All Things Politics – w/e 20 September 2013

Furthering on from the Your Britain Your Say initiative each week I’ll be posting the highlights of the main political stories from the week and how if affects us and/or what questions are left to be answered.

Green party and Liberal Democrats annual conference
This week was the start of conference season. It was kicked off with the Green party conference last weekend where Caroline Lucas said that the Green party was the only credible alternative to mainstream parties.
The Liberal Democrats came out with their theme of ‘we are able to Govern’ and ‘we’ve stopped the cycle of blue and red.’ Throughout the week, Liberal Democrats had a change to discuss topics and vote on motions such as race diversity, disability accessibility, have BSL (British Sign Language) as a main language, Trident and many more to give their views on what should or shouldn’t be included in the 2015 manifesto. Of course, the highlight of the week was Nick Clegg’s speech. A lot of journalists described it as ‘statesman like’ which they said was a change as now the Liberals sounded credible having served in Government and were able to make realistic plans for the future of their party. Nick Clegg’s speech lasted 52 minutes where he highlighted the achievements of the Liberal Democrats in Government. An analysis of his speech was done by the Times Newspaper
This weekend we see UKIPs conference and on Sunday, Labours party conference begins. An analysis of these will be feature in next weeks write up.
Burka ban
A controversial issue hit the papers this week after a Judge asked a Muslim lady to remove her burka (veil) in court so that the court could identify her and see her face when being questioned. This led to the Judge asking Parliament to rule on this and whether it is right or wrong for him to have asked for this.
We then hear that a college in Birmingham has banned a student from wearing the Burka in lectures as it disrupts other students learning especially in group work situations and creates a barrier between lecturers and students.
Soon NHS doctors and nurses were spoken about and whether it was appropriate to wear a Burka in those situations.
Many politicians, including the Prime Minister, have responded to this issue but saying ‘each school and workplace has the right to enforce their own uniform policies’ meaning they are entitled to ask women to remove the burka should they see that it is not appropriate in their work environment.
There has been a first reading in the House of Commons of a ‘face covering bill.’ The second reading is to take place in February 2014. The bill can be read here.
Free School Meals
The Liberal Democrat announced a policy which the Government will be putting into place. They will offer free school meals to all 5, 6 and 7 year old in Primary School. This means that in a time of austerity, the Government needs to find £600m.
There have been many discussions on this topic such as:
‘should it not be the parents responsibility to ensure the child eats the right food and is fed well’
‘does this not take away a parent’s choice’
‘why not offer it to all primary school children’
‘it’s a good scheme as many who are entitled to free school meals don’t claim and struggle’
Other viewpoints on free school meals is available on the BBC website here
Scottish independence referendum date released
Scotland’s first Minister, Alex Salmond has released the date for the Scottish referendum on whether Scotland should be independent from Britain. The date is 18 September 2014. 
Prime Minister David Cameron wants Scotland to stay apart of the United Kingdom.

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