Author Archive | Portrushian

Goldsmith’s Gamble Fails

A penny for Zac Goldsmith’s thoughts today! The now former MP for Richmond Park in Southwest London, resigned from his seat and from the Conservative Party to force a by-election in the constituency, to show his opposition to the Government’s plan to expand Heathrow. In the by-election held yesterday, Goldsmith was beaten by Lib Dem Sarah more…

Westminster parliament

IDS Drives a Dagger in to the Heart of Deficit Reduction

So what to make of the resignation of Iain Duncan Smith? The former work and pensions secretary resigned on Friday evening, ostensibly as a result of the fall-out from this week’s budget, most notably the proposed reduction in personal independence payments (PIPs). Set against a further cut in corporation tax to 17% (a penny for more…

Dungiven Sports Pavilion Development Rejected Again. But Why?

On Wednesday of last week, Causeway Coast and Glens (CCAG) council again rejected plans to build a £2.8M leisure facility in Dungiven, Co. Derry.  The majority unionist council voted 20-17 against the building of the facility on the basis that there was a funding shortfall.  On the face of it this would seem to be more…

The ‘Investigating Links in Achievement and Deprivation (Iliad)’ report

The Belfast Telegraph today published a piece about the ‘Investigating Links in Achievement and Deprivation (Iliad)’ report that has been written by a number of academics from both Queen’s University, Belfast, and St Mary’s University College, Belfast.  The report hasn’t been published, but it has been leaked to the BBC. The authors studied educational experiences in three more…

Labour Difficulty, Tory Opportunity?

Mick posted a great piece today that referred in detail to a column that the Guardian’s Zoe Williams wrote. Williams argues that Labour’s current travails will be good for the party in the long run as over time the party’s future direction will begin to formulate. It’s a similar argument put forward by Dan Hodges more…

It’s the Constitution, Stupid!

Well last night was a pretty sobering night for George Osborne.  The bill setting out the reduction in the income threshold at which tax credits can be claimed was dealt a serious blow in the House of Lords this evening.  The Government was defeated on two votes; one to pause introduction until an independent study more…

Could the Tax Credit Cuts be this Government’s Poll Tax?

It’s going to be interesting to see how the impending cuts to tax credits impact on the Tories. David Davis has raised concerns that this may well be this government’s poll tax, in reference to the damage done to the Thatcher Government following its introduction in 1989. On Andrew Marr’s Sunday morning show, David Cameron more…

A Graduated Response?

I’ve just listened to Liam Clarke and David McCann discuss today’s developments at Stormont on BBC Evening Extra (34 mins in), and Clarke makes a good point that the DUP have played their hand pretty well over the last few days. Over the weekend it was announced that Theresa Villiers might ask David Cameron to more…

Mike Nesbitt

The Games Politicians Play

Not long after the murder of Kevin McGuigan and even before the PSNI’s assessment of who was involved had been announced, I remember thinking to myself that this was the excuse Peter Robinson now needed to jump ship. With the NAMA scandal whirling around him, failure to implement the Stormont House Agreement and ever-more questions more…

Jeremy Corbyn

Ideological Purity: Electoral Irrelevance?

This week, both Helen Lewis of The New Statesman, and Rafael Behr of the Guardian, have written very insightful pieces about the current debate raging within the Labour party about the ideological stance and policy positions of each of the candidates in the leadership contest, and the future direction of the party more generally. Essentially more…

education

niedcamp: Teachers Taking the Initiative

It is now widely accepted that reform of public services must continue over the coming years as both central and local government try to offer the same level of service with less money to spend. As a result we can expect further decentralisation, eradication or contracting out of some back-office functions and ever-closer relationships with more…

Has George Osborne Already Begun Fighting the Next Election?

So Ed wasn’t so red after all. George Osborne’s budget yesterday contained at least six promises that Labour set out in their manifesto for the May elections, including further taxes on the banks, the increasing the NMW (I refuse to call it the national living wage) and (not quite) abolishing non-dom status. Indeed, poor Andy more…