Author Archives: S

Opinion: The High Street Is Dead…Long Live the Retail Park!

Retail park by crabchickThe high street, as we know it, is in its death throes and I, for one, will not be mourning this loss. The reason for its demise is not, as many may think, the capitalist bad boys of Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s et al. but the refrigerator. Yes, you heard me correctly, the humble fridge. My grandparents didn’t own a fridge for most of my mother’s childhood. My grandmother walked to the nearest town (just under 2 miles away) most days, except Sunday, and then back again with her shopping. She would deliberately plan and buy different food for Sunday to account for a lack of means to store perishables.

Women were not freed from this daily task until refrigerators became widely affordable, which meant women were able to get jobs instead.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 35 Comments

Opinion: Housing is the cost of living crisis

Today there are more affordable products than ever. Not only have freer markets driven down prices on almost every consumer good imaginable they have expanded range. You can get more luxury goods than ever before but you can also get more discount/budget goods. Electronics, clothing, food, beauty products, household items, I could go on… And yet we are experiencing a so-called ‘Cost of Living Crisis.’ This is a fundamentally dishonest way of framing the debate about cost of living today. There is no ‘cost of food crisis,’ no ‘cost of washing machines crisis,’ and no ‘cost of clothes’ crisis. The only thing that is more expensive is housing.

Housing outside London is 35% more expensive than its equivalent in wider Europe according to a new study, ‘The impact of the supply constraints on house prices in England,’ set to be published in the Economic Journal. This is certainly not due to a lack of enfranchisement. Like everything else credit and mortgages are cheaper than they have ever been due to interest rates being kept artificially low. So what’s the problem? According to this paper, houses are too expensive because the supply has been needlessly cauterized. The UK has suffered from dysfunctional housing policies since the aftermath of WWII. However, the seeds of this dysfunction were sown even earlier. The Town & Country Planning Act 1947 deepened this dysfunction and houses are meaner in size and shorter in supply than they ought to be directly because of this legislation and its subsequent incarnations. The supply issue was subsequently worsened most notably under Thatcher and Blair. 

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 86 Comments

Opinion: Put revenge pornographers on the Sex Offenders Register

Smartphone bar.Facebook has just been served with its first revenge porn lawsuit. I can’t comment on the particulars of the case in question but it does appear that revenge porn is an issue the law has yet to catch up with. In my opinion, the law should be changed to allow those convicted of distributing revenge porn to be put on the Sex Offenders Register. This requires further clarification of the distinction between legal and illegal pornography.

Once explicit material is published it becomes pornography. If the individuals in the films or photographs do not consent to having the material published, even if he or she consented for the material to be made for another purpose, then it should be classified as illegal pornography. Illegal pornography should also include incidents where material has been accessed through devices without the explicit consent of the individual who owns the device and the participants in the explicit material.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 16 Comments

Opinion: Free Zone Revolution

In New Labour’s puerile and patronising ‘Animated Manifesto Film’ their first pledge is the desire to instigate a ‘new industrial revolution’. This is followed by no explanation whatsoever as to how precisely they are going to do this. If you look deeper, however, the reality is damning. It is an acknowledgement that after 13 years of power many urban areas, especially in the North of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and South Wales, are still experiencing crippling poverty and high unemployment.

The LibDems go one better; they at least acknowledge a truth that policy to tackle the state of the …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , , , , and | 10 Comments

Opinion: A Cooperative Coalition

The general consensus among today’s politicos is that the dye is now cast for the next General Election. Those at the helm of all “two and a half” major parties are the leaders they assume will take them into the next General Election – the only questions now are “how big will David Cameron’s majority be?” and “what will the LibDem vote share be compared to Labour’s?” And then there’s the ‘C’ word – no not that one. Not that one either…

That’s right: coalition! But with whom? New Labour? Arch-authoritarian, spendthrift, warmongering sycophants… no thanks. The Tories? A party that exists to protect the vested interests of the rich, equally authoritarian and who will most probably crack down on personal freedom like a bitch. Equally unappealing.

If the election goes to a tie break the only party the LibDems should consider forming a coalition with is the Cooperative Party.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 150 Comments

Opinion: The insipid political class we breed

It was this comment:

I would like to see the LibDems show that they are more progressive, by seeking to recruit new potential MP’s from the massive ‘public pool’ rather than the limited spectrum of activists, advisers and councillors.”

by ‘UK voter’ on Stephen Tall’s LDV article What must happen for the Lib Dems to overtake Labour, and the continuing saga of MP’s expenses, that has prompted me to write.

It is obvious to everyone that there is something wrong with the political class. As a political party we have to actively take steps to make it better. Right now the …

Posted in Op-eds | 92 Comments

Opinion: With Darfur still burning, the question that must be asked – has the Liberal hand lost its touch in times of crisis?

With the relentless genocide in Darfur still incendiary, our attention must turn to the lack of affront from the liberal contingent. Unlike the Arab/Israeli conflict or the violence in Sri Lanka, the Liberal Democrats have lucid policy on the crisis in Sudan. Without a doubt the strength of Lib Dem rhetoric does not match the strength of our policy. This begs the question: has the Liberal hand lost its touch in times of crisis?

It was Liberals who hailed the end of Apartheid. The recent death of Helen Suzman was a poignant reminder of this. It was liberal democracy that salved …

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Tagged , , and | 9 Comments
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