It has often been said that a week is a long time in politics. If this is indeed the case, some sort of round-up of the week’s political events might very well be in order. So, without further ado, here follows the first in a new series of a Wessex Scene weekly political round-up (sounds a bit like a Stalinist purge of political opponents, but let’s gloss over that).
Labour in Brighton
The main story of the week was undoubtedly the unbridled thrill of the Labour Party conference in Brighton. Ed Miliband’s interview with Andrew Marr on Sunday was rather lacklustre, with the Labour leader giving answers so vague, they could be used in a master-class for fortune tellers. However, we didn’t have to wait long for Ed to show his hand. On Tuesday, Miliband gave his keynote speech to conference, in which he undeniably shifted Labour to the left. He announced that a future Labour government would, among other things, ensure that energy prices would not rise until 2017 and increase council powers to forcibly purchase land from developers.
The centre-right press criticized this as a return to the bad old days of the 1970s and even the I dubbed the Labour leader as “Mugabe Miliband”, due to the land seizures policy. It is yet to be seen if the energy price freeze policy will translate to a boost in Labour’s opinion poll ratings. However, when it was road tested in focus groups, the popularity was very high. At any rate, it puts the Conservatives in an awkward position. By opposing price controls, the Tories could easily portray a message that falls right into Labour’s narrative – namely, that they are on the side of big energy companies, not the ordinary voter. With the Conservatives maintaining radio silence until their conference in Manchester this coming week, we shall have to wait a while for a proper response.
Boris Johnson MP?
After the Red scourge had left Brighton, Boris Johnson reared his blonde and unkempt head. In an interview with the FT, he said:
“During the whole Syria thing, for the first time in years I wished I was in parliament.“
Throughout the interview, he consistently hinted at a return to the Commons when his term as London mayor comes to an end. Not just that, but he also hinted that he might challenge for the leadership. This will undoubtedly worry other contenders, particularly Theresa May, the current Home Secretary – Boris is undeniably the most popular politician in the Conservative party, if not the UK. So, watch out for Tory Wars: The Return of the BoJo.
Germany votes – still no government
In global political news, the CDU achieved re-election as the largest party in Germany’s parliament, the Bundestag. Thus, Angela Merkel remains as Chancellor. However, their coalition partners (the FDP) received no seats, meaning that Merkel’s centre-right party might have to enter into coalition talks with the left-leaning SPD, which is also the second largest party in the Bundestag. At the time of writing, no coalition has been agreed, despite elections occurring a week ago.
And that concludes the round-up of the week’s main political news. Next week: Conservative Party conference – hurrah!