Whoever governs, Britain’s Africa policy is tied to the UN and the EU

Dr Marie Gibert

Dr Marie Gibert

The hallmark of Britain’s policy towards Africa is continuity, writes Dr Marie Gibert.

Under the coalition, Africa has not taken the morality flavoured prominence it had in Labour’s foreign policy, but the core of the relationship has nonetheless been upheld.

Of course, Britain’s colonial past in Africa still weighs heavy, especially with regard to countries such as Nigeria, Kenya, Zimbabwe and Somalia. But Britain is also tied to Africa by its permanent seat and veto power on the UN Security Council.

The Security Council spends a lot of time on Africa, where some of the UN’s largest and most costly peacekeeping operations are deployed. Since no future UK government would want to give up this privileged position, Africa is destined to be a permanent fixture on Britain’s multilateral agenda. Continue reading

So…what can we expect from the 2015 General Election?

Decision made? This is one of the most unpredictable elections in almost half a century, according to Dr Matthew Ashton

Decision made? This is one of the most unpredictable elections in almost half a century, says Dr Matthew Ashton

Every election is billed as the most important of modern times. This is mainly because no journalist ever sold a story by making a contest seem dull and predictable. In this case, though, the media’s hyperbole seems justified, and there are a number of reasons for this.

First and foremost, this is one of the most unpredictable elections of the last 40 years. Elections in 1997, 2001 and 2005 were forgone conclusions with most people able to predict the result months before polling day. By 2010 it was much more open ended – and 2015 is looking equally uncertain. Continue reading

Quality of employment, not quantity, is what matters

Job vacancyDavid Cameron has outlined his plans for the UK to become a nation of ‘full employment’. However, ‘full employment’ was also the aspiration, although never a formal target, of the previous Labour Government.

In a series of policy reviews in 2006 and 2007, including the Leitch Review of Skills, ‘full employment’ was defined as an 80% employment rate – which the then Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Peter Hain, described as achievable “within a generation.”  At the time, the UK employment was around 73% – it is now back up to this rate, according to the latest Labour Force Survey for October to December 2014. Continue reading