The Polifix: 11th – 17th June

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In this week’s slightly-late Polifix, we have a bad week for the Tories, another referendumn that won’t do anything and Obama kicking off his election campaign.

Another Bad Week For Osborne

It seems like George Osborne can’t catch a break at the moment. A budget that was widely criticised; countless governmental U-turns; and an economy not growing but in a double-dip recession. And this week was no better for the out-of-luck Chancellor.

A poll for the Independent on Sunday showed that over 59% believed that he is “out of of touch with the public” with another 55% agreeing with the statement that he is “too posh to understand the financial pressures on ordinary people”.

But lets cut down this down to what it actually means. The British people basically believe Osborne is too rich and thus cannot understand the current financial pressures on ordinary citizens. They might have a point; ‘the pasty-tax’, for example, made perfect logical sense in theory, but was a extremely poor policy due to its impact on lower income groups and its announcement alongside a 5% income tax decrease for top £150,000 earners. Not exactly politics of the people, is it?

Next Stop For Osborne: “The Economy is failing cause its raining too much”

Osborne also has a estimated personal fortune of around £4 million, so its hardly a claim without any basis; it’s not like austerity is going to bother him. No doubt much of the blame must lie at the door of Tory-backbencher Nadine Dorries, who referred to the Cameron and Oborne as “arrogant posh boys”, two months ago. Ed Miliband too has taken this rhetoric and pumped up the pressure on the Conservative frontbench; though, in truth, Miliband, son of Marxist academic Ralph, is just as much part of the political elite and establishment as old Cameron and Osborne.

The Chancellor has done little to help himself though. With his economic policies failing to stimulate any resemblance of recovery within the UK, Osborne is under increasing pressure – and he is creaking – as this week he blamed the Euro Crisis for the UK’s poor economy performance. It looks increasingly desperate with the Chancellor looking keen to cast blame at anything apart from himself. Next on the list? Probably the weather.

And The Tories….

Polls are suggesting that Labour now have a 10-point lead over the Conservatives – a win that would set the party on course to win a 110-seat majority in the next general election, so not a good week for the whole party either.

In fact, Cameron was regarded just as posh as old Georgie-boy Osborne. It is, of course, unduly fair to ostracize a politician purely on their social background. Cameron can help his policies though, which at the moment resemble a “to do” list for the lovers of the Eton Mess.

My advice? Do a BoJo. London Major Boris Johnson is just as posh as the Tory government, yet, somehow – with his messy beach-blonde hair and ‘bumbling idiot’ image – he somehow escapes the class war.

Doing A Bojo: We’re not posh! We’re bumbling idiots!
Photo from daveschneider.co.uk

Oh and Dave? Don’t forget your own daughter at the pub; I mean, if you can forget as something as important as your own daughter, the country really is in worrying hands.

In fact, the story is that the Prime Minister got all the way home before he realised. Much like how he got to office then realised he had a distinct lack of good policies.

Falklands Referendum

As the 30th anniversary of the liberation of the Falkland islands get ever closer, all the aggressive posturing and hostility over the Islands had seemed to have stopped. Well, at the very least, Argentina and Britain had stopped mentioning their claim to them every other day. This time, its the words of the Falklanders themselves that matter.

The islands’ assembly are planning to hold a referendum on whether they want to remain a British territory. The plan is that it will “send a message to Argentina” over its claim over the ‘Malvinas’. Will it? Of course not. Everyone knows that the residents of the Falklands are keen to stay under a British mandate and that Argentina rejects this principle of self-determination. Instead, their claim is based on geographical proximity and history, with the basis that Spain conceded the territory in 1767 and that Britain “secretly” built a presence only 2 years before that. (though if we are going back to the 18th century as a historic blueprint and claim for land, the world would be a far different place)

Rumours are that the Argentinian Prime Minister, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, hopes to put the issue onto the forthcoming G20 summit in Mexico. Good luck with that Cristina; I mean, it’s definitely up there as a major world issue alongside Syria, Iran and the ongoing Eurozone crisis.

The Syrian Abandonment 

If it wasn’t clear before, it is now. Kofi Annan’s plan for peace in Syria is failing. With the violence peaking with Houla and Hama massacres, the the United Nations declared it would be suspending the Stabilisation Mission in Syria (UNSMIS).

The head of the UN observers, General Robert Mood, said that they would cease patrols and stay in their fixed current locations, after the violence had intensified over the last few weeks. This included some of the soldiers being target by gunfire, as well as being increasingly blocked access to certain areas.

Observing

Here’s a question for you though: what actually is a UN observer? What does their role actually entail? So far they seemed to have been unable to make any attempt to stop the violence. In fact, their only role is to observe and verify events and information, which essentially amounts to doing nothing. Once again, the UN has proved to be inept in its attempt stop a nation falling into a civil war.

Obama’s Sneaky Voter Increase

This week, Obama announced that the US will no longer deport young illegal immigrants; instead, they would go from being undocumented persons to being able to work and be educated if they met certain criteria. It was widely heralded as a big step forward in US social policy, especially for the Hispanic and Latino population.

Yet, the truth is far different. Firstly, the policy is pretty weak. It can be undone at any time, there is no route to citizenship and is 4 years too late, with the president claiming in the 2008 election race that he would fast-track through changes to the immigration policy. Moreover, Obama has presided over a deportation rate which surpassed that of his predecessor, so you can understand the reluctance from the electorate to see this as a meaningful change.

Obama has presided over a deportation rate which surpassed that of his predecessor

The other claim is that it is political posturing; an election year stunt in order to get more voters. There is some truth in this with the Latino population being largely ignored by Obama during his 4-year term. The fact that around 50% of this minority groups know an undocumented person also shows how the policy should hit home. It is likely that Mitt Romney GOP party wil have no response to the proposed legislation with much of the party’s right having strong opinions against any such move; Obama therefore hopes such a move can get the Latinos voting.

Of course, I’m sure the president is doing it for all the right reasons – to fix a flawed system, for social justice etc etc – rather than just for increase of voters. I’m sure he is.

In Other News…

A Scottish Council ban (then unbanned) a 9-year old girl’s blog – named NeverSeconds – which featured pictures of the schoolgirl’s (awful) school dinners.

Yummy!
From NeverSeconds

At EURO2012, both host nations – Poland and Ukraine – go through all three of their respective game without any racist abuse (though some Croatian fans have picked up the mantle)

And the Leveson Inquiry continued this week, with Nick Clegg, David Cameron, Alex Salmond, Harriet Harman, George Osborne, John Major and Gordon Brown all called up to speak. It was like a reunion night for British Politics.

Tune in next Sunday for your weekly political news fix…

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