Discussion of the UK Government

When will he resign?

Sunday (today)
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Monday (tomorrow)
By new puritan
Membership Days Posts
Michael White's takedown of Fox is worth a read. Fox is almost certainly arrogant enough to think he has a chance of replacing Cameron as Tory leader, despite being absolutely discredited to everyone except for a few desperate hard-right headbangers on the backbenches.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2012 ... hael-white" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
What makes Fox's intervention interesting – it's enough to stimulate an FT frontpage on a slow news day in Fleet St – is two-fold.

Firstly, it signals a return to active politics after his undignified resignation as defence secretary, which means David Cameron has another problem to worry about on his right flank: a vain former rival who clearly thinks he has the makings of the post-Cameron party leader.

I rate his chances only slightly higher than my own. Fox has always had a high opinion of his own intelligence and political capacity than would appear justified by the "contextual data" (I have adopted Professor Les Ebdon's phrase for my own purposes). In his defence cuts he left us with no aircraft carrier (which puts today's loose talk about bombing Somali pirates in its place) and no suitable planes to fly from them when/if we do get a new one.

As shadow health secretary, Dr Fox's "passport" scheme for patients to carry NHS cash into the private sector so frightened Cameroon Tories who wanted to win the coming election that Andrew Lansley was installed in the job as a "safe pair of hands". It's as scary as that.

So, secondly, there is the substance of his attack. What's Fox up to? It isn't all daft, the timing isn't great but he isn't all wrong either. He's right to highlight Britain's poor export-orientated performance despite a 25% devaluation of sterling against the euro, far feebler in Asia than countries Fox says "we deride" (speak for yourself, matey) such as Ireland, Spain or even Greece. He's also entitled to fret about UK inflation – it's almost a sexual fetish on the Tory right, you catch it when he writes of "the debauchery of our currency". Oooh, get him! Deflation also lurks: we're none of us sure quite what's going on.

I don't see much holding back exporters except, well, exporters who get less appreciation than they deserve from the rest of us.

But, as with my sore throat and headache, it's Fox's remedies that are scary. Britain's AAA rating (touch wood) has brought us time, he argues; time that should be used to further cut back state activity which has grown (mainly thanks to the banking bust Liam) and to use the proceeds of further cuts (he bravely does not specify where) to reduce employers national insurance contributions (Nics), hopefully to boost employment, especially among the young.

That's OK, too, though worse than useless as advice since it doesn't provide Osborne with a roadmap, only a "Hey, look at me" wave.
By new puritan
Membership Days Posts
There's another good post from some Smith Institute geezer debunking Fox's bullshit over at the New Statesman.

http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/the-s ... nt-minimum" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Just what should be done about unemployment, and in particular, youth unemployment? The right of the Conservative Party, most recently exemplified by Liam Fox's list of demands for the 2012 Budget, have a very simply answer: deregulate the labour market. And even commentators claiming to be on the left (George Eaton in the New Statesman) have suggested that the youth minimum wage should be frozen if the Low Pay Commission concludes that this would reduce youth unemployment.

What is most surprising perhaps is that these arguments should gain such currency at a time when the market fundamentalist model from which they draw inspiration has manifestly failed. The demand for light touch regulation of financial services (and indeed all markets) is what got us into this mess in the first place. The level of hypocrisy is staggering: senior executives must have access to undeserved colossal bonuses and salaries (because that's how the global market works apparently), but the most vulnerable in the labour market must see their wages cut and employment protection weakened.

The Tory right and their unwitting supporters on the left are essentially making zombie arguments. They have been defeated by evidence and experience but refuse to lie down and die. To begin with, the UK has one of the most lightly regulated labour markets of any major economy in the developed world. Only the USA has less protection for workers. Indeed, on almost every regulatory indicator that one could imagine, the UK emerges as a "liberal" economy. Despite the endless whining from the CBI and the small business lobby there is really very red tape left to cut. Of course, businesses -- and the Conservative Party -- always prefer less to more regulation. That is their ideological default setting. But the UK has now reached the point where another assault on employment rights or health and safety legislation will begin to remove necessary protections. David Cameron's own review, supervised by the Swedish academic Ragnar Lofstedt, concluded that there was no case for radically altering or stripping back current health and safety regulations, which he described as "fit for purpose". He also failed to find that EU regulations were in any sense gold-plated when transposed into UK law.
By Tubby Isaacs
Membership Days Posts
No mention of Liam Fox here, but he must be pretty implicated:

http://www.channel4.com/news/u-turn-on- ... -programme" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
The prime minister has given Defence Secretary Phillip Hammond the green light to revert to the previous Labour administration's plans to buy the conventional jump-jet version of the F35 Joint Strike Fighter.

Their decision marks an about-turn in what had been a central plank of the coalition government's defence strategy. The government had announced in the defence review of 2010, that it would buy the F35 Joint Striker Fighter carrier version, rather than the jump-jet version.

The decision was keenly backed by Mr Cameron as it would have allowed Britain to operate more closely with France and the United States.
Supposedly £250m spunked on changing policy and changing it back.

Lot of public sector jobs you could save with that money, Foxy.
By Tubby Isaacs
Membership Days Posts
Foxy's back on the radar.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstop ... other.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
public records show that 27 MPs have now declared they are letting properties in London. The same MPs are also claiming rent from the taxpayer for properties in the capital.
The documents show that Dr Fox began claiming £1,971 a month in rent at the beginning of this year, shortly after letting his south London flat. Mr Fox does not rent from or let to another MP.
Even Grayling knocked this on the head after the furore last time. Shame to see Chris Bryant on there. Wonder if he'll get moved back to the backbenches? Fox is hopefully dead even as a stalking horse.
By satnav
Membership Days Posts
Anybody could go around carrying business cards claiming to be a ministerial adviser, the reason most people thought that Werrity was an adviser to Fox was because the two of them went everywhere together and because Werrity was allowed to attend meetings that he could only have attended if he was a minister, a civil servant or a special adviser. He seems to have avoided fraud charges mainly because it couldn't be proven that he had gained financially from his deception.
By new puritan
Membership Days Posts
Hilarious comments from Fox on boundary changes.
Former Tory Defence Secretary Liam Fox branded Lib Dem MPs “deeply dishonourable” for rowing back on an earlier pledge to back the plan which would also slash the number of MPs from 650 to 600.

He added: “Who will trust them again?”
http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/ne ... eview.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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