In response to BUC”F”s Daniel Cole’s “Lest we forget” blogs on the BUC”F” site I thought in the name of balance, point out what is so dearly wrong with the Tories and why they should not be allowed to govern. This will hopefully come in weekly instalments.
1. Tory dogma and opposition to real change
- 1998, the Tories opposed the introduction of the minimum wage, which until previously wages such as £2 per hour were common place and legal
- 1997-8, the Tories opposed devolution to Scotland (only to later accept it)
- Plan to cut child tax credits
- Plan to scrap many Sure Star centres for those on modest incomes
- Voted against the compulsory 5 year jail sentence for carrying a gun
- David Cameron voted against granting gay couples the right to adopt
- Plan to scrap patient’s right to see a specialist within two weeks if your GP suspects you have cancer (which I frankly find disgusting)
- 2002, the Tories opposed the ban on hunting Foxes with dogs (and wish to overturn the ban still)
- David Cameron voted against the NHS Foundation Trust in 2003
- David Cameron voted to keep Section 28 in 2003
- The Tories are against the proposed AV system and making the House of Lords an elected chamber
Tory dogma, once again. More to come next week and every week until the election
Today saw Boy George (George Osborne) going to the business school on campus today. BULS was planning to have a protest, but unfortunately, not enough people turned up (only me, Dan and Maise with Kieran and Jake turning up after he had gone). Thankfully though, we did manage to get a little victory, which made our day. After covertly sneaking in, acquiring some discarded name badges as effective disguises (I was called Tom), past BUCF who were wearing suits (again) and managed to catch Osborne himself, where Dan managed to get a photo with him.
My comrades….let’s get down to business
The whole incumbent officer team have volunteered to have wet sponges thrown at them for Kids Adventure on Friday 7th May.
After prompting the President acknowledged Debating Society’s achievement of a well balanced and well attended though controversial “Free Palestine” debate. He also announced his intention of establishing better provision for colour printing.
The VP Housing and Community was commended and reported that discussions about the proposals to turn Aitken Wing into Post Grad halls are taking place tomorrow. He also warned GC that a spate of non-violent night time muggings against lone girls is ongoing in Selly Oak, but that police have been liaised with and the culprit will probably soon be caught.
The Disabled Students Officer was also commended and the VP Student Activities and Development was commended twice! Suggestions were made both to censure and commend the VP Democracy and Resources but both were rejected. However he extended his thanks to all who got involved in the Officer Elections and reiterated the improved turnout and how much he himself enjoyed it.
The VP Welfare was commended and answered questions about the reported Hunter Court suicide by stating that a student died over the weekend but the investigation is ongoing. Everyone affected has been offered help.
Motions were passed to: 1. Implement a new streamlined and accessible student group constitution 2. Increase disabled students’ involvement in Guild nights by improving wheelchair access and access for the partially sighted and increasing awareness of disabled issues within the Guild 3. Make the housing process easier for students by improving information to prevent the November “rush”, improve and enlarge the SHAC and promote the positive impact of students on the local community 4. Open Joes for Election watching in May following the success of a similar event in 2008 where the bar was kept open for the US Presidential elections and food and drink were served.
The next Guild Council will happen on Tuesday 4th May. Do go along, unless you can’t spare the time from the Labour Party that close to the election!
Alistair Darling outside No. 11 Downing Street.
I’d like to thank Max for his hard work, and look forward to his future posts in ‘Ramsay’s F Word’.
Now the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Alistair Darling, has delivered the 2010 budget which could significantly affect the result of 6th May and indeed the future of our nation.
Briefly the key points to reduce the deficit, and help the British people:
- The deficit is not as severe as 2009/10 predictions state- £167 billion rather than £178 billion
- Fuel duty to rise by a penny in April followed by a further 1p rise in October.
- Stamp duty threshold for first-time buyers in increased- this will greatly ease the strain for those starting out on the property ladder!
- Stamp duty will be increased by 5% for properties over £1 million from April, a prospect which will most probably anger Conservatives.
- No-one under 24 will need to be unemployed for longer than six months without being offered jobs or training.
- Perhaps the most disappointing move by Mr Darling is the increase of 10% on the price of cider which could equate to an extra 27p for a pint. Not exactly ideal for the average student.
- Annual investment allowance for small businesses doubled to £100,000, which means greater help for struggling businesses who provide a strong foundation to our economy. There is also a £2.5 billion package to stimulate new innovation.
- Duty on beer, wine and spirits will increase as planned from midnight on Sunday. Alcohol duties will also increase by 2% above inflation for two further years from 2013.
- Tobacco duty will rise today by 1% above inflation and then increase by 2% in real terms each year until 2014.
- Business rates will be cut for one year from October which brings a tax reduction for over 500,000 small businesses.
- The government has also suggested that there will be 20,000 new places for decent university subjects.
The blueprint for a successful recovery through sensible and pragmatic initiatives has been proposed by Alistair Darling. It’s now our job to campaign not just for the preservation of the current and effective administration, but also fight for the future of our country. With ‘Airbrushed’ Dave and his sidekick at the helm, we could descend into a nation of bitter discontent.
Well this is it, the end, the finale. If you remember going back through the BULS archives that I said I was standing down at the end of the month following the AGM. Well I thought it would be fitting to finish my tenure on the 100th blog(!) of ‘Ramsay’s F Word’.
And what a 6 months it has been since I took over from Chris in late October. To be quite frank over the summer of 2009 the website was essentially dead in the water. We had had our original domain name stripped from us, website hits were at the lowest we have ever seen and well we weren’t exactly blogging in the quantity that we had used to.
This is where I will extend my thanks to Josh, as with him, we essentially revamped the website. More info was brought to Committee section, a more streamlined layout, the society constitution available for all to see and well, regular blogging. Because of the changes me and Josh made, bulsonline is thriving with recent months seeing the highest blog hits since May 2009.
I am going to miss being Website Editor, it is the one outlet I have been able to vent any political frustrations I might have had at the time and I do believe it will have great significance in the upcoming General election. It has great honour and privilege to have been in charge of Birmingham University’s leading political website and probably the most active and vibrant Labour Students blog in the country.
So anyway, I wish Kieran (my successor and as of now new Website Editor) all the luck in the world as he steers the website onto May 6th and beyond.
Oh and don’t worry, I will keep up the blogging.
By Max Ramsay, (as of now) former BULS Website Editor
It was revealed that in February that inflation fell 0.5% to 3%. Now this is actually a greater fall than expected which I think is something of a recurring theme throughout the recovery, it is always greater than predicted. Unemployment at the start of the recession was predicted to hit 3 million within a few months, but it is still under 2.5 million. Thankfully the action that was taken did lessen the impact of the recession that did hit all countries, as this is the only thing a government could do in the midst of a global recession rather than, oh, let it run its course.
Oh and not to mention http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/8574018.stm borrowing in February was less than expected.
Well it’s taken some time but finally, the end is now in sight. The House of Representatives narrowly passed the Healthcare reform bill last night meaning the President should sign the bill by Tuesday. President Obama has delivered on his campaign promise, Change HAS come to America.
Whatever your view on the actual contents of the bill you have to give it to Obama, given the system of governance (with separation of powers), the sheer dogmatic (and often wholly ignorant) opposition from the American right and the fact that so many of his Democrat predecessors have failed (Roosevelt, Clinton, etc) shows how successful Obama has been in the given context. This presents the biggest reform to American healthcare since the introduction of Medicare in the mid-1960s. Personally, I think (not that I’m anyway biased at all, lol) think his proposals are brilliant as this will now extend cover to 32 million Americans, that’s a phenomenal number and I hope the Republicans will have the dignity to apologize one day for denying full health care to around 40 million Americans!
Yes we can and yes we did!
It was revealed yesterday that the Tories have seized on strikes by British Airways and on the railways to claim Britain is facing a “spring of discontent” because of Labour. Now I’m sorry, whatever your views on the individual strikes taking place at the moment, you can hardly compare this to the ‘winter of discontent’, the circumstances are entirely different, for a start Unions are nowhere near as powerful and influential as they once were. It just seems to me that Dave’s using this opportunity to 1. Distract media attention from his Lord Ashcroft scandal, 2. Try and give Brown another blow and 3. Similarly, trying to take a swipe at the Unions because of his party’s dogmatic view. Political opportunism at its best.
Could this be at the next Tory conference if they win the general election? And yes in the final days of my tenure I’m hardly finding serious stuff, lol!
Just to keep everyone updated…
We now have 58 followees (people we’re stalking/subscribing to), 68 followers (people who’re stalking/subscribing to us) and 114 tweets, which isn’t bad considering we’ve only had the account since November. Long way to go though – Sarah Brown has 2423 tweets and 1,117,983 followers!
Now personally, I don’t particularly mind the Lib Dems, except when it comes to civil liberties, as unfortunately they are as insecure as the Tories. Nick Clegg’s speech in London said he wanted the people to “to take their privacy back” against ID cards, DNA databases and CCTV cameras. Now I’ve done a similar rant on this in a previous blog but that was restrained to the DNA database, but really come on Clegg(y), I accept there is somewhat of an argument behind ID cards but he’s kinda forgetting they’re intended for foreign nationals.
CCTV cameras hardly ‘invade your privacy’, they’re in the streets to keep an eye out for criminals, they’re not exactly in your houses are they as well that would be a breach of privacy, but people can’t stand it not knowing who’s watching you at the other end, i.e. fear of the unknown. And finally, DNA databases, the biggest insecurity of them all, I’m all for the state to keep a record of everyone’s DNA from birth as what they going to do? Take mine find out I’ve got hay fever then send me a bunch of flowers?
I recently learnt that none other than Louise Suen (Chair-elect) and Callum Anderson (Vice-Chair-elect) were interviewed for last friday’s redbrick newspaper on behalf of BULS. A rather low key interview if you ask me, didn’t find out until today, lol! http://www.redbrickonline.co.uk/features/student-politics-part-2-the-labour-party/
In the last quarter of 2009, unemployment fell by 33,000 to 2.45 million, this is the 2nd or 3rd quarter it has done this (may be totally wrong on that point) and the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance fell by 32,300 to 1.59 million in February. Now this in itself is quite an achievement, in past recessions unemployment had always risen still after the economy has re-entered growth. Back in the autumn of 2008, during the dire banking crisis and the fiscal stimulus that followed an extra £5 billion was pumped into job centre plus, this has then resulted in 10,000 new jobs being found per DAY! Of course, one particular party opposed such measures to help ease the recession, no guesses who.
Obviously, we are not out of the woods yet, there is still a bit of pain left to endure, but never again will we endure unemployment at a staggering 3 million.
It was revealed today that Labour MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland Ashok Kumar, 53, has suffered a “sudden accidental” death at his home. This is a man that won his seat in 1991 through a by-election but then went onto to narrowly lose it in the 1992 election, but then to stay on and then win back his seat in 1997 and the subsequent elections after is quite an achievement. He was regarded as “a fine politician who served his constituency and his constituents with diligence and unswerving commitment.” Our thoughts are with his family, friends and constituents.
Disclaimer: this blog relates only to the *look but don’t touch* principle. Men, women, the media or juries seeking to excuse abuse by claiming that the victim was “asking for it” by their choice of clothing reaches beyond the realm of fairness, freedom and human common sense, thus I will not address it here, where my readers are comrades in liberality and moderate views.
Objectification. It’s an interesting word.
Last week I took part in the annual Birmingham University Dance Society show; two fun hours of a variety of dances performed by 95% women pulled together by narrators and a brilliant tech and lighting team. “I rated each dance for sexiness, number 3 got 8 out of 10 for slutty costumes” said one male observer, and “there were definitely some whales in that last one. They really shouldn’t be wearing hotpants” said a female.
6 male dancers took part in a topless ballet dance in the second act. The eyes of everyone in the vicinity were drawn to their chests, and an outraged man was heard to say “Ladies, please! My face is up here!”
Nudity sells to men and women. I saw two men modeling underwear in a shop window in London a couple of weeks ago, and the crowd was enormous.
Sisters, let’s not victimise ourselves. The harshest criticisms and greediest glances come from heterosexual women. Neither the Burka nor “forehead tittaes” are strictly necessary. Let’s get a couple more guys to walk around scantily clad and redress the balance by giving as good as you get. Oh wait – summer’s on the way!
In an interview with Andrew Neil, Liam Byrne MP (Chief Secretary to the Treasury) set the record straight in announcing that the government needed to half the deficit by £82 billion, and stated that the £19 billion that is currently accrued by taxes, is sufficient enough and that no further increase in tax is necessary. He spelled out that the remainder of the deficit will be cut through economic growth (£25 billion) and cuts in public spending. With a cool head he did not shy away from telling how tough it might be, and made a media-hyped sour pill a somewhat sweeter one to swallow indeed!
Liam Byrne on Thursday’s Daily Politics:
Found probably on youtube the funniest and most ridiculous party political broadcast ever. But oh so brilliant!
Ok, just spoken to Sahar (BUCF President), BUCF has NOT been derecognised (yet anyway). What is happening is that they are effectively beginning that process and Sahar is to appear before the Guild Council on March 25th to essentially ‘explain herself’.
It was recently learnt that the Birmingham University Conservative Future (BUCF) was derecognised yesterday. This isn’t the first time the BUCF has been derecognised (http://bulsonline.org/2008/12/06/buls-inside-i-didnt-recognise-bucf/). However, this time little is known (on my part at least) what were the reasons for this. From what I know directly from BUCF members is that they received an email of constitutional breaches (not sure if it was the Guild’s or their own constitution though) and not to mention the ongoing fiasco over their AGM. I do know from a particular source in BUCF that they had been considering voluntarily derecognising for some time as they haven’t received a grant from the Guild in a couple of years.
Whatever the reasons, I’m sure they’re far better than last time (essentially no one was sent to a Guild Council meeting for months on end). Obviously, the full story so far is not known so this presumption may well be wrong, but every other society manages to get the grant, why not BUCF? I sincerely wish they could sort out their problems and get back into the Guild, but whatever happens, we wish them the best of luck. And if anyone from BUCF wants to fill in the details it would be much appreciated.
As this article shows (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article7054655.ece), polling in the key marginal seats is essentially, neck and neck with occasionally Labour pulling ahead to a o.6% margin, while this is certainly not much it is far better than it was about 6 months ago.
But what has gone wrong for the Tories, throughout most of 2009 they were often polling around a 15% lead, this has been drastically slashed to around 6% now and because the FPTP system heavily favours Labour (the great irony of Tory opposition to the proposed AV system) it would mean the Tories would only just be the largest party in a hung Parliament by 3 or so seats. There are a number of reasons I believe for this decline:
Obviously, these past 2 months for Dave have not been his best, Ashcroft non-dom revelation, changing tack on spending cuts, 3 times getting the statistics wrong (crime, teenage pregnancy rates and the number of votes cast at the last election). But, I personally think there is one simple reason, they have got complacent, the Tories believe they will be able to just waltz into No. 10 and in doing so have not made the policies bomb-proof (so to speak) for when the spotlight was turned upon them. Back in 1997, New Labour feared Major and the government and so they ran a highly tight campaign, not leaving room for error. This is the Tory’s greatest failure, underestimating Labour.
“Equal rights, equal opportunities: Progress for all” – the theme for 201o
I’m proud to be a Labour woman, in the mighty tradition of Caroline Selina Ganley (1879-1966) and the Rt Hon Margaret Bondfield (1873 – 1953).
Child tax credit, Sure Start centres, National Childcare Strategy, the Equality Act, Civil Partnerships, increasing the number of women in parliament, Minimum Wage, support for flexible working, pension reforms and an increase in Maternity and Paternity Leave show us that Labour is still dedicated to equality and liberation.
It was recently revealed yesterday that none other than Robert Mugabe, President of Zimbabwe has endorsed Dave and the Tories. Maybe they share similar policies?
Yesterday 5 BULS members were privileged enough to go and see the Home Secretary speak and take questions. Now I myself until then had been unsure what to make of the man since he took office, but after that afternoon I was thoroughly reassured. Admittedly, he was presented with quite a friendly audience but he was very easily able to answer everyone’s question (bar my own as Dan Harrison, who was sitting next to me, asked a question near the start so he kind of ignored that area every time) rather than just diverting or rambling on about something else (like Dave). Unfortunately, we were only able to get the one photo as evidence we were there and that is currently on Dan’s phone which will take about 3 years to download, but we’ll have proof soon enough.
The UB Lib Dems have held their AGM not too long ago, the only result we have heard about is that of their Chair, first year Will Miéville-Hawkins beating RON (who gets around a lot) into second place. To be fair, the Lib Dems are going to be a lot more vocal, with an actually active blog and the distinct possibility of a hung parliament, this is going to be an important year for UB Lib Dems.
BULS and BUCF have had their blogs/websites since near the end of 2006 and have proved vital in cross-party discussions (sorta). Fast forward over 3 years down the line, University of Birmingham Liberal Democrats have FINALLY followed suit (sorta). It literally is just a blog and nothing else but it’s certainly better than nothing.
Michael Foot, former MP for Plymouth Devonport (1945-55) and Blaenau Gwent (1960-92), Secretary of State for Employment (1974-76), Deputy PM and Leader of the Commons (1976-79) and most famously Leader of the Opposition (1980-83), has died today. Whatever your personal opinion on his values and ideas, it undeniable he was one of the giants of the Labour party in the post-war period. Being born in 1913 meant he witnessed a lot through the changing and often turbulent 20th Century, the First World War, the Great Depression, the Second World War, Labour’s first true ascension to power, the 1950s, the “swinging” 60s, the turbulent 70s, the Thatcher years and despite retiring in 1992, beyond that as well.
Unfortunately for Foot, he is most remembered for the disastrous election defeat Labour suffered in 1983, but, the circumstances of events can often be over looked. Though Foot is considered by many a failure as Labour leader, his biographer Mervyn Jones strongly makes the case that no one else could have held Labour together at the time, particularly in the face of the strength of Militant tendency and the splinter SDP movement. He was indeed a man of strong principles (a staunch Republican, he had always rejected honours from the Queen and the government, including a knighthood and a peerage, on more than one occasion) and often unafraid to support his political opponents when he believed the cause was just, as seen with the Falkland’s war.
I myself would have disagreed with him on a number of issues, but when it comes to a man with such strong beliefs, right or wrong, it does command a high degree of respect.
A recent take on the Lord Ashcroft scandal which has shook the Tories from good old mydavidcameron.
Poor Dave, it’s not been a good 2 months for him has it?
Just to let everyone know, the FCO (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) is now following us on twitter, as of this morning!
If anyone wants anything tweeted comment on this or message me on facebook, all suggestions appreciated.
In the same way that Young Money’s inclusion one female rapper in “Bed Rock” does not prevent the overall tone from being misogynist, the inclusion of 126 women MPs in parliament has, according to Caroline Flint at least, not done a great deal to shake up the status quo.
If the main political parties fail to catch the attention of young women they are at risk of losing them, not to the BNP or UKIP, but to ostensibly “private” rather than “public” organisations such as the fashion and beauty industry.
Like female rappers, female politicians worldwide are pioneers. In a country in which all-male shortlists have been the norm for a very long time, our Labour Party is imposing all-women shortlists on many secure seats in the Midlands. These will ensure greater representation in two ways: firstly having women actually present in parliament is a step towards equality, and secondly: women who are willing to be included in all female shortlists are more likely to be feminist sympathisers who really want to serve other women.
The idea of greater merit is often used to justify successful selection for PPC, but it is naïve to suggest that merit is the sole factor involved. If the woman PPC selected is incompetent the electorate will soon let us know!