Author Archives: Hannah Bettsworth

Opinion: Miriam Gonzalez Durantez drops a few truth bombs on political parties

I’m currently studying abroad in Salamanca, where, as in the rest of the country, there are municipal elections on 24th May. (Yes, polling day is on a Sunday.) My bedroom floor is covered in a variety of different party propaganda (yes, that is the word they use in Spain for it) that I’ve gathered for academic reasons, obviously.

So, I was really excited to read Miriam’s article in El País recently. It most certainly did not disappoint – if you want a lesson in how to drop truth bombs on political parties, look no further.

Just to give a little bit of context – the Partido Popular is currently governing. It’s got “Working, Making, Growing” posters up around half the city, shouting from the rooftops about its economic success. Miriam notes that although progress has been made, it’s rather odd to be making that a central campaign plank while overall unemployment rests around 20% and youth unemployment around 50%.

She also attacks them for their failure to confront the ‘crisis of values’ facing the Spanish political system, talking of a ‘radical disconnect between the political class and citizens.’ She refers to Chris Huhne briefly, stating that the levels of corruption in the Spanish system could never occur in a country where a politician can go to jail for exchanging points on their driving licence.

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Opinion: Tory plans to curb benefits for obese people and addicts is the opposite of enabling people to get on in life

If there’s one thing I’ve learned through charity work, in two different countries, it’s that imposing your moral code on other people simply does not work. Sometimes, people are going to do things that seem wrong, or misguided, or utterly reckless, to us. When they do, it’s our role not to judge them for it, but to give them the information they need to make their own informed choices.

That’s why I was so annoyed this week just past. In Spain, a colleague of mine told me that the media had whipped up frenzy around our organisation teaching young people to use condoms correctly. Meanwhile, back home in Britain, we have the Conservative party trying to push its own moral code through the benefits system. Both examples neatly explain what the problem is with moralising narratives in society.

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Opinion: Scotland’s Future – a view from the Gallery

I’ve recently had the chance to work in the Scottish Parliament during August, and it’s been a really great experience. On Thursday, I was fortunate enough to get tickets to the final debate before recess, courtesy of Liam McArthur MSP. By the wonders of technology, you can watch it too.

It was an interesting experience. Alex Salmond took the opportunity to note all the good things the Scottish parliament had done, and attempt to be fair to other parties. He did actually manage this; however, his argument that the parliament has done some great things and made some mistakes could apply to every parliament across the world, including Westminster.

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Opinion: Liberal Youth Scotland campaigns against SNP cuts to student bursary cuts and college places

Student finance. Mention those two words to most students and you’ll either get people moaning about the amount of forms they have to fill in, or excited about how rich they are at the beginning of the month.

However, at the end of the day, you have to pay it back. Unless you vote SNP. That was the message they gave graduates in 2007. Strangely enough, I still seem to have a student loan and quite a substantial amount of money to pay back. They knew they couldn’t afford it and scrapped the pledge in their first budget. It was a …

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Opinion: SNP’s ill thought out proposals discriminate against young people

Drew's first driving lesson - Some rights reserved by akarmyMark McDonald, SNP MSP for North East Scotland, has recently proposed unjust new restrictions on young drivers. His proposals would mean that 17-25 year olds, regardless of driving experience, would be banned from driving between 11pm and 4am every day, as well as preventing them from carrying passengers in their vehicles.

This is based on a discriminatory assumption that young people are generally bad drivers. Even although there is a higher risk as

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Opinion: Liberal Youth Scotland calls for Votes@16

Votes at 16 has been brought back onto the political agenda at the moment, with the news that 16 and 17 year olds will get the vote for the Independence Referendum in 2014. This decision is probably one of the most important ones people living in Scotland will take in their lives, and young people’s views must be taken into account about Scotland’s future.

16 and 17 year olds can leave school, get a job, and start a family. They can join the army, with the intention of fighting

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  • User AvatarMatthew Huntbach 22nd May - 11:18am
    In further response to Adrian, no, I am not a Marxist, because I do not believe in that crazy Marxist idea that somehow if some...
  • User AvatarSimon McGrath 22nd May - 11:10am
    Andrew - libertarianism and Economic Liberalism and very different.
  • User AvatarMatthew Huntbach 22nd May - 11:05am
    A big part of the issue is that most ordinary people don't think of politics in strong "left-right" terms. In part this is due to...
  • User AvatarCharles Rothwell 22nd May - 11:05am
    Here we are again, as in 1924, 1945, 1970 and 1989 - virtually wiped out as a serious party and condemned to the fringes while...
  • User AvatarStuart Lambert 22nd May - 10:55am
    Adrian, there is a separate and important discussion to be had over PR and the party's commitment to it. Clearly it would be in our...
  • User AvatarStuart Lambert 22nd May - 10:52am
    @Alex "what is the point of being a member of a political party if it is not to advance the electoral fortunes of that party?"...
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