Author Archives: Ben Norman

Opinion: Reflections on the elections

This is the third election since 2010 where I’ve watched results roll in with a feeling of mild despair. Obviously I’m disappointed. Whilst losses are lower than many were predicting, Labour have taken away Cardiff and Cambridge, and we were beaten by a man dressed as a penguin in Edinburgh.

In the London Mayoral Boris Johnson has been re-elected but Brian Paddick – who really has run a campaign streaks ahead of his 2008 attempt – has received a disappointingly low share of the vote. We’ve also seen our presence in the London Assembly reduced, from three to two.

Obviously I’m disappointed, …

Posted in Op-eds | 168 Comments

The Independent View: Budget lifts a million people out of Income Tax

The news that the UK’s February borrowing figures were the worst on record did not exactly provide the Budget mood music the Chancellor was hoping for. Then again, the stark reminder that the UK is living well beyond its means serves to buttress his arguments about the need to control spending. There is no money to spend, and even with the current deficit-cutting fervour from Number 11 the UK remains at the whim of global bond markets.

So how did George do? The stamp-duty increase on homes worth more than £2 million is eminently sensible, but must be accompanied by the …

Posted in Op-eds and The Independent View | Tagged , and | 21 Comments

The Independent View: The banking sector needs radical reform but too many cures will kill the patient

For seven days before Christmas it has been an incredibly busy day for the financial services sector. The Parliamentary Joint Committee on the Draft Financial Services Bill has produced its wide-ranging report into regulatory reform; the FSA has published its Mortgage Market Review consultation; and, last but not least, the Treasury has published the Government’s response to the Independent Commission on Banking.

At least the latter was well leaked – what isn’t these days? – and gave me time to think about the ICB.

The ICB is actually something quite amazing, not to mention something entirely Lib Dem.

Sir John Vickers was given …

Posted in Op-eds and The Independent View | Tagged , and | 2 Comments

The Independent View: Autumn Statement makes the best of a bad situation

How did George do then? The Chancellor needs to walk the line between providing stimulus on the one hand and protecting Britain from the bond markets on the other. It really isn’t easy to decide which side he should err on.

The bond markets are currently a ravenous pack of hyenas who have tasted blood in Greece, Italy and Portugal. Although they’re currently distracted by Belgium, Spain and now France even the slightest hint of weakness on Britain’s part will draw their perilous attention our way.

That said, protecting Britain from a bond market savaging must not be done at the expense …

Posted in Op-eds and The Independent View | Tagged and | 30 Comments
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