The 3 most important responsibilities in the House of Commons

26 Feb

In the House of Commons we find the members of parliament (MPs). There are 650 members, each representing their own constituencies. The House of Commons has a lot of different tasks and responsibilities and I am going to list the 3 I think is the most important.

Firstly, the House of Commons are often described as the heart of the parliament and democracy. This is where new bills are read out for the first time and worked with. When the  House of Commons have made a refreshed outline of the bill they send it over to the House of Lords who makes corrections as well. When they think the bill looks about right they send it back to the House of Commons. When they get it back, they go over what this bill really means and when they are happy with the bill it gets presented to the Queen who will make the law official. New laws is one of the most important responsibilities the House of Commons have.

The public is also allowed into the chamber to watch the House when they have meetings. They can see their elected MP in action and can control their work. The press is also allowed in and that way they have a certain control of the MPs as well as the government. Sometimes they also have question time where it’s possible to ask the government and the prime minister questions. By having the House of Commons where you have the government on the one side and the opposition on the other it also makes it easier to question and  scrutinize the government.

It is also very important to remember that the members of the House of Commons are working for you. They are members of parliament elected by the people and they are obligated to do what the people living in their constituencies think is right, at least they should if they want to be re-elected. As a member of a constituency you have the right to be in touch with your MP. You could either call, e-mail, write a letter or see him or her in person when they are back at their local office. By being elected by the people they are referred to as the heart of democracy in the UK.

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/House_of_Commons_of_the_United_Kingdom

http://annmichaelsen.com/2015/02/23/the-uk-election-2015-and-the-european-parliament/

Lions for Lambs

12 Feb

Today we watched “Lions for Lambs”, a american drama film from 2007 about the war in Afghanistan. The movie includes two soldiers in Afghanistan, a college professor and one of his students, a journalist and an American senator.

The two soldiers are in Afghanistan fighting Taliban. They are a part of a new military operation set to life by the American senator Irving. The plan behind the new operation is that they are going to work in smaller groups and try to occupy specific areas who will give them benefits in the war. They has their eye on an important mountain who will give them an 360 degree outlook of the wally, and needs to get this under american control before the Taliban gets there. Meanwhile, back in the US senator Irving has made an appointment with an well known journalist. He gives her a whole hour and there is no one to stop her from asking certain questions. The Senator wants to get a proper story out to the people about this new plan to end the war against terror and the Afghan War. The journalist is asking a lot of questions, trying to fully understand the sanity behind it all and drags a couple of conclusions of her-self. Through the film, we also get to know a college professor at an university in California, he has called one of his students in to his office to talk about his future. The student is a young, bright man called Todd. He used to be really enthusiastic in class, but has not showed up to any reason lectures. The professor wants to talk to him because he has seen his potential and wants to get him to realize that he has the ability to make an impact on the world and become someone important.  They are connected to the others in the film because the two soldiers in Afghanistan used to be the professors students before they enlisted in the army.

Moreover, during the conversation between Professor Malley and Todd, the professor is asking Todd to get involved. He can either choose to get an B in his course, and the only condition is that he will not show up to any more of the professors lectures. Or he could get involved, read his assigned papers and use the ability he has to become something great. He tells him that the only person who can make decisions that will impact his life later is himself. And there is not going to be anyone to watch over him, he can of course make decisions today and get the easy way out, but he will most likely spend several years to make up for it later in life. And that will take a lot of hard work.

When a country is involved in a war, it will always impact other aspects in that country even though the war is fought somewhere else in the world. We saw in the movie that both of the students who had later become soldiers, whose names were Arian and Ernest both came from poor areas in the US. The only reason that they had the opportunity to attend college was that they had a baseball scholarship and was playing sports next to studying other subjects. Even though they had not had the best up-bring in the US, they still wanted to fight for their country. The US also uses billions of dollars on war every year, this is money that could had been spent on other parts of society.

Very resent, Obama has asked the Congress about support to put American boots on forging soil in the war against ISIL. ISIL is a big threat against America and a lot of other western countries. The war against terrorism is definitely not over, and what we saw in the movie might happen in real life. It is also interesting to see Obama decide this after declaring that he does not want american soldiers in other countries risking their lives, but is also gives us an insight of how important it is to fight against such horrid actions.

UK politics and the upcoming election

8 Jan

The United Kingdom is an unitary democracy governed country within the framework of a constitutional monarchy, in witch the Monarch is the head of state and the Prime Minister is the head of government. The legislative power is divided between two chambers of the Parliament, the House of Commons and the House of Lords, as well as in the Scottish parliament and the Welsh and Northern Ireland assemblies.  The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature. The highest court is the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom.

The UK political system is a multi-party system. This means that there are several parties you can vote for. But since the 1920s, the Conservative Party and the Labour Party has been the two largest political parties. Coalition and minority governments have been an occasional feature of parliamentary politics, the first-past-the-post electoral system used for general elections tends to maintain the dominance of these two parties. But a third party called the Liberal Democrats has in the past century become a working majority in Parliament.
The current Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government is the first coalition since 1945. This means that the Cameron ministry, who is the current government is composed of members of both the Conservative Party and the Liberal Democrats. The government’s Cabinet is made up of sixteen Conservatives and five Liberal Democrats, with eight other Conservatives and one other Liberal Democrat attending cabinet but they are not members of the government.

The general election

The next general election in the UK is set at 7 May 2015. When Parliament is dissolved, every seat in the House of Commons becomes vacant and a general election is held. Each constituency in the UK elects one MP (Member of Parliament) ta a seat in the House of Commons. The political party that wins a majority of seats in the House of Commons usually forms the Government. There is a total of 650 constituencies in the UK. They all choose one MP who are going to represent their area at least every five years.The election is held every five years on the first Thursday in May.

It is not long now until they are going to have a new election in the UK. This election will elect the 56th Parliament of the United  Kingdom. Voting takes place in all parliamentary constituencies to elect members of Parliament (MPs) to seats in the House of Commons. There are 650 seats, witch means that a party needs 326 seats to have the majority.

David Cameron who represents the Conservative party is the current Prime Minister in the UK. It is expected that either he or Ed Miliband from the Labour party will be the Prime Minister after this election. The two parties have supplied all UK Prime Ministers since the 1930’s.

When Writing about UK politics, there is one controversial party I have to mention. Ukip, UK Independence Party is a right-winged political party in the UK. It was founded in 1993, with the primary objective of securing the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union. They get a lot of attention and has actually been growing over the last couple of years. They recently suggested that all UK schools should have the Flag up every day and that there should be spoken fewer languages at schools to increase the feeling of being British. They want UK to be more independent and they think that the nation is spending to much money on other countries.

Sources:
http://www.parliament.uk/about/how/elections-and-voting/general/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Politics_of_the_United_Kingdom
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cameron_ministry
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Kingdom_general_election,_2015

5 reasons for Obama to be satisfied

8 Jan

Barack Obama has been getting more popular among the american population recently, it’s still not great, but better. A new pole done late in 2014 showed that 48% of Americans was satisfied with Obamas work as president. This is the best result he has gotten in quite a while now, and is better than what Bush had at the same time when he was president.

Here are 5 reasons to why President Barack Obama can be satisfied

1. The employment rate is going up
The american economy is enjoying the low oil prices and the number of people who are working in America is going up each month. The unemployment is now at 5,8% witch is a great improvement. Also Mitt Romney, who were Obamas opponent during the last election promised to get it under 6%, which Obama now has accomplished.

2. Gas prices are going down
The gas prices are often an important case to the American voters, and they have been getting away with low prices for a long time now. The American organization AAA are constantly paying attention to the price and right before Christmas there was a record amount of days where the price kept falling. The price for a gallon of regular gas is now $2,20.

3. The relationship to Cuba
America has had a complicated and hostile relationship to Cuba for many years. But they have now been speaking to make the hospitality go away. Obama announced that they are going to make an effort to normalize the relationship between the two countries who has been enemies for 55 years now.  The Americans are happy about this and wants the traveling restrictions to go away, they want a diplomatic relationship and the possibility to trade between them.

4. New emigration laws
Late in November Obama presented a new package of emigration laws. He had made this proposition alone  without the congress. The biggest proposition was that he wants to give 4,2 million illegal immigrants papers so that they don’t have to worry about being send back to their country of origin.

5. Ending unpopular wars, getting involved in “popular” war
Obama has during his time as president withdrawed a lot of soldiers from conflicts in Afghanistan and Irak. The war in Irak had minimal support back home in America and Obama has been getting a lot of support from stepping down the warfare here. Obama has started a campaign against the ISIL and this gets a lot of support as well.

I think that the fact that the employment rate is going up is really important to Obama and the rest of the US. When people are working this impacts several other aspects of the society and is always positive for the whole country. You never want to have a lot of unemployed people as this costed the country money and it is also a negative factor to the economy.

Sources:
http://linkis.com/www.e-pages.dk/aften/3pRk8

Boyhood

5 Jan

During our last class before Christmas, we went to the movies to watch a film called “Boyhood”. It is written and directed by Richard Linklater and the movie stands out from other movies. They have chosen to use the same actor and filmed over 12 years.

The movie is about the life of a young man called Mason, and we get to follow his life from the age of five, until he is 18 and begins a new life at college. There are a lot of challenges on the way, including abusive step fathers, the pressure to do drugs, heartbreak and moving to new places as a teenager.

Furthermore, the movie is really entertaining even though it is pretty long. Linklater manages to keep the viewers attention and it does not feel like you are sitting through a almost three hour long film. I enjoyed the movie and would recommend it to others.

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boyhood_%28film%29

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1065073/

Alaska cooperation, Q&A

18 Dec

Last week, we had the opportunity to cooperate with a class in Alaska. We shared a google document and wrote down ten questions. My Question was “Do you think it’s hard to understand how the election process works?”, as I think it can be difficult to understand all the different aspects of the election process. The students from Alaska wrote really good answers to all the questions, and I got 6 answers to mine.

The answers I got were also different, some of the students found the election process super easy to understand, while some found it a bit confusing. One answer I got was “Yes and no. Yes because it’s a tricky subject to learn about and become an expert on, and can be fairly convoluted, and no because this complex system is often simplified into two parties and a set of policies that everyone will vote on.” I can see how this student thinks and the thoughts behind this answer. I would also agree, with this answer as I don’t think it easy to fully understand the whole process of the American election.

Some of the other students in my class also asked about their thoughts on the shooting incident in Ferguson, Missouri. I think this is a very important case, and I found it interesting to read the views of American students. The answers were mostly against the riots and the students believed that the policeman did the right thing and acted out of instinct. But one of them answered differently and said that the police in America has to much power and that the shooting was wrong. It can be difficult to understand the history behind the shooting and to choose which side of the story we should believe. I think the shooting in Ferguson was a triggering factor to something that has been developing over a long time. If we were to ask a class from for example New York, I believe that the answers we would get would have been extremely different when it comes to this question.

9/11 a day we will never forget

20 Nov

On September 11, 2001, 19 men hijacked four commercial airlines on their way to west coast destinations. The terrorist attack was organised by the al Qaeda. Their tactic was to choose large planes who were going to fly long distances as they would be heavily fueled.  A total of 2977 people were killed in New York City, Washington DC and in Pennsylvania.

This is refereed to as the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history.

Today I watched the documentary 9/11 made by two french brothers. They were filming a documentary about how it is to become a firefighter and were originally filming Tony Benetatos. Tony was still a probationary firefighter when the 9/11 attacks hit. He was assigned to the Ladder 1 firehouse on Duane Street in Lower Manhattan. The fighters from this department was the first at tower 1 after the first plane hit. The documentary is made with real life images and gives a great insight into how it was to be a firefighter during this dramatic day and the days after.

911film.jpg

One of the brothers follows chef Battalion Chief Joseph Pfeifer, they are among the first to arrive after the attack and the whole thing is captured on camera. They are in tower 1 as tower two collapses and they can hear the sounds as people are jumping from the towers and hitting the ground. We get to see how the chefs are handling the situation. The other brother is filming from the outside and gets the peoples reaction.

This is truly a documentary to watch if you are interested in the 9/11 terrorist attacks as it’s all real and not reconstructions. And I can guarantee that you are going to feel chills going trough your body as you watch it.

9/11 is a day the world is never going to forget

More information about the documentary here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/9/11_%28film%29

More about the attacks here: http://www.history.com/topics/9-11-timelinehttp://edition.cnn.com/2013/07/27/us/september-11-anniversary-fast-facts/

Why I would support Bruce Braley

2 Nov

Bruce Braley is an American politician and attorney who has served as the U.S Representative for Iowa’s 1st congressional district since 2007. He is a member of the Democratic party and I would support him if I was to vote in this midterm election. According to pre-election forecasts, Iowa is an state where there is no certainty yet of who is going to win.

I have now read about Bruce Braley and I think I would support him. He wants to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 per hour. He is also very interested in economic fairness, creating jobs , and investing in education. He is also working to create better advantages for the middle class as he thinks they are being squeezed more than ever, while Wall Street bankers and big companies are making record profits.  Braley is also pro-choice when it comes to abortion, and has worked hard to make abortion an option to everyone.

Michelle Obama is also supporting Braley and held a speech early in September. She began her speech by saying “I am beyond thrilled to be here today to support your next senator from Iowa, our friend Bruce”

After finding out about Bruce Braley I hope he wins the midterm election in Iowa and gets to keep up the good work he does. So now all we can do is to wait and see if the Iowans will vote for Braley on November the 4th. I hope they do!

Recount

29 Oct

In class today, we watched the movie “Recount” about the presidential election in America in 2000. During the counting of the votes many elderly from Florida though that they had voted wrong because of the ballot. Some votes where also dismissed because of old equipment. The movie addressed a lot of interesting political aspects and they went to extreme extents to have make recounts of the votes.

Before I watched this movie I knew some about what happened in 2000 and about American politics. But I learned a lot during the movie. The whole voting and general election process is very different from the one I am used to in Norway, but the movie gave me a better overview of the American system.

Facts about US election

16 Oct

Today we answered some questions about the US election.

  1. What is the Electoral College In U.S. Elections?
  2. What is an inauguration? Mentions some points Obama had in his inauguration speech
  3. What does “democracy is the right to dissent mean?
  4. A swing state, what is it?
  5. What is a caucus and how do they pick a candidate for the president election?
  6. What is government 2.0?
  7. What are the main concerns about the new Health Reform?

The Electoral College in U.S Elections is the institution that officially elects the President and Vice President of the United States every four years. Everyone votes for the party they want and then all the votes are counted, each state supports the party who gets the most votes in that state. The states with the most inhabitants have a greater impact and that’s why it’s important to presidents to win the support of the states with the most people living there.

An inauguration is a formal ceremony to mark the beginning of a major public leader’s term of office. The “inaugural address” is a speech given during this ceremony which informs the people of his/her intentions as a leader. In President Obamas speech he talked about that even though freedom is a gift from God, it is important to him to keep his people safe. He also promised to create new jobs and to keep the country growing.

It is about the freedom of speech and how you (in a democracy) have the right to have a different opinion. You don’t have to agree with the majority of the government.

A swing state is a state where no particular candidate or party has overwhelming support in securing the state’s votes. Swing states are targets for a lot of campaigning prior to the elections as winning there states is the best opportunity for a party to gain electoral votes.

A caucus is a meeting of supporters and/or members of a specific political party or movement. They meet to discuss who they want to elect as president candidate for their party.

Government 2.0 is about the use of technology to encourage a more open, transparent and engaging form of government, where the public has a greater role in forming policy and has improved access to government information.

The new health reform in America

To finance this reform there will be a rise in taxes. People are afraid that they will have to pay more to make it possible to provide free health care for all Americans.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.