The New Year is a time for all of us to have a long hard look at what we did this year – what went well, what went not so well. The same goes for the leaders of the main UK political parties. What a shame it is that they are unlikely to come out and actually tell us what their new years resolutions are, but let’s have a look at what each party leader needs to keep to in 2016. So this is directed at them, their ideas, problems and potential successes – what they are going to be thinking on New Year’s eve as the clock ticks round.
I’m going to start with the current leader of the Conservative Party, David Cameron. The MP for Witney has had a mixed year. In May, he won a majority in the House of Commons but it soon turned sour with former coalition colleagues, the Liberal Democrats, calling Cameron out over what was deemed a pitiful response to the refugee crisis and a House of Lords rebellion on cuts to working tax credits. David Cameron must surely be thinking his key resolutions must be:
- Refrain from calling any group of human beings a “swarm” – it’s bad publicity.
- Try not to stick genitals in any cooked animal – it’s bad publicity.
- Actually answer the questions asked in PMQs rather than just making jokes about the speaker and their party.
Now that’s the Conservative leader’s resolutions dealt with, let’s move on to the leader (for better or for worse) of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn. The North Islington MP has also had a mixed year. After being nominated for the leadership of the party as a dark horse, and then going on to win a stunning majority of the votes cast, Corbyn has suffered many personal attacks on his character – however true or false they may be. So Corbyn must have plenty of resolutions to take into next year…
- Keep reminding people that Labour actually is a socialist party.
- Stop backtracking on principles – people get confused what side you’re on.
- Don’t get mad when MPs rebel – now you know how previous party leaders felt when you did it to them.
Moving on, Nick Clegg’s successor as leader of the Liberal Democrats, Tim Farron, has had a decidedly better year (personally, as opposed to how the party fared) than most party leaders. Having increased his majority in Westmorland and Lonsdale, the MP then won the subsequent leadership election against friend and colleague, Norman Lamb MP. An eventful year has seen Farron defend claims he is homophobic, travel to Lesvos to help refugees and call the government out over it’s inequality regarding the rights of transgender people. Tim Farron’s resolutions are:
- Actually explain how lots of things are regarded as a sin by the Bible and that you really don’t agree with all of them.
- Continue writing on important issues like immigration and housing – it gives people a good opportunity to read your views.
- Stand up more in Parliament and speak – not easy when you only have 8 MPs.
It could be worse for the Liberal Democrats, you could have got 4 million votes but only 1 seat. Let’s introduce leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party and (ironically) Member of the European Parliament, Nigel Farage MEP. Farage has done many, many, many things this year. There have been highs (arguably, the television debates) and lows (arguably, also the television debates) resulting in a failed bid to become an MP in Thanet South. He even un-resigned as leader of the anti-EU party after the election. So here are Nigel Farage’s new year’s resolutions:
- Actually attend votes in the European Parliament, rather than just turning up to say your sound-bite and leave.
- Instead of focusing on immigration, focus on genuine issues facing communities in the United Kingdom.
- Continue to participate in public debates regarding the future of our relationship with Europe – allow people to challenge your opinion.
The Greens also failed to surpass their record one MP. Their leader, Australian, Natalie Bennett, had a tumultuous 2015 and will be hoping to have a quieter year in 2016. So here’s the Aussie’s resolutions:
- Try not to sound so Australian – with immigration the top issue among Brits according to surveys, Bennett just doesn’t sound the part.
- Don’t be so socialist.
- Be greener – it was a crying shame that a party that was the party of environmentalism found itself lacking in green policies.
Nicola Sturgeon was the real winner of May’s election. With only a million votes, the SNP gained 56 seats and all but wiped out Labour north of the border. There aren’t many things for Sturgeon to mull over for 2015 but she will certainly have some resolutions she wants to keep.
- Winning the Edingburgh West by-election. Current incumbent, Michelle Thomson MP, won her seat on an SNP ticket in May but has since become embroiled in a scandal involving financial assets and is looking likely to face a jail term – it is vital that Nicola Sturgeon manages to lead the SNP to victory against the closest contenders, the Liberal Democrats.
- Getting another referendum – with 56 seats, the SNP just will not let the matter of independence lie. Expect calls for another referendum as soon as things don’t go their way.
- Smack down Farage – yet again.
Finally, we have Leanne Wood, the leader of Plaid Cymru. The “Party Of Wales” has been in the shadow of it’s more boisterous cousins, the SNP. Leanne Wood’s aims are simple: to stand up for Wales (and socialist values).
- Try not to get forgotten.
- Win some more seats in the Welsh Assembly.
- Shout “Wales” at the top of your voice in Trafalgar Square – just so those no good MPs remember about you.
So that’s all folks! You never know what the year ahead may hold, not even for these guys!