Written by Liam Menzies
No, you didn’t misread that as dances (and the less time spent thinking about Farage re-enacting the Anaconda music video, the better). Already every political party from the Conservatives to Labour to SNP have began preparing for the upcoming general election, the world cup for British Politics albeit less Gary Lineker and more Jeremy Paxman. With the election only a few months as well as the televised debates looming over, let’s see how each party will be debating the issue of the European Issue, an issue that has, arguably, put the spark back into politics.
On the Tory front, things are looking a bit hectic on where they stand on the European Union. Just like it is with cliques in schools, there’s the bunch of Tories that believe that the best approach is to stay in Europe to deliver reforms that will improve Britain’s place in the EU. Meanwhile there are other members of the party that take the same approach to the EU as they do with those who depend on the Welfare state and call it a drain on money, recently pointing out the £1.7 billion bill Britain is expected to pay to the EU as something that would be better spent in Britain on healthcare and education than on a membership that seemingly holds no advantages, like a Netflix subscription with no movies. Regardless, the Conservatives promise to deliver an in-out referendum in 2017 if they are elected in May, noting that neither the Liberals, Labour or UKIP can be trusted to deliver such a thing. Speaking of which….
Aw UKIP. Ironically, the word political correctness is unknown to them though the list of controversial incidents is a mile long. Just as the party’s name suggests, the UK Independence Party believe that Britain should leave the EU, stating on their website that “a vote for UKIP is a vote to leave the EU and recover power over our national lives” as well as stating that they want “free trade, but not political union, with our European neighbours. We are the EU’s largest export market: they depend on us for jobs – not the other way around”. Oddly enough the party who said that Scotland couldn’t leave the UK and keep some of the benefits of the UK want to do just the same with the EU. There’s no doubt that there focus on immigration will play a big part when it comes to the upcoming election.
Oh Labour. Ever since the painfully awkward Ed Miliband took the wheel of the Labour ship, things for the party have hit shaky waters. Apart from the fact their leader isn’t able to eat a bacon sandwich without failing, the horror, the party have went into a disaster of sorts ever since the recent Scottish referendum. From one extreme to the other, Labour are very much pro-EU, commonly being named as Europhiles. Stating that there’s an overwhelming economic case for staying in the EU, the party have said that the chances of a referendum for staying in or out of the EU is unlikely which might not bode well for them as every other party will use this against them in the televised debates.
Without using any swears, the Lib Dems have become the torie’s slave, finding themselves with quite a dilemma. Before 2010, Nick Clegg was the new kid on the block, the guy who was single-handedly going to solve all the problems. Tuition Fees? Disappeared. Public Services? Kept. Until they weren’t. No one is expecting the Liberal Democrats to come out of this General Election well though their pro stance on the EU was made quite clear in the debate between Farage and Clegg. It’ll be interesting to see how the two will do in the debates alongside Cameron and Miliband.
Whether you were a yes or a no voter last September, it’s hard to deny how far the Scottish National Party has came. Not only did they manage to bring about the Yes Scotland campaign, one of the most optimistic hard-working groups in the history of politics, they also have experienced an extreme surge in their membership, becoming the third largest party in the UK. Not such a small achievement for a party that only deals with the one country, eh? Nicola Sturgeon, who was made unanimously made party leader after the resignation of Alex Salmond, has made it clear that the party believes it is in Scotland and the rest of the UK’s interest to stay in the EU. Not only that, Sturgeon has spoke out about how the referendum should be dealt with, saying that all 4 nations of the UK (Northern Ireland, Wales, England and Scotland) should have a majority yes before Britain considers leaving. It’ll be nothing short of interesting to see how the SNP cope in the election in May.
To say the greens are the underdog would be an understatement. When it comes to general elections, they don’t regularly gather a lot of seats but their presence is undeniable when it comes to social issues like gay marriage and the environment. They’re also the only party whose leader is a woman which shows the diverse nature of the party. Much like the conservatives, the greens wish for an in-out referendum so that reforms can be made to make Europe more democratic and accountable. At the moment they may not be getting any say in the televised debates but you’ll be sure to see them doing everything they can to get their point across.