The Great Debate UK
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.
The overly friendly talk has arisen because both sides have made comments that might be deemed injudicious. King appeared in May, before the election, to give his backing to Conservative fiscal tightening plans. Cameron, meanwhile, has often mentioned how he thinks tight fiscal policy should allow interest rates to stay lower for longer. The new government has also fixed up the Old Lady with greater supervisory powers.
Could this chumminess lead to the wrong monetary policy? King’s critics might think so. Inflation is 3.4 percent, well above the 2 percent target. Andrew Sentance, one of the monetary policy committee (MPC) members, voted for a rate increase in this month’s meeting. Adam Posen, another MPC member, acknowledged “a direct difference with the governor” on one thing. He sees not just one-off inflationary factors but also a slight “unanchoring” of inflation expectations. And yet Posen also sees the UK poised between two very different outcomes — either recovery or “the renewal of a severe recession”. Similarly, David Miles, a third member of the MPC, believes that now is not the right time to raise rates even though inflation is “uncomfortably” high.
-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.
– Hugo Dixon is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own –
The new UK coalition deserves 7 out of 10. The pact between the Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties, led by David Cameron as the new prime minister, seems determined to address the country’s most important problem — the deficit. This is vital given that the euro zone debt crisis could still prove contagious. It should also be positive for sterling.
– 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 –
After thirteen years, it’s all over. The New Labour project is dead. Or is it? Tony Blair brought British politics to the centre-ground and ensured that a single party could support free-market economic policies as well as social justice.
- Professor Christopher Harvie is a historian, teacher, political writer and SNP MSP for Mid-Scotland and Fife. He is the author of “Broonland: The Last Days of Gordon Brown.” The opinions expressed are his own. -
Outside 10 Downing Street at 7.29 on Tuesday evening, Gordon Brown announced his resignation as UK premier. Off to the Palace, where he would ask Her Majesty to send for David Cameron, ending five cliff-hanging days – or inaugurating many, many more?
-Ian Campbell is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.-
The UK’s third political party faces an ugly dilemma. Which way it turns will be critical for the British economy.
- Timothy Clark and David Greatbatch are professors at Durham Business School. The opinions expressed are their own.-
The three televised party leader debates in the UK show that live oratory is still a powerful tool and remains an important source of the public’s perception of a politician’s image and abilities.