My Thoughts: Why I’m worried about our new Prime Minister

Tomorrow Britain will have a new Prime Minister, Theresa May, who has been the Home Secretary since 2010. May will become the second female PM, after Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s. For those who don’t know much about Theresa May, here are my worries about her becoming our new Prime Minister.

Yesterday The Independent (one of the most reliable and politically unbiased newspapers) summarised my argument with the phrase “Theresa May is about to become Prime Minister after a career of opposing legislation that guarantees equality and human rights.” In this article I will be exploring Theresa May’s abysmal voting record.

Theresa May has spoken in favour of repealing the Human Rights Act and leaving the European Convention of Human Rights. These are the sources of our basic human rights (the right to life, the right of free speech etc.) Although she did support replacing these with a new ‘Bill of Rights,’ it is impossible to know what this new bill would include, and which rights would be guaranteed and which would not. 

Probably Theresa May’s most notorious policy is supporting the ‘Snooper’s Charter’ which would give the police the power to search anyone’s internet history without asking for their permission. In a bid to tackle terrorism, supporters of the snooper’s charter claim that “if you’ve done nothing wrong then you shouldn’t be scared.” Meanwhile, critics claim that the Snooper’s Charter is a breach of personal liberties. The law hasn’t been passed yet, but it’s extremely likely to happen under May’s government.


Theresa May has never supported equality. She has consistenly voted in favour of slashing benefits for the poorest earners in society, whilst voting against measures to tackle tax avoidance. She also voted in favour of invading Iraq, launching further air strikes on Syria, and legalising fox hunting. She voted against banning smoking in a car whilst children are present. May also (extremely controversially) said that sex offenders should he allowed to adopt and that we can never have a fully integrated society where there is immigration. 

Just because Theresa May is a woman doesn’t mean she supports women’s rights. Theresa May voted against the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill which would give lesbian couples the ability to receive fertility treatment and she also voted against gay adoption rights and repealing Section 28 which bans the promotion of homosexuality in schools.

How Theresa May became Prime Minister is extremely undemocratic. Even if she was chosen by the 150,000 Tory members, that would be undemocratic, but May only became PM because the other candidates dropped out of the race. In the end, our next Prime Minister was chosen by 199 Tory MPs which accounts for 0.000004% of the entire population. How can we call ourselves a democratic nation when our Prime minister was chosen in this way? May should call a general election because she has no mandate from the British people. But she won’t, because she’s in power now and doesn’t want anyone to take that away from her. She believes that her own personal position is far more important than democracy.

Although we can’t be 100% sure what the UK will look like under Theresa May, I am certain there will be further growths in inequality and fewer rights for workers. Young people will have their futures in doubt and there will be a continuation of austerity politics. Like Margaret Thatcher, Theresa May will continue to divide the UK and I believe she will be a terrible role model for young women. Theresa May will be just as bad (if not, worse) than David Cameron.

My Thoughts: Labour Leadership Crisis

The county’s in a mess. British Politics is in a mess. Both the Labour Party and the Conservative Party are in a mess; there’s no doubt about that. Things need sorting out, and they need sorting out fast.

When Jeremy Corbyn was elected as leader I felt a sense of hope. No, I didn’t vote for him, but I still felt the optimism in the party and among the members. Corbyn had been elected with a huge mandate, and had inspired tens of thousands of people to join the Labour Party. More people have joined the Labour Party after Corbyn was elected than the entire membership of the Conservatives. I felt that we were going to start a new era for the Labour Party, but I realise that it was just never to be.

I was hugely disappointed with the EU referendum result last Friday, because I feel like we could have done more to convince people to vote remain and to put our case forward for staying in Europe. For his whole political career, Corbyn had been Eurosceptic which surprised me when he announced that he would be campaigning to keep Britain in the EU. I feel that Corbyn didn’t convince as many people as he could have convinced. Polls suggest that around 37% of Labour supporters decided to vote against the party’s stance which annoys me because I believe that the party had a very strong case for staying in Europe. I don’t think Corbyn raised his argument well enough in the media, and I think at times he was too quiet, or not passionate enough. For example, on his appearance on The Last Leg, he was asked “on a scale of 1 to 10, how passionate are you about staying in the EU?” and his response was “7 and a half.” Had Corbyn been a 10, there is a higher chance that we would have convinced more voters to remain.

I feel that Corbyn hasn’t been strong enough at PMQs and has allowed David Cameron and the Tories to walk all over him. Despite being the more decent person, the majority of the public only care about who can perform better in the House of Commons. Unfortunately most of that majority believe Corbyn is outperformed every week.

Don’t get me wrong, I admire Jeremy Corbyn and believe he has brilliant and humble political views- in a perfect world we’d all want him as Prime Minister, I’m sure. But unfortunately I cannot see him winning the next election, and we need a strong leader to stand up to Michael Gove/Boris Johnson/Theresa May, or whoever the next Conservative leader may be. It’s not just one or two MPs who disagree with him, it’s about three quarters of the Parliamentary Party. Having lost the vote of no confidence, I feel the respectable thing for Corbyn to do would be to resign. Yes, he has a huge mandate from Labour supporters, but you can’t win an election just by having the support of your own members. You need to consider who would be the appropriate choice of a leader who could win an election. At the end of the day, it’s a choice between having Corbyn as leader or having a Labour government.

However, I do not agree with the infighting and the behaviour of MPs who oppose Mr Corbyn. I think it is immature and unprofessional to publicly criticise your own leader, especially when the country is so divided. I condemn the personal attacks on Mr Corbyn and believe that their differences should be settled in a civilised manner.

In conclusion, ideally I would like to see Andy Burnham or Dan Jarvis become leader of the party as I believe they could unite the members and the Parliamentary Labour Party, as well as being a strong opposition to the Tories.

My Thoughts: The Media Has Too Much Control Over Our Politics

We need to stop the media having so much influence and potential power in our politics. At the 2015 General Election it was quite clear which party most of the newspapers preferred. The press is supposed to be fair, equal and balanced. If there is a disproportional amount of newspapers supporting a certain party then how can we call this fair and balanced?

I set out to investigate the statistics surrounding national newspapers and endorsements. Of the twelve national daily newspapers, six endorsed the Conservatives, three endorsed Labour, and the Lib Dems, UKIP and Workers’ Revolutionary Party gained one endorsement each. So 50% of the national daily newspapers endorsed the Conservatives whilst 25% endorsed Labour. This is hugely disproportional if we take this into account. This also shows a lack of diversity in our press if three quarters of all the daily newspapers backed the two main parties.

However it could be argued that the daily national newspapers have no real effect in terms of seats won since the SNP had no endorsements and still gained 56 seats. However of the eight Scottish newspapers, four of them endorsed the SNP. This still shows that there is inequality in the press. People keep getting fed the same ideas and beliefs. People don’t always see every side of the argument and because of this the outcome of our election is pretty much decided by whoever Rupert Murdoch decides to back.

murdoch

A lot of the time the press don’t even focus on who has the best policies and prefer to focus on who looks the best whilst eating a bacon sandwich. As Ed Miliband said “If you want this to be a beauty contest or a photo opp contest then I’m not going to win it.” People may laugh at this, but is our politics slowly turning into a beauty contest? How can it be fair that the winner of our general election is basically decided by the media and how they present the party leaders? The media should focus on policies and issues so the electorate can decide who they want to vote for themselves without newspapers making that choice for them. The tabloids seem to believe that their readers are not intelligent enough to make a decision on which party to support by reading policies and instead decide to show them a photo of the party leader to base their choice on instead (The Sun disrespectfully use language so basic that a seven year old could read it and understand it.) It is laughable that people will vote for a politician based on their appearance without knowing any of their policies.

The Sun – for some reason – is the most read paper in Britain. This is a frightening fact when some of the front pages of The Sun are taken into consideration. After the tragic Hillsborough disaster in 1989 when 96 innocent Liverpool fans lost their lives, The Sun claimed on their front page that “some fans picked pockets of victims, some fans urinated on the brave cops and some fans beat up PC giving kiss of life.” Now it has been proven how wrong they were. We should never immediately believe whatever the media tells us. The media (particularly papers like The Sun and The Daily Mail) like to use scaremongering and print highly controversial stories on their front page in order to sell copies and gain more money. It is disgusting and thoroughly wrong that newspapers should be allowed to publish any information that is highly false, although it is unlikely that this will ever become a rule or law because the newspapers will claim that they are using their right to “freedom of press and freedom of speech.” I’m a strong supporter of these two things, but printing stories that are extremely false and inaccurate to a mass audience which can end up ruining lives is not a use of freedom of press/speech.

don't buy the sun

My argument is that the newspapers should allow their readers to make intelligent decisions about which party to support based on facts rather than photographs. I would strongly like to see the press regulated to prevent publication of false or inaccurate stories or headlines- papers should receive a heavy fine or suspension for printing another “Hillsborough- The Truth” type of article. I would like to see more newspapers supporting smaller parties such as The Green Party so we can gain a more balanced representation of UK politics. Finally, readers should become much more aware that not everything that is published in newspapers is true, and to not let a certain paper’s opinion of a politician or party directly affect their own view of them.

My Thoughts: Tribute to 13/11/15

What happened on Friday 13th November is truly unspeakable. It is devastating to think that a minority of extremists would want to cause harm and distress to many, many people across the world.

Innocent people were killed in Paris- their lives taken so soon, and so selfishly. Some were in the National Stadium, watching their beloved national team win 2-0 against the world champions Germany. Some were at a metal concert, not too far away, and some were in the town centre before the devastating events took place. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and the families of those affected.

But Paris was not the only place to have suffered devastation. In Beirut and Baghdad, bombings took place, whilst there were earthquakes in Japan and Mexico. My thoughts are with the victims and families of these unimaginable events as well. Let us not forget them. 

However, all over the world there is poverty and terror, happening every single day. Let us remember all people around the world who are suffering.

Let’s work together by participating in the political process and then we can finally aim to build a better, more peaceful world to live in.  

My Thoughts: Jeremy Corbyn – The First Few Days

It has been an eventful first few days for Jeremy Corbyn, just four days after being announced as the new leader of The Labour Party. Here are some of my thoughts on the different things that have happened so far.

A 50/50 Shadow Cabinet

Mr Corbyn has raised a few eyebrows after naming his shadow cabinet since none of the “top jobs” were given to women (although women were given the roles of Shadow Health Secretary and Shadow Business Secretary.) The reality is that half of Mr Corbyn’s Shadow Cabinet are women- the first time this has happened in British political history. The Daily Telegraph was one of the first newspapers to criticise Mr Corbyn for this, despite their top 14 most senior positions being filled by men.

Telegraph- male

Andy Burnham

Despite Yvette Cooper doing an excellent job as Shadow Home Secretary for nearly five years, I am delighted that Corbyn has given the role to Andy Burnham this time round. I had backed Andy for leader but I am pleased that he has a major role in the new Shadow Cabinet. I am also proud that he was the only leadership candidate who agreed to serve, with Liz Kendall and Yvette Cooper declining the offer. I am sure he will do a great job opposing Theresa May. You can see my interview with Andy Burnham by clicking here.

Andy Burnham2

Avoiding the Press

Jeremy Corbyn reportedly received a phone call from a reporter from The Sun. Mr Corbyn apparently immediately said “goodbye” and hung up the phone. This is exactly what the leader of The Labour Party should be doing- standing up to the right-wing press who never have anything good to say about the party. This didn’t happen in the many years B.C (Before Corbyn.) Check out this quote from the new Shadow Chancellor, Mr John McDonnell:

John McDonnell Quote

Tories Cut Tax Credits

The front cover of almost every newspaper displays this photo. Yesterday, the Conservatives announced cuts to tax credits, leaving tens of thousands of families worse-off. Did that make the front page? No? Didn’t think so.

Morning papers

God Save The Troops

To summarise, Mr Corbyn is actually a republican and this song has no relevance to him or his beliefs, like many others in the UK. In reality, Mr Corbyn decided to pay his respects by remaining silent and remembering those who have died fighting for our country, rather than singing. Mr Corbyn’s parents had both been part of the war. I believe that people should be far more offended by the evil cuts to people’s tax credits rather than this ‘non-news’ item. For those people who find this disrespectful, should remember when David Cameron was caught laughing and taking a selfie at Nelson Mandela’s funeral.

mandela funeral

Prime Minister’s Questions

Jeremy Corbyn sent out an email to thousands of members asking for their question suggestions to ask the Prime Minister. He received 40,000 replies. Mr Corbyn wanted to change how Prime Minister’s Questions and ensure that the politicians involved would “behave like adults.” I think that Mr Corbyn’s first PMQ as leader of the opposition was successful and finally gave ordinary people the chance to put their questions forward to the Prime Minister (who seemed much calmer than usual.) My personal highlight was when Jeremy said “I am now going to ask a question from Angela..” and Angela Eagle, who was sat next to him, appeared to be mouthing “Not me! Not me…”

PMQs

ABBA Tribute Act

Finally, in his first speech as leader, Mr Corbyn did say that he would form an ABBA tribute act with Andy Burnham, Liz Kendall and Yvette Cooper. So here it is!

ABBA

My Thoughts: Labour Leadership Results

So finally the result of the Labour Leadership Election has been announced and it has been a very long four months.  As well as the new leader, Labour also announced their new Deputy Leader and Mayor of London candidate.

Sadiq Khan – Labour’s Mayor of London Candidate

Yesterday Labour announced that Sadiq Khan, the former Shadow Secretary of State for Transport, had been chosen as their candidate for Mayor of London. I feel that Londoners have voted for the right person as I know that Sadiq is the best candidate to help Labour win in 2016. Sadiq has many modern, new ideas and I know that he will be a great Mayor of London if elected. He wants to make housing in London more affordable and tackle the issues of inequality in the area. Sadiq has been the MP for Tooting since 2005. I know that everyone in the Labour Party will be supporting Sadiq with his campaign.

Sadiq Khan is Labour's candidate for the Mayor of London election next year
Sadiq Khan is Labour’s candidate for the Mayor of London election next year

Tom Watson – Labour’s New Deputy Leader

I gave Tom my 3rd Preference in my vote for Deputy Leader. As voting went to the third round, I am proud to have contributed towards his win. I think Tom will be a great deputy leader for The Labour Party. He seems passionate and is not afraid to stand up and speak out for what he believes in. Tom has been the MP for West Bromwich East since 2001 and was the Deputy Chair of The Labour Party between 2011 and 2013. I know that Tom will provide serious strong opposition to the Tory government and I wish him all the best of luck.

Tom Watson is announced as the new Deputy Leader of The Labour Party
Tom Watson is announced as the new deputy leader of The Labour Party

Jeremy Corbyn – Labour’s New Leader

I had backed Andy Burnham for Labour Leadership but Jeremy Corbyn has my full support. Jeremy has been an MP for 32 years but never held a cabinet position. I know that Jeremy will want to unite the party in the hope of gaining power again in 2020. Today sees the end of New Labour and the party return to its Socialist roots. However I think it is disappointing that many high profile Labour MPs have refused to serve in his Shadow Cabinet as it shows lack of unity within the party. Corbyn gained 59.5% of the vote, winning by a landslide, and MPs must respect who the majority of Labour supporters voted for. Mr Corbyn gave a very passionate speech after being elected which undoubtedly gave me hope for the future of the party, and the country. Mr Corbyn’s first act as Labour leader will be in attending a ‘Refugees Welcome’ event, urging the government to do more about the crisis.

Jeremy Corbyn gives a speech after being announced as the new leader of The Labour Party
Jeremy Corbyn gives a speech after being announced as the new leader of The Labour Party

Overall thoughts

I would like to wish Mr Corbyn all the best of luck and wish him every success in his time as leader of the party. I’d also like to thank and congratulate Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall on running fair and positive campaigns. Some of the abuse aimed at them during the campaign has been totally unacceptable and has no place in politics. I am sure we will see Andy in a senior position in the party once again, either as Shadow Chancellor or Shadow Health Secretary again. I would like to see Yvette Cooper return to her position as Shadow Home Secretary, something which she does very well, and I’m in no doubt that Jeremy Corbyn will offer her the role once again. Despite Liz Kendall refusing to serve in Corbyn’s shadow cabinet, I would like to see her as Shadow Business Secretary. If we are going to unite the party, we need to see a variety of MPs working in Mr Corbyn’s Shadow Cabinet so we can be a strong force in opposition. I look forward to watching Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday and seeing how Mr Corbyn and his party perform!

Group Hug
The leadership candidates share a group hug after the result is announced