Plan A is wreaking havoc on the poor

This week I’ve been struck again and again by the determination of our government to make the poor suffer for the mistakes of millionaire bankers. Yesterday, George Osborne re-iterated once again how, even with GDP figures showing economic stagnation and evidence to show living standards falling, he was unwilling to rethink his plan for deficit reduction. More

Feeling Blue: Why the Labour Party should be cautious of its next big idea

‘Blue Labour’ as it likes to be called, and its accompanying eBook The Labour tradition and the politics of paradox have created some big and controversial waves lately. It has been called both Labour’s answer to the Big Society and “a misappropriation of conservatism”. More

A good day to sell off part of the NHS?

The phone-hacking scandal at the News of the World and the ensuing questioning of media mogul Rupert Murdoch has provided cover for the latest stage of the government's ill-advised reforms of the NHS. The Guardian reports that Health Secretary Andrew Lansley plans to open over £1bn of NHS services to competition from charities and private firms. More

Greece will default

Credit ratings agency Moody’s has downgraded Greece’s debt status, saying it is ‘almost certain’ to default following last week’s bailout deal. They are being too modest. Greece will still default and the much-trumpeted deal will do nothing to prevent that.

After weeks of tense negotiations, the major financial institutions have conceded that they, too, will have to shoulder some of the burden of Europe’s debt crisis. Until that point, bankers’ heels had been well and truly dug in, with insistences that no ‘haircut’ would be made against their precious debt assets.

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What if the dollar and the euro go down together?

If there are going to be any songs coming out of World War II, said Tom Lehrer, we’d better start writing them now.

The same, it seems to me, applies to the next financial crash.  If we are going to be able to rescue ourselves from the combination of a US default and a euro collapse, we had better start debating them now.   This is my prescription, as set out now on Lib Dem Voice:

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The eternal challenge of an open mind

‘The voice of the people is but an echo’, wrote the American political scientist V.O.Key some fifty years ago. I echo that. I mean, I recognise in myself the difficulty of coming to an opinion that truly reflects an understanding of a situation and the values I bring to it. Occasionally I can identify the point at which my views have changed. More

Hammond goes window shopping for HS2

For HS2 today is the day. Well, not the only day, but the end of the public consultation period.  Today many individuals and organisations are rushing to finalise their input that the DfT will, as Phillip Hammond says in his recent letter to stakeholders, analyse for the next five months.  

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We must rein in our feral financial system

Yesterday marked unprecedented consecutive daily falls in the history of modern markets.

It’s clear that our Ponzi economy, built on debt has reached its limits. Many of the debts have become unpayable. They can only be dealt with through default, rescheduling or being ‘inflated away.’

The financial elite resist this because they will lose out. But not to act is to be in denial and delay the inevitable.

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It’s the 1780s all over again

I live in a relatively peaceful suburb of south London, in the heart of a huge allotment, secure in the knowledge that – if there is rioting – it will not come near here.

So it was a genuine shock, as I walked through the park to the station this morning, to find clothes hangers and plastic bags and the other detritus of looting, and then an abandoned car rammed into the side of the local mobile phone shop.

It made me all the more aware that we don’t understand what is happening, still less do we have a coherent new economics narrative of the riots.

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London can’t afford to ignore inequality any longer

As Londoners set to with brooms and binbags, trying to clear away the signs of last night’s violence, there’s a strange sense of unreality over the capital. Despite the sirens blaring through the night, despite the wreckage on the streets, despite the smoke on the skyline, it seems hard to believe that this could have happened. The breakdown of the social order was so sudden and so apparently total, that it defies understanding.

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