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
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  • User AvatarRichard Underhill 6th Jul - 6:49pm
    Charles kennedy was in favour of full devolution and said so at federal conference in Glasgow, The artificiality of this scheme is the problem that...
  • User AvatarJim Williams 6th Jul - 6:24pm
    Hello all. Thanks for commenting. I couldn't agree more. My understanding is that Conference is moving towards one member one vote, but yes: we can...
  • User AvatarGordon 6th Jul - 6:07pm
    The case of LVT perfectly illustrates how, although Conference may think it decides party policy, it's actually the outcome of an fudge - Conference proposes,...
  • User AvatarEddie Sammon 6th Jul - 5:56pm
    Just to clarify: the only problem I have with the Electoral Reform Society is that they don't explain STV properly. For as long as people...
  • User AvatarEddie Sammon 6th Jul - 5:46pm
    I agree revolution should not always be a dirty term (I support a peaceful revolution in Hong Kong, for example). However in the West it...
  • User AvatarGraham Evans 6th Jul - 5:43pm
    A lot of the discussion seems to have focused on operational structures. However, while this can be important in getting people elected, in terms of...
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