Author Archives: Joe Otten

Inquest verdict: The 96 were unlawfully killed #JFT96

Today the Hillsborough inquest returned a verdict of unlawful killing of 96 people.

Errors and omissions by the South Yorkshire Police are ruled to have caused and contributed to the deaths on a number of counts, and also errors and omissions by the city council as the ground safety licensing authority, the engineers Eastwood and Partners, Sheffield Wednesday FC and the ambulance service.

Posted in Op-eds | 73 Comments

Brexiters have nowhere to hide on crime, policing, terror and intelligence

With the Brexit debate currently focusing on the question of trade, Brexiters are able to wrongly claim that the UK would enjoy better trade agreements outside the EU, sooner or later. This exercise in hand waving complacency is not available when it comes to our security.

This is not just about the European Arrest Warrant, responsible for the

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 27 Comments

Brexit as political arson by David Miliband

It isn’t the done thing here to link to opinion pieces in the newspapers by Labour politicians. So much that I’m not even sure what category to use. We have LibLink for links to articles by Liberal Democrats, and we have the slightly oddly named “Independent View” for articles by non-members.

But sometimes, hang the taxonomy, this is important enough to link to anyway.

David Miliband steps away from arguments over the costs of membership and Brexit, of whether we could get back the agreements on trade, policing, etc, that Brexit would tear up, the implications, if any, on immigration. Instead he looks at the bigger picture.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 27 Comments

Laws on Osborne v Duncan Smith

David Laws CoalitionI wrote here recently on the claim by Iain Duncan Smith that he had been unhappy with the extent of cuts that George Osborne was demanding from the welfare budget.

Some light has been thrown on this by David Laws’ book Coalition, written before IDS’s resignation but published since.

Largely it seems to confirm Duncan Smith’s position. Not that he is a welfare dove by any means – for example when a complete welfare freeze for 2012 was proposed, while inflation was running at 5 per cent (p102)

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 24 Comments

What is the Osborne/IDS row all about?

As some commentators are expressing incredulity that Iain Duncan Smith has found himself a conscience over welfare cuts for disabled people, not long after signing off those very same cuts, or are attibuting these events to a phoney war over Brexit, I think there is a more interesting possibility.

If we take IDS position at face value, this reveals something about how government works – or about how it did work under the coalition and is now liable to go wrong.

Posted in Op-eds | 3 Comments

Free movement in the EU and control of our borders

One or two very welcome guests below the line at Liberal Democrat Voice have challenged us to talk more about immigration in the context of the EU referendum. Because people want the UK to “take back control of our borders”. So here we are.

Of course we do have control of our borders. We are not part of Schengen, and there is nothing they could do to make us join. We have our own immigration policy, subject, as with all policy, to treaty obligations. The specific treaty obligation of interest here is the provision in the Treaty of Rome to …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 54 Comments

Playing chicken with a 27 headed opponent

The game of chicken involves driving head on towards your opponent, as they do the same, and the loser is the one who swerves out of the way first. If neither swerves, then both lose in a much bigger sense. I was reminded of this as Michael Howard was trotting out the usual arguments for Brexit on the Today programme this morning

Howard argued that a trade deal with the EU would still happen, bringing us continued access to the Single Market, because it is in their interests. He even suggested that following a vote to leave, the rump EU should …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 16 Comments
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