Regulating the regulator: saving the post offices from PostComm

Today sees the release of the eighth annual report from PostComm - the regulator for the Post Office. You might think that PostComm's job was to keep the Post Office efficient, on time, that sort of thing. But since its inception in 2000, Postcomm has set up as deregulator in chief. It has trumpeted the virtues of competition, of breaking up Royal Mail, of letting in private competitors who can deliver mail and parcels for the final mile, leaving it to Royal Mail to carry out all the other work to ensure delivery for that final mile.

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Obama on climate change

Okay, so maybe Barack Obama isn't exactly revolutionary in his economic outlook. But when was the last time that you heard an American politician - or a European one, come to think of it - describe climate change in these terms:

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Green New Deal Round-Up

First off, Matthew DeBord at the Huff Post says that a bail-out of the American auto industry could be a decent launch pad for a GND. Professor William Ayers (a.k.a. Barack Obama's 'terrorist pal') has also come out as an advocate of Green New Deal solutions. More

Buying our way out won’t work

Daewoo Logistics has just acquired 1.3 million hectares of arable land in Madagascar on a 99-year lease to grow maize and palm oil for South Korea. 1.3 million hectares, by the way, is about half the size of Belgium - and about 50 per cent of Madagascar's farmland.

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Environment Agency wants a Green New Deal

Speaking at the Agency's annual conference yesterday, Lord Smith called for "swift and bold" measures to tackle the climate and energy crises with as much urgency as the government has responded to the financial crisis.

I believe if there's to be another New Deal, it has to be a green New Deal," he said. "We need a Green New Deal to meet our carbon emissions targets and create jobs in renewable energy and green technology.

Watch his full speech:

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Is there a pot of ‘economic gold’ at the end of the rainbow?

Like many Labour ministers of late, she has turned to J.M. Keynes for inspiration, arguing that the government will "turn the great spending power of the Olympics in to economic gold at a time of economic need".

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Buy Nothing, Do Something

But whatever your view of BND, you might still find it a little odd that our Government is somehow trying to elide consumerism and civic duty, two things that are - or should be - about as far apart on the individual-society spectrum as it's possible to get. Whilst not, perhaps, as banally distasteful as George W Bush's exhortation to Americans to respond to 9/11 by going shopping, there is something discomforting about the Government's plea. More

Green New Deal Round-Up

A Green New Deal gets some comprehensive coverage over at Ekklesia - a very thoughtful web-based Christian thinktank.

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Let’s not shop till we drop

This is flawed. From an economic perspective, generalised spending on mostly imported goods is a highly inefficient way to reflate the UK economy. Most of the spending benefits just leak away. It will do little to combat what Richard Holbrooke, former US ambassador to the UN, called an "existential threat to the planet", managing to conjure the curious image of chainsaw wielding French philosophers converging on a rainforest. Exhorting a rebirth of binge consumerism on the high street may be less exotic, but it is equally destructive.

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Royal Bank of Scotland announce \“breathing space\” for homeowners

The housing charities have been fairly positive about RBS's move - although other banks have dismissed it as marketing spin. It is clearly an inadequate concession, but it also demonstrates that RBS are beginning to recognise their culpability in this mess.

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