The three questions that will decide the next general election | Jonathan Freedland | Opinion | The Guardian


When answers are in short supply, sometimes the best we can do is try to ask the right questions. Some of those dive into legal and constitutional arcana, as experts try to work out how Boris Johnson can climb out of the hole he has spent this last week digging ever deeper for himself. Now that the opposition parties have refused to accede to his cunning plan for an October election, and will next week see passed into law their demand that he seek an extension of Britain’s EU membership, he’s left with a series of unpalatable alternatives – from breaking the law to resignation to tabling a motion of no confidence in himself.

Still, even if it’s later rather than sooner, polling day is coming. So here goes with the three questions that will decide the next election and, with it, the fate of Brexit.

First, when? Given the procedural chicanery and willingness to trash established convention we’ve witnessed these last few days, nothing is certain, despite today’s move to block a poll before 1 November. What’s at stake here is the context in which the election will take place. Johnson’s preference has always been to face the voters before the exit deadline, lest he be cast as having failed in his “do or die” mission to leave by 31 October. This is the prize the opposition has agreed to deny him, forcing him, they hope, to confront the electorate in November as a failure, guilty of either treachery or incompetence. Their hope is that Johnson’s inability to take Britain out of the EU will pump new air into the Brexit party balloon, thereby splitting the leave vote that Johnson had bet everything on uniting around himself.

 

Source: The three questions that will decide the next general election | Jonathan Freedland | Opinion | The Guardian

Sanctioned for not being able to sign on on bank holiday Monday. Tears, frustration and rain.


The poor side of life

Today’s demo started rather hurriedly and to be honest I didn’t know if I was coming or going. This feeling was amplified because it was cold, rainy and my daughter was a bit fed up. understandable of course. But she soon settled down into our usual routine and all was well.

img_2286

We are seeing a lot of new faces due to Stalybridge Jobcentre shutting. They don’t know us and what we are doing, and we don’t know them or their situations either. So we have to start from scratch, which at times isn’t easy.  But it’s a whole lot harder for them.

I started a conversation with a man who had been previously attending Stalybridge Jobcentre for his appointments. The first thing that he said to me was that he couldn’t believe how rude the front desk staff are at  Ashton Jobcentre, and how rude some of the advisors are also…

View original post 1,606 more words

UK parties not giving full picture on likely tax rises – IFS | Reuters


Britain’s two main political parties are not giving the public the full picture about how much taxes will need to rise in order to support public services after next month’s election, a leading think tank said on Friday.

Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservatives were likely to need to raise taxes to balance the budget and maintain the quality of public services, while the opposition Labour Party’s plans to raise corporate taxes would hurt the wider public, the non-partisan Institute for Fiscal Studies said.

“Neither is being really honest with the public,” IFS director Paul Johnson said.

May has seen the Conservatives’ lead in opinion polls narrow since she unveiled her party’s policy pledges last week.

In a sign the election could be more closely contested than has previously been thought, YouGov said on Thursday that support for May’s party stood at 43 percent, down 1 percentage from a week ago, while Labour was up 3 points on 38 percent.

May had to backtrack on Monday on plans to make older Britons pay a greater share of their care costs, and has left the door open to raise income tax and payroll taxes.

“It is likely that the Conservatives would either have to resort to tax or borrowing increases to bail out public services under increasing pressure, or would risk presiding over a decline in the quality of some of those services,” Johnson said.

Source: UK parties not giving full picture on likely tax rises – IFS | Reuters

What do the party manifestos mean for the NHS? | Richard Vize | Healthcare Professionals Network | The Guardian


Labour’s election manifesto offers confused plans for the NHS, while the Conservatives have admitted there are serious problems with existing legislation.

The Tory manifesto says that if the “current legislative landscape” – dominated by the government’s own health reforms – is hampering the Five Year Forward Viewor undermining local or national accountability they will fix it, as well as do what they can in the meantime to remove barriers to care integration.

It identifies the internal market as the key problem, because it is too expensive to run and can fail to work in patients’ interests.

This is a significant move. It had been assumed that Theresa May would avoid reopening the issue of NHS reform at the same time as navigating Brexit. But she has clearly been persuaded that the benefits of cutting running costs and making it easier to join up services outweigh the risks.

One of the weaknesses in Labour’s proposals is muddled thinking about the organisational building blocks of the health service. It promises to repeal the Health and Social Care Act 2012, which imposed Andrew Lansley’s dysfunctional NHS reforms, and to “halt and review” sustainability and transformation plans(STPs).

So instead of trying to fix problems introduced by the reforms,

Source: What do the party manifestos mean for the NHS? | Richard Vize | Healthcare Professionals Network | The Guardian

The challenge for the United States


It is certainly worrying times.

Cllr. Stephanos Ioannou

From its beginnings, Democracy has opened the way for people with overweening ambition, who employ lies, division and bigotry to achieve their goals. From ancient Athens to modern Europe, we have often seen leaders who challenged the endurance of the political system. But however many wounds those people caused, the democratic system repeatedly proved that it could heal them and lead citizens back towards stability and prosperity. As long as there was some force to restore democracy, the way the United States did in Europe twice last century.

Seldom, though, has a person been able to wield so much power as the US president today, and, at the same time, seldom has an elected leader seemed so unqualified to wield that power as does Donald Trump. The United States’ technological and military superiority, its economic power, its history as winner of two world wars and guarantor of the international order…

View original post 343 more words

Jo Cox’s tragic death must put an end to the hateful abuse of our MPs | Ruth Price | Opinion | The Guardian


Jo was my boss, and her work was guided by the belief that love will always overcome hate. To heed her legacy we must keep our politics free of malice

Source: Jo Cox’s tragic death must put an end to the hateful abuse of our MPs | Ruth Price | Opinion | The Guardian