Displaying items by tag: Politics

Friday, 14 June 2024 12:58

Voter confidence at record low, says report

Trust and confidence in the UK’s political system have reached an all-time low, according to a report for the National Centre for Social Research. It reveals that a record number of voters almost never trust the Government to prioritise the country's interests over party politics or believe politicians to be truthful in challenging situations. Disillusionment, particularly among Brexit supporters, is cited as a significant factor, with Brexit not delivering the anticipated outcomes. Other contributors to this distrust include political scandals and the cost-of-living crisis, with those struggling financially expressing significant discontent. The report, entitled 'Damaged Politics’, shows that 45% of voters do not trust the Government to prioritise the country, 58% doubt politicians' honesty, and 79% believe the governance system requires substantial improvement. Additionally, 53% of respondents support a fairer voting system for smaller parties, highlighting dissatisfaction with the current first-past-the-post system. Public comments reflect a strong desire for truthful politicians and systemic reforms to restore trust and accountability.

Published in British Isles

A visit to New Zealand and Australia by China's PM Li Qiang, starting on 13 June, will be marked by regional security concerns overshadowing trade ties. China is Australia's largest trading partner, particularly for iron ore, while New Zealand's significant trade involves milk and agriculture. NZ prime minister Christopher Luxon views the visit as an opportunity for business deals, but acknowledges the need to address differences, especially since his country has taken a tougher stance on China in recent months due to security concerns. In Australia, Li will visit Adelaide, engaging in ‘panda diplomacy‘ and meeting wine exporters to ease political tensions which had previously led to a suspension in their exports. A recent poll shows significant public mistrust in Australia towards China, with many viewing Beijing as a security threat. Despite these concerns, prime minister Anthony Albanese believes Li's visit shows that ties had stabilised, even as the two nations compete for influence in the Pacific and defence force encounters are tense.

Published in Worldwide

Over twenty Christian leaders, including former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, have urged UK political leaders to view taxes as a societal benefit rather than a burden. In an open letter organised by the JustMoney Movement, they called on Rishi Sunak, Keir Starmer, and Ed Davey to promote fairer taxation, emphasising its role in funding public services and addressing inequality. They argue that the wealthiest should contribute more equitably, aligning with biblical principles of justice and community responsibility.

Published in British Isles

The Liberal Democrats have proposed free personal care for older or disabled individuals at home, alongside increased pay for care workers, aiming to alleviate the hospital crisis and enable people to remain in their homes. This plan, funded by reversing tax cuts for big banks, seeks to address the estimated £2.7bn cost by 2028-29. Independent experts suggest potential costs may exceed initial estimates. The party also aims to tackle the care worker shortage by introducing a carer's minimum wage and establishing a Royal College of Care Workers. Leader Sir Ed Davey, drawing from personal experience as a carer, emphasised the importance of this issue. The policy aims to support independence and dignity for individuals in need of care, echoing the system in Scotland. While welcomed by industry bodies, concerns remain about funding sufficiency and staffing shortages. Labour and the Conservatives have also proposed reforms to address healthcare and social care challenges.

Published in British Isles
Friday, 07 June 2024 08:26

Fake news ahead of EU elections

Ahead of the EU and UK elections, false claims about immigration are spreading, particularly on social media. One Facebook post says that nearly 97% of Spain’s minimum basic income recipients are immigrants. In reality, official data show that 82.4% are Spanish nationals and only 17.6% foreigners. Elsewhere, Dutch far-right activist Eva Vlaardingerbroek has said that most residents of Amsterdam, Brussels, and London are immigrants, whereas official statistics contradict this. Immigration remains a significant issue in Europe, influencing voter sentiment and political strategies. A recent poll reveals that half of Europeans disapprove of the EU’s migration policies, wanting stricter border controls. Some national governments have adjusted their immigration policies in response.

Published in Europe
Friday, 07 June 2024 08:20

South Africa: ANC’s coalition dilemma

As predicted before the elections, the African National Congress (ANC) has lost its parliamentary majority, securing only 40% of the vote. To govern, it needs a coalition partner or might attempt a minority government. It could partner with the Democratic Alliance (DA), which won 22% but is widely seen as aiming to protect white minority privileges. Alternatively, it could align with Jacob Zuma's uMkhonto weSizwe (MK), which surprised many by gaining 15% of the vote, or Julius Malema's Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF); a third alternative is a government of national unity. Cyril Ramaphosa insists any coalition must respect the current constitution: the ANC, EFF, and MK combined still fall short of the two-thirds majority needed for constitutional changes. The decision about what to do will have a major impact on South Africa, which faces major security and economic challenges.

Published in Worldwide

Following the national elections, Narendra Modi is set to lose his parliamentary majority. His Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) may need to form alliances to retain power. The current poll results suggest that while the BJP will remain the largest party, it might fall short of an outright majority, securing between 230-240 seats in the 543-member Lok Sabha, the lower house of Parliament. This potential shortfall would force Modi to seek coalition partners to govern effectively - a significant shift from the 2014 and 2019 elections, where the BJP secured decisive victories. Despite his personal popularity, this result might reshape India's political landscape, making governance more complex and coalition-dependent​. He will find it challenging to maintain political dominance amid increasing economic and social challenges, including high unemployment and rural distress. Some fears have been expressed about his long-term future, and the Indian stock market has tumbled in value in response.

Published in Worldwide

Claudia Sheinbaum, former mayor of Mexico City, has been elected as Mexico's first female president, with 58% of the vote. This strengthens the Morena party's control, following outgoing president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO). Despite concerns about Sheinbaum’s close ties to AMLO, both have insisted he will not influence her administration. She has committed to addressing Mexico's issues, particularly violence and security; the country is plagued by over 30,000 murders a year. During her tenure as mayor, the homicide rate in the capital dropped by 50%, credited to improved security measures. She plans to continue AMLO's strategy of non-confrontation with crime groups, relying on the national guard for security. Analysts expect Sheinbaum's presidency to be more disciplined and globally aware than AMLO's. However, the challenges she faces were highlighted when a female mayor was shot dead on 4 June.

Published in Worldwide
Friday, 07 June 2024 08:13

USA: Trump convicted, but does it matter?

American democracy faces a strange moment as Donald Trump, the leading Republican candidate, has been found guilty on 34 counts of falsifying business records. The verdict confirms that he altered financial accounts for his 2016 campaign, marking him as a convict. His murky past now seems to have caught up with him. On the other hand, it could be said that the district attorney, Alvin Bragg, combined tax misdemeanours into an indictment, and Judge Juan Merchan's aggressive behaviour has aroused suspicions. Describing it as a rigged trial, Trump has said, ‘Our country has gone to hell. The real verdict is going to be on 5 November by the people’. Democrats fear he might be right, as previous legal actions have boosted his popularity. His sentence, to be decided on 11 July, coincides with the Republican convention. In November we will find out whether Americans view Trump as a criminal or see Biden and his party as the real culprits.

Published in Worldwide

The Labour Party has widened its lead over the Conservatives, according to a YouGov poll. The poll, conducted on 27 and 28 May with 2,128 adults, showed Labour at 47% and the Conservatives at 20%. This indicates no significant boost for the Tories following Rishi Sunak’s decision to call a general election for 4 July instead of waiting until autumn. The Conservatives face challenges in reuniting their 2019 voter base, with only 36% of those voters currently supporting them. Additionally, 19% of 2019 Tory voters would now choose Reform UK, 19% are undecided, and 14% would switch to Labour. Sunak announced the election after inflation fell to 2.3% in April, claiming his plan is effective. However, Labour criticised his apprenticeship policy while promoting their NHS backlog reduction plan, which includes additional appointments and doubling the number of scanners.

Published in British Isles
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