Jonathan Bartley's blog

The economic case for a hung parliament

The political case is being made strongly for a hung parliament which could bring significant and much needed reform. Polls suggest that voters would prefer it to a Labour or Conservative majority government. The economic scaremongering has also been fact-checked and found wanting. There are some economic analysts now positively making the financial case:

In an article 'Would a hung Parliament be best for the UK economy?' a number of commentators suggest "yes".

Bookies cash in on TV election debates about future of society's poorest

Ahead of Thursday's election debate between the leaders of the three biggest parties, bookmakers are announcing how they are cashing in and encouraging people to gamble on the result.

David Cameron is emerging as the 'favourite' to 'win' the live debate during which the leaders will discuss issues that will affect millions of vulnerable people in the UK including asylum seekers, the elderly, the disabled and people in poverty.

Labour promises Restorative Justice Act and expansion of ‘youth pastors’

In his big speech in March on “crime and anti-social behaviour” Gordon Brown made not so much as a hint at anything in the restorative justice field. We pointed this out, and suggested he was missing a trick.

The new Labour manifesto however promises a Restorative Justice Act:

Grading new Tory plans to tackle homophobic bullying in schools...#fail

Coinciding with the demonstration outside Conservative HQ this afternoon, George Osborne has announced new plans to tackle homophobic bullying in faith schools.

In summary they are:

• Freeing heads to exclude homophobic bullies

• Giving teachers the power to stop violent homophobic incidents (“Teachers are often unable to break up violent homophobic bullying because of the lack of clarity over use of force”)

• New guidance on bullying aggravated by prejudice (“non-violent bullying aggravated by prejudice like homophobia should result in tougher punishments than other forms of persistently disruptive behaviour...we believe that all forms of violent bullying should continue to lead to some form of exclusion”)

• Recording incidents of homophobic abuse

One Green gain in Westminster could be 'swiftly followed' by more

Caroline Lucas has said that if one or more Green MPs is elected on 6th May, more would "swiftly follow" at future elections.

Speaking on BBC1's Andrew Marr Show this morning she talked of a "real possibility" the Greens would get their first MP in Westminster come the general election.

Churches being co-opted through the election

Steve Chalke was on Radio 4’s Sunday Programme this morning suggesting the churches should stop ‘bleating’ (his word) about their loss of power and influence at the general election. He also explained that he had refused to sign the ‘Westminster Declaration’ signed by conservative church leaders, on the basis that churches should not present themselves as holding the ‘balance of power’ or as a religious block to be won over by the parties. (It's also very narrow in focus)

Alex Salmond highlights 'decline' of Commons and role of hung parliament

In a YouTube video, Alex Salmond - who is retiring from the House of Commons after 23 years - has echoed the words of Clare Short on Radio 4 yesterday about the decline of the House of Commons, and how smaller parties might help in a hung/balanced Parliament scenario.

Clare Short: 'Hung Parliament is what we need'

Clare Short has become the latest political figure to suggest that a hung or ‘balanced’ Parliament would be a very positive thing.

Giving the independents a voice

Total Politics has a short interview with Luke Wilkins who saved up his McDonald’s wages to run as an independent for Parliament.

At 18 years old, he made a few headlines recently when it emerged he had collected together his £4.65 an hour wage from his job at McDonald's to raise the £500 deposit needed to stand.

He is one of hundreds of independents who will be standing at this election. Many will be doing so as part of the new Independent Network, which quotes our research as part of its background and inspiration. It has been set up to provide support to the people who have no party machines behind them and so usually start from a natural disadvantage.

Tory tax policy on marriage will please no one

As predicted a few days ago, the detail of the Tory policy on tax breaks for married couples which has just been announced, looks like pleasing no one.