Posts Tagged ‘Conservative Party’
Four Nations and a Funeral: The Demise of the British Welfare State
The Scotsman, March 30th 2013
The British welfare state is meant to be one of the ties that bind us together; along with the NHS and the BBC representing our common strands of citizenship.
Each has been remarkably eroded in recent years but on Monday April 1st huge changes will occur in the first two – the welfare state and NHS in England – which will have massive consequences for hundreds of thousands of people up and down this country already hard pressed and vulnerable, and for the very idea of Britain itself.
A host of benefit changes are away to occur: the bedroom tax, the abolition of Disability Living Allowance, the housing benefit cap and a real cut in most benefits. At the same time, there will be the biggest overhaul of the NHS in England in decades, with private health care providers the world over drooling at the prospect of getting their hands on the NHS billions.
This is not the mandate David Cameron and Ian Duncan Smith stood on in 2010. Cameron impressed on people that he was a different kind of ‘compassionate conservative’, stressing the perils of inequality and poverty, and citing the work of Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett’s influential ‘The Spirit Level’. Read the rest of this entry »
The Beginning of the End of ‘the Global Kingdom’
The Scotsman, March 9th 2013
This week something momentous happened for the future of the Britain, its economy and politics, for Europe, and our relationship with the continent.
The European Union proposed and agreed a curb on bankers bonuses, over-riding the predictable opposition of the UK Government and George Osborne.
The EU proposals supported by the European Commission, European Central Bank, and 26 out of 27 EU members, will put a ceiling on banker bonuses of one year’s salary, or two years if approved by a large majority of shareholders.
There was the usual outcries from the British Bankers Association, CBI and others: people who go by the description, ‘the business community’, but are actually corporate lobbyists for the big firms, which is not the same thing, looking to maintain the same market dominance for their members. Read the rest of this entry »
Scotland’s Place in the World and the Problem with British Isolationism
The Scotsman, November 3rd 2012
Europe has been in the headlines in the last two weeks. There was Salmond’s little legal controversy on EU matters, followed by David Cameron’s problems with his backbenchers on Europe, while some Labour politicians charged Ed Miliband with opportunism for siding with Tory Euro-sceptics.
If it is possible to rise above Scots insularity and petty partisanship which we have seen in the last week, it would be helpful to note the wider European and international dimension in which the Scottish self-government and independence debate, is now located.
This is about how Scotland sees itself and its geo-political position, or to put it more simply, how it sees its values, relationships and alliances across the European continent and globally. Read the rest of this entry »
The Strange Death of Tory England
The Scotsman, August 11th 2012
The Tory Party was once the party of Britain and a British-wide party. They were the main force of emotional, instinctual, and lest we forget, intelligent unionism, which contributed much of the glue and credos which gave the UK its sense of shared values for so long.
No longer can we say this about the Tories. They are a British-wide party no more , bringing far-reaching consequences for British politics and democracy and with it the future of the union.
People have seen that the Tories have stopped being a British party and became increasingly an English party. This account rose to prominence in the 1980s with Thatcher’s English nationalism.
In 1979 the Tories won 339 parliamentary seats and an overall majority of 43 seats whereas in 2010 they managed 307 seats and were 19 seats short of an overall majority. Over the same period in England their parliamentary support remained constant: 306 seats in 1979 and 298 in 2010. In Wales they won eleven and eight seats respectively, with the big difference being Scotland’s 22 Tory seats in 1979 and solitary Tory in 2010. Read the rest of this entry »
There is a long story to the crisis we are in
The Scotsman, July 14th 2012
As the economic, social and political turmoil mounts across Britain, Europe and the West, some voices of certainty have arisen.
One of the most vocal strands of opinion concerns who to blame for the wreckage and debris we see before us, with some wanting to lay the responsibility solely on the shoulders of Thatcherism, ‘the Big Bang’ and 1980s.
It is very simple and easy to understand; the human need to rewrite history as a self-fulfilling prophecy. The 1980s as the epitome of everything that is wrong and has gone wrong is a powerful current in modern Britain.
This view stresses the politics of individualism of that decade, deregulation and privatisation. This, it is argued, created a climate which led to the present malaise: from Harry Enfield’s ‘Loadsamoney’ to today’s villains, Fred Goodwin and Bob Diamond. Read the rest of this entry »