UK Cuts Must Continue

George Osborne, the UK Chancellor, has stated that cuts to spending must continue if the government is to remain credibility and trusted by the people. However, not everyone agrees with the continued cutting of spending such as the chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, Olivier Blanchard.

Mr Osborne said pension, education and welfare reform was helping to make the UK a more competitive economy, while cuts to corporation tax and higher-rate tax were making the country a more attractive place to do business. Such reforms would make the British economy “a winner in the global competitive race”, he said, citing sectors such as aerospace, pharmaceuticals, financial services and the creative industries as “world beaters”.

However, these cuts must continue until 2017 according to Osborne if the UK is “to continue moving in the right direction”.

Thanks for reading. What are your views on these ‘tactics’ by the British government?

Digestible Politics

Ban On Women On Front Line Lifted

Leon Panetta, the US Defence Secretary, has decided to lift the military ban on women who fight on the front line. This is a move that could allow thousands of women to get positions on the frontline in far more prestigious positions. It overturns a 1994 rule prohibiting women from being assigned to small ground-combat units, yet the military have until 2016 to work out whether any positions should remain closed to them.

Some jobs are expected to be opened to women this year, while others – including for special forces such as the Navy Seals and the Delta Force – could take longer. However, in total 230,000 jobs are expected to become open to women in the military. Senate armed services committee chairman Carl Levin welcomed the decision: “I support it,” he said. “It reflects the reality of 21st-Century military operations.”

The decision should be finalised today. What are your views on this?

Thanks for reading,

Digestible Politics

Ahmed Dogan Assassination Attempt

Bulgarian Politician Ahmed Dogan was giving a speech on live television when a gunman hopped on stage and tried to fire his weapon at Dogan, but the gun backfired giving security enough time to apprehend the perpetrator.


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World’s Youngest Member of Parliament

Proscovia Oromait, who turned 20 a couple of weeks ago, is Africa’s youngest and is suspected to be the world’s youngest legislator. Just months earlier she had been still at school in Uganda  studying for her A-levels, but now she has much larger fish to fry. Her original plan was to finish her education first, but she was thrust into the spotlight in July last year by the sudden death of her father, the MP Michael Oromait. Ms Oromait threw herself into campaigning, and in September she won the by-election for his seat in Usuk County, with the backing of President Yoweri Museveni’s National Resistance Movement (NRM) party. She stated earlier this month that she is “so proud of what [she] is”.

Proscovia Oromait

However, behind what may seem like an innovative move in politics, feelings are mixed. Ms Oromait’s age has caused a stir in a country where President Museveni, 68, has five septuagenarians in his Cabinet and the average age of ministers is 62. Already the critics are lining up decry her lack of experience, no matter that she more accurately represents a nation where 78 per cent of the population is under 30. Many would argue that a politician should be relatively old as they are likely to have greater knowledge, expertise and experience thus being a positive force on politics. But, the debate lies in whether a young politician, like Oromait, could do the job just as well as an older politician or are they doomed for failure?!

We hand the debate to you…

Thanks for reading,

Digestible Politics

Ex-Mayor of New Orleans Ray Nagin Indicted

Ray Nagin, the ex-mayor of New Orleans, has faced a series of charges including fraud, bribery, filing false tax returns and money laundering. So far two former city officials and two businessmen have pleaded guilty for similar charges. The ex-mayor, Nagin, is accused of abusing his power and position in office for personal gain and of accepting bribes while the city of New Orleans reeled in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Nagin had been mayor from 2002-2010 but had been facing his indictment in the case for a while. According to the federal indictment, Mr Nagin accepted more than $160,000 (£100,000) in bribes for his family business.


Do you fear that people with power abuse their position and authority?

Although this article is to do with America, it is clear similar situations occur elsewhere on a daily basis and we shall create a post on similar situations around the world soon. We fear that abusing powers is one of the greatest fears in politics and democracy.

Thanks for reading,

Digestible Politics

Zimbabwe’s Constitution Deal

Zimbabwe’s rival political leaders, Morgan Tsvangirai and Robert Mugabe, have reached an agreement over a new constitution. Tsvangirai said a “long journey” had ended, while Mugabe said he was “glad” that a deal had been reached. Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party and Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party entered into a fractious coalition following the 2008 election, which was marred by violence and allegations of vote-rigging, but now the two parties are beginning to work together.

Details of the deal have not been made public, but it is understood that the powers of the president have been curbed – a key demand of the MDC. There is going to be a referendum on the constitution, followed by an election in October if approved by the people. Mugabe has been in power since since independence in 1980 – is expected to be challenged by Tsvangirai for the presidency.


The MDC had argued that Zimbabwe was a highly centralised state, and power should be devolved to lower levels of government. Agreement had also been reached to overhaul the legal system by creating a constitutional court as the highest of the land. However, it remained unclear what agreement had been reached on the powers of the army, police and intelligence services – another major sticking point between the parties, our correspondent added. There is still a way to go for Zimbabwe, but this is certainly a step in the right direction especially if they work out the exact dispersal of powers within the country.

Thanks for reading,

Digestible Politics

Foreign Workers Held Hostage By Islamist Militants In Algeria

A number of foreign workers at a gas facility in Algeria are being held hostage. So far there has been a reported 2 deaths (one British and an Algerian in an attack on a bus), however some 20 other nationals are being held, although the kidnappers say they have 41 people hostage. The Islamists militants are said to be working for Al-Qaeda and had planned to leave the country with the hostages – but Algerian Interior Minister Daho Ould Kabila had refused to let them go.

The attackers had attacked at 5am on a bus which was being escorted by the police, killing 2. After, the militants drove to the gas facility’s living quarters and took a number of Algerian and foreign workers hostage, but released a number of Algerian workers. A list of demands had been sent to Algerian authorities, and the hostages would be killed if troops attempted to rescue them, the spokesman added. ”Storming the gas complex would be easy for the Algerian military, but the outcome of such an operation would be disastrous,” he warned.

Short article, but tell us what you think of the situation

Digestible Politics

UK And The EU

What is happening?

Prime Minister David Cameron is to deliver a speech on the UK’s future in the European Union on Friday in the Netherlands.

Why the big deal if it’s just a speech?

Mr Cameron has been facing mounting pressure from within the Eurosceptic ranks of his own Conservative Party, and the UK Independence Party, who are unhappy with the current relationship between the UK and the European Union. There have been calls for a referendum to be held, and his own MPs want to see action on the Conservative election pledge to “bring back” powers to Westminster from Brussels. For months now, the promise has been that these questions will all be answered in a big speech. And this Friday, we get that speech.

What do we think Cameron will say?

Based on a BBC radio interview this week, we can expect Mr Cameron to say that he plans to renegotiate parts of the UK’s relations with Europe and, if and when that is achieved, promise to put that changed membership package to the British people after the next general election. So that referendum, obviously, also depends on the Conservatives winning a majority in 2015.

What sorts of powers does the UK want back?

There is a cross-government audit under way looking at where the EU has powers over life in the UK. The idea is that each one will then be examined to see whether it is necessary or whether the power could be “brought back” to the UK. Areas it might include are the Working Time Directive, which imposes employment rules such as limiting the working week and giving EU workers a minimum number of holidays each year. The UK is also keen on opt-outs from policing and criminal justice measures. The 2010 Conservative manifesto said: “We will work to bring back key powers over legal rights, criminal justice and social and employment legislation to the UK.”

So if we know all that, why watch the speech?

There are still a host of unanswered questions, not least about what would happen if the rest of Europe refused to agree to the UK’s demands. Will the prime minister threaten to hold an in/out referendum on EU membership, if new terms of membership aren’t agreed? And if they are agreed, what would happen if the British people then rejected them in a referendum – would that lead to an in/out vote?


Why does Cameron think he can agree changes with EU leaders?

The recent eurozone crisis has led those countries using the single currency to believe that they need closer integration in future – a move which will further increase the gap between the euro and non-euro EU members. Mr Cameron says there needs to be a new EU treaty to facilitate the eurozone integration, so, as part of negotiations, there is a chance to redefine the membership rules for countries like the UK.

So does this all mean that the UK’s going to leave the EU?

David Cameron says that he opposes the idea of the UK leaving the EU (which the UK joined in 1973). However he did add during his BBC radio interview: “Would Britain collapse if we left the European Union? No, of course not. You could choose a different path. The question is, what is in our national interest? I’ve always been very clear it’s in our national interest as a trading nation to be in the single market.”

What do critics of Cameron say?

Well that depends which critics you are talking about – there are those attacking him from the pro-European viewpoint and others from the Eurosceptic viewpoint.

What do the pro-Europeans say?

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has warned that proposing a referendum at a future date would cause uncertainty and have a “chilling effect” on jobs and growth. A succession of business leaders have spoken up in favour of UK membership of the EU and the US and a range of European politicians have also warned of negative results if the UK left the EU.

What about the Eurosceptics?

There are a sizable number of MPs, mostly Conservatives, who want a straightforward referendum asking the British people whether or not the UK should stay in the EU. The UK Independence Party, whose main policy is to pull out of the EU, has also seen its poll ratings rise. They argue that there is nothing to fear, as a global trading nation, from leaving the European Union.

Why is Cameron delivering the speech in the Netherlands?

Downing Street say that he wanted to “set out his view on the EU and Britain’s relationship within it” and giving the speech in the Netherlands would allow the PM to speak in a “founder member of the European Union, not dissimilar from the UK, with a strong tradition of global trade”. He’s not the first PM to cross the channel to deliver a big EU speech – Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair both did the same when they were in No 10.


Digestible Politics

Obama’s Gun Control Proposals

Obama has unveiled his gun policy proposals despite a lot of opposition from those on the right of the political spectrum. The proposals were released on Wednesday after receiving urgent cries for changes to the constitution and laws surrounding gun control. Obama announced that “we have an obligation to try” to reduce violence and called for a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines and wider background checks on gun buyers.The National Rifle Association (NRA), a very powerful US gun lobby group, declared their rejection of Obama’s proposals,  saying that “attacking firearms and ignoring children is not a solution to the crisis we face as a nation”.

The president urged Congress:

– to reintroduce an expired ban on “military-style” assault weapons, such as those used in several recent mass shootings

– limit ammunition magazines to 10 rounds

– introduce background checks on all gun sales; currently private sales and some sales at gun shows, constituting about 40% of the national total, are exempt

– pass a ban on possession and sale of armour-piercing bullets

– introduce harsher penalties for gun-traffickers, especially unlicensed dealers who buy arms for criminals

– finally approve the appointment of the head of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

However, it is clear that the propositions would encounter stiff opposition in Congress with “politicians and special interest lobbyists publicly warning of a tyrannical all-out assault on liberty”. The US has one of the highest rates of civilian gun ownership in the world. The second amendment of the US constitution states, with qualifications, that “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”. Yet Obama, it has been argued, appears to be taking the law into his own hands by implementing strict gun controls. Although the meaning of the clause is still debated, many gun-rights advocates read it absolutely and oppose any curbs on access to weapons.

What are your views on Obama’s gun control policy?

Digestible Politics

Obama’s 5 Biggest Challenges

The Economy 

The last few years have proved to be the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. Although unemployment has fallen, it has been minimal with latest figures showing it stands at 7.9%. Economic growth remains just as bad at 2% meaning that people are not spending and jobs are not available. The economy of the USA is very fragile and would not take much for the economy to crash again into another recession. Issues that could cause this include the debt crisis in Europe which has severely impacted the free flow of global trade. Other issues include gridlock in Congress and the fiscal cliff. Although there has been slight recent improvements in the economy, there is still a long way to go.

The Fiscal Cliff And The Budget Deficit 

The Fiscal Cliff was a series of tax increases and spending cuts that would effect virtually every American and could potential cripple the already weak economy. The idea was that the Democrats and Republicans would act to prevent cuts to defence and social programmes dear to either side, as well as the expiration of a temporary payroll tax cut and the low tax rates dating back to the George W Bush presidency. The proposals are so drastic that they could throw the economy into a deep recession.



With the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan winding down, America is keen to prevent Iran from getting hold of nuclear weapons even though they have stated that their nuclear programme is peaceful. At present, US and Iran are in a sort of Cold War with tensions building between the two nations. Another factor Mr Obama must consider is the threat of an Israeli military strike against Iran’s nuclear infrastructure – and an Iranian promise to retaliate.

The Cost of Medicare 

There are two main burdens that are causing medicare to run out of money at an ever growing rate: the ever-growing cost of an inefficient healthcare system and the imminent retirement of the baby-boom generation, more and more of whom are becoming eligible for benefits. It is predicted that the programme will run out of money by 2024 even though many feel the programmes is unnecessary.

Working With Congress

There is a lot of parliamentary gridlock within Congress due to it being bitterly divided since the 2010 mid-term elections. As a result, the Democrats have struggled to pass any legislation which is mildly controversial, except renaming a post office. The willingness of the Republicans to compromise is slim and getting legislation passed in Obama’s second term will be a struggle.
Thanks for reading,

Digestible Politics