Deconstructing aspiration

“Aspiration” has become the buzzword of the Labour Party leadership campaign.  Candidates are telling us that Labour under Ed Miliband failed to understand or encourage it, and if Labour is to win again it must embrace it.  What does it mean, and what does it tell us about the nature of these candidates’ politics? As […]

Poorer than our parents: the politics of the bleeding obvious

A new report by the Institute of Fiscal Studies, showing that the generation born in the 1960s and 1970s is less well-off than their parents’ generation, is generating a lot of news coverage this morning. Among other things, the study concludes that: the 1960’s and 1970s generation experienced a much slower growth in income between […]

The bedroom tax: where does Labour really stand?

Where does Labour stand on the bedroom tax?  The stance of many – probably most – Labour activists is clear; at a personal level they completely oppose this penalty on those whose social housing has a “spare” bedroom, and for very good reasons.  The implication of the penalty for “under-occupancy” is that social housing is […]

The epic stupidity of Nick Clegg’s house deposit plan

As the Liberal Democrat conference gets under way in Brighton, Nick Clegg used an interview on the BBC to announce a plan to allow parents to borrow against their pension funds to allow their children to get the deposit needed to get them on to the housing ladder.  Clegg claimed that this was the politics […]

Cameron and the economics of the family

You can tell the Tory Party is in trouble.  Dreadful economic numbers, NHS reforms in tatters, public sector workers declaring that enough is enough.  So, once again, David Cameron uses Father’s Day, that annual festival for the greetings card industry, to make pronouncements on family issues in a piece in the Sunday Telegraph today. At […]

Alarm clock Britain – a wake-up call

Just when you thought Nick Clegg had reached the limits of absurdity, out comes more idiocy. The Guardian today reports that Clegg intends to speak up for what he calls “alarm-clock Britain” – people on low to middle incomes who are anxious about their standard of living. The patronising phrase “alarm clock” Britain is supposed […]

UK house prices – it could be worse than we think

News from Britain’s largest mortgage lender, HBOS, suggests that house prices in the UK fell 1.7% in July – giving an annual fall of 8.8%. But there’s some evidence that this underestimates the size of the fall.  Lord Oakeshott, the Liberal Democrats’ Treasury spokesman, has argued that prices of domestic properties at auction have fallen […]