Joe Hetherington

Political commentaries from a progressive, socialist stance.

Hilary Benn: The reality of war should be more important than a rousing speech

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Since the vote on bombing Syria was passed, I have seen more in my newsfeed about how great Hilary Benn’s speech was (apparently, regardless of if you agree with him) than about the fact that the UK is about to enter into an extremely expensive, unnecessary and ill-thought-out war. Personally, while watching the debate live, I was less impressed by his speech as I was disgusted at the members of parliament clapping, whooping, cheering, and shouting things like ‘brilliant!’. I found myself sickened at the idea that these people were so excited about the prospect of a war. Regardless of the speech, people are going to die. That’s a fact, and not one worth celebrating. Whilst I find it bizarre that people would congratulate a man for his oratory skills, when after all is said and done, he is talking excitedly and passionately about dropping bombs on people, I’ll agree…

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The Conservatives are dismantling the welfare state. It’s up to Corbyn’s Labour to stop them

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When we think about the creation of the Welfare state, most of us tend to consider the Beveridge report, which essentially recommended a ‘national, compulsory, flat rate insurance scheme which would combine health care, unemployment and retirement benefits.’ In today’s Britain, we regard a universal health service and a ‘safety net’ for those who are failed by the market, amongst other things, as a universal and basic social right. However, the current government, driven by ideological austerity policies which are for the most part not based on any form of reputable economics, is driving this great tradition of ours into the ground.

For this article, I will refer to Esping-Andersen’s theory on the three worlds of welfare capitalism – outlined in his book of the same name. Esping-Andersen described three ‘ideal types’ of welfare states – Social Democratic, Liberal, and Conservative. While the UK has strong social democratic traditions in…

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The Tories are planning an attack on our democracy. Here’s why we should be outraged

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Changes to the way we register to vote could mean that up to 2 million people will ‘drop off’ the electoral register by December. Most of these people are either students or those who live in urban areas, and many are some of the most vulnerable and underrepresented people in the country. The government has pushed forward these proposals due to the Boundary Review which will take place in 2016, and will be based on the ‘updated’ electoral register. And of course, the fact that those from low socio-economic backgrounds and students are being targeted means that the Conservatives will inevitably benefit from these changes.

The Conservative government have decided to bring forward the deadline for individual voter registration by a whole year to December 2015, against the advice of their own independent expert body. A narrow victory for the proposal in the House of Lords last month means that this…

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