Week of Aug 21 – 28

Across the Pond by Steve Parkhurst

By Steve Parkhurst, Senior Editor,  USDR.

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


Be careful what you wish for, there’s a spin-off

A second vote on Britain’s membership of the EU would justify another referendum being held on  independence

Don’t make Boris Johnson leader by ripping up the party rule book, William Hague warns Tories

The Conservatives should not change the rules to make it easier to elect Boris Johnson because it could damage the party in the long term, William Hague has  warned.

The UK Treasury makes a mistake and helps an industry grow

The 2016 budget is famous for the damage it did to the residential property market and buy to let homes for renting. Its high Stamp Duties and withdrawal of interest relief had the predictable effect of cutting transactions and investment, and reducing tax income as well. The 2017 budget did something similar to the car  market.

The schisms exposed by Brexit will not be healed when Britain leaves the EU. That will be just the start of the  revolution


Identity politics. It becomes impossible to avoid giving offence, because the offended keep changing the rules.

In an atmosphere when anyone can close down the conversation by saying “I feel uncomfortable”, rational discussion becomes  impossible.


Jeremy Corbyn’s plans for the BBC reveal his warped view of social mobility

There are better ways to create opportunities for working-class  people

The government taxed more than it spent in July

This week the latest figures for UK borrowing showed that in July the UK government collected £2bn more in tax than it spent. As predicted here, the four month figures for the year to date also showed continued outperformance of the borrowing target, with borrowing so far in 2018-19 £8.5bn below budget. The favourable outcome was entirely down to a further surge in tax revenues as the government continues with its budget strategy based on big boosts to tax revenue. Tax receipts were up by 6.6% in  July.


Deal or no deal: a decision on who’s in charge of the Tory party will soon be a pressing need

There was a time when Conservative Cabinet ministers flocked to Scotland every August. On the evidence of the last few days it’s clear that they’re still doing so, even if their reasons are vastly  different.

Corbyn’s plans to ‘save’ the press show the true scale of his terrifying ambitions

Nye Bevan famously declared that the purpose of acquiring power is to give it away, but Jeremy Corbyn is of a different persuasion. To him, the purpose of winning power is to then acquire a lot more of it. Power over the railways, which he’d nationalise. Power over the water, electricity and gas companies, which he’d either take over or regulate within an inch of their lives. And today, he unveiled his latest plan: power over the  media.


We’re signing away our personality, as well as our privacy

Farewell, then, to the handwritten signature. Cheques have fallen from fashion, couriers require barely a squiggle on their devices when you accept a delivery, and now the Law Commission has decided that electronic signatures – which can simply entail typing your name or clicking “I accept” on a website – can be treated as equivalent to written ones for certain types of contract. We’re still required to sign the back of bank cards, but with people now increasingly paying with their smartphones, even that will presumably soon look  old-fashioned.

Let’s make Brexit bold, inspiring and green – not timid and apologetic

These months of change have electrifying potential for renewal and reform. Such opportunities are  precious.

After the no-deal Brexit horror show – what if there is a deal after all?

Just suppose – an outlandish thought I know – that Theresa May came back from Brussels with an  agreement


The state of Greece shows us why it is crucial to chuck the Chequers deal

So it is “Cabin crew, doors to manual” and, as you settle back and prepare to hand over €20 for an easyMeal, you may be reflecting on that delightful week you just had in the Med – the bustling marinas, the crowded restaurants – and you may conceivably have been persuaded by all those UK cheerleaders for the EU that the euro crisis is indeed at an  end.

Schools must be allowed to crack down on mobile phones

An analysis of 50 schools by this newspaper has found that they are increasingly cracking down when it comes to the use of mobile phones by  pupils.
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Across The Pond is edited daily by Steve Parkhurst. Steve is a political consultant, a writer at his blog as well as a Senior Editor here at US Daily Review. Follow Steve on Twitter  @SteveParkhurst

All opinions expressed on USDR are those of the author and not necessarily those of US Daily Review.