Election time is with us once again, this time in two years we will be entangled in the final preparations for a general election, and today it seems that UKIP have made their biggest statement yet that they can knock the big-three off their pedestal.
Obviously this doesn’t fit into the scope of my review of April’s affairs but please permit me this minor divergence. For the second by-election in a row, the second in a matter of three months, UKIP have gained the second highest amount of votes and surpassed the Conservatives.
This, combined with the substantial inroads they have made on the local council scene, signals a potentially momentous shift in right-wing politics. Personally, I would say that in the long run the Conservatives aren’t in any serious danger of being ousted as the top dog of right-wing politics, but UKIP’s British Bulldog mentality may certainly serve to be a real hindrance to the Conservatives’ ambition for a majority in 2015.
Moving on to the bulk of my review, and the month of April was a volatile and also saddening month for politics in the UK and across the globe. Obviously, in the UK this was significantly due to the death of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. The life and death of Baroness Thatcher has provoked widespread debate and reaction over the past month, I do not want to involve myself in these discussions, but instead credit two features of her political career that most of us can agree were exceptional to Margaret Thatcher. Firstly, the fact that she was the head of an elected Conservative government for eleven years- an incredible feat of longevity- and the first female Prime Minister, which surely has aided the cause of women both in politics and in society as a whole.
In terms of international politics during the month of April, we have witnessed the growing threats of North Korea to destabilise international convention by employing nuclear weaponry against the West. Over the past couple of weeks it seems as though these threats have been hollow, with scaremongering and harmful rhetoric rather than physical action being the continued plan of Kim Jong-Un. Nevertheless, North Korea’s decision to restart their nuclear facilities, including their uranium enrichment facility in Yongbyon, is an ominous sign for the future, and a pre-emptive strike from America is never a suggestion that can be shrugged off lightly. The international community needs to be firmer with North Korea, especially China, and sanctions need to tighten, the last situation anyone wants is a modern repeat of the Korean War. But the state of affairs in North Korea is clearly one of the most unstable in global society; it needs to be handled with care by both America, China, and the rest of the international community.
Moving on to Backbench Article of the Month for April and the most read article during the month and a strong contender for the award was new Commentator Sarah Hayford’s piece ‘Why politics should be taught in schools’; a topic which is close to the hearts of quite a number of our Commentators and one which seems will continue to be a pertinent issue addressed by the site. Sam Kenward’s first Cabinet piece was also a very enjoyable read, setting the scene nicely for some of the key discussion topics in the world of health of the coming months. Despite these challenges however, I have decided to award Article of the Month for April to Marc Winsland and his article, ‘Politics is too Important for Politicians’. The article was a passionate call to arms, expressing the need for the general public not to sit back in an apathetic malaise but to take action and change politics in the ways which they see fit- an inspiring piece and one which reflects the pursuit of our PoliticsMatters campaign, which will hopefully be in full flow in under two months’ time.
While the praise is flowing, I just want to also congratulate our newly appointed Backbench Cabinet members on their recent appointments, we have already seen some brilliant pieces and I’m sure there will be many more to come over the next six months.
Therefore, the month of April leaves me with just one thing left to say…
By Sam Bright