Author Archives: Kirsten de Keyser

Opinion: Straphanging now takes a quarter of your wages – what do the continentals do?

Virgin trainHappy New Year Britain! Stand by for more cuts! cuts! cuts! Except in rail fares. There it’s a case of “let the train drain you dry”. As part of the festive fireworks, rail fares exploded by 4.3% so, if you are privileged enough to have a job at all, you can kiss good-bye to up to a quarter of your pay packet just to get you to work.

A season ticket will cost as much as 23% of gross salary or, put another way, you’ll effectively have to work till …

Posted in Op-eds | 36 Comments

Opinion: Avoid the Tax Avoiders!

On 15th October last, Liberal Democrat Voice published my splutteringly crimson outburst about multinational corporation tax avoiders Opinion: Calling All Bloggers – Don’t make me a tax avoidance accomplice.

Back then, I pleaded that an ongoing media debate would hopefully, at last, provide the oxygen needed to bring about some serious action in respect of corporate tax collecting: “…the media at least seems to be smelling blood. I hope they see this through to some sort of conclusion.”

And didn’t they do well?

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 43 Comments

The Fourth Estate needs a makeover – what would Borgen do?

Who said: “In the old days men had the rack. Now they have the Press. That is an improvement certainly. But still it is very bad, and wrong, and demoralizing. Somebody — was it Burke? — called journalism the fourth estate. That was true at the time no doubt. But at the present moment it is the only estate. It has eaten up the other three. The Lords Temporal say nothing, the Lords Spiritual have nothing to say, and the House of Commons has nothing to say and says it. We are dominated by Journalism”.

No, not Hugh Grant. Oscar …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 2 Comments

Votes for Prisoners? Cameron says no! What would Borgen do?

David Cameron reputedly vowed that prisoners “will be allowed to vote over my dead body”. Don’t give us any ideas Dave… We know that the current blanket ban has been judged unlawful by The European Court of Human Rights, and we presumably don’t want to break the law. I mean, that could land us all in the collective slammer, without the right to vote. Not a clever idea, given that the current UK voter turnout is already among the lowest in Western Europe.

So what would Borgen do? Well, nothing actually, as Danish prisoners have enjoyed the unfettered right to vote since the 1930s. And that’s despite the fact that our Danish cousins

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 14 Comments

Opinion: Hug a Hoodie or Mug a Hoodie? What would Borgen do?

It’s really rather a good feeling being a Danish Brit nowadays. Repeated requests for jumper-knitting instructions are admittedly a drawback, but one I can live with. More interesting are daily questions about policy matters as practised Borgen style. (For those who’ve been living under a stone for the past several months, “Borgen” is short for Christiansborg, the Danish Parliament building as well as the title of the appointment-to-view Danish version of the West Wing).

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 20 Comments

Opinion: Calling All Bloggers – Don’t make me a tax avoidance accomplice

According to Vince Cable “No one keeps their cash in tax havens for the quality of investment advice; these are sunny places for shady people.” True to form, Vince hit the nail squarely on its head with a whammy of a quote, and how we all clapped enthusiastically. But who actually piles the cash into these rogues’ coffers in the first place? It could be you.

Many of our enthusiastic clappers routinely rock up outside Boots, on a sunny Saturday, aggressively jabbing angry posters-on-sticks skywards, in tandem with chants of

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 17 Comments

Is education the key to social mobility?

We’ve all read the statistics: in the United Kingdom, 7% of the population who were educated in independent schools make up 95% of our politicians, judges, journalists and business bosses. And let’s not forget our actors and sports stars. You’re twenty times more likely to play cricket for England if your parents mortgaged themselves to send you to a private school.

But do we all want to be Yuppies? Not everyone wants to be a politician, judge or journalist, many are thankfully still in possession of their full set of faculties. Moreover, our average western society requires roughly 20%

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 20 Comments



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    @ Fiona White - the devolution questions are ahead of the Centre for Cities fringe meeting highlighted above, focusing on the urban battlegrounds. I'm sure...
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    @ Eddie Sammon I wasn't disagreeing with your proposal or its sentiment. However, if the Tories do mange to win a majority, particularly with the...
  • User AvatarJerry Lonsdale 2nd Oct - 3:15pm
    Balls made the proverbial when he was the Children's minister back in the days, if he laid out the foundations correctly the house would not...
  • User AvatarCaracatus 2nd Oct - 3:10pm
    Great result - still a few people in the party capable of campaigning rather than just electioneering. Well done.
  • User AvatarRichard Dean 2nd Oct - 3:10pm
    Going to a conference is expensive and unusually disruptive of other social activities - activities that political action ought to be protecting. So, the present...
  • User AvatarEdward Reach 2nd Oct - 3:09pm
    Matthew, where is the book being presented as representing the authoritative Liberal Democrat position?