British politics has seen a rather dramatic turn of events over 2015. From the run up to the general election to the revelations of piggate 2015 has provided many an opportunity for the public to engage in politics and with Labour under new leadership I have no doubt that the dramatics will continue well into the New Year.
As there were many momentous events during 2015 I have selected a few serious (and funny) stories to remind ourselves of the interesting year 2015 led…
January was well known for a number of reasons- most notably the 3.8 magnitude earthquake which hit the East Midlands, however the main political story was of course in relation to the upcoming general election. The BBC and ITV confirmed that for the first time they would televise a 7 way debate including the Tories, Labour, Lib Dems, UKIP, Greens, SNP, and Plaid Cymru- which would later provide us with plenty of ammunition to throw at Farage as he was decimated by Sturgeon.
February was quite quiet on the typical political mudslinging which we are accustomed too, yet some interesting controversial laws were passed within parliament. For example MP’s approved a new IVF technique meaning that the UK would be the first country to allow babies to be created from 3 people, meaning an embryo can be created from a sperm, egg, and donated mitochondria from another individual. Whether you personally agree with this technique or not- it is sure to help many couples have the family they always wanted.
We started March with the bombshell that Jeremy Clarkson had been suspended from Top Gear due to a ‘fracas’.
Equally within politics March also provided many bombshells especially within the Tory party. Cameron was accused of ‘cowering’ from the public after he declared that he would only participate in one televised debate coming up to the general election. If that wasn’t enough- he also dropped another shocker by saying he would not serve a 3rd term as PM- meaning that there is sure to be more political mudslinging as Tories battle it out for the coveted position (I hope it takes place in a gladiator style).
April saw the only televised debate before the general election being broadcasted on ITV. This was the first time all 7 parties had come together in a national debate, and as expected some parties fared better than other. Polls suggested Sturgeon stormed the debate, whilst Miliband and Cameron had a mediocre performance- and I won’t mention Clegg much because well he probably would have fared better not turning up to the debate- oops.
Not only did April bring us the great debate, it also provided us with the weird trend of ‘#Milifandum’. Twitter exploded with this new obsession highlighting the fact that literally anyone with a bit of Photoshopping can be classed as sexy?
From the excitement of Milifandom, reality soon kicked in with the general election just around the corner. The general election proved to be an eventful affair with the resignation of 3 of the party leaders, the Lib Dems all but being obliterated by losing an enormous 49 seats, and the SNP triumphing with winning an impressive 56/59 seats in Scotland.
Events in Tunisia took a devastating turn in June when a terrorist attack in Sousse killed 38 tourists, 30 of which were British Nationals. A national minute of silence was held on the 3rd of July to remember those who were killed in the attack, and in wake of the attacks the Foreign Office advised against all but essential travel to the country.
Following the national minute of silence for the victims in Tunisia, another was held to remember those were tragically killed on the tenth anniversary of 7/7.
The Home Office raised the terror threat to being ‘highly likely’ in wake of recent events, and police began to urge the public to remain vigilant and to report anything suspicious. Other political news included the election of Tim Farron as the new Lib Dem leader after the resignation of Clegg in May – following a debate of the candidates in Garden Court.
August was again quite quiet in British politics, however it did see the second transport workers’ strike cause chaos in London, as the entire underground was shut down due to protests of a 24 hour tube and pay disputes. In addition August also saw the 70th anniversary of VJ day which ended WW2 in the Far East and former Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath be investigated for allegations of historic child abuse.
September proved to be a more energetic month in politics as months of fighting between potential Labour leaders come to an end with the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader by a large majority.
It still remains to be seen whether Labour will end their political infighting and support Corbyn, or the party will split due to ideological differences. Nevertheless the election of Corbyn has seen a surge of members into the party too support him- surely this is a good thing?
Labour weren’t the only party to see a surge in membership this year. In October the SNP celebrated at their annual conference not only their huge increase in seats, but a surge in membership which stood at 114,221- 14,000 more than in May!
Following the embarrassment of #Piggate October also saw an embarrassing defeat for the Tories as their proposed plans to cut tax credits were rejected by the House of Lords, as the plans were not included in their manifesto- hinting that this was a deliberate measure to avoid losing votes too other parties.
November proved to be a turbulent month as storm Abigail left 20,000 homes without power and with the announcements from the Autumn budget. The budget saw a massive U turn from the Tories on the plans to cut tax credits, however the budget still managed to hit students by freezing the threshold earnings at £21,000 meaning that we are all set to pay back at least £3,000 extra! Of course this sparked outrage among many students (and Martin Lewis) especially since it affects students who have already taken out their loans!
December saw the first UK air strike to hit Syria after parliament authorized intervention in the civil war. Whether you agree with the decision or not- it looks like this intervention will continue into the new year as Syria’s war looks far from over.
On a lighter note- an online petition reached over 100,000 signatures to ban Donald Trump from entering the country meaning MPs now have to instigate a debate around the issue!
Overall 2015 has been an eventful year and many stories highlighted here will continue to develop throughout 2016. I have no doubt that Labour’s infighting, Syria’s war, student loans, and Donald Trump will continue to make the headlines.