Archiv für Juli 2012

Maintain Plan A Mr Chancellor!

Sonntag, 29. Juli 2012

Figures for UK Gross Domestic Product (GDP) published last Wednesday, showed a 0.7% drop in GDP in the second quarter of 2012 after a fall of 0.3% in the first quarter, the latter which followed a 0.4% fall in the final quarter of 2011.

However, some commentators view this continuing technical recession as inconsistent with the strength of the latest job market figures, which showed that the number of persons employed increased by 181,000 during March-May, 2012. This is the strongest increase in employment in the last two years and comes mainly from the private sector. An additional quarter of a million people have been employed since autumn, 2011 while the economy according to the GDP figures has been technically in recession. At the same time the unemployment rate has decreased from 8.6% to 8.1%, which would indicate weak growth in an economy rather than one in recession. Otherwise, overall productivity has fallen which would then rather beg the question of employers as to why they have needed to recruit? This seems unlikely, particularly when historically such GDP figures have also always tended to be subsequently revised and, more often than not, upwards compared with the earlier estimates.

Therefore, the international rating agencies are currently still maintaining the AAA credit rating of the UK, with growth anticipated in the second half of 2012. Should such growth not materialise by the end of the year, however, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has recommended that the government should consider a range of measures to boost economic growth, including slowing the rate of its deficit reduction programme.

Despite, therefore, Labour Opposition cries that Plan A of the Chancellor has manifestly failed and that now is the time for a new Plan B for Growth (not Austerity), it would appear that the Chancellor should maintain course with his Plan A.

British Democracy in Terminal Decline?

Montag, 9. Juli 2012

British citizens resident overseas wanting to vote are still denied such rights after 15 years abroad and yet British democracy is in terminal decline, as Corporate power, unrepresentative politicians and apathetic voters leave the UK ?increasingly unstable?, says study.

Surely this is when additional barriers to participation in the political process such as the 15 year rule should be removed and British citizens encouraged to vote including those resident overseas?

If you agree we would appreciate you adding your vote in support of Votes for Expat Brits in our Sign-up poll here.

In an interview with the Guardian, Stuart Wilks-Heeg, the report’s lead author, warned that Britons could soon have to ask themselves “whether it’s really representative democracy any more?”

?the depth of public disillusionment and the range of ways voters are turning away from politics revealed by the latest study could shock even those involved?

?The reality is that representative democracy, at the core, has to be about people voting, has to be about people engaging in political parties, has to be about people having contact with elected representatives, and having faith and trust in elected representatives, as well as those representatives demonstrating they can exercise political power effectively and make decisions that tend to be approved of,? said Wilks-Heeg.

?All of that is pretty catastrophically in decline. How low would turnout have to be before we question whether it?s really representative democracy at all?? The UK?s democratic institutions were strong enough to keep operating with low public input, but the longer people avoided voting and remained disillusioned, the worse the problem would get?, said Wilks-Heeg.

?Over time, disengagement skews the political process yet further towards those who are already more advantaged by virtue of their wealth, education or professional connections. And without mass political participation, the sense of disconnection between citizens and their representatives will inevitably grow.?

Membership of political parties and election turnout has fallen significantly in the last decade, with only 1% of the electorate belonging to a party, and just over six out of 10 eligible voters going to the ballot box in the 2010 general election and barely one in three in European and local elections. But the depth of public disillusionment and the range of ways voters are turning away from politics revealed by the latest study could shock even those involved.