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Category: News & Articles

  • January 18, 2011

    This year’s economic headache – the rising cost of living

    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

    The economic mission for 2011 – growth

    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

    What happened to the new politics?

    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...
  • January 4, 2011

    Four funerals and an election

    Politically 2010 was the most momentous year for some decades here in the UK. To near universal surprise (save to those of us who took opinion polls at face value) May’s General Election ended as a stalemate, requiring the Conservatives to put together a coalition with the Liberal Democrats to secure office...
  • December 15, 2010

    Safe as houses? Why savings should not always be in bricks and mortar.

    Solve the underlying causes of the West’s failure to save adequately and the global imbalances that lie at the heart of the current financial crisis should then correct themselves. Yet as the events of these tumultuous past two years show us, this is far easier said than done. Populist measures to chasten the banking sector are simple enough to devise, but the underlying, deep-seated structural problems facing our economy require tough strategic analysis, potentially divisive policy changes and a harsh dose of reality...
  • December 10, 2010

    The Politics of Prison and Crime

    The tuition fees furore has successfully crowded out widespread media coverage of another potential coalition fault line – law and order. Earlier this week Justice Secretary Ken Clarke announced his ambition to cut prison numbers through flexible sentencing and promoting rehabilitation programmes. He also aspires to scrap minimum sentences for murder and reverse a previous policy position to impose mandatory jail terms for knife crime...
  • December 7, 2010

    Testing times for coalition cohesion

    The following article was posted this morning on Critical Reaction, an online blog which commissions pieces from a wide range of authors on politics, culture and books: Formulating an acceptable policy on tuition fees was never going to be an easy task. There were far too many hostages to fortune given before the General Election for that. It is also worth remembering that the opt-out in the Coalition Agreement applies implicitly only to Lib Dems outside the government and expressly to the outcome of Lord Browne’s Report. Yet these proposals have already been watered down considerably at the behest of the Liberal Democrats. ...
  • December 3, 2010

    A wake up call for the national game

    So the recriminations begin in earnest. Only our elimination from the footballing competition proper brings more soul-searching than the repeated failures of England to secure the right to host the World Cup since 1966. First in line the media. The Sunday Times and BBC’s Panorama investigations about FIFA corruption will be regarded as pivotal. Next the process itself. For the first time FIFA insisted that the decisions about hosting the 2018 and 2022 tournaments should be made at the same time. Those wily Russians and Qataris cut their deals...
  • November 30, 2010

    The next financial crisis is now upon us

    An abridged version of the following article appeared in this morning's City AM. To view it, click here. Last week a few unpalatable home truths began to become apparent to the UK political class. Nevertheless, the acute financial woes in Ireland are likely to prove a side-show to a much more serious sovereign debt crisis that threatens to engulf European financial markets in the months ahead. Outside the single currency the UK may smugly stand, but as this drama unfolds it is clear we will be directly affected. Some 55% of our external trade is with the Eurozone and our exports are likely to become considerably less competitive as the Euro depreciates ...
  • November 23, 2010

    The true cost of the UK’s liabilities

    Last week, ConHome noted the absence of any questions at PMQs about Britain’s role in a potential bailout of Ireland. With the possibility of the UK contributing billions of pounds to help shore up our near neighbour’s economy, the Opposition leadership instead focussed all six of their questions on police numbers. It was an episode symptomatic of our increasing national immunity to big figures. The more we have read about ‘billions’ over the course of the financial crisis...