Archive for avril, 2015

Growing British Economy under Tories: M.Webster

Jeudi, avril 23rd, 2015

There is too little understanding in the British public of the reasons that, under the Tories, the British economy is increasing by over 2% per year, while there is economic stagnation in most of the rest of Europe.

An important one is the reduction of bureaucratic administration. A BBC review of the French community in London revealed that the greatest motive for moving to London was the greater sense of freedom it offered them from the delays and constraints of life back home.

It is this, in a world where innovation has become a dominating theme in the economic world, which has given the impulse for Britain’s economic growth. It has taken a firm lead in the field of “Start-Ups”. It has several outstanding centres of excellence such as Cambridge and Hackney; being a major financial centre is also providing the venture capital to finance promising, innovating enterprises. This spirit of independent initiative goes deeper; 8 million people are now working alone.

Suffering under the handicap of austerity budgets the Government has nevertheless shown vision by several major undertakings: London’s Crossrail; The proposed HS2 high-speed line to the Midlands: The project for improving the rail system in the North.

This is part of their economic planning to reduce the disparity between North and South England. This includes plans to devolve power to the major cities, so that they will have restored to them authority over education, local planning and taxation etc. which were lost during the World Wars. This has already taken place in the case of Manchester. A number of Northern industrial towns have had their centres rebuilt. There are increasing signs of a return to industrial activity in the North.

Five years is not a long time in terms of economic trends. But in this time the Conservatives have planted the shoots for a British revival based on the principles of liberalism, of individual initiative and endeavour, relatively untrammeled by heavy bureaucracy and taxation.

A Labour victory in May would see a return to Socialist principles, risking a return to the static conditions we have witnessed in France.

Michael Webster
BCiP Member

The Government’s Record - by Robin Baker

Mardi, avril 14th, 2015

Elections are decided on the personalities of the leaders of the parties, on the policies that they put forward but, above all, on the record of the government that has been in power up to the election. So let us have a look at what the Conservative led coalition has achieved and how the electorate should react to it.

The vital issue is the economy and the Conservative Party identified the Labour government’s budget deficit as the problem that they had to resolve.

Historically Conservative governments have always been strong in balancing public expenditure with the government’s revenue receipts. Under the Thatcher government, the 1990 budget was in surplus by £6 billion and the national debt stood at 27.7 per cent of GDP.

Gordon Brown, as Chancellor and as Prime Minister, decided to impose a “Golden Rule”. This required the government to generate a budget surplus across the lifetime of an economic cycle. Unfortunately Labour’s inherent commitment to government spending was too strong, and they got round this commitment by defining the economic cycle to suit their own ends. So when the Coalition Government came to power in May 2010 it had inherited a budget deficit of £153.5 billion, 10.2% of GDP. Total expenditure was £673 billion, so the government was borrowing 23% of what they spent. In his June 2010 emergency Budget speech George Osborne said “As this is the last Budget in which the Golden Rule will appear, I would like to be the last Chancellor to report on it. We are set to miss the Golden Rule in this cycle by £485 billion.”

Conservatives believe that government deficits must be controlled not just out of blind adherence to political dogma but for sound practical reasons. Firstly higher government borrowing pushes interest rates up to a higher level than they would otherwise be, and that reduces private sector economic activity. Secondly, high borrowing results in pressures to increase taxation and taxation, however necessary, also reduces growth in the private sector economy. Finally increased public borrowing increases the National Debt, which requires greater government expenditure to service it. Those of us who live in France, of course, know all of that full well. So the government’s achievement on reducing the deficit to what is expected to be £90 billion in 2014/15, is strongly to be welcomed.

This has contributed to the trend for employment to rise and unemployment to fall that we have seen since late 2011/early 2012. There are currently 30.9 million people in work, 2 million more than when the government came to power. The official employment rate, i.e. the proportion of people aged from 16 to 64 in work, is 73.3%

The proportion of the economically active population who are unemployed (the unemployment rate) is 5.7%, compared to 7.8% when the government took office.

So the theory set out above works, and the reduction in the public deficit has yielded significant benefits to the UK economy. The painful austerity programme is not just adherence to political dogmatism that deserves public rejection, as our opponents would have the electorate believe, it is beneficial to the country as a whole, and particularly to those two million extra people who now have jobs.

Robin Baker
BCiP Member

A Littler Britain - Michael Webster

Jeudi, avril 9th, 2015

When David Cameron came to power, he promised that Britain, with the fourth largest defence budget in the world, a close relationship with the United States and an important role in the EU, would play a major role in world affairs with a highly active foreign policy.

His actual record has been a dismal, even reprehensible one.

He is reneging on Britain’s moral obligation to NATO to devote 2% of our GDP to Defence and already reduced Britain’s ranking from fourth to sixth in the world. Possessed in the past with a highly skilled diplomatic corps and an admired military capacity, punching well above its weight, Britain is now much less engaged in foreign affairs and plays only a subdued role.

It has raised doubts in the United States about its capacity to be an ally one can count on with an army reduced from 120,000 to 80,000. Whereas it used to be a member that played a notable part in the formation of EU policy, it is losing support and is increasingly disregarded. In the past our civil servants, highly regarded, filled a disproportionately high number of senior posts. They are now far fewer, being replaced by Germans.

In the Ukraine dispute, we left negotiation to Merkel and Hollande, we voted against participation in action against Bashad, we contribute almost nothing to the air strikes against ISIS in Iraq and offer no support for the French in Africa.

The Foreign Office’s budget has been cut 30% under Cameron and the results are felt everywhere in the Service. And how many of us can name the Foreign Secretary?

So, what of the future? Discounted by the Americans, cold-shouldered in the EU, prestige diminished, how long would it take to once more regain our standing in the world?

Michael Webster
BCiP Member

France24 Debate: UK Elections - Main Parties’ Support Eroding

Mardi, avril 7th, 2015

View this France24.com debate on a “Divided Britain” - UK Elections: Support for the Main Parties Eroding - and involving Jeremy Stubbs, Chairman of British Conservatives in Paris, Evan O’Connell, Vice-Chair Labour Party in France, Melissa Bell a France 24 journalist and John Curtice, Professor of Politics at Strathclyde University.

http://m.france24.com/en/20150406-the-debate-UK-elex-partone/