Posts Tagged ‘US’

We are a European country

06/02/2017, 10:33:13 PM

by Jonathan Todd

The wealth of the UK depends much more on European trade than with any other export market. Our prosperity, much more interwoven with continental prosperity than with prosperity over any other geography, is used to finance public services that are discernibly European in their scope and coverage. Popular support for such public services rests upon values that are more akin to those held elsewhere in Europe than beyond.

We are, in other words, a European country. Europe is not the EU. But the EU is the key organising unit for the advance of shared economic and political interests within Europe.

The challenge for the UK, outside of this organisation, is to sufficiently maintain the GDP growth that we have enjoyed within this organisation to continue to fund public services to the extent that public opinion requires. While the UK is exiting the EU, trade with other European countries is so vital to British economic performance that relations with the rest of Europe will continue to be key to this challenge.

It has long been said that the UK wants Scandinavian public services on American taxes. It has never been said that we want Singaporean public services on Singaporean taxes – with much more limited Singaporean regulation to boot. Yet the prime minister – with zero democratic mandate for this position – places this threat above both our EU partners and the British people.


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Will Rick Perry be the Republican Clinton?

24/08/2011, 12:53:57 PM

by Jonathan Todd

At the start of May I argued that President Obama was as vulnerable to a challenger emerging as the seemingly ascendant George W H Bush was at the same time in 1991. This view was then out of kilter with the beltway view of Obama as a two term president. Subsequently the US has suffered an unprecedented credit downgrade, its economy has continued to struggle and grumbles about Obama, most recently due to his holidaying at a “millionaires’ playground”, have got louder.

Republicans are increasingly confident that Obama is Jimmy Carter. But the election will be a choice, not a referendum on Obama. They need a more convincing choice to win. As the early Republican pacesetters have not convinced, the stage remains set for a Republican Bill Clinton.

To date, tea party favourite Michelle Bachmann has probably done the best job of appealing to Republicans with misgivings, such as Romneycare and Mormonism, about the frontrunner, Mitt Romney. There may be enough such conservative voters for Romney to be defeated in January’s Iowa caucuses. The former Baptist pastor Mike Huckerbee won in this first state to vote in 2008.

God isn’t calling Huckerbee to run this time. However, God is said to have called Rick Santorum and Rick Perry, as well as Bachmann. Either they are suffering crossed wires or God’s mind is yet to be made up. God wouldn’t be the only one. The Republican race is fluid.

While Rick Perry’s backing for the three-time married Rudy Giuliani in 2008 and rumours about his own marriage are concerns for some religious voters, his leading of vast prayer meetings enables him to pitch to the religious right. That 40 percent of new US jobs since June 2009 have been created in Texas, where Perry is governor, also creates the basis – though other aspects of Texas’ economy undermine this – for appeal to those (i.e. everyone) with economic worries. A candidate able to challenge Romney for his strongest card, economic competence, and rival Bachmann for the religious right vote has a shout of being the Republican candidate.

There are various ways that this could play out. (more…)

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Milburn vs. Milburn: Round II

16/08/2010, 11:45:19 AM

In the second round Andrew Parrington says we should remember the government of talents, but Jonathan Todd counters that we shouldn’t be doing anything to help the Tories.

Remember the government of talents

It’s easy in our system to retreat to tribalism. When your party is on the losing end of an election, you really have lost everything. Compared to America – where the Democrats have a near-super majority (for the moment at least) and the Republicans are still forcing Obama to water down his agenda, our system is unbelievably brutal.

The United States’ political environment isn’t the friendliest at the moment, yet apart from in the fringe tea-party movement; neither Republicans nor Democrats have shown any level of hostility to one of their own members being in government while the party is out of power. In fact, it is the opposite – for a new President to appoint an entire cabinet without at least one member of the opposite party is regarded as a slap in the face. This is a much healthier way of regarding government service. It really doesn’t do Labour any credit to whinge because one of our own gets to advise on an issue they care about.

This isn’t the first time it’s happened either; when Brown assembled his ‘government of all the talents’, Patrick Mercer and then-backbencher John Bercow advised the government on issues which they, themselves , were experienced in. Whether or not Cameron is creating these roles to make trouble for Labour ought to be irrelevant – to the public, and to me, Milburn is putting partisan labels aside to try to influence government policies. And given his recommendations to the government following his commission on social mobility last year, I for one hope he is successful.


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