Posts Tagged ‘Baroness Warsi’

Put aside the Cleggphobia and then vote No to AV

19/04/2011, 08:07:12 AM

by Jim Murphy

I have stayed out of the debate about the AV referendum until now. I have surprised myself because instinctively I usually know where I stand on all the big issues, but on this I have found it easy to sit it out. There are so many other more pressing issues – a view that I know those involved in both campaigns share. I have waited in the expectation that the pro-AV campaign would make a convincing new argument.  They haven’t, so when the referendum comes on May 5th I have decided to vote No.

There are many people I know who are voting No simply to spite Nick Clegg, but I’m not one of them. This was a really important point that Ed Miliband rightly raised yesterday. To vote against AV to get back at Nick Clegg is a churlish way to conduct politics. A change in the electoral system could be permanent, but say whatever you want about Nick Clegg one thing for sure is that he is certainly temporary – this is probably his last job in frontline British politics. If last year’s post-election political gamble of switching to the Tories’ macro-economic policies turns out to be as bad economics as it is bad politics then it’s questionable whether he’ll even lead his Party into the next election.

So let’s put all the Cleggphobia to one side. My decision is based on the merits of the case. The main reason I have decided to vote ‘No’ is that the supporters of changing the system haven’t made a convincing enough case that this is the right kind of change. They have struggled to make a persuasive argument about why the country’s politics would be better with AV. It may seem unfair, but in all these constitutional debates most of the burden of persuasion falls upon those advocating change – that is certainly my experience with devolution. (more…)

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Thursday News Review

20/01/2011, 06:50:11 AM

Election Pact? Gove thinks so

Michael Gove has reignited talk of a Tory Lib Dem pact by urging people in Hull to vote Lib Dem to keep Labour out at the local elections. Gove’s intervention was not planned but it does reveal how he thinks. Gove’s department is the most coalitionised. Not only is there a Lib Dem minister there in Sarah Teather, tellingly the only Lib Dem minister not to moan to the Telegraph’s undercover reporters about her colleagues. But there is also David Laws, who is acting as an unofficial adviser to Gove. Anthony Wells’ thorough analysis of an electoral pact suggests that it could do well in the seats where it matters. Obviously, all this discussion of pacts could be overtaken by events if AV passes. Interestingly, Gove remains undecided on that issue. – the Spectator

Michael Gove today became the first member of the cabinet to urge people to vote tactically for the Liberal Democrats in the May local elections, as he fended off attacks on the abolition of the Educational Maintenance Allowance. In an attempt to spike the guns of Labour and Lib Dem critics campaigning against the scrapping of the £30 weekly allowance, Gove praised Lib Dem councils that help students with travel costs. The education secretary’s comments came ahead of a defeat in the Commons tonight of a bid by Labour to keep the allowance; it was defeated by 317 votes to 258, a government majority of 59. Gove’s remarks highlight the support among senior allies of David Cameron for greater co-operation with the Tories’ coalition partners. He hailed Lib Dem and Conservative councils that are helping students by upholding their statutory commitment to fund student travel. “Well they won’t if a Labour council takes power, I suspect. But if they’re wise enough to vote Liberal Democrat at the next local elections in Hull …” Amid gasps and laughter, Gove paused before adding, “… or for the Conservatives in any seat where we are well placed to defeat Labour, then they will have a council which is fulfilling its statutory duty. It is no surprise that there are Liberal Democrat and Conservative councils which are ensuring that all students receive the support they deserve. It’s striking that this is in addition to Education Maintenance Allowance.” – the Guardian

Warsi comments spark debate

Islamophobia has “passed the dinner-table test” and is seen by many as normal and uncontroversial, Baroness Warsi will say in a speech on Thursday. The minister without portfolio will also warn that describing Muslims as either “moderate” or “extremist” fosters growing prejudice. Lady Warsi, the first Muslim woman to attend Cabinet, has pledged to use her position to wage an “ongoing battle against bigotry”. Her comments are the most high-profile intervention in Britain’s religious debate by any member of David Cameron’s government. They also confirm the Coalition’s determination to depart from its Labour predecessor’s policy of keeping out of issues of faith. Lady Warsi will use a speech at the University of Leicester to attack what she sees as growing religious intolerance in the country, especially towards followers of Islam. – Daily Telegraph

The first Muslim woman Cabinet minister will today launch a controversial attack on Britain’s approach to Islam. Baroness Warsi will caution that Islamophobia is seen as normal and acceptable at dinner parties. The Tory Party chairman will warn that describing Muslims as ‘moderate’ or ‘extremist’, fosters prejudice against them. In a speech at the University of Leicester, she will pledge to use her position to wage an ‘ongoing battle against bigotry’. Lady Warsi will say: ‘It’s not a big leap of imagination to predict where the talk of “moderate” Muslims leads. Her high-profile intervention suggests that the Government is more willing than its Labour predecessors to tackle sensitive issues of race and religion. But Lady Warsi’s controversial speech will lay her open to the charge that she has sided with her own community at a time when Christian leaders are also concerned that public respect for their faith has diminished. The Tory chairman will say that terrorist offences committed by a small number of Islamists must not be used to condemn all Muslims. But she will also acknowledge concerns about the failure of some British Muslims to integrate into Western society. And she will warn that some Muslim communities must do more to ostracise extremists. – Daily Mail (more…)

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