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Posts Tagged ‘Dave Cameron’

Brace yourselves but the Tories have announced not one but two policies! And both are quite populist as in consecutive days they’ve promised to freeze railway fares for the duration of the next Parliament and provide the NHS with the £8 billion that one of those faceless bureaucrats they keep promising to fire claims it needs. Let’s leave the NHS policy to one side. It’s a shameless bribe that is meaningful only to the extent that it shows that George Osborne has not undone Gordon Brown’s legacy of shifting public opinion towards higher public spending.But the Tories pledging to intervene in the railways is much more interesting.

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Much has been written about the backlash to David Cameron’s remarkably ill-advised intervention in the simmering debate about the precise nature of the referendum on Scottish Independence. Many have like Simon commented on the strange complacency that is present in the Unionist camp.  What has been less noticed is the remarkable amount of conservatism  in the debate. In what is a fundamentally a debate about constitutional reform, there was little consideration about ways that the Union could be renewed through constitutional reform. This could be best seen in the demented denunciation of “Devo Max” by Unionists due to the belief that its just a ruse adopted by an Alex Salmond in need of a consolation prize should the Scots (as is probable) reject independence.

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On the face of it the referendum on Scottish independence should be one of the least terrifying prospects in modern British politics. Granted there are huge risks for those of us who believe in continued political union between the four historic nations, an in-out referendum would lead to the end of the UK or the SNP. But at the moment the signs point to a rejection of independence.   Firstly all the polling data shows a clear majority in favour of the status quo.  Furthermore people are usually inherently conservative when it comes to referenda, as it gets closer to polling day more people adhere to Belloc’s aphorism of clinging to nurse for fear of something worse – as seen in rejections of an Australian republic, Spain’s membership of NATO and AV in British general elections. This sense is only heightened by the economic wastelands that are other small Northwest European nations, Iceland and Ireland, and the fear of what RBS could have done to Scottish balance sheets. Despite these manifest reasons for optimism the current political landscape has the seed of the union’s destruction and all of these have complacency at their roots.

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Time to stand back, take a deep breath, close your eyes and count to ten.  Now open them.  Do you see anything different?  Thought not.

Cameron’s veto is perhaps the biggest – and best – spin operation in modern politics.  By doing nothing, but saying a great deal, Cameron has united his backbenchers with him against the EU but, sadly, kept us within a ridiculous status quo in the European Union.

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The Telegraph reported this week that the Government is drawing up plans to impose a minimum price per alcohol unit as a means to counter ‘binge drinking’. The plan could mirror Scotland’s currently policy, with all alcoholic drinks having to be sold at a price that averages 45p per alcoholic unit. The intent of the measures is shown by the quote carried in the piece from a ‘well placed source’. “The minimum price is really designed to push up the cheapest alcohol prices, which cause the most damage, rather than an across-the-board rise. The Prime Minister is very concerned about protecting traditional pubs”. This is all rather wearisome. Such a measure would indeed drive up prices for the cheapest drinks, so hurting those on small incomes who just want a relaxing drink.

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You may have seen this rather witty image being bandied about the internet today:

It’s another sad attempt to equate the economics of the governance of modern, highly developed economies such as America with an individual citizen struggling to balance their incomings and outgoings as justification for the sado-monetarist. This is very stupid nonsense. The existence of Government is the recognition that people are interdependent and need an outside agency to coordinate, regulate and protect this civil society. Therefore to pretend that the Government an island unto itself, whose only legitimate preoccupation is balancing the national check book  is wrong. Government cuts to spending does not exist in a vacuum, the Government is after all the biggest single employer, customer and benefactor in all western economies. So you cut Government spending you cost workers their job, businesses their contracts and citizens their entitlements. That loss of economic output then echoes through the economy as a magic bullet, reducing private sector activity and tax receipts.

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