A few thoughts on EU direction of travel post Brexit, why the EU is critical to peace in Europe, and what can be described as the Germany Problem.
What will Brexit mean to the EU
For many countries in the EU the UK is a counterweight to German dominance and to many northern EU countries, including Germany, the UK is (was) a counterweight to the ‘statism’ instincts of France and southern Europe, and a champion of market economics.
So despite the Mr Awkward tag, UK EU membership was significant; probably more significant to the EU than the EU is to the UK.
Now the dust has settled a few observations on that event 12 days ago. Was it really only 12 days, the country seems to have changed so much already.
Brexit was a process not an event
Britain never really joined, in the proper sense of the word, this community of nations, formed just 58 years ago (1), for the most noble of purposes, to end war in Europe.
Right from the start Britain dragged its feet, demanded special treatment and opt-outs. Charles de Gaulle was on the money when he accused Britain of a “deep-seated hostility” towards European construction in 1967; de Gaulle threatened to remove France from the project if Britain joined. Here was a man who understood the British well as you might expect given his war time years in London.
In my last post I criticised the Labour Party for its opposition to three Conservative policies, Right to Buy, The Under-occupancy Penalty (aka The Bedroom Tax) and their latest policy, Pay to Stay.
“I would also suggest that both Right to Buy and Pay to Stay are on the right side of the argument; the British people on the whole ‘get fairness’, hence the electoral appeal of Conservative policies last May.”
Opposition to these policies puts Labour on the wrong side of the argument; the larger electorate, the one Labour need to win over at a general election, are persuaded by the fairness of these policies.
Today’s excellent news of two successful appeals against the Spare Room Subsidy (aka The Bedroom Tax) is welcome. The legislation should have excluded ‘carers’ from the start, and especially property modified to alleviate disability, and should not be implemented at all in situations where no properties exist to down size to. Continue reading →
A few thoughts on the housing crisis which is reaching crisis point in much of London and the South East, with those even on good incomes unable to find a home, and facing displacement to areas far away from family and friends.
The Conservative Party’s popular manifesto offering of extending RTB to housing association tenants has come under predictable fire from members of the Labour Party.
On a recent BBC Politics Show the leader of Brighton Council, Warren Morgan, outlined the Council’s new scheme for tackling Brighton’s chronic affordable housing problem; the plan to build 1,000 new homes in a joint venture with a housing association, structured as a private partnership, and therefore outside the scope of the proposal to extend RTB to housing associations, unless RTB legislation is extended to the private sector. It is an innovative and clever scheme and one I totally support and welcome. Continue reading →