In one speech, Obama articulated what a whole field of Republican candidates couldn’t, in a whole campaign.

Donald Trump is an un-American and un-patriotic demagogue, and he isn’t even a proper conservative!

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Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Marco Rubio, Jeb! Bush, Chris Christie, Rand Paul, Carly Fiorina. All fell by the wayside in their attempts to take on Donald Trump during the Republican primary campaign. At some point during the campaign, all tried to paint his views as unpalatable and incompatible with traditional Republican ideology, but had minimal success. Party grandees such as Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan also had a go – with the same result.

On Wednesday, President Obama showed them all how it is done.

In his speech to the Democratic National Convention, he brought with him a strong message of Donald Trump as an individual who is not fit to lead the United States, and who should not be allowed to triumph based on his campaign of fear. It will surely be remembered as one of Obama’s best speeches, a tough ask given his status as one of the best political orators of his generation.

Obama painted an optimistic picture for the future of the United States, a stark contrast to Donald Trump’s dark and alarmist speech last week at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. He took on Trump’s ‘Make America Great Again’ slogan with this:

America is already great. America is already strong. And I promise you, our strength, our greatness, does not depend on Donald Trump.

Obama went on to say that America being great “doesn’t depend on any one person”, a sharp contrast to Trump’s rhetoric in which he has painted himself as the only person capable of leading the country and ‘Making America Great Again’. This vision of citizens working together to ensure the success of the nation echoed the speech Obama made at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston, which first bought him into the public consciousness. In one of his most quoted lines that night in Boston, Obama said: “There’s not a liberal America and a conservative America. There’s the United States of America.” In essence, Obama came to Philadelphia with the same message. One of hope, and collaboration so that all can share in his optimistic vision of the future of America.

Throughout his convention speech, Obama did a far better job of denouncing the views of Trump than any establishment Republicans managed during the primary campaign. In May when Jeb! Bush refused to endorse the candidacy of Trump, he said he was doing so because: “Donald Trump has not demonstrated that temperament or strength of character. And, he is not a consistent conservative. These are all reasons why I cannot support his candidacy.” Obama did far better than Bush:

Look, we Democrats have always had plenty of differences with the Republican Party, and there’s nothing wrong with that; it’s precisely this contest of ideas that pushes our country forward.

But what we heard in Cleveland last week wasn’t particularly Republican — and it sure wasn’t conservative. What we heard was a deeply pessimistic vision of a country where we turn against each other, and turn away from the rest of the world. There were no serious solutions to pressing problems — just the fanning of resentment, and blame, and anger, and hate.

And that is not the America that I know.

Finally a major politician managed to properly articulate the danger and idiocy of Trump’s rhetoric. And to see a Democratic President criticising a Republican candidate for not being conservative enough, well that is quite something.

This takedown of Donald Trump’s campaign did not end there. After praising Hillary Clinton for having “real plans to address the concerns she’s heard from you on the campaign trail,” Obama attacked Trump once again.

And then there’s Donald Trump. He’s not really a plans guy. Not really a facts guy, either. He calls himself a business guy, which is true, but I have to say, I know plenty of businessmen and women who’ve achieved success without leaving a trail of lawsuits, and unpaid workers, and people feeling like they got cheated.

Does anyone really believe that a guy who’s spent his 70 years on this Earth showing no regard for working people is suddenly going to be your champion? Your voice? If so, you should vote for him. But if you’re someone who’s truly concerned about paying your bills, and seeing the economy grow, and creating more opportunity for everyone, then the choice isn’t even close. If you want someone with a lifelong track record of fighting for higher wages, better benefits, a fairer tax code, a bigger voice for workers, and stronger regulations on Wall Street, then you should vote for Hillary Clinton.

Obama’s speech was a triumph. He eviscerated Trump and his fear-mongering campaign, denouncing the billionaire businessman as, “just offering slogans”.

One of the biggest successes of this speech is the way in which it clearly captured the imagination of everyone sitting in the hall. Throughout the convention there have been protests from Bernie Sanders supporters disgruntled that their chosen candidate is not the nominee. Indeed, even earlier in the day during the address of former Secretary of Defense Leon Pannetta, there was audible booing along with chants of “no more war” from sections of the Sanders support. So for Obama to have been able to unite the party somewhat, he has done the campaign of Hillary Clinton a great service.

He managed to denounce Trump as un-American and un-patriotic, hardly characteristics that will endear him to the wider electorate come November, whilst at the same time championing the optimism pitched by the campaign of Hillary Clinton when compared to the pessimism of Donald Trump.

This speech will be remembered as one of Obama’s best, and perhaps even a turning point in this Presidential campaign.

Why Hillary may come to regret her selection of Tim Kaine as running mate.

With several months to go until the Presidential election, Hillary Clinton has selected Tim Kaine as her Vice-Presidential running mate.

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Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine (Photo: Getty Images).

Kaine is currently a United States Senator for Virginia, having previously served as the Governor of Virginia. As a centrist Democrat, his selection has naturally disappointed many on the more liberal side of the Democratic party, namely those who turned out to vote for Bernie Sanders in great numbers during the primary campaign. Kaine is strongly in favour of the sort of free-trade deals which have been strongly attacked by both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump as being harmful to American workers. As well as this, Kaine has stated in the past that he personally opposes abortion, although he has supported a woman’s right to choose. Nonetheless, the fact that he is not from the liberal wing of the Democratic Party has upset some members of this growing faction, who would have preferred a Vice-Presidential nominee closer to the left of the Democratic Party. Perhaps Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, or Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown.

Although Sanders clearly lost the primary election, his supporters will feel that the success of such a left-wing candidate should have had more of an impact upon the Democratic Party’s platform for the upcoming Presidential election. Sanders won just over thirteen million votes, compared to the just under seventeen million won by Hillary. In addition, Sanders won more votes from young people (voters under the age of 25) than Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump combined.

Many of these voters chose Sanders over Clinton as they were disillusioned with politics as usual, one of the same reasons why so many people voted for Donald Trump during the Republican primaries. In recent days, Trump has attempted to court the Sanders supporters who dislike Hillary, highlighting the similarities between Trump and Sanders on issues such as international trade (for example, both strongly oppose TPP).

However, although Trump has been reaching out to Sanders supporters, it would be hugely unexpected if vast numbers of people who voted for Bernie Sanders during the primaries, turned out to vote for Donald Trump during the Presidential election. Ultimately, these voters want a progressive, liberal president and so shouldn’t be voting for Trump. No, the real worry for Hillary is that they turn out to vote for a third-party candidate (potentially Green Party candidate Jill Stein, or Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson) or that they simply stay at home on polling day.

Following the conclusion of the Republican Party Convention, Donald Trump crept into the lead in CNN’s post-convention opinion polls, polling 48 per cent to Clinton’s 45 per cent. Although polling will likely swing back in the direction of Hillary following the conclusion of this week’s Democratic Party Convention, the Presidential race remains on a knife edge. Indeed, when third-party candidates Gary Johnson and Jill Stein are included as options in polling, Clinton’s share drops to 39 per cent, with Trump on 44 per cent, showing just how close this year’s Presidential race has become.

With Green Party candidate Jill Stein solidly polling around three per cent, she clearly is not going to become President. However, she certainly has the ability to take enough votes away from Hillary to stop her becoming President. This would somewhat mirror what occurred during the 2000 Presidential Election, where Green Party candidate Ralph Nader took just enough votes in Florida away from Democratic candidate Al Gore to hand the Presidency to Republican candidate George W. Bush.

Given the danger of a similar thing happening to Hillary, you would have thought that she would choose a candidate from the left side of the party in order to guard against this. However, she instead selected a Democrat from a Southern state, probably in an attempt to sweep up some of the traditional Republican vote who are unimpressed by Trump. In addition, Kaine is a fluent Spanish speaker and so Clinton will hope that this will help the campaign capitalise upon Trump’s anti-Hispanic rhetoric. However, although the Trump campaign has been divisive amongst Republicans, it seems that even though Republicans are not united in their choice of candidate, they are united in their hatred of Hillary. You only had to see the massed ranks of Republicans with placards reading ‘Hillary for Prison 2016’ as well as the chants of ‘Lock her up’ during the Republican Party Convention in Cleveland, to see that it seems unlikely that Hillary will be able to gain the votes of many lapsed Republicans during the Presidential election. Instead, she should have focused her strategy upon appeasing the growing left-wing element in the Democratic Party and ensuring that these people turn out to vote for her.

Whilst Hillary Clinton’s selection of Tim Kaine as her running mate could be considered a ‘safe’ choice in some respects — Kaine is tested at every level of public office, he is a solidly Democratic politician who has the ability to be elected in Southern states, and he is a good public speaker — it is unlikely to be a move that excites the base of liberal support built up by the Sanders campaign. The loud booing that accompanied Bernie Sanders Philadelphia speech supporting Hillary’s campaign suggests that many of his supporters feel that by endorsing her, Sanders has sold out his principles. Given the way these people feel, it is hard to see them casting a vote for Hillary come November. Instead, they will either stay at home or vote for a third-party candidate. Both of these scenarios have the potential to be disastrous for Hillary’s campaign. In a race as close as this, turnout is king, and if the Clinton campaign cannot get a strong turnout from the young liberals who supported Sanders during the primaries, then they will lose. Equally, previous presidential elections have shown what can happen when a third-party candidate can gain a groundswell of support around the United States. Perhaps the best example of this is the independent candidacy of businessman Ross Perot in the 1992 Presidential Election. Although he failed to gain any electoral college votes, Perot won 18.9 per cent of the vote. He took votes from both sides, but his right-of-centre stance took more support from Republican candidate and incumbent President George H.W. Bush, than it did from Democratic challenger (and eventual victor) Bill Clinton. Given Bill Clinton’s experience in 1992, it seems surprising that Hillary Clinton has not chosen a VP nominee with a scenario like this in mind. Maybe she feels as though there is a little chance of a similar situation occurring. If this is the case, then she is being complacent. She is not universally popular, with some Democrats wishing for a more liberal figure as their nominee, whilst she has become a figure of hate for supporters of the Republican Party (particularly after the FBI investigation into her use of a private email server during her time as Secretary of State). In addition, Donald Trump has remained popular a lot longer than most commentators believed, and has shown no sign of losing the support he has built up thus far.

Given this set of circumstances, Hillary should be doing everything she can to unite the Democratic Party for the campaign ahead. For Hillary to have done this properly, she should have picked a ‘firebrand’ liberal as her running mate, in order to appease the ‘Bernie or Bust’ members of the Democratic Party. Although Tim Kaine is an impressive politician, he will not unite the Democratic Party in the same way that someone like Elizabeth Warren, Sherrod Brown, or even Bernie Sanders himself, may have been able to do.

Therefore, the decision to select Senator Tim Kaine as her nominee for Vice-President, is one that Hillary Clinton could come to regret come the conclusion of the Presidential Election in November.

Despite avoiding indictment, could Hillary Clinton’s emails lose her the Presidential election?

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On 6 July Loretta Lynch, the U.S. Attorney General, confirmed that Hillary Clinton would not face federal charges as a result of the FBI investigation into her use of a private email server during her time as Secretary of State. This came after the Director of the FBI, James Comey, concluded his report into the investigation by recommending that federal charges would not be appropriate. This federal investigation had been hanging over Clinton’s head for many months and had she faced charges, then this would undoubtedly have derailed her campaign and made it near-impossible for her to win the Presidency. Therefore, the decision not to charge her would have perhaps been expected to smooth the road between Hillary Clinton and the Presidency.

However, despite James Comey’s recommendation that Clinton face no charges, he did deliver a strong rebuke of her behaviour during her time as Secretary of State. During his statement on 5 July, Comey stated:

Although we did not find evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, classified information.

None of these e-mails should have been on any kind of unclassified system, but their presence is especially concerning because all of these e-mails were housed on unclassified personal servers not even supported by full-time security staff, like those found at Departments or Agencies of the U.S. Government — or even with a commercial service like Gmail.

The use of the phrase ‘extremely careless’ has been seized upon by Republican nominee Donald Trump and his supporters to highlight what they believe makes Hillary Clinton unfit to be President of the United States. Although most on the Democratic side would simply dismiss this as Trump propaganda, it does now seem to be having an effect upon the wider electorate.

In the most recent poll undertaken by The New York Times and CBS News, Clinton has seen the lead she held evaporate. The new poll puts Clinton and Trump neck-and-neck on 40 per cent each, whereas the previous polling from the same organisations gave Clinton a six point lead.

In addition, the polling also suggests that the electorate feel that Hillary Clinton is untrustworthy with the same polling indicating that 67 per cent of the electorate believe that she is not honest or trustworthy. This tallies with a recent Pew Research Centre poll which suggested that Trump and Clinton are the most dishonest Presidential candidates in recent history. In that particular poll, nineteen per cent of voters said that they considered Trump to be honest, whilst only thirteen per cent of voters said that they considered Clinton to be honest. It would perhaps be expected that this would severely reduce Clinton’s chances of becoming President. However, research from the American National Election Studies suggests that actually, honesty does not win presidential elections. The data suggests that since the 1988 Presidential election, there has been only one occasion where the candidate deemed to be more honest, actually won. This was in 2000, when George W. Bush defeated incumbent Vice President, Al Gore. Therefore it is perhaps safe to say, that if we go by precedent, this perception of dishonesty should not hurt Hillary Clinton too much.

What will perhaps be more worrying to Clinton is that she seems to be losing her poll lead in the crucial swing states. Polling by Quinnipiac University shows that Clinton has lost her eight point lead over Trump in Florida, with Trump now leading in the State by 42–39. In Ohio, the race is still too close to call with both candidates tied on 41 per cent. In addition, in Pennsylvania, Clinton has lost her one per cent lead in the polls, with Trump now leading by 43–41. Admittedly the polling by Quinnipiac University has not yielded especially good results for Clinton all year. However, the polls this time around were particularly bad for Clinton.

Couple this with the polling from The New York Times and CBS News discussed earlier and it seems that the Clinton campaign is struggling somewhat, with support for Clinton beginning to stagnate. The polling conducted by The New York Times and CBS News had given Clinton comfortable leads throughout the race. Therefore, for her support to drop quite so significantly suggests only one thing.

With this polling having coincided with the release of the report into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, then surely the conclusion must be drawn that the electorate are being influenced by what they perceive as Clinton’s dishonesty.

Of course, it is hard to predict whether the verdict regarding Clinton’s emails will lead to a prolonged slump in the polls, or whether it will simply be a short term knock to Clinton’s popularity. In any case, it is hardly what she needs given her current campaign progress.

Hillary Clinton would have hoped to have stormed into a strong lead by now. When you consider that much of the Trump vote during the primaries was made up of people who do not usually vote, there should have been a large part of the electorate that Clinton could sweep up by pitching herself as the only serious candidate in the race. However, the polling indicates that thus far she has been unable to do this. In addition, Clinton was facing a candidate who had never run in a national election before. With both these factors taken into account, you would expect someone of Hillary Clinton’s experience to be storming into the lead. However, perhaps the fact that she has not done this, shows just how significant the anti-politics mood in the United States, and around the world, could prove to this Presidential race.

Hillary Clinton will hope that the Democratic National Convention in just under two weeks time will afford her a much needed bump in the polls. It is usual for candidates to receive a bump in the polls following the announcement of their Vice Presidential pick during the Convention. Even John McCain received a significant bump in the polls following his comedy VP pick of Sarah Palin, and Hillary Clinton will hope for the same sort of response.

In addition, Clinton will be hoping that gaining the endorsement of Bernie Sanders helps her gain the traction with young people which she has been lacking thus far in the campaign. Data from the Centre for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) revealed that up to the end of March, Sanders had won more votes from young people (voters aged under-30) than Clinton and Trump combined. Therefore, his endorsement could be key in terms of Clinton being able to gain the support of this large part of the electorate, and therefore could be crucial to the ultimate election result. Clinton will hope that Sanders’ endorsement dissuades young voters from backing Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, Green Party candidate Jill Stein, or simply remaining at home on polling day. Although no third-party candidate has won the presidency, the presence of third parties can often cause problems for the frontrunners. In 2000, it was estimated that if Green Party candidate Ralph Nader had not been on the ballot, then Democrat Al Gore would have won Florida and therefore won the presidency. Therefore, Clinton must be wary of these individuals. However, with young people such a reliable demographic for Sanders during the primary campaign, Clinton will hope that the enthusiasm which this group gained from Sanders’ candidacy will translate into Democratic votes come November.

Whichever way you look at it, Hillary Clinton has not coasted through this election campaign as many predicted that she would. It is clear that she has a lot more to do if she is to persuade the American electorate to back her as their President. Contrary to what I, and most others believed, it also does not seem as though support for Donald Trump is evaporating. He now seems as though he will provide a genuine challenge to Hillary Clinton throughout the remainder of the election campaign. With this, as well as her issues with the email scandal and her popularity with young voters, it is clear that Hillary Clinton has a fight on her hands if she is to become the next President of the United States.

Theresa May looks to seize the centre ground.

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With Theresa May making her first speech as Prime Minister and choosing her first cabinet, she has finally offered a glimpse of what her policies as Prime Minister could look like. 


With her appointments to the major roles in her first cabinet it was clear that Theresa May was aiming to make good on her promise to reunite the Conservative Party following the bloody referendum campaign. With high-profile figures from both the Remain and Leave camps appointed to key positions within the cabinet, May has looked to appease the warring factions within the party. Indeed, perhaps most notably Amber Rudd and Boris Johnson, who clashed so explosively in the first referendum tv debate, were both given plum roles in cabinet. Whilst veteran Eurosceptic David Davis, who had previously been extremely critical of Theresa May over her stance on civil liberties, was made the new Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union. This move, as well as the appointment of Liam Fox as Secretary of State for International Trade, is likely to do much to appease the often troublesome Conservative backbenchers. Overall, it could be said that the ideology of the cabinet has shifted to the right somewhat, with the discarding of Tory modernisers like George Osborne, Michael Gove, and Oliver Letwin, part of the so-called ‘Notting Hill set’.

But, whereas the cabinet has shifted right, Theresa May’s rhetoric in her first speech as Prime Minister was distinctly left of centre. May stated:

If you’re from an ordinary working-class family, life is much harder than many people in Westminster realise.


The Government I lead will be driven, not by the interests of the privileged few but by yours.


When it comes to taxes we will prioritise not the wealthy, but you.

With such a strong commitment to the themes of social justice and inequality, it was clear that May was attempting to seize the political centre ground, admittedly relatively simple in the absence of an electable opposition. However, at times it was difficult to distinguish between some of the themes of her speech and the themes of Ed Miliband’s 2015 electoral pitch. This tallies with some of the commentary on May’s speeches during the short leadership campaign, with The Daily Telegraph describing her proposed curbs on big business as ‘rehashed Milibandism’. This suggests that Theresa May is looking to take advantage of the lack of a viable centre-left party, persuading any swing voters that their only viable option is to vote Conservative. This may also be a sign that another general election is imminent: either in the autumn or early in the new year.

Ultimately, it is difficult to know what way Theresa May’s policy will go during her time as Prime Minister. However, taking into account her complete overhaul of the cabinet, as well as yesterday’s speech, it seems that Theresa May’s administration will take a completely different path to David Cameron’s.

Labour rebels would be foolish not to unite around one candidate.

Splitting the anti-Corbyn vote would be suicidal to their chances of deposing the incumbent party leader.

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With Owen Smith announcing that he would enter the Labour leadership contest and challenge incumbent Jeremy Corbyn, there are now three names on the ballot paper for the forthcoming leadership election. Former Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Smith, joins former Shadow Secretary of State for Business Angela Eagle in challenging Corbyn. Both have launched their campaigns on the grounds that they can unite the party and heal the divisions which have opened up in the months following the election of Corbyn as the party leader. However, this promise to heal divisions within the party loses credence when it becomes apparent that the rebels cannot even agree upon who should challenge Corbyn for the leadership.

In the last Labour leadership election Jeremy Corbyn strolled to victory, winning 59.5 per cent of the first preference vote. The rebels insist that Corbyn’s support has declined to such an extent that he is beatable in the forthcoming leadership challenge. However, even with just one challenger taking part in the contest, the rebels are relying upon a significant swing away from Corbyn in order to depose him. For the original challenger Angela Eagle to have defeated Corbyn, she would have required a swing of around ten percent away from the current leader. In recent YouGov polling, data suggests that Corbyn retains enough support to defeat any challenger by a margin of around 50–47. However, this margin increases when potential challengers for the leadership are suggested. Polling undertaken at the same time suggests that Corbyn would defeat Angela Eagle by a margin of 50–40, with 10 per cent of those surveyed responding ‘don’t know’ or ‘would not vote’. This polling suggests that even when there is just one candidate opposing Corbyn, they are fighting a losing battle.

Therefore, it seems foolish that Owen Smith has also decided to enter the race. Surely all this will achieve is to split the anti-Corbyn vote? This would make it near-impossible for Corbyn to be defeated in the upcoming leadership challenge. In actual fact, Owen Smith is a more credible candidate for the leadership than Angela Eagle. Having only entered Parliament in the 2010 General Election, he is not tainted by Labour’s time in Government and so would be in a better place to win a future general election. Although having said this, Smith may be a better candidate than Eagle, but he is still a sub-par candidate overall.

In this case he has dithered too long, and by entering the leadership election at this stage, all his presence will do is split the anti-Corbyn vote. In turn, this will guarantee Jeremy Corbyn as the Leader of the Labour Party for the foreseeable future.

Ultimately, whoever challenges Corbyn seemingly has little chance of beating him. It seems likely that Corbyn will win the leadership challenge, and that this will serve to renew his mandate as party leader.

Following this, the moderate elements of the Labour Party will be forced to split if they wish to be seen as a credible option in any future general election. Overall, this would be their best option. Rather than putting their energy into promoting sub-par candidates to usurp Jeremy Corbyn as Leader of the Labour Party, they should look to form a new party that can seize the centre-ground and offer the UK the credible opposition that has been so lacking for the past ten months.

Hammond and Osborne should be the first names on May’s teamsheet.

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On Wednesday, David Cameron will take part in his last session of Prime Minister’s Questions before handing over the Prime Ministerial baton to Theresa May. Upon taking office May will almost certainly make significant changes to the existing Cabinet, with key allies such as Damian Green, Chris Grayling, and James Brokenshire potentially being promoted into big cabinet jobs.

One person who will be less sure of their position is George Osborne. Given Theresa May’s recent criticism of economic policy under the leadership of David Cameron and George Osborne, it seems likely that Osborne’s six year tenure as Chancellor of the Exchequer has come to an end. On Sunday May said:

For a Government that has overseen a lot of public service reforms in the last six years, it is striking that, by comparison, there has not been nearly as much deep economic reform. That needs to change.

This suggests that Theresa May intends to take a rather different strategy in terms of her economic policy, meaning that Osborne’s position as Chancellor is now untenable. You may think that this means the end of Osborne’s government career, and that he will be discarded from the cabinet to serve on the backbenches for the remainder of the Parliament. However, there is still a role that he could fill in Theresa May’s top team.

The overwhelming favourite to become the new Chancellor of the Exchequer is current Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond. Hammond has vast cabinet experience as Transport Secretary, Defence Secretary, and Foreign Secretary, and has also served as shadow Chief Secretary of the Treasury, making him ideally placed to take over as Chancellor. In addition, Hammond was a strong supporter of May during her ultimately short campaign for the Conservative party leadership. This leaves a vacancy at the Foreign Office which can be filled by Osborne.

Although there would likely be an outcry amongst the Conservative MPs who campaigned to leave the European Union that two supporters of the remain campaign are given the top jobs in the new government, the experience of Hammond and Osborne will be vital for the new government. The UK’s shortage of trade negotiators has been well publicised in recent weeks, with this shortage caused by the fact that it has been many years since the UK has been in a position of having to negotiate its own trade deals. Previously this was left to the relevant department of the European Union. With no potential cabinet members with experience of making trade deals, the international experience of Hammond and Osborne will be vital to the new government. Both have extensive experience of travelling abroad on government business, and both have cultivated strong relationships with their international counterparts. When it comes to negotiating international trade deals in the near future these relationships could be crucial. Although Theresa May has pledged to appoint a Secretary of State for Brexit (most likely Chris Grayling), Hammond and Osborne could be significant assets when it comes to negotiating with countries outside of Europe. Most importantly: Canada, China, India, and the United States.

Indeed, George Osborne is currently in the United States promoting closer US-UK relations, whilst he has also been promoting increased trade with the likes of China and India.

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Given that Osborne has already begun to promote Britain’s cause around the world, he would seem an obvious choice to become the new Foreign Secretary. This is a move that David Cameron himself was strongly considering had he remained as Prime Minister following a win in the EU Referendum.

In addition, Osborne reserved strong praise for Theresa May after she became the presumptive Prime Minister, indicating that he was willing to put behind him their previous disagreements upon cuts to public spending, as well as his keenness to continue in the cabinet.

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Therefore, despite the likely anger this will provoke amongst the Brexiteers (given that Osborne is hated for his prominent role in the remain campaign), Theresa May should make Osborne the new Foreign Secretary as his relationships with other world leaders will prove crucial in Britain being able to make strong trade deals in the years to come.

As for Philip Hammond, there are few individuals who are as qualified for the second highest office in the government. Hammond has frequently been described as boring. In January, The Times described him as ‘Mr Boring’, whilst in February The Guardian described him as ‘Dull Phil’. But, in this time of great upheaval, perhaps boring (and more importantly: competent) is exactly what is needed as Chancellor.

Overall, Hammond and Osborne should remain in the government when Theresa May announces her cabinet in the next few days. Although both backed the losing remain campaign (meaning that their appointment may prove divisive amongst those who backed Leave), they have significant experience in cultivating international relations and some continuity of personnel is exactly what is needed in this time of great uncertainty.

Surely a split in the Labour Party is now inevitable?

What would a new “third party” mean for British politics and is electoral reform the only way to achieve it?

With the ongoing discontent within the Parliamentary Labour Party, it seems inevitable that at some point there will be a split. What has become apparent in recent weeks is that the ideological standpoint of the vast majority of Labour members is considerably different to the majority of the party’s MPs, and as of this moment, it does not seem likely that this can be reconciled.

Ultimately, the likes of Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell on the left of the Labour Party are never going to properly agree with those on the right of the party, the so-called ‘Blairites’. Given the influx of new members before and since the election of Corbyn as the party leader, it now seems highly unlikely that an MP considered to be from the right of the party will ever have a chance of being elected as the party leader in the future. Indeed it has been said that with the ideology of the new membership taken into account, no MP who voted for the Iraq War or air strikes in Syria will have any real chance of becoming party leader in the future.

Although there have been attempts to persuade new members to join the Labour Party in an attempt to vote against Corbyn in the event of a leadership challenge, it appears that these have been largely unsuccessful in altering the balance of power. It has been suggested that around eighty per cent of the new joiners are supporters of Corbyn as leader. From this evidence, it seems highly unlikely that those on the right of the party will ever be able to exert any sort of real control over the party’s policy platform in the years to come.

In order to remedy this somewhat, those on the right of the party are looking to promote a ‘soft left’ candidate to challenge Corbyn for the leadership, in the hope that this concession will give them a greater chance of winning. At the moment is seems as though Angela Eagle is the most likely challenger, with the name of Owen Smith having also been mentioned. Both resigned from Labour’s Shadow Cabinet following the raft of resignations which followed the EU Referendum. Although Eagle is apparently more high-profile, Smith would perhaps have a better chance of finding favour with previously pro-Corbyn members given that he voted against the Iraq War. However, from what Smith has said, it sounds as though he may only run if Corbyn is not on the ballot, which as of this moment is looking unlikely.

However, despite challenges to Corbyn’s leadership being prepared it seems highly unlikely that they will be successful. It has been suggested that in the event of a leadership challenge, then Corbyn will have a place on the ballot, no matter what. Given that the vast majority of Labour members (particularly those who have recently joined the party) seem to strongly support Corbyn, it seems likely that he will be able to defeat any challenger with ease. Given this situation, it seems highly likely that those on the right of the party will be unable to remove Corbyn in the near future and turn the party into an electoral force once again. There seems very little chance that Corbyn will be able to win an election in 2020 and therefore very little chance that the Labour Party will be able to regain power with Corbyn at the helm. However it seems that the party membership are not particularly bothered about this issue, and that they would rather retain Corbyn as leader at all cost, even if it means years in the political wilderness. Given this, those on the right of the Labour Party have no choice but to act now if they want to offer any resistance to what is already seeming like a near certain victory for the Conservative Party at the next general election, especially given that the Conservative Party will be reunited under the leadership of new Prime Minister Theresa May.

Therefore, there is surely a very real possibility of a split and the formation of a new party comprising those MPs who have been disaffected by Corbyn’s leadership. In the recent vote of no confidence in Corbyn, 172 MPs voted in favour of the motion. Therefore, it is difficult to see how the situation can be reconciled, making a split inevitable. If Corbyn wins then the right of the party will split off. But, if Corbyn loses then potentially the left of the party will split off, given that the whole episode has proved that the two factions cannot work together or even exist together in the same party.


In The Times on Tuesday, Rachel Sylvester wrote that there is a growing number of MPs, Peers, and advisers who “now believe that it is time to start again with a new party of the centre left”. Following the result in the EU Referendum it has been said that a former cabinet minister has talked of the possibility of a “party of the 48 per cent”. If the MPs on the right of the party were to split from Corbyn’s Labour and create a new centre left party which was: pro-Europe, pro-business, but also socially and economically liberal, then there would be great opportunities for gaining a strong share of the vote. It has also been reported that Tim Farron is keen for the Liberal Democrats to merge with any new party as he believes that the Liberal Democrat name has been tainted by the time spent in coalition and that a change is required if they are ever to gain power.

One issue for any new party would be the Labour name. The name of the Labour Party is so ingrained within the minds of the electorate that it would be expected that at least 20 per cent of the electorate will vote “Labour” regardless of the cricumstances, and simply because they always have done and don’t know anything different. By the same rationale you would expect there to always be at least a 20 per cent share of the vote for the Conservative Party regardless of the circumstances. This suggests that retaining the name of the Labour Party would be of vital importance to any ‘rebels’ wishing to break off and form another party more in line with their ideology. However, surely there is also an argument for completely breaking with the name. Arguably the policy changes enacted by Jeremy Corbyn will have damaged the standing of the Labour Party amongst centrist voters to such an extent that a clean break (i.e. the formation of a brand new party) may be better, or potentially a merger with the Liberal Democrats. A new party such as this could be rebranded as ‘The Democrats’ and organised similarly to their namesakes in the United States, with policies that appeal to those who are right and left of centre.

Any merger of the right of the Labour Party with the Liberal Democrats would allow a new centrist party to be formed. This would potentially attract people from across the political spectrum, Labour MPs from the right of the party as well as potentially MPs from the left of the Conservative Party. This could have been particularly likely if Andrea Leadsom were to be elected the leader of the Conservative Party, which would have put us in the strange situation of both major parties being led by someone only backed by a third of their party’s respective MPs. However, the leadership victory of Theresa May surely secures the continued existence and reunification of the Conservative Party in its current form.

The potential for splits in the major parties perhaps explains the recent push towards a support of electoral reform amongst MPs from across the political spectrum. Over the past few months, it has become ever more clear that the likes of Chuka Umunna and John McDonnell agree upon little. However one thing they do agree upon is that the UK needs a more proportional electoral system. On 2 June in his column in The Guardian, Owen Jones argued that these figures from both sides of the Labour Party were “uniting in order to divorce”. As Jones goes on to say:

It is worth asking the question. If Labour did not exist, would Corbyn and Peter Mandelson join forces to found it? If the Conservatives were founded tomorrow would it really be an alliance between Cameron and John Redwood? Britain has fragmented, and so has politics — but the electoral system makes us pretend otherwise. For both Labour and Tory warring sides, proportional representation would set them free.

The growing differences within the major UK parties highlight a need for a new party in Britain comprising those closer to the political centre ground. Although the adoption of a more proportional electoral system would be highly likely to lead to a greater chance of hung parliaments in the future, what it would also do is lead to more collaborative Parliament. Parties would be forced to compromise and work together which would lead to a Government which worked for the majority of people in the UK.

Wouldn’t it be better if those of the right of the Labour Party, and those on the left of the Conservative Party were instead standing for a party which better matched their ideology. It would be a move that could restore the faith of the public in politicians. Politicians could no longer be seen simply as careerists but as people who were truly standing for what they believed in. Overall, the main parties splitting would provide significant long-term benefit to the UK’s political system.


Tim Montgomerie has also previously imagined changes in the party system in December 2013 column for The Times. Montgomerie imagines the UK being made of of four new parties: the left-wing Solidarity Party; the centre-left Liberal Party; the centre-right National Party; and the right-wing Freedom Party.

Tim Montgomerie’s re-imagining of UK Politics (The Times, 2013).

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Tim Montgomerie’s reimagining of British politics (The Times, 2013).
The type of party that the Labour rebels need to form in order to have a chance of being electorally successful is a Liberal Party. If they are able to create a party that can attract the so-called ‘Blairites’ of the Labour Party, as well as the Liberal Democrats, and potentially even some ‘Osbornite’ Conservatives, then this could be the party which governs in Britain for the foreseeable future.

Of course, the success of any new party may rely upon the adoption of proportional representation as the UK’s electoral system. Although the Liberal Democrats have shown signs of a resurgence with an increase in members following the EU Referendum and some wins in the council elections, there is little evidence that a centrist, third-party would be able to win a significant number of seats under our first-past-the-post system. The perennial problem of the Liberal Democrats was coming second in a great many seats but winning few, a similar problem that befell Ukip during the 2015 General Election. Therefore, for any third-party to properly flourish, electoral reform would be a necessity. Unfortunately as Jones rightly states, in any campaign for electoral reform, “voters would be subjected to a fear campaign portraying PR as a vote for 60 Ukip MPs.” Whilst this may have been the case during the 2015 general election, it remains to be seen whether Ukip will retain their popularity following the EU Referendum result, particularly given that they are a one issue party. In any case, whatever your feelings regarding Ukip, an electoral system where certain parties are unable to win seats due to their vote not being concentrated in one place is an unjust system. Rather than support a system which doesn’t allow the views of the whole country to be heard, a proportional system would allow people’s differing views to be properly and rationally debated.


Ultimately, a new party or a revamping of the Liberal Democrats would serve the UK extremely well, and there could be real appetite for a new party from the electorate. If a party could be created that was pro-business, pro-Europe and economically liberal, as well as being willing to act to reduce immigration and not totally opposed to overseas military intervention; then I imagine this party would garner a great degree of support from the UK electorate.

There looks to be no chance of Jeremy Corbyn stepping down in the near future. If he continues until the next general election then the Labour Party will easily suffer the worst electoral defeat of its history. Regardless of your political preference it can surely be agreed that continuing not to have a proper opposition to scrutinise the decisions of the government would be bad for the UK as a parliamentary democracy.

Therefore, if those on the right of the party want to gain power again and want to make a difference, then they would have no choice but to act now and form a new liberal party or defect to the existing Liberal Democrats. A party such a this may struggle without a proportional electoral system, but there is also a chance that they could flourish regardless. A “party of the 48 per cent” should be an exciting prospect for any potential defector, given that it would surely garner support from the electorate.

Overall, in order to make our democracy work properly, a strong opposition is desperately needed. It has become clear that this is not going to come from Jeremy Corbyn. Therefore, the moderate elements of the Labour must split in order for a new party to be formed that can properly scrutinise the actions of government.