Labor Day

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Labor Day is about putting the spotlight on the achievements of the working class

Labor Day is a holiday in many parts of the world, from the United Kingdom to Bangladesh. The date for the holiday differs from one country to the other: for example in the United Kingdom the holiday falls on May 1 but in the United States the holiday is on September’s first Monday. The aim of the holiday is to rejoice the working class and laborers alike. The growing importance of trade unions created the need for such a holiday – Labor Day, in fact, has its roots in a global labor crusade and was actually created by parties with a socialist and communist stance on May Day (which also falls on the same date).

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Abuse Of Women At The House Of Commons

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John Bercow, the Speaker for the past nine years, is amongst the MPs who have had allegations made against them of ill-treating women at the House of Commons

Recently, an investigation carried out by Newsnight (a current affairs programme on the BBC) revealed that numerous MPs had made women, who worked at the House of Commons feel frightened + harassed them too. The acts reported of harassment were particularly shocking – women had, reportedly, been kissed under protest and fondled.

Although, these griveances were made known, they were never really cared for: apparently, one Labour MP had taken great pleasure in making Emily Commander cry in a companionless-destructive manner and had also regularly rubbished and disempowered her. Then there was another allegation made against a Conservative MP, who had apparently built a reputation for regularly screaming at workers – he has since stated that he has never been made aware by the House of any grievances made against him, and if it were to happen then he would come to know that, and also he knows that this often happens with MPs.

The most important accusation to come out of this episode, however, is the one made against the Speaker at the House of Commons, John Bercow. Bercow had apparently screamed at his secretary, who already had post-traumatic stress disorder and then because of John’s behaviour she was soon transferred to elsewhere inside the Parliament. An investigation has since been launched into the claims and it looks as if Bercow is listed to suffer the most from the allegations made so far against the MPs.

Several Labour MPs, including Valerie Vaz, have spoken out in favour of Bercow but the matter seems too sensitive to be taken lightly – clearly, the persistence of the allegations isn’t sufficient to formulate opinions regarding Bercow. But what this matter certainly does is that it puts a new spotlight on the probable maltreatment of women in the workplace and it remains to be seen how this episode materializes in the end; Bercow had previously mentioned that both sexual harassment and bullying should never be put up with, and he has since stated that the accusations made against him are all false.

Snap Elections in the UK

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A deeply unpopular election is to be held on 8 June, which will be contested by all major parties in the country, from the Labour Party to the Lib Dems

Snap elections in the United Kingdom were recently announced by Theresa May but there is no clue whatsoever as to why. Theresa is practically unopposed in both the House of Lords and the Commons, so there is no crisis to her leadership in sight there that would demand a general election so soon but the new Prime Minister took it upon herself to press forward with the decision to hold one anyways. It’s not just that: Britons are not in want of a general election, and earlier on when Theresa took over Westminster following David Cameron’s departure from Downing Street, she had made it clear that no general elections are going to happen until 2020.

A whole host of people are once again running for elections, from Kenneth Clarke MP, who’s a major antagonist to Theresa’s plans in Westminster – he had opposed Brexit, to Jeremy Corbyn, who unsurprisingly (and shamelessly) insists he will still be the Labour leader if he loses this set of elections. It all boils down to how hard it is really to justify the reasons for snap elections however, because there is no war going on and also no news media has been widely (and vigorously) campaigning for one to happen this early, which desperately needs to be addressed. Because of all of that, judgements towards the latest midterm Prime Minster of the United Kingdom simply increases tenfold.

In my honest opinion, it doesn’t really matter whether Jeremy Corbyn or Theresa May comes to power because they are both unsatisfactory leaders in their own right. Corbyn is not a popular Labour leader amongst his party contemporaries – in fact, several polls since his election as the leader of the party also suggest that Labour voters want to see him replaced. Meanwhile, the damage that Theresa did to British politics for this decision alone, is hard to recover from because she comes across as a hypocrite and an idiot.

Theresa called an election because she is unable to band together and differences exist in Westminster but that is just what Westminster is. Maybe Theresa should have been more well-versed on that aspect of politics, as well. The tense climate that the country is teetering on at the moment, following a Brexit did not need a further injection of a new general election but that is just what it got because the Labour Party feels like it should respond to this by contesting in the elections too.

If Theresa is looking for support, she must promise that she has the whole parliament’s support for key decisions in the coming months on issues such as Brexit. Under no circumstances can the new election undermine the conditions that Brexit is happening over, if Theresa was to still remain in power, which seems likely. A major poll puts forward the idea of Theresa May as a better political alternative to her contemporaries, particularly Jeremy Corbyn, and the Tory party has not enjoyed this much support since 2008, when Gordon Brown was the Prime Minster of the United Kingdom and national recession was still widespread.

SNP’s Second Try

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SNP wants to launch another independence referendum after losing the last one in 2014

One of the the most horrifying political gaffes ever made has to be Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish First Minister demanding another independence referendum for Scotland, where it is to ask for independence from the United Kingdom, just two-and-half years after the previous one. It is far too close to the last independence referendum for Scotland. It does not matter if Scotland hasn’t been allowed enough room to be a part of the EU single market, following Brexit because there is no need to cry for independence over that – unity over political decisions is a good thing.

Theresa May, the British Prime Minister, post David Cameron, is horsing around with the statement, it seems. At one point in time, May is against it, and at another point in time, her office, Number 10, sends out mixed messages that another independence referendum could happen but not before Brexit is officially wrapped up. When the SNP wrote in their manifesto pre-elections that another independence referendum could be called in the future if the situation dictated it, did they think it would be this close to the past one? It’s unclear but the party had stated that 2014’s referendum was a rare event.

There is no doubt that what the Tory government did was very wrong because Britain’s place is really with the EU, not independent from it, and it is truly asking Scotland an awful lot of getting along to do, when the nation overwhelmingly voted against a Brexit. However, when differences of opinion arises, compromises are necessary because the two countries did choose to remain united only recently and having unity isn’t always easy in the face of political decisions of whoever, or whichever party is in power. Politicians in both Westminster and the Scottish parliament should really be doing their jobs in government instead of running after independence referendums for the billionth time.

Meanwhile, Scotland is to learn of the conditions of Brexit later than when done because of how EU negotiations are carried out. So far, the idea of another Scottish independence referendum doesn’t seem to have picked up momentum anywhere else but in Number 10 somewhat, but if it were to happen, it is a little bit vague as to why because SNP is contemplating thoughts of Scotland, if the EU gives approval, joining the European Economic Area (EEA), in a manner similar to Norway’s, which would permit the country to be a part of the single market – this is despite the fact that the UK is Scotland’s biggest trade partner, so if this new independence referendum is supposed to be about the economy then it’s not supposed to be in favour of the Scottish economy doing very well.

Getting Inside Labour

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What really happened at the general elections, this year?

Labour’s recent defeat in the general elections has to be one of the most shocking episodes in British political history. This party is regarded to be centre-left politically and is founded on social democratic and democratic socialist ideals, stemming from a trade union (labour) movement that began in Europe, during the industrial revolution. Keir Hardie, the first Labour Member of Parliament, was one of those important local figures, who is today considered to be one of the founding fathers of the party.

The party has spurned out many great Prime Ministers, from Ramsay MacDonald to Clement Attlee, but can we really see the party stand high beneath these greats’ shadows, despite what by now should be a regular understanding – political highs and lows. The biggest challenge facing the party isn’t divisive behaviours or difficult political strategies, it is how to make sure it can break apart the Conservative government.

The party sometimes feels disenfranchised from the working-class, from centre-left voters and this must change for them to win back their political standing. Whenever there is an improvement in the previously-sluggish economy, the welcome change is attributed to the Conservatives, instead of sharing it as a cross-party effort, in the least. This isn’t entirely because the financial collapse was all about banks and important global finance organizations, and Labour’s inability to do something about the recession.

Labour did a great deal to suggest that it could stand to gain plenty from the former general elections fiasco in 2010, that saw the Liberal Democrats joining hands with the Conservative Party, in power. A lot of Liberal Democrat voters saw this as a treacherous move because they felt that if a coalition was to be formed, then it should be with the party that they have most in common with: the Labour Party.

Many voters who had suggested they would vote for the Labour Party in the elections, in the end, surprisingly refrained from participating in the elections. There is still some confusion over what the voters who shifted towards the Labour Party, in the end, achieved for the values they identified with, within the party. But what we do know is that earlier on voters had defected to the Tory Party because the Conservative Party embodied a sense of responsibility towards the economy recovering, because they believed that the bankers are not at-large really contributing to the recession.

Finally, in Scotland there is a great deal of sentiment about unity of the Kingdom. Plenty of voters have been defecting here and there since the positive end to the referendum but it has left so many voters reluctant to be considered Scottish Labour supporters, instead of SNP voters. I personally like the idea of Scottish voters approving of the SNP more than the Labour Party in government because they are after all the single biggest party here but I do not quite understand where their dissatisfaction levels with the whole democratic equation in the Kingdom is coming from because political disagreements are after all a part of the whole picture of Westminster.

Why The Labour Party?

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The picture with Labour is so different than most political parties in the world. As a staunch Labourite, for a very long time, I have grown up to believe more and more in the party’s ideologies, than perhaps so for many other supporters.

Labour to me is more than just a political party: it is a beacon of hope of positive change in Great Britain. There is no socialist ideologies in the party actually because since 1992, there has been no mention of it anywhere in party leaflets. Labour is centre-left though and was conceived from this idea that it needs to support the proletariat – an idea that is quite popular in Marxism.

Because of that reason alone, I decided to support the Labour Party because as an aristocrat and someone who believes that Marxism is a force of good for the world, we held similar perspectives on British society. In the end, that is what a political party is all about and why you should support it – do you identify with what it has to offer at all? Do you personally hold the same opinions about the proletariat, about the welfare state, about what the New Labour likes to debate about?

There is too much talk about how bad New Labour was, coming after Old Labour. There is a lot of anger over how one socialist person after the other keeps on getting elected – that can be dangerous. The debate should really focus on what it means to be centre-left for the Labour Party. Do they believe in the monarchy, because that is an established system to work within, like I really do? What about their stance on equal opportunity for all? What to do with the income gap between the separate classes we have?

The Labour Leadership Race: Part II

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The Labour leadership race is heating up, but not exactly in the direction you would have hoped it would have

The last two of the frontrunners in the Labour leadership race are interesting: one believes, just like David Cameron, that there is a lot wrong with many of our public services, all of a sudden, and should be reformed, while the other is so deeply interested in voicing an opinion on political matters and doing things.

Jeremy Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn is the most popular candidate to come out this side of the leadership race. He wants to raise taxes for the rich classes, print more and more money and collect revenues from a missing tax bracket that, according to him exists, permitting many to avoid paying their taxes.

Corbyn is also quite vocal of a person about many matters, such as banks needing more regulation, getting more maintenance grants for students in schools, prioritizing immigration even though he is known to not have spoken up too much about the topic before, likes to talk about socialist causes, wants to scrap the Trident as well, and pull the United Kingdom out of NATO, give more control to government of the nationalization of railways, and believes that nobody should live in absolute poverty, in one of the richest countries of the world.

Printing more money to solve a financial crisis can be catastrophic. When there has been a global event, that has impacted all countries, all the way from France to India, such as the First World War, or a global recession, it’s not always wise to print money to provide you with the quenching of expenses you require, all of the houses you need to build to find a space for people to reside in and all of the public spaces you need to construct.

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This is because inflation rates are high, markets keep tumbling and certain sections of society are hit the hardest, usually the most vulnerable, such as workers, the middle class and pensioners. They are made homeless, food-less, as more and more money is printed in the face of rising inflation. Money loses value when a government takes bad decisions as these, but it’s not shocking to see a novice like Corbyn suggest so.

He is a rather fired-up person, in my point of view, about a lot of issues in the day. We cannot pull the United Kingdom, out of NATO, because it is a strategic military alliance that is very important to the North Atlantic. It seems to me that every new “leader” that comes out to contest for the leadership race only wants us to pull out of various unions and organisations, because they believe they know better. But they do not. They do not know better because there is great strength in strategic alliances.

Banks do need regulation when you think of the people that often get selected to sit atop it all amidst a lot of fanfare but other than that they are the most agreeable bunch you will ever meet: if there was ever proof that great minds think alike, then this would be just that. Banks in London help the economy because they are now in fact in one of its all-time strongest position ever.

On immigration (like, for student maintenance grants, where it seems to me that Corbyn likes to be far too kind, than hard times should ever really dictate) I believe that Corbyn’s stance is too pro-refugees. And I disagree with all of that, because there is no way we can simply open up our borders like the former Home Secretary Theresa May, would have perhaps wished for. One thing that greatly puzzles me is that why are people escaping their lands all of a sudden and why is Europe seeing a boat crisis? There are a lot of people in the world very invested in solving conflicts and poverty questions in places like Darfur, for example.

Apart from an obvious and clear and present lack of national pride, that these people exhibit, there is also the small matter that this all appears to be so disturbing to us Europeans/Asians: they are fleeing their country in throngs and coming to live in countries that have worked very hard to earn a peaceful existence. It does take time to solve a national crisis, as you can see unfolding with the peace situation in Afghanistan and how it impacts people there on a daily basis, but wishing for a better life in another country, is not only doing absolutely nothing at all for the Gulf state, a place that is supposed to be their home, a land that is supposed to be theirs, it’s also exhibiting a total disregard for European countries.

Liz Kendall

Kendall believes in early childhood development and would love to see free schools around for young children to benefit from. She wants immigrants to come into the country and accomodate them spaces in social housing. I disagree with her there because it is hard enough to accomodate English people in social housing, all of them who need it, to actually permit migrants floating on boats in Calais to come here and take all of their rights away.

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She believes that Europeans who come here should not claim benefits but should rather work – that in my opinion, depends on what kind of benefits they are seeking because benefits exist to help cushion hard circumstances. Naturally, when you get on benefits you should not make a habit out of it, but that is where benefits abuse comes along because if you don’t need it, why are you still interested in it?

I do not agree with her that our public services need improvement, either – if it’s not broken, there is no need to fix any of it. And it’s not, but we do need plenty of new developments, upgrades and looking after heritage sites. I think Kendall feels things too strongly, at times – she actually abstained on voting on welfare reform, because Labour was not trusted to deal with it any longer. At this rate, if she is fortunate to still have a good future in politics, she will never get anything done at all, aside from hopping around important topics because she can never be strong enough.

“This” might be one of the richest countries in the world  but Kendall wants to shape things around here – smart thinking! She wants to take her credibility in politics earned, when Ed Miliband was still a “glorious” figure in Westminster, but giving preference to women over men who deserve a job is unfair. A woman should earn a job just like any individual does, not because of their sex – not only would that be self-satisfying that would also be a really dignified way to congratulate yourself for finally earning the right to work, just like men!

The Labour Leadership Race: Part I

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On September 11, the ballot box will be turned upside down to reveal the names of the contestants and the winners that have been selected to win. I guess it should be one of the most anticipated events in the calendar for Labour supporters, but not for me, at least not this time around. I have not been pleased with the candidates that have been put out by the Labour electorate because there were so many good prospective hopefuls that have been sidelined, for people that have a certain kind of quality: to argue an awful lot. Here’s taking a look at two of the frontrunners, of the race, for a start:

Andy Burnham

Burnham is one candidate so many must have been happy to see toss his name card into the ring fence, because of his previous glittering career as one of the lesser successful candidates of the last election race. No matter that he lost out to Ed Miliband, who came riding on the wave of popularity on trade unions and eventually never made it through the doors of No. 10, and was less charismatic than Milband’s older brother, and the former Foreign Secretary David Miliband, Burnham is one young man many are happy to see back here once more. He gave us all policy workers a lot of headache when he kept barking on and on about the need to reform the NHS for five long years, but then his suggestions never really went anywhere. So, what does he have to offer us this time around?

Andy Burnham wants to talk about growth in the economy. He wants Labour to be successful on that front because Brown didn’t really do a great job there, in the end. Granted he lost after only three years, and there came David Cameron, who mostly spent his time in India on trips, that he came back from empty handed and ‘humilated’ (whispers: but he and his Tory team probably never got any of that!) with no trade deals to Downing Street, it is important to highlight that there is no denying that the latest crop of politicians are dying to contribute to the Westminster debate, like so many others around the world, now.

He wants to bring back the glory of the Tony Blair era back into the minds of many, and is quite passionate about paying a fair tax label, which are some big words there. He believes in providing a more supportive system for those choosing work over a college education than the “survival of the fittest” style that exists today, wants local authorities to be more empowered about admission to schools, wants to have more social housing, more regulation of the private-rented sector, and more control over rundown properties.

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That is a whole lot of aspirations from Burnham but I believe that local authorities shouldn’t have any say at all in the admissions of students to schools because those should follow a more strict approach, yes, but be independent and subjected to review, by educational boards, and decided by each school themselves. Local authorities, already have their hands completely full in arguing over fixing the bike systems in their neighbourhoods and attending surgeries to serve the community better, hearing their concerns in a very mature and ordered way, no matter the day or the hours.

There is also the small demands of social housing and how much this could impact the public purse string – at a time, when overcrowded housing is a rampant issue in Great Britain, and we are always asking families to not waste space if they have a lot of it, it is outrageous to demand social housing for families with kids, who probably need all the help they can afford to get into or back into work.

Rundown properties need national investments because a destroyed relic only needs to be done away with and make room for something new in its place. With Burnham on the steering wheel there, it’s not hard to imagine where that automobile is going to go – it’s like a car crash waiting to happen, he has already asked for an increase in funding for social housing + more funds to turn around rundown properties that are not getting in anyone’s way, right about now. I think he needs to think harder on a shifting of priorities because the economy still feels like it is a recession, despite high employment figures, for low wages and low household income.

Yvette Cooper

Cooper is a former familiar face in Westminster. She hates the idea of Great Britain being armed with a nuclear programme and adores intervention in Syria to sort out the crisis or whatever it is, that she wants to intervene in the country for, there. She loves to ponder out loud and high, for long hours, about how a hike in corporation taxes could benefit the country, so. She also has a strict policy of being woken early hours by none other than the Prime Minister to think about national security, and she would love to see her constituency have a Haribo factory so that she and the population there can be a witness to the benefits of that tax, themselves.

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No need to cry at the drop of a hat now, because she is only doing so because unlike Cameron’s second unproductive term in Downing Street (Oh! Please spare us another set of five years!) she believes it will be good for trade ties. She wants to have savings, think about getting children back to school once more and although all of that is indeed very “noble” post her comment on the Trident, and our country’s national security, I think she should leave Labour Party, and all of the self-inflicted dangerous/exhilarating thinking, with strong individuals and men, instead – it’s the least someone as empowered as her can do! Cooper is not very intelligent on national affairs, at all, and her supporters love her for it, even though they might be a tad bit late and brutish in doing so. She is also one experienced woman on the very cerebral British political stage, who gets mighty snappy when things don’t go her way, at all, in terms of subjects, such as corporation tax.

The Labour leadership race is getting uglier and deadlier by the minute, but one thing I am pleased to see through it all, is just how honest the candidates have been in voicing their “sound bytes” on what they would like to see happen in and what they want from Great Britain. How deliciously predictable!

Thatcher’s Note

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In response to the latest revelations made by private correspondence conducted inbetween former Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher and the Government of India at the time, I have to say that Great Britain didn’t really play any significant role in the Golden Temple raid. It is very hard to believe Thatcher’s government did because the chances of any kind of inquiry intending to reveal that there was an involvement, in the country’s part, is slim. It is disheartening to see a religious place of worship, shattered to fight extremism, because although the fight against extremism is difficult what is harder is upholding democratic values. Places of religious worship are sacred to many people in the world, and India is no different.

I have great belief that Great Britain would have no interest whatsoever, in attempting to tarnish the religious sanctity of an institution, just to fight existential threats posed by extremism. Indira Gandhi, the Prime Minister of India, at the time, who spearheaded the campaign, believed that extremism had to be fought at all costs. I’m afraid I do not agree with her there, because she really could not envision how her empire would fall, at that point, because of that decision. Politics is a very difficult job, and it is not always easy to make these decisions, but they are required to uphold democracy. In such circumstances, it is crucial to devise other ways to fight extremism. As far as, the British government’s role in this “political episode” is concerned, I doubt the British government, would at any point have wanted to associate itself with strategies such as these, because you see it has its own priorities to think about, it’s own reputation to be concerned about. Although, such decisions don’t really impact how the government functions, it does impact United Kingdom’s global reputation, and perspectives towards a nod to this sort of an episode, would spread like wildfire. It would be a very ill-advised decision, and one that is really not reflective of upholding democratic values, much.

The Dilemma with New Labour

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New Labour. The term has become rather controversial off-late and I’m unsure as to why. Perhaps it’s because of the issues surrounding the Iraq war, but that is difficult to comprehend because most of the leaders instrumental in crafting New Labour into what it is today, voted in the affirmative for the war.

Granted, it wasn’t Ed who did that because he wasn’t in a position to do so and even if he was, as contemplation often go in politics, he has stated that he wouldn’t vote for it. I don’t find it difficult to believe he wouldn’t have changed his mind, because given his strong support for women-centric politics, for trade unions, it would be unthinkable to color him with the same paintbrush as that of his predecessors. He has made a conscious step away from all of the choices that brought his predecessors into the limelight and chosen to carve out a niche for himself in certain rather popular subjects of today. However, some of the socialist agendas that he has aligned himself with tend to be much more deserving of theory rather than practice, and it isn’t history that I am on about, because that would have been a practice during a particular era of Labour, nonetheless.

Miliband has a bit of an activist, “lose control and shelve out power” to local governments, sort of an outlook. He wants to empower the powerless like most politicians but in an economically difficult climate, and when you are a Labour leader, is that the way to go with things? There is a definite move away from stringent socialism for Ed – he couldn’t be further from Marxist ideologies if he tried, so it really is about identifying with certain ways of social thinking than it is about being a loyal Marxist thinker out to revolutionize Westminster, as all the slogans here in England would probably seem, for a fleeting second, to its European neighbors.

There should be more talk about what the structure of things can mean for the party – there isn’t a lot of funding available, unlike how things are for the Tories, and pertaining to matters of immigration to gain votes, isn’t remotely noble or up-to-date on matters. At the moment, political parties are interested for some balancing out of values, they are interested, the big parties, for a centrist ground. Centrist voters are pro-EU membership and consider immigration to have been something positive. The middle-ground, might not even offer Blairites all the consolation it needs because despite its moderate nature, present trend of popularity seems to be riding high on an extreme point of view, somewhat. It is all about globalization, and how a lot of people are worried about it despite Blair’s logic that it can also mean a good thing when handled with control.

Ed Miliband needs to promote a Labour government that will work for the people, one that is equipped at problem-solving, and one way to do this about is to take a good, hard look at the cuts that are going to be implemented once Labour is in power. There is so much talk about the general public wanting a government that does things, causes quiet revolutions, as opposed to one that likes to sail across, without so much of a passing glance at how to change things in the United Kingdom. Perhaps this is the jog to their politics happenings, that they really need. An Opinium/Observer poll has stated that there is a seven point sharp increase for Labour over the Tories, which is a welcoming thought come elections next season. The deficit reduction is one of the primary agendas of a Labour government, and according to the former European commissioner, Peter Mandelson, there needs to be a greater clarity over what the departments budgets could hold post a win in May 2015.

 Things do not look too difficult for the Labour Party, actually, because despite Ed’s “red” agenda, the party is interested to cut the economic deficit, very much in 2015. Infrastructure spending, protecting the NHS, as a party in power, once more, much like the times of Attlee’s “the welfare state”, are on the party’s agenda. And I’m pleased to see that Alex Salmond got on board too, if there is ever a repeat of the 2010 general election consensus of a Labour minority election outcome; Salmond has said that the SNP is interested in putting conventional politics aside, in the hope of seeing a Labour win in England in May 2015. At the present moment, with how things stand, SNP MPs at Westminster do not vote on any English-only legislation, they choose to abstain. He has spoken on how he feels that these subjects couldn’t be further away from how politics functions in Scotland, but it can mean a great deal to the government elected into office in 2015. This will come at a ‘cost’ though – Labour has to keep their promises of transferring powers to Scotland, following an election win, which by the way Salmond predicts will see a lot of SNP wins. The former first minister of Scotland is not interested in supporting the Tories, so perhaps it is time for Labour to get its act together and no longer remain lost linguistically, somewhere in between New Labour and Blairites.