By Steve Parkhurst, Senior Editor, USDR.
Looking at the news and opinion out of London each day.
It is good that Matthew Parris has taken on Boris. The Mayor has had too easy a press in many quarters. There is a good reason for this: he is one of us. There is a bit of the Bullingdon in Fleet Street: we are often too disinclined to attack our own.
I have done many debates and briefings for the business community in recent weeks. They all have some things in common. There is a strong wish to learn, as many in the business community have been starved of honest accounts of what powers the EU has and what policies it is following. There is an ignorance of the Leave campaign, as the media crowds out our positive message by endless aggressive interviews asking us to rebut the latest absurdity of project fear, or they seek to turn the whole thing into a Tory split story. The business community and many others are getting fed up with this silly treatment of a big national issue.
I have spent all my energies setting out how we will be freer, more democratic and better off out of the EU. I want a policy of prosperity, not austerity. I want us to take back control of our laws. I want us to spend our money on our priorities.
The upcoming EU referendum has proved to be a divisive issue for families as well as politicians. With Boris Johnson the lone Out-er among his siblings, another famous family are now to take different sides in the great debate.
The power of the mob can overwhelm the power of authority – but the power of conscience is greater still.
Yesterday there was a debate on the UK’s report of its public finances to the EU. Under the EU Treaties the UK has to submit its budgets to the EU, and they examine and comment on our economic management. Under the Treaty the UK is meant to keep its deficit to less than 3% of GDP. The figures sent in this year show the UK hitting that target for the first time since the crisis in 2008-9
The Mayor of London refused, in his encounter with Tyrie’s committee, to be dull, prudent and strictly factual.
The latest iteration has good bits, some bad bits – and nothing substantial to boost ownership of the Party by its members.
But we must only consider them at the right time, and only when we know some facts, not as a tasteless kneejerk.
The notion of long years of post-career idleness is an artefact of a clumsy system. We are living and active for longer, and provision for our dotage must adapt.
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