Author Archives: Joe Bourke

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

Opinion: The Generation Gap

Day 46: Generation GapThe generation gap used to refer to the differing attitudes of young people and their elders to sex, drugs and rock and roll. For young people today, it has come to mean what the American author of the article linked below describes as “the economic hellhole our parents have handed us.”

Earlier this year, Rolling Stone magazine published an article under the title Five economic reforms millennials should be fighting for.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , , and | 52 Comments

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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarBarry Snelson 24th May - 12:40pm
    Nick, I don't watch much. Documentaries and a range of news feeds to get a balance. Fox news, Al-Jazeera, Euronews, Sky News Russia Today, France...
  • User AvatarGlenn Andrews 24th May - 12:14pm
    @Caracatus, are you under the impression that banned spice is likely to be less harmful than legal spice? That is unlikely and there is evidence...
  • User AvatarGlenn 24th May - 12:12pm
    Paul. re list. I actively avoid cricket, along with dressage, golf, tennis, darts, snooker, Eastenders, radio 4 and radio 3. Also I live in Leicester...
  • User AvatarPeter Watson 24th May - 12:01pm
    How would a "Basic Income" be managed in the UK alongside uncontrolled migration from elsewhere in the EU?
  • User AvatarAlex Wilcock 24th May - 12:00pm
    A very sensible set of steps, Richard. Tony Greaves: “Just another of the policies we chickened out of after the formation of the new party.”...
  • User AvatarMatthew Huntbach 24th May - 11:57am
    Jo Hayes I just had a quick look at Compass’s website. Very worthy. I also read Neal’s letter to the Greens. He said: “When I...