May 5, 2011
The violent death of Osama bin Laden at the hands of US forces on the first day of the month in some respects neatly closes the final chapter of a decade-long story. Journalistic speculation aside, it is impossible yet to grasp the wider consequences. Bin Laden’s potency may for some years have been symbolic rather than operational. But his death provides an equally symbolic victory to the United States as a pictorial counterpart to the iconic image of passenger jets piercing the Twin Towers. .
April 27, 2011
Now that some dust has started to settle on the Independent Banking Commission’s interim report on reform of the industry it would be wise to recognise this as merely the opening salvo in what promises to be a prolonged battle. Amidst the smooth consensual tone of the IBC’s report no one should be under any illusions that this reflects merely the starting point in the reform process. Negotiations between the Commission (and by extension the UK government) and the banking fraternity alongside their public affairs advisers will now begin in earnest. ...
April 12, 2011
It is with great sadness that we learnt of the death of Sir Simon Milton, London’s Deputy Mayor, yesterday evening (11 April). Sir Simon epitomised better than anyone the quote from the past US President, Ronald Reagan, that “there is no limit to what you can achieve politically if you do not care who takes the credit”. That is not to say that Simon was simply a back-room political operator. Indeed as a youthful, innovative and highly effective leader of Westminster City Council during 2000-2007 he was a prominent political figure in his own right.
April 7, 2011
Observers of global economic trends will have noticed the paradox that whilst size of national markets is perceived to bring with it unmitigated potential benefits, there is increasing public hostility to large global institutions and corporations. Hot on the heels of the BRIC group of nations, has emerged the CIVETS amalgam of developing countries (Colombia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt, Turkey and South Africa). It is these nations enjoying critical population mass, and a demographic skewed strongly towards those under the age of 25, which are near universally regarded as locations of likely optimal economic growth in the decades ahead. ...
March 28, 2011
As the local constituency MP for central London, I share much of the disgust felt by any right thinking person following the violence and damage to property perpetrated by a small minority of breakaway protestors during the Trade Union Congress (TUC) march on Saturday. Whilst the organisers attempted to evoke the spirit of the suffragettes and civil rights movement I suspect the vast majority of the British public will remember the protests for the violent scenes and wanton criminal damage.
March 21, 2011
Mark appeared on BBC Radio 4’s ‘Westminster Hour’ programme last night and in the course of his interview with Carolyn Quinn he spoke about the enforcement of a No-Fly Zone by UN forces in Libya. The following is an expanded version of his views…
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....