Posts Tagged 'Labour'

Public Sector Pay Freeze

The Labour government’s spoiler declaration today was another pathetic attempt at gesture politics. If you truly wanted to make a gesture then 1) Freeze all public sector pay between £30,000 and £100,000; 2) All pay at or above.would be slashed by 10%. 3) All public sector bodies would be instructed to cut their contractor pay rates by 15%.
Schools, hospitals and social workers to name but a few pay large of their budget to contract workers. This must be addressed for both short and long term reasons.


Titanic Labour

Not the force of Greek myth but the early 21st century sinking ship. As the rats leave (Jaqui Smith and Hazel Blears at time of writing), it leaves only the inevitably poor showing in the European elections to draw out the plotters. But no one is brave enough to play the part of Brutus or indeed Michael Heseltine.

The truth is that the Labour party are suffering from government ennui, a desire for change regardless of performance. Labour’s performance in recent years has been lamentable: the impoverished response to the banking crisis, the waste (non jobs in the public sector) of money in the good times, the Iraq retreat debacle, failure to assert itself in Europe. But none of these are election winners or losers. The great British public invariably vote in general elections based on the economy, incompetence, or boredom but rarely ideology. The government have handled things better than in the dying days of the Major administration but one cannot help thinking that only a collapse by the Tories will lead to anything but a 1979-esque rout.

The smell of power has quietened the rabid right wing dogs and their howls of immigration, EU, and low taxes. The hope is that David Cameron will use the 12 months as thinking time to develop a true ideology leading to economic sustainable growth, a viable ‘free’ healthcare system, a resuscitation of our morbid education system, and a foreign policy that puts the UK and its sphere of influence first.

Night Said Fred

As Sir Fred departs the scene one can only view his career with RBS as a microcosm of our financial times. Like Icarus he flew too close to the sun, replacing a well run, austere Scottish retail bank with a laissez fair institution with global ambitions.

I am loath to praise our government for their actions because it could and should have been done at least two weeks earlier, and like congratulating the drowning man for accepting the offer of assistance, what alternative was there? Independent economists had been calling for this action for some time, and sprinkled with some political actions: no dividends, the heads of those responsible, it remains the best action that could be taken. Since this crisis began, the UK banks have consistenly lied to anyone who would listen. Minimal exposure to the US housing crisis we were told, mark to market values were still good. Yet each quarter from 2007 brought us further downgrades. It is for this reason why heads must roll and bonuses for MDs and above must be curtailed for every institution who brings its Dickensian begging bowl out.

I am somewhat annoyed with the response by the Conservatives. They were consistently slow in their response, merely adopting a ‘united front’ approach, arguing that they would work with the Government. I realise that nationalisation (and that’s what it is) is a bitter pill to swallow, but these are not ordinary times. It is vital to ensure that this does not happen at the same scale again which means, punishing the executives, through resignations, and bonus cuts, and punishing the shareholders through dilution and no dividend. The shareholder via the institutions clearly need to take a closer look at their holdings. Did Enron and WorldCom not teach us that a story too good to be true is just that?

If the Scandinavian and Japanese crises of the last century tell us anything, it’s that we’re in for a painful recesssion. The best we can hope for is that 2010 will bring us new hope, and that this, if not the end, is at least the beginning of the end.

Yes Darling

So Mr Darling has promised to do something to the economy!

Well considering that the credit crunch began some twelve months ago, one can only marvel at his inability to have a structured response by now.

There is only so much that can be borrowed in the current climate therefore taxes have to be raised yet, Darling ever the politician, just didn’t have the guts to say the obvious. This unnecessary economy with the truth is incredibly frustrating. I was happy to praise Mr Darling when he acknowledged the severity of the financial earthquakes some weeks ago, but clearly he’s been told to keep his mouth shut by Team Brown.

What we actually need is a structured attack before the contagion gripping the city hits town & country!

On a separate point, I note the call for a windfall tax is rising in the labour ranks. Now I have a big problem with windfall taxes. There is a system already in place to capture a share of excess profit. It’s called ‘taxation’.  Also, I note that it’s ‘to pay for rishing fuel bills’. Where does this taxing A, to bay for B principle stop? Will all taxation need to be earmarked for a particular related expenditure? In which case, who will we tax to pay for defence or our MPs and civil servants? Now that’s interesting…

Stamp Duty Axed for a few

Now I have nothing wrong with the idea of stamp duty. Indeed it is the only thing that Gordon Brown did to try to rein a rampantly overheating housing market but this current action is just pathetic. Where is this money coming from? Nick Robinson provides us with an idea:

Did anyone see Hazel Blears on the BBC this morning? This woman is a prefect example of the sycophantic drivel which we need to vote out. When will politicians look for long term solutions and not headline grabbing shortemist exercises?

  • Do not try to stimulate a market which all unbiased bodies suggest is at least 20% overvalued as at September 2008.
  • A labour government should be concentrating on ensuring that mortgage holders are not hounded out of their homes by banks eager to recover funds.
  • They should be working with international bodies to create a Basle III or II.5 ensuring an increase in Tier 1 capital so that we don’t have our banks gambling this madly again.
  • They should also ensure that we never get to the stage where the nation’s people get themselves into a tulipesque market decoupling the idea of a first house being a home and not an investment.

April 2018
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