Friday 7th February, Dr Sheila Lawlor writes: Lord Smith, a former Labour minister and head of the Environment Agency, faced calls from flooded householders today to resign. Since he refuses to do so, the government will have to weigh carefully the option of dismissing him. Although public outrage may demand his dismissal, it would come at a political cost, as the recent furore over his fellow Labour quangocrat Baroness Morgan shows.
Baroness Morgan chairs the official school inspection body, OFSTED, but she will not be reappointed when her contract runs out this autumn. In life outside politics and education, there would be nothing particularly newsworthy about appointing a new chairman after the expiry of their predecessor’s tenure, to bring a ‘new perspective’ as Michael Gove proposed. However, education and politics belong to a world apart.
Friday 31st January: The Shadow Chancellor’s announcement that Labour would, if returned to power, restore the 50 pence to rate of income tax, has prompted a lively response. But, suggests Professor David B Smith, while the jury may be out on the politics, the evidence against the economics is pretty conclusive.*
The Shadow Chancellor’s recent proposal to restore a 50p top rate of income tax has led to objections by business people but, so far, only a subdued counterblast from the Coalition. This is disappointing because Mr Ball’s proposal raises important economic issues. It also raises the question of what political gain Labour hopes from the 50p rate.../
Friday 24th January: As unemployment figures dropped to 7.1 percent this week, the puzzle remains why the economy is not growing. Here, Politeia’s director, Dr Sheila Lawlor warns that the costs of labour are too high.
In a country which depends on trade, on selling goods and services to others, productivity matters. That was the real message from Nigel Farage, the UKIP leader this week, when he said that women who worked in the big city banks and brokerage houses were not discriminated against but a woman’s income was affected by taking longer leave because a client base ‘cannot be stuck rigidly to her’ when such leave is taken. Women who did not have children or take a break could, by contrast, earn even more than their male colleagues. Though Mr Farage may have prompted controversy, his nt is a serious one: incomes directly linked to payments for services are determined by productivity.
Money Matters! Stimulus economics must give way to disciplined monetary policy, says Douglas Carswell
Friday 17th January: As Labour propose, if elected, to limit the market share of the ‘big five’ banks, Douglas Carswell MP explains that for sustainable growth, the money supply must be controlled.
Growth is back. The mood of gloom has turned to boom. Forecasts, it seems, are being positively revised with every passing week.
But, of course, any government can raise output by spending £100 billion more than it takes in tax, and by showering the economy with cheap credit. As Ted Heath discovered, stimulus economics isn't necessarily the same as sustainable growth.
Friday 10th January: This week Sir Bernard Hogan Howe,the Metropolitan Police Commissioner acknowledged that the crime statistics returned by his force may have been manipulated. Here, Simon Reevell* MP , who is also a lawyer, warns of the consequences of a practice which may be endemic.
The recent acceptance by the head of the Metropolitan police that his force has compromised its integrity to meet crime reduction targets is the most senior acknowledgement so far of a practice that is endemic in police forces throughout England. Of course it was not an admission made in those terms. The Commissioner acknowledged the manipulation of crime figures and the downgrading of some offences by police, but that amounts to exactly the same thing.