Monthly Archives: January 2011

The writer Peter Ackroyd – whose own name means ‘dweller in the oak forest’ – located the origin of the English imagination in the forest glades: ‘The mark or symbol of the hawthorn tree is to be found in the … Continue reading

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Yesterday’s shocking figures for GDP in the last quarter of 2010 – showing a contraction of 0.5% (or 0% if the bad weather effects are stripped out) – have changed the dynamics of British politics. As most of the newspapers … Continue reading

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Most of the commentary on Ed Balls’s appointment as Shadow Chancellor has focused on his role as Gordon Brown’s right-hand man during Labour’s time in office. More instructive, perhaps, is to look at the period between 1992 and 1997, when … Continue reading

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Tim Horton has a very nice piece in the Guardian about the “angry middle” and how people compare themselves with others in the income distribution. He makes some acute observations at the end of the piece about the political importance of … Continue reading

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The Institute for Fiscal Studies has issued an important analysis of the government’s proposed Universal Credit (UC), which shows that it will improve the incentive to work for most people, especially single people and first earners in couples (and particularly those … Continue reading

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Next week, the Localism Bill gets its second reading in the House of Commons. In all the furore about spending cuts, relatively little attention has been paid to this bill’s radical proposals for creating directly elected mayors in 12 big … Continue reading

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A happy New Year to readers of this blog. One way or another, 2011 promises to be a significant year for democratic reform in the UK. Most importantly, there will be a referendum on whether we should move to the … Continue reading

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