Archive for the ‘Winning in 2015’ Category

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 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.

OECD Thumbs-Up for UK Economic Policy

samedi, mars 28th, 2015

That the long-term economic plan of the Conservative-led Coalition is working for the United Kingdom is confirmed by the OECD in this survey linked to below.

Why would you as a voter risk the UK’s economy by handing control of it back to Labour?

The OECD, as a neutral independent organisation, is broadly positive on the policies and achievements of the present UK government.

Voting for the Conservatives in the General Election would ensure that these responsible policies continue.

At a press conference at the Treasury on 25th. February, the OECD Secretary General with the Chancellor presented a positive report on the UK economy.

Key conclusions are:

– UK GDP growth in 2014 was 2.6%, the strongest performance among G7 countries;
– The recovery has benefitted from wide ranging domestic policy measures;
– While productivity growth should be accelerated, employment is at a record level;
– Fiscal policy has included well-chosen consolidation measures;
– With the exception of the housing sector where inflation needs careful management, inflationary pressures have been low;
– Although public debt continues to rise, the budget deficit has been significantly reduced since its 2009 peak;
– Infrastructure underinvestment is being tackled by the authorities within tight fiscal constraints;
– Important regulatory reforms have been implemented in the banking sector to address financial stability risks;

While generally favourable on UK economic policy, the OECD makes important recommendations on future priorities:

– The Bank of England should begin to tighten monetary policies to meet emerging inflationary pressures
– fiscal consolidation needs to be continued in the medium term;
– further efficiency gains are needed in health and education;
– The successful National Infrastructure Plan should be used as the basis for further progress;
– Public/private partnerships for infrastructure developments should be continued and strengthened;
– Regulatory constraints to boost housing supply should be further relaxed.

Peter Huggins
BCiP Member

Defence & Security: A Current Electoral Issue

lundi, mars 16th, 2015

Of immediate concern in Parliamentary circles is the Defence Budget as part of the Conservatives? ?electoral platform? for 2015.

At issue is David Cameron?s refusal to commit the Party formally to a Defence Budget equal to 2% of GDP in conformity with NATO policy. At the same time, he maintains that he does not necessarily see a need not to commit but wants flexibility.

This seems to me to be ill-advised. Firstly, from a public-relations point of view it can serve as an example to other NATO members to drag their feet. Secondly, it has alarmed our American ally, already concerned by cuts in our level of military spending.

From a practical point of view, present cuts of 20,000 men in the Army, 5000 in in the RAF and 5,999 in the Navy have been met with criticisms from our Defence chiefs that we have fallen below the level of our commitments.

This seems to me to be a very dangerous time for instituting economies in our Defence Budget. The international scene has taken on a more threatening aspect than we have seen for some years: again an increasingly threatening attitude from Russia, a Middle East engaged in increasing turbulence, an as yet immeasurable threat from terrorists.

This is a time not for Mr Cameron?s ambivalence but for the strengthening of our defences and a firmer attitude from our political leaders.

Michael Webster
BCiP Member

Overseas Voters – How to set up an « Absent Vote »

vendredi, mars 6th, 2015

It’s been brought to our attention that some expats are unaware that even when registered as an overseas voter, without also setting up an »Absent Vote » (via postal or proxy means) they will still be unable to vote in the 7th May, 2015 general election.

Here’s a useful link on how to set up an « Absent Vote ».

British Citizens Abroad – Register to Vote!

vendredi, mars 14th, 2014

Here is an important message for all British citizens resident abroad and not impacted by the 15-year-limit on their voting rights, from Greg Clark, Minister of State for Cities and the Constitution:

Register as an overseas voter!

This is important for both the European elections in 2014 (if you have not already registered where you are resident) and the next general election in 2015.

Marginal Constituencies Win Elections

lundi, février 24th, 2014

Have a browse of the interactive BBC News link below.

It lists the marginal seats which could decide the next UK General Election in May 2015.

« government majorities are made or broken in the relatively small number of marginal seats with small majorities that change hands at elections ».

Facing up to Tory Eurosceptics

jeudi, février 6th, 2014

Adam Boulton writing in The Sunday Times senses that for Prime Minister Cameron, Chancellor Osborne and Foreign Secretary Hague, staying in Europe has become a major priority.

George Osborne speaking at a recent ?Pan-European? conference hosted by the Open Europe think tank and the Fresh Start group of Tory MPs, apparently gave the clearest indication yet of what the Prime Minister might be aiming to renegotiate before his 2017 referendum on continuing EU membership i.e.
1. The Euro: To seek guarantees that EU member countries not in the common currency area can remain so, without strictures on them being imposed by the Eurozone members.
2. Welfare: With the support of Germany in particular and other richer EU members, to introduce curbs on migration within the framework of ?freedom of movement? for more control at national level of the associated spending on welfare.
3. Single market: Accepting that the EU needs to become more competitive globally, to accelerate completion of the single market e.g. for services, by allowing Britain and other large EU states to integrate more quickly while smaller states can still protect their home markets.

It will be interesting to see whether such an approach will allow PM Cameron to out-manoeuvre the estimated one third of total Conservative MPs who are exploiting the rise of UKIP to promote their euroscepicism. At constituency level Tory activists are also said to be generally more Eurosceptic but actual Tory voters seem more in tune with the general public in that the EU does not appear in the top 10 of their major concerns!

Reference: N° 11 signals a way to halt the Eurosceptic express, Adam Boulton, The Sunday Times 19.01.14.