The Great Debate UK

from Nicholas Wapshott:

Fighting for the future of conservativism

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron delivers a speech to placard waving Conservatives during an European election campaign rally at a science park in Bristol

Establishment Republicans have been delighted by the victory of Thom Tillis, their favored candidate in last week’s North Carolina primary. After expensive advertising campaigns by establishment bagmen like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Karl Rove’s American Crossroads, mainstream conservatives believe they have a candidate who can beat Democrat Kay Hagan to win a valuable Senate seat in November.

Some commentators see Tillis’s triumph as a sign that other impending GOP primary races will also deliver electable candidates. Having watched the Senate slip from Republican grasp in 2012, as Tea Party candidates such as Todd Akin in Missouri, Christine O’Donnell in Delaware and Richard Mourdock in Indiana depicted the party as too extreme, they say the Tea Party is in retreat.

Not so fast. The experience of conservative parties elsewhere suggests that when pragmatists triumph over dogmatists, the dogmatists either regroup and go on to overwhelm the moderates, eventually making the party their own. Or they set up their own party -- and trounce the moderates at the ballot box.

ThatcherThat is happening in Britain. The Conservatives, once Britain’s natural governing party, find themselves about to be pressed into third place in the European Parliament elections. They will be runners-up not only to the Labor Party but also to the populist United Kingdom Independence Party, their ideological nemesis. Like the Tea Party, the Independence Party has set itself up as the true conscience of conservatism.

from The Great Debate:

Thatcher: Master of the ‘unexpecteds’

The passing of Margaret Thatcher comes at a time when the great theme that shaped her years as Britain’s prime minister – the frontier between government and the private sector – is again the focus of serious public debate. Her historic achievement was to widen the frontiers of the “market” and, as she said, to have “rolled back the frontiers of the state.”

There is, however, a pendulum in this relationship between government and private sector. The role of government in the economy has expanded greatly since the 2008 financial collapse, along with government debt. So we will likely again see a struggle to rebalance the respective realms of state and market. And it will again be a battle.

Nothing is certain but death and taxes

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-Rachel Mason is public relations manager at Fair Investment Company. The opinions expressed are her own.-

If there is one thing in this life you can be sure about it is that you are going to be taxed a lot. You can’t escape it.
You are taxed on your income, then you are taxed on the money from your income that you have already been taxed on when it becomes savings, then you are taxed on your pension, which is made up of cash that you have already been taxed on, and then there’s road tax, car tax, council tax, VAT, stamp duty….the list goes on.

Full-time results: they all lost the election

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Laurence Copeland is a professor of finance at Cardiff University Business School and a co-author of “Verdict on the Crash” published by the Institute of Economic Affairs. The opinions expressed are his own. -

Could there have been a worse outcome to Britain’s General Election?

The result was disappointing for all concerned. The three main parties all did worse than expected, as did the nationalists. On the lunatic fringe, only the Greens have reason to rejoice – none of the others were anywhere near winning a seat.

UK political parties take mixed approach to social media

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RachelGibson- Rachel Gibson is a professor at the Institute for Social Change in the University of Manchester. The opinions expressed are her own. -

The three main parties have clearly moved into full battle mode since the UK election campaign starting gun was fired on April 6th. And while the pounding of pavements and pressing of doorbells will no doubt be crucial in producing the swings needed in key marginal constituencies, the online technology driving these targeting efforts seems to have advanced a step or two since the last election.

Old traditions die hard in UK election campaigning

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number10A study of constituency-level campaign techniques undertaken by Brunel University ahead of a general election expected in early May shows that direct mail is by far the most common method of contact used by politicians to reach potential voters.

Of the 27 percent of the electorate contacted by one of the three main political parties in February, about 90 percent received some form of communication through the post via direct mail, the study shows. Some 92 percent said they had been reached through mailings from the Liberal Democrats, 89 percent from the Conservative Party and 81 percent from the Labour Party.

Tariq Ali on how unions fare under Labour rule

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Amid a stand-off between British Airways and the Unite union, the Labour Party’s main financial supporter, Prime Minister Gordon Brown called a planned strike by BA cabin crew workers “unjustified and deplorable” last week and said both sides should return to talks.

Rail signal workers in the RMT union are also threatening to strike, but haven’t announced a date.

Will the Tories come clean on public sector cuts?

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LaurenceCopeland

- Laurence Copeland is a professor of finance at Cardiff University Business School and a co-author of “Verdict on the Crash” published by the Institute of Economic Affairs. The opinions expressed are his own. -

In the movie “The Untouchables”, the cop played by Sean Connery brushes aside his sidekick’s assertion that he really does want to nail Al Capone with the response: “Yes, but what are you prepared to do?”

Fraser Nelson sets an agenda for David Cameron

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BRITAIN-EXPENSES/Some political observers fret over the paucity of policy initiatives emerging from Britain’s two main political parties ahead of a general election expected on May 6, as pre-election rhetoric turns its focus toward the possibility of a hung parliament.

Such a scenario raises fears of further economic instability if financial markets react badly to the uncertainty the result might bring to the political arena.

Electoral future shrouded in mystery

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justin_fisher-Justin Fisher is Professor of Political Science and Director of the Magna Carta Institute at Brunel University. The opinions expressed are his own.-

Barring a huge surprise, it seems most likely that the general election will be held on 6th May 2010 — the same day as the local elections.

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