Author Archives: Joe Bourke

Sharing the Rents: The Economic relationship Between Humanity and Nature

alter-logo-300Action for Land Taxation and Economic Reform (ALTER) seeks to build on support for Land Value Taxation amongst Liberal Democrats and to promote and campaign for this policy as part of a more sustainable and just resource based economic system.

The ALTER fringe meeting at Brighton this year was chaired by our MEP, Catherine Bearder. Jock Coats, a former Oxford city councillor, presented a paper aimed at infusing the Liberal Democrat mission statement as set out in the “preamble to the constitution” with explicitly “geoist” principles.  The paper argues that only publicly collecting the “economic rent” from land and natural resources enables a genuine market and democracy to work together to optimally distribute economic welfare and save the planet.

The premise of the paper is that neither markets nor democracy can function properly whilst a monopolistic class, rentiers, captures so much of economic productivity. It leads to a two caste society, one of which reaps the benefits of public need and public programs through land values, while the other pays for it. “Tenants pay twice so landowners don’t have to”.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 8 Comments

Opinion: Tackling Housing Benefit reform

Matilda HouseThe Liberal Democrat policy paper on housing notes that the primary driver of growing housing benefit and Local Housing Allowance bills has been the shortage of housing, leading to higher rents, and increasing number of people unable either to buy or to access social housing. The paper focused on the most pressing issues:

  • Building more homes – providing environmentally sustainable homes where people need them, creating jobs and kick starting the economy.
  • Giving tenants more power and security – making social landlords more accountable and improving standards and security in the rapidly

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 39 Comments

Opinion: Lib-Lab Pact

infographic2014The Lib Dem campaigning message is encapsulated in Stronger Economy, Fairer Society, with Conservative messaging focusing on ‘the long term plan for economic recovery’, and Labour’s focusing on the decline in living standards of the poor and the squeezed middle.

Nick Clegg’s response that, were Labour in the future to ask Libdems to form a coalition with them the first demand would be ‘Don’t break the bank’,  seeks to emphasise Lib Dem economic competence.

It should come as no surprise then that the voting public should surmise that coalition economic policy is just what we say it is – a joint Conservative and Liberal Democrat long-term plan for economic recovery with “not a cigarette paper between us”

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 50 Comments

Opinion: Back to basic principles on welfare reform

"Demand the Beveridge Plan", 1944The basic principles of the Beveridge Report were:

  1. The right of every citizen to a minimum level of subsistence;
  2. The need to preserve incentive, opportunity and responsibility.

The post-war National Insurance system was based on the assumption that there would be full employment, and that wages for men would be sufficient to maintain a wife at home raising children.

Posted in News | Tagged and | 56 Comments

Opinion: Immigration and unemployment – an idea

Words.Two popular arguments deployed against immigration are that immigrant’s take jobs from British workers or that immigrants are a burden on the welfare state. Both arguments have been shown to be largely invalid: the Lump of Labour fallacy  has long been dismissed as economic bunkum; and existing evidence suggests that the net contribution of recent migrants to Britain’s public finances is positive. However, according to this evidence from  Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM) at University College London not all groups of migrants make a positive fiscal contribution …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 50 Comments

Opinion: the biggest threat to global security

Free Syrian Army rebels fighting against Assad militias on the outskirts of the northwestern city of Maraat al-Numan, Idlib - SyriaThe Arab spring has receded into the nightmare that is Syria today; continuing instability in Libya and Yemen and death penalties by the hundreds in Egypt. We have been shocked by the atrocities of Boko Haram in Nigeria; Al Shabab in Somalia; conflict in the Central African Republic, Mali and Chad.

Tony Blair, in a recent speech reminded us Why the Middle East matters

What is presently happening there, still

Posted in Op-eds | 53 Comments

Opinion: Russia and the Great Illusion

imageIn 1910, British journalist Norman Angell published “The Great Illusion”, arguing that the integration of the global economy was so all-embracing and irreversible that future wars were all but impossible. Released shortly before the outbreak of the Great War, the idea that humans had outgrown their propensity to mass slaughter did not stand the test of time for long.

We face today a similar dichotomy in Putin’s Russia. Europe and Russia are intertwined in mutual trade dependency and the major oil companies – BP and Shell among them – are increasing …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 15 Comments

Recent Comments

  • User AvatarDavid Becket 24th Oct - 10:26pm
    It was a negative campaign based on fear on both sides, what was Osborne's Emergency Budget? -based on fear.
  • User AvatarDavid Raw 24th Oct - 9:59pm
    @ Stuart Your knowledge of local government is obviously limited. South Lakeland is a District Council with limited powers. The responsibility for dealing with asylum...
  • User AvatarGareth Hartwell 24th Oct - 9:58pm
    I'm a bit depressed reading all the comments from people trying to use this to prove their argument one way or the other. Much as...
  • User AvatarStevan Rose 24th Oct - 9:21pm
    Paul, I don't think I'm jumping to any conclusions. Who said: "In voting to leave, there was no opportunity to vote for how future trading...
  • User AvatarNick Baird 24th Oct - 8:34pm
    I am curious as to how EU exporters would "save" €500 million in duties per year. Duty is paid by importers, not exporters, and it...
  • User AvatarPhilip Rolle 24th Oct - 8:27pm
    Both Farron and May appear to be deepening the animosity, from where I'm standing - May by pandering to prejudice; Farron by rejecting the will...