Posts Tagged ‘Nick Palmer’

Nick Palmer wants to avoid the traps on animal cruelty

27/08/2010, 09:08:36 AM

One of the traps for the new Labour leadership is the notion that politics in Britain today is entirely about deficit reduction. How to do it? How fast? How much? Yes, we need to have an intelligent and balanced response to the Tory-Lib Dem government’s cuts frenzy, but Labour victories have always been based not just on good management but on policies to make our society better.

One element of the 1997 victory was the separate New Life for Animals manifesto, which set out a long list of ways that Labour would make Britain more compassionate. The best-known reform was of course the hunting ban, but arguably the animal welfare act 2006 will change the life of animals in Britain more deeply, because it makes it possible for future government to introduce easily-passed secondary legislation on everything from circus animals to pet markets. It was the first comprehensive animal welfare legislation for 96 years.


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Ken Clarke’s not wrong on prisons; he just doesn’t mean it, says Nick Palmer

06/07/2010, 09:00:12 AM

The response to Ken Clarke’s recent speech has been bemusement all round, and no doubt the old stager likes it that way.

The right has always argued for locking more people up, led by the tabloids and urged on by David Cameron and others during the campaign. How pathetic that Labour only added 20,000 prison places in 13 years. How disgraceful that we were letting some prisoners out early because of overcrowding. Why not use prison ships? Army camps? Offshore islands?

Meanwhile, the left has long been uncomfortable with Labour’s record on this. How disgusting that we were pandering to the Daily Mail. How appalling that we had the highest imprisonment rate in Europe. Why weren’t we rehabilitating prisoners instead of having them fester in jails? (more…)

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As the Tories go to war on the public sector, Nick Palmer asks where does Labour stand?

23/06/2010, 12:05:44 PM

As covering fire for its cuts, the coalition is deliberately whipping up division between public and private sector workers (and between both of these and people on benefits). The Mail and the Express are leading the charge with crude comparisons of public and private sector pay and conditions (for entirely different types of job). The message is being backed up in successive speeches by Cameron and Osborne.  This was heralded by a menacing warning by Cameron in 2009:

Let me make it clear to everyone who works in the public sector: we will honour existing pay deals, including any three year pay deals. But many of them end next year.. (more…)

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Nick Palmer says the sacred cow of income tax may be unwell

15/06/2010, 02:33:56 PM

One of the curious features of being a Labour MP in the last three elections was that we would often wake up and find out from the newspapers that we were irrevocably committed to something that we had not discussed, but which Tony or Gordon had decided was vital to our chances.

A hardy perennial was the recurrent commitment not to increase the standard rate of income tax. This was part of the New Labour deal: we were not unilateralists; we weren’t going to nationalise the commanding heights; and we wouldn’t put up your income tax.

This probably did help initially in refurbishing our image, but it has become a sacred cow. In these troubled times, we should re-examine the cow to find out how it’s getting on and if, in electoral terms, it is actually still alive. (more…)

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Nick Palmer ponders the politics of the AV referendum

28/05/2010, 08:45:56 AM

Let’s suppose that the coalition holds for the next couple of years at least. If so, we can assume that the LibDems will insist on the referendum on the alternative vote without delaying it for years.  Regardless of the rights and wrong of AV, what are the political implications?

First, cui bono? Well, AV is great for medium-sized centre parties, since they are normally everyone’s second choice, and their voters often get to choose between the other parties, effectively giving them an extra vote.

It’s also quite good for small parties: they probably won’t win more seats (especially if they’re on the political fringes), but at least their supporters can show their support on the first round before giving others their second preferences. It is correspondingly not so good for big parties, especially if they think that the other big party will get more of the second preferences. (more…)

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