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« Norman Baker and Oliver Letwin: The environment should not be exploited for political gain | Main | Mort Kondracke: Bush's Iraq Policy, Flawed As It Is, May Still Succeed »


Selsdon Man

All very true!!

Labour is creating, deliberately, a state dependent society that will fear a truly Conservative government. It is gerrymandering on a massive scale.


There is a lot of sense in the idea of a regional variation in the minimum wage. We must get away from welfare dependency by introducing work-fare. Some from of community service would be much better than welfare. Large parts of this country have become a kind of forgotten ghetto of low employment. This government has abandoned them by giving handouts. Theses areas have high crime and drugs problems with failing schools. What they need is employment - the kind of mass employment that is currently going to India and China. We need low paid jobs in this country to give employment to the low-skilled people who need work. It's no good the government saying we must become a highly skilled graduate work-force, as that is not possible for everyone.


It was one of the more lunatic editorials.

How about regional variations in VAT and Income Tax, National Insurance and Excise Duties ? It is a unitary state with all power centralised in London and no real regional economies since all business is headquartered in London.

Now if Shell moved its HQ to Aberdeen (Exxon moved to Dallas); and Barclays moved to Manchester like the BBC, then the regional effect would be different. After all under the 1964-70 Wilson Government SET was introduced to balance the regional economy; Thatcher reversed it.

The NHS has a huge HQ in Leeds but the headquarters is now back in London. If the lunatic idea of cutting the minimum wage by area ever happened it would deepen depression. Germany has just done this with Hartz IV.

As a consequence they have pushed areas of regional unemployment into depression and destroyed the rental market and driving shops bust. This is the kind of policy which made the US Great Depression so dire.

Reading the comments here it is clear that the 1930s taught Conservatives nothing and talk like this is music to Gordon Brown's ears. To talk of systematically impoverishing people in the West Midlands because Rover went bust or grinding people in Brixton and Lambeth into the ground because they have no work is a recipe for a repeat of the 1981 riots which greeted Thatcher's Government.


"Where are the businesses, cultural patronage or charitable institutions from this new Russian community?

This arrival of the super-wealthy in London is further distancing the capital from the rest of the country. A recent study by the University of Sheffield of the 2001 census concluded that Britain was being split in half. "To the south is the metropolis of Greater London, to the north and west is the 'archipelago of provinces' - city islands that appear to be slowly sinking demographically, socially and economically." London as a metropolitan, global hub appears to have an ever more distant relationship with its provincial hinterland."


Well said Rick

Oberon Houston

These statistics are very important, even if how they are analysed can be rather subjective.
I have written a little bit about this with respect to Scotland, however there is clearly a wider issue at work here. What it shows is that simply throwing money at a problem may cure the symptoms of deprivation, but is not a cure, and in the long run it exacerbates things. Many get caught in a welfare trap, where it becomes increacingly difficult to get socially mobile without incurring significant risk or short term loss. The result is that the gap between those that are fortunate enough to be able to get up and on leave behind those that can’t.

A caution. In devising policy to aleviate this problem, we must keep one eye on the objective, but another on short-term effect. Crude example, say we decide to channel welfare spending into long-term skilled job creation. This is keeping the eye on the objective, but if spending is cut at the same time as the other increases, people will be adversly effected due to the lag in the effect of benefit coming through. One cannot turn a deprived region into an area of personal success stories and economic miricales overnight. It can be done though, and the Conservatives are the only party that is realistically able to do this. Other parties, especially Labour, are shacked by dogmatic thinking, eg. lets look at their mantra: “equality and opportunity for all, however, if the two come into conflict the foremost will prevail”. This type of thinking is a sure-fire way of creating regions of despair, punishing those that try and rewarding those that do not leads to everyone opting for “do not”. Our huge strength is our ability to be pragmatic, “what works”. It will take many years to undo the waste and failure of Labour policy, a policy that directly translates into the waste and failure of peoples potential. We must make turning this around our highest priority.

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