A change of direction

Last night I was selected as one of a team of Labour and Co-Operative candidates to contest Preston Park ward on Brighton and Hove city council, along with Julie Cattell and Kevin Allen.   Preston Park is a key ward for Labour, one that is crucial to achieving our goals of winning the council and […]

Full employment is not enough

George Osborne has announced that he wants to make full employment a key policy goal – and that Britain should aspire to the highest employment rate in the OECD.  It sounds like a significant shift in policy from a party that has previously accepted unemployment as a price worth paying to achieve its policy goals. […]

An economic and political case for generous social security spending

After a week of political debate about the Governments benefits cap – and Labour’s support for it – at last Ha-Joon Chang, in an article in the Guardian today, takes us back to the economics.  And, not entirely surprisingly, considering the economics takes us to a very different place from the political debate. I take […]

A budget for UKIP

Amidst all the commentary following the Budget, there’s a political issue that seems to have been missed, but one that shows crucially what keeps Cameron and Osborne awake at night. Look at the beneficiaries of the budget measures.  Older people, high-end savers, drivers, beer-drinkers (and apparently bingo-goers, prompting the Tories into a piece of cod […]

Should Labour support the benefits cap?

George Osborne’s Budget package includes a cap on the overall level of benefit spending – excluding pensions and some unemployment benefits.  Labour has tonight said it will vote with the Government to support it.  I’ve blogged before – and before I joined the Labour Party – about the regressive effects of benefits caps  and why Labour […]

Memo to Ed Miliband: can we please stop talking about “hard working families”

It was too good to last.  One of the things that led me back into the Labour Party last autumn was hearing Ed Miliband’s speech at the Labour Party Conference (or, to be more accurate, following it through a very dodgy Guardian live feed) and realising how far Labour’s rhetoric had changed – how more […]

Ed Balls, bankers and Wayne Rooney

Ed Balls has caused something of a furore by claiming that, in contrast with bankers paying themselves bloated salaries, Wayne Rooney earns every penny of his £300,000 per week.  It’s a claim that’s worth unpacking a little, because it tells us quite a lot about some of the assumptions we make about wealth, risk and […]