The Great Debate UK
- Mark Kobayashi-Hillary is the author of several books, including ‘Who Moved my Job?’ and ‘Global Services: Moving to a Level Playing Field’. The opinions expressed are his own. –
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg is on a mission to shore up support within his own party for the tripling of university tuition fees. The Liberal Democrats campaigned with a manifesto pledge claiming they would axe fees if they ever got into power. They got the power, but only via a coalition with the Conservative party, and though they claim that some Lib Dem pledges survived the coalition talks, the policy on tuition fees actually went the other way.
MPs will vote on the tuition fees policy tomorrow. Clegg has stated that all his ministers will support the government line, but though the ministers have been whipped into line, it looks like a large number of Lib Dem backbenchers are unhappy with their new reputation as the ‘Fib Dems’. Potentially a large number of them will vote against their own policy or abstain from voting altogether.
This rebellion over a key piece of legislation could be the beginning of the end for the coalition. A coalition government requires compromise, some favoured policies will be axed so that others survive and the result is a curious blend of the pledges made by two parties – often neither party will be entirely happy with their joint proposals.
It was billed as a bloodbath, and it is. By slashing public spending by 81 billion pounds over five years, Britain's coalition government is reversing the big increases of previous years. The plan is billed as necessary pain to secure the country's financial future, but it is also ideological. The aim is to move from unaffordable levels of public employment and welfare to private employment and a balanced budget. The danger, however, is that the economy stalls.
The cuts to the civil service are drastic and will cause distress, even though most departments' budgets over the life of the parliament have been reduced by a fifth, not the threatened quarter. The BBC, the foreign office, the police, even the royal family: none have been spared. The government wants services to be delivered more cheaply -- which means by fewer people.
- Mark Kobayashi-Hillary is the author of several books, including ‘Who Moved my Job?’ and ‘Global Services: Moving to a Level Playing Field’. The opinions expressed are his own. -
Prime Minister David Cameron has loaded a 747 full of British business leaders and government ministers, all on a charm offensive aimed at securing deeper trade ties between the two nations. But what is he offering the Indians?
With his admission last week that Britain plays second fiddle to America, David Cameron has an opportunity to get one over Barack Obama during his much trumpeted first Prime Ministerial visit to India.
Last week, on his first Prime Ministerial visit to the United States, David Cameron conceded that Britain was the “junior partner” in the special relationship. Next week, I fear that at the end of the much anticipated visit to India, he may yet again, have to concede that Britain is the junior partner in this ever increasing important relationship.
By Ian Campbell
– The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are their own –
Just in government and David Cameron’s relationships are in question. Eyebrows have been raised about the prime minister’s friendship with an Old Lady, sometimes known as the Bank of England. The affection appears reciprocated by Mervyn King, the Bank’s governor. But to think the Old Lady’s independence is compromised is probably to take things too far. The bank’s current low interest rate policy looks more than just a political favour.
-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.
-Javaid Rehman is a professor of law at Brunel University. The opinions expressed are his own.-
For British Muslims, the new coalition government of the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats represents an alliance of strange and awkward bedfellows.
-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. -
It really is hard to resist the temptation to take a hopeful view of Britain’s new government.
– Neil Collins is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own –
Election first, manifesto afterwards. While there may be a Conservative prime minister in Downing Street, quite a few among the millions who voted for David Cameron will have a shock when they see the price they are paying for his pact with the more left-leaning Liberal Democrats.