The Great Debate UK
from UK News:
So how was it for you?
Chancellor Alistair Darling threw the dice in his pre-budget report in an attempt to bolster Labour's chances of winning the general election in 2010.
From hitting bankers with a one-off bonus tax to lowering bingo duty, Darling played to the Labour heartlands, while hoping to win back voters who have been telling pollsters that they are done with Gordon Brown.
Other measures included the return of full value added tax in January, a 2.5 percent rise in the basic state pension, a 1.5 percent increase in child benefit, as well as help for small businesses and various initiatives to boost the government’s green credentials.
All this while admitting that the recession was worse than he had predicted, with the economy shrinking by 4.75 percent in 2009.
So keen is the British prime minister to airbrush out his decade as a "light touch" finance minister that he embraced the heretical idea of a levy on financial transactions as one way to make banks pay for future bail-outs -- the so-called Tobin tax.
At 1:30pm British time on Wednesday, October 21, Reuters is hosting an exclusive Web 2.0 interview with Darling and we want you to send us your questions to put to the top man from the Treasury.
- Stephen Hunt is managing director of Rockingham Retirement. The opinions expressed are his own. -
If we keep going the way we are, disaster looms for millions of over-60’s in the United Kingdom.
- Col. Richard Kemp is a former commander of British Forces in Afghanistan and the author of Attack State Red, an account of British military operations in Afghanistan published by Penguin. The opinions expressed are his own. -
Disillusionment with the inability of the Kabul administration to govern fairly or to significantly reduce violence played a role in the reportedly low turnout at the polls in Helmand.
The Labour politician and intellectual Richard Crossman once described the British constitution, with a sovereign Parliament at its centre, as a “rock” against periodic “waves of popular emotion”.
- 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. -
The unending saga of MPs’ expenses has to be seen in perspective. Of all the dishonest things that politicians do, inflating their expenses is about the least damaging. At their worst, they lie to us whenever they think it politic to do so and knowingly favour policies which suit their own interests rather than those of the country. How can this happen? After all, in a democracy the interests of government are supposed to be aligned with those of the electorate, aren’t they?
Whatever reservations there might be over the way the leaked information was obtained, the publication of hitherto secret details about the endemic abuse of MPs’ expenses was without doubt in the public interest.
“You wanted to see me, prime minister?”
“Ah, Gus, do come in. Rather awkward. Something we didn’t think of in the Chancellor’s pension proposals — I always said Alistair didn’t have the intellectual firepower to take my job.”