That Petition – what does it mean?

A quick response to some of the comment that has appeared in the media and online.

Its only got 2.3 million signatures – 17.4 million voted Leave

It is a petition, not a referendum. Comparing it with the Referendum is comparing apples and oranges. As a petitionit is quite extraordinary.

Over 2 million signatures in 24 hours is unprecedented for a Petition and clearly represents something? But what? Continue reading

The Interdependence Party?

 

TIGersThe new break-away group of ex-Labour MPs have called themselves “The Independent Group” (TIG).

This may make sense in a narrow, Westminster, way. They are clearly not trying to capture the Labour brand by calling themselves ‘Independent Labour’ or some such. And they are leaving the door open for Tory MPs of like mind to join them.

But ‘Independent” has unfortunate connotations outside of the Westminster bubble. Continue reading

Visions of Subsidiarity and the Curse of the British Political Tradition

by Martin Smith (York University), Dave Richards and Patrick Diamond (both Manchester University)

There is little doubt that the previous Labour Administration and the current Coalition Government have discernibly different governing projects.  Despite a rhetorical appeal to the contrary, Labour substantially increased both the size and role of the state, developing a new set of interventions in social policy and significantly increased government expenditure.  The Coalition on the other hand has been focussed on reducing the role of the state, decreasing government expenditure and making cuts of over 50,000 in civil service numbers.  Continue reading

PASC Takes PM to Task Over Ministerial Inquiries.

It’s couched in polite terms, but today the Public Administration Select Committee issued what amounted to a bruising attack on PM David Cameron.

The PASC said the PM was wrong to ask the Cabinet Secretary to investigate the Andrew Mitchell ‘plebgate’ affair, wrong for not to using the Independent Advisor on Ministers’ Interests instead, and wrong for ignoring a previous report of the PASC and resolution passed by the Commons.

For a Government supposedly committed to openness, transparency, accountability and taking Parliament more seriously, this is a pretty devastating critique. Continue reading

Top Twenty Whitehall Watch blog posts

Here’s the top twenty Whitehall Watch blog posts (so far) and the number of views. This doesn’t include numbers for posts that have been republished by Public Finance, Public Servant, LSE Policy and Politics and the Huffington Post. Continue reading

Dave says we’re headed in the right direction, what do you think?

PM David Cameron claims we are ‘headed in the right direction’. Below are the latest headline figures from the Office of National Statistics website on the state of our national finances (so all their words, not mine, I’ve just added a few helpful highlights):

Latest figures (Nov 2011)

  • Public sector net borrowing was £17.5 billion in November 2012; this is £1.2 billion higher net borrowing than in November 2011, when net borrowing was £16.3 billion.
  • Public sector current budget deficit was £15.8 billion in November 2012; this is a £1.0 billion higher deficit than in November 2011, when there was a deficit of £14.8 billion.
  • For the period April to November 2012, public sector net borrowing (excluding the capital payment recorded as part of the Royal Mail Pension Plan transfer in April 2012) was £92.7 billion; this is £8.3 billion higher net borrowing than in the same period the previous year, when net borrowing was £84.4 billion.
  • In 2011/12, public sector net borrowing was £121.6 billion; this is £4.4 billion lower than the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) forecasted net borrowing for 2011/12 of £126.0 billion.
  • Public sector net debt was £1083.6 billion at the end of November 2012, equivalent to 68.5% of gross domestic product (GDP).

As far as I can see the only ‘positive’ in this is that public sector net borrowing was less than the OBR forecast, but it was still higher than the previous year.