Author Archives: Vittorio Trevitt

The Independent View: The upcoming election in Israel: the dawn of a new progressive era in Israeli politics?

For political progressives, the upcoming Israeli general election on the 17th of March may prove itself to be one of the most decisive in that country’s history, with most polls conducted in recent weeks pointing to a narrow victory for the centre-left alliance between the social-democratic Labor Party and the progressive liberal Hatnuah party. Not only would this mark the first time since 2001 that Labor has led an administration, but it will be one in which both liberals and socialists will be able to influence the drafting and passage of government legislation in the new Knesset, possibly marking the beginning of a new era of social-liberal reform in the State of Israel.

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The Independent View: The need for a new economic alternative

Mountain roadThe social impact of the measures introduced by the Coalition Government, as I highlighted in a previous article, has demonstrated the failure of a strategy based primarily on austerity, and lends credence to calls for an alternative economic strategy close to the heart of the rank and file of the Liberal Democrats, based on encouraging growth through measures such as tax cuts and increases in the minimum wage to stimulate consumer spending, and investment in public works such as roads, hospitals, and schools to create jobs and boost industrial activity.

Criticisms have been levelled against those who call for expansionary, Keynesian-style measures to encourage growth, arguing that the additional output generated would not yield enough tax revenue to finance tax reductions or higher government spending.

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The Independent View: The Coalition Government’s economic strategy – time for a rethink?

Credit: Freefoto.com

The global financial crisis of 2008 has left Britain facing one of the most difficult periods in its economic history, as characterised by falling real wages and deepening poverty amongst the poorest members of our society. The actions taken by the Coalition Government since taking office in 2010 have arguably done little to tackle the social consequences of the economic downturn and have, in fact, exacerbated these problems, casting doubts on the validity of the government’s economic strategy as a whole.

Business groups have expressed a lack of confidence in the Coalition’s shambolic handling of the economy during much of its time in office. In November 2012, the Recruitment and Employment Confederation awarded the government 5 out of 10 points in its record on creating jobs and opportunities, noting that the government’s decision to cut back on work experience in schools and careers advice could reduce the prospects of young people entering the workforce, while a senior Conservative politician in April 2013 accused George Osborne of caution and timidity by not taking bolder measures in restoring the country’s economic health. The Coalition’s economic strategy also came under fire a year ago from the IMF, which drew attention to the country’s lacklustre economic performance, with output 3% less than it was in 2008.

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The Independent View: Could the USA’s November mid-term elections herald the return of the long-fabled “Liberal Hour”?

USA Flag - Some rights reserved by freefotoukThe November mid-term elections in the United States will be vital for the future of the Democratic Party, as it not only seeks to retain its control of the Senate, but possibly reclaim the House of Representatives after four years under Republican control.

If it wishes to do so, the Democrats must be clear in what it stands for in social policy, and carry out a programme of major liberal reform that fulfils the promises of hope and change that Barack Obama evoked amongst so …

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The Independent View: Pierre Trudeau and the Just Society – lessons for Canadian liberals today

Canada flag License Some rights reserved by archer10 (Dennis)The general election expected to be held in Canada next year will be a decisive one for the Lib Dem’s Canadian counterpart, the Liberal Party of Canada, as it faces the prospect of returning to office after more than eight years in the political wilderness.

With a recent poll showing the governing Conservatives trailing behind the Liberals, the party’s leader Justin Trudeau stands a good chance of becoming the first Canadian Liberal prime minister since 2006.

However, if Justin Trudeau …

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The Independent View: Remembering Willy Brandt, the chancellor of change

Willy BrandtThis May marked the 40th anniversary of the resignation of Willy Brandt, chancellor of West Germany from 1969 to 1974, in the wake of a political scandal in which a close aide was revealed to be a spy for East Germany.

Despite the way in which he was forced to leave office, Brandt and his government (a coalition of socialists and liberals) left behind a legacy of radical reform that had turned West Germany into a fairer society, and remains an inspiration to progressives today.

Elected in 1969, Brandt inspired many people with his calls for greater democracy and experiments in the domestic sphere. Over the next five years, Brandt’s socialist-liberal government did much to meet people’s expectations for change.

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The Independent View: Lester Pearson and the triumph of progressive change in Canada

Canada flag License Some rights reserved by archer10 (Dennis)For many progressives, America’s northern neighbour Canada has long been associated with progressive social change, with successive governments of the past century introducing such policy innovations as universal family allowances, supplementary pensions, and free health care. 2013 marked the 50th anniversary of the election of the innovative Liberal government of Lester Pearson. Holding office from 1963 to 1968, the Pearson Government implemented a programme of social reform that not only led to the emergence of Canada’s contemporary welfare state, but arguably …

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  • User AvatarMartin 21st Nov - 3:50pm
    John Marriott: That seems a fairly rational answer, though I am sure you can see that it would be very unlikely to be accepted, but...
  • User AvatarSandra Hammett 21st Nov - 3:32pm
    Watching Politics Live in our BBC mandated 4 minutes of coverage Andrew Neil and panel were questioning whether our campaign as been to presidential, falling...
  • User AvatarBarry Lofty 21st Nov - 3:29pm
    John Marriot, I happen to be in the same age group as you and have always voted Liberal/Liberal Democrat but have not put my principals...
  • User AvatarJohn Marriott 21st Nov - 2:56pm
    To all those who bridle to my comments let me just say that I joined in the old Liberal Party in 1979 and also joined...
  • User AvatarPeter Watson 21st Nov - 2:50pm
    @Charles Pragnell "The view is that a second referendum is the only way out of this mess. However if you ask graduates , or business’s...
  • User Avatarnvelope2003 21st Nov - 2:46pm
    Keeping fares down was tried in the 1950s to keep commuters voting Conservative. Unfortunately all the money needed for investment in an out dated system...