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British Politics 2014: Our Autumn Look Ahead

Saturday, August 30, 2014

 

Although we can expect things in Westminster to get a lot busier, the political summer has hardly seen tumbleweed blowing down Downing Street with Putin’s antics in the Ukraine, the atrocities being committed by the Islamic State and some personnel issues with two Cabinet Minister resigning and a defection. So what can we expect to see this autumn?

O' Flower of Scotland, when will we see your like again…?

Will they stay or will they go? After a long campaign the vote is imminent. Either way it will be interesting as it will be a) 18 months of ‘negotiating’ between Scotland and the UK (strange writing that) on everything from oil, currency, the Queen and national debt or b) months of ‘negotiating’ a face-saving consolation prize between Alex Salmond’s Scottish National Party (SNP) and the UK Government.

Watch out for the Parachute!

Having boldly announced that he will stand for Parliament Boris Johnson now needs a seat to stand in (slightly arrogant to announce before this, but hey it’s Boris)

Wherever he’s selected the Conservative Party will be doing its upmost to keep a united front. It’s also time for any overlooked aspiring local Conservative candidate who’s worked their butt off for years to be a bit miffed! All the money’s on Uxbridge.

Pre-Election Sweeteners

The Autumn Statement from George Osborne (AKA The Foreign Secretary-in-waiting) will be an opportunity to throw a few scraps to the voters before the Budget.

It’s likely to include future spending increases on health, education and defence. There may also be further crackdowns on welfare payments (particularly to migrants), a reiteration of the UK commitment to foreign aid and a possible increase in public sector pay (get those fingers crossed).

The not so subtle sub-plot will be "the economic recovery is fragile. Elect us and we’ll finish the job. Don’t elect the other lot as they’ll wreck it all like they did last time." But, will Ed Miliband’s Labour Party commit to Osborne’s spending plans?

Mr. Cameron on the World Stage

There will be some very meaty foreign policy issues to get stuck into over the next few months. Firstly, he needs to look like a leader that can extract reforms from his European counterparts. However, how he tackles the Ukraine problem, as Russian Separatists continue their land-grab, and the growing problem in the Middle East region will happen in parallel.

There’s not just the recent flare-up of Palestinian/Israeli hostility, but also the problem of the Islamic State. There is no question of the UK collaborating with Syria’s Assad, but we will be involved militarily sooner or later as IS continue to gain ground and the public appetite for action, unlike Syria, is there.   

Labour Policy Review

Will they see the electoral writing on the wall and promise an ‘in-out’ EU referendum or stick to the cost of living mantra. We’ll soon find out and can look forward to it being leaked well in advance.

Key Note Speeches

This autumn's party conferences will be the battle of ‘looking Prime Ministerial’. David Cameron, who is the Prime Minister, still needs to get his European position across, not just by reiterating the ‘we’ll ask you in 2017’ but setting out his red lines. At the moment it’s either too vague for voters or they just don’t believe him. Not what you want when you’re PM.

Ed Miliband needs to shake off Wallace and Gromit once and for all. The party conference will be his last chance to look like a Prime Minister-in-waiting. A stuttering performance may be unrecoverable. No pressure. 

Momentum, Momentum, Momentum

How many (if any) will join Douglas Carswell MPs brave move and join the UK Independence Party? Carswell defected from the Conservatives to UKIP forcing a by-election before the General Election in May 2015. It will be so bad if he loses. Hope there’s a Plan B. 

UKIP will be looking to build momentum as a party that will win seats at the General Election. To do this they need to avoid picking short-lived scandal hit candidates and produce a domestic manifesto that will not see them laughed out of town. If it’s anything like the European Elections this spring, the media will be after them.


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