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20.12.14

An artistic Autumn Statement

I had this on the Demos blog a few weeks ago.

“The cultural life of the North will get a boost,” George Osborne trumpeted in the Autumn Statement, “including a major new theatre space in Manchester. Manchester City Council propose to call it The Factory Manchester. Anyone who’s a child of the 80s will think that’s a great idea.”

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20.12.14

George Osborne hasn’t set a trap for Labour. He’s launched a boomerang

I had this on Labour Uncut a few weeks ago.

George Osborne thinks he is being clever, setting a trap for Labour. But Labour should vote against his proposal, expected to be contained in Wednesday’s Autumn Statement, for a new law requiring that Britain’s structural deficit be eliminated by 2017-18. As it is not a trap, it is a boomerang.

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13.07.14

Tory splits offer Labour an opportunity

I had this on Labour Uncut a few weeks ago.

The Tories now have a great deal of confidence after Newark, wrote the Spectator’s Isabel Hardman on 6 June. The rebelliousness of their backbenches, especially the 2010 intake, has been one of the features of this parliament. Newark marked the first time in a quarter of a century that they retained a seat in a by-election in government, which followed the local and European elections that indicated they are well placed for 2015 if they can recover those who defected from them to UKIP. The smell of success and bigger success to come, sharpened backbench Tory focus.

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11.04.14

Class-based jibes are not an effective attack on Osborne’s feel-good budget pitch

I had this on Labour Uncut a few weeks ago.

“Tories neck and neck with Labour,” reported The Sunday Times. Revisiting the questions that Uncut posed for George Osborne prior to the Autumn Statement allows us to assess how the landscape is evolving.

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11.04.14

How does Labour get its economic message across?

I had this on Labour Uncut a few weeks ago.

“The last Labour government,” The Times front page last Friday reported Ed Balls as saying, “didn’t regulate the financial services in a tough enough way.” They reported this as “the closest to an acknowledgement of personal responsibility” for the 2008 financial crisis. Yet, given that Balls has said similar things in the past and is silent on whether the last government spent too much, it seems a relatively mild contrition.

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15.03.14

Credibility deficit

I had this on the Progress website yesterday.

From the bully pulpit of the Treasury, George Osborne is convinced that he can have the deficit dominate the next parliament as it has dominated this – and, in so doing, keep himself resident in Downing Street and Labour stewing in opposition.

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15.03.14

The UK is staying together. But on what terms?

I had this on Labour Uncut a few weeks ago.

David Bowie has supposedly waded into Scottish politics. How very dare he. He’d only been awarded a Brit. The ensuing furore may have missed this obvious point of context. Bowie may want the UK to stay together, at least in part, so that his award maintains a meaningful title.

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17.02.14

Miliband’s reckoning must also reassure

I had this on Labour Uncut in January.

“The next election”, according to an answer that Ed Miliband gave on Friday, “will be a choice between a big reckoning and steady as she goes.” There wasn’t much that Mliband understated in setting out how Britain would change with him in charge. But this was one thing. There is no steady as she goes option.

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17.02.14

Osborne’s made his move. Now it’s Labour’s turn

I had this on Labour Uncut in January.

We are a nation seeking to rebuild from the economic calamity of the past half decade. You might think this task merits a chancellor focused upon it. But George Osborne doesn’t look to Keynes, Friedman or other economists. He prefers his own ‘baseline theory’ of politics.

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17.02.14

Autumn Statement review: It’s Reagan ’84 vs Reagan ’80

I had this on Labour Uncut last year after the Autumn Statement

Barack Obama’s second term was meant to pivot. From the Middle East which has sapped American military resources and moral authority, to the Pacific, the new crucible of economic and political power. Then the Arab Spring was followed by the disintegration of Syria, the reassertion of Egyptian military rule and such intense strife that the US could not pivot from the Middle East. Even as the rivalry between China and Japan gets hotter.

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17.02.14

The questions facing George Osborne in the Autumn statement

I had this on Labour Uncut before the Autumn Statement last year.

We all live in a George Osborne submarine. Or so he wishes. Doing his work beneath the surface, emerging periodically to bestride events, such as this week’s distinctly wintry Autumn statement.

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03.09.13

Does Labour even have an opinion on monetary policy?

I had this on Labour Uncut a few weeks ago.

This is a rare thing: some thoughts from a Labour perspective on the politics of monetary policy. Maybe it derives from reverence for the last government’s decision to make the Bank of England independent. Perhaps it comes from a slowness to appreciate how the George and Mervyn show has so smoothly transitioned to the George and Mark show. In any case, we do not hear enough from Labour on monetary policy.

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