Week of Mar 13 – Mar 19

Looking at the news and opinion out of London each day.

3-19-12

David Cameron unveils plan to sell off the roads

Sovereign wealth funds to be allowed to lease motorways in England, says prime minister

Four conclusions about Cameron’s 48 hours in Washington

Political boost for Cameron: Remember all that talk that Barack Obama and David Cameron wouldn’t get on? It seems a long, long time ago.

Infrastricture

David Cameron is making a speech today about “infrastructure”. When Downing Street put out an operational note about this yesterday, I had a Star Wars moment: “a bad feeling about this”.

How did a Conservative Chancellor deliver 7% growth after the 1930s Depression?

As George Osborne and his Treasury team finalise the Budget, their ears ringing with the appeals of all and sundry about what to do, they could do worse than consider the last time that Britain was caught up in a global financial crisis, when we led the world to recovery: the 1930s.

3-18-12

Osborne has nothing to learn from America

When the US economy springs to life, it will be because of the Americans’ entrepreneurial spirit.

George Osborne is about to make a tremendous political gamble

If cutting the top rate of tax is not to be seen as a budget for the rich, the affluent will have to pay in other ways

The Coalition’s battle over tax cuts hots up

The prospect of tax changes in next week’s Budget is causing frantic manoeuvring within the Coalition.

Britain needs a Budget for growth and enterprise

The controversial 50p tax rate on those earning more than £150,000 should be scrapped.

3-17-12

Ed Balls: working for Gordon Brown was ‘debilitating’

Ed Balls, the Shadow Chancellor, has delivered his most strident critique yet of Gordon Brown’s leadership, declaring that his former boss will never be remembered as a great prime minister.

Ever wondered how George Osborne can be a part-time Chancellor?

It’s all down to Rupert Harrison, the most powerful man you’ve never heard of…

Who is right on the NHS? You decide

Shirley Willams accused Polly Toynbee of lying. Toynbee said Williams copped out. Now, at the NHS bill’s 11th hour, they take each other on

3-16-12

Budget 2012: George Osborne’s task has barely started

Of the Chancellor’s planned spending cuts, only one pound in twenty has been implemented, writes Andrew Haldenby.

London, the most grotesque city in the world: haunt of Bashar, Boris and Ken

Even Dr Johnson would tire of modern London, where bigwigs welcome global scumbags and nobody else matters

I oppose the bill, but don’t idealise the NHS. There’s room to improve

My family is from one of the parts of the country that is, statistically, less well-served by the health service. I’m not bitter, but the NHS did not save my father’s life

3-15-12

Sorry, gentlemen, but you’re no Roosevelt and Churchill

Britain and America are betraying the values both countries fought for in the past.

What these best buddies can learn from each other

The Prime Minister and President have a bond that works both ways — though Iran and Israel may test it.

The poor: always with us, necessarily not us

The poor are just people without enough money. But a ‘culture of poverty’ gives the affluent a reason to blame them for it.

Let’s decide what we actually want from the bankers

The revelations of life at Goldman’s reflect the reality of high finance — where a quick buck comes before clients.

3-14-12

Older workers hit as unemployment rises to 2.67m

Older workers accounted for the biggest rise in unemployment with almost half out of work for a year of more, official figures showed as joblessness rose to 2.67m.

Just a phase? No, the student protests over fees are worthy of respect

Today’s protests will be looked down upon by some parts of the media, but they are both justified and necessary

Lame duck frontrunner Mitt Romney is fast becoming the Republican Walter Mondale

This might be the Romney campaign’s darkest hour: last night he placed third in primaries in Alabama and Mississippi. It’s still 99 percent likely that he’ll be the Republican nominee, but it’ll be thanks to luck and money rather than the love of his party.

Why I Am Leaving Goldman Sachs: one banker’s explosive letter

What do you make of Greg Smith’s letter of resignation, and the questions about ethical responsibilities it raises for employees?

3-13-12

What Europe thinks

Who thinks what about the European Union? We’ve covered the European Commission’s own polling on the matter before now, which suggests that Britain is the most Eurosceptic nation of them all.

The Lib Dems want higher taxes? Very well. The Tories should make sure everyone knows

For days – weeks even – the headlines have been dominated by Lib Dems talking about tax. Specifically, about wanting to put taxes up. Nick Clegg used his Saturday interview with the Telegraph to talk about a ‘tycoon tax’, while Vince Cable carried on his argument for a shift of tax from income to wealth to focus specifically on mansions.

Labour is losing the economic battle, so it’s turning to crime

No one’s listening to the two Eds – but could law and order policy give them a new audience?

Labour’s pre-Budget speech: what would Tony Blair do?

Tony Blair would have taken precisely the opposite tack to Ed Miliband over taxation, argues Ruth Porter.

Unless Cameron controls the narrative his Government’s radical reforms will be swamped

Wherever I find myself, there is a recurrent conversational theme. “You’re supposed to know about David Cameron. So tell us; who is he? What, if anything, does he believe in? Is he a proper Tory?”. Of late, however, there has been a new preoccupation.

Last week’s Across The Pond

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