Blog Archives

NHS reform: oh let’s go back to the start

Rather foolishly arriving for the Government’s NHS summit through the front-door, Health Secretary Andrew Lansley was on Monday comically accosted by a heckler that sent political geeks of all colours into a fit of ‘The Thick of It’ hysterics. Hilarity aside, the proposed NHS reforms have reached a critical point, and this is far from a laughing matter.

The Government may have sparked controversy by apparently neglecting to invite to the summit those who were well-known critics of the bill, but it appears the groups that were invited to Downing Street nonetheless ensured wide held concerns were raised. Despite the discomfort such, admittedly polite, disagreements may have caused some, the Prime Minister seems unfazed. Leading the charge for the Coalition’s new rhetoric, Cameron said “I support Andrew Lansley and I support the reforms”, argued there “are a few myths we need to bust” and claimed “reform is never easy”. He was followed in a similar vein by senior colleagues on Tuesday morning, and it is clear that at last the Government has a coherent and aggressive strategy to counter the criticism they are facing. Read the rest of this entry

In Praise of David Cameron. Almost.

I am seriously in danger of agreeing with some of what David Cameron is doing. Notwithstanding the fact that he presides over a party that espouses an impossible and unrealistic moral code that they themselves can’t adhere to, he has actually done some good things in the past few months.

The first noticeable improvement in policy was the acceptance that Israel is the main obstacle to a two state solution in the middle east.  Then he came out in support of gay marriage, despite puerile whining from the rest of the Conservative Party. Then he even backs the Forfeiture committee’s investigation into making Sir Fred Goodwin back into Mr. Fred Goodwin.

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Ed Miliband: Lines of attack

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Ed Miliband has not had a good start to the year. He returned to the dispatch box for PMQs last Wednesday looking to put the previous year behind him. His supporters may well point to his successes, such as fathering the Oxford Dictionary Word Of The Year, but 2011 was definitely not the year of the Ed (Miliband, that is). Some say that PMQs is unimportant, and in many ways it is. When it comes to party morale though, it can play a significant role. Miliband will have stepped up to the dispatch box with memories of the last time he was there; when David Cameron played conductor to government benches prompting them into a raucous outburst as he put Miliband in his place and summed up the year for the Labour leader. Click here to keep reading

Quantitative easing: playing with fire

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Anyone that has lived and worked in the UK in the past few years will have noticed that prices have been rising and that, owing to the sluggish economy conditions, wages and job prospects have not quite followed suit.

When the economy is booming, people earn more, consume more and, typically, prices rise. The reverse is also true when the economy is cooling. That is, if people are out of work and consume less, shops will need to lower prices to sell their stock.

The Bank of England’s primary remit is that of price stability. Its job is to rein the economy in when we all get carried away with our credit cards, and to encourage us to spend and invest when the high streets are deserted. It does this by adjusting interest rates.

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Gold: A Precious Thermometer

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Paul Volcker, ex-Chairman of the Federal Reserve, once famously referred to gold as ‘the enemy’ of central banks and policy makers. In this article, I will explain the recent large swings in gold prices and, by doing so, explain why gold continues to be a precious thermometer for economic sentiment and the enemy of policy makers.

At a basic level, there are two opposing forces which drive gold price movements. The first is inflation. The second, and perhaps the more topical, is the general fear of economic collapse. I will now explain these two opposing forces and which is principally responsible for driving the current movements in gold prices. Click here to keep reading

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