Monthly Archives: November 2011
Today has seen one of the biggest industrial actions in living memory. Members of 29 trade unions (all of whom are public sector workers) voted to strike today, in opposition to proposed government reforms to public sector pensions. The government is still in talks with the unions over the reform plans.
The government are proposing a £2.8bn increase in contribution payments by 2014/2015, pegging the retirement age to the state pension age and switching the way pension contributions are increased every year from the higher RPI rate of inflation to the lower CPI rate.
The government also plan to move staff from final salary schemes to career average schemes. Approximately 2.6 million people from across the range of public sector posts from teachers to immigration officers and care workers were ballotted – with an estimated 750,000 voting yes. The government say that the reforms are part of the plan to cut public spending, cut the deficit and improve the economy; however the plan faces large opposition as it will cut the amount the size of many people’s pensions. CLICK HERE TO KEEP READING
With the Chancellor, George Osborne set to announce the Autumn Statement this week, which will include government plans to guarantee bank loans to small and medium businesses at a cost of £20bn, I find myself asking where did this extra money come from and what happened to the austerity measures set out by the Coalition Government? Many political and economic commentators have made the point that the Coalition Government is now borrowing an extra £46bn and that their current plan differs from that of the Labour Party by only 0.7%. With this in mind I am again left wondering how we got to a place where the economic policies of HM Government and HM Opposition differ by only a whisker when during the election campaigns we were told that the policies of the main political parties were extremely different. Click here to keep reading
With the European economy resembling a slow train crash, and the Leveson enquiry resembling the red carpet at Oscars night more and more each day, it’s sometimes difficult to keep focus on some issues which really do matter. In last Wednesday’s Telegraph, former Conservative Leader Michael Howard argued that Britain’s own laws and views were being undermined by what he suggested was a slavish adherence to Strasbourg’s rulings. I think we only need to look as far as the illegal Bolivian immigrant who avoided deportation because of a cat to understand where Lord Howard is coming from. Read the rest of this entry
“Experts are predicting kind of a tough fight between Romney and his biggest ideological opponent: Mitt Romney from four years ago. Those guys don’t agree on anything.” A stinging critique, made worse by the fact that it comes from a comedian, rather than one of Romney’s many political opponents.
In recent days political ads have dominated the American political arena. Two attack ads from Rick Perry and, most significantly, Mitt Romney, have drawn wide-ranging criticism for their rather neoliberal approach to accurate quotation. Indeed, one Fox commentator was even drawn to label Romney’s “an out and out lie”. The Obama administration were said to be furious, and their response is significant. Read the rest of this entry
Power. It’s often a term shaped as an accusation, levelled to politicians as their sole motive for wanting to be an MP. “I want to change the world”, is what they’d usually retort back. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that you can’t change the world without some sort of power, either hard or soft. Politicians however, are increasingly disproving these stereotypes. For better, or for worse. Click here to keep reading