March 17, 2011
As the Budget looms, Labour’s slogan that reductions in public spending go ‘too far, too fast’ has regrettably developed resonance. Not simply because it has been repeated ad nauseam – though the discipline with which it has been should also act as a salutary reminder to the Coalition. The reason this soundbite strikes a chord is because it seems plausible. Whether Conservatives like it or not there is in truth an alternative to the immediate cutbacks in public expenditure ...
March 2, 2011
One of the curiosities of the global bank bailout process since September 2008 has been the consensus that this episode symbolised courageous, decisive government action at its best. The nation’s economy teetered over a precipice, mere hours away from a refusal by cashpoints to dole out any more banknotes. The conventional wisdom now, almost regardless of their terms, is that the bailouts were an essential life-preserving shock to the domestic economy. Unfortunately while this version of events contains some truth, it has diverted us from asking searching questions...
February 28, 2011
The changing of Britain’s clocks to has been much debated following the Daylight Saving Bill passing its Second Reading in the House last December. I attended Parliament for the debate and voted in favour of this issue being allowed to have further parliamentary examination. The Bill proposes a three year trial which would result in Britain’s clocks shifting one hour forward throughout the
February 17, 2011
Our elite universities are international leaders. In their admission policies most pride themselves as having worldwide reputations for excellence and aspire to recruit the brightest and best globally. Nevertheless, at the heart of last year’s battle over tuition fees was an implicit recognition that the UK’s university sector cannot afford to rest on its laurels. The world is moving on apace and greater freedoms are vital to ensuring our best universities can continue to compete with the very top institutions in the international league tables. Yet the concessions the government made to secure reform may undermine the future of our university sector....
February 7, 2011
Mark has received a very high volume of emails about the government's consultation on whether or not to sell off tracts of publicly-owned forests. Pasted below is the reply he sent today to constituents.
February 2, 2011
Few would confidently predict the outcome of events in Egypt. The twin effects of 24/7 media coverage and the fact that so many Britons of all age groups have been tourists to that country brings into sharper focus the unfolding drama on the streets of Cairo and Alexandria. Many Western politicians have traded platitudes about the need to promote democratic reform. The stark truth is that the authoritarian President Mubarak has for these past 29 years been a puppet of Western governments, which have turned a blind eye to his internal repression for so long as Egypt has remained a loyal trading partner
January 27, 2011
A relative sense of electoral complacency may be the order of the day in the Westminster village even amidst a succession of by-elections. After all, provided the coalition gets its way over constitutional reform many reckon on our still being over four years away from the next General Election. But the imminence of a day of reckoning with the voters makes for very different sentiment away from SW1. On 5 May our Party faces Scottish Parliamentary, Welsh Assembly and widespread English local elections....
January 18, 2011
All the upbeat talk is of the UK economy being ‘out of the danger zone’. Credit is certainly due to the Chancellor for recognising the serious state of the public finances and setting out a long-term deficit reduction plan. However, the sombre truth is that for so long as Central Banks maintain a virtual zero interest rate policy, UK and European economies will remain on a taxpayer-induced life support machine. ...
January 10, 2011
Forget national sovereignty or control orders, it is the thrust for economic growth that has pride of place in January’s grid for government action. At its heart must be a restoration of the UK’s traditional reputation as an outward-looking trading nation and the liberation of our businesses from red tape. Somewhere in a globalised economy that is proudly ‘open for business’. Most of the UK’s economic competitors are desperate to break into developing markets in China, India and south east Asia. Financial services and its vast array of associated professions has provided...
January 7, 2011
Mark posted this article on the Daily Telegraph's website following the announcement that former MP, David Chaytor, will be imprisoned for his breaches of the system of MPs' expenses. Click here to read the Telegraph version. 'It was optimistically assumed that last year’s General Election would draw a line under the expenses scandal. The conviction and sentence meted out on Friday to former Bury North MP, David Chaytor, is clear evidence, if such was required, that this sordid affair is not going away any time soon...