Iain - you are absolutely bang on the money over the Chancellor's dismissal of the 3 million. There are "our people", they are intelligent, politically aware and will not forget the contempt shown to them. What the Chancellor seems to completely misunderstand is that every time he throws some more of our money at so many other people, he just ratchets up the resentment felt by the "forgotten". It is political madness beyond belief. If I was campaigning or standing in next year's huge round of local elections, I would avoid these doorsteps! A huge political price will be paid for this act of folly.
Bang on the money Alex. I am just left scratching my head as to the political stupidity of this. The next time a Conservative politician claims "we are the party of small business" , these people will laugh in their face. It appears from the Treasury Select Committee that the Civil Servants have filed this under "too difficult", and their political masters are just accepting of this. We will pay a horrible electoral price.
The other thing the Chancellor has to do is recognise the plight of Small Limited Company Directors who have been left high and dry. They are running an increasingly active campaign, with the IoD for example taking up their case. They have today written to every MP setting out the flaws in the Treasury position. The Express, The Sun and even the BBC have worked it out with their piece yesterday about the Staffordshire painters and decorators. I am left scratching my head as to the political ineptitude of this particular decision. These are core Tory voters who feel more bitter by the day as they see money "spaffed" (good Boris term) all over the place to con men, second home owners and the like. Furloughing is irrelevant to them as it kills their businesses overnight, and UC is irrelevant as they are almost by definition the sort of people who have put money into pension pots etc. Politically stupid in the extreme and a classic case of elected politicians being hoodwinked by, and kowtowing to, Whitehall Mandarins.
Whichever bone headed MP made the comment about "advantageous tax systems" needs to undertake a very fast self re-appraisal. If the system is wrong, why has this Government, in office for the last 10 years, not done something about it? Small company directors pay an element of PAYE, dividend tax and corporation tax. They also make NI contributions. And the vast majority also act as VAT collectors for HMRC. The Chancellor will ignore them at his peril, and I hope that bone headed MP gets their electoral comeuppance. Approaching 300,000 people have now signed the petition highlighting this completely iniquitous gap in the system.They will be overwhelmingly Tory and have very long memories.
The thrust of this is spot on and we mustn't dilute that thrust by disagreeing on details. The real danger is that this is no longer just about students but about University communities in their entirety - teaching staff, administrators, the whole thing. At its core lies the student debt issue which has gone badly wrong and must be addressed. It has become the flag round which a multitude rally for a variety of reasons. The argument that says "I have left university with £50,000 of debt, I work as a barista and I can't afford the deposit on a one bedroom flat, why should I vote for you?" is pretty hard to challenge. And plotting a way forward, whilst important, isn't enough. We have to address the legacy issue - the age group who are encumbered by debt grows larger every year - literally. Student loans may have been well intentioned, but they haven't worked. "The road to hell is paved with good intentions".
The author is absolutely right in terms of ultimate principle - bad laws should not drift unquestioned on to the statute book - but this by Chope was crass and entirely lacking in emotional intelligence. The clues in the name - he's meant to be a politician. Doesn't he have any political antennae or care about the damage he's done to the image of the Party he represents? Our position on the obscene practice of FGM should be unambiguous.
On a more positive note, at least his absurd behaviour has once again put this vile practice in the spotlight and will therefore help see it consigned to absolute illegality just as soon as possible.
The "hands off" approach has demonstrably failed and sadly the chickens are coming home to roost in terms of the so called Good Friday Agreement.. We may not be quite sure what a "strong hand on the tiller" looks like but it is urgently needed. The SoS either needs to "grow a pair", or step aside in favour of a more forthright and hands on replacement. Funnily enough, Owen Paterson was a bloody good occupant of Hillsborough Castle, but that might not fit the overall plan!
It is a depressing reality that one of the biggest problems in some of our Associations is that they are dominated by cliques of seriously unpleasant people. They are often bigoted, narrow minded and aggressive - and regularly downright dysfunctional and unpleasant.
I sincerely hope Sir Michael Fallon and every one of his Ministerial team, SpAds the lot, have read the comments in response to his article. The disgust at the treatment of former servicemen is growing, and growing fast. If they do not respond there will be a huge political price to pay. Previous Governments ignored immigration at their peril. This monstrous injustice could exact a similar toll.
Any deal with the DUP in its' current form would be madness in the extreme. How for example do you progress the issue of non-sectarianism with a Party still massively influenced by the Orange Order? A huge swathe of younger, cross community Ulster people simply don't vote because they find the tribal nature of politics in NI repugnant. What on earth would a Conservative PM seek to achieve by throwing in their lot with the DUP? And anyone who thinks that DUP support for grammar schools is anything other than divisive in the extreme is naive beyond imagination. Let's not forget also that the DUP were just as flirtatious with Labour not so long ago. If today's Government allow themselves to be "played" by the DUP, they will deserve the backlash that will inevitably follow. As they might say in Belfast, "if this is what they're thinking, they need to catch themselves on!"