In George Osborne’s budget, politics triumphed over economics and bravado over honesty. But in amidst the cauldron of denial, downgrades and general gloom there was one interesting policy proposal that small businesses should celebrate and progressives should build on.
Immigration has been the elephant in the room of Labour politics for many years. Even when Ed Miliband pointed out that it was there, sitting right next to us, many Labour activists chose not to see it.
But Ed Miliband is beginning to make a habit of talking about immigration. It is a habit that most British people adopted a few years back.
There are three central arguments that will determine the outcome of the next election. One is over fairness, a second is over economic management, and a third over cultural affinity with the British – or more accurately the English – people.
In the 1980s and 90s, and to a large extent during the Blair-Brown years, it was the last of these three choices – unfettered capitalism – that won out as both main political parties subscribed to liberal free market economics.
Nye Bevan was right, ‘the purpose of getting power is to be able to give it away.’ We have one of the most centralised states in the world. Of the major industrial nations only New Zealand controls more of its public expenditure centrally than we do.
If Europe’s leaders really want to avoid the calamity that would ensue with a Greek exit from the euro it is time for a radical new policy prescription.
Europe’s elite have adopted three main approaches to tackling Europe’s economic malaise, each as flawed as the next. The first is to force severe austerity on countries struggling with high debts.
If Labour does not want Mrs Thatcher’s aphorism – that the facts of life are Conservative – to come to pass, it has to relearn what it means to be socially conservative.