Goodbye 2012

Well it’s New Year’s Eve, a time to look back over the past year and anticipate events for the next. I recall back in May 2010 when the Coalition was formed that there was a frequently aired view that the first couple of years would be very tough for the government and with we Liberal Democrats likely to feel the brunt of any public anger. But we comforted ourselves by thinking that by the end of 2012 the worst would be over as the economy was bound to be on the mend and government finances clearly under control. The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics would give people a feel good factor and memories of economic troubles of the previous four years would fade.

Read more

Coalition at half time

Harold Wilson said “a week is a long time in politics.” That was before 24 hour TV news, the internet and twitter.  Events can now spin out of control at political light speed.  But the older adage of tempus fugit still applies.  It’s now two and a half years since the formation of the Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition Government.  What has changed while time has flown?

Read more

Why I’m supporting Jon Rogers for Mayor

I’m glad that Bristol is voting for a directly elected Mayor on Thursday.  I made the case for a yes vote in the referendum, which put me out of line with many of my local Lib Dem colleagues.  I think a Mayor will be able to secure the devolution of more power from Westminster to Bristol.  It is vital that the first person to hold the job is able to work with our neighbours and also the Coaliton Government.

Read more

How to vote on Thursday

With just four days to go until Bristol elects its first Mayor and the rest of England & Wales elect Police Commissioners it seems many people are undecided.  The Bristol Post reported that more than half of people are undecided about who they want to win.  It’s also fairly clear from a variety of articles and from my conversations with voters that most people don’t know how to use the new voting system to maximise the chances of the candidate they want to succeed.  Several journalists I’ve spoken to in recent weeks seem utterly clueless on the operation of the voting system!

Read more

Cutting down smoking = harm reduction

Interesting report in today’s Lancet, showing that the risks of dying young are significantly reduced if people give up smoking before 40 and almost eliminated if you quit before age 30.  The research, based on a longitudinal study of over a million women, has been published today to mark the centenary of the birth of Sir Richard Doll the scientist who first proved the link between smoking and lung cancer.

Read more

1922 and all that

Ninety years ago this morning the last Liberal-Conservative peace time coalition government imploded.  Lloyd George resigned as Prime Minister, never to return to power.  Austen Chamberlain was replaced by Bonar Law and has his place in history as the only Tory leader of the 20th century never to be Prime Minister.  A month later the Conservative party won an overwhelming victory in a general election.  Within two years the Liberal Party had been eclipsed by the new Labour Party as the main alternative to the Tories.

Read more

A close shave…with a wide profit margin?

Some more evidence today of rip-off Britain. Amazing what you can learn from the daily tabling of Early Day Motions (EDMs) by MPs. EDM 583 on razor blades, tabled by Democratic Unionist MP Gregory Campbell, laments a 100 per cent increase in the price of men’s razor blades over the last 3 years. He points out that the cost of materials (a bit of steel and plastic) and packaging runs to pence whereas the product is sold for many pounds. Just like a cup of Starbucks or Costa coffee! I hope the likes of Wilkinson are paying their taxes on their fat profits….

Read more

A tax storm in a coffee cup

Several newspapers have highlighted the fact that Starbucks has paid no corporation tax in the UK in the last three years.  This is rather surprising.  I’m a bit of a latte junkie but resent coughing up about £2.80 a cup.  You don’t have to be a business genius to realise that this is one hell of a profit margin on the actual cost of the coffee and milk. Even when you factor in staff costs (catering tends to pay minimum wage) and rents the profits are still huge.

Read more

Support for Votes at 16

It would be good if Scots 16 and 17 year olds get a chance to vote in the referendum on Scottish independence.  I’ve supported the case for votes@16 for many years. If a precedent is set in such an important vote in Scotland then surely the right must be extended to all other parts of the UK.

Read more

Tax the wealthy before benefit cuts

I’m glad George Osborne said in his speech to the Conservative conference that we are still “all in it together.”  But did he really mean it?  How in the same speech could he rule out a mansion tax, paid by the very richest, yet push for a £10 billion cut in the nation’s welfare bill?

Read more

Sign in with Facebook, Twitter or Email.