sam boyd | politics

Might the euro crisis let Cameron off the hook?

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With the European economy in freefall, the Conservatives may have the perfect excuse for our own failing prospects.

Britain trades more with Europe than anywhere else in the world. As the continent descends deeper into economic chaos, hamstrung by indecision and poor leadership, we risk losing the business of our most frequent customers. Between July and August, British exports to the EU decreased by 6.6 percent, or £2.5 billion.

If that’s a sign of things to come, then there is a very real cause for concern: eurozone countries buy 40 percent of everything Britain sells abroad. Although the UK still imports more than it sells oversees, we remain the sixth largest exporter of goods and services in the world. A prolonged debt crisis amongst our biggest buyers will spell trouble for the UK. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Sam Boyd

November 13, 2011 at 8:34 pm

Posted in Politics

Rather than ‘lost’, our generation must be the driver of change

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Young people in the UK face unparalleled economic gloom. But rather than letting the ‘lost generation’ become a self-fulfilling prophecy, the young should be at the heart of change.

By any account, these are bleak times for young people. Youth unemployment is at its highest level since comparable records began in 1992: more than one in five 16-24 year olds are now out of work in the UK. Are we facing the prospect of a ‘lost generation’?

Since the eve of global economic collapse in 2007, youth unemployment has more than doubled to almost a million. As the deepest recession and public spending cuts in our history bite, joblessness amongst young people is rising twice as fast as for the workforce as a whole. Unlike in the past, a degree is now little guarantee of paid employment. For those without higher education, the picture is even worse. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Sam Boyd

November 1, 2011 at 9:22 pm

Posted in Politics

Without a change in course, the wrong people will continue to bear the brunt of economic turmoil

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New poverty and unemployment figures released this week highlight the gravity of the crisis facing Britain.

On Tuesday the Institute for Fiscal Studies released a report showing that by 2013 median household incomes will fall by 7%, the sharpest drop for 35 years. These new figures hammer home the cold reality that we are merely at the beginning of this recession’s fallout, and it is already hitting ordinary working people harder than at any time since the 1970s.

The government’s inflexible response to the ongoing crisis has at best failed to bring about the necessary growth for recovery and at worst directly contributed towards the crisis of confidence at its heart. Public debt and the budget deficit won’t be brought down without an increase in tax receipts and a decrease in welfare payments. Yet, the government’s blind focus on austerity measures at the expense of growth means that unemployment – patently destructive on both fronts – is rapidly worsening. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Sam Boyd

October 12, 2011 at 10:12 pm

Posted in Politics

Heavy on ambition, light on policy – but this wasn’t the return of ‘Red Ed’

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Ed Miliband’s speech may have been closer to the hallowed centre ground than many think.

The scale of challenge Miliband set himself in his speech to the Labour Party conference on Tuesday – to “write a new chapter in our country’s history” by ditching a thirty-year economic consensus – is immense. You can’t fault his ambition. The Labour leader announced the “failure of a system, a way of doing things, an old set of rules.” He painted David Cameron as “the last gasp” of this defunct arrangement. “Only Cameron”, Miliband said in his most cutting line, “could believe that you make ordinary families work harder by making them poorer, and you make the rich work harder by making them richer.”

By contrast, Miliband declared himself “The guy who is determined to break the closed circles of Britain.” It was idealistic stuff. It was also daring; no mainstream political leader had hitherto confronted so openly the fundamentals of our thirty-year economic settlement, even when it collapsed three years ago. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Sam Boyd

October 2, 2011 at 10:13 pm

Posted in Politics

Another economic crisis looms, but can the Tories still smell a majority in 2015?

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Despite a disastrous economic period with no end in sight, can the Tories remain quietly hopeful of a majority at the next election?

Things haven’t got any better since the onset of austerity. They’ve got worse. A global crisis may well be looming, but the UK has still grown more slowly in the last year than every other EU country apart from Portugal and Romania. After the starkest fall in household incomes since 1981 this April, living standards are set to sink a further 6-10% by 2013.

When GDP growth reached the pre-recession level of 1.1% in the second quarter of 2010, the OBR predicted a further 2.6% expansion in 2011. But growth is now virtually non-existent: 0.5% and 0.2% in the last two quarters, and not a flake of snow in sight. The IMF has again revised its UK projection down to 1.1% for the year, warning it would be “wise” to “develop contingency plans”. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Sam Boyd

September 24, 2011 at 10:15 pm

Posted in Politics

Truancy will not be tackled by this political posturing

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How do we stop kids skiving off school? It’s the sticky question that faces parents, teachers and policy makers every new school year, and solving it now appears more distant a prospect than ever.

Between 1997 and 2010 under the Labour government, parents of unrelenting truants were hit with a series of increasingly severe measures, including fines of up to £2,500 and even prison sentences. Yet, since 1997, the overall truancy rate has worsened by 42%. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Sam Boyd

September 18, 2011 at 10:16 pm

Posted in Politics