Life: Left of Centre

Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

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So, a new year, a new start – for all of us. A chance to look back at 2012, with all its great moments and those we’d prefer to forget. Like any other year really. But it’s also an opportunity to look forward. Whether it be New Year resolutions or just learning from our mistakes, we all look to the New Year with a sense of optimism.

It’s with that optimism, and a firm sense of fun, that I present to you 5 predictions from across the worlds of politics, the arts, travel and sport – the original topics of this blog. Enjoy!

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With just over a week to go until the 4th presidential election of the 21st century, President Barack Obama is entering the closing stages of his final election campaign. In a political career that stretches back 20 years, this is perhaps his defining moment. As the Americans put it – will he be a “one-hit-wonder”, or a “two-term legend”. So with election day looming on Tuesday 6th November, what are his prospects? Will Romney’s comeback knock him off course? What do the electoral maths look like?

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On Friday, 7th September, came the news that unemployment (or the ‘jobless rate’, as Americans call it) had fallen to 8.1%. Much of this was due to people giving up on work altogether, however. For every 1 job created, 4 Americans fell out of the labour market altogether. In fact, officially, the ‘Labour Force Participation Rate’ – the indicator of how many Americans are engaged in work or searching for work – fell to 63.5%, it’s lowest rate since September 1981. This date is notable as being almost one year on from President Jimmy Carter’s (the 39th incumbent of the Office) defeat after a struggling economy hit home, alongside numerous foreign policy mishaps and misadventures.

Could the same thing happen to the 44th and current President, Barack Obama on November 6th; welcoming to the stage the 45th President, Mitt Romney??…

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Today David Cameron made a speech in Manchester on the Eurozone crisis. He argued that it’s time to “make up, or break up”. Like something out of a cheap soap opera, the UK Prime Minister is speculating and his party is briefing furiously that there’s simply no getting away from the course we’re on. Austerity is the way forwards, and Greece in particular has to get on with it; as is, no questions asked – as that famous Fleetwood Mac song goes.

And isn’t this whole debate taking on a rather dated, 1980s feel to it. There’s no alternative for Greece, even though its exit from the Eurozone would spread a contagion that could quite easily break the Euro and seriously damage Britain’s already tepid, stalled recovery. So what’s the plan Dave? Where do we go next? Any clue? What of Francois Hollande’s ‘Changement’? And what are the odds on an 11th government falling in the Eurozone since 2008?

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Thursday May 3rd. A big day for Londoners. The chance to bloody the nose of this dreadful government, bent on ideological austerity at the expense of growth and jobs, and the chance to get rid of our useless London Mayor: Boris Johnson. Now it’s been a tough campaign, and not everyone is thrilled by the alternative on the Left: Ken Livingstone. I hear you, but it’s time to do the right thing and use your 1st and 2nd preference votes to give London a brighter future. A fairer, more equal capital where anyone and everyone can get on in life. That’s why I’m voting Ken for London.

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So what can the Left read into last weekend’s 1st round French Presidential poll results? Well quite a bit actually. Francois Hollande, the Socialist candidate, won with 28.6% of the vote, out-doing even the positive exit polls that flashed across our screens early Sunday evening. Current President Nicolas Sarkozy came a close second, with 27.2%, but second at this stage of the contest is nowhere. The biggest surprise was perhaps the performance of Marine Le Pen, leader of the Front National, with 17.9% of the vote. But was it really a shock? Has French politics shifted to the right? How will the run-off between Hollande and Sarkozy play-out on 6th May? Read on for more!

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This is important. It’s important not just because two people of the same sex who love each other should be able to have that love recognised in law; nor because this same battle (and make no mistakes in many countries this is just that) is taking place in countries across the Western world, and we are increasingly an example – a test case – to them; but because in Britain today gay (or LGBT: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) people should have the same rights and recognition as their heterosexual counterparts. Full stop.

In the tolerant and accepting society we live in today, that is increasingly progressive on important social issues like women’s rights, health and social care and the rights of the young, the British government should take action to equalise the right to marry. As an out and proud gay man I know I deserve that same right as the next person – that discrimination, either blatant or wrapped up in the form of some other culture or belief system, religion or creed, should no longer be a barrier or even a stumbling block to positive social change on this, and other issues.

That’s why I’m adding my voice to this debate, as you should too. It’s time for gay marriage. We’ve waited long enough.

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