A) Editorials

From December 2023, new editorials will not be posted here. They are available, along with other articles, at the new site.

November 2022 Editorial 1: The Budget Statement Was Not Unfunded

Kwarteng’s fiscal statement was unusual. Kwarteng understood that national debt would increase but seemed unbothered by that fact. When questioned about this, Kwarteng dismissed it as an issue of little consequence. Effectively Kwarteng was dismissing the previous 12 years pre-occupation with the size of the national debt. It was politically naive to do this without realising the political forces that he was taking on. The high-priests of the national debt, the Bank of England, Office of Budget Responsibility and the Institute for Fiscal Studies, made clear their outrage.

November 2022 Editorial 2: An Unconvincing Labour Party

Labour are prepared to talk in generalities about creating a society where those who work hard will succeed but when pressed for policy details they become uncomfortable.  A primary preoccupation with Labour is appearing fiscally responsible and being concerned with the size of the national debt.  

This creates a major logical problem for Labour since any policy that they commit to will result in an increase in the size of the national debt.  All government spending automatically increases the size of the national debt.  That debt can only be reduced by taxation.  But Labour does not want to be seen as the party of higher taxes.  And so they are constantly limited in what they will be able to achieve.

October 2022: Editorial: Animal Spirits, Taxing and Borrowing 

Written before Kwasi Kwarteng was sacked, it explains the damage his policies are doing.
Kwarteng will also remove those regulations that he feels are restraining the animal spirits of the private sector. Incentivised by lower taxes and less regulation, the UK private sector, according to Kwarteng, will resolve the problem of low growth that has bedevilled the UK economy for the last 15 years.
This remains a Tory belief. Many want a milder version of the same, ignoring what actually needs to be done.

September 2022: Editorial 1: Gas Must Be Rationed—But Not By Price

Using price to bring supply and demand into equilibrium always favours those with money since they can afford to pay the higher prices. They simply save a little less than they used to. However in the case of gas, and indeed energy in general, there is a problem. Gas is a product that people need to cook and keep themselves warm. If the price of gas increases to levels that mean that large numbers of families cannot afford to cook and keep themselves warm, there will be social unrest.

September 2022: Editorial 2: Freezing for Zelensky

Johnson has in effect admitted that NATO/EU sanctions against Russia are hurting Britain without presenting evidence that they are hurting Russia in any significant way. Russia is comfortably able to meet its budget targets with discounted sales of oil and gas to non sanctioning countries and has benefited mightily from increased energy prices on the world market. There is thus no good reason to prolong these sanctions apart from a desperate hope that in the long term they will damage the Russian economy.

July / August 2022: Editorial 1: The Fall of Johnson and the Energy Crunch

Why the political parties don’t want to tell the truth
Foreign and domestic policy are often related. Countries seek mutual benefit through trade and take measures to protect their own trading routes. They make long term arrangements for mutual exchange of products and services. In the contemporary world, the manufacture of a particular product often involves complex movements of components between different countries. Raw materials need to be sourced through trade with other countries. The countries of Western Europe are not self-sufficient. They need, in particular, to trade with Russia to access energy, food, fertiliser and various minerals. Europe’s prosperity and security, and ours, depend on our ability to reliably access these resources. There is no good reason, from the point of view of national self-interest, why we should not come to an arrangement with Russia to mutually assure our security concerns and to develop long term trading and cultural relationships.

Unfortunately, our relationship with Russia is not determined through our interests but through the perceived interest of the United States in eliminating Russia as a significant world power.

July / August Editorial 2: The making and breaking of Boris Johnson

In many ways we have Jeremy Corbyn to thank for Boris Johnson. For, without the 2017 general election result –  which came within a whisker of bringing a left radical to no. 10 – the British body politic would not have experienced two things: Firstly, it wouldn’t have led the mandarins of the Conservative Party to agree to the election of someone like Johnson as leader; and secondly, the world would still be ignorant of the existence of wholesale anti-semitism in the Labour Party under Corbyn’s leadership. The arrival of these two things are interlinked and represented the response of the British establishment to the threat it perceived from Corbyn as a result of the outcome of the 2017 general election.

The mandarins of the Conservative Party would not in a month of Sundays have taken the risk of electing Johnson to the leadership of the party if they hadn’t felt that the Party and the country needed an unorthodox and non-typical politician to lead it at that time. It was not the perceived need to “get Brexit done” that made Johnson leader – that work could have been done by a number of other individuals more in the orthodox Conservative mould. But such individuals lacked what it took to also take on the wave of support that the unorthodox Corbyn was generating among not only Labour voters but among the general electorate.

June 2022: Let’s Avoid a 1970s Rerun.

The TUC have called for a large demonstration in London on June 18th in the face of the cost of living crisis.  “Working people have had enough. Everything’s going up but our wages. Join the trade union movement in London to tell this government: we DEMAND better!” reads the TUC blurb.  They are right and a massive march on that day would be most welcome.
But ‘We Demand Better’ is somewhat vague.  Does it mean that workers should receive wage increases that match inflation so that there is no reduction in their standard of living?  It’s an important question.  The situation today has many similarities with the situation in the 1970s. 

May 2022: Editorial: Insulation Rebellion
Britain has just begun to face what will prove to be a long drawn-out cost of living crisis. In part this is caused by labour and supply chain shortages resulting from the Covid pandemic, but a more fundamental issue is the cost of energy, aggravated by the unwillingness of energy companies to enter long-term contracts for oil and gas with suppliers such as Russia. It is highly likely that supply problems will lead to a second lifting of the cap on energy prices in October that will cause around 40% of UK households to suffer from ‘fuel poverty’ in the last quarter of 2022. In England this means that they will spend more than the median household income on fuel and their residual income will take them below the poverty line. In the rest of the UK it means that families spend more than 10% of their income on fuel. This will be a catastrophe for around 11million households in the UK. This is a country that is one of the most prosperous in the world in terms of per capita GDP yet it is happy to allow nearly half of its households to freeze. There could scarcely be a more damning indictment of the Tories after 12 years in power. It would not be alarmist to predict civil unrest in Britain in the depths of the winter of 2022-3. In 1978-9 some people may recall, the Labour government of Jim Callaghan was fatally wounded by a ‘winter of discontent’. The same fate may well befall the Tories. 
At the same time, we are being told that global warming mandates much greater energy efficiency and in particular more energy efficient housing. The Tories already have one botched insulation scheme behind them. Labour are proposing a decade long programme of retrofitting of homes and large expenditure to back it up.

April 2022: Editorial 1: Making Sense of the Ukraine Conflict
The British government and its media outlets would have us believe that the hostilities that began on the 24th February were an unprovoked aggression.
The reality is different. The Ukrainian army concentrated on the borders of the rebel Donetsk and Lugansk republics with a view to overrunning them after 8 years of conflict which have seen the death of some 13,000 civilians in these republics.

Editorial 2: Rishi Sunak’s Financial Statement
Because of the current high rate of inflation the government will be receiving more in taxes than was previously expected. This unexpected extra revenue could, within Sunak’s economic framework, allow the government to engage in some extra spending without increasing the fiscal deficit. Sunak could use it to subsidise energy costs. But Sunak has decided not to spend the windfall so that the government will be in a good financial position to deal with the next crisis.
This was written before the revelations about his wife’s tax, and him seeming to think of abandoning Britain and living in the USA instead.

March 2022: Editorial 1, Putin’s Dilemma:
America was determined to stop Nord Stream 2.  But for different reasons than most people think.  It had to be stopped because, the fact that Europe could develop a functional commercial relationship with Russia, implied that Europe no longer saw Russia as an existential threat.
Written before the war started. But explaining it.

Editorial 2: The New Liberal Party:
Keir Starmer is effectively turning the Labour Party into a kind of Liberal party with a commitment to free enterprise and a small state.

February 2022: Editorial 1: The Strange Death of Labour England
The need for Policies—Editorial 2

December 2021 Editorial: Sunak’s Agenda is Labour’s Opportunity.
The party which wins the next general election will be the party which presents to the electorate, in the clearest and most convincing way, a view of the role of the state in the society.

November 2021: Editorial 1. Labour Must Exploit Tory Divisions
The most important political battle in British politics is currently taking place in the Conservative party. The leaders of the two opposing views are Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak.
Editorial 2: The value of an effective opposition.
The period of Corbyn’s leadership shows is that even in opposition the Labour Party continued to influence the behaviour of the party in Government.
The Tory shift to Big Government was his success.

October 2021: Editorial 1. The Levellers
The next general election will be a battle between the levellers – with both political parties claiming they will be the most successful at levelling up British society. In which case, Starmer’s strategy of fiscal rectitude will most likely result in failure.
Editorial 2: Starmer, Sunak’s Unwitting Ally
What happened inside the Tory Party between 2017 and 2019 was just as dramatic as what happened within Labour but, such is the blindness of the membership and the arrogance of its leadership that its significance remains unlearned. 
Aside from all the continuing issues surrounding Corbyn and suspensions/expulsions over anti-semitism as well as identity politics, the central issue is that the period between 2017 and 2019 showed the influence that the Labour Party, as an opposition party, continued to have over the governing party. 

September 2021: Editorial. Ditch Blair’s legacy
Starmer became leader of the Labour Party in May 2020 on the basis of a 10 point program that Jeremy Corbyn would have had little problem supporting.  Since becoming leader he has had little to say about his 10 point program and has, instead, concentrated his energy on attacking the left wing of the Labour Party, often by using false charges of anti-Semitism.

July / August 2021. Editorial 1: The Cornwall G7 Conference
The G7 conference in Cornwall ended on 13th June.  The main purpose of the conference was to re-establish the US as the leader of the largest capitalist economies – US, Canada, Japan, UK, Germany, France and Italy. 
Editorial 2: Batley & Spen By-Election
Labour has held on to the Batley & Spen parliamentary constituency with the slenderest of majorities.  Labour got 13,296 votes while the Conservatives got 12,973 votes, giving Labour a 323 majority.

June 2021: Editorial 1: Labour’s Road Back.
Labour need not promise the earth. In any case voters will not believe them if they do. They need to set out some carefully considered priorities for localities that can be implemented fairly quickly.
Editorial 2; Hartlepool – Labour’s False Narrative.
Labour almost won the 2017 general election on the basis of a radical policy manifesto and a commitment to implementing the 2016 referendum result. Labour suffered its biggest loss of seats in decades in the 2019 general election on the basis of a radical policy manifesto and a commitment to attempting to stop Brexit by holding a second referendum.

May 2021 Editorial: The Labour Party and Metropolitan Mayors.
If residents are not convinced that you have a practical plan for improving their lives then, no matter what money you promise them, they will not take you seriously.

April 2021 Editorial: National Debt is an Irrelevant Statistic.
If an individual wants to spend more than they earn, they must borrow from a third party. But it’s not the same for the UK government. Because it is a currency-creating state, the UK government does not have to borrow money to finance expenditure. That is the critical difference between the economics of a household and the economics of the UK government.

March 2021 Editorial: Budget Battle Lines.
The next UK budget is on 3rd March.  We don’t know what position Sunak will take on the hugely increased fiscal deficit.  Will he return to austerity policies quickly or defer for a year?  Certainly the Labour Party response to Sunak’s budget will be an opportunity to clearly separate Labour from the Conservatives. 

February 2021 Editorial: Reclaim the State.
Starmer needs to reclaim the role of the UK state when the private sector fails.  The private sector certainly failed to revive the ‘red wall’ constituencies after Thatcher destroyed the coal industry in the mid to late 1980s.  The UK state should have stepped in to fill the gap.  When Blair won his landslide in 1997, he could have reclaimed the role of the UK state to revitalize these destroyed communities.  Instead, Blair bought into the Thatcher vision that the private sector knows best.  The result of Blair’s impoverished vision was impoverished communities and Brexit.

December 2020 Editorial: Starmer to Purge the Labour Party?
Sir Keir Starmer, asserting an unprecedented prerogative as Leader of the Labour Party, overrode a decision of the National Executive in the matter of Jeremy Corbyn’s membership of the Party.

Corbyn was suspended from the Party for expressing the opinion that the problem of Anti-Semitism in the Party had been wildly exaggerated by the media. A public opinion survey showed that there was a widespread opinion that thirty per cent of the Party members were being investigated on suspicion of being Anti-Semitic. What the independent Report showed was that 0.3% were being investigated. The Party Secretary suspended him within hours of his making that comment. It is only realistic to suppose that he did not act other than as Sir Keir’s instrument. Starmer had already said that people like Corbyn should be let nowhere near the Labour Party.

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