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Posts Tagged ‘Conservatives’

Don’t be fooled by Eurosceptic ‘libertarians’…

December 23, 2011 Leave a comment

…as they are just xenophobes.

This applies aptly to the Tory right and UKIP. Some might be theoretically libertarians but by calling for a withdrawal from the EU they cannot call themselves libertarians in practice.

The EU guarantees free trade, the basis for a free market, across member states. Freedom of movement for goods, capital and, most importantly, people.

Any renegotiation of Britain’s membership would precede the removal of these important contributing factors to the British economy.  Britain would become an isolated island with an increasingly discriminatory immigration system.

The EU is not perfect. Any one who says otherwise is deluded. However, it does lay an important foundation for the liberalisation of a global economy. The future of make-up of the world economy will likely be based on political and economic blocs – like the EU is. Like the USA technically is.

Once this shift has occurred free trade can take place between the blocs. It won’t happen in for a long time, but it will happen based on ongoing political and economic trends of co-operation at a supra-national level.

The right wing wish to prohibit this trend. A protectionist measure in the name of freedom.

 

Europe, China and the odd one out

October 27, 2011 Leave a comment

On Wednesday night the Eurozone summit convened and passed a motion agreeing to a €1 trillion European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) top-up. It has already become obvious that this €1 trillion fund is not enough and negotiations will now start between the Eurozone, led by Nicolas Sarkozy, and China ahead of next weeks G20 meeting. It is expected that China will supply a further €1 trillion bringing the total fund to €2 trillion.

The summit also imposed certain conditions.  Banks will be limited in paying dividends and bonuses until they meet capital thresholds of 9%, or €106bn. This is the equivalent of another HSBC. No mean feat. Britain’s banks, having been forced by the Bank of England and the FSA to raise this amount will be spared the task.

Greece’s debt will be partially written off, reducing the debt burden from 180% GDP to 120% GDP. The next woe for the Eurozone is more than likely to come from Italy. Before the summit Berlusconi, the Italian Prime Minister, declared he would resign by the new year. A welcome announcement for pretty much everyone.  For months the Italian economy has been without leadership and this was openly declared by Steinmeier in the Bundestag on Wednesday.

The situation in the Eurozone, as is evident, is not contained to the Eurozone. Britain’s largest trading partner is the Eurozone. China holds €2.4 trillion in currency reserves. If the Euro collapsed China would be stuffed. As it is, China has had to resort to boosting domestic demand in anticipation that demand in EU27 will drop off, despite an increase of China to EU27 exports of 20% in 2010. China’s help, however, will not come from China’s desire not to lose any money. It is expected, and one would be surprised if they didn’t, that China will demand that Europe acknowledge China as a market economy and thus drop some of the trade barriers on Chinese products.

Britain, in the whole situation, is the odd one out. On Sunday, Sarkozy told Cameron “You are missing a good opportunity to shut up. If you wanted a say you should have joined the euro.” On Monday, Britain was the only Parliament to debate holding an in/out/renegotiate referendum on EU Membership. The Eurosceptics of Cameron’s Conservative Party threatened to tear his party apart. In the end, only 81 Conservative MPs (including the two tellers) rebelled against Cameron’s three line whip to vote in favour of the motion calling for the referendum.

Cameron has done well to isolate Britain from the European Community, and Germany in particular. The withdrawal of the Conservative Party from the European People’s Party in 2009 in favour of setting up a right-wing bloc in the European Parliament consisting of European fringe parties from the former Soviet bloc. Since becoming Prime Minister, Cameron has moved closer to France without German involvement. France and Germany are inseparable in Europe and to snub Dr. Merkel is an unwise decision.

In the Bundestag, on Wednesday, Kauder (CDU) said : we’re prepared to reach in our pockets, but expect solidarity from Britain & agreement on financial transaction tax. Was that solidarity given? No. Osborne stated that Britain would not give any money to the EFSF but did not rule out giving indirectly via the IMF. The same result will occur – Britain will give money to the Eurozone. The route that Britain has taken, however, will only serve to further isolate the island nation.

On Thursday morning, the Daily Express jumped on comments made by Merkel in the Bundestag on Wednesday:  “If the Euro falls, so does Europe.. No one should assume that another 50 years of peace in Europe are a given.” The Express took this for an implied declaration of war, thus cooling the frosty nature that Britain currently has with Germany. Britain is fast becoming the ‘odd ball’ of Europe.

Britain’s isolationism beside, will the current round of funding to the EFSF work? In the short-term it will. In the long-term it is unlikely. As a European Federalist, tinkering with the Euro will not save it. Fiscal and further political union will save it.

Obituary: Britannia

October 19, 2010 Leave a comment

The Great and ever victorious Britannia is dead. She will be mourned by a nation.

Britannia was born at the beginning of time to Europe and God. She was the outsider in her family, rejected by her jealous sisters for her ravishing beauty, her fierce temperament, and hips that would bear an Empire.

Every woman wanted to be her and every man wanted to be with her.

Her sister, Marianne, was, for a long time, jealous of Britannia. While Britannia had the beauty and the modesty Marianne was off cavorting with French peasants. Marianne wanted to be Britannia, but eventually she settled to be the fiery, less attractive sister who has a thing for short cowardly men, and a penchant for cheese.

She had relationships with many people; the longest on/off relationship was with Mister Conservative, though she had flings with Messrs Labour and Liberal. Mister Conservative was her favourite, and she his. They had their fallings out, as do all relationships. He cared for her like a gentle lover would. He gave her gifts, fed her grapes as she relaxed on the Chaise Longue, read to her. He made sweet, sweet love to her. It was a special relationship and from their communion many children were borne. When they argued, he was out of the House for a while, before she forgave him and invited him back – mainly for the sex.

But when they did have their arguments, there were always others to step into the gap Mister Conservative left. Those were namely Messrs Labour and Liberal. Mister Liberal was a timid lover who rarely showed any passion and drive that attracted Britannia. Love was made, but there wasn’t much in it. Mister Labour was the casual fling; she was the casual fling for him. He often neglected her and was often found in the embrace of other women, especially N.H. Service. But he was good to her when he was around, often buying her gifts and showing her the passion she craved. In the end she always went back to Mister Conservative.

Her downfall arrived on the 19th of October in the Two Thousand and Tenth Year of our Lord. Britannia was cruelly beaten to death by the man who claimed loved her, encouraged by his jealous business partner Mister Liberal Democrat.

It is a complicated tale to tell and not a pleasant outcome. Mister Liberal Democrat, having never experienced the taste of Britannia and never likely would do either, entered into a business arrangement with Mister Conservative after arrangements with Mister Labour collapsed. It was a good deal for Mister Conservative, he was back earning money and he was back in the embrace of his beloved Britannia. Jealous of what Mister Conservative had with Britannia, Mister Liberal Democrat began feeding Mister Conservative lies about Britannia and how she was some sort of cheap whore. These rumours remain as rumours, vile and malicious as they are. In a fit of rage, encouraged by Mister Liberal Democrat, Mister Conservative beat Britannia to death. Blinded her because she saw too much, gagged her because she threatened to speak up. Shield stolen so she could not defend herself and trident snapped so she could not attack back. All this was done in the presence of Mister Liberal Democrat who was shouting encouragement and lies while sadistically shaving Britannia’s lion. If that was not enough, they maimed her three sons. The oldest, Royal Navy was drowned before being crippled. He is still in intensive care. Her middle child, Army, was up in arms about the commotion before he too was bloodied and crippled. He may never walk again. The youngest, Royal Air Force was quiet throughout, but he did not escape the carnage. He had his wings clipped and his aspirations of becoming a pilot may never happen.

Shocked at what happened, Mister Conservative broke down in tears and began blaming Mister Liberal Democrat. Mister Liberal Democrat, with his silken tongue, convinced him to blame it on Mister Labour’s neglect that ultimately led to her ‘suicide’. Fortunately for justice the plot was foiled. Messrs Conservative and Liberal Democrat were not available for comment at the time of printing.

Britannia is survived by many, many children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren etc., etc.

Britannia, born when time began, died 19/10/10, aged ageless.

Generation of the damned

October 7, 2010 Leave a comment

The Coalition’s recent announcement of cuts to the Benefit system, coupled with perceived cuts to the public sector and welfare state in the October Spending Review has damned an entire generation to relative poverty and poor prospects.

It is a well known principle that investment in the welfare state and education can enable individuals to remove themselves from the poverty cycle. As has been discussed in a previous post: you are only as rich as your poorest citizen. The cuts seek to trap our poorest citizens in the poverty cycle without any means to remove themselves.

The Conservatives, especially Cameron, hark on about Broken Britain. Britain is not broken, but it soon will be. It is also well known that anti-social behaviour and general social ills are created and fuelled by poverty, bear in mind that there are always exceptions to the rule. So to ‘fix’ broken Britain what is needed is investment in education, as the great liberator, and welfare to work schemes as well as maintaining the welfare and universal benefit system – means testing might be a better option than an arbitrary reduction.

The ‘Free’ schools are another name for Grammar Schools but free from state control and therefore able to select pupils thus further damning children from poor areas. I, separate from Oldfield-Pike, advocate a fully comprehensive education system so that there is not two-tiers within the education system.

The perceived result of the Browne Review, set to announce tuition fees to £10,000, coupled with the governments reduction in funding for Higher Education will inhibit the majority from applying to go to University and will reduce the calibre of the institutions for those that do. Now, more than ever, do we, as a country, need to push for greater investment in education or we risk falling behind the rest of the world in teaching and research.

The Coalition government wants to get people into work and off the benefit system but the way they are approaching it can only spell disaster. The welfare to work programmes have been scrapped which means relying on the voluntary sector to provide the programmes through the ‘Big Society’, but, because public spending is being cut across the board, there is not any money for charities etc. to provide for these welfare to work schemes thus trapping them in the poverty cycle with their children and their children’s children ad infinitum.

St Vincent of Cable has been losing the plot…

September 8, 2010 1 comment

…just this past week (beginning 6/9/10). He has criticised the appointment of Bob Diamond as the CEO of Barclays and is planning on cutting science funding. These two issues beg me to question Vince Cable’s sanity or the influence of the Treasury. I admire Vince, I have a signed copy of his latest book, but I cannot abide his recent actions.

 Vince has, for a long-time, campaigned on breaking up the banks into retail and investment banks. I disagree fundamentally with this approach as it will threaten the banking sector, a large contributor to the economy, and force them the relocate out of the economy because Britain will no longer be competitive.

 It has been commented that Bob Diamond is not a well liked man in the industry, often abrasive, but he does produce results. Since joining Barclays he has transformed the investment arm, now known as Barclays Capital, so much so that it now accounts for 80% of Barclays’’ profits. Vince should not be worried about the universal structure of the banks as the two arms compliment each other. Anyway it will be the Treasury, not Vince Cable or the Banking Commission, which will decide the future of Britain’s banking sector.

 The other, more serious decision is the one to cut science funding. The government currently spends £4.3bn a year on scientific research but it is not enough, according to recent studies there is a funding shortfall of about £10bn, and to cut it would damage Britain’s global competitiveness. The State should guarantee funding in order to make scientific breakthroughs possible. Qualifying research attaches a price that may not be immediately noticeable. Breakthroughs often happen by accident and after years of ‘futile’ research. However on cannot judge how far the Treasury is forcing his hand to make the cuts.

 These two issues, I believe, have damaged the reputation of a once brilliant man.

Voting Patterns in Devon

May 14, 2010 3 comments

This post has been requested by @lonleywanderer , but it will be different from the original link. There is quite a bit of statistics so please bear with me.

The 2010 General Election produced, what amounted to, a hung parliament and Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition. What Devon alone created was, as good as, a Conservative majority.

The size of the electorate for Devon is 871,144, the proportion of the electorate that voted was 601,300 producing a turnout of 69.02%. This is a pretty good turnout considering turnout across the County varied quite a lot. Turnout is noticeably higher in rural/semi-rural constituencies where the highest turnout, for the County, was Devon Central with 75.66%. The lowest turnout, for the County, was Plymouth Moor View with 61.74%.

The highest turnout in an urban area was Exeter with 67.72%. The lowest turnout in a rural/semi-rural area was Devon North with 68.88%.

The reasons behind the variations in turnout are many and I will list a few. Rural areas, in Devon, tend to have a higher proportion of elderly voters compared to urban areas which tend to have a higher young population. Statistically speaking the elderly are more likely to vote than the young. If you think of any more reasons feel free to add them in the comments section.

The share of the vote across Devon is as follows:

Conservative – 43.05%

Liberal Democrat – 33.08%

Labour – 14.79%

UKIP – 6.17%

Green – 1.57%

Others – 1.34%

(I chosen the above five parties because they put up candidates in all twelve constituencies.)

As one can tell the Conservatives reign superior in Devon, as Devon is a largely rural County that relies upon Agriculture, Agricultural Industry and Tourism – all of which the Conservatives are trusted in maintaining.

The Liberal Democrats are second in the race, and a fairly close second at that. Despite the current arrangements at Westminster – the Liberal Democrats, for Devon, are the tolerable choice for those that do not agree with Conservatism. The Liberal Democrats are largely good for rural Devon – mediating the differences between the interests of urban and rural areas (I exclude Exeter and Plymouth from this analysis), a joke about fence sitting springs to mind…but that would largely untrue in Devon.

Labour does not really exist in Devon and is confined to the urban areas of Plymouth and Exeter. There is an increase in the poll for Labour in constituencies that abut the Urban constituencies but the biggest polling outside of Exeter and Plymouth is 12.42% in Devon South West – which is nearly Plymouth anyway.

UKIP is a distant Fourth place across the County but occasionally becomes the third party in some constituencies such as Devon North where it overtook Labour (5.2%) with 7.25% or Devon West & Torridge.

The Greens do not poll well at all in Devon with their biggest polling being Totnes with 2.47%.

The biggest Conservative poll was Devon South West with 55.97%. The Liberal Democrats biggest poll was Devon North with 47.36%. Labour’s biggest poll was Exeter with 38.17%. UKIPs biggest poll was Devon East with 8.19%. As mentioned earlier, the Green’s biggest poll was 2.47% in Totnes.

If PR was introduced across the County the Conservatives would have gained 5 seats, instead of 8. The Liberal Democrats would have gained 4 seats, instead of 2 admittedly they did lose 1 seat. Labour would have gained 2 seats, which they did, and UKIP would have gained 1, instead of none.

(PR is an assumed distribution of seats in relation to votes cast across the county regardless of political boundaries – no actual PR system used. I am lazy in that aspect.)

Ust’s Week Episode 1