The Great Debate UK

Leaders’ debates highlight need for Scottish independence

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- Paul Henderson Scott has written numerous books on Scottish history, literature and affairs, including ‘A 20th Century Life’ and its sequel, ‘The New Scotland’. He has been Rector of Dundee University, President of the Saltire Society and of Scottish PEN and a Vice-President of the Scottish National Party. The opinions expressed are his own -

The television coverage of the forthcoming election has hardly mentioned Scottish issues and Alex Salmond, the leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP), which forms the Scottish government, has not been included in the televised leaders’ debates.

In fact, you might suppose that this election does not concern Scotland at all, but of course it does. Many important issues are reserved to the British parliament, in which Scottish members are outnumbered 10 to one. These issues include taxation, foreign affairs, defence and even broadcasting. This, as well as the format of the leaders’ debates, is so obviously undemocratic.

So is the ability of the Scottish members at Westminster to vote on issues such as education and the health service in England, even though English members have no say in such matters in Scotland. To add to the confusion, the first of these televised debates was on domestic affairs. Brown, Cameron and Clegg were asked about education and the health service — issues where Westminster policy does not apply to Scotland.

from UK News:

Will a hung parliament create a serious hangover for British business?

parliamentElection day is fast approaching and with the poll gap narrowing between the Conservatives and Labour, there is a very real probability that the UK will end up with a hung parliament. For the first time since 1974, the UK may be left without clear political leadership.

- What will this really mean for British business?
- How will the markets and sterling react?
- Will a hung parliament scare off international investors?
- Could the economy survive a second general election within a year?

Winner Clegg dodges fray of battle in debate

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Tim Clark- Timothy Clark and David Greatbatch are professors at Durham Business School. The opinions expressed are their own. -

The debate is finished and the polls are in.  They consistently show that Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg was rated the best performer on the night.  Some instant polls put him over twenty percent ahead of Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Conservative leader David Cameron.

From rotten parliament to reform parliament?

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tspic- Tony Samphier is a campaigns consultant and organiser of the election policy comparison web initiative DEMREF 2010. The opinions expressed are his won.-

The start of the general election campaign has, thankfully, seen the party leaders fighting over the political reform territory, particularly Gordon Brown and David Cameron, with the Liberal Democrats, traditionally full of reform ideas, slightly overshadowed.

from UK News:

Will a Hung Parliament create a serious hangover for British business?

ParliamentElection day is fast approaching and with the poll gap narrowing between the Conservatives and Labour, there is a very real probability that the UK will end up with a hung parliament. For the first time since 1974, the UK may be left without clear political leadership.

- What will this really mean for British business?
- How will the markets and sterling react?
- Will a hung parliament scare off international investors?
- Could the economy survive a second general election within a year?

from UK News:

Taking Twitter’s political temperature

Britain's first live television debates between the leaders of the three mainstream political parties are not the only new feature to add spice to the upcoming general election, which Prime Minister Gordon Brown today announced will be held on May 6.

The 2010 vote is also the first time politicians and their strategy teams have had to factor in the micro-blogging site Twitter.com. The social media tool, which did not exist at the time of the last election in 2005, now has over 75 million users who between them sent four billion tweets in the first quarter of 2010.

Tories panic with tax cut pledge

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NeilCollinsNeil Collins is a Reuters columnist. The views expressed are his own

National Insurance contributions make an unlikely battleground for the British election. They lack the sexiness of income tax cuts. But NI is a bad tax and the Tories are right to pledge to overturn Labour’s plan to raise it.

Unfortunately, their timing smacks of desperation as their poll lead melts away. More to the point, it flies in the face of their commitment to cut Britain’s vast budget deficit.

Electoral future shrouded in mystery

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justin_fisher-Justin Fisher is Professor of Political Science and Director of the Magna Carta Institute at Brunel University. The opinions expressed are his own.-

Barring a huge surprise, it seems most likely that the general election will be held on 6th May 2010 — the same day as the local elections.

from Breakingviews:

Brown’s financial tax call falls flat

OUKTP-UK-G20Brown's bid to depict himself as the saviour of the world economy and champion of Joe Taxpayer against Big Finance fell flat at the weekend.

So keen is the British prime minister to airbrush out his decade as a "light touch" finance minister that he embraced the heretical idea of a levy on financial transactions as one way to make banks pay for future bail-outs -- the so-called Tobin tax.

It is up to us, not politicians, to clean up politics

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guy123- Guy Aitchison is a contributing editor at openDemocracy and writes regularly for its UK blog, OurKingdom -

The Labour politician and intellectual Richard Crossman once described the British constitution, with a sovereign Parliament at its centre, as a “rock” against periodic “waves of popular emotion”.

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