The Greek government is discovering quickly how imprisoned they are by all the accumulated debts and the Euro they inherit. Being part of the iron discipline of the Eurozone makes things worse. Argentina, Venezuela and others show that whilst having you own currency can help with devaluation staving off disaster for longer, you can also come badly unstuck as a country if the state spends and borrows too much even with its own currency. If you devalue too much overseas debt becomes very expensive, and imports too become much less affordable.
There are some who think it is always caring for the state to spend more. There is always more poverty to relieve, more good works the government might like to undertake, more public service to increase and improve. The problem is if you overdo it, far from being more caring, the government ends up making brutal cuts at the insistence of its creditors. I doubt Greece wanted to cut pubic sector wages and make large cash reductions in what they spend on their health service, but they were driven to that by poor financial management.
There are others who think that it is always good for an economy for the state sector to run large deficits. They argue that the private sector or the overseas sector can easily lend a surplus to the state, so isn’t it better if the state deliberately overspends so there is more spending and activity in the economy? Unfortunately this doesn’t work out either. Greece has just shown you can have a recession which loses you 25% of output whilst continuing throughout that period to run much larger deficits than more successful countries. If running up large state debts produced good growth and wealth increases, then we should expect countries like Greece, Argentina and Venezuela to be amongst the richest in the world.
I hope the UK is reminded of the lessons of prudence by the parlous Greek state. Borrow too much and you reach the point where no-one wishes to lend you any more. Borrow too much and you have to spend more and more of your income on interest charges, leaving less for what you need. Borrow too much and you end up having to cut drastically as your creditors insist.
In each case there is also all the spending which is not as advertised. Governments spend too much on themselves very often, and are commonly inefficient and badly managed. In a country like Greece tax collection is very difficult, as so many people scorn the state they live in, regarding the taxes as unfair or avoidable.
The latest polling shows that Blair and his acolytes have lost the argument over the direction for Labour policy. A YouGov poll of 1,655 participants reported yesterday that by a majority of more than 2:1 they were anti-austerity, anti-war and wanted less subservience to the US, and anti-big business and over-mighty corporations. But...
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The post Blair wrong that centre ground wins elections: not this time appeared first on Michael Meacher MP.
THE humble polling booth is one of the cornerstones of our democracy.
A copy of an exchange that I had in the House of Commons recently in my capacity as Second Church Estates Commissioner can be found here.
Of course we must use science for the betterment of human kind but I think we also always need to be conscious of the potential side effects of any new scientific intervention.
My instincts are that it would be sensible to have time for further consideration and consultation on this matter before Parliament votes on it.
As it happens, I am not going to be at Westminster for the vote as I have had longstanding permission from the Whips to be away in Washington at this year’s National Prayer Breakfast of the US Congress.
Rt. Hon. Sir Tony Baldry MP
The Director of Public Prosecutions is independent of politicians and her job is not to make the law but to enforce it. And that's exactly what she is doing in respect of rape. She's trying to ensure that victims of rape get justice. Too many don't report at all - fearing they won’t be believed. Or drop out half way through the case because they can't face re-living the ordeal. So the fact is that many rapists get away with it. That is not only unfair on the victim but its bad news for deterrence. Most of the evidence is that rape is a "repeat offence" i.e. he'll do it again until he's stopped.
We're not talking about a man making a mistake here - as Sarah Vine does. We’re talking about a criminal offence. If I leave a window open an inch and someone breaks in, steals everything I own and ransacks my house no one would say it wasn't a crime or that the offender had "made a mistake".
Rape is the crime of sexual intercourse without consent. If there is consent then it’s not a crime. What is at issue here is where there isn't consent and how we make sure that women are protected from rapists and that they are brought to justice.
Tackling crimes by men against women is bedevilled by the culture of men's excuses and blaming of their victims. It was only a few years ago that we managed to change the law so that a man who killed his wife could no longer blame her for provoking him - for example by her having an affair. The so-called "nagging and shagging defence" which saw wife-killers evade murder charges was abolished. But in rape, victim-blaming is alive and well. Can't we ever leave behind the blame culture which says to the victim that she brought it on herself and therefore the man is the victim because he is accused.
The DPP will carry on her work in the best interests of justice. And more power to her elbow. She's doing the right thing and it’s long overdue. It’s not my job to prosecute rapists. It’s hers. But I for one am backing her all the way.
Mark Reckless MP can announce that elderly residents are to get a new zebra crossing at Hollywood Lane, Wainscott. The crossing will be located at the entrance to Greenfields Close – which is sheltered housing for the elderly.
The campaign calling on Medway Council to install a crossing was started five years ago by local resident Jean Lawrence. Mrs Lawrence started the campaign due to the difficulties that local people were having leaving their homes – with several elderly residents refusing to leave their houses due to the danger the road posed to them.
Jean contacted local UKIP Councillor Peter Rodberg who began to work with Jean to push for the council to install the crossing. When they contacted Mark Reckless, and he threw his weight behind the campaign, they finally got a result.
Greenfields residents were delighted with the news, with one saying it was “fantastic” that they would finally be getting the crossing they needed. They thanked Jean, Peter and Mark for their hard work, as Mark introduced them to the Medway Council officers who would make the crossing a reality.
“I’m ecstatic – you have no idea how much a difference that a crossing makes to all of us here in Greenfield Close. It will allow us to be able to come and go like we haven’t been able to before. I’d like to thank both Mark and Peter for supporting my campaign and I’m just so pleased that Medway Council have agreed to finally install the crossing.”
Mark Reckless added:
“This is a fantastic result. It is a great feeling when you are able to help local residents get exactly what they need. It goes to show just what a difference local people can make in their community. It was a project with which I was delighted to help and I would like to congratulate Jean – all of her hard work has paid off.”
There will be a period of formal consultation in March with construction due to start in June.
The Conservative Party believes that if someone works hard and earns money, they should be able to spend as much as possible, as they like. The Government has no intrinsic right to it: it’s yours. This is why low taxes are so important. People spend their own money, helping the economy.
Since 2010, this Government has cut income tax for over 24 million people, with an average saving of £705, but the Conservatives want to go further after the election. We plan to take everyone who earns less than £12,500 out of income tax altogether, and raise the 40p tax threshold so that no-one earning less than £50,000 pays it. This will provide a tax cut and more disposable income for 30 million people. It will help the economy to grow.
We would do this while cutting the deficit. Over the last five years, Conservatives in Government have halved the deficit while cutting income tax, and in the next Parliament, we’ll do the same again: eliminating the deficit while reducing taxes. The Prime Minister has said that after years of sacrifice, the British people deserve a reward. People whose hard work and personal sacrifices have got this country through the difficult times should come first.
The other main parties have said that, instead, they would tax people more. This would not recognise the sacrifices that the British people have already made, and it would be an attack on aspiration. Only the Conservatives are committed to cutting taxes and building a Britain that rewards work.
Our long-term economic plan will cut tax, create growth, and allow us to cut the deficit.
Here’s my latest Ham and High column – also available here
It seems like every time we watch the news, we hear about another conflict or incident. And the awful terrorist attacks in Paris were so close to home.
The whole world felt the impact of the horror that unfolded at the Charlie Hebdo office.
But here in Haringey we have a proud history of uniting against violence, hate, and extremism.
Less than two years ago, the community response to the terrible attacks on the Somali Bravenese Centre was overwhelming. We all came together in a show of solidarity – and helped them to rebuild.
Unity is the best way to respond to the atrocities committed by terrorists, and extremism. It’s so important that we don’t allow the politics of fear and hate to creep in.
To be blunt, those seeking to create division are parties like Ukip, who would use the actions of terrorists to create fear and animosity towards certain communities.
I’m proud that my party, the Liberal Democrats, have stood up to Ukip from day one. Our beliefs and values really are the polar opposite of theirs!
But I know it’s not enough to just say these things – politicians, communities, everyone needs to take real action, and search for the right solutions.
That’s why I’m arranging even more local visits to community groups and religious groups, to discuss how they feel about the current situation; ask what they think can be done to stop further attacks, and how to prevent division in the aftermath.
There are going to be difficult moments, and tough conversations. But it’s what needs to happen for us to find an effective, long-term solution to tackling extremism.
This is the harder path. But it will ensure that the voices of all those in our community are heard – that our youth understand the value of engagement over argument.
This is a conversation that needs to be ongoing. We need to build forums and platforms that allow for a continuing discussion in our community about these difficult issues.
I want to hear as many views as possible – if you have thoughts you’d like to share, please contact me. This is a conversation we all need to be part of.
The decision that Tesco will be closing its Chatham Superstore is obviously a hugely disappointing one, especially for those employees concerned and their families. While this is a commercial decision taken by Tesco as part of a national restructuring of their operations, my main concern is now the support being offered to those employees in helping them find alternative work, whether within Tesco or elsewhere. I have made clear that this is my priority in my discussions with Tesco and I will continue to liaise with them in the coming months.
JONES WELCOMES YSGOL LLANBEDR REPRIEVE
Westminster, 27 January 2015
Clwyd West MP, David Jones, says that he is ‘delighted’ that Ysgol Llanbedr is not, after all, going to close.
David Jones MP said:
‘This was always a seriously flawed decision.
‘The school is excellent, with a growing roll. The parents, staff and governors fought an excellent campaign.
‘It will now be for the education authority to liaise with the school to agree a way forward for expansion, to enable the school to achieve its full potential.’
Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP sings the Holocaust Educational Trust's Book of Commitment
This week Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP signed the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Book of Commitment, in doing so pledging his commitment to Holocaust Memorial Day and honouring those who were murdered during the Holocaust as well as paying tribute to the extraordinary Holocaust survivors who work tirelessly to educate young people.&nbs
On Thursday 15th January, Dominic Grieve accompanied the HS2 Select Committee on its visit to Denham.
On Thursday 15th January, Dominic Grieve accompanied the HS2 Select Committee on its visit to Denham.
Following his visit, Mr Grieve spoke during the HS2 Funding (Referendum) Bill on Friday, 23rd January. You can find full details of Mr Grieve's participation in the debate on his speeches page.
As of Monday 2nd February 2015 the CAB office at the Kingfisher Shopping Centre will close, and CAB services for Bromsgrove & Redditch will be managed from the CAB office in Bromsgrove. Interim arrangements will be put in place for Redditch citizens to access information and advice, whilst the Borough Council works closely with Citizen Advice nationally to design a new advice service.
CitA is providing a small bridging grant to Bromsgrove CAB to enable services to be delivered in Redditch on an outreach basis pending review and agreement as to new service delivery model. Details of the information and advice services to be made available in Redditch can be obtained from the Redditch Borough Council reception, Redditch library and the national Citizens Advice website in the near future.
Karen Lumley MP confirmed that she was very pleased with the new approach of bringing information and advice services closer to the local communities in Redditch, saying: "I have every confidence that the partnership between Citizens Advice and the Council will create a new delivery model that will bring greater benefits to the residents of Redditch. I gather that many of the volunteer advice workers at the Redditch CAB office have opted to be involved with the delivery of this new service, and their support is greatly appreciated."
Bill Hartnett, Leader of the Council commented: "I was extremely disappointed to hear of the closure of Redditch CAB from 2nd February and would like to thank all the staff and volunteers for their hard work and the support they have provided to the people of Redditch over many years.
It would appear that, for a variety of reasons, the Redditch CAB in its current form has become unsustainable however I was pleased to hear that interim arrangements will be put in place for Redditch people to access information and advice, pending the launch of a new service this summer.
I am keen that the Council work in partnership with Citizens Advice to ensure that new service maximises the benefits of the Councils own transformation work in order to provide much needed support to people in these continuing difficult times."
A spokesperson for the national Citizens Advice organisation said: "Thank you to the staff and volunteers for the support they have provided people in Redditch, and we are pleased that so many of the volunteers are keen to be part of the new service. Our vision is that the Citizens Advice service is seen as a key focal point for local communities – the main starting point for finding solutions to problems and a place to find out more about key local issues. We are working with Redditch Borough Council to transform the service in the town so that it remains in touch with local needs and is able to work as a solution provider with the relevant partners and stakeholders'."
The new service model will deliver advice across Bromsgrove & Redditch, and will place advice services closer to local communities. The new service is due to be launched in the summer.
How different it all seemed when the Euro was launched a decade and a half ago. It was meant to mean a new era of prosperity. A single currency would, we were told amid much fanfare, strengthen the free market and underpin the liberal order across Europe.
Not much sign of that in Greece right now.
The ultra-leftists, Syriza, have been elected to office on the back of a popular revolt against the Troika. An assortment of odd balls and extremists could now hold the balance of power.
Alex Tsipras, Greece's Prime Minister elect, will now attempt to tread a fine line. On the one hand he is committed to negotiating a new deal for Greece, based on debt reduction. On the other hand, he does not want to be so demanding that he gets Greece thrown out of the Euro.
In other words, Alex Tsipras is in a not altogether dissimilar position from our own Prime Minister, David Cameron.
Like Tsipras, Mr Cameron wants a new deal, but does not want to get thrown out of the club. In fact, he's made it pretty clear he is keen to stay in.
Like Tsipras, the Prime Minister has made a lot of pre-election noise about a new deal.
It will be interesting to see what new deal, if any, Tsipras gets.
Bizarrely, given that Britain is a net contributor to the EU budget and one of the largest economies in the world, Greece stands a better chance of getting the concessions it seeks than David Cameron.
For a start, Tsipras been consistent and clear about what he wants; debt cancellation, continued bailout support and a looser fiscal policy. David Cameron has given all manner of vague and contradictory hints. Indeed, his officials have almost given the impression to their EU counterparts that Mr Cameron is not that serious about his new deal.
One of the curious features of the European Union is the way that it exports public policy failure from one state to another. Countries that manage their finances sensibly get punished. Those that run up reckless debts get rewarded. Those economies that grow get fined by Brussels. Those that flounder receive ever large hand-outs.
The Euro system will be far more willing to make concessions to a Greek Prime Minister wanting the re-write the rules in order to prop up a dirigiste state, thereby deepening its dependence on Brussels, than it would concede anything to a UK Prime Minister seeking less Europe.
If Tspiras does not get more than paper concessions, it further undermines the credibility of those in Downing Street who want the British electorate to think they are serious about change.
Perhaps the key difference between Britain and Greece is that if Greece leaves the Euro, it will be because the Brussels elite call time on membership. If Britain quits, it will be because the people say enough.