Daily View 2×2: 4 April 2020

It’s the weekend, and my day differs in that I don’t walk across the garden to the office. I might even have a lie-in. What are you all up to today?

2 big stories

A new leader for Labour

If the predictions are true, at 10.45 this morning, the leadership of the Labour Party will move across the borough border from Islington to Camden, but the change from Corbyn to Starmer is rather more dramatic than the change in scenery from Islington North to Holborn and St Pancras. What it means for Liberal Democrats is to be seen, but what are the biggest items in Keir Starmer’s in-tray? Rajeev Syal, in the Guardian, offers some thoughts which look about right.

A massacre of the innocents?

Whilst the amount of money that has been pledged to support the economy through the Coronavirus crisis is vast, the big question is, when will it arrive where it is needed? And, with a swathe of small businesses run on a relative ‘hand to mouth’ basis, if the money doesn’t arrive soon, reports suggest that many may not make it that far. Ben Chapman, in the Independent, reports;

Research by a UK-wide network of accountants suggests that up to a million firms will run out of cash in the next four weeks, putting around four million people out of a job.

The Corporate Finance Network, a group of accountants that conducted the research, assessed the finances of some of their 12,000 clients. They found that 18 per cent would not be able to access government support and would collapse in four weeks.

2 blog posts

Nick Tyrone thinks that right-wing Eurosceptics may have won the battle, but lost the war

Did they think someone else was going to make the arguments for free markets while they engaged in their Brexit vanity project? Now, no one has made it effectively for years and they are left at the end of their long war against EU membership with a British state that would have shocked and appalled them had they had a glimpse of it ten years ago. They have worked tirelessly over the ensuing period to create both a Britain and Europe that is the opposite of what they wanted.

On the opposite wing of the Liberal Democrats, Peter Wrigley reckons that, in return for government support now, the future for air transport should involve rather fewer flights

With modern distance communication facilities there is very little need for business travel. A few people need to travel for work and some to maintain family connections. But, now we know what we know, there is no justification for the present vast industry to be maintained at its present size just to facilitate the fancies of we wealthy for sunshine, exotic experiences or sex.

And finally, something for the weekend

If the Cincinnati Reds, or the Colorado Rockies, ring any bells, you might be a baseball fan. But even if you aren’t, watching a game is an interesting insight into America at play (and no, I haven’t forgotten the Toronto Blue Jays). Major League Baseball have decided to make available every game from the 2018 and 2019 seasons free of charge, and whilst as a Cincinnati fan, that means more often than not watched my beloved Reds lose, it’s an opportunity to find out what the fuss is all about, and what a pitcher does to earn $30 million per season.

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  • nigel hunter 4th Apr '20 - 10:49am

    Massacre of the innocent? Is it a ploy to put a lot of skilled people on the dole to source a cheap labour pool and to restructure the economy

  • I thing the right-euroskeptics make more sense if you think of them as authoritarians who don’t want to admit it.

    Admittedly, there are a similar bunch of authoritarians in every party. Probably few people go into politics in order to NOT force someone to do something.

  • Peter Martin 4th Apr '20 - 1:50pm

    Even in these difficult times, the question of EU membership seems never to be far from Lib Dem thoughts. Yet surprisingly there is little, if any, discussion on how our friends in the EU are handling their problems.

    On the face of it they are doing pretty much the same as us. The have, on the whole, adopted slightly more restrictive measures than we have. But the question of who will pay for it all is the elephant in the room that no-one wants to acknowledge. We in the UK can implement whatever fiscal and monetary policies we feel appropriate to tackle the emergency, but the eurozone countries cannot. They have to operate within the constraints of the hideously misnamed Stability and Growth Pact.

    Opposition to the EU isn’t just the preserve of the right wing. There are those of us who have long pointed out that the EU has shackled itself with a set of economic rules which have prevented it recovering properly after the GFC. So, whereas the GFC was caused in America, and not the EU, it is America which has done much better since 2008.

    The EU and the eurozone have just about survived the GFC shock but, many of us have predicted that they wouldn’t survive the next ‘big one’. We didn’t see it happening in quite the way it has but there is little doubt that this shock is going to be more severe than the last. Can the EU survive? I’d say ‘yes’ if they do the right things but evidence so far is they won’t.

    The German position will likely be that they won’t pay for everyone else’s coronavirus spending. They don’t seem to understand that as the economies of the EU shut down, the revenue base of national governments will collapse too. There are only two options. One is that everyone returns to their own independent free floating currencies which will give them the same economic options that we have. Two is that German and Dutch surpluses are directly transferred to the peripheral nations cover the extra spending.

    There isn’t a fudge to get everyone out of trouble.


  • It would help morale if LDV gave the same prominence and support to Sir Edward Davey that it gave to the last and now departed Leader. Sir Edward has an interesting Twitter account….. but it rarely gets picked up by LDV.

    There’s an apparent vacuum at HQ on the publicity side (see David Beckett’s comments) – though if reports of the Sainsbury donation are correct there’s no
    shortage of money as an excuse as there was in previous post election periods.

    It would also help if there was more obvious leadership talent in the parliamentary party. There’s nothing obvious that I’ve seen, and I’ve watched ten Lib/Lib Dem Leaders come and go…….., whereas Mr Starmer (no longer uses his title) seems to have a wealth of potential talent on the back benches waiting to rejoin the shadow cabinet. The fact that one of the self proclaimed Lib Dem candidates consistently failed to respond to requests to take up the issues raised by the UN Report on Poverty in the UK doesn’t inspire confidence in their philosophy or campaigning skills.

    The current crisis is a political weather changer on the state and society. If Lib Dems are perceived as a vacuum with nothing to say then what are they for ? The electorate will draw the obvious conclusion.

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