at the University of Sheffield.

21
Apr
12

No round up this week, but a ‘toon

Ok, due to essay crises/campaigning/recess we’ve had no round up of the last few weeks, and that continues now but we do have another of @dochackenbush’s ‘photohacks’ so all is well!!

20120421-115649.jpg

10
Apr
12

“What’s your policy?”: Max Bell-The nationalisation of the Utilities

I can hear the ghost of Michael Foot’s donkey jacket screaming in delight in the background….

In all seriousness – with half of Britons anticipated to be in fuel poverty by 2022, it is absolutely scandalous to envision an expansion of the current situation whereby pensioners, young mothers and the just plain working poor are forced to select between eating & heating.

Only with the re-nationalisation of all those who pump the simple elements into our homes – heat, water, light, power, electricity, gas – can we truly decide once and for all that people are more important than profit.

British Gas & the other “Big 6”, (*expletive deleted*), pushing another billion or so here and there on to their profit accounts make me sheet-white with anger considering the pain they force literally millions and millions of Britons into.

The idea that this magically restricts growth is an illusion: and the model of nationalisations provided by the post-WWII Clement Attlee Labour governments is the perfect model, irrespective of economic libertarianism bleating. Nationalisation occurred along side, and was a key player in, the longest period of growth that Britain has ever seen. The Victorians can eat their heart out.

Post the traumatic event of the Second World War, society came together and universally decided that “Never Again” would the ravages of the market be directed at the weakest, as the political class turned its nose in disgust. See parallels on how we must react to the financial crisis perhaps then?

This clichéd choice agenda being pushed by the bastardised hostages that is neo-liberal fortune, is completely and utterly flawed. This is not the phone market, or indeed: the airlines – no wide scale infrastructure investment ever occurs without the government deciding once and for all that the electorate are too important to throw under a capitalist bus.

There is no low-cost, low-carbon agenda from any big energy supplier. Re-nationalisation would be the perfect catalyst for that.

Thus, only when the Government takes control of the industries – which web together poisonously as a plague on all our houses and our governing class’ consciousness. We can set the price structure depending on who & where you are. Enforce energy efficiency standards nation-wide, and improve infrastructure: all without the need for a profit.

And as we place money back into the pockets of our nation – just think of the growth.

We owe re-nationalisation to our children, and their children – and history will judge us all the poorer if we chicken out now.

Max Bell is a Proud working class socialist and Northern political nerd. Currently reading Law at University of Sheffield whilst being an active member of Sheffield Labour Students. He is also, probably, Scunthorpe United’s most obsessive fan.

If you could choose one policy to implement now if you could, what would it be? get in touch and we will post your ideas!

06
Apr
12

Round up of the week!

This has been a more sedate and less insane week (partly due to the parliamentary recess) with the only real interest being in the London election campaigns, with a rather one-sided grilling on Newsnight and a radio interview which led to Boris Johnson screaming  at Ken Livingstone in a lift; calling him “a Fucking Liar”.

With the election stress escalating, how long is it before one of these candidates blows his top?

Thanks to the very talented @DocHackenbush for another great ‘photohack’!

HB

(hopefully we’ll actually write some posts on here in the coming week, uni-work permitting)

30
Mar
12

Round up of the Week 30/3/2012 with 2 Photohacks*!

It has been a week which has swung from the sublimely ridiculous to the abhorrently ridiculous.

We began the week with some fall out from the frustrating but unsurprising “Cash for Cameron” tory donation scandal.. This means we can have our first amazing “photohack*” from the venerable @DocHackenbush!

…after that, there isn’t much more we really need to say on that subject.

 

The fallout from the Budget got a really silly this week when this became the week twitter went #pastytax mad! It turns out there is a change in the budget that means heated snack items are now subject to a tax, which means both leading Tories were asked when they last ate a pasty.. the answer seems to be “errr do caviar aperitifs count?”

This meant Labour wasted no time in running to a pasty and tweeting pictures of them eating the cornish delicacies.. oh dear oh dear. With this and the Tory donors story, Cameron is panicking…

 

More bad news for the government involved Francis Maude pissing off firemen (fire officers?), worrying the public and entertaining the rest of us by suggesting we each keep a Jerry Can of petrol in our garage in case of a tanker-driver’s strike…

 

All in all pretty bad for the Government this week with labour being able to capitalise..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then, however, this man became an MP again rather than an incredibly well qualified labour candidate..

 

 

 

A very strange week in politics, we’ll blog about the last piece of news more next week…

Have a more settled weekend, and thanks to @DocHackenbush for his Photohacks*!

 

 

HB

;

*photohack is our new name for the Doc’s creations as cartoons don’t do them justice!

23
Mar
12

A brief round up of the week and a CARTOON!

We’ve decided this is not a week those on our side of the political spectrum will want to dwell on. With the Destruction of the NHS in the form of the Health and Social care Bill, and a budget FOR millionaires and BY millionaires, lets just all try not to get to upset and instead get angry and get the Tory-led government out of office at the earliest opportunity. The hard work starts now…

We need cheering up so here is great Cartoon (hopefully the first of many) from the awesomely talented @DocHackenbush!