A ‘Gender Friendly’ Parliament after GE 2015? The Case for a Women and Equality Committee

A ‘Gender Friendly’ Parliament after GE 2015? The Case for a Women and Equality Committee

Please note that this blog piece was originally published on PolicyBristol Hub on 27 April, and is available here.

By Sarah Childs

The 2015 general election portends an era of  ‘dangerous’ women having undue influence on British politics come May the 8th, if the print and social media are to be believed. Nicola Sturgeon – variously depicted as Miley Cyrus’ ‘wrecking ball’, Putinesque, the woman ‘holding all the aces’ and the ‘most dangerous woman of all’ will be pulling Ed Miliband’s strings. The women’s hug at the end of the Opposition leader’s debate epitomises an apparently ‘red sisterhood’ that will leave the Labour leader defenceless in the face of their collective seductive powers. To make matters worse, Ed’s ‘girly laugh’ (as Guido Fawkes put it) renders him insufficiently manly for the Premiership. All of this might be discounted as election banter, colourful to be sure, but nonetheless underpinned by legitimate concerns about post-election governing arrangements. Be that as it may. Such depictions also re-present Westminster politics as male, opposing and privileging the ‘male-politician-norm’ with the ‘female-politician-pretender’. Continue reading

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Could the SNP block a Labour Budget? No.

Could the SNP block a Labour Budget? No.

Please note that this blog piece was originally published on Colin Talbot’s personal blog on 20 April 2015, and is available here.

By Colin Talbot

The SNP are claiming they can ‘block Labour budgets’, ‘end austerity’ and ‘stop Trident’. Their problem however is simple – most of what they say is based on assuming that Westminster works the same way as Holyrood does for budgeting – and it doesn’t.

There are huge ‘constitutional’ and practical obstacles to implementing the sort of radical challenges to Government tax and spend decisions that the SNP and others seem to be mooting. Continue reading