Outside the marginals

A commentary on the politics that followed the UK 2010, 2015 & 2017 elections (and THAT referendum)

Archive for the category “Big State / Small State”

I agree with Tony

It’s worrying when it comes to this. I read an article by Tony Blair and find myself agreeing with it. My unease probably underlines why he is a voice in the dark and why his prescription – even if stated by a more acceptable voice (but who?) will be ignored.

And yet … Read more…

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Copeland and the Search for Opposition

The Copeland by-election result is being played as “disastrous” for the Labour Party and is once again raising questions about the Labour leadership. In some respects the Labour Leadership is not the issue – but a search for opposition is.

In this respect we have to be careful about reading too much into the Copeland result. Read more…

Post “The Day” Reflections

Ok, I think it’s a disaster and I am livid at what I see as the way both campaigns – but particularly Leave’s – were run. (Remain was inept, but Leave at times seemed deliberately devious.) If I had been active in the campaign I would also be feeling sore.
But the deed is done and we have to accept the result even if we can’t respect it. But there are a number of issues that bear closer examination.

Read more…

Who is Kidding who?

The BBC reports today that Commons Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee (PACAC) has today (six months on) criticised the charity’s trustees and the Charity Commission.

But how much is the actual business model – of using charities to deliver what would otherwise be government services – examined and criticised? Read more…

British left vulnerable to hunger after welfare reforms, warns Justin Welby

Initially I read the above Guardian headline as referring to the “British Left” being vulnerable before realising that it was about something far more serious – or something that should be more serious.

Archbishop of Canterbury claims benefit sanctions and bureaucratic delays in welfare mean government is partly to blame for ‘tragedy’ of hunger.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has warned that government policies on poverty and welfare reform have left too many people in Britain unable to feed their families. …

Welby also urged a widening of the political debate around welfare away from the pillorying of people dependent on benefits to one which recognised the value of social security as an expression of a national belief that “we are one people with care for all”.
The Guardian, 10 December 2015 : British left vulnerable to hunger after welfare reforms, warns Justin Welby

It is serious, but “Archbishop warns about poverty” is hardly news – is it?

What we have to ask is why is this situation not just a constant but actually getting more severe?

Read more…

Steeling ourselves for industrial collapse

Administrators from PwC have been appointed to run some parts of the Caparo group empire. …

Steel giant Tata is expected to announce major job losses on Tuesday. Recently the UK’s second largest steelmaker, SSI, went into liquidation. …

Matt Hammond, lead administrator [of Caparo] and partner at PwC, said: “This is a significant business with a wide range of interests across steel, engineering, vehicles products and technologies. Its scale and reach into significant customers and its importance to suppliers cannot be understated. We will be rapidly assessing all options for the businesses through this week and beyond.”
BBC News website, 19 October 2015 : Caparo steel goes into partial administration

There are numerous reasons for the problems, but there seems to be only one reason for the collapse of this industry; Read more…

Saving, Fridges and Wonga

… more than a quarter of families (26%) are saving nothing each month, and the percentage with no savings cushion has remained static at 17% over the last six months.

It suggests that, while those families who can afford to save are making efforts to put more money away, the situation has shown little sign of improving for those who were already struggling or failing to do so.
Aviva News Website 12 August 2015 : UK: Rising incomes mask growing inequality amongst UK families

So what do these families do if their fridge fails? Read more…

Privatising Welfare

Part of the present Government’s philosophy is that Government should be small. If something does not need to be done; it should not be done. If it does need to be done; it does not necessarily need to be done by the Government.

Hence “Big Society” – the idea that volunteers or the voluntary sector can take over from government – particularly in the areas of health care, social care and education.

The problem is – what happens if a voluntary provider of these services fails? Read more…

Migrant Miopia; Cuts and Fences

… the Home Office said support could end for failed asylum-seekers, to discourage illegal migration.

Bolstered security measures planned for around the French end of the Channel Tunnel, which include more CCTV surveillance, French police reinforcements and extra fencing, were agreed in a phone call between Prime Minister David Cameron and President Francois Hollande on Friday.
BBC News Website 2 August 2015 : Calais migrant crisis: UK and France urge EU action

And Cameron really thinks that a poor potential economic migrant in Sudan or a terrified potential asylum seeker in Syria will really be “discouraged” by such steps? Read more…

Three ways to cut welfare

  1. Tighten eligibility criteria so fewer people can claim
  2. Reduce the actual amounts payable to specific claimants
  3. Create an economy where fewer people need to claim welfare

Which ways are the Tories pursuing? Read more…

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