LOCALLY SPEAKING POLITICS: DEBATES MATTER

by Joe Burns

Theresa May has announced a general election that is set to take place on June 8. Some might say this is a bold move, a drastic U-turn that goes against previous remarks, though I argue it is only a cheap and damaging attack on a struggling opposition that highlights her opportunistic immorality. Of course, she remembers her promise to not call an early general election, but she smells Labour blood and cannot resist.

In usual general elections, leaders of political parties are asked to take part in debates with each other and the general public on television, sometimes live. I believe that live televised debates should be a mandatory part of every major election, especially general elections and local council elections. Live debate with unrehearsed questioning is the best tactic for accessing a politician’s true beliefs, as those that truly believe in what they stand for have unguided, spontaneous responses that show they’re the right people to lead the county. Theresa May’s instant tantrum about the idea of televised debates displays her complete lack of interest in speaking to the people.Continue Reading

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONSHIPS: WHO ARE NORWICH’S TWINS?

by James Anthony

The idea of ‘twinning cities’ and forming links with other communities worldwide came about following the Second World War. It was seen as a way of spreading understanding of different cultures with the aim of lessening the risk of future international conflict. At present, twinned places are regularly used as opportunities for trade and business in the UK – but perhaps not justifying for many people the money spent on maintaining these friendships. However, with fear of outsiders and those different to us seemingly rife in the media and amongst public opinion, the bringing together and understanding of other worldwide communities seems an excellent justification for a twinning programme.

Norwich is currently twinned with four other cities across the globe; Rouen in France, Koblenz in Germany, Novi Sad in Serbia and El Vejo in Nicaragua.Continue Reading

BOARDS, BORES, AND THE EROSION OF LOCAL DEMOCRACY

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by Olivia Hanks

I had the dubious privilege of being in the public gallery for the first meeting of the re-established Greater Norwich Development Partnership (GNDP) earlier this week. This board, made up of councillors from Norwich, South Norfolk and Broadland, is tasked with developing a strategic document, the Greater Norwich Local Plan (GNLP), which will dictate where housing, roads and other infrastructure will be built in the area over the next 20 years.

The meeting, which was scheduled to last from 3.30 until 5pm, finished at 4.10 with very little discussion having taken place. You might have thought that, having been successfully taken to the High Court for failing to consider alternative options during the creation of the GNLP’s predecessor the Joint Core Strategy (JCS — I promise that’s the last obscure abbreviation), the board would be asking itself a lot more questions this time around. Although it was admittedly a more or less introductory meeting, agreeing the board’s terms of reference and the next steps, there was an opportunity for comments, which was taken up by only three members.

This matters because these dozen men — and shockingly, they are all men; all white; none under 50 or so — are shaping the future of Norwich and the surrounding area. It matters because sometimes it is hard to spot the moment for intervention until it has already passed.Continue Reading

BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS, DECENTRALISING CAMPAIGNS, AND ORGANISING COMMUNITIES – WHY TOM WATSON MP IS STANDING TO BE LABOUR’S DEPUTY LEADER

Whether we like it or not, the Labour Party is the largest vehicle of progressive electoral politics, not only in terms of membership and number of parliamentarians, but also in the impact it has had on our political system and society. Labour are currently debating their past, present and future through both a Leadership and a Deputy Leadership election.  We have contacted all the candidates standing in both of these elections, asking them to explain their vision for the Labour Party and the country and we will be publishing their responses over the coming weeks.

by Tom Watson, MP for West Bromwich East

The politics of organisation matter. A lot. I’m seeking the deputy leadership to do one thing: write and execute the election battle plan so that our new leader will be Prime Minister.

I’m not underestimating the scale of the task but our ambition should be to win back power in 2020. The politics of organisation are central to the existential debate that’s now taking place in the party. Our leadership candidates are setting out their vision, explaining how they will appeal to the country, and offering their analysis of what went right and wrong with our policy agenda in the campaign. I want to make sure we don’t lose sight of what went wrong with our campaigns and election organisation.Continue Reading