As the New Year firework smoke settled, for the majority of the population it signified the beginning of the end of a night of embarrassing alcohol fuelled antics coupled with ridiculous sentiments about this year being “your year” , with a #NewYearNewMe tweet to match. But for the politicians of Britain, the start of 2015 marks the beginning of the build-up to the General Election.
2014 was undoubtedly a dynamic year for politics. Predictably, the economy continues to remain at the forefront of political discussion but was joined by other issues such as the rise in popularity of UKIP, and the questions of national identity and devolution being brought to fore by the Scottish independence referendum. All of these have made British politics an interesting arena in the period leading up to the next election.
As 2014 has disappeared into the past, so did too, the penultimate year for the Cameron premiership. It is at this point that the government is forced by the age-old cross-party agreement into a period of purdah, whereby legislative action is wound down to allow an easier transition beyond the 7th of May. From this point on the parties stop doing and begin telling, as the campaigning season picks up pace.
It seems counter intuitive in a democratic nation such as our own that the population has few real opportunities to express their will. The greatest opportunity for the population to do this is in a general election. The ability to alter the country’s future lies solely at the hands of the electorate.
All of the key issues of the last five years: the European Union, English devolution, reform of the electoral system, student loans, austerity, new runways, the NHS, repeated failure of the inquiry into historic sex abuse and the mansion tax will all be addressed by the decision of the people on the 7th of May.
2014 may have been a dynamic year of ideas in British politics but 2015 is likely to become a pivotal and necessary year of action following the outcome of the 2015 general election.
Feature image by Sammie Burstow.