In the macho world of global politics appeasement is the dirtiest of all words. Failure to stand-up to the bully, whether in the play-ground or at the United Nations is, for most Westerners, a cardinal sin. The moral maze is simple to navigate when the bully turns his attention to neighbouring states, we should be free to step in to protect the interest and sovereignty of a defending nation – so with Kuwait in the first Gulf War – but when the violence is contained within the Bully’s own borders the maze becomes exponentially more complex. Accordingly, politicians who turn their military might on their own people are amongst the most reviled of men, but calibrating the correct response is problematic in the extreme.
Tuesday, 27 August 2013
Thursday, 8 August 2013
The tide has turned on the British economy; after the tsunami of the credit crunch we have been beached on the mudflats of no/low growth of for four years. There have been moments when it seemed the after-shocks would create move waves, the Euro crisis being the most obvious risk. There have even been moments when recovery seemed to be ebbing our way only to evaporate into the stinking sands of a flat-lining growth. In December last year I blogged that we were at the beginning of the end and amazingly I think I called the low water mark correctly and 8 months on the sparkling waters of recovery our flooding in bringing relief to many parts of our economy.
This change in the tide is very welcome but growth is still weak and localised. Most of the benefits are being felt in London and its hinterland and only in pockets outside the south east of England. More worrying our neighbours in Europe are still up to their knees in thick mud and going nowhere fast. With a new governor at the Bank of England and only 20 months of the coalition government to run people in high places can't afford another false start, they need a full spring tide to come flooding in to all parts if our economy.
|Low water - but the tide is coming in!|
Monday, 5 August 2013
News this week that there may be as many as 1 million workers on ‘Zero Hours’ contracts in the UK has come as a bit of a shock to the liberal elite. A Zero Hours contract is where the employee signs up to an employment contract, which has no guaranteed pay or hours of work, these contracts are used by retailers and hotel industry, which need a ready supply of unskilled workers without the risk of taking on more fixed costs.
Sunday, 4 August 2013
In the five years that have elapsed since the global financial crisis erupted in the summer of 2008 living standards in the UK have dropped sharply (in 2008 a single person earning £13,000 would have reached the minimum they needed to get by. if their wage had risen in line with average increases, they would now be earning £14,000 – which is roughly three thousand short of the £16,850 salary needed to cover the same basic standard of living today). During this period we have had two governments who have been attempting to nurse our broken economy back to health. In the first two years of the crisis we had the 'fag end' of a long running Labour government, who had little stomach for the fight. The only Labour minister who came out of this period with any credit was Alistair Darling the who, despite constant interference from Gordon Brown (self styled saviour of the world), did an excellent job of first aid on a patient that was dead on its feet. His sensible approach to encouraging consumption through sales tax reductions and the motor car recycling scheme combined with a massive blood transfusion of QE made sure that Britain survived the trauma of an imploding financial services industry and the cataclysmic effect this had on credit markets and the tax take. The rest of the Labour government were in shock as they watched 13 years of neo-socialism unwind before their eyes.
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