Tag Archives: corporation tax

Radical Ideas for the Future

At the moment, virtually all of our policies – save for our stance on the EU – amount to tinkering at the edges of a flawed, if not broken, political system. This is a result of the fact that there is generally a fair amount of consensus within mainstream politics on a number of key issues.

All parties agree that we need to build more housing, that we need more funding of schools, the NHS and the police, and that we need to protect the environment. The major policy debates at the moment concern immigration, nationalisation of public infrastructure, the EU, education and public sector borrowing – most of which are couched in simple binary yes/no terms, depending on whether you support Labour or the Tories.

Rather than trying to join in the political consensus or meet Labour and the Tories halfway (e.g. see our current policy on housing), I genuinely believe that we have an opportunity to pursue an alternative set of policies that will mark us out as distinct.

Along with electoral reform and being pro-European, six policy ideas from various places within the liberal political tradition, come to mind:

1. A national housebuilding company

A national construction company set up to build houses, with the government taking a majority stake and offering financial guarantees. Instead of just pledging a high-sounding number of homes to be built each year and leaving it to the private sector, a government-backed company would have the opportunity to take responsibility for recruiting and training construction workers (with a focus on British workers), building homes and maintaining homes – with profits going back to the Treasury.

Combined with relaxing the rules preventing local authorities from borrowing to fund social housing, a national housebuilding company would be an exciting yet pragmatic way of building homes while balancing the risk and reward of construction projects.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , and | 39 Comments

ELDR: a caucus in the Caucusus…

When I was elected to the Liberal Democrat delegation to the Council of the European Liberal Democrats (ELDR), adventure was not necessarily high amongst my expectations, and trips to Dresden and Palermo last year were, whilst very nice, not particularly off the beaten path. And so, when it was announced that the Spring Council meeting would take place in Yerevan, I have to admit to an awakening of my passion for obscure routes and means of transport. So, why Yerevan, and what will be happening at the end of next week?

Sunday sees Parliamentary elections in Armenia, and this, combined with …

Posted in Europe / International and News | Also tagged , and | Leave a comment

Opinion: Are we open for business or shutting up shop?

“Let it be heard clearly around the world — from Shanghai to Seattle, and from Stuttgart to Sao Paolo: Britain is open for business,” George Osborne proclaimed rousingly in last month’s Budget. But what does this say about how Osborne views the UK? Unpick the assumptions underlying the rhetoric and the language reveals an intellectual wasteland beneath.

The reductionist’s reductions

There are two arguments against this world view. The first is that it is a highly reductionist view of any country, particularly one as culturally and socially rich as Britain. The second is that it is equally reductionist in its view of …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 9 Comments
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