Blog

Chairman’s Welcome Message


18788_858240694272757_3382709200082327906_n

 

Welcome to Warwick University!

It was fantastic to see so many people at the Freshers Fair last Thursday and at our Welcome Drinks last night, and particularly the range of people and degrees that were represented.

This year promises to be one of the biggest and most ambitious we’ve had for our society with more members than at any point in our history, our tour to The Hague coming next Easter and a great line-up of socials and speakers events for the coming academic year.

Outside of the society, the 2015 General Election delivered one of the most spectacular results for the Conservative Party since 1992. For the first time in 20 years, we have a Conservative Majority Government, an achievement that owes itself to the consistent and passionate activists who knocked on the doors of Leamington Spa, North Warwickshire, Nuneaton and Solihull up to the election itself.

It would, nevertheless, be a mistake to be complacent in the next five years. In 1992 John Major won a majority of 336, but by the time of the 1997 General election, the Conservatives were technically a minority Government. In 2015, our majority is even less than that of Major’s in 1992 with only 330 MPs.

There is also the issue of Europe and how both the in and out campaigns will work and whether or not the party can ensure that the divisional splits that plagued the 1990s Conservative government remain minimal in the promised European Referendum.

Additionally, it would be dishonest to say that the Conservatives had adequately achieved the ambitious economic goals set out in 2010. Despite reducing the deficit, government spending remains at an all-time high.

It is exactly for these reasons, that it is an exciting time to be a Conservative! We will be debating exactly these issues and more at all of our events this year, and we welcome anyone coming to these events who wishes to find out more about Conservatism and the Conservative Party.

More than that, with the expansion of our society, there are now more opportunities for our members than ever before to meet like-minded individuals, hear from alumni about their experiences after Warwick, and get to meet a fantastic array or speakers from all across the broad-tent of Conservatism.

When it comes down to it, we have all come to university to get a degree. But the friendships and connections that we make at university will last us a lifetime. I urge each and every person, whether new members, old members, or even those who have not joined Warwick Conservatives, to make the most of their time here and, above all, to challenge themselves and make and form their own opinions about politics in the UK and the issues that affect our society today.

If you want to take up that challenge, then I look forward to seeing you across the year at our events, chatting online, or simply seeing you in passing!

James Anderson signature

 

 

 

James Anderson – Chairman 2015-16

Don’t forget to join the Society here and like our Facebook page here.

 

 

Campus Censorship at Warwick

– Charlie Barclay

 

Censorship

 

Once again, the Students’ Union has shown itself to be a bastion of censorship. The attempt to ban Maryam Namazie from speaking at Warwick is a blatant attack on the freedom to speak and it is time the majority student population speak out and attest to our disapproval of underhand and damaging SU politics.

Ms Namazie does not represent the views of the University. That is understood. Indeed, she does not officially represent the Warwick Atheists, Secularists and Humanists Society. She represents herself and she has a right to do so. We must not simply remove ideas from the University just because they do not coincide neatly with our opinions. Remember the Voltaire’s fundamental motto: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”.

It is hard to believe that this kind of censorship is being actively undertaken just eight months after the spirit of the ‘Charlie Hebdo’ incident. We rallied in the streets in solidarity with the publication that represented the triumph of the pen over the sword and we vowed to protect freedom of expression to our last breath. Now we candidly remove the platforms for speech and debate. We have proven to be fickle.

Warwick University is ranked as one of the worst institutions for free speech in the UK. According to the Free Speech University Rankings, we class as red in the traffic light ranking system which means that we actively create a “hostile environment for free speech”. Publications have been banned, speakers are not tolerated and ideas are censored. We should actively oppose this. Enough is enough.

Charlie is the Events Secretary for the University of Warwick Conservative Association

ISIS: the Nazis of our Generation

– Denis Selvidal Magee

 

15574220219_e2d4d26308_b

It all started about a month ago whilst watching the BBC’s Who do you Think you Are?  The episode in question concerned the ancestry of Jane Seymour (you know, the Bond girl from Live and Let Die and the cougar who makes Owen Wilson feel her tits in Wedding Crashers). Seymour’s ancestry led her to Warsaw, where her Jewish ancestors were murdered at various points during the war. It was during this time in Warsaw that my dad made the observation that ‘ISIS is our equivalent of the Nazis’. At the time, I didn’t give it much thought, but it has slowly but surely dawned on me that my dad may well have been bang on the mark.

Certainly, ISIS (IS, ISIL, DAESH, so called IS as the BBC likes to call them, however you choose to call them) has all the hallmarks of a regime similar to the Third Reich. Their treatment of Shias, Christians, and in particular Yazidis seems remarkably similar to the Nazi treatment of Jews and Slavs. 5000 Yazidis men were massacred in one event alone, and captured Yazidis are held in 5 ‘detention centres’ in ISIS held territory. Sound familiar? Let us not forget, the majority of Nazi atrocities didn’t emerge until they were discovered by advancing Allied forces, we may not even know the true extent of the carnage until it is too late. The current wave of refugees which has overwhelmed Europe echoes World War 2. Refugees were fleeing Syria and Iraq in far fewer numbers until ISIS emerged as a potent force in the region. This scale of human movement hasn’t been seen since the war, with people fleeing Nazi advances and then moving back in 1945, so both organisations have caused massive social movements. The growing evidence that ISIS is manufacturing and using Mustard gas on Syrian civilians only serves as more evidence of the link between themselves and the Nazis. It highlights the evil of ISIS, and although the Germans didn’t use chemical weapons on the battlefield, they certainly had no qualms about using them in the concentration camps. Given all these disturbing similarities between the Nazis and ISIS, what at first seems to be nothing more than a bold statement in fact rings worryingly true.

As to what we can do about this however, I’m afraid to say that the heroic feats of 1939-1945 in all likelihood will not be repeated this time around. Gone are the days when we could simply send a gunboat up the Euphrates playing Rule Britannia. Not only is public support for military intervention low due to Labours abysmal failures in Iraq and Afghanistan, but a military is simply underfunded and in reality far too small. Yes, Britain has always relied on a small army it is true, but never to the scale which we see today. In 1939 the British army had 1.1 million men; nowadays our entire armed forces barely number 80,000 troops. ISIS has 30,000 foreign fighters alone. ‘The few’ brave RAF servicemen and women mentioned by Churchill in his famous speech still had 155 squadrons at their disposal; the RAF currently only has 8 squadrons, and the two currently operating in the Middle East were due to be scrapped until the current crisis emerged. Don’t get me wrong, our armed forces are some of the bravest and best trained in the world, as well as being some of the best equipped, but the simple fact is that there aren’t enough of them. Even if all 82,000 troops were in land combat roles, this number is barely enough to hold down a small region of Syria, let alone the entire Levant. The simple fact is this, in 1939 we stood almost alone in the fight against tyranny and oppression, but now we cannot even consider military action unless as a minor partner in a coalition. One of the greatest evils facing our present day and unless someone else intervenes first, all we can do is sit back and watch the horror unfold. Suez may have been the moment we realised we could no longer stand alone in the world, but ISIS may well be the moment that the UK and the world realise just how little power we have left.

Denis is a second year History and Politics student at the University of Warwick

Is a step left for Labour a step left for the Tories too?

– Sophia Bryant

 

cc

The Labour leadership contest has witnessed a tense few months since the General Election, in the consequences it has both for Labour, and also for the Conservatives. For many, the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party is a breath of fresh air in British politics. It means an end to the apathetic “they’re all the same, there’s no difference between them” attitude and the start of a more ideologically motivated and adversarial House of Commons; conceivably better at holding David Cameron to account. For others, Corbyn means weaker accountability for the Conservatives, a ridiculous choice sure to embarrass the Labour Party in parliament, and result in constant disunity. Indeed, for political commentators everywhere there are now almost too many possible strands to follow after the result on Saturday morning. However, somewhat unexpectedly, it seems possible a jump to the left for Labour could mean a gap in the centre left for the Conservatives to capitalise on too. We must ask ourselves why this is happening, who it is happening to, and most importantly, whether it is the right course of action for the Conservative Party.

It is the argument Fraser Nelson put forward in the Telegraph in the wake of the results and it seems a plausible forecast. We’ve heard in recent polls that a large number of people didn’t vote for Ed Miliband because he was ‘too ideological’, not representing their views. Consequently as Nelson points out, if this is the case, then Corbyn ‘may well prove to be the most effective recruiting sergeant in the Tory party’s history’ as an even greater portion of Labour members are alienated by their leader. There is therefore now a gap in the voter market for those on the moderate left, and it’s possible both Cameron and Osborne intend to fill it. We’ve seen Cameron implement tough austerity cuts, reduce taxes, yet coexisting with the creation and raising significantly of the London Living Wage, and the recent coercion of big businesses to pay the lowest earning employees higher wages. Cameron, and the right wing media, has lately appeared keen to promote the Conservatives as the ‘true workers party’, something which is arguably accurate and should be praised, but from here he should be careful not to blur his own party’s identity.

So who exactly might these new, though somewhat reluctant Conservatives be? They’re the moderate left: supporters of New Labour. Voters with a heart for social justice, but don’t want to see sky high taxes and shameless spending and borrowing. Those who want to improve the lives of the vulnerable, but the prospect of the proposed ‘People’s Quantitative Easing’ seems shaky to say the least. Those who lean to the left, but find Corbyn’s admiration of Russia and Hamas just a tad uncomfortable. There is a strong case for the Conservatives to adopt centre left policy to attract, well, anybody in Labour who isn’t a fan of ‘Corbyn-mania’.

If this is true, we must ask ourselves whether this is the right thing for the Conservatives to do and how far it should be allowed to go. After all, steps towards the left for the Conservatives can never be erased. Is it not conceivable that there may be a point in the future where it will not look well on the Party to have a track record of pandering to left leaning voters temporarily abandoned by the moderate Labour Party? The point here for Cameron is not ‘don’t be compassionate’ and scrap policies which benefit the vulnerable. Of course not. These are essential for a progressive and compassionate society, but they’re not specifically Labour policy and they shouldn’t be the subject of debate here (it is worth stating that not all policy in benefit of the weak in society is reserved for Labour). No, the subject of debate should now be the possible future scope for the Conservatives to stretch into the centre left wing of British politics. A mistake, in my opinion. The results of the Labour leadership contest symbolise (by no means permanently) a return to the roots of the Party, going back on Blair’s abolition of Clause IV and an embrace of the values which moulded the Party in the very beginning. This does not mean the Conservatives should feel inclined to step away from their own values in a bid to win more votes and capitalise on a temporary gap in the voter market. Politics should be about more than a short term disingenuous bid to retain power.

Sophia is a member of UWCA and a second year studying Politics.

Dominus Reginam Conseruet

– Ross Copeland

 

Queen_Elizabeth_II_and_the_Prime_Ministers_of_the_Commonwealth_Nations,_at_Windsor_Castle_(1960_Commonwealth_Prime_Minister's_Conference)

 

Even though I am writing this short piece for a Conservative website and I support the Conservative Party, I do not write as a Conservative. I write as a proud, thankful and loyal subject of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for making the country to which I belong a happy and united one.

The British Monarchy is, at its heart, a story of progress and democracy going back almost a thousand years, from William the Conqueror to Queen Elizabeth II. It is the story of Britain, one which has seen its fair share of revolutionary fervour, but has since then matured into a steadily evolving constitutional monarchy which not only provides the bedrock of the British constitution, but of the British psyche.

It was only this week that Her Majesty’s Reign surpassed that of her great-great grandmother, Queen Victoria, thus making her our longest reigning monarch in our long history. The day served to remind me that our country would not be as mature, democratic, successful and united as she is today without this glorious institution. Much of this is owed not just to the Monarchy, but to the interplay between the Monarchy and its subjects; Kings who encouraged intolerance and believed in the absolute rule of monarchs were swept aside by aristocracies and politicians who rightly believed that the Sovereign should live within the laws of the land, and not above them. When Charles I attempted to extort unreasonable taxes out of traders by invoking archaic wartime laws without the consent of the House of Commons – and indeed when he attempted to arrest MPs who opposed him – the forces of democracy and justice quickly got to work, and after a bitter Civil War he was defeated and executed. The unpleasant military Puritan Republic of the Lord Protectors came to an end eleven years later when people were crying out for a better version of the old system, and Charles II had learnt an important lesson from his father’s mistakes: whilst Britons desired a monarchy, they rejected absolute monarchy. Kings were no longer above the law, they were confined by it. Indeed, Charles II’s successor, James II, forgot those valuable lessons and was swiftly replaced.

This small episode in the story of these Isles is an important one for it left a lasting impression on the British psyche, one which lives on to this day. That is, after the statist military rule of Oliver Cromwell, where gambling houses were closed and public morality harshly enforced, the British public had been vaccinated against revolutionary fervour; we were – and still are- a nation which is strongly suspicious of radical change and instead favours a form of incremental and cautious, yet progressive evolution. When, only six years into his reign, King Charles II was faced with the Great Fire, he opted to have London rebuilt using the same plots of land and pathways that existed before. He could have created a new, modern continental-style city, but decided that it would be more in-keeping with British culture to better continue things as they were before than start from afresh. This desire to better continue things as they had been before and sense of maturity and suspicion towards radical politics continues to define how Britain governs itself up to the present day. It explains why institutions and stability lasted in Britain even though it didn’t elsewhere.

The compatibility between continuity and progressive evolution has been a remarkable feature of the second Elizabethan era. Since 1952 a lot has changed; much of the Empire has been lost, our economy has been transformed from one based on manufacturing to tertiary services. Culturally, Britain has become a multi-ethnic melting pot; Victorian morality that very much defined Britain when Princess Elizabeth became Queen Elizabeth has given way to new levels of individualism. Rations have been replaced with consumerism and there are more mediums of information than ever before, making Her Majesty one of the most open and accessible Monarchs to have existed.

Amongst all this turbulence one would be forgiven for assuming that Britons would have fallen out of touch with their heritage; that important lessons from the past have been forgotten. However, one would be wrong to assume that. And why? Because at the heart of our organic constitutional arrangements Queen Elizabeth II has been the one fixed element of Britishness since the beginning of her reign sixty-three years ago. In many ways she is the ideal constitutional monarch; her impartiality and her desire – no, her determination – to be a representative figure to all Britons regardless of their political colour demonstrates a soundness of virtue which some earlier monarchs lacked. It is the ultimate sign of maturity, which our Head of State would not have if not for the long story of the Kings and Queens before her. Elizabeth I, coming after ‘Bloody Mary’, made her Kingdom a more religiously tolerant place and thus served to unite her subjects and make life better for her countrymen. For that she earned their respect and loyalty. Queen Elizabeth II, like Elizabeth I, deserves the loyalty and respect from all of her subjects for because of her, a politically, religiously and ethnically divided group of countries have been able to remain together as one United Kingdom. This United Kingdom. Such unity has never been achieved, and could never be achieved, in a republic. A Head of State should be a representative figure for the whole country, not just those who were victorious at the ballot box. This sense of unity was most beautifully demonstrated when neighbourhoods up and down the country pulled together and had street parties to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee in 2012. Such celebrations and non-political admiration for a Head of State would be unthinkable in a republic like Germany or France. Her Majesty not only represents all of those who live in her Kingdom, she represents the story of her Kingdom.

Ergo, the reason that Britain has remained exceptional is because she is far more than just politicians and their ideas; she is a product of her own history, and it is the sheer weight of that history which makes our Monarchy the glorious and uniting force that it is. Without it, Britain would lose its backbone; she would be lost and without direction; a sad scattering of people with a ghastly president in place of a once remarkable, happy, enviable and united nation.

Ross Copeland is the Secretary of the University of Warwick Conservative Association

The SNP: Parliament’s New School Children

– Lewis Hutchinson

 

15822014837_2ba3f76a26_o

I wasn’t alone in celebrating the trashing of Labour north of the border, and in honesty I gave little thought to what Scotland’s new bastion of ‘progressive’ politics in Westminster would actually be like. The SNP won a remarkable 56 seats – 50 more than former party of government, the Liberal Democrats. That’s no small feat. So, stepping into the Lib Dem’s shoes as third largest party in the Commons and with expectations high, what would the SNP bring to the table? Strong and principled opposition? Outstanding servitude for the people of Scotland? Unfortunately not. The SNP are an unruly band of school-children with a bizarre, and worrying, disdain for anything English.

Our Parliament is a pretty quirky and unique place, known as the ‘mother of all Parliaments’ – it’s therefore the mother of all tradition, too. It has bizarre formalities, like Black Rod having the door slammed in his face, and shouts of ‘hear-hear’ rather than applause following speeches. These procedures all have their meaning and roots in Parliament’s history. Slamming the door in Black Rod’s face may seem just a little rude, for instance, until you realise it represents the authority of the Commons, of our elected representatives, over the monarchy. Likewise, clapping is considered to interrupt the flow of debate, with members preferring approving remarks of ‘hear-hear’ instead. Except nobody told the SNP this when they rolled up in Westminster. What followed has been the most immature display of purposeful ignorance from a group of people calling themselves adults, and MPs at that, possibly in Parliamentary history.

The SNP’s efforts in the chamber so far have been focused upon taking selfies, like Neil Gray’s effort below; stealing seats from veteran MPs, like that of elderly Dennis Skinner; winding up the Labour Party by sitting on the front bench in order to acclaim that they’re ‘the real opposition’, and clapping like a school assembly after every contribution one of the ‘#56’ makes. It’s all a bit pathetic really and I was all ready to claim nationalism had lost its teeth and that our great union has nothing to fear from this band of Scots – other than the irritation of clapping in the chamber. I was all ready to celebrate. That was before debates on the English Votes for English Laws bill and the shambles of the proposed amendments to the Hunting Act, which proved there’s a dangerous edge to all this behaviour.

Tony Blair, in his infinite wisdom, set the UK upon a path towards a greater devolution of powers from Westminster to individual countries. Except he didn’t. Tony Blair set Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland upon paths towards a devolution of power. He forgot about most of us, the 50 or so million people who live in England have felt no benefit from this discourse of devolution whatsoever. Conservative plans for a system which rebalances this, in which English MPs will be given the casting vote on issues exclusive to their own nation, have been met with stern opposition from the SNP, however. They somehow claim that this creates of them a ‘second class’ of MP and that it will be used by the English to inflict major budget cuts upon them without their being able to vote upon it. Whilst ridiculous, these arguments have a cold truth to them. They mean that the third largest party in the UK is committed to denying democracy and fair governance to 50 million people. They speak of a second class of MP and ignore that the current system creates a second class of country, unable to enjoy the benefits of devolved power. They claim it will force austerity upon Scotland and ignore that they currently have the powers to prevent cuts to their public sector and are yet to reverse a single measure. That such a simple, logical change was met with such opposition is evidence of one simple reality to the SNP: they aren’t pro-Scotland, they’re anti-England, and this was shown with perfect transparency during the Hunting Act amendments fiasco.

I’ve never hunted, I don’t plan to and I don’t have any great opinion on it either. As I understand it, foxhunting in Scotland is slightly more relaxed than in England and the amendments proposed were to relax the current English law into-line with the current Scottish law – and as a free vote this was no government agenda to have poshos hunting freely again as The Guardian would have you believe. Unfortunately, the SNP were committed to undermining this debate entirely – threatening to vote against the amendments in order to ensure they were defeated. As an England-only issue it was expected that the SNP would observe their etiquette of abstaining and allowing English MPs to decide. Instead the bill has been forcibly delayed until a time that the English Votes for English Laws bill is passed and English MPs get a fair say in matters exclusive to them. The excuse for this unwelcome intervention? ‘Our constituents are concerned about this issue.’ Should the SNP be so concerned about the foxhunting ban in England being relaxed into-line with the ban in Scotland, perhaps it would be appropriate for them to use their majority in the Scottish Parliament to urgently tighten their law? Not only this. We all remember Scottish people living in the rest of the UK being denied a vote in the Independence Referendum, despite their being ‘concerned’ about the issue. What this fiasco made clearer than ever was the willingness of the SNP to jump aboard an anti-English, anti-Tory bandwagon over issues not concerning them. Their involvement in this was farcical and wholly unwarranted.

Their rudeness could be forgiven. They’re new and inexperienced MPs who perhaps don’t understand the intricacies of Westminster just yet. What they have picked-up on remarkably fast, though, is the hypocrisy and cynicism which plagues modern politics. Their preserve of a ‘one rule for us another for them’ agenda has revealed them for the anti-English, anti-democracy party that they are. A good class of Labour MPs were lost in May, replaced by this lot, and boy does Scotland deserve better.

Lewis Hutchinson is in his second year at Warwick and is an active member of UWCA.

‘Why am I conservative? Because freedom is the greatest word in the English language.’

Osborne’s Unintended Consequences

– Chris Shaw

 

3984484336_3752029a92_o

With the Chancellor’s announcement that he intends to raise the minimum wage to £7.20 soon and by 2020 raise it to £9.00, creating what he terms a “national living wage”, which will be fully enforced irrelevant of business size, employee numbers or company turnover, it seems that the Chancellor has moved completely away from any economic rationality and straight into the world vote-buying and political pandering. Of course the kind of political nonsense that is the living wage could be funny if it wasn’t so serious. Low-skill employees, particularly those who have just finished apprenticeships and those who have been in long-term unemployment, as well as young workers will be at huge risk of job losses, with the Office for Budget Responsibility predicting job loss numbers of 60,000 as a result of this politically motivated wage hike. Further it will slow job creation, as small businesses won’t hire as much and larger businesses will consolidate their employment until such time as it becomes profitable to hire again.

We can already see the adverse effects of large minimum wage hikes when we look at employment among 16-17 year olds and 18-21 year olds. The unemployment rate for this group has gone up or floored consistently since late 2000. As ONS data shows, unemployment in this demographic usually jumps when the wage rates in these areas are raised. The Low Pay Commission have noted this effect, and have constantly warned against unfunded wage hikes as they are most likely to cause unemployment among the lowest-skilled workers. The youth unemployment figures for the UK demonstrate this perfectly. Now there are many people who may say that when the minimum wage was first introduced in 1999 that employment among the lowest-skilled wasn’t affected. Now figures already show this to be wrong for a multitude of reasons, such as the masking effect of increased economic inactivity as well as businesses using more marginal forms of employment, such as part-time or zero hours work. However, even if we assume they’re correct they’re missing a major issue in the economics of the minimum wage, which is that when the minimum wage is higher than 45% of the average wage of a certain demographic, unemployment and minimal to no job creation become very real phenomena. Tim Worstall in his work on the minimum wage has shown this to be the case with youth unemployment, where the 16-17 year old wage rate is 76% of that demographics average earnings and the 18-21 year old rate is 65% of the average earnings. These figures go a long way in explaining why youth unemployment has been continually increasing even during periods of significant economic growth. With Osborne raising the minimum wage initially to £7.20, he comes very close to hitting nearly 50% of the average earnings of a UK adult, which according to the ASHE 2010 wage survey was £14.99. Now obviously wages have gone up since then but not by much. We also have to remember that these figures are skewed due to very high income variables, and that the average wage of a low-skilled adult would most likely be less than £14.99. Thus if Osborne moves to £7.20 initially, he will create more unemployment amongst the lowest-skilled. Further, this potential trend of unemployment and slowed job creation will continue across the parliament as Osborne looks to raise the minimum wage to £9.00.

However, these are just the microeconomic unintended consequences. There are also macroeconomic and fiscal consequences. In terms of macroeconomic consequences, there will be increased long-term unemployment, as most of this demographic have little job-related skills that can make them employable. This in turn will increase the welfare bill, as there will be more unemployed people, as well as more non-university educated 18 year olds who will become economically inactive due to a reduction in employment in sectors like retail and services. It will also mean government pouring more money into apprenticeships, thus increasing spending. Also, because many new apprenticeships aren’t on-the-job, many young people completing apprenticeships might not be able to find full-time employment. Finally, small businesses will bear the brunt of this wage hike, meaning less small business growth and the continuation of an uncompetitive, stunted labour market with minimal wage competition and more wage ceilings for large businesses and corporations to exploit. As mentioned previously, the fiscal consequences will be increased government spending in welfare as well as apprenticeships and business grants to small businesses.

Overall, this policy shows how a stupid, stultified political climate creates unintended consequences. And it’s not as if these consequences weren’t known about. The LPC as well as a multitude of academic studies have shown that large minimum wage hikes hurt the poorest and most precarious in a society. For this policy to come from a party that is describing itself as for the workers is beyond astounding, and shows just how low one will go to win votes. More depressing than this is that this policy will most likely prove to be popular.

Chris Shaw is a member of UWCA and is a third year Politics & Sociology student.

A Real Reason to Vote for Corbyn

– George Lawlor

 

Jeremy Corbin

On 12 September Ed Miliband’s successor and the new leader of the Labour Party will be revealed to us. Until then however, political obsessives will be watching the competition closely as Liz Kendall, Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper, and Jeremy Corbyn carefully spin and counter-spin in a great game over the dull minutia of Labour policy.

Unfortunately however, unless I’m willing to fork out the three pounds (or however much the reasonable membership fee is) I, as a member of the Conservative Party, have no say in the outcome whatsoever. Though despite this tragic twist I am still rather keen to give my two cents on this most tedious matter.

Things are looking good for the veteran lefty MP for Islington North as of late. Recent polling shows Corbyn strides ahead of his identikit rivals, and Paddy Power has even claimed a Corbyn victory is a ‘done deal’. Now, putting his odious politics aside, I would, as someone who is practically as far from his party as possible, contend that his election to the helm of the good ship Labour would be nothing short of a miracle.

Why? Well some of my comrades on the right, the so called ‘#Tories4Corbyn’, hope that a victory for the left of the Labour Party will pave the way for another Conservative government in 2020, with the country rejecting the rotten ideology of a socialist party, and sentencing Labour to an indefinite imprisonment in opposition. In my humble opinion, this cynical game just simply isn’t cricket. The reason for which I spiritually lend my support to the Corbyn camp is because in a world of compromising and mass-produced politicians, he represents a breath of fresh air. If elected, Corbyn would inject a much-needed dose of principle in a political arena sorely lacking.

A vertebrate Labour Party is distant memory these days, indeed never in my lifetime have I witnessed such a thing. The upper echelons of the party long ago began its unprincipled pursuit of power and its betrayal of those it was meant to serve has finally caught up with it. Its voters are flocking to parties more in line with their beliefs and the still among many circles the words ‘New Labour’ are uttered with a degree of revulsion. Now, obviously I couldn’t care less if the Labour Party were to collapse, but what I do care about is politics in general, and from this, I have two major reasons to hail a Corbyn leadership.

Firstly, a government is only as good as its opposition. A Labour Party headed by the principle and acolytes of Corbyn would surely hold a potentially lazy Conservative majority to account, proving to be a lot less collaborative with the party it was established to oppose. Ultimately this can only be a good thing.

The second reason, and one much more specific to someone of my political persuasion is that I believe that a principled Labour Party, that is a Labour Party of the left, would encourage the Conservatives to return to its ideological home, and move way from the flip-floppy centre currently occupied by my party. For me this is an incredibly attractive prospect because I would like to agree with my party’s leadership every now and then. As well as this, from the electorate’s point of view I suppose it would be nice to have a choice between two parties that actually sit where they belong, something, I think, the nation really is crying out for.

Though admittedly I’m sceptical he can win the leadership contest, I do recognise that Corbyn’s ascension to Labour leader will not only serve the interests of those on the right, it would also make for a healthier democracy. One in which the so-far disappointing Conservative government is challenged and the electorate has a real choice come election time. It’s just a shame that politics never usually works out the way you want it to.

George Lawlor is the Online Communications Secretary for the University of Warwick Conservative Association

UWCA goes to Party Conference

– Joe Jones

With eight months to go until the general election I didn’t quite know what to expect from my very first conference. I believed that our record in government (despite the coalition) was a good one; yet the party remained behind in the polls. I found Labour to be a party whose conference seemed not only downbeat but also slightly forgetful in some speeches when it came to the deficit!

This combined poll disadvantage combined with the threat of UKIP defections has, according to media narrative, marred the spirit of the Conservative Party, which should be expecting an electoral defeat anyway. But the media frenzy that was whipped up was anything but far from the truth at the conference. If the defections from Douglas Carswell and Mark Reckless had done anything of consequence, then they had made the party more determined and united in the run-up to the general election. As for this apparent expectation of defeat, the confidence that ran through the party members was extraordinary.

There was one thought and one word on all the lips in the party that resonated loud and clear: ‘Five More Years!’

This year’s conference, in the ICC hall in Birmingham, offered the best and brightest of Tory talent.  There was also room for those not directly related to the party who came to debate on key issues at the many fringe events that were scattered around, either in the tents around the ICC or at the numerous buildings on its periphery. For anyone who tells you that Conservative party is part of some ‘Westminster Consensus’ they have clearly never experienced a Conservative Party Conference like this one. The talent ranged from our Prime Minister, David Cameron, to White Dee, yes White Dee from ‘Benefits Street’, and even including Christopher Biggins. And Warwick Conservatives were spotted not just in the main hall but in fringe events about welfare to the NHS to the tax system, seen selling Ed Milliband beer bottles from the party stand, and exploiting the endless opportunities for free alcohol. It was an exceptional couple of days that whole-heartedly re-enforced my confidence in the Conservative Party.

Day 1:

The conference sprung into action with memorable speeches from our Party Chairman, Grant Shapps, and a heart-wrenching goodbye from the beloved William Hague. Later, in a typically British “go get ‘em” spirit, a massive campaign trip of 750 conservatives hit the streets of Birmingham Northfield in a display of pure belief in what the Conservatives offer.

Day 2:

The focus was on the economy and George Osborne led the way here, outlining his ideas on how to make the economy more fair (ensuring benefits would not overshadow a working income and cutting the 55% pension ‘death tax’). Earlier, Liz Truss (Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) talked about regaining the British food market and ‘putting the British Apple back at the top of the tree’. Sajid Javid (Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport) gave a rousing speech that included a discussion on how he retained the belief that British Culture still has strength. Patrick McLoughlin (Transport) raised cheers from the crowd when he spoke of how he had stood up to Arthur Scargill when the miner’s strike was called against Margaret Thatcher. Then came Ian Duncan Smith (IDS), who outlined his ideas for Benefit Cards in order to stop claimants from gambling and spending their money on drugs and alcohol.

Day 3:

Tuesday brought on-stage the two main contenders for the future leadership of the Party. Theresa May took a stern and hard approach to her speech, where she raised the hall to their feet with stern words towards those who are threatening the safety of UK citizens with terrorism. She established herself as our new Iron Lady with her dominating and serious persona. The patron saint of Boris Johnson, or ‘Bo-Jo’, took his typical approach to the speech, which I think I can only describe as a ‘belter’.  He waved a brick around and gave us all ‘permission to purr’ at his enthusiastic and rabble-rousing speech, which shook the hall with laughter; it is easy to see how Boris has gained his ‘celebrity-factor’.

Nicky Morgan made her stance very clear on education and it is clear that she will carry on Michael Gove’s legacy (who received a standing ovation as tribute to his reforms and struggles in his time as Secretary of State for Education). An exceptional reply to Andy Burnham was Jeremy Hunt’s speech, where he told us ‘it is not Labour’s NHS’; it is all of ours.

Day 4:

On the final day we began with defence and foreign affairs, where Philip Hammond broke down his prior image of the ‘stern boring man’ and entertained the conference hall with his humour (poking fun at his predecessors lack of hair) and then striking harsh words on Russia and ISIL.

However for the top of the ‘big meat’ speeches, of course, has to be David Cameron’s speech. It was called his best speech, and I am honoured to say I was in the room because I, along with the rest of the crowd, was swept away with pride at seeing our Prime Minister at his very best. Michael Gove introduced him in his usual rhythmical tone, as he rode on the tide of admiration for his reforms (and of course the man he was introducing); then after a quick election video, David Cameron came on-stage. He banged out policy after policy, taking pride in his achievements in office, but at the same time, keeping in mind that so much more can be and has to be done. His tax cut promises will impact 30 million, and end of zero-hour contracts. That wasn’t all: the PM went on to tell us about how he plans to hold a referendum in 2017 on our membership of the EU, replace the Human Rights Act with a British Bill of Rights and fix the unfairness of the English votes problem (whereby Scottish and Welsh MP’s vote on UK issues but English issues are for English MP’s alone).

These were just a few of the policies announced but one thing was for sure, the hall was behind him. The chant began as he started to leave the hall, ‘5 more years, 5 more years’; as it resonated around an optimistic feeling began to swell around us; I feel more and more confident that we can really win in 2015.

We are the true party of ‘one nation working together’ (as George Osborne put it in his conference speech). There is an overwhelming excitement now that we will be the party to cut the taxes of 30 million people, lower the deficit and put Britain back into the black. To copy the oft-repeated catch phrase of the PM’s speech: ‘A Britain that everyone is proud to call home’.

Joe Jones is a member of the University of Warwick Conservative Association

When ‘No’ shattered the ‘Quo’

– James Anderson

 

It would be no exaggeration to state that the Scottish Referendum has changed the United Kingdom forever. The passion that has been demonstrated in both the Yes and No campaigns is inspiring, and further cemented by an unprecedented overall turnout of 84.5%. The myth that ordinary people are either not concerned with politics, or apathetic to it, has been shattered.

The consequences of the No vote need to be taken with a pinch of salt, nevertheless. Pundits from most major media outlets point to the fact that although Scotland voted No, a significant number voted Yes – in fact Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city, voted Yes to Independence. The No campaign was very much complacent throughout the majority of the campaign, seeing its huge lead in the opinion polls as a sign that the race would indeed be easy. Its arguments were largely based on the negatives and uncertainties associated with Independence, which allowed the Yes Scotland campaign to essentially ‘own’ positivity in the debate. We cannot forget that the Better Together campaign only changed its tune when a YouGov poll put the Yes campaign ahead for the first time.

More importantly, it has become disparagingly clear that a lot of Scottish voters used the Yes campaign as a way of voicing their protest against mainstream politics in Westminster, or in the increasingly used phrase, “the establishment”. It would not be out of place to claim that the SNP and UKIP have punched above their weight precisely because they have tapped into this sense of anger against Westminster political culture.

The Scottish Referendum has delivered its result, but the energy and feeling that powered the will to make things change on both sides of the independence argument, remains. The Prime Minister is absolutely right in using this opportunity to make a change, and potentially devolve power to England, and is absolutely right in finally attempting to end the mess that is the West Lothian Question.

The idea that Scottish MPs can vote on English issues, but English MPs cannot vote on Scottish issues, is an indefensible idea. However, despite this, Labour will attempt to keep the Status Quo, not for the sake of fairness or even in the principle of democracy, but as a way of keeping their own MPs represented in Parliament. Perhaps there is a legitimate concern from the Labour party that the Conservative party might use this opportunity for their own political gain. But the truth of the matter is that the English people will not tolerate the Status Quo any longer, and rightly so. Labour must accept that change will have to be delivered on the West Lothian Question from this government or the next.

The road ahead towards increasing power for the various components of the United Kingdom will not be an easy one. Despite this, it can only be described as the right road to take.

James Anderson is the Secretary of the University of Warwick Conservative Association