April 10, 2010
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When they were young, many of today’s Labour ministers were Marxists, who accused an older and wiser generation of leaders of selling out. Yet by the time they arrived in office they had, as so often happens, flipped from one version of extremism to another. They went from wanting to abolish financial capitalism to wanting to venerate financial capitalism, without once stopping on the sensible middle ground of wanting to regulate it. Ed Ball said this week, “We should in retrospect have been tougher on some of the investment banks who didn’t know what risks they were taking, regulation should have been tougher and it will be under a future Labour government.” Really! This from the would be Chancellor of the Exchequer who no doubt made a significant contribution to New Labour’s fiscal policies and the speeches of Brown. Particularly the one where Brown gushed to a meeting of Read more of this post
April 9, 2010
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It isn’t lack of opportunity that keeps people poor. A welfare mother in Central Harlem is not poor for the same reasons that a subsistence corn farmer in Mexico is poor. That’s just one of the many self-evident conclusions to emerge from an antipoverty program begun by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2007. This initiative, Opportunity NYC–Family Rewards, bestows cash rewards on (for the most part) single parents and their children if they act responsibly—by attending school, for example, or by working. The program was based on Oportunidades, a Mexican initiative. Bloomberg’s version of Oportunidades officially pretended that New York’s underclass faced similar tragic choices, that the poor failed to “plan for the future” because they were “so focused on surviving”.
Oportunidades tried to change the perceived zero-sum relationship between self-improvement and present income by paying Mexican Read more of this post
April 8, 2010
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Next time you visit your GP (if you still have one) pick up a copy of the BMA leaflet warning of the commercialisation of the NHS. On Wednesday, The Guardian published a leading article with the title “Tory adviser’s firm stands to benefit from cuts”. This relates to the fact that Sir Peter Gershon who is acting as an adviser to the Conservatives on ‘efficiency savings’ is also now non-executive Chairman of General Healthcare Group Ltd. This is the same ‘Peter Gershon’ who was appointed to a similar advisory role on joining the Civil Service in April 2000 as the first Chief Executive of the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) with a remit to lead a major change programme to reform the way UK Central Civil Government handles over £13 billion p.a. of public procurement.
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