sam boyd | politics

The country is ready to listen; Labour just needs something to say

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29th April 2012

Austerity sucks demand out of the economy and pushes up unemployment. Many said it would happen, were derided as deficit deniers, and the argument was lost. George Osborne prevailed, and was hailed as a strategic mastermind. Even last week the Chancellor claimed that the economic argument had been won and those arguing against him sit ‘on the margins’ of debate.

Then came the return to recession. This didn’t change much; the economy has been hovering around zero per cent growth ever since Osborne walked into Number 11. But it more clearly than before brought to light the fallacy of Osborne’s claims that the UK was ‘out of the danger zone’ and a ‘safe haven’ because of his stewardship. No one sensible ever believed that anyway, but now that the economic recovery has officially gone into reverse such haughtiness sounds ridiculous to everyone.

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Written by Sam Boyd

April 29, 2012 at 8:39 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Cameron has struck easy gold. But it won’t last.

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14 December 2011

Who knew politics was this easy? Appear to stand up to Europe and the polls surge in your direction. Unruly backbenchers snap back into line.

It worked for David Cameron. After his “veto” of the new EU treaty in Brussels, the Prime Minister was greeted in the Commons by a torrent of Tory admiration, as the party pulled ahead of Labour in the polls for the first time since the election. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Sam Boyd

December 14, 2011 at 6:46 pm

For the Tories and Labour, it’s keep calm and carry on.

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6 December 2011

Strangely for what has been hailed as such a monumental shift in the UK’s political, social and economic fortunes, we trundle out of last week with all three major parties essentially continuing as they were. Keep calm and carry on is the order of the day.

Ed Balls has written an op-ed in today’s Times, taking on the government’s potent and consistent attack that “you can’t borrow your way out of a debt crisis”. His answer? Stick fervently to his guns. Whilst the government is borrowing £158bn more than planned to fund soaring unemployment and losses in productivity, Balls says he would borrow more to fund growth and jobs before reducing the deficit more gradually. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Sam Boyd

December 6, 2011 at 5:36 pm

Posted in Politics

Austerity till 2017 – and that’s the best-case scenario

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5 December 2011

So the shifting sands of last Tuesday’s autumn statement have had nearly a week to settle. We now know that the government will miss its self-imposed target to eliminate the structural budget deficit by 2015, Osborne will borrow £158bn more than originally planned, and austerity will be extended two years beyond the next election to 2017. The Tories, and probably the Liberal Democrats, will go into 2015 promising not balanced books and tasty tax cuts, but £30bn of further spending cuts. This was not the path intended. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Sam Boyd

December 5, 2011 at 4:46 pm

Clegg’s ‘youth contract’: what it really tells us

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25 November 2011

So the government is finally kicking into gear over tackling youth unemployment. From next April, £1bn will be paid to companies that give jobs to young people who have been unemployed for nine months or longer. The government will provide about half of each new employee’s minimum wage for six months.

It is expected that 160,000 jobs will be created in this way; a welcome prospect, especially given yesterday’s news that the number of NEETS – young people not in education, employment or training – has hit a record high of 1.16 million.  The TUC has called the wage subsidy “long overdue”, which is something of an understatement. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Sam Boyd

November 25, 2011 at 4:13 pm

Posted in Politics

Tobin Tax: Osborne’s deceit

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19 November 2011

George Osborne has always said that a financial transactions tax (FTT, or the Tobin, or Robin Hood tax) would only work with global support. As Germany pushes for the FTT to apply solely across Europe, Osborne wrote in the London Evening Standard last week that,

“The ideas of a tax on mobile financial transactions that did not include America or China would be economic suicide for Britain and for Europe.”

This position infuriates the Germans. A senior ally of Chancellor Merkel said he would not let the “British get away” with “only being after their own benefit and refusing to contribute”. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Sam Boyd

November 19, 2011 at 12:57 pm

Posted in Politics

Youth Unemployment: the only solution is growth

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Youth unemployment burst through the one million mark yesterday, reaching 21.9 percent of all 16-24 year olds – higher than at any point since records began in 1992. This represents bad but not surprising news for young people: youth unemployment begun rising steadily in 2004, spiked dramatically during the 2008 financial crash, and has been coasting towards its current record-breaking level ever since. It shows no sign of stopping.

It is in everyone’s interest to stem this tide. Such a huge amount of young people out of work costs taxpayers billions extra through higher welfare payments and losses in tax revenue. The problems that stem are social and psychological as well as economic: it is well documented that extended periods of unemployment at the beginning of a career can leave lasting scars on individuals and communities, creating pockets of long-term joblessness across the country that stagnate for generations. I’m all too familiar with the confidence-sapping drudge of successive months of unsuccessful job searching, as are many of my friends; to be doing it for over a year, as 260,000 young people have now been doing, will have damaging and potentially irreversible repercussions. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Sam Boyd

November 17, 2011 at 5:08 pm

Posted in Politics