The Great Debate UK

Short-time work cushions Europe in crisis

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paul-taylor– Paul Taylor is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own. –

Unlike the 1930s, there are no hunger marches or tent cities of the homeless and jobless in Europe’s biggest economic slump since the Great Depression.

Welfare states built after World War Two, and labour market regulation in many West European countries, have cushioned workers and their families so far from the full force of the collapse of banks, the credit squeeze and a deep recession.

“People who were criticising the European welfare state just a few months ago are now praising it as a shock absorber in the crisis,” said Jacques Delors, who championed pan-European social legislation as European Commission president from 1985 to 1994.

from UK News:

Echoes of Italy’s Clean Hands revolution

The shockwaves reverberating through Westminster as the MPs' expenses scandal unfolds have been compared with the "Clean Hands" bribery scandal that effectively demolished Italy's post-war political establishment in the space of a couple of years in the early 1990s.

If things are going to get that bad, the guilty politicians are going to have an uncomfortable time.

Does the expenses row sound the death knell for New Labour?

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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. -

The expenses crisis is well and truly engulfing Westminster, with equal anticipation and dread about future revelations. Labour was quite reasonably aggrieved that the initial stories all seemed to be about their MPs.

Labour hits the right nuclear button

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REUTERS– Neil Collins is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own –

Here’s a novelty — an awkward process that this British government has actually got right. Labour has played a fine game of grandmother’s footsteps in its realization of the inevitability of new nuclear power stations, and this week has clinched the sale of two sites for them.

from Luke Baker:

In for a penny, in for £175 billion

It may not be tax and spend exactly, but it's definitely tax and borrow.

For the best part of 12 years, Labour has pursued essentially conservative (with a small 'c') economic policies, steadily underburdening itself of the 'fiscally unreliable' tag that some earlier Labour administrations were (wrongly or rightly) saddled with.

And for most of the past 12 years, as the global economy steadily expanded and Britain's along with it, with aggregate wealth rising smoothly, Labour looked strong at the helm each time the budget came around.

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