Wednesday, 25 February 2015

SNP want to force Universities to widen access

The SNP today announced that it intends to widen access to Universities by forcing Universities to accept more students from poorer backgrounds.  This seems like another badly thought through publicity stunt from the SNP, there policies are based on good intentions but they don’t always have the means to implement them.  An example of this is the SNP’s plan to double spending on childcare despite not being clear where the money is coming from.

Moving back to the original issue of the SNP forcing universities to accept students from poor backgrounds, and sound like they may potentially introduce a dreaded quota.  This is flawed policy for several reasons, under Scotland’s policy of free tuition the number of Scottish students being allowed into university is capped.  The SNP has not said it would raise this cap, so middle class students with better grades look like they might have to study somewhere in the name of wider access.  This policy also ignores the reasons why students from poorer backgrounds fail to get into university, and that is largely down to grades and the reason for the poor grades is poor schools.  Rather than fixing the underline problem Nicola Sturgeon has instead chosen to ignore it despite there being a clear problem.  3.9% of students from Scotland’s poorest areas managed to get 3 A’s in their higher exams compared to 24% of students in wealthier areas.  Rather than raising the standard of schools in Scotland’s most deprived areas the SNP has instead chosen to just lower the standard of Scotland’s universities which already suffer a funding gap due the Scotland having no tuition fees for Scottish or EU students.

This is a loony left policy that promotes unfairness and tries to solve a real problem by lowering standards rather than fixing the problem. This is the sort off policy that makes people use the saying race to the bottom.  It is a policy that sounds nice but if you look at it a little bit you see that it is a seriously unfair policy and a seriously bad policy and it is a policy the SNP need to fix or drop.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Have New Unemployment Figures Put Labour In Check?

New figures out today show the unemployment rate is now 5.7% this is the lowest levels of unemployment since 2008.  There was more pleasant reading for the government as wages have also risen by 1.7% (2.1% including bonuses), taking into account the rate of inflation in January (0.3%) this is a real wage rise of 1.4%.  This looks like it may take the edge off Labours cost of living crisis argument but that really depends on if people are truly feeling the economic recovery.

There are obvious reasons for thinking these new statistics are bad for Labour, its shows the government’s economic plan is working. It furthers the question do you really want to risk the recovery under Labour?  But it would be unrealistic to say that Labour are big losers from this news, their economic plan does not look nearly as bad in a growing economy in fact some parts of it look rather plausible such as more investment in health and education.   Also these figures don’t paint the whole picture, yes wages are growing now but they have been either stagnant or falling for the past 5 years, and Labour has not failed to pick up on this.  Labours Shadow Employment minister has pointed out that over the past 5 years the average person has been worse off by £1,600 a year.

It is to early to say what effect these latest figures will have on peoples voting intentions.  Some may see the figures as a sign that the government’s economic policies are paying off and that we should stick with them.  But many people will say that this is too little, although our economy is growing at the fastest rate in the EU many people have not felt the recovery and they are unlikely to vote Conservative. How these figures effect the election is down to how the parties will spin these statistics, just because is seems like good news for the government does not mean that it has to be bad news for Labour.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Why people should avoid voting Labour

Ed Miliband and Ed Balls used to be Gordon Browns favoured sons, they were behind the crushing political machine of Gordon Brown back when he was Chancellor.  But now they are satirised daily in the press and they can’t seem to run the Labour party never mind the country.  But why is their reputation so bad and why should the Labour party not be allowed back into Number 10 in May? I will try to explain that in the next few paragraphs.

Labour has gone backwards in the past five years, they have gone from a credible party of government to a party that can’t seem to face up to economic reality.  And this is the first reason not to vote for Labour, they claim they want to balance the budget but at the same time I can’t find a single thing they intend to cut.  On the Labour website they say they actually want to undo Conservative cuts.  They do however want to raise taxes, including the 50p tax, which makes little sense as the tax was shown to have little benefit and bringing it back could harm the economic recovery. And they also want to introduce a mansion tax, which shows how out of touch they are as every other political party has rejected this idea. Labour however seems completely unaware that this is a policy that attacks aspiration it is the sort of policy that the 1980’s Labour party would support. These two policies show the dividing line Labour is trying to create, the Conservatives protect the rich and Labour won’t. However they are failing to realise the massive tax cut the coalition has given the working poor by raising the tax threshold to £10,000.  This Labour party seems economically to be more about hammering business and the rich that trying to get the economy back on track, the 50p tax is a prime example of this it is a show tax that only risks hurting the economy.

Labour has more policies that are ignorant of the economic reality, including the living wage.  The living wage is a nice idea but has several flaws, a living wage will damage the job prospects of young and unskilled workers, as it makes these people more expensive to employ meaning companies will employ less unskilled and young workers.  Basic economic theory can explain the negative effect a living wage can have on an unskilled worker.  Following on from this if it is harder for unskilled workers to get a job the unemployment rate will rise again just as jobs are starting to appear again. Another policy that shows that Labour can’t be trusted with the economy is their pledge to freeze energy prices, firstly it is worth pointed out that Labour created the big 6 energy companies.  Secondly the way to lower energy prices is to help create competition in the energy market not freeze prices, this just leads to a large price rise before the freeze and a large price rise after the freeze.

Labour keeps promising spending and when they are asked how they will fund it they say a tax on banker bonuses or a mansion tax.  They expect to be able to spend to improve schools, increase NHS spending, 25 hours of free childcare and build an extra 200,000 houses. The only thing Labour will do with these policies is increase the deficit.  Labour is also attacking the spare room subsidy which they created in the private sector and the Conservatives just expanded to the public sector but now they call it a bedroom tax it’s not even a tax. The bedroom tax is a prime example of Labour scare tactics, they rebrand Conservative policies and give them frightening names or motives, another example is when they say the Conservatives are trying to privatise the NHS this is complete and utter nonsense.  

Labour don’t seem to offer anything that looks credible for dealing with the deficit, they seem to want to restore everything to how it was before 2010, but they are choosing to ignore economic reality.  They are relying purely on scare tactics due to their lack of credible policies.  That’s why they ignored the reality of tuition fees, that is why they spread a lie about the privatisation of the NHS, and that is why they brand the spare room subsidy a bedroom tax. The reason you should not vote for Labour is a simple one they are all scare tactics and slogans and lack any policies that can balance the budget.