• Law,  Tory/Lib Dem Coalition

    Grayling’s Human Rights Law Is A Stupid And Incoherent Gimmick That Could Destroy The Union

    This is a cross-post from Barrister Blogger by Matthew Scott Chris Grayling announced today that the Conservative Party will fight the next election on a promise to introduce a “British Rights and Responsibilities Bill” that will “completely change the way in which our human rights laws work.” In essence his plan is to make the European Court of Human Rights “only an advisory body in the UK – able to make recommendations to us and no more.” He plans to do so, if possible, without leaving the Convention: “… we will discuss our plans with other European nations, and engage with them on how we intend to handle human rights matters in…

  • Tory/Lib Dem Coalition

    The Short Comings of Brooks Newmark MP

    This is a cross-post by John Sargeant at homo economicus Finally Brooks Newmark MP resigns as civil society minister after a series of cock ups. Culminating in a literal one sent over the Internet. The one which finally did for the married father of five children, was apparently exposing himself in a series of explicit photos to an undercover male reporter, acting as a female activist. The story was about to break over the Conservative Party Conference. Where the minister had promised his sex text lover: “Afternoons fairly full with speaking engagements but around late evenings. Promise we’ll meet up though. X.” This matters because he was in charge of…

  • Tory/Lib Dem Coalition,  UK Politics

    Responses to the (p)reshuffle

    Although there have been several high profile departures from the cabinet – including Ken Clarke and David Willetts – it’s William Hague who has grabbed the headlines. Fraser Nelson reflects on the paradoxes of his career in the Telegraph: There has been no shortage of overseas drama under this government: the decision to strike Libya, the debacle over Syria and the recalibrating of our relationship with the European Union. But it’s hard to remember much that Hague has said about any of them. It’s a puzzle: the best wordsmith in the Cabinet has made few memorable speeches. The political obsessive who addressed the 1977 Tory conference aged 16 seems bored…

  • Tory/Lib Dem Coalition,  UK Politics

    Who do *you* think this Government should be giving more support to?

    This latest Conservative advert is truly divisive and unpleasant, and I can’t imagine it’s just going to be those implacably opposed to the Government who find it distasteful.  Of course some people don’t want to work – such is life – but in the present climate it is simply impossible for many to find jobs. Neither is it always possible to tell who is ‘deserving’ or not. Here is a not untypical comment from a conservativehome commenter. There is a fine line between promoting hard work and demonising the unemployed and while we started at the former, I fear we are moving to the latter. To paint all unemployed as…

  • Tory/Lib Dem Coalition

    Council Tax reforms set to hit poor

    Although according to this political test I’m some kind of Commie, I do think it is good to incentivise employment.  The proposed changes to Council Tax benefit will not do this – but instead seem set to make some of the poorest in society still worse off, as reported in this Observer piece which highlights opposition to the proposals from a Tory-run district council. Whereas now the government refunds the full cost of this benefit, from next April it will instead give local authorities 90% of the amount to administer themselves.  Because they are required to safeguard certain groups, such as the elderly and disabled, the reduction will fall heavily…

  • Tory/Lib Dem Coalition,  UK Politics

    Housing benefit for the young under threat

    Apparently David Cameron is considering axing housing benefit for under 25s because he wants workers to stop resenting people on benefits.  But what about workers who resent Cameron’s policies, or the tendentious coverage of those policies in the Daily Mail? David Osler identifies some of the problems with this plan: What about young people subjected to violence or sexual abuse by their parents? Or kids leaving care? Or those who have got on their bikes and moved to another town to find a job? Or the ones that get kicked out because they are LGBT or refuse to enter a forced marriage? Or those who have started a family, maybe…

  • Tory/Lib Dem Coalition

    Regional pay

    In fact I tacked this issue on to the end of a brief post about the Budget recently, but no one bit, so I thought I’d set aside my husband’s suggestion for a timely post on ‘Why I’m converting to Islam’, and give you all another chance to discuss the exciting issue of regional pay differentiation. Rob Marchant, a Labour blogger, makes an interesting case for not treating national public sector pay rates as a shibboleth.  Left Foot Forward has also been covering the topic, and here they post poll results indicating quite a bit of resistance to the related proposal to freeze public sector pay outside the London area.…

  • Tory/Lib Dem Coalition,  Trade Unions

    Drivers vote yes to fuel strikes

    UNITE claims (pdf) that the industry is unstable and fragmented, with workers being badly affected by a series of changes to contract and pension arrangements. Firms, anxious to win contracts, are also cutting corners on health and safety and training. A ‘beat the clock’, ‘turn and burn’ culture has flourished with drivers forced to meet ever shorter delivery deadlines. Among those companies where the tanker drivers have voted for strike action, turnout and support for action seem fairly high. Meanwhile the Government has been criticised for hinting that it might not be such a bad idea to top up fuel tanks in case strike action affects petrol supplies. It is…

  • Tories,  Tory/Lib Dem Coalition

    Scandal

    Unless an independent inquiry establishes that Peter Cruddas was on a jaunt of his own, the Government should really fall over this. Alec adds: Googling for the following image, waddayaknow, I used it before:

  • Tory/Lib Dem Coalition

    The Budget – what do you think?

    I’m sure many commenters will be able to offer far more informed opinions on the budget than me – so here’s your chance. A quick way of gathering your thoughts might be to take Left Foot Forward’s Budget survey here.  I found out that – I read too many blogs (question 21).  Here are my own answers. Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No Cuts in tax credits and a below inflation rise in the minimum wage will counteract the tax threshold rise, and, on top of that, those who are poorest are being most hit by the various welfare and services cuts.  David Blanchflower…