Monthly Archives: April 2012
As we rapidly approach May 3rd, polling day for local elections up and down the country, the closely anticipated and much scrutinized London Mayoral Election begins to dominate more and more of the nation’s media coverage. Given its presence as the central focus of campaigning for all of the major parties, and also some of the minor ones, during this round of voting, the press has clamored to attach as much meaning and substance to it as possible, apparently bestowing upon it the status of unofficial comment on the success of the coalition government’s first term up to this point. But in such circumstances it is important to ask, how significant is this election with regards to public opinion on the government’s performance? Read the rest of this entry
At the Salle Equinox in Paris last night, supporters and activists of Marine Le Pen danced the night away to 1980s pop music. On the playlist was, reportedly, Lionel Ritchie’s hit ‘All Night Long’. All night Front National activists might well have continued. With around 18% of the vote (18.05% Le Point/17.9% Le Figaro), Mme Le Pen has produced the shock result of the first-round in the French presidential elections, surpassing even her father’s record from 2002 in which he gained some 16.86% of the vote.
In last year’s budget, George Osborne offered a cut in inheritance tax if people donated to charitable causes, a move aimed at stimulating the floundering idea of the Big Society; the move meant if you qualify to pay inheritance tax but you give 10% of your estate to charity, the rate of that tax is reduced from 40% to 36%.
Fast-forward a year to Osborne’s 2012 budget, in which it was announced that tax relief on charitable donations will be capped at 25% of one’s income or £50,000, whichever is higher. How are the two policies consistent? One encourages charitable donations with the promise of a reduced inheritance tax bill whilst the other is specifically aimed at warning individuals that such donations should not allow them to avoid paying tax. In keeping with most of the government’s fiscal measures, it’s a mess. Read the rest of this entry
Ed Miliband this morning made a bold intervention over funding for political parties, claiming that donations should be capped at £5,000 – a figure that is one tenth of the cap of £50,000 that David Cameron has previously put forward. The really headline-grabbing move though, is that Miliband signalled that trade unions will also be subjected to this cap, a move that he claims could deprive the Labour party of millions of pounds. Read the rest of this entry
The ungainly scramble of Labour MPs past and present to the new outposts of political power offered by city mayors and police commissioners, has impressed very few onlookers of late. This rush for influence is crucial to the party’s future prospects, but Labour must go much further. Bradford West was a one-off result in many ways, but the significance of defeat there has not escaped Ed Miliband. Not just Labour, but all the major political parties have lost a great deal of support in recent years. Read the rest of this entry