Author Archives: Mike Bird

Opinion: The Welfare Uprating Bill is a mistake; this is not economic liberalism

I was saddened to hear during the Autumn Statement that increases in many benefits would be capped at 1% for the next three years, particularly because I was in total agreement with David Laws when he opposed a similar policy last year. I was also disappointed that after months of party figures grandstanding about any welfare cuts being contingent on reformed property taxes, no higher council tax bands were announced.

Abandoning indexation for benefits does not just affect them in the year that benefits are not indexed. To use Job Seeker’s Allowance as an example, if inflation is 3% …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 21 Comments

Opinion: bashing bankers the economically liberal way – risk and responsibility

Just before conference I caught some largely unreported news on a Private Member’s Bill, put to the Commons by Steve Baker MP, founder of the Cobden Centre, and one of the Conservative 2010 intake.

My usual response to scant coverage of a Conservative backbencher’s bills would be thankful, but in this case, the bill highlights something that has received astonishingly little attention: reforming the personal liability of directors. We’ve rested on the important points of how to discharge shares in effectively state-owned institutions, and how to increase lending to struggling businesses. On these issues Stephen Williams …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 11 Comments

Competition and Universities: building new Higher Education policy

We took a severe beating in late 2010, from which we’re still not entirely recovered. From here, we can go in two directions: we can build a Higher Education policy that we can be proud of, or we can leave our policy in the pieces it’s currently in, and prepare for 2015’s brutal assault.

It’s hard to see a treasured policy fall apart under the pressure of electoral and financial reality. We all know there are positive aspects of the increase in graduate contributions that we can claim as ours: a Labour or Tory government would not have faced the …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 12 Comments



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarIgor Sagdejev 20th Oct - 11:38pm
    Stuart, it is fun reading your posts. BTW, the Brits are not the worst in learning languages. Russians are about that bad too, not to...
  • User AvatarGeorge Potter 20th Oct - 11:37pm
    And, incidentally, I think it's worth pointing out that, as a parliamentarian, the noble lord Tony Greaves is a voting representative for life when it...
  • User AvatarGeorge Potter 20th Oct - 11:33pm
    @David Evans Actually the comment by Tony Greaves is completely illogical and unsubstantiated. For one thing, if we switched to one member, one vote but...
  • User AvatarIgor Sagdejev 20th Oct - 11:31pm
    But the English retirees living in Spain are an entirely different matter! They are paying coostomers! The Spanish must be double happy to have them....
  • User AvatarPeter 20th Oct - 11:29pm
    I think having policy that is in the interests of the membership at large as opposed to just those who have been active in their...
  • User AvatarPaul In Wokingham 20th Oct - 11:02pm
    5th place. In a national opinion poll. Behind the Greens. And there are still nearly 7 months until the election. In the raw data for...