UK Vol.93 (Post-EUref #Brexit Vol.22: 2017 General Election – results, et al.)

Here are articles on the general election results, et al. Excerpts are on our own.

Election 2017 – UK results | @BBC

Interactive map: Britain’s general election 2017 – Live election results reported here, seat by seat | @economist

UK general election 2017 | @YouGov ElectionCentre

Election results 2017: full list and map | @FT
GE2017uk 649results

General Election 2017 (incl London interactive) | @standardnews

Live Now: U.K. General Election Results | @bpolitics

General election 2017: expert comment and analysis from @UCLPublicPolicy


Ungovernable  Hung Parliaments are so 2010 (27/5/2017) | @robfuller91 @medium

Corbyn, and an election surprise (26/5/2017) | @openDemocracy

Media coverage of the 2017 General Election campaign [report 3 – covering 18th-31st May inclusive] (w Video; 2/6/2017) | @lboroCRCC

Why do our party leaders tour the country? And will it affect Thursday’s election result? (4/6/2017) | @MiddletonAlia @PSABlog

2017 General Election live opinion poll | @gritdigital

UK Snap General Election Polling Results 19th April 2017 (PDF) | @opinion_life

UK general election 2017 poll tracker: All the latest results as Conservatives battle Labour Polls are a crucial part of the election wallchart – even if they’ve got a bad rep. Here are the latest results and analysis of what it all means (8/6/2017) | @mikeysmith,@taylorjoshua1,@danbloom1 @MirrorPolitics

We are becoming segregated into young and old communities without realising (5/6/2017) | Albert Sabater, Elspeth Graham, Nissa Finney (@univofstandrews) @ConversationUK

The Young Vote in 2017: Stat Attack (11/5/2017) | @bennosaurus @PSABlog

An economist views the UK’s snap general election (5/6/2017) | Jan Toporowski @OUPEconomics
… On 11 May the Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney reassured the markets that the ‘good Brexit deal’ would stabilise our economy after 2019, and the markets were duly sedated. …
… For the Europeans, this will be the fourth ‘deal’ that Britain will have secured: the first on entry in 1973; the second under Margaret Thatcher in 1984 when ‘we got our money back’; the third obtained by David Cameron in 2016; and the fourth that is to come resulting from our exit from the European Union.
… Indeed the more our politicians demand that we give them ‘a strong negotiating position’ with Europe, the more they are hedging their electoral promises with the alibi that, if they do not deliver, it will be because we did not give them a sufficiently ‘strong negotiating position’, or they were taken advantage of by the Europeans. …
In this respect the election is not needed at this moment, in particular for the Brexit process which leaves our government only 21 months to settle the complex questions arising out of Brexit. Out of these questions, the more obviously insoluble conundrums are Northern Ireland…

Dr Jonathan Leader Maynard discusses what more can be done to prevent UK terrorism (6/6/2017) | @Politics_Oxford

Observer editorial: There has been a shameful lack of leadership from all parties. But we can no longer tolerate Theresa May’s agenda for post-Brexit Britain (4/6/2017) | @guardian
… She has provided no further detail about her Brexit negotiating strategy, sticking to her disastrous mantra that no deal is better than a bad deal. She has signalled immigration control will be her top priority, even though securing it will mean leaving the single market, jeopardising everything else voters care deeply about – jobs and growth and the future of our public services.
There are echoes of Ed Miliband’s social democratic priorities in parts of her manifesto and she should be applauded for signalling that unfettered free markets are not the route to social and economic justice. She sets out proposals for greater state intervention in markets that stack the odds against consumers and workers and unfairly, and often obscenely, advantage CEOs and senior executives. Dropping the commitment to the triple lock on the state pension is a tentative first step towards recognising the need for intergenerational rebalancing.
But her manifesto is thin on detail and May is no stranger to adopting contradictory rhetoric and positions. …
But Corbyn’s ability to run a decent election campaign cannot be taken as a sign he would make a competent premier. Last summer, he failed to win the support of 80% of his MPs in a confidence vote. Many had vowed to give him a chance but withdrew support on grounds of competency, with stories emerging of a chaotic operation. …

The Conservative manifesto and social care: policy-making on the hoof (22/5/2017) | @MelanieHenwood @LSEpoliticsblog
… The publication of the Conservative Manifesto unexpectedly outlined a change of direction when Theresa May seemed to dismiss the ‘capped cost’ model of funding which was brought into legislation by the Coalition Government in the 2014 Care Act, and implementation was delayed by the incoming Conservative government in July 2015 on the grounds that it would give local government longer to prepare and to have adequate resources. The manifesto made no reference either to the Care Act, or to the capped cost model, but remarked that “where others have failed to lead, we will act”. Further detail will follow in a green paper, but the sketchiness of the proposals has already proved a major flaw.
The manifesto lamented the costs of caring for older generations, “borne by working people through their taxes” and proposed a way forward that would be “more equitable, within and across the generations.” Except, it hasn’t quite played out like that. Some might think that ditching legislation that has not yet been fully implemented is disingenuous; others may see it simply as May’s blatant attempt to stamp her own brand of conservatism all over policy and political doctrine, and distance herself from her predecessors. What this episode reveals more than anything is political naivety, poor judgement, and lack of understanding of the complexity of social care. …

Theresa May, Borrowing from Labour, Vows to Extend Protections for Workers (15/5/2017) | @_StephenCastle @nytimes
Since emerging as prime minister from the political wreckage of last year’s vote to quit the European Union, Theresa May has told Britain’s voters little about what she believes, aside from stressing her desire for a clean break from the bloc.
But with an election looming, Mrs. May is promoting some strikingly centrist social and economic policies, reaching out across the political divide to traditional supporters of the opposition Labour Party, many of whose incomes were squeezed after the financial crash. …
“We are seeing a willingness to think of intervention that would have been seen as anathema by hard-core Thatcherites,” said @ProfTimBale , professor of politics at @QMPoliticsIR. …
… May’s main election strategy is to argue that she is better placed than her less popular Labour rival, Mr. Corbyn, to provide the “strong and stable leadership” which has become her mantra. …
Analysts ascribe the intellectual basis of Mrs. May’s brand of conservatism to Nick Timothy, one of her two closest aides. Mr. Timothy was raised in Birmingham, one of Britain’s industrial heartlands, and is a admirer of the type of municipal politics practiced by Joseph Chamberlain, who transformed the leadership of the city in the 19th century and whose legacy has also been cited as an inspiration by Mrs. May. …

The political economy of the Conservative Manifesto: a hallucinatory celebration of the state (24/5/2017) | Abby Innes @LSEEI
… As Hans Werner Sinn notes, since governments have stepped in when markets have failed historically, it can hardly be expected that a reintroduction of the market through the backdoor will work. More problematically still, supply-side reforms assume that if you bring businesses into the state, you get the best of states and markets and not the worst of both regimes: a lean and more efficient bureaucracy and not an informationally and organisationally fragmented state increasingly beset by conflicts of interests; the dynamism of competitive enterprises and not the financially extractive practices of low-performing public service industry monopolies.
The challenge that faces the next government is that these reforms have failed in the terms by which they were justified. Ruth Dixon and Christopher Hood find that reported administration costs in the UK have risen by 40 per cent in constant prices over the last thirty years despite a third of the civil service being cut over the same period, whilst total public spending has doubled. Running costs were driven up most in the outsourced areas and failures of service, complaints, and judicial challenges have soared. Government has attempted to resolve these self-inflicted market failures with regulatory oversight to codify tasks – consider teaching or medical care – un-codifiable in their most important aspects. Bureaucratic monitoring at levels un-dreamed of in the 1970s has joined informational and structural fragmentation, professional demoralisation and increased costs. …
A voter could not tell from this manifesto whether a Conservative government would restore the integrity of the state or follow along the path of its supply-sider predecessors whose striking achievement has been a creeping corporate extraction of public authority and funding. It is worth remembering that their putative goal in theory was the night-watchman state of libertarian fantasy: a state that protects only contract, property rights and sovereignty and that has never existed in the history of capitalism, let alone democratic capitalism. The evidence of May’s current administration is that she endorses the supply-side diagnosis. The Conservative leadership is waving Disraeli’s hat but it is still wearing Milton Friedman’s trousers.

The Hard Brexit road to Indyref2 (14/3/2017) | @IPR_NickP @UniofBathIPR
… Two factors explain Nicola Sturgeon’s decision: the intransigence of Conservative-Unionism and the weakness of the Labour Party. Intransigence is in part an artifact of the Prime Minister’s governing style, which combines “personal animus and political diligence”, as David Runciman has written. She sticks to a position doggedly and keeps things close to her in No10. She is capable of ruthless revenge, to the point of petulance, as Michael Heseltine recently discovered. It is a statecraft that has served her well until now. It is not one that is suited to sharing power in a process of negotiation and compromise across a fractured union.
Her choice of the hard route to Brexit has also narrowed her scope for flexibility. …
History is in danger of repeating itself. The last time the United Kingdom was challenged by the aspirations for greater self-determination of a significant proportion of one its nations was during the long struggle for Irish Home Rule. Conservative-Unionists met that challenge by suppression, not accommodation. It didn’t end well.
The second factor is the decline of the Labour Party. …
Labour’s vacillation on Europe means that it is currently largely voiceless in the national debate on Brexit. It is shedding votes to the Liberal Democrats as a consequence. It fears a further loss of support to UKIP and the Conservatives if it backs membership of the single market and customs union in the Brexit negotiations. But the prospect of the breakup of the UK, the unstitching of the Northern Irish settlement, and economic decline in its heartlands should give it cause to consider the national interest, not just the party interest. …

Agricultural policy after Brexit (23/5/2017) | @Dieter_Helm @OUPEconomics @pixabay
… The CAP pays the bulk of the subsidies as a payment for owning land (called Pillar I). The economic effects of Pillar I subsidies are obvious: increasing the revenues per hectare raises the price of a hectare. Land prices capitalise the subsidies, creating barriers to entry. As a result, the CAP has also now established a fund to help young farmers get into the industry, in the face of the obstacles the CAP itself creates. The rest of the subsidy goes on rural development and environmental schemes (called Pillar II). These are often poorly designed.
…the first option is to shift some of the subsidy from paying to own land towards more spending on the environment – i.e. shifting the balance from Pillar I to Pillar II.
The second is more radical, switching to a system of paying public money for public goods. …

Local elections 2017: Six key lessons for the general election (5/5/2017) | @JohnCurticeOnTV @BBC

Local election 2017 results in England, Wales and Scotland – and what does it mean for the general election? (6/5/2017) | @Ashley_J_Kirk,@Patrick_E_Scott @Telegraph_Data,@Telegraph

UpVote episode 6: Labour’s surge and the secrets behind Brexit – Professor Paul Whiteley (@uniessexgovt) simulated the Brexit referendum a million times – and Remain won 66 per cent (w Voice; 1/6/2017) | @rowlsmanthorpe @WiredUK

Why Britain voted to Leave (and what Boris Johnson had to do with it) (4/5/2017) | Harold D. Clarke, Matthew Goodwin and Paul Whiteley @lsebrexitvote
… Though Leavers were divided on how to deal with immigration, our findings also point to the important role of ‘cues’ from leaders, specifically Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage. Johnson had a particularly important effect –if you liked Boris then even after controlling for a host of other factors you were significantly more likely to vote for Brexit. Farage was less popular among the professional middle-classes but he was more popular among blue-collar workers and left behind voters, underlining how these rival messengers were able to reach into different groups of voters. …

Why immigration was key to Brexit vote – Brexit reflected ‘a complex and cross-cutting mix of calculations, emotions and cues’ but anxiety over immigration was the dominant factor (15/5/2017) | Matthew Goodwin @IrishTimes
… Where did Remain go wrong? David Cameron and the Remainers recognised that many voters were risk averse and concerned about the economic effects of Brexit. “Project Fear”… Although a plurality of voters felt negatively about both sides, a larger number saw Leave – not Remain – as more positive, honest, clear about their case and as having understood people’s concerns. While more than twice as many people saw Leave rather than Remain as representing “ordinary people”, more than twice as many saw Remain rather than Leave as representing “the establishment”. …

The level of economic optimism within a country may be a key factor in determining voter turnout (1/11/2014) | Troy Cruickshank @LSEEuroppblog

P.S. 10 June


UK Vol.92 (Post-EUref #Brexit Vol.21: 2017 General Election – Manifestos of UKIP, Green Party)

Here are manifestos of United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) and Green Party. Excerpts are on our own.

——- UKIP Britain Together: The UKIP 2017 General Election Manifesto (issuu or PDF)
3 Britain Together: Paul Nuttall, UKIP Leader
5 Introduction to the 2017 UKIP Manifesto
• Raise the threshold for paying income tax to £13,500, cut taxes for middle earners, abolish the TV licence and cut VAT on household bills
• Scrap tuition fees for science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine students
• Provide up to 100,000 new homes for younger people every year
• Maintain all pensioner benefits and the pensions Triple Lock
• Protect disability and carer’s benefits
• Spend a genuine two per cent of GDP on defence, plus £1 billion every year
• Fund 20,000 more police officers, 7,000 more prison officers, and 4,000 more border force staff
• Revive our coastal communities and fishing villages
• Cut Business Rates for the smallest businesses
• Commission a dedicated hospital ship to assist our armed forces and deliver humanitarian medical assistance worldwide
6 Brexit Britain: The Key Tests
THE EU PLAN TO STOP US LEAVING
Article 50 is not just a two-year process, as it makes provision for negotiations to extend for an indefinite time beyond that. We are likely to find ourselves facing protracted and tortuous negotiations with a recalcitrant, bullying EU for quite some time. The EU has no incentive to negotiate a ‘good deal’ for the UK because it does not want us to leave.
The UK has massive exposure to the liabilities of the European Central Bank, the European Investment Bank, and various other ‘financial mechanisms’ of the EU so long as we remain a member. We will be expected to contribute to any Eurozone bailouts. The EU will also have to plug a huge financial hole of some 12 per cent of the gross EU budget when Britain leaves. These are just two very good reasons for the EU to keep us dangling on the hook for as long as possible.
The longer the EU can keep Britain in, the greater the opportunity for a new government to reverse the referendum decision, or sign up to some kind of associated membership agreement which, to all intents and purposes, will be just like EU membership.
RESTORING BRITAIN’S FISHING INDUSTRY
… The EU’s Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) was cobbled together in 1970 as Denmark, Ireland, Norway and the UK were on course to join the then EEC. Together, these countries held 90 per cent of Western European fish stocks. 80 per cent of those stocks were British. …
THE 1964 LONDON CONVENTION ON FISHING
UKIP will repeal this little-known convention, an agreement between twelve European nations and the UK, which recognises the historic fishing rights of vessels from the contracting parties to fish in the band of waters between six and twelve nautical miles from the UK coast.
When the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy ceases to apply, the UK will automatically establish control of a 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone giving our fishermen sole access to the seas within 200 miles of the UK coastline, or at the mid-point between two countries’ coastlines. However, the existence of the pre-EU 1964 Convention could offer a back door to continued EU fishing in British waters, as vessels belonging to signatory nations could cite this legislation and claim ‘historic rights’ to fishing within the 6 to 12 nautical mile band around the UK. …
SECURING THE FUTURE OF OUR FISHERIES
…it could be worth as much as £6.3 billion to the UK economy in net-to-plate income alone. …
The British Passport
10 Sound National Finances, A Lower Cost of Living
UKIP has always made the case for lower taxes and an end to wasteful public spending programmes. We will scrap white elephant vanity projects such as HS2, replace the out-dated Barnett Formula with a fair funding formula based on need, reduce foreign aid to 0.2 per cent of Gross National Income, and end our financial contributions to the EU budget.
These savings will provide us with £35 billion to fund our public service priorities. By keeping taxation low and incentives for wealth creation high, we will unleash the hardworking, entrepreneurial instincts of the British people. …
13 Backing Business and Investing in British Jobs
BACKING SMALL BUSINESSES
Britain’s 5.5 million small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy, making up 60 per cent of the jobs in the private sector, according to the Federation of Small Businesses. UKIP will support small businesses by:
• Cutting business rates by 20 per cent for the 1.5 million British businesses operating from premises with a rateable value of less than £50,000
BACKING BRITAIN’S SELF-EMPLOYED STRIVERS
… There will be no quarterly tax returns, and no increase in Class IV National Insurance or taxes for our self-employed strivers. UKIP’s goal is to keep taxes and red-tape to the minimum necessary.
15 Creating Coastal Enterprise Zones
16 Solving Britain’s Housing Shortage
Successive governments have failed to meet the housing needs of an increasing population. Of the 140,000 homes due to be built this year, 80,000 will be absorbed by population growth, exacerbated by immigration, so at best only 60,000 will begin to address the current chronic shortage. …
UKIP is the only party being realistic about what can be done to increase the housing supply and putting forward a viable solution: a bold policy to roll out high quality, low cost factory-built modular (FBM) homes, affordable on the national average wage of £26,000. …
HOW UKIP’S MODULAR HOMES BUILDING SCHEME WILL WORK
… UKIP’s proposal will bring up to 100,000 extra truly affordable homes onto the market every year. Combined with a traditional home building programme, we could build another one million homes by 2022. In addition, the FBM model would also make it feasible to deliver substantial numbers of new Council houses that have been promised, while traditional methods do not.
A REVIEW OF HOUSING ASSOCIATIONS
… Housing associations manage 60 per cent of the socially rented sector and have received £23 billion of Government funding in the past 14 years, but UKIP is not convinced they are benefiting either tenants or the taxpayer. We will launch a review into their operation.
18 Defending our National Health Service
… NHS Trusts are in deficit to the tune of £2.5 billion… UKIP will provide NHS England with an additional £9 billion a year by 2021/22. An additional £2 billion for social care will fully utilise the savings we will make from the foreign aid budget.
GIVING NURSES THE RESPECT AND RECOGNITION THEY DESERVE
… We will discontinue the one per cent pay increase cap for frontline NHS workers earning less than £35,000 (Band 6).
REMOVING BARRIERS BETWEEN THE NHS AND SOCIAL CARE
35,000 bed days are lost every month because of delayed transfers of care, and legal barriers can make it difficult to pass information between the two systems. …
A NATIONAL, NOT AN INTERNATIONAL HEALTH SERVICE
Treating those ineligible for care costs British taxpayers around £2 billion every year. …
ACCOUNTABLE MANAGEMENT
… We will limit the amount that can be spent on an external management consultancy contract to £50,000. The annual £589 million cost is far too high.
BANNING LABOUR’S DODGY NHS DEALS
… These Private Finance Initiative (PFI) deals financed £11.8 billion worth of new build but will ultimately cost the NHS £79 billion. 75 per cent of the syndicates involved are based offshore, so they do not even pay UK taxes on these enormous profits. …
21 Britain’s Challenging Mental Health Crisis
… UKIP will increase planned spending on mental health services by at least £500 million every year. This sum could fund 6,000 clinical psychologists to see 500,000 more adults and young people every year. …
CHALLENGING MEDIA STEREOTYPES
Elsewhere in this manifesto we condemn alien practices that oppress women, but we are not blind to our own failings. The ‘lad culture,’ which treats young women as sex objects and the ‘red circle of shame’ in celebrity magazines that hold women to unattainable levels of physical perfection are just two examples. Boys too are increasingly developing eating disorders and body image issues. …
ON-THE-JOB EDUCATION
To give students a head start into a job, UKIP will introduce a scheme similar to Germany’s Dual Vocational Training system, in which students attend classes at a vocational school and receive on-the-job training at a company. …
RIGHTING WRONGS IN HIGHER EDUCATION
… The politically motivated decision to increase university places has deceived and blighted a generation. UKIP will stop paying tuition fees for courses which do not lead at least two thirds of students into a graduate level job, or a job corresponding to their degree, within five years after graduation. …
24 A Brighter Future for Our Next Generation
27 Caring for Young Children; Supporting Families
29 Meeting our Responsibilities to the Elderly and the Disabled
GROWING OLD TOGETHER
The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services calculates £4.6 billion has been cut from social care budgets since 2010. The number of adults eligible to receive social care has plummeted by 28 per cent. …
…6,800 such patients every day cannot be discharged, so ambulances queue up outside A&E and planned operations are cancelled. This inefficiency costs the NHS approximately £1 billion a year, and it could get worse. …
Last year, research by BBC Radio 4’s You and Yours found 59 home care companies had already handed unprofitable contracts back to local authorities, and that one in four care homes may go out of business within three years. The Better Care Fund was supposed to improve liaison between the NHS and local councils and ease pressure on hospitals, but the Public Accounts Committee found it was ‘little more than a ruse.’ The freedom to raise council tax by two per cent to fund adult social care is of least help to councils in the poorest areas, who have less income from council tax, but the most pressing care needs.
The only answer is to reverse the cuts to care budgets. UKIP will put back money the Conservatives have removed, investing up to £2 billion every year into social care. …
INVESTING IN DEMENTIA RESEARCH AND TREATMENT
PROTECTING CARE AT HOME
In January, campaigning organisation Disability United exposed clauses in Continuing Healthcare policies that stated home-based care would only be provided if costs do not exceed residential placement costs by a certain percentage, generally ten percent. …
AN END TO UNFAIR BENEFIT CUTS
ENDING THE INJUSTICE OF PERSONAL INDEPENDENCE PAYMENTS
Personal Independence Payments, or PIPs, are replacing the Disability Living Allowance (DLA). Without a PIP, disabled people cannot access other benefits such as Carer’s Allowance or the charitable Motability scheme to get a powered wheelchair or accessible car. …
Some 300 people a day who have their benefits cut following reassessments are appealing against these new decisions, at a cost of £1 million a week to the taxpayer. They are right to appeal, as six out of ten appeals are successful, but while they await the outcome of their appeals, many are falling into debt, and have vital support or equipment taken away from them. 50,000 people have had accessible vehicles removed since PIPs were introduced. …
32 Fair, Balanced Migration
LABOUR’S GREATEST FOLLY
TORY IMMIGRATION FAILURE
BALANCED NET MIGRATION OVER FIVE YEARS
UKIP will establish a Migration Control Commission and set a target to reduce net migration to zero, over a five-year period. …
FAIR, EQUITABLE IMMIGRATION
To make immigration fair and equitable, we will introduce a new Australian-style points-based system, and a work permit system. Both will apply equally to all applicants, save for citizens of the Republic of Ireland, with whom we will maintain our current arrangements.
To give working class people in particular a chance to find employment, we will place a moratorium on unskilled and low-skilled immigration for five years after we leave the EU.
We will also operate a seasonal worker scheme based on six-month visas to support those sectors, such as agriculture…
A NEW INTERNATIONAL VISA SYSTEM
1. WORK VISAS
Highly skilled workers with a job offer sponsored by companies paying them a minimum of £30,000 per annum will have priority.
2. TOURIST AND VISITOR VISAS
…for up to twelve months.
3. STUDENT VISAS
4. FAMILY REUNION VISAS
We respect the right of British citizens to form relationships with non-British citizens; however, we will abolish the European Economic Area (EEA) family permit scheme and reinstate the primary purpose rule. …
ACCESS TO WELFARE AND THE NHS
All new migrants to Britain will be expected to make tax and national insurance contributions for at least five consecutive years before they become eligible to claim UK benefits, or access non-urgent NHS services, save for any exceptions stipulated by the Migration Control Commission, or if reciprocal healthcare arrangements are in place with their country of origin. All new entrants to the UK must have and maintain comprehensive private medical insurance for the duration of their stay, as a condition of their visa.
BRITISH CITIZENSHIP
Those arriving on Work Visas may apply for British citizenship after five years, provided they have worked, paid tax here, and maintained their medical insurance throughout that time. …
THE RIGHTS OF EU NATIONALS
UKIP will allow law-abiding EU citizens living in the UK before Article 50 was triggered the right to stay here indefinitely. We expect the same concession to be granted to British citizens living overseas within the EU.
EU nationals who entered the UK after 29th March 2017 will not have the automatic right to remain…
35 Britain United Under One Law for All
ONE LAW FOR ALL
EQUAL RIGHTS FOR ALL WOMEN
STANDING UP FOR WOMEN IN MINORITY COMMUNITIES
FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION
OTHER ‘CULTURAL’ CRIMES
SHOW YOUR FACE IN A PUBLIC PLACE
ENDING ISLAMIST EXTREMISM IN OUR SCHOOLS
39 Policing, Prison, Punishment
… Our approach to criminality contrasts starkly with that of the other parties. As Home Secretary, Theresa May was soft on crime. She went the way of the Labour party, putting the human rights of offenders before those of their victims, tiptoeing around even the most hardened criminals, instead of concentrating on protecting the public. …
… We will train and deploy 20,000 more police and employ 7,000 more prison officers.
STOP AND SEARCH
In 2014, Theresa May weakened Stop and Search, saying it was undermining relations with ethnic minority communities. UKIP warned this would lead to an increase in knife crime and, sadly, we have been proved right. …
THE 2003 LICENSING ACT
This Act relaxed opening hours for pubs, bars and clubs and increased the number of establishments able to serve alcohol. The social consequences have not resembled the ‘continental-style café culture’ Tony Blair claimed it would. A survey of emergency workers carried out in 2015 by the Institute of Alcohol Studies revealed 52 per cent of paramedics, 42 per cent of A&E doctors and three-quarters of police officers have been attacked in the course of their duties by people who were intoxicated. …
42 Britain’s New Role in the World
… UKIP will work constructively with President Trump. We value the special relationship between the UK and the US, and do not believe gesture politics from establishment politicians seeking to demonstrate their disapproval of his administration is helpful to our national interest. The values shared between the US and the UK will always outlast individual political administrations in either country. We are confident the Trump administration’s positive attitude to Britain will lead to a swift free trade agreement bolstering our common interests. …
UKIP supports the recent tradition of consulting parliament before our forces are committed to combat situations. We are proud of our pro-active role in opposing British participation in the planned bombing of Syria in 2013. …
… We see Russia as a potential important ally in the struggle against Islamist terror, and believe Russia should immerse itself in global rules-based relationships instead of seeming to glory in renegade status within the international community.
44 Defending Our Nation, Supporting Our Veterans
REBUILDING OUR ARMED FORCES
US President Theodore Roosevelt said the key to success in foreign policy was to “speak softly but carry a big stick.” In the modern era, British politicians have all too often shouted loudly while carrying a matchstick. …
THE ARMY
THE ROYAL NAVY
THE ROYAL AIR FORCE
A GENUINE COMMITMENT TO OUR NATO OBLIGATIONS
DEFENCE PROCUREMENT …
47 Trade, Not Aid
ETHICAL TRADE WILL ERADICATE POVERTY
… African farmers, for example, may export raw cocoa beans to the EU without paying any tariffs, but if they want to export chocolate, tariffs are high. It is the same with coffee. In 2014, the whole of Africa made just under £1.6 billion from raw coffee bean exports, but Germany alone made £2.6 billion just by exporting roasted beans, despite not growing a single coffee crop. …
THE WORLD IS OUR OYSTER
Of all the insults thrown at the Leave campaign by the Remain camp, one of the most ludicrous was the ‘little Englanders’ taunt. The polar opposite is true: those who voted for Brexit could see a brighter, more global and economically successful future outside the confines of a contracting and ever-more protectionist EU.
For decades our EU membership has been a factor in our diluted economic growth, flat-lining wages, and diminishing influence on the world stage. In future, we shall have wider and easier access to overseas markets. For British consumers, choice will increase, prices will fall, and we will not be so reliant upon monopoly suppliers. Increased competition is likely to fuel innovation and offer opportunities for the transfer of expertise and technology, which in turn means more jobs, and a stronger economy.
Leaving the EU is not about becoming ‘little Englanders,’ it is about putting the ‘Great’ back into Great Britain. It is about embracing new trading markets in all seven continents of the globe.
Naturally, we should like to agree a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the EU, and continue to trade on the same basis as at present. As the UK is the EU’s largest single export market, the EU should want to reach a swift and sensible trade deal with us. …
In circumstances where the EU continues to insist Britain pay a huge ‘divorce’ settlement of up to €100 billion, or continues to demand we accept the on-going jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice and allow the free movement of people, trading with the EU within the legal framework of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) would be the far better option. …
OUR TRADE PRINCIPLES
Post-Brexit, UKIP’s aim is to establish the UK on the world market as a low tax, low regulation economy. The UK will contribute to the World Trade Organisation’s aim for trade to flow as smoothly, predictably and freely as possible. We will reduce tariffs wherever possible, unless initiating anti-dumping measures, and oppose the establishment and continuance of protectionist customs unions such as the EU. …
50 Transport: Keeping Britain Moving
UKIP WILL SCRAP
HS2 Rail travel is essential but HS2 is not. This High Speed Rail project is unaffordable, requires massive borrowing, will blight people’s homes, and destroy valuable habitats. Spending £75 billion just to save a few minutes between London and Leeds is ludicrous and, we think, unethical. …
ENDING ROAD TOLLS
DEFENDING DIESEL DRIVERS
SAVING RURAL BUS SERVICES
AIR PASSENGER DUTY
LONDON AIRPORTS AND THE SOUTH EAST
THE BRITDISC
52 Protecting Our Environment
PROTECTING OUR ANCIENT WOODLANDS
Current legislation does not go far enough in protecting natural woodland habitats. We will amend the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) to give ancient woodlands ‘wholly exceptional’ status, putting them on a par with listed buildings, registered parks and gardens, and World Heritage Sites.
Major infrastructure projects will be required to give much more respect to irreplaceable natural habitats. HS2 is a prime example of this: we will scrap HS2 and ensure no infrastructure project will ever again be allowed permission to wreak such catastrophic environmental damage. …
CREATING SMALL GREEN SPACES
GENERAL ELECTION DAY IS WORLD OCEANS DAY
54 Food Production and Animal Welfare
… UKIP will continue to make available to the agriculture sector funds that would normally be paid to them via Brussels. We will introduce a UK Single Farm Payment (SFP) that operates in a similar way to the present EU system.
The major difference will be that UKIP’s SFP will be more ethical. It will end EU discrimination in favour of larger, intensive farms, and support smaller enterprises. Subsidies will be capped at £120,000 per year and, to make sure payments reach farmers, not just wealthy landowners, we will pay only those who actually farm the land.
Anti-Microbial Resistance is a problem for society as a whole. …
56 Our Future Energy Security
… UKIP will repeal the 2008 Climate Change Act and support a diverse energy market based on coal, nuclear, shale gas, conventional gas, oil, solar and hydro, as well as other renewables when they can be delivered at competitive prices. We will also withdraw from the Paris climate agreement and the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, to enhance our industrial competitiveness. …
CUTTING DOMESTIC ENERGY PRICES
…2.3 million households are living in fuel poverty, meaning they spend more than 10 per cent of their total income to heat their homes to an adequate standard of warmth.
In addition to removing VAT from domestic fuel and scrapping ‘green’ levies to reduce household bills by an average of £170, we will review the ownership and profits of British utilities and the impact on consumers of steadily rising prices. We will not hesitate to table legislation to address any excesses we uncover. …
CUTTING THE COST OF INTENSIVE ENERGY USE
… Energy policies pursued by Labour and the Tories are arguably increasing global emissions and causing Britain to lose jobs and investment. They have created a lose-lose situation…
INVESTING IN SHALE GAS
58 Real Democracy
PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION
All votes should matter, so we will introduce a voting system that genuinely reflects the will of the people as a whole. In the 2015 general election, UKIP got 12.6 per cent of the vote but only one seat, while the SNP won just 4.7 percent of the national vote but took 56 seats. The current First Past the Post (FPTP) system we use for electing MPs to our national parliament is bad for voters, bad for government, and bad for democracy. …
SCRAP POSTAL VOTING ON DEMAND
ABOLISH THE HOUSE OF LORDS
… The average cost of each peer is £115,000 per year.
A FAIR DEAL FOR ALL FOUR NATIONS
A SMALLER HOUSE OF COMMONS
THE CITIZEN’S INITIATIVE
61 Keeping it Local
… UKIP is the only party to operate a ‘no whip’ system, so our councillors can always vote in the best interests of residents in their wards, because they are not bound by party politics.
We oppose the ‘cabinet’ system of local governance, which puts too much power in the hands of too few people. We advocate a committee system, which brings more openness and transparency, and facilitates cross-party collaborative working. …
UKIP believes in keeping Council Tax as low as possible. …
62 UKIP’s Five Year Fiscal Plan

Wales Into The World: Wales Manifesto – General Election 2017 (PDF)
2-3 Preface
6-7 Democracy
… UKIP believes that existing powers exercised by the EU over agriculture; fisheries; environment; and transport should pass to the National Assembly for Wales. We also want to see control over business taxes including rates and corporation tax devolved to Wales.
UKIP also recognises the cost of government bureaucracy has grown to levels unimaginable in 1999 when the National Assembly for Wales first came into being. The “Yes” campaign stated the annual cost of devolution to Wales would be in the range of £10-20million. In reality the cost of Welsh Assembly and Welsh Government administration has swelled to nearly £500million annually. In addition, Wales has retained twenty-two local authorities, each employing a highly-paid management team headed by a Chief Executive earning, in some cases, more than the Prime Minister. …
8-9 Economy
… Wales has been totally abandoned by mainstream politics. For many life can be tough. Many of our communities offer no stable decent work and, outside Cardiff, the idea of a metropolitan utopia that offers highly-paid professional careers is an alien concept to most. … UKIP would:
1. Raise the personal allowance to £13,500 so people can earn enough money to cover their basic living costs before they have to pay income tax. This will take those on minimum wage out of tax altogether.
2. Raise the threshold for paying 40% income tax to £55,000.
3. Ensure Brexit negotiations give us complete control over VAT. This means we can, and will, remove VAT completely from hot takeaway food, sanitary products and energy bills.
4. Restore British tax sovereignty, which we lost when we signed-up to the EU. We will end the practice of businesses paying tax in whichever EU or associated country they choose. Our membership of the EU enables companies to avoid paying some UK taxes with impunity and we will close this loophole.
5. Establish a Treasury Commission to monitor the effectiveness of measures designed to reduce tax avoidance and recommend further measures necessary to prevent large multinational corporations using aggressive tax avoidance schemes.
6. Support the devolution of Business Rates and Corporation Tax to the National Assembly for Wales. UKIP want to grow the Welsh economy and create a business-friendly environment which produces high-paying jobs for this and future generations. We need to move away from a publicsector and subsidy-based economy. We need a vibrant private sector. We need our own silicon valleys in Wales.
7. Allow the National Assembly for Wales to lower taxes on business, particularly in areas such as the Welsh valleys and deindustrialised communities. The focus would be on bringing investment to Wales. Investment in new high-tech jobs and skills.
10-11 Education
12-13 Energy
2. Support innovations such as the tidal lagoon project proposed for Swansea Bay. This offers a great opportunity for Wales and the wider UK. It is truly British in nature and is an example of UK design and innovation at its best. UKIP would give this pilot project the green-light to proceed to the build-stage and work with the industry to see its potential maximised across the UK.
14-15 Farming & Fishing
1. Introduce suitable and sustainable funding for farming, financed by the £10 billion annual savings from Britain’s membership of the European Union. For every £5 UK agriculture receives from the EU, British taxpayers have already contributed £10.
2. Support hill farming, a sector of the industry dominant throughout Wales. Hill farmers should receive additional headage payments on livestock within World Trade Organisation rules.
5. Oppose any move towards greater restrictions on cattle movements, which are already some of the strictest throughout Europe. It is our view that a new approach should be established to deal with the threat of Bovine TB by adhering to the advice offered by the British Veterinary Association and farming unions.
16-17 Health
…we do not believe a public service should have a monopoly on public expenditure to the detriment of all other services. The NHS cannot be a monetary black hole and the managers appointed to run it should not be permitted to continue to blame their failure to perform on a lack of funding. …namely that a scandalous proportion of NHS resources are being swallowed up by senior doctors and managers earning, in some cases, as much as £375,000 per year in overtime alone. …
18-19 Housing
1. Incentivise local development, bringing brownfield sites and derelict homes back in to use, so that they can be released for affordable housing.
3. Encourage new and innovative ways of building affordable homes, such as modular housing units, and houses built using sustainable materials.
4. Prioritise local people when allocating council and social housing. …
6. Scrap the punitive fees charged by letting and management agents so that tenants who choose to rent a home are better able to afford to do so.
8. Ensure developers create adequately-sized homes with parking provision and room to live. …
20-21 Security
UKIP believes that security should be the number one priority of any government. Sadly though, other parties disagree. For years police forces have seen their budgets slashed in real-terms and struggling to cope under pressure from an increased threat of terrorism, extremism and anti-social behaviour.
Of course, security is not solely the responsibility of our brilliant police officers, but jointly shared with the MOD, the security & intelligence services, HMRC and the Border Force. The introduction of highlypoliticised Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) has also failed to improve policing as intended. The argument that PCCs have a democratic mandate is also challengeable, considering that all Welsh PCCs were elected on turnouts of less than 50% of the electorate. …
22-23 Trade
Wales exported more to the EU than it imported in 2015. Wales does not need EU membership to trade with it. Moreover, Wales does not need a trade agreement with the EU in order to trade with it. The USA, China, Japan, India, Brazil and Russia are amongst the top ten exporters to the EU but they are not shackled to an agreement with it. They successfully trade directly by proactively using their seat at the WTO.
UKIP fully supports the UK reactivating its seat at the World Trade Organisation (WTO), where we can negotiate as a free and independent member unshackled from the EU. This will enable us to establish free trade agreements across the globe in the best interests of Wales and the UK. It will also enable the UK to work directly with the WTO, where necessary, to prevent vexatious actions by potential trading partners.
Less than 12.5% of the UK economy is accounted for by trade with the EU. Only 5% of UK businesses trade with the EU; the other 95% trade within the UK or outside of the EU. However, 100% of Welsh businesses will be shackled to EU regulations if we remain in the EU and may still be shackled to them if it signs up to a poorly negotiated variant of EFTA or EEA membership.
Wales does not need to accept free movement of people, nor any modified variant advocated by the Labour-Plaid Coalition of Losers’ recent white paper, to trade with the EU or access EU markets. Indeed, of the four existing EFTA countries, only two – Norway and Iceland – kept a free movement of people clause. The other two EFTA countries, including Switzerland, are not currently committed to any such clause. …
…it would be in the interests of many of the EU countries who export to the UK, to negotiate a bespoke agreement to reduce the unfavourable tariffs that they may otherwise be left with.
24-25 Transport
… This is only likely to get worse as our population increases and we lack a credible national plan for road improvement. …
… Anyone who travels to Europe, North America or Asia would know how much cheaper and more reliable passenger travel is outside of the UK. …

UKIP, GreenParty

——- Green Party The Green Guarantee – The Green Party For A Confident And Caring Britain – (PDF pages / various formats)
4 / A GREEN ECONOMY THAT WORKS FOR EVERYONE
• Take steps towards the introduction of a universal basic income, including a government sponsored pilot scheme, as a means to increase security and avoid the poverty trap.
• Reduce the gap between the highest and lowest paid, and increase the minimum wage to reach a genuine living wage of £10 an hour by 2020.
• End the gender pay gap, and require a minimum 40% of all members of public company and public sector boards to be women.
• Reform taxation to include a wealth tax on the top 1% of earners, investing in more staff at HMRC so they can work more effectively, and reinstate the higher level of corporation tax for large businesses.
• A Robin Hood tax on high value transactions in the finance sector, and inheritance taxed according to the wealth of the recipient.
• A phased in abolition of the cap on employees’ national insurance so that the wealthiest pay more.
• Support and promote small businesses, co-operatives and mutuals, and the roll out of high speed broadband.
6 / PROTECTING OUR ENVIRONMENT
• A public works programme of insulation to make every home warm and investing in flood defences and natural flood management to make every community safer.
• Active ongoing cooperation with businesses and other countries to limit global temperature increases to well below 2 degrees and aiming for 1.5 degrees.
• Introduce a one-off fine on car manufacturers who cheated the emissions testing regime and create a new Clean Air Act, expanding and funding a mandatory clean air zone network.
• Strong protection for the Green Belt, National Parks, SSSIs and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
• Tough action to reduce plastic and other waste, including the introduction of Deposit Return Schemes, with a zero waste target.
8 / MEMBERSHIP OF THE EU
• A referendum on the detail of whatever deal is negotiated for Britain’s departure from the EU, with the option to reject the deal and remain in the EU.
• Protect freedom of movement, press for remaining within the single market, and safeguard vital rights for people and the environment.
• Immediately guarantee the rights of EU citizens to remain in the UK and urgently seek reciprocal arrangements for UK citizens in the EU.
10 / OUR NHS AND PUBLIC SERVICES
• Roll back privatisation of the NHS to ensure that all health and dental services are always publicly provided and funded, and free at the point of access, via the introduction of an NHS Reinstatement Act. Scrap NHS Sustainability and Transformation Plans.
• Close the NHS spending gap and provide an immediate cash injection, to ensure everyone can access a GP, hospitals can run properly, and staff are fairly paid.
• Bring energy, water, railways, buses, the Royal Mail and care work back into public ownership to give communities real control of the public services that has been lost over the past 30 years.
• Increase funding for local authorities so they can provide good quality public services and invest in our communities, creating thousands of jobs. A single budget covering health and social services, to make life easier for people who need to access several types of service.
12 / EDUCATION FOR ALL
• Bring Academies and Free Schools into the local authority system, abolish SATS and reduce class sizes.
• Scrap university tuition fees, fund full student grants and greater public investment in further and higher education.
• Restore Education Maintenance Allowance and enable apprenticeships to all qualified young people aged 16-25.
• Address the crisis of teacher workload, with measures such as abolishing Ofsted, and reforming the curriculum so that it is pupil-centred, freeing up teachers to teach.
14 / OUR PROMISE TO YOUNG PEOPLE
• Protect young people’s housing needs by reinstating housing benefit for under-21s, stop Local Authorities declaring young people “intentionally homeless”, and invest in community house-building projects to provide affordable, secure housing options for young people.
• … Guarantee the rights of young people to study, work, live and travel in the EU, including through schemes like Erasmus.
• Reject the xenophobic Prevent strategy and pursue community-led collaborative approaches to tackling all forms of extremism instead.
• …removing VAT from sanitary products and ensuring that they are provided free of charge to those in extreme financial need.
• Enable every young person to take an active role in democracy, introducing non-biased political education and promoting active citizenship, as well as lowering the voting age to 16.
16 / A PLACE TO CALL HOME
• Giving tenants a voice by supporting the development of renters’ unions.
• A major programme to build affordable, zero carbon homes, including 100,000 social rented homes each year by 2022.
• End mass council house sales and scrap Right to Buy at discounted prices.
• Abolish the cruel and unfair bedroom tax.
• Action on empty homes to bring them back into use and a trial of a Land Value Tax to encourage the use of vacant land and reduce speculation.
• Help first-time buyers by aiming for house price stability – axing buy-to-let tax breaks, and backing community-led approaches to building affordable homes.
• Significantly improve housing choice for D/deaf, disabled and older people by requiring all councils to appropriately plan for their housing needs…
18 / A SAFER WORLD
• Cancel Trident replacement, saving at least £110 billion over the next 30 years.
• Increase the overseas aid budget from 0.7% of GDP to 1.0% of GDP.
20 / A CITIZENS’ DEMOCRACY
• Introduce proportional representation (PR) for parliamentary and local elections, and votes at 16.
• Increase diversity in representative politics, with job-shares, a 50/50 Parliament, and replacing the House of Lords with an elected second chamber.
• Defend the Human Rights Act and UK membership of the European Convention on Human Rights, and reinstate funding for the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
• Action to tackle racism and discrimination on the basis of faith or disability, real equality for LGBTIQA+ people, equal rights for mixed gender couples to have a Civil Partnership.
• Give power to local communities by allowing for 40% of the local electorate to secure a referendum on local government decisions or to recall their MP.
• End the sale of personal data, such as health or tax records, for commercial or other ends.
• Protect the BBC and tighten the rules on media ownership so no individual or company owns more than 20% of a media market, protecting against anyone having too much influence or undermining democracy.
• Give Parliament a vote on any new trade deals.
• Revive the role of democratic trade unions.
• Enable every young person to take an active role in democracy, introducing non-biased political education and promoting active citizenship.
22 / A PEOPLE’S TRANSPORT SYSTEM
• Return the railways to public ownership and re-regulate buses, investing in increased bus services especially in rural and other poorly served areas.
• All public transport should be fully accessible and step-free with a phase-in of free local public transport for young people, students, people with disabilities, and older people.
• Invest in regional rail links and electrification of existing rail lines, especially in the South West and North of England, rather than wasting money on HS2 and the national major roads programme.
• Cancel all airport expansion and end subsidies on airline fuel.
Invest in low traffic neighbourhoods and safe, convenient networks of routes for walking and cycling…
• Help end the public health crisis caused by air pollution by increasing incentives to take diesel vehicles off the roads.


UK Vol.91 (Post-EUref #Brexit Vol.20: 2017 General Election – Plaid Cymru, Democratic Unionist Party, Sinn Féin)

Here are policies of Plaid Cymru (The Party of Wales), Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and Sinn Féin. Excerpts are on our own.

——- Plaid Cymru Action Plan 2017 (issuu or PDF)
DEFENDING WELSH INTERESTS P8
A STRONGER WALES P12
Wales must have an equal say when decisions are made which have major implications for devolved functions. All future free trade deals, for instance, must be endorsed by the National Assembly for Wales.
PROTECTING WELSH JOBS P16
Plaid Cymru will push for targeted tax discounts for new and existing businesses in Wales as a central part of the new UK Regional Policy. We will demand that Wales has the power to set its own rates of tax including Corporation Tax, Air Passenger Duty and VAT. As we leave the EU the new assisted areas map must be determined in Wales.
Plaid Cymru will fight to ensure that £4.3 billion in public sector contracts are spent in Wales and we will introduce a real, independently verified, Living Wage.
… We will ensure there is a properly funded Welsh Development Bank to invest in Welsh businesses. …
A HEALTHIER, HAPPIER WALES P20
CARING FOR THOSE IN NEED P24
GIVING EVERY CHILD A CHANCE P28
CONNECTING WALES P32
Plaid Cymru wants to see a real Wales-wide transport system, including re-opening the Carmarthen-Aberystwyth railway, improved Valleys line services, improvements to the A55 and the expansion of the Traws Cymru bus network. We will also ensure that walking and cycling is integrated with bus and rail services.
We will create a level-playing field with every other UK nation and give Wales the power to decide its own media and broadcasting policy. We will ensure that S4C receives the funding it needs.
We will introduce a Welsh Development Agency (WDA) for the 21st century, tasked with boosting Welsh trade.
PROTECTING OUR COMMUNITIES P36
We will secure an extra £25 million for Welsh police forces…
Create a Welsh legal jurisdiction that ensures we can create a justice system that reflects the needs of Wales.
PUTTING ENERGY INTO OUR ENVIRONMENT P40
…energy generation from renewables including delivering tidal lagoons in Swansea Bay, Cardiff and Colwyn Bay. We will establish a national electric vehicle charging network…
Plaid Cymru will roll out a nationwide scheme to make our housing stock more energy efficient. We will secure compensation for those who have suffered from badly installed, governmentbacked cavity wall insulation.
CHAMPIONING RURAL LIFE P44
Plaid Cymru will oppose the construction and use of pylons through National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, advocating underground or undersea cabling where possible.
WALES ON THE GLOBAL STAGE P48
We are determined to scrap Trident, resisting any attempts to relocate it to Wales. We will instead invest in home-based troops and strengthen our conventional forces.
We will create a Welsh Migration Advisory Service so that we can have a system that suits Wales’s needs. Welsh-specific visas are necessary to plug skills gaps and to protect our health service from staff shortages. International students must be taken out of net migration targets.

——- DUP Our Policies
More jobs, rising incomes
Northern Ireland has seen the unemployment rate drop from 58,644 in 2011 to 39,320 in 2016.
This record of success was built on:
• supporting the promotion of over 40,000 new jobs – smashing the target of 25,000;
• £2.9 billion of investment – almost three times the target of £1bn;
• £585 million on research and development investment – almost double the target of £300m and
• 72% of new jobs supported under the Rebuilding Our Economy Programme have been above the Northern Ireland Public Sector Median salary.
• In areas like tourism, Government action, in partnership with the industry, has delivered real advances. For example, we took control of Air Passenger Duty on long haul flights leaving. …
… This is our Plan for more jobs and rising incomes.
1. 50,000 MORE JOBS
2. OUR COMMITMENT ON CORPORATION TAX
3. A BETTER BUSINESS RATES SYSTEM
4. UPSCALING SUPPORT PLAN
5. A NEW ENERGY STRATEGY FOR NORTHERN IRELAND
6. OUR FAIR SHARE OF THE APPRENTICESHIP LEVY
7. JOB FOCUSSED SKILLS
8. STRENGTHENING OUR MANUFACTURING BASE
9. INNOVATION UK AND NI
10. A £1 BILLION TOURISM SECTOR

A world class health service
• We have invested over half a billion pounds more in Health; …
• We have delivered over £800 million in efficiency savings to reinvest in the frontline;
• We have built new, state of the art health and social care facilities such as the new Critical Care Building at the Royal Victoria Hospital, new Health and Care Centres in Ballymena and Banbridge, the Radiotherapy Unit at Altnagelvin and large scale redevelopment of the Ulster Hospital …
1. A BILLION POUNDS MORE FOR HEALTH
2. MORE FRONTLINE STAFF
3. TRANSFORMING MENTAL HEALTH
4. A HEALTH SERVICE FIT FOR THE CHALLENGES OF THE 21ST CENTURY
5. GETTING TO GRIPS WITH WAITING LISTS
6. ENCOURAGING ACTIVE AND HEALTHY AGEING
7. SUPPORTING PRIMARY CARE
8. DELIVERING DIGITAL HEALTHCARE
9. PROMOTING PUBLIC HEALTH
10. INVESTING IN NEW HEALTH INFRASTRUCTURE
11. PERINATAL HOSPICE CARE FOR LIFE LIMITING CONDITIONS
12. BEATING CANCER
13. ASSISTING NURSING

Every child with the opportunity to succeed

Rewarding hard work
Over the past five years, the DUP has created opportunities for hard working people across Northern Ireland:
• by freezing the regional rate in real terms and deferring water charges, we have saved the average householder in Northern Ireland over £2,500 in the last 5 years compared to their counterparts in England;
• as Northern Ireland has the lowest household taxes in the whole of the United Kingdom. For 2015/16 the average household bill was £842 in Northern Ireland compared to £1337 in Scotland, £1,465 in England and £1,550 in Wales;
• as we have maintained free travel on public transport for over 60s;
• in providing the Lone Pensioners Allowance which has helped thousands of ratepayers aged 70 or over and living alone save a total of £5.2 million annually on their rates bills and
• in assisting almost 5,000 families to buy affordable homes by investing £168 million between 2011 and 2015. …
1. A NEW CHILDCARE STRATEGY
2. KEEP HOUSEHOLD TAXES IN NORTHERN IRELAND LOW 
3. PROTECT PENSIONER BENEFITS
4. HELP YOUNG PEOPLE ON TO THE PROPERTY LADDER
5. SUPPORTING CARERS

Rebuilding Northern Ireland
… Since 2011, over £5 billion has been invested in a range of new infrastructure projects that have improved Northern Ireland.
These include:
• new roads including the A8 Belfast to Larne dual carriageway, A2 Shore Road, Greenisland dual carriageway, A26 Frosses Road and the Magherafelt bypass;
• new schools such as Bangor Grammar, Strathearn Grammar, Magherafelt High School and Whitehouse Primary School in Newtownabbey;
• new colleges like Belfast Metropolitan College in the Titanic Quarter and the North West Regional College;
• new healthcare facilities such as the new South West Acute Hospital and Health and Care Centres in Banbridge and Ballymena …
This is our plan for rebuilding Northern Ireland
1. INVESTING IN NEW ROADS
2. IMPROVING PUBLIC TRANSPORT
3. A SINGLE DEPARTMENT FOR DELIVERING INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS
4. BETTER MANAGEMENT OF PUBLICLY OWNED LAND
5. ESTABLISH A £1 BILLION NORTHERN IRELAND INVESTMENT FUND
6. INVESTING IN WATER

Safer streets and smarter justice
The DUP tabled the motion in the Assembly which led to the full introduction of the National Crime Agency (NCA) to Northern Ireland. In the Fresh Start Agreement the DUP secured:
• £160m new resources for the PSNI to go after paramilitaries;
• a £50m cross border task force of the NCA, PSNI and Tax authorities to ensure no safe havens; …
… We have attempted to overcome the past failure of the UUP to get a proper definition of victim and to achieve a pension for severely disabled victims.
1. LET VICTIMS DECIDE
2. FULL IMPLEMENTATION OF THE FRESH STARTANTI-PARAMILITARY MEASURES
3. PROBLEM SOLVING COURTS
4. OPEN POLICING AND JUSTICE
5. ONLINE CIVIL JUSTICE
6. LEGAL ACCESS FUND
7. A NI REGISTER OF ANIMAL CRUELTY OFFENDERS
8. FULL PROTECTION FOR ACCIDENT AND EMERGENCY STAFF
9. GREATER PROTECTION FOR THE ELDERLY AND VULNERABLE
10. PARADES AND PROTEST

A friend of the farmer and natural heritage

Creating stronger communities
• between 2011 and 2015, £400million was invested, alongside £315million of private finance, in providing social and affordable housing across Northern Ireland. Over 8,500 new social and affordable homes have been constructed over the period;
• by end of March 2016, £70m will be committed under the Social Investment Fund, for the first time benefiting churches, Orange Halls and many new areas not included under traditional DSD schemes; …
1. INCREASING INVESTMENT IN NEW SOCIAL & AFFORDABLE HOUSING
2. A TOWN CENTRE REGENERATION CHALLENGE FUND
3. REINTRODUCE A ‘LIVING OVER THE SHOPS’ SCHEME
4. COMMUNITY LAND TRUSTS FOR AFFORDABLE HOMES
5. RE-BIRTH OF THE NORTHERN IRELAND HOUSING EXECUTIVE (NIHE)
6. ENERGYWISE AND WARM HOMES
7. BULK BUYING FROM PRIVATE SECTOR LANDLORDS
8. HOMELESSNESS

Taking pride in Northern Ireland

Changing politics and government in Northern Ireland

——- Sinn Féin SINN FÉIN WESTMINSTER ELECTION MANIFESTO 2017 (PDF)
FOREWORD MICHELLE 3
DESIGNATED SPECIAL STATUS WITHIN THE EUROPEAN UNION 4
A TIME FOR UNITY 5
ENDING TORY CUTS 6
WORKING TO ESTABLISH THE EXECUTIVE 7
PROTECTING YOUR HEALTH SERVICE 8
INVESTING IN EDUCATION 9
SAFEGUARDING YOUR RIGHTS 10
SUPPORTING FARMING AND PROMOTING AGRI-FOODS 11
BUILDING BUSINESS GROWING TRADE 12
GERRY ADAMS MESSAGE 13

cf. Policies
Brexit (w Video)
On 23rd June 2016 the people of the North voted to remain in the EU. They did so because it is in their best interests politically and economically. Brexit poses a huge threat to the future of the people of Ireland in terms of a land border on the island, the north being forced out of the single market, barriers to trade, potential devastation of agriculture, not to mention the implications for the peace process and the Good Friday Agreement.
Sinn Féin has argued that the only credible approach is for the north to be designated special status within the EU and for the whole island of Ireland to remain within the EU together. …
Better For Health (w Video)
… For Sinn Féin the long-term solution is clear – we need an Irish National Health Service. …
Better For Housing
… Sinn Féin is promising that, if in government, we will deliver a housing blueprint for this island…
Decent Work And A Living Wage
Dealing With The Debt


UK Vol.90 (Post-EUref #Brexit Vol.19: 2017 General Election – Scottish National Party Manifesto)

Here is STRONGER FOR SCOTLAND – SCOTTISH NATIONAL PARTY MANIFESTO 2017 (PDF) in June. Excerpts are on our own.

STRONGER FOR SCOTLAND p.4
Holding the UK government to account on powers
Opposing Tory austerity
Fighting to end the Rape Clause
Pension justice for women born in the 1950s
Legislation on ending violence against women
Fighting against the cruel and punitive sanction regime
Leading opposition to the bombing of Syria
Clear, consistent and unified opposition to Trident
Fighting for a fairer immigration policy
Demanding action on tax evasion
Fair compensation for veterans

BUILDING A BETTER SCOTLAND p.5
High quality health care
Prescription charges abolished, ensuring there’s no tax on ill health
Free, high quality childcare increased
Investing in a good education for all
Cheaper Council Tax bills
Free personal care for older people
The highest house building rate in the UK
Fair pay
More police officers and less crime
No Bedroom Tax

OUR KEY PLEDGES pp.6-8
An end to austerity
Fair tax … In the current financial year, we have frozen the basic rate of income tax to help low and middle earners…
Protecting the NHS We are already committed to increasing the budget of NHS Scotland by £2 billion by the end of the current Scottish Parliament. …
Improving education …the new National Improvement Framework, the Scottish Attainment Challenge and the £120 million Pupil Equity Fund…
Tackling poverty and inequality … According to the Resolution Foundation…
Fair pensions … We will vote to protect the Triple Lock, ensuring that pensions continue to rise by inflation, earnings or 2.5 per cent…
A focus on jobs, growth and productivity …to support job creation, we will propose a doubling of the Employment Allowance – the National Insurance discount that businesses receive when they increase employment. To boost productivity, we will also support extension of the Annual Investment Allowance, which encourages firms to invest in plant and machinery. …
More powers for the Scottish Parliament
Making work fair and tackling low pay
Protecting Scotland’s place in the Single Market … Leaving the Single Market could cost 80,000 jobs in Scotland. …
Scotland’s choice
Modernising UK democracy
Scrap Trident

PROTECTING OUR PUBLIC SERVICES pp.15-20
Ending austerity and investing in public services
• We will propose to achieve a current budget balance by the end of the next Parliament in 2021/22 with net borrowing being used only for investment from that year onwards.
• Under our plans, the UK’s net borrowing requirement will fall to 2.3 per cent of GDP – the thirty-year, long-term average for net borrowing prior to the financial crisis. It will reach this level in 2020/21 and remain there in 2021/22.
• These steps will see debt falling as a percentage of GDP from 2019/20, meeting the current target on public sector net debt.

Over the 10-year period from 2010-11 and 2019-20, the Tories will have cut Scottish Government day-to-day spending by £2.9 billion in real terms.
Fair and balanced personal taxation
…we support an increase in the Additional Rate from 45p to 50p across the UK as a whole from 2018/19. …
… SNP MPs will back a freeze on National Insurance contributions and Value Added Tax. We will back the continuation of VAT-exemption on essential items like children’s clothes, and will hold the UK government to a commitment to remove VAT from sanitary products. Until VAT is removed from sanitary products, SNP MPs will call for Scotland’s population share of the Tampon Tax Fund to be transferred to the Scottish Government. …
Protecting our health service
… The SNP Scottish Government is already committed to an increase in the NHS revenue budget of £500 million more than inflation by the end of the current term of the Scottish Parliament. That means the budget will increase by £2 billion in total.
Latest statistics show that overall health spending in Scotland is around 7 per cent per head higher than in England. If the UK government were to match Scotland, England’s Health investment would increase by over £11 billion above inflation by the end of this Parliament. …
… To meet the challenge of an ageing population an additional £1.7 billion will be invested in Scotland’s health and social care partnerships over this term of the Scottish Parliament. …

… We are increasing the number of health visitors, introducing the Baby Box for every new-born child, and delivering the Childsmile programme to improve oral health. We are also developing and implementing the Child and Adolescent Health and Wellbeing Strategy. …
Scotland is the first of the UK nations to approve the provision of Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) by the NHS to prevent HIV. We will support efforts to have PrEP made available on the NHS in the rest of the UK too.
Victims of contaminated blood products deserve answers. In 2008 the SNP Scottish Government established the Penrose Public Inquiry…

• We are investing record amounts in health – over £13 billion in 2017, £3.6 billion more than when we took office. And health spending per head in Scotland is higher than in England – to the tune of £152 per person.
• In 2011 the SNP abolished prescription charges. In England patients are forced to pay £8.60 per item.
• The number of nurses, doctors and dentists working in Scotland’s NHS has increased. Staffing is at record high levels, up more than 12,200 under the SNP. Per head of population, Scotland has the most GPs of any UK country and there are now almost 50 per cent more qualified nurses and midwives working in our NHS Scotland than in England.
• Scotland’s core A&E services are the best performing in the UK – and have been for 2 years.
• Most recent figures show that 90 per cent of NHS Scotland patients rated their care and treatment as good or excellent.
• Nurses in Scotland are better paid than anywhere else in the UK. A nurse in Scotland, at Band 5, is paid up to £309 more than their English counterparts. And, unlike in the NHS in England, we are supporting the lowest paid workers in our NHS by delivering the real Living Wage. As a result the starting salary of NHS support staff in Scotland is over £1,100 higher than in England.

Protecting our education sector
• … Under the SNP the availability of free early years education and childcare has increased from 12.5 hours in 2007 to 16 hours a week for all three and four year olds and it has also been extended to two year olds from low income households. By 2021 we will increase the provision to 30 hours.
• In government we are investing £50 million to ensure all staff working in private nurseries delivering our childcare pledge are paid the real Living Wage.
• We have extended free school meals to all children in Primary 1 to 3 in Scotland, ensuring they get a healthy and nutritious meal every day, improving their concentration, helping them to achieve better results, and saving families around £380 per child per year.
• Free tuition has been maintained, saving students in Scotland up to £27,000 compared to the cost of studying in England.
• We have been reforming vocational education and increasing the number of Modern Apprenticeships, hitting new records every year on the road to our target of 30,000 new starts by the end of this parliament.
• We have expanded the Education Maintenance Allowance – now scrapped for new students south of the border – to support even more school pupils and college students from low income families.

Supporting our emergency services
Public Sector Pay
Better rail services
… Since the SNP took office, we have invested £7.7 billion to maintain and upgrade tracks, stations and trains in Scotland. …
…fifty-four per cent of ScotRail delays are caused by issues connected to Network Rail. …
Connecting Scotland to HS2 must be a priority, with construction beginning in Scotland as well as England, and a high speed connection between Glasgow, Edinburgh and the north of England as part of any high-speed rail network
SNP MPs will engage the UK government in discussions on the feasibility of improving cross-border rail links, including linking Carlisle to the Borders Railway.

Championing public service broadcasting and a thriving press
…we welcome the creation of a new BBC Scotland TV channel and its associated investment. …
We welcome the proposals for the relocation of Channel 4 outwith London…

AN OPEN, MODERN ECONOMY pp.21-28
Supporting business We will support the targeted reduction in National Insurance to bring down the costs employers face when taking on new workers by the doubling of the Employment Allowance – the National Insurance discount businesses receive when they increase employment – from £3,000 per business per year to £6,000 per business per year, phased in over the Parliament.
Productivity remains a major challenge in the UK economy. We will, therefore, support the Institute of Directors’ calls for the further extension of the Annual Investment Allowance, which encourages firms to invest in plant and machinery, from the current £200,000 per year to £1 million per year.

… Most of the taxes and regulations that impact on small businesses are, however, the responsibility of Westminster. Despite setting up an Office of Tax Simplification, the UK government has ignored the vast majority of its recommendations with just 16 of its 60 ‘big picture’ recommendations and less than half of its other formal recommendations so far adopted. …
Building a better Scotland: our investment in infrastructure
… In 2017-18 alone almost £6.4 billion of infrastructure projects will be under construction in Scotland.
• We are delivering the £1.4 billion Queensferry Crossing.
• We are transforming Scotland’s road network. We are upgrading Scotland’s motorways, with improvements to the M8, M73 and M74 network. Work to dual the A9 between Perth and Inverness is well underway, and dualling of the A96 between Inverness and Aberdeen is in preparation too.
• Over £5 billion has been invested in Scotland’s health infrastructure since 2007 and nearly £500 million of new hospitals and healthcare facilities are due to open in Scotland in 2017-18.
• £742 million is being invested in improvements to the Edinburgh to Glasgow railway line, including widespread electrification of the network between the two cities and to Stirling and Dunblane. And the £170 million Aberdeen-Inverness rail upgrade, which is now under construction, will see shorter journey times between the two cities, as well as new stations at Dalcross and Kintore.
• Over the current term of the Scottish Parliament, we are investing over £3 billion to deliver at least 50,000 new affordable homes, at least 35,000 of which will be for social rent.
• In government we have made energy efficiency a national infrastructure priority, and we will support it with more than £500 million of public funding over four years.
• We have invested £400 million to deliver superfast broadband to 95 per cent of properties across Scotland by the end of 2017, and we are on track to deliver this target. We will now go further, ensuring that 100 per cent of premises across Scotland have access to super-fast broadband by 2021.

Protecting our place in the European Single Market
The European Single Market represents in excess of 500 million consumers – eight times the size of the UK’s market. …wages face a £2,000 per head cut and our economy faces a hit of up to £11 billion a year by 2030. …the rest of the UK exports over £50 billion a year to Scotland, making Scotland the top destination in Europe for exports from the rest of the UK, and England’s second biggest market after the United States of America. …
Safeguarding the success of our world-class food and drink sector
Scotland’s food and drink is a global success story, worth £14.4 billion. The EU – Scotland’s biggest overseas regional food and drink export market…
…Scotch Whisky, Arbroath smokies and Stornoway black pudding. …
… Around 8,000 EU nationals have come to live in Scotland and work in our food and drink sector. Every year up to 15,000 seasonal migrant workers also help harvest our world class soft fruit and vegetables. …
…the Food for Life catering award…
…Scotland’s GM-free status and commitment. …

Tourism and hospitality
… The Tourism Industry Council expects that there will need to be a 200 per cent increase in Border Force resources to deal with post-Brexit EU passengers. …
Connecting Scotland to the world
… In the last Parliament, SNP MPs secured a UK government consultation on a new Independent Aviation Noise Authority. …
Standing up for Scotland’s oil and gas sector
… Despite raising £330 billion in tax revenues for the UK Treasury, Westminster has repeatedly failed…
Standing up for Scotland’s oil and gas sector
… Despite raising £330 billion in tax revenues for the UK Treasury, Westminster has repeatedly failed to provide adequate support for the industry and the families which depend upon it. …
… SNP support has already led to major investment at Dales Voe in Shetland. …
Building on initiatives such as the Scottish Government’s Decommissioning Challenge Fund…
The Oil and Gas Institute at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen has estimated that leaving the EU is likely to cost the North Sea oil and gas supply chain £200 million a year in tariffs and export taxes. …

Investing in our cities and regions
SNP MPs will campaign for a UK government funding commitment for an Ayrshire Growth Deal, a Tay City Deal, a Stirling and Clackmannanshire City Deal, an Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Deal, and a Deal for the Islands of Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles.
…Aberdeen and Inverness.
…the South of Scotland.

In total the SNP Government has pledged more than £1 billion but the UK has failed to match this. Their investment in the Aberdeen Region fell short by a mammoth £254 million and in the Inverness Region Deal by £82 million.
An immigration policy that works for Scotland
… The UK government recently introduced a Skills Immigration Charge – a charge for employers, including the public sector, of £1,000 per non-EEA worker per year. This fee will lead to skills shortages, harm our economy and remove funding from frontline public services. We oppose this policy…
SNP MPs will continue to press the UK government to limit immigration detention to 28 days. No other European country has indefinite detention. We continue to oppose the detention of children and vulnerable people, including pregnant women and people with mental illnesses. …

Reforming the banking sector
The SNP will support a long overdue and comprehensive investigation into LIBOR rigging. …
To ensure that taxpayers get their money back, the SNP will press for the public interest to be fully protected in any future disposal of RBS shares, including decisions on how any windfall revenues should be used.
SNP MPs will press the UK government to compel the banking industry and LINK members to sign up to the Universal Cash Deposit Transaction…

SCOTLAND’S FUTURE pp.29-31
Scotland’s choice
Scotland’s place in Europe
… Before asking people to vote in an independence referendum, we will set out the process by which our membership of the EU will be secured in the circumstances that prevail at that time – such as whether or not Scotland has already left the EU as part of the UK.
We will continue, in all circumstances, to demand the scrapping or fundamental reform of the Common Fisheries Policy and support Scottish control of Scottish fisheries, as we have done for many years.
We will also oppose any attempt by the UK government to treat the fishing industry as a bargaining chip. …
To be taken out, not just of the EU, but also of the Single Market, poses a real and present danger to Scottish jobs – to our farmers and fisherman, our universities, our food and drink businesses and to almost every sector of our economy. …

Protecting fundamental rights
… We will also seek a cast-iron guarantee from the UK government that they will seek the consent of the Scottish Parliament under the Sewel Convention to the terms of the Brexit Bill.
The European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) is enshrined in the Scotland Act 1998…

Strengthening the Scottish Parliament
… SNP MPs will seek additional powers. …
• powers that will be repatriated from Brussels to the UK that currently sit within the competences of the Scottish Parliament, like agriculture, fisheries and environmental protection;
• powers to be repatriated in reserved areas, such as employment law, which protect fundamental rights currently enjoyed by the people of Scotland;
• new powers, beyond those being repatriated, including, but not limited to immigration; powers to conclude international agreements in areas of the Scottish Parliament’s responsibility…

MAKING WESTMINSTER FAIRER pp.31-38
Social security powers
…decisions over 85 per cent of UK welfare spending in Scotland will continue to be made in Westminster.
Only with full powers over social security will the Scottish Parliament be able to stop obscenities like the Rape Clause, the Family Cap, cuts to people with disabilities, and the Tory assault on the poor. …

Tackling child poverty
The SNP Scottish Government has introduced a new Child Poverty Bill, following the Tory government’s decision to scrap income-based child poverty targets in the last Parliament. The new Bill introduces new Scotland-wide targets to eradicate child poverty. …
…establish a Poverty and Inequality Commission…

Protecting women and girls from gender-based violence
Dr Eilidh Whiteford…
Protecting disabled people from Tory cuts
… Under the Tories, from April this year, disabled and ill people assessed as not fit for work have lost out on £29 per week from their Employment and Support Allowance. SNP MPS will support reversal of this cut.
The current Work Capability Assessment is failing. SNP MPs will call for this to be halted, and a new system to be put in place which treats everyone with fairness and respect…

Protecting family budgets
The SNP strongly opposes the cap that restricts Child Tax Credits to the first two children and the removal of the family element of Universal Credit. …
Protecting people on low incomes
…we will support the annual uprating of all benefits by at least CPI inflation.
The SNP Scottish Government will abolish the Bedroom Tax in Scotland completely…
The roll out of Universal Credit, which has been introduced in the Highlands and East Lothian first, has caused rent arrears, household debt and left families to rely on food banks. …
The Income Tax Personal Allowance is set to increase, boosting the amount of money people can earn before they pay Income Tax. At the same time, the Tories have reduced the work allowance leading to a significant reduction in the support provided by Universal Credit. This acts as a disincentive to working more hours or taking up employment. …
As Home Secretary Theresa May scrapped the socioeconomic duty contained in the Equality Act requiring public bodies to evaluate the impact of their policies to reduce inequality. …
The Tory government has introduced new charges for parents seeking support from a former partner through the Child Maintenance Service. The SNP will demand an end to this tax on child support. …

Protecting vulnerable young people
Support for people who have lost loved ones
Making work fair
…establishing a Fair Work Commission…
…task the Low Pay Commission…
…abolishing fees for Employment Tribunals.
The SNP will press the UK government to ban exploitative zero-hours contracts, and ensure that workers have appropriate rights and protections, including holiday and sick pay. This will help casual and agency workers as well as those now part of the growing gig economy. To tackle maternity and pregnancy discrimination, we back the Women and Equalities Committee’s recommendation to strengthen the law to protect women from discriminatory redundancies and practices.

Championing equality in work
Halt Jobcentre closures
Promoting fair work through procurement
Fairness in retirement
… SNP MPs will oppose plans to increase the State Pension Age beyond 66. We will support the establishment of an Independent Savings and Pension Commission, to ensure pensions and savings policies are fit for purpose. The remit of the Commission should include consideration of the specific demographic needs of different parts of the UK in relation to State Pension Age.
The Triple Lock on the State Pension protects the income of pensioners, many of whom rely on their pension as their only source of income. Age UK has described the Triple Lock as a “vital tool in the fight against pensioner poverty.” …
…extend auto-enrolment, so that more low paid, and self-employed, workers can benefit from regular pension savings.
We believe that saving for a pension is the best route to a stable retirement. The SNP will seek to ensure that regular, simple, and affordable saving schemes are offered to provide for a secure income in retirement. …Tory gimmicks like the Lifetime ISA…

Protecting the most vulnerable in society from Tory cuts
By 2021, the total cumulative loss to people in Scotland as a result of Tory welfare cuts will be over £2 billion per year.
Since 2013, the Scottish Government has spent over £100 million a year to protect people from the worst aspects of Tory welfare cuts. …

How we are using new powers
Diverse but equal
A better deal for consumers
… Insurance Premium Tax (IPT) penalises those who pay more for their insurance. This includes groups such as young drivers and communities in flood risk areas. …
… The problem of Fixed Odds Betting Terminals is linked to the proliferation of betting shops in some communities…
SNP MPs will press the UK government to:
• put in place an energy price cap on standard variable tariffs, ensuring a fair deal for customers and energy suppliers; …
• immediately implement the Competition and Markets Authority’s recommendations on metering to reduce costs for households;
• put in place a requirement for energy companies to prioritise the roll-out of smart meters to those households at risk of fuel poverty; …
• …the Cold Weather Payment.
The loss of local post offices threatens the economic well-being of rural communities all over Scotland. …

STANDING UP FOR RURAL AND REMOTE COMMUNITIES pp.38-40
An end to the UK government’s great rural robbery
Fighting off the Tory power and money grab
Before the EU Referendum, the UK government promised to match current EU funding, which is worth half a billion pounds every year to Scotland’s rural and remote communities, “without a shadow of a doubt”. Now they refuse to provide any guarantees over funding beyond Brexit, and want a UK wide funding mechanism. With a 16 per cent share of current Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) funding, there is no doubt that Scotland would lose out. …
A better deal for our fishing industry
…the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP)…
And in the SNP Scottish Government’s paper on ‘Scotland’s Place in Europe’, our proposals would have meant we would be able to leave the CFP while all of the UK could continue to benefit from the EU Single Market.
The Tories failed our fishing industry in the 1970s, dismissing the livelihoods of our coastal communities as ‘expendable’. Under the CFP, the UK government has regularly traded away our interests and put those of fishing communities elsewhere in the UK ahead of those in Scotland. …
… We will also seek guarantees for permanent residence from the UK government for the 3,000 EU nationals working in fish processing.

Improving rural connectivity
At Westminster the SNP successfully secured a UK government commitment to a Universal Service Obligation (USO) for broadband of 10Mbps. In the next parliamentary term SNP MPs will call for the USO to cover up to 30Mbps with an appropriate update mechanism to ensure that rural areas are not left behind. …
What the SNP has achieved for rural Scotland
• We are investing in digital connectivity, with £400 million to deliver superfast broadband to 95 per cent of properties across Scotland by the end of 2017 and we will reach 100 per cent by 2021. …
• We are building new homes and refurbishing existing properties through the £25 million Rural Housing Fund, and delivering 100 affordable homes in island communities through a dedicated £5 million fund. …
• We have invested over £100 million in fishing projects, infrastructure and businesses, creating and safeguarding over 8,000 jobs.
• We have invested a record £1 billion in vessels, ports and ferry services since 2007. …
• Residents of Caithness and north-west Sutherland, Colonsay, Islay, Jura, Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles are eligible for a 50 per cent discount on air fares.
• We have awarded over £100 million grants to food and drink businesses…

Ending unfair delivery charges

MODERNISING UK DEMOCRACY p.41
Making Westminster work for the people
Making Westminster more democratic
… The SNP supports the Single Transferable Vote, a system that makes sure every vote and every part of the country counts.
… We support the recommendations of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Democratic Participation to get the ‘missing millions’ onto the electoral register. …

A fair and level playing field in our elections
…under the Representation of the People Act 1983. We will also support the Electoral Commission’s call to make higher sanctioning powers available to them, increasing the maximum penalty from £20,000 to £1,500,000.
Lobbying and charities
… We will push for those parts of the Transparency of Lobbying, Non-party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Act 2014…

DEFENCE, SECURITY AND GLOBAL PEACE-KEEPING pp.42-43
Scrapping Trident
… The Tory Chairman of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, Crispin Blunt, has calculated the total cost of the next generation of Trident at £179 billion over its lifetime. CND estimate the cost may even be as high as £205 billion. …
Investing in conventional defence
SNP MPs will hold the UK government to its promise on building the new Type-26 Frigates in Scotland. …
Fighting international crime and terrorism
International co-operation is essential to keep Scotland and the rest of the UK safe from the threats of organised crime, cybercrime and terrorism. SNP MPs will call for continued co-operation on detecting, disrupting and detaining criminals across borders through Europol. We will seek assurances that our law enforcement agencies will continue to have the same level of access to Europol as they currently enjoy.
We will oppose any moves that would seek to use security co-operation as as a bargaining chip in Brexit or trade negotiations with our European friends and neighbours.

Supporting our veterans
…War Disablement Pension…
Getting a better deal for the taxpayer
The UK government’s own report says that the Royal Navy’s fleet is being depleted because of a “vicious cycle” of poor planning and cost overruns that is wasting taxpayer money and undermining the viability of the shipbuilding industry. …
Arms exports
Our place in the world
…UN Security Council Resolution 1325…

PROTECTING OUR ENVIRONMENT AND TACKLING CLIMATE CHANGE pp.44-45
Standing up for Scotland’s renewables industry
… SNP MPs will work to protect Scotland’s place in Europe’s energy markets and funding programmes – ensuring continued funding and cooperation with the EU for Scotland’s renewable energy sector. The European Union is set to establish a €320 million investment fund to support wave and tidal power, in which Scotland is a world leader. …
Carbon Capture and Storage
We want Scotland to be a leader in the development of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology, which has the potential to create thousands of jobs in Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and beyond, while fighting climate change.
Scotland’s oil and gas sector remains uniquely well placed to develop CCS on an industrial scale – despite the UK government reneging on its commitment to a £1 billion project set to benefit Peterhead Power Station. …

Transmission charges
The UK’s punitive transmission charging regime forces renewable and conventional energy generators in Scotland to pay huge fees to connect to the electricity grid, while power stations in the south of England receive subsidies.
This unfair system contributed to the early closure of the power stations at Longannet in Fife and Cockenzie in East Lothian, with the loss of hundreds of local jobs, and must be overhauled. …

Nuclear power
…the Hinkley Point C nuclear plant in the south of England, which will cost at least £18 billion to build and will result in huge costs for taxpayers and consumers. We are opposed to these plans, which have already come close to collapse. …
Working with our neighbours to fight climate change
Scotland has already exceeded a world-leading target to reduce emissions by 42 per cent by 2020. …
Animal welfare
We will oppose any relaxation of the laws on fox-hunting.
Protecting Scotland’s environment and tackling climate change
• Scotland has exceeded its target to produce 50 per cent of its electricity from renewables by 2015…
• With the support of the SNP Scottish Government, the low carbon and renewables sector in Scotland supported 58,500 jobs in 2015…
• Scotland’s household recycling rate was 44.2 per cent in 2015…

A COMPASSIONATE COUNTRY pp.46-47
International development
Ethical trade
… The SNP Scottish Government has committed to “always consider the human rights implications of its engagement with countries and business” and to ensure that “investment agreements should only be signed where appropriate due diligence, including on the human rights record of companies involved, has been undertaken.” …
Championing LGBTI rights globally
Meeting our humanitarian and moral obligations
… The decision to close the Dubs Scheme for unaccompanied children – putting them at risk of exploitation – is shameful. …
SNP MPs will urge the UK government to take action on the recommendations of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Refugees including implementing a National Refugee Integration Strategy…


UK Vol.89 (Post-EUref #Brexit Vol.18: 2017 General Election – Liberal Democrats Manifesto)

Here is Liberal Democrats Manifesto in May 2017. Excerpts are on our own.

Europe (w Video)
Liberal Democrats are open and outward-looking. We passionately believe that Britain is better off in the EU. We will fight against the Conservatives disastrous hard Brexit – their choice to make the UK a poorer place.
We acknowledge the result of the 2016 referendum, which gave the government a mandate to start negotiations to leave – but we believe the final decision should be made by the British people, not by politicians.
Giving the people the final say
Liberal Democrats are open and outward-looking. We passionately believe that Britain’s relationship with its neighbours is stronger as part of the European Union. Whatever its imperfections, the EU remains the best framework for working effectively and co-operating in the pursuit of our shared aims. It has led directly to greater prosperity, increased trade, investment and jobs, better security, and a greener environment. Britain is better off in the EU. …
…a Hard Brexit. This means leaving the Single Market, ending freedom of movement, and abandoning the Customs Union – even though these choices will make the UK poorer and disappoint many leave voters who wanted a different outcome. …
Fighting a hard Brexit
• Protection of rights for EU citizens and UK citizens
• Membership of the Single Market and Customs Union
• Freedom of movement
• Opportunities for young people
• Defending social rights and equalities: Many important protections such as the right to 52 weeks’ maternity leave and rights to annual leave are currently based on EU law, and many of these rights have been upheld at the European Court of Justice. …
• Maintaining environmental standards
• Law enforcement and judicial co-operation: Europol, the European Arrest Warrant and shared access to police databases have helped make Britain’s streets safer. …
• British Business and Jobs: … The City of London is Europe’s financial capital and must retain its full rights in EU financial markets.
• Science and research funding: … We will campaign against any reduction in investment in UK universities and for their right to apply for EU funds on equal terms.
• Travel and tourism: … We will strive to retain traveller and tourist benefits such as the European Health Insurance Card, reduced roaming charges and pet passports, all of which are at risk by leaving the European Union.
• Respect for the interests of Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland

Economy & Business (w Video)
Britain needs an economy that creates jobs and opportunities. The Conservative’s actions risk our future, relying on debt to prop up growth. We will build an economy that works for the long term: prosperous, green, and fair.
Responsible finances: Investing in Britain’s Future
… The Conservatives have failed to take advantage of historically low interest rates to borrow for the investment that would create jobs now and prepare us and our economy for the future.
Liberal Democrats will therefore commit to a responsible and realistic £100 billion package of additional infrastructure investment. …
• New direct spending on house-building to help build 300,000 homes a year by 2022. …
• Significant investment in road and rail infrastructure, including a continued commitment to HS2, Crossrail 2 and rail electrification. …
• £5 billion of initial capital for a new British Housing and Infrastructure Development Bank, using public money to attract private investment for these priorities. …
• Increasing spending on the NHS and social care, using the proceeds of a 1p rise in Income Tax. … There will be a commensurate 1p increase in dividend taxation which is a UK-wide tax. …
• End the 1% cap on pay rises in the public sector, and uprating wages in line with inflation.
Fair taxes
• …should be removed. These include reforms to Capital Gains Tax and Dividend Tax relief, and refocusing Entrepreneurs’ Relief. We would reverse a number of the Conservatives’ unfair and unjustified tax cuts, including: – The cutting of Corporation Tax from 20% to 17% – Capital Gains Tax Cuts – Capital Gains Tax Extended Relief – The Marriage Allowance – The raising of the Inheritance Tax Threshold
• Take tough action against corporate tax evasion and avoidance, including by: – Introducing a General Anti-Avoidance Rule… – Reforming Corporation Tax to develop a system that benefits the smallest companies… – Reviewing the Business Rates system, prioritising reforms that recognise the development of the digital economy, lessen the burden on smaller businesses… …Land Value Taxation. …
Supporting entrepreneurs and small business
• Expand the activities of the state-owned British Business Bank… …
• Reform the Regulatory Policy Committee…
Innovation, science and new technology
• Protect the science budget, including the recent £2 billion increase… …Horizon 2020…
• Build on the Coalition’s industrial strategy…
• Develop the skilled workforce needed to support this growth with a major expansion of high-quality apprenticeships including Advanced Apprenticeships, backed up with new sector-led National Colleges. …
• Invest to ensure that broadband connections and services to be provided before 2020…
• …retain coding on the National Curriculum in England.
• Support growth in the creative industries, including video gaming, by continuing to support the Creative Industries Council and tailored industry-specific tax support…
Helping everyone earn a decent living
• Establish an independent review to consult on how to set a genuine Living Wage across all sectors. …
• Modernise employment rights to make them fit for the age of the ‘gig’ economy, looking to build on the forthcoming Taylor Report. …
Helping everyone to share in prosperity
• Encourage employers to promote employee ownership by giving staff in listed companies with over 250 employees a right to request shares…
• Strengthen worker participation in decision-making, including staff representation on remuneration committees, and the right for employees of a listed company to be represented on the board. We will change company law to permit a German-style two-tier board structure to include employees. …
• Reduce the reporting requirement for disclosure of shareholdings to 1% in order to increase transparency over who owns stakes in the biggest companies.
It is a scandal that in Britain today there are 1.7 million people without a bank account, 8 million experiencing problem debt and 40% of the working-age population who have less than £100 in savings. …
Spreading opportunities to every part of the country
… The prospect of Brexit, including the loss of £8.9 billion of European Structural and Investment Funds, is only likely to make the problems faced by disadvantaged areas worse. …
• Give the immediate go-ahead to Swansea Bay tidal lagoon project.
• Encourage Local Authorities and Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) to work in partnership with existing business, Universities and other business hubs…

Health and Social Care (w Video)
Saving the NHS and social care
… Social care is facing a funding blackhole of £2 billion this year alone and more than a million older people are missing out on the care that they need.
… Nearly two-thirds of NHS Trusts ended the last financial year in deficit.
Yet Labour and Conservative politicians refuse to be honest with the public…
…five key steps…
1. An immediate 1p rise on the basic, higher and additional rates of Income Tax to raise £6 billion additional revenue which would be ringfenced to be spent only on NHS and social care services.
2. Direct this additional investment to the following priority areas in the health and care system: social care, primary care (and other out-of-hospital care), mental health and public health. …
3. …commission the development of a dedicated Health and Care Tax on the basis of wide consultation, possibly based on a reform of National Insurance contributions…
4. Establish a cross-party health and social care convention, bringing together stakeholders from all political parties, patients groups, the public, and professionals from within the health and social care system…
5. Introduce a statutory independent budget monitoring agency for health and care, similar to the Office for Budget Responsibility. …
Valuing the NHS and social care workforce
Equal care for mental health
Home not hospital: joining up health and social care
The number of family carers is rising, including in the ‘sandwich generation’ who find themselves trying to care for their children and their parents at the same time. … We will: …
• Finish the job of implementing a cap on the cost of social care, which the Conservatives have effectively abandoned. …
• …tariffs that encourage joined-up services and promote improved outcomes for patients and better preventive care. …
Better access to community services
Helping people stay healthy
…40% of NHS spending is on diseases that are preventable…
• Publish a National Wellbeing Strategy…
• Implement the recommendations of the O’Neill report on antimicrobial resistance…
• Make Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV prevention available on the NHS.
• Support effective public awareness campaigns like Be Clear on Cancer and learn…
• Develop a strategy to tackle childhood obesity including restricting the marketing of junk food to children…
• Encourage the traffic light labelling system for food products and publication…
• Introduce mandatory targets on sugar reduction for food and drink producers.
• Reduce smoking rates, introducing a levy on tobacco companies…
• Implement the recommendations of the Keogh review to regulate cosmetic surgery…

Education & Young People (w Video)
Education is at the heart of the Liberal Democrat agenda. …
Stop the education cuts – fair funding for every school
…the Conservatives’ flawed approach to the National Fair Funding Formula…
• Reverse all cuts to frontline school and college budgets, protecting per pupil funding in real terms.
• Introduce a fairer National Funding System with a protection for all schools, so that no school loses money per pupil in cash terms.
• Protect the Pupil Premium which targets extra help at disadvantaged children.
Over the Parliament, this means an extra £7 billion for school and college budgets.
Quality really counts in early years
• Increase our Early Years Pupil Premium to £1,000 per pupil per year.
• Raise the quality of early years provision and aim for every formal early years setting to employ at least one person who holds an Early Years Teacher qualification by 2022.
Teachers – our biggest asset in education
• End the 1% cap on teachers’ pay rises.
• Guarantee that all teachers in state-funded schools will be fully qualified or working towards Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) from January 2019.
• Introduce a clear and properly funded entitlement to genuinely high quality professional development for all teachers – 25 hours per year by 2020, rising to the OECD average of 50 hours by 2025.
• Support proper long-term planning of initial teacher training places, prioritising close partnerships with higher education and specialist routes such as Teach First in order to recruit the highest-quality teachers in shortage areas such as Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Maths.
• Tackle unnecessary teacher workload, including by:
– Establishing an independent Education Standards Authority to pilot, phase-in and resource future policy changes in consultation with professionals and experts.
– Reform Ofsted inspections so that they include a focus on longer-term outcomes and sustainable improvement as well as teacher workload, sickness and retention.
– Support the establishment of a new, independent Foundation for Leadership in Education, working under the umbrella of the Chartered College of Teaching, to promote high-quality, evidence-based leadership and help the best leaders into the most challenging schools.
• Continue to work with the Education Endowment Foundation to establish a comprehensive evidence base on what works in teaching.
Driving up school standards
• Scrap the planned expansion of grammar schools and devolve all capital monies for new school spaces to local authorities. …
Curriculum and qualifications
• … Sex and Relationship Education (SRE). …
• Prioritise primary progress measures instead of floor thresholds and work with the profession to reform tests at 11, preventing curriculum narrowing in upper Key Stage 2. …
• Improve links between employers and schools, encouraging all schools to participate in employment and enterprise schemes that promote regular experiences in business. …
Getting children and families ready to learn
• Establish a new online Family University, supported by leading organisations such as the BBC and Open University…
A world class university sector, open to all
… In government, Liberal Democrats established a fairer system such that that no undergraduate student in England had to pay a penny of their tuition fees up front or pay anything afterwards until they earn over £21,000 per year. …
• Fight to retain access to Horizon 2020 and Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions funding. …
Lifelong opportunities to learn
• Work with the Apprenticeship Advisory Group to increase the number of apprentices from BAME backgrounds…
• Identify and seek to solve skills gaps such as the lack of advanced technicians by expanding higher vocational training like foundation degrees, Higher National Diplomas, Higher National Certificates and Higher Apprenticeships. …

Families and Communities (w Video)
Help with childcare costs
… In government, we were proud to introduce Shared Parental Leave and increases in free childcare but there are still gaps in the system. …
• Provide 15 hours a week of free childcare to the parents of all two-year olds in England. We will then prioritise 15 hours’ free childcare for all working parents in England with children aged between nine months and two years.
• Commit to an ambitious long-term goal of 30 hours’ free childcare a week for all parents in England with children aged from two to four years, and all working parents from the end of paid parental leave to two years. …
Helping people find work
• Encourage people into work by reversing the cuts to Work Allowances in Universal Credit…
• Improve links between Jobcentres and Work Programme providers and the local NHS…
Treating people fairly
… We will reinstate the legally binding poverty targets of the Child Poverty Act. We will: …
• Help young people in need by reversing cuts to housing benefit for 18-21-year-olds and increase the rates of Job Seeker’s Allowance and Universal Credit for those aged 18-24 at the same rate as minimum wages.
• Reverse cuts to Employment Support Allowance to those in the Work-related Activity Group.
• Increase Local Housing Allowance in line with average rents in an area, ensuring that LHA is enough for a family to pay their housing costs no matter where they live.
• Scrap the ‘bedroom tax’, while seeking to achieve the aim of making best use of the housing supply through incentivising local authorities to help tenants ‘downsize’.
• Scrap the discredited Work Capability Assessment and replace it with a new system, run by local authorities according to national rules, including a ‘real world’ test that is based on the local labour market.
• Withdraw eligibility for the Winter Fuel Payment from pensioners who pay tax at the higher rate (40%). We will retain the free bus pass for all pensioners. …
Saving for and enjoying your retirement
• Maintain the ‘triple lock’ of increasing the State Pension each year by the highest of earnings growth, prices growth or 2.5% for the next Parliament. …
Building more and better homes
• Directly build homes to fill the gap left by the market, to reach our house-building target of 300,000 homes a year, through a government commissioning programme to build homes for sale and rent. …
• Create at least ten new Garden Cities in England…
• Set up a new government-backed British Housing and Infrastructure Development Bank with a remit including providing long-term capital for major new settlements…
• End the Voluntary Right to Buy pilots that sell off Housing Association homes and the associated high value asset levy.
• Lift the borrowing cap on local authorities and increase the borrowing capacity of Housing Associations…
• Enable local authorities to: – Levy up to 200% Council Tax on second homes and ‘buy to leave empty’ investments from overseas. … – End the Right to Buy if they choose.
Buying and renting
• …a new Rent to Own model where rent payments give tenants an increasing stake in the property, owning it outright after 30 years. …
• …a new Help to Rent scheme to provide government-backed tenancy deposit loans for all first-time renters under 30. …
• …the Database of Rogue Landlords and Letting Agents. …
Investing in the transport we need
• … We will continue the Access for All programme, improving disabled access to public transport as a key priority.
• …establish government-run companies to take over the running of Southern Rail and Govia Thameslink…
• …HS2, HS3, and Crossrail 2…
• … We will:
– Shift more freight from road to rail …
– Deliver the Transport for the North strategy to promote growth, innovation and prosperity across northern England
– Develop more modern, resilient links to and within the South West peninsula to help develop and diversify the regional economy
– Complete East West Rail, connecting up Oxford and Cambridge and catalysing major new housing development.
– Ensure London’s transport infrastructure is improved to withstand the pressure of population and economic growth.
– Support the takeover of metro services in London by London Overground.
– Encourage the swift take-up of electric and driverless vehicles.
• … We remain opposed to any expansion of Heathrow, Stansted or Gatwick and any new airport in the Thames Estuary and will focus instead on improving existing regional airports such as Birmingham and Manchester. …
Local communities working together
• Drastically reduce the powers of central government ministers to interfere in democratically elected local government.
• Remove the requirement to hold local referenda for Council Tax changes, ensuring that councillors are properly accountable for their decisions by introducing fair votes.
• Aim to increase the number of Neighbourhood, Community and Parish Councils and promote tenant management in social housing. …
Sustainable rural communities
• Ensure that every property in the UK is provided, by 2022, with a superfast broadband connection with a download speed of 30Mbps, an upload speed of 6Mbps, and an unlimited usage cap. …
• Set up a £2 billion Rural Services Fund of capital investment to enable communities to establish a local base from which to co-locate services such as council offices, post offices, children’s centres, libraries, and visiting healthcare professionals. …
• Commit to preventing Post Office closures and protect Royal Mail’s Universal Service Obligation to deliver across the UK for the same price. …
Access to culture and sport

Environment (w Video)
Clean air and green transport
Air pollution in the UK is a killer. It contributes to 40,000 premature deaths a year and costs the NHS £15 billion. …
…will pass a Green Transport Act, introduce an Air Quality Plan…
Low-carbon energy and green jobs
In government, we championed green energy, and oversaw the trebling of renewable electricity generation. But the Conservatives have repeatedly cut support for green energy producers… We will:
• Pass a Zero Carbon Britain Act to set new legally binding targets to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent by 2040 and to zero by 2050.
• Set up a British Housing and Infrastructure Development Bank…
• Expand renewable energy, aiming to generate 60% of electricity from renewables by 2030…
Greener homes, lower energy bills
At over £1,200 a year, the cost of heating and lighting an average home in the UK is too high… We will:
• Pass a new Green Buildings Act to set new energy efficiency targets, including a long-term ambition for every home in England to reach at least an energy rating of Band C by 2035.
• Ensure that at least four million homes are made highly energy efficient (Band C) by 2022, with priority given to fuel-poor households.
• Restore the Zero Carbon Standard for new homes which was set by Liberal Democrats in government…
• Continue to back new entrants to the energy market, aiming for at least 30% of the household market to be supplied by competitors to the ‘Big 6’ by 2022.
Protecting nature
• Establish a £2bn flood prevention fund…
• Pass a Nature Act to put the Natural Capital Committee (NCC) on a statutory footing…
Farming, food, and agriculture
… For agricultural products outside the EU, tariffs average 22.3% – putting Britain’s £18 billion of food exports in danger. …
• Introduce a National Food Strategy…
• Increase the powers of the Groceries Code Adjudicator…
Despite reform, the Common Fisheries Policy has failed to deliver the economic or environmental objectives necessary…
Cutting waste, using resources wisely
…the so-called ‘circular economy’…
• Pass a Zero Waste Act, including legally-binding targets for reducing net consumption of key natural resources…
• Establish a statutory waste recycling target of 70% in England and extend separate food waste collections to at least 90% of homes by 2022. …
• Establish a coherent tax and regulatory framework for landfill, incineration and waste collection, including reinstating the Landfill Tax escalator and extending it to the lower rate and consulting on the introduction of an Incineration Tax. …
…we will establish a Cabinet Committee on Sustainability, chaired by a cabinet minister, establish an Office for Environmental Responsibility to scrutinise the government’s efforts to meets its environmental targets…

Rights (w Video)
… We will continue international security co-operation – combatting organised crime, terrorism and child sexual exploitation.
Rights and Equalities
… Our society is only strong once it includes everybody – regardless of their background. …
• …an ambitious goal of a million more women in work by 2025.
• …pushing for at least 40% of board members being women in FTSE 350 companies and implementing the recommendations of the Parker review to increase ethnic minority representation.
• Extend the Equality Act to all large companies with over 250 employees, requiring them to monitor and publish data on gender, BAME, and LGBT+ employment levels and pay gaps. …
…Show Racism the Red Card, the Anne Frank Trust UK, and Kick It Out. …
• Decriminalise the sale and purchase of sex, and the management of sex work – reducing harm, defending sex workers’ human rights, and focusing police time and resources on those groomed, forced, or trafficked into the sex industry. …
• …streamline and simplify the Gender Recognition Act 2004…
• Increase accessibility to public places and transport by making more stations wheelchair accessible, improving the legislative framework governing Blue Badges, setting up a benchmarking standard for accessible cities, and bringing into effect the provisions of the 2010 Equality Act on discrimination by private hire vehicles and taxis. …
Liberty
Liberal Democrats believe that we should all be free from an overreaching state and that the individual freedoms guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights and the Human Rights Act are central to a free and democratic society. …
• Introduce a Digital Bill of Rights…
• In light of the press’s failure to engage in effective self-regulation, seek to ensure delivery of independent self-regulation, and commence Part 2 of the Leveson Inquiry as soon as practicable.
• End the Ministerial veto on release of information under the Freedom of Information Act, and take steps to reduce the proportion of FOI requests where information is withheld by government departments.
• Order Ofcom to launch an immediate full assessment of media plurality in the UK, including a review of the ‘fit and proper persons test’ and whether the communications regulator, and the Competition and Markets Authority, have appropriate powers to deal with concentrations of power in the digital economy.
Crime and policing
• Increase community policing in England and Wales by giving an additional £300m a year…
• Maintain, as part of our fight against Hard Brexit, cross-border co-operation in combating serious organised crime…
• Require all frontline officers to wear body cameras on duty, protecting the public from abuse of power and police officers from malicious accusations. …
• Replace Police and Crime Commissioners, elected at great expense in elections with very low turnout, with accountable Police Boards made up of local councillors.
• Build on the success of crime maps to use data more effectively to reduce crime and improve policing, including exploring the feasibility of mandatory reporting of fraud losses by individual credit and debit card providers.
Criminal Justice
• Introduce a presumption against short prison sentences and increase the use of tough, non-custodial punishments including weekend and evening custody, curfew, community service, and GPS tagging. …
Civil and Family Justice
Terrorism and Violent Extremism
• Permit intercepts where justified and permit surveillance of those suspected of serious crime and terrorism with proper judicial oversight.
• Scrap the flawed Prevent strategy and replace it with a scheme that prioritises community engagement and supports communities in developing their own approach to tackling the dangers of violent extremism. …
• Oppose Conservative attempts to undermine encryption. …
Combatting the harm done by drugs
• Break the grip of the criminal gangs and protect young people by introducing a legal, regulated market for cannabis. We would introduce limits on potency and permit cannabis to be sold through licensed outlets to adults over the age of 18. …
Immigration and Asylum
• Continue to allow high-skilled immigration to support key sectors of our economy…
• Ensure the UK is an attractive destination for overseas students. …
• Work with universities to ensure a fair and transparent student visa process…
• Establish a centrally-funded Migrant Impact Fund…
• End indefinite immigration detention by introducing a 28-day limit. …

International Affairs (w Video)
Liberal Democrats are internationalists – working with our European and global partners to champion human rights…
We are patriotic, optimistic and progressive. …
Working for peace and security across the world
• Improve control of arms exports by:
– Implementing a policy of ‘presumption of denial’ for arms exports to countries listed as Human Rights Priority Countries in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s annual human rights report.
– Enforcing end-user certification on all future arms export licenses with an annual report to Parliament on this certification.
– Creating a public register of arms brokers. …
• Suspend UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia in response to their consistent targeting of civilians, in breach of International Humanitarian Law, in Yemen. We will work with international partners to re-commence the peace process in Yemen.
• Promote democracy and stability in Ukraine and neighbouring countries against an increasingly aggressive Russia. We will work closely with European and other international partners to exert maximum economic and political pressure on Russia to stop interfering in the affairs of sovereign Eastern European nations, and will stand by our obligations under the NATO treaty in the event of threats to NATO member states.
Our armed forces and security services
• Commit to spending 2% of GDP on defence. …
• Build on the framework for defence co-operation that is already well-established with France, the Netherlands, Germany and other European partners, and promote European defence integration where appropriate by enhancing European defence industry co-operation. …
International development
• Maintain our commitment to spend 0.7% of UK Gross National Income…
• Invest to eliminate within a generation preventable diseases like TB, HIV and malaria…
• Provide greater resources for international environmental cooperation, particularly on climate change and on actions to tackle illegal and unsustainable trade in timber, wildlife, ivory, and fish.
• In light of the US government’s dangerous and anti-science attacks on international programmes of vaccination and family planning, which impact disproportionately on the health of women and children, seek to protect global spending on these essential provisions.
Standing up for Liberal values
• Support free media and a free and open Internet around the world, championing the free flow of information. …
• Campaign strongly for the abolition of the death penalty around the world.
• … We will implement outstanding commitments made by the British Government at the 2016 Global Anti-Corruption Summit.
• Maintain funding for the BBC World Service, BBC Monitoring and the British Council. …
• Appoint an Ambassador-level Champion for Freedom of Belief to drive British diplomatic efforts in this field, and campaign for the abolition of blasphemy, sedition, apostasy and criminal libel laws worldwide…

Constitutional and Political Reform (w Video)
People should have power over their own lives and how their country is run. We would revitalise our political system – so it works for everyone – with fairer votes and more devolution.
Better politics
• Introduce the Single Transferable Vote for local government elections in England and for electing MPs across the UK. …
• Reform the House of Lords with a proper democratic mandate. …
• Strengthen Trade Union members’ political freedoms by letting them choose which political party they wish to support through the political levy. …
• Mandate the provision of televised Leaders’ Debates in General Elections based on rules produced by Ofcom…
A decentralised United Kingdom
… We will deliver Home Rule to each of the nations of a strong, federal, and United Kingdom.
…we will therefore establish a UK Constitutional Convention, made up from representatives of the political parties, academia, civic society and members of the public…to report within two years. …
Scotland
…the Smith Commission to bring Scotland’s five biggest parties together to agree what further powers should be assigned to the Scottish Parliament. …
The Scottish Parliament will raise in tax half of what it spends in its budget. A Scottish welfare system will allow the Scottish Parliament to change the benefits regime where there is specific Scottish need or priority, with a starting budget of around £3 billion. …
Wales
We welcome the new Wales Act, which is intended to implement the St. David’s Day agreement secured by Liberal Democrats in government – but it does not go far enough.
Liberal Democrats will deliver proper Home Rule for Wales and a Welsh Parliament by implementing the remaining Silk Part 1 proposals on financial powers and the Silk Part 2 proposals to devolve powers over transport, youth justice, policing and, other justice powers. …
…Network Rail…
Northern Ireland
… We will work constructively with the political parties in Northern Ireland and with the Irish Government to secure the political stability of the Northern Ireland Assembly and other institutions of the Belfast Agreement and the implementation of all the recommendations of the Report on Disbanding Paramilitary Groups.
• Maintain the Common Travel Area and freedom of movement. …
England
Devolution of power to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland has implications for the UK Parliament and its dual role in legislating for England as well as the federal UK. …
… We will therefore introduce Devolution on Demand, enabling even greater devolution of powers from Westminster to Councils or groups of Councils working together – for example to a Cornish Assembly or a Yorkshire Parliament.
Funding
… The Barnett Formula is the mechanism used to adjust spending allocations across the UK.
We recognise the findings of the Holtham Commission that the current formula underfunds Wales…

CHANGE BRITAIN’S FUTURE – LIBERAL DEMOCRAT MANIFESTO 2017 (PDF)
Contents
3 Your chance to change Britain’s future by changing the opposition
7 Protect Britain’s Place in Europe
13 Save our NHS and Social Care Services
23 Put Children First
33 Build an Economy that Works for You
45 Keep our Country Green
55 Support Families and Communities
67 Defend Rights, Promote Justice and Equalities
79 Make a Better World
87 Fix a Broken System


UK Vol.88 (Post-EUref #Brexit Vol.17: 2017 General Election – a long-term plan for elderly care and the war on terror)

Here are articles on #DementiaTax (a long-term plan for elderly care) and #WarOnTerror (Manchester bombing, London attack, et al.). Excerpts are on our own.

A long-term plan for elderly care
‘Fake claims’ v U-turns: who is telling the truth on social care, May or Corbyn? (22/5/2017) | @alantravis40 @guardian
… It is true the Labour leader initially got some of the detail of the policy wrong…: What the Conservatives are doing is to put a £100,000 cap on social care which actually goes nowhere near meeting the needs of somebody with extreme conditions can easily spend £50,000 a year on their care. It’s completely unrealistic, what they’re doing. We will make sure social care is properly funded.
This was wrong. The Conservatives were not putting a £100,000 cap on social care costs. They were planning to make people pay for care in their own home unless they have assets of less than £100,000 including the value of their house. …
… Their plans mean that the value of your home will be used to assess whether you are eligible for state funded care in your own home. …
… The Conservative @bowgroup described it as “the biggest stealth tax in history”. @TheKingsFund called the plans “deeply disappointing”. The Mail on Sunday and the @FT had front-page headlines calling the policy a “death tax”. May appeared to be dismissing all this as “fake claims”. They were not. … Corbyn was correct…
The manifesto promised a “floor”, a maximum £100,000 that people would be allowed to keep when the bill for their care costs has to be paid. But it did not propose a cap, a maximum amount that people would have to pay.
The manifesto also clearly rejects the proposal for a cap, saying the social care costs plan would be “more equitable within and across the generations” than the Dilnot report – which proposed introducing a cap on costs because that would “mostly benefit a small number of wealthier people”. Dilnot put the cost of a £72,000 ceiling at an extra £3bn.
cf. pp.64-66: A long-term plan for elderly care
… The manifesto explicitly rejected Dilnot’s solution of introducing a cap on social care costs. The prime minister has now announced that a limit will be introduced, albeit not exactly the same as Dilnot’s. …
… The prime minister is also disingenuous about claiming the detail of the “dementia tax” was clearly subject to a green paper consultation in the manifesto. …
…the health secretary @Jeremy_Hunt dispelled them on the @BBCr4today programme on the morning of the manifesto launch: “If you have that cap that was his proposal [Andrew Dilnot’s] … and we couldn’t be clearer because … not only are we dropping it, but we’re dropping it ahead of a general election and we’re being completely explicit in our manifesto that we’re dropping it, and we’re dropping it because we’ve looked again at this proposal and we don’t think it is fair.” …
… May has made a U-turn because the manifesto explicitly rejects Dilnot, saying it would “mostly benefit a small number of wealthier people”. …

Corbyn challenges Theresa May over ‘dementia tax’ (w Videos; 3/6/2017) | @Alan_McGuinness @SkyNews
… Labour claims the Conservative plan to means-test winter fuel payments could affect up to 10.8 million pensioners, while people who need social care could face spending up to 42% of the value of their estates if the cap was set at £100,000. …
The party would introduce a new guarantee that nobody’s assets will be depleted below £100,000 because of care costs, more generous than the current floor of £23,250. …
But after the changes attracted criticism and were dubbed a “dementia tax” by critics, Mrs May performed a u-turn and committed to a cap on the total costs people would face.
The level of the cap will be decided after the election. …
The party also suggested that if the social care cap was set at £100,000 then a person with a house worth the national average of £217,500 and savings of £20,000 would face having 42% of their estate going towards care costs.
If the cap was set at the previously proposed £72,000 limit, care costs would wipe out their savings and then result in a 24% charge – £52,000 – on the value of the home. …
The Lib Dems have also hit out at the policy, claiming the reforms could cause financial difficulties for councils, saying local authorities will be spending an additional £1.3bn each year on deferred payment agreements. …

General Election 2017 polls – who will win as Theresa May’s lead over Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn slips to 5 points (3/6/2017) | @em_lake,@impaulharper @TheSun
Theresa May’s top 9 flip-flops (26/5/2017) | @Hugodixon @InFactsOrg
Election 2017: Charts explain why Labour is just five points behind Tories in the polls (26/5/2017) | @willrworley @Independent

War on Terror
London, ‘reeling’? The city that weathered Nazi bombs pushes back against fear. (6/4/2017) | @peterjholley @griffwitte,@karlaadam,@rick_n @wapo
… Prime Minister Theresa May blamed the attack on the “evil ideology of Islamist extremism” and promised a review of Britain’s counterterrorism laws. …
…@OwenJones84… …terrorism’s success is dependent upon its impact.
Jones said he was sharing a drink with friends when “three hate-filled murdering terrorists” attacked his city. As news of the attack spread, he wrote, people continued for many hours to laugh, chat, drink and dance. Not because they didn’t care, he pointed out, but because they intended to carry on their lives after checking on their loved ones. …
@RichardAngell, who was in the Arabica bar and kitchen in Borough Market during the attack, returned to the restaurant Sunday to pay his bill and tip the staff, according to @guardian. …

London attack: Seven killed in vehicle and stabbing incidents (w Videos; 4/6/2017) | @BBC

“WAR ON TERRORISM IS SIMPLY NOT WORKING” SAYS JEREMY CORBYN (26/5/2017) | @denilucs @Denisaurus_UK
… @jon_bartley… “If we’re going to beat terrorism we need both adequate security measures at home and a look at how Britain’s role in world affairs can have serious unintended consequences which lead to greater insecurity.” …
A report by the Tory dominated foreign affairs committee criticised David Cameron’s Libya policy.
The report titled Libya: Examination of intervention and collapse and the UK’s future policy options Contents…
“This policy was not informed by accurate intelligence. In particular, the Government failed to identify that the threat to civilians was overstated and that the rebels included a significant Islamist element.
“By the summer of 2011, the limited intervention to protect civilians had drifted into an opportunist policy of regime change. That policy was not underpinned by a strategy to support and shape post-Gaddafi Libya.
“The result was political and economic collapse, inter-militia and inter-tribal warfare, humanitarian and migrant crises, widespread human rights violations, the spread of Gaddafi regime weapons across the region and the growth of ISIL in North Africa. Through his decision making in the National Security Council, former Prime Minister David Cameron was ultimately responsible for the failure to develop a coherent Libya strategy.

What Does It Mean When ISIS Claims Responsibility For An Attack? (w Voice; 5/24/2017) | @gregmyre1,@camilareads @npr
…@Rita_Katz,@siteintelgroup… “Despite the fact that they are a terrorist organization, they want to provide their followers and supporters with authentic information.” …
… @thomasjoscelyn,@LongWarJournal said ISIS will credit “a soldier of the caliphate” for an attack, regardless of whether it was planned by ISIS or just carried out in the group’s name.
“The way they issue claims mixes and mingles different types of operations,” he said. Groups of ISIS-trained operatives have carried out ISIS-planned bombings. ISIS handlers in Raqqa, Syria, have guided untrained people in Europe through online communications. And at the far end of the spectrum, there are “lone wolf” attacks planned and carried out independently, based on ISIS propaganda.
“You can have somebody who had no direct ties to ISIS whatsoever, at least that we’re aware of — someone who was inspired by the Islamic State but not actually directed by them at all,”…
ISIS is equally willing to claim them all. The distinction seems to make no difference. …

How Islamic State called for ‘all-out war’ on West during Ramadan (w Timeline; 4/6/2017) | @Josiensor @Telegraph


UK Vol.87 (Post-EUref #Brexit Vol.16: 2017 General Election – Conservative Party Manifesto)

Here is FORWARD TOGETHER: THE CONSERVATIVE MANIFESTO (issuu or PDF) in May 2017. Excerpts are on our own.

FOREWORD pp.4-5
…build a Great Meritocracy…

FIVE GIANT CHALLENGES pp.6-10
Strong and stable leadership
… Despite predictions of immediate financial and economic danger, we have seen confidence remain high, record numbers of jobs and economic growth that has exceeded all expectations. …
Five giant challenges
1. The need for a strong economy.
2. Brexit and a changing world.
3. Enduring social divisions.
4. An ageing society.
5. Fast-changing technology.
Governing from the mainstream
… Rather than pursue an agenda based on a supposed centre ground defined and established by elites in Westminster, we will govern in the interests of the mainstream of the British public. We will get on with the job and take Britain out of the European Union. …
…there will be no ideological crusades. …
We will govern in the interests of ordinary, working families
We believe in the good that government can do
… If we want to overcome Britain’s enduring social divisions, we will need to give people real opportunity and make Britain the world’s Great Meritocracy. That will require government to take on long-ignored problems like Britain’s lack of training and technical education, as well as long-lasting injustices…
Our principles
… Because Conservatism is not and never has been the philosophy described by caricaturists. We do not believe in untrammelled free markets. We reject the cult of selfish individualism. We abhor social division, injustice, unfairness and inequality. We see rigid dogma and ideology not just as needless but dangerous.
True Conservatism means a commitment to country and community; a belief not just in society but in the good that government can do; a respect for the local and national institutions that bind us together…
A vision of a stronger Britain and a prosperous future

1. A STRONG ECONOMY THAT WORKS FOR EVERYONE pp.11-27
p.12 Summary
p.13 A strong economy is the basis for everything we want to achieve as a nation.
pp.13-16 THE FOUNDATIONS OF A STRONG ECONOMY
Sound money and responsible public finances are the essential foundations of national economic success.
Keeping taxes as low as possible
Paying your fair share of tax is the price of living in a civilised democracy but politicians should never forget that taxes are levied on businesses that employ people, and individuals who work hard and face tough decisions about how they spend their money. …
By 2020, we will, as promised, increase the personal allowance to £12,500 and the higher rate to £50,000. We will continue to ensure that local residents can veto high increases in Council Tax via a referendum. And we will not increase the level of Value Added Tax.
Corporation Tax is due to fall to seventeen per cent by 2020 – the lowest rate of any developed economy – and we will stick to that plan, because it will help to bring huge investment and many thousands of jobs to the UK. …
Increasing trade
…we want to negotiate a new deep and special partnership with the EU, which will allow free trade between the UK and the EU’s member states. As part of the agreement we strike, we want to make sure that there are as few barriers to trade and investment as possible. Leaving the European Union also means we will be free to strike our own trade agreements with countries outside the EU.
We will ensure immediate stability by lodging new UK schedules with the World Trade Organization, in alignment with EU schedules to which we are bound whilst still a member of the European Union. …
We will create a network of Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioners to head nine new regional overseas posts. These commissioners will lead export promotion, investment and trade policy overseas. We will reconvene the Board of Trade with a membership specifically charged with ensuring that we increase exports from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as well as England, and that trade policy is directly influenced by every part of our United Kingdom. …
Effective regulation
…we will continue to regulate more efficiently, saving £9 billion through the Red Tape Challenge and the One-In-Two-Out Rule.
… We will therefore examine ways in which the regulation of utilities and transport infrastructure can be improved to deliver a better deal for customers and sharper incentives for investment efficiency.

pp.16-18 NEW RULES FOR A CHANGING ECONOMY
Conservatives believe that if you value something, you must be prepared to reform it in order to conserve it.
Guaranteeing a decent wage
…now receive a minimum of £7.50 an hour. A new Conservative government will continue to increase the National Living Wage to 60 per cent of median earnings by 2020 and then by the rate of median earnings…
Rights and protections in the ‘gig’ economy
…the government commissioned Matthew Taylor, the chief executive of the Royal Society of Arts, to review the changing labour market. We await his final report but a new Conservative government will act to ensure that the interests of employees on traditional contracts, the self-employed and those people working in the ‘gig’ economy are all properly protected.
Stopping tax evasion
… We will improve HMRC’s capabilities to stamp down on smuggling, including by improving our policing of the border as we leave the European Union. We will also take further measures to reduce online fraud in Value Added Tax.
Protecting private pensions
… A Conservative government will act to tighten the rules against such abuse, and increase the punishment for those caught mismanaging pension schemes. We will build on existing powers to give pension schemes and the Pensions Regulator the right to scrutinise, clear with conditions or in extreme cases stop mergers, takeovers or large financial commitments that threaten the solvency of the scheme. …
Reforming rules on takeovers and mergers
… We shall also take action to protect our critical national infrastructure. We will ensure that foreign ownership of companies controlling important infrastructure does not undermine British security or essential services. We have already strengthened ministerial scrutiny and control in respect of civil nuclear power and will take a similarly robust approach across a limited range of other sectors, such as telecoms, defence and energy.
Fair corporate pay
… Senior corporate pay has risen far faster than corporate performance, and the gap between those paid most and those paid least has grown from 47:1 in 1998 to 128:1 in 2015.
The next Conservative government will legislate to make executive pay packages subject to strict annual votes by shareholders and listed companies will have to publish the ratio of executive pay to broader UK workforce pay. …
Better corporate governance
… To ensure employees’ interests are represented at board level, we will change the law to ensure that listed companies will be required either to nominate a director from the workforce, create a formal employee advisory council or assign specific responsibility for employee representation to a designated non-executive director. …

pp.18-24 A MODERN INDUSTRIAL STRATEGY
Our modern industrial strategy is designed to deliver a stronger economy that works for everyone – where wealth and opportunity are spread across every community in the United Kingdom, not just the most prosperous places in London and the south east.
… We will spend more on research and development, to turn brilliant discoveries into practical products and transform the world’s industries – such as the batteries that will power a new generation of clean, efficient, electric vehicles. … We will build on the success of world-beating sectors such as car and aero manufacturing, financial services, life sciences, digital technology and our creative industries… We will deliver the infrastructure – the road, rail, airports and broadband – that businesses need.
Increasing innovation
University investment funds
National Productivity Investment Fund
…a new £23 billion… This will include £740 million of digital infrastructure investment, the largest investment in railways since Victorian times, £1.1 billion to improve local transport and £250 million in skills by the end of 2020. …will take total spending on housing, economic infrastructure and R&D to £170 billion during the next parliament.
Future Britain funds
…backing British infrastructure and the British economy. We anticipate early funds being created out of revenues from shale gas extraction, dormant assets, and the receipts of sale of some public assets. …
The skills we need
… We will therefore ask the independent Migration Advisory Committee to make recommendations to the government about how the visa system can become better aligned with our modern industrial strategy. …
…we will double the Immigration Skills Charge levied on companies employing migrant workers, to £2,000 a year by the end of the parliament, using the revenue generated to invest in higher level skills training for workers in the UK.
Backing small businesses
The Conservative Party is the party of enterprise and of the entrepreneur. …
…we will ensure that 33 per cent of central government purchasing will come from SMEs by the end of the parliament. …
…we will use our buying power to ensure that big contractors comply with the Prompt Payment Code both on government contracts and in their work with others. …
Supporting industries to succeed
Our modern industrial strategy is not about ‘planning’ the economy. …
…advanced manufacturing, such as aero and automotive engineering…
Other industries, like the oil and gas sector, are transforming. The North Sea has provided more than £300 billion in tax revenue to the UK economy and supports thousands of highly-skilled jobs across Britain. …
… Life sciences, for example, employs 175,000 people and many of the world’s top medicines have been developed in the UK. We will continue to support research into the diagnosis and treatment of rare cancers and other diseases, including Genomics England’s work in decoding 100,000 genomes. …
Competitive and affordable energy costs
… Our ambition is that the UK should have the lowest energy costs in Europe, both for households and businesses. So as we upgrade our energy infrastructure…
A diverse energy mix
…while we do not believe that more large-scale onshore wind power is right for England, we will maintain our position as a global leader in offshore wind and support the development of wind projects in the remote islands of Scotland, where they will directly benefit local communities.
Natural gas from shale
We will set up a new Shale Environmental Regulator, which will assume the relevant functions of the Health and Safety Executive, the Environment Agency and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. This will provide clear governance and accountability, become a source of expertise, and allow decisions to be made fairly but swiftly.
Finally, we will change the proposed Shale Wealth Fund so a greater percentage of the tax revenues from shale gas directly benefit the communities that host the extraction sites. …
Investing in transport
We are working through one of the largest-ever investment programmes in our roads and railways, putting some £40 billion into transport improvements…
…our programme of strategic national investments, including High Speed 2, Northern Powerhouse Rail and the expansion of Heathrow Airport…
… We want almost every car and van to be zero-emission by 2050 – and will invest £600 million by 2020 to help achieve it. …

pp.24-27 STRONGER COMMUNITIES FROM A STRONGER ECONOMY
Prosperous towns and cities across Britain
… We will hold a Great Exhibition of the North in 2018, to celebrate amazing achievements in innovation, the arts and engineering. We will support a UK city in making a bid to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games. And in this 70th Anniversary Year of the Edinburgh Festival we will support the development of the new Edinburgh Concert Hall, reaffirming Edinburgh as the UK’s leading festival city and a cultural beacon around the globe.
Our countryside communities
… We will help Natural England to expand their provision of technical expertise to farmers to deliver environmental improvements on a landscape scale, from enriching soil fertility to planting hedgerows and building dry stone walls. …
We will continue to take action to improve animal welfare. We will implement our proposed reforms on pet sales and licensing and will make CCTV recording in slaughterhouses mandatory. …
…decide the future of the Hunting Act.
…a comprehensive 25 Year Environment Plan…
Our coastal communities
… To provide complete legal certainty to our neighbours and clarity during our negotiations with the European Union, we will withdraw from the London Fisheries Convention…

2. A STRONG AND UNITED NATION IN A CHANGING WORLD pp.29-45
p.30 Summary
p.31 The United Kingdom is embarking upon another era in our centuries-old story.
pp.31-35 OUR PRECIOUS UNION
We are a United Kingdom, one nation made of four – the most successful political union in modern history.
England
Scotland
…the 2012 and 2016 Scotland Acts…
… The United Kingdom has voted to leave the European Union but some would disrupt our attempts to get the best deal for Scotland and the United Kingdom with calls for a divisive referendum that the people of Scotland do not want. We have been very clear that now is not the time for another referendum on independence. In order for a referendum to be fair, legal and decisive, it cannot take place until the Brexit process has played out and it should not take place unless there is public consent for it to happen. This is a time to pull together, not apart. …
… Building on the City and Growth deals we have signed across Scotland, we will bring forward a Borderlands Growth Deal, including all councils on both sides of the border, to help secure prosperity in southern Scotland. We will protect the interests of Scottish farmers and fishermen…
Wales
…The 2017 Wales Act…
… We will build on the Cardiff Capital region and Swansea Bay City region deals, and bring forward a North Wales Growth Deal… …such as linking economic development between Cardiff, Newport and Bristol. …
…S4C…the Welsh language…
Northern Ireland
…the 1998 Belfast Agreement…
A Conservative government will continue to work for the full implementation of the 2014 Stormont House and 2015 Fresh Start Agreements. This includes new bodies for addressing the legacy of the past in fair, balanced and proportionate ways which do not unfairly focus on former members of the Armed Forces and the Royal Ulster Constabulary. …
Shared institutions of Union
United Kingdom Shared Prosperity Fund

pp.35-37 LEAVING THE EUROPEAN UNION
… In her Lancaster House Speech, the prime minister laid out the twelve principles she intends to follow in seeking a new deep and special partnership with the European Union. We have explained our approach in the White Paper on the United Kingdom’s Exit from, and a new relationship with, the European Union, during the passage of the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Act, in the prime minister’s letter to the president of the European Council invoking Article 50, and in the Great Repeal Bill White Paper.
Repatriating EU law to the United Kingdom
…the rights of workers and protections given to consumers and the environment by EU law will continue to be available in UK law at the point at which we leave the EU. … Once EU law has been converted into domestic law, parliament will be able to pass legislation to amend, repeal or improve any piece of EU law it chooses, as will the devolved legislatures, where they have the power to do so.
… We will not bring the European Union’s Charter of Fundamental Rights into UK law. We will not repeal or replace the Human Rights Act while the process of Brexit is underway but we will consider our human rights legal framework when the process of leaving the EU concludes. We will remain signatories to the European Convention on Human Rights for the duration of the next parliament.

pp.37-41 GLOBAL BRITAIN
… We will continue to champion British values around the globe: freedom, democracy, tolerance and the rule of law. …
British leadership in international institutions
Global partnerships and alliances
…our proposed deep and special partnership with the European Union… …our existing special relationship with the United States… …our close links with our Commonwealth allies…
A global champion of free trade
Promoting British culture around the world
Leading the world in development
…we will maintain the commitment to spend 0.7 per cent of our gross national income on assistance to developing nations and international emergencies.
Reforming asylum
… Wherever possible, the government will offer asylum and refuge to people in parts of the world affected by conflict and oppression, rather than to those who have made it to Britain. We will work to reduce asylum claims made in Britain and, as we do so, increase the number of people we help in the most troubled regions. We will continue to work with other countries in Europe, and the United Nations, to review the international legal definitions of asylum and refugee status. …
Protecting the global environment
…the Paris Agreement. We were the first country to introduce a Climate Change Act, which Conservatives helped to frame, and we are halfway towards meeting our 2050 goal of reducing emissions by eighty per cent from 1990 levels.
… We will work with our Overseas Territory governments to create a Blue Belt of marine protection in their precious waters, establishing the largest marine sanctuaries anywhere in the world.
Modern slavery
… As home secretary, Theresa May brought forward the Modern Slavery Act, the first of its kind in Europe, appointed the world’s first anti-slavery commissioner and set up the Modern Slavery Taskforce to bring together the heads of MI5, MI6 and the National Crime Agency to coordinate our response to criminal gangs operating across the world. …

pp.41-42 STRONG DEFENCE IN AN UNCERTAIN WORLD
… We will retain the Trident continuous-at-sea nuclear deterrent to provide the ultimate guarantee of our security.
We have the biggest defence budget in Europe and the second largest in NATO. We will continue to meet the NATO commitment to spend at least 2 per cent of GDP on defence and we will increase the defence budget by at least 0.5 per cent above inflation in every year of the new parliament.
The finest servicemen and women
… Under a Conservative government, British troops will in future be subject to the Law of Armed Conflict, which includes the Geneva Convention and UK Service Law, not the European Court of Human Rights. We will strengthen legal services regulation and restrict legal aid for unscrupulous law firms that issue vexatious legal claims against the armed forces. …
The best equipment for our armed forces
We plan to invest £178 billion in new military equipment over the next decade, creating high-skilled jobs across the whole country. For the first time in a generation the Royal Navy is growing. …
…HMS Queen Elizabeth…HMS Prince of Wales… Alongside our new Type 45 destroyers, we will build eight Type 26 anti-submarine frigates… We shall also deliver five Offshore Patrol Vessels.
For the Army we will deliver AJAX armoured vehicles, Apache attack helicopters, new drones, new missile and bomb systems, and better equipment for the Special Forces. The Royal Air Force will receive, with the Fleet Air Arm, the Lightning II strike fighter, as well as new Maritime Patrol Aircraft. …
Supporting our veterans
…the Armed Forces Covenant. …a one year holiday on Employer National Insurance Contributions… …a Veterans Board in the Cabinet Office.

pp.42-45 THE HOME OF DEMOCRACY AND THE RULE OF LAW
…collective faith in our democratic institutions and our justice system has declined in the past two decades. …
A flourishing and secure democracy
… We will continue with the current boundary review, enshrining the principle of equal seats, while reducing the number of MPs to 600, similar to other Western democratic chambers. We will retain the first past the post system of voting for parliamentary elections and extend this system to police and crime commissioner and mayoral elections. We will retain the current franchise to vote in parliamentary elections at eighteen. We will repeal the Fixed-term Parliaments Act. …
Celebrating public service
… We will continue to fund schemes to get graduates from Britain’s leading universities to serve in schools, police forces, prisons, and social care and mental health organisations. These programmes are now some of the UK’s largest graduate employers, taking the brightest and best from our universities and using their talents to tackle entrenched social problems. …
Reforming the justice system
Standing up for victims
…the Unduly Lenient Sentence Scheme…
Strengthening the police and security services
… We will create a national infrastructure police force, bringing together the Civil Nuclear Constabulary, the Ministry of Defence Police and the British Transport Police to improve the protection of critical infrastructure such as nuclear sites, railways and the strategic road network. We will strengthen Britain’s response to white collar crime by incorporating the Serious Fraud Office into the National Crime Agency… …the National Cyber Security Centre…
Punishment and reform
… The £15 billion annual cost to society of reoffending shows we have so much more to do to make the penal system work better. …
We will invest over £1 billion to modernise the prison estate, replacing the most dilapidated prisons and creating 10,000 modern prison places. …

3. THE WORLD’S GREAT MERITOCRACY pp.47-60
p.48 Summary
pp.49-54 A COUNTRY FOUNDED ON MERIT
The greatest injustice in Britain today is that your life is still largely determined not by your efforts and talents but by where you come from, who your parents are and what schools you attend. This is wrong. …
More good school places
… There are still 1 million children in primary and secondary schools rated by Ofsted as ’requires improvement’ or ’inadequate’. If schools across the Midlands and north of England had the same average standards as those in the south, nearly 200,000 more children would be attending good schools. …
… We will replace the unfair and ineffective inclusivity rules that prevent the establishment of new Roman Catholic schools, instead requiring new faith schools to prove that parents of other faiths and none would be prepared to send their children to that school. We will work with the Independent Schools Council to ensure that at least 100 leading independent schools become involved in academy sponsorship or the founding of free schools in the state system…
A knowledge-rich curriculum
… To maintain progress as children go through secondary school, we will improve schools’ accountability at key stage 3. We will expect 75 per cent of pupils to have been entered for the EBacc combination of GCSEs by the end of the next parliament, with 90 per cent of pupils studying this combination of academic GCSEs by 2025. …
Supporting teachers
… We will increase the overall schools budget by £4 billion by 2022, representing more than a real terms increase for every year of the parliament. We will continue to protect the Pupil Premium to support those who need it. …
World-class technical education
… We have already introduced high quality apprenticeships that can reach to degree level and beyond for the 200,000 young people who choose to enter full-time vocational study after their GCSEs each year. …
We will start by replacing 13,000 existing technical qualifications with new qualifications, known as T-levels, across fifteen routes in subjects including construction, creative and design, digital, engineering and manufacturing, and health and science. We will increase the number of teaching hours by fifty per cent to an average of 900 hours per year and make sure that each student does a three-month work placement as part of their course. …
… We will deliver our commitment to create 3 million apprenticeships for young people by 2020 and in doing so we will drive up the quality of apprenticeships to ensure they deliver the skills employers need. …
Career learning
More people in work
…we will offer a holiday on their employers’ National Insurance Contributions for a full year. …

pp.54-55 A COUNTRY THAT COMES TOGETHER
Controlling immigration
…with annual net migration standing at 273,000, immigration to Britain is still too high. …
Integrating divided communities
…help women in particular into the workplace, and teach more people to speak English. …
Defeating extremism
a Commission for Countering Extremism

pp.55-58 CONFRONTING BURNING INJUSTICES
To make Britain the world’s Great Meritocracy…we must look beyond divisions in educational opportunity.
The gender pay gap
… We will require companies with more than 250 employees to publish more data on the pay gap between men and women. …
The race gap
The mental health gap
…since 2010 we have increased spending on mental health each year to a record £11.4 billion in 2016/17, with a further investment of £1 billion by 20/21…
The disability gap
…the landmark Disability Discrimination Act of 1995. …
Preventing domestic violence
Reducing homelessness
…full implementation of the Homelessness Reduction Act. Our aim will be to halve rough sleeping over the course of the parliament and eliminate it altogether by 2027. …

pp.59-60 CUTTING THE COST OF LIVING
Fair markets for consumers
… As Conservatives, we believe in markets as the best means to bring about prosperity and innovation, but we should act firmly and fast when a market works against the interests of consumers. Since 2010, we have capped the cost of credit for expensive payday lenders and will shortly ban letting agent fees. …
… We will strengthen the powers of consumer enforcement bodies to order fines against companies breaking consumer law and deliver redress for wronged parties. … We will strengthen the hand of online consumers. …
… A Conservative government will reform and modernise the home-buying process so it is more efficient and less costly. We will crack down on unfair practices in leasehold, such as escalating ground rents. We will also improve protections for those who rent… We will make billing for telecoms customers fairer and easier to understand… We will reduce insurance costs for ordinary motorists by cracking down on exaggerated and fraudulent whiplash claims. …
Fair energy markets
… First, we will ensure that smart meters will be offered to every household and business by the end of 2020…
… We will introduce a safeguard tariff cap that will extend the price protection…
… We will improve the energy efficiency of existing homes, especially for the least well off, by committing to upgrading all fuel poor homes to EPC Band C by 2030. …
Fair debt
…a “Breathing Space” scheme…

4. A RESTORED CONTRACT BETWEEN THE GENERATIONS pp.61-73
p.62 Summary
pp.63-64 DEALING WITH THE DEFICIT
… Conservatives believe in balancing the books and paying down debts – because it is wrong to pass to future generations a bill you cannot or will not pay yourself. …

pp.64-66 AN AGEING SOCIETY
Guaranteed annual increases in the state pension
A decade ago, pensions were in crisis and poverty blighted the retirement of many older people. It was wrong and it has been a Conservative government that has helped to put it right. By introducing the Pensions Triple Lock and the new State Pension, we have lifted the incomes of millions of older people, reducing pensioner poverty to historically low levels. …2020, and when it expires we will introduce a new Double Lock, meaning that pensions will rise in line with the earnings that pay for them, or in line with inflation – whichever is highest. …
… We will promote long-term savings and pensions products, including the Lifetime ISA, to encourage and incentivise more people to make provision for long-term needs, including a house purchase and retirement.
A long-term plan for elderly care
… We have already taken immediate action, putting £2 billion into the social care system and allowing councils to raise more money for care themselves from Council Tax. …
Under the current system, care costs deplete an individual’s assets, including in some cases the family home, down to £23,250 or even less.
First, we will align the future basis for means-testing for domiciliary care with that for residential care, so that people are looked after in the place that is best for them. This will mean that the value of the family home will be taken into account along with other assets and income, whether care is provided at home, or in a residential or nursing care home.
Second, to ensure this is fair, we will introduce a single capital floor, set at £100,000, more than four times the current means test threshold. This will ensure that, no matter how large the cost of care turns out to be, people will always retain at least £100,000 of their savings and assets, including value in the family home.
Third, we will extend the current freedom to defer payments for residential care to those receiving care at home, so no-one will have to sell their home in their lifetime to pay for care.
the Dilnot Report
…our forthcoming green paper will also address system-wide issues to improve the quality of care and reduce variation in practice. This will ensure the care system works better with the NHS to reduce unnecessary and unhealthy hospital stays and delayed transfers of care, and provide better quality assurance within the care sector. …
…we will meanstest Winter Fuel Payments, focusing assistance on the least well-off pensioners, who are most at risk of fuel poverty. …

pp.66-70 OUR NATIONAL HEALTH SERVICE
The money and people the NHS needs
First, we will increase NHS spending by a minimum of £8 billion in real terms over the next five years…
Second… Last year we announced an increase in the number of students in medical training of 1,500 a year…
Third, we will ensure that the NHS has the buildings and technology it needs to deliver care properly and efficiently. …
Fourth…we will recover the cost of medical treatment from people not resident in the UK. … And we will increase the Immigration Health Surcharge, to £600 for migrant workers and £450 for international students…
Fifth, we will implement the recommendations of the Accelerated Access Review to make sure that patients get new drugs and treatments faster…
Holding NHS leaders to account
…NHS England… …the Five Year Forward View. … We will also back the implementation of the plan at a local level, through the Sustainability and Transformation Plans…
…in time for the start of the 2018 financial year, we will make non-legislative changes to remove barriers to the integration of care.
We will introduce a new GP contract to help develop wider primary care services. …
We will also help the million and more NHS clinicians and support staff develop the skills they need…
Exceptional standards of care, wherever, whenever
…we will make clinical outcomes more transparent so that clinicians and frontline staff can learn more easily from the best units and practices, and where there is clear evidence of poor patient outcomes, we will take rapid corrective action. …
…we will give patients, via digital means or over the phone, the ability to book appointments, contact the 111 service, order repeat prescriptions, and access and update aspects of their care records, as well as control how their personal data is used. …
…waiting times data for A&Es… …our National Diabetes Prevention Programme…
… Already 17 million people can get routine weekend or evening appointments at either their own GP surgery or one nearby, and this will expand to the whole population by 2019. …
We will retain the 95 per cent A&E target and the 18-week elective care standard…
… We will extend the scope of the CQC to cover the health-related services commissioned by local authorities. …
In cancer services, we will deliver the new promise to give patients a definitive diagnosis within 28 days by 2020…

pp.70-72 HOMES FOR ALL
… We will meet our 2015 commitment to deliver a million homes by the end of 2020 and we will deliver half a million more by the end of 2022. We will deliver the reforms proposed in our Housing White Paper to free up more land for new homes in the right places…
…maintaining the existing strong protections on designated land like the Green Belt, National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. …government building 160,000 houses on its own land. …
We will enter into new Council Housing Deals with ambitious, pro-development, local authorities to help them build more social housing. …
…sold privately after ten to fifteen years with an automatic Right to Buy for tenants… We will enter into new Council Housing Deals with ambitious, pro-development, local authorities to help them build more social housing. …
…we will continue our £2.5 billion flood defence programme that will put in place protection for 300,000 existing homes by 2021.

pp.72-73 CHILDREN AND FAMILIES
High-quality childcare
…a Conservative government will introduce, this year, thirty hours of free childcare for three and four-year-olds for working parents who find it difficult to manage the costs of childcare… …we will immediately institute a capital fund to help primary schools develop nurseries where they currently do not have the facilities to provide one…
Children’s and young people’s health
… We are seeing progress: smoking rates are now lower than France or Germany, drinking rates have fallen below the European average and teenage pregnancies are at record lows. …
… Half of all mental health conditions become established in people before the age of fourteen. … A Conservative
government will publish a green paper on young people’s mental health before the end of this year. …
Protecting vulnerable children and families
… Placing a child under the oversight of social services and taking a child into care are amongst the most serious duties the state may discharge. We will demand all local authorities be commissioners of the highest-quality family support and child protection services, removing these responsibilities from the weakest councils and placing them in trust. We will ensure that councils provide consistency of care and cannot relocate vulnerable children far from their home when it is not in their best interests to do so. We will review support for Children in Need to understand why their outcomes are so poor and what more support they might require, in and out of school.
Finally, we shall explore ways to improve the family justice system. The family courts need to do more to support families, valuing the roles of mothers and fathers, while ensuring parents face up to their responsibilities.

5. PROSPERITY AND SECURITY IN A DIGITAL AGE pp.75-83
p.76 Summary
p.77 … These new technologies provide us with new and faster ways to communicate, learn, travel, have fun and do business. They accelerate the pace of change – ushering in new norms in the space of years rather than decades; challenging our laws and regulations to keep pace.
pp.77-80 A DIGITAL CHARTER
The best place for digital business
…our world-leading Enterprise Investment Scheme and Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme… …open new offices of the British Business Bank in Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Manchester and Newport… When we leave the European Union, we will fund the British Business Bank with the repatriated funds from the European Investment Fund.
… By the end of this year, 19 out of 20 premises will have access to superfast broadband and our Universal Service Obligation will ensure that by 2020 every home and every business in Britain has access to high speed broadband. … We will introduce a full fibre connection voucher for companies across the country by 2018 and by 2022 we will have major fibre spines in over a hundred towns and cities, with ten million premises connected to full fibre…
… By 2022 we will extend mobile coverage further to 95 per cent geographic coverage of the UK. By the same date, all major roads and main line trains will enjoy full and uninterrupted mobile phone signal, alongside guaranteed WiFi internet service on all such trains. …
The safest place to be online
… We will put a responsibility on industry not to direct users – even unintentionally – to hate speech, pornography, or other sources of harm. …
… To create a sound ethical framework for how data is used, we will institute an expert Data Use and Ethics Commission…
…we will bring forward a new data protection law…to ensure the very best standards for the safe, flexible and dynamic use of data and enshrining our global leadership…the National Data Guardian for Health and Social Care on a statutory footing…
We will continue with our £1.9 billion investment in cyber security and build on the successful establishment of the National Cyber Security Centre…
A free media
…the Leveson Inquiry… We will repeal Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2014…

pp.80-82 DIGITAL GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC SERVICES
… We will therefore create a new presumption of digital government services by default and an expectation that all government services are fully accessible online, with assisted digital support available for all public sector websites. …local issues and public transport…roadworks, planning applications and bus routes… …’schools maps’…
…central and local government will be required to release information regularly and in an open format, and data will be aggregated and anonymised where it is important to do so. We will incubate more digital services within government and introduce digital transformation fellowships…
…we shall roll out Verify, so that people can identify themselves on all government online services by 2020, using their own secure data that is not held by government. … …the ’Once-Only’ principle in central government services by 2022 and wider public services by 2025. …
Digital infrastructure
… We are leading the world in preparing for autonomous vehicles and will press ahead with our plans to use digital technology to improve our railways… Smart grids will make the most efficient use of our electricity infrastructure and electric vehicles, and we will use technology to manage our airspace better to reduce noise pollution and improve capacity. …
Digital land
…the property development industry… …we will combine the relevant parts of HM Land Registry, Ordnance Survey, the Valuation Office Agency, the Hydrographic Office and Geological Survey to create a comprehensive geospatial data body within government…

pp.82-83 A FRAMEWORK FOR DATA AND THE DIGITAL ECONOMY
Some people say that it is not for government to regulate when it comes to technology and the internet. We disagree. …
An international settlement
…a framework for data ethics…

CONCLUSION p.84


UK Vol.86 (Post-EUref #Brexit Vol.15: 2017 General Election – Labour Party Manifesto)

Here is THE LABOUR PARTY MANIFESTO 2017 in May 2017. Excerpts are on our own.

FOREWORD
… Every election is a choice. What makes this election different is that the choice is starker than ever before. …
Britain is the fifth richest country in the world. But that means little when many people don’t share in that wealth. Many feel the system is rigged against them. …
Britain needs to negotiate a Brexit deal that puts our economy and living standards first. That won’t be achieved by empty slogans and posturing. We cannot put at risk our links with our largest trading partner. Instead we need a jobs-first Brexit that allows us to upgrade our economy for the 21st century.
Labour will invest in the cutting-edge jobs and industries of the future that can improve everybody’s lives. Which is why this manifesto outlines a fully costed programme to upgrade our economy. …
…this election is about what sort of country we want to be after Brexit. …
So let’s build a fairer Britain where no one is held back. A country where everybody is able to get on in life, to have security at work and at home, to be decently paid for the work they do, and to live their lives with the dignity they deserve. …

CREATING AN ECONOMY THAT WORKS FOR ALL
CREATING AN ECONOMY THAT WORKS FOR ALL
… Labour understands that the creation of wealth is a collective endeavour between workers, entrepreneurs, investors and government. Each contributes and each must share fairly in the rewards.
… Britain is the only major developed economy where earnings have fallen even as growth has returned after the financial crisis. Most working people in Britain today are earning less, after inflation, than they did ten years ago. …
… Our National Transformation Fund will deliver the investment that every part of Britain needs to meet its potential, overcoming years of neglect. …
…our Fiscal Credibility Rule…
A FAIR TAXATION SYSTEM
…our Tax Transparency and Enforcement Programme…
But we will not ask ordinary households to pay more. A Labour government will guarantee no rises in income tax for those earning below £80,000 a year, and no increases in personal National Insurance Contributions or the rate of VAT. …
BALANCING THE BOOKS
… Our Fiscal Credibility Rule is based on the simple principle that government should not be borrowing for day-to-day spending, but that future growth depends on investment. …
…a strengthened and truly independent Office for Budget Responsibility… the Kerslake Review of the Treasury.
INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT
… We will take advantage of near- record low interest rates to create a National Transformation Fund that will invest £250 billion over ten years in upgrading our economy. …
A Labour government will complete the HS2 high-speed rail line from London through Birmingham to Leeds and Manchester, and then into Scotland, consulting with (and, where necessary, compensating) communities. We will link HS2 with other rail investments, such as Crossrail of the North (tying together our great northern cities) and on to the Durham Freight Centre. We will build a new Brighton Main Line for the South East.
In London, to ensure our capital continues to prosper, we will build Crossrail 2.
To harness the economic potential of new technologies and science, we will complete the Science Vale transport arc, from Oxford to Cambridge through Milton Keynes.
… We will improve 4G coverage and invest to ensure all urban areas, as well as major roads and railways, have uninterrupted 5G coverage. On day one we will instruct the National Infrastructure Commission to report on how to roll out ‘ultrafast’ (300Mbps) across the UK within the next decade.
UPGRADING OUR ECONOMY: LABOUR’S INDUSTRIAL STRATEGY
… The first missions set by a Labour government will be to:
1. ensure that 60 per cent of the UK’s energy comes from zero-carbon or renewable sources by 2030
2. create an innovation nation with the highest proportion of high- skilled jobs in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development by 2030. We will meet the OECD target of 3 per cent of GDP spent on research and development by 2030.
In order to create a fertile ground for businesses to achieve these missions Labour will take action across the areas we know are necessary for business and industry to grow:
• Skills – by creating a National Education Service for England.
• Infrastructure – by investing £250 billion over the next ten years.
• UK supply chains – by targeting government support where there are gaps.
• Trade – by negotiating a new deal with Europe that puts jobs and the economy first.
• Procurement – by requiring the best standards on government contracts.
• Research and development – by committing extra research investment.
• Energy costs and security – by capping costs and investing in new publicly owned energy provision.
…the highly successful Automotive Council… …a Digital Ambassador…
TRANSFORMING OUR FINANCIAL SYSTEM
… Following the successful example of Germany and the Nordic countries, we will establish a National Investment Bank that will bring in private capital finance to deliver £250 billion of lending power.
… We will take a new approach to the publicly-owned RBS, and launch a consultation on breaking up the bank to create new local public banks that are better matched to their customers’ needs. And we will extend existing Stamp Duty Reserve Tax to cover a wider range of assets, ensuring that the public gets a fairer share of financial system profits. …
A NEW DEAL FOR BUSINESS
… Labour will amend the takeover regime to ensure that businesses identified as being ‘systemically important’ have a clear plan in place to protect workers and pensioners when a company is taken over. Labour will also legislate to reduce pay inequality by introducing an Excessive Pay Levy on companies with staff on very high pay.
… In order to provide the support many small businesses need, a Labour government will:
• Mandate the new National Investment Bank, and regional development banks in every region, to identify where other lenders fail to meet the needs of SMEs and prioritise lending to improve the funding gap.
• Introduce a package of reforms to business rates – including switching from RPI to CPI indexation, exempting new investment in plant and machinery from valuations…
• Scrap quarterly reporting for businesses with a turnover of under £85,000.
• Developing a version of the Australian system of binding arbitration and fines for persistent late-payers for the private and public sectors.
WIDENING OWNERSHIP OF OUR ECONOMY
…water bills have increased 40 per cent since privatisation, and our private energy providers overcharged customers by £2 billion in 2015. …Royal Mail has increased stamp and parcel charges, and failed to meet its customer service obligations, while its owners trade shares at significant profit.
SUSTAINABLE ENERGY
… One in ten households are in fuel poverty, yet the Competition Markets Authority found customers are overcharged an enormous £2 billion every year.
… Homeowners will be offered interest- free loans to improve their property. For renters, Labour will improve on existing Landlord Energy Efficiency regulations and re-establish the Landlord Energy Saving Allowance to encourage the uptake of efficiency measures.
… We will support further nuclear projects and protect nuclear workers’ jobs and pensions. There are considerable opportunities for nuclear power and decommissioning both internationally and domestically.

NEGOTIATING BREXIT
NEGOTIATING BREXIT
We will end Theresa May’s reckless approach to Brexit, and seek to unite the country around a Brexit deal that works for every community in Britain.
We will scrap the Conservatives’ Brexit White Paper and replace it with fresh negotiating priorities that have a strong emphasis on retaining the benefits of the Single Market and the Customs Union – which are essential for maintaining industries, jobs and businesses in Britain. Labour will always put jobs and the economy first.
A Labour government will immediately guarantee existing rights for all EU nationals living in Britain and secure reciprocal rights for UK citizens who have chosen to make their lives in EU countries. …
It is shameful that the Prime Minister rejected repeated attempts by Labour to resolve this issue before Article 50 was triggered. …
Labour recognises that leaving the EU with ‘no deal’ is the worst possible deal for Britain and that it would do damage to our economy and trade. …
…Horizon 2020… …Euratom and the European Medicines Agency… …the Erasmus scheme…
The EU has had a huge impact in securing workplace protections and environmental safeguards. But we all know that for many Brexiteers in the Tory Party, this was why they wanted to Leave – to tear up regulations and weaken hard-fought rights and protections.
… Eurojust and Europol… …European Arrest Warrants…
… In particular Labour will ensure there is no return to a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and that there is no change in the status or sovereignty of Gibraltar. …
IMMIGRATION
…the Forced Marriage Unit…
… Our National Education Service…
For areas where immigration has placed a strain on public services we will reinstate the Migrant Impact Fund and boost it with a contributory element from the investments required for High Net Worth Individual Visas. …
INTERNATIONAL TRADE
… Labour will set out our priorities in an International Trade White Paper to lead a national debate on the future of Britain’s trade policy. …
The EU accounts for 44 per cent of our current exports and will continue to be a priority trading partner.
… We will develop an export incentive scheme for SMEs based on international best practice, and we will ring-fence Tradeshow Access Programme grants to help SMEs reach new customers around the world.
…we will actively support international negotiations towards an Environmental Goods Agreement at the WTO. …

TOWARDS A NATIONAL EDUCATION SERVICE
TOWARDS A NATIONAL EDUCATION SERVICE
…Labour will create a unified National Education Service (NES)…
SKILLS
…English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) courses. …
HIGHER EDUCATION

A FAIR DEAL AT WORK
A FAIR DEAL AT WORK
RIGHTS AT WORK
SELF-EMPLOYED WORKERS

SOCIAL SECURITY
SOCIAL SECURITY DIGNITY FOR PENSIONERS
… As the Conservatives abandon their commitments to older people, Labour will guarantee the state pension ‘triple lock’ throughout the next Parliament. It will rise by at least 2.5 per cent a year or be increased to keep pace with inflation or earnings, whichever is higher.
… The pension age is due to rise to 66 by the end of 2020. Labour rejects the Conservatives’ proposal to increase the state pension age even further. …
DIGNITY FOR THOSE WHO CANNOT WORK

SECURE HOMES FOR ALL
SECURE HOMES FOR ALL
… Labour will establish a new Department for Housing to focus on tackling the crisis… We will overhaul the Homes and Communities Agency to be Labour’s housing delivery body, and give councils new powers to build the homes local communities need.
…our National Transformation Fund…
HOME OWNERSHIP
… We will guarantee Help to Buy funding until 2027 to give long-term certainty to both first-time buyers and the housebuilding industry. …
PRIVATE RENTERS
… We will also empower tenants to call time on bad landlords by giving renters new consumer rights. Renters are spending £9.6 billion a year on homes that the government classes as ‘non-decent’. Around a quarter of this is paid by housing benefit. A Labour government would introduce new legal minimum standards to ensure properties are ‘fit for human habitation’ and empower tenants to take action if their rented homes are sub-standard. …
COUNCIL AND SOCIAL TENANTS
HOMELESSNESS
…starting by making available 4,000 additional homes reserved for people with a history of rough sleeping. …

HEALTHCARE FOR ALL
NHS
… We will guarantee that patients can be seen in A&E within four hours. By properly resourcing the NHS, Labour will stop the routine breach of safe levels of bed occupancy, and we will end mixed-sex wards. We will deliver the Cancer Strategy for England in full by 2020, helping 2.5 million people living with cancer. And, by properly resourcing ambulance services, we will end the scandal of slowing ambulance-response times. …
… We will increase funding to GP services to ensure patients can access the care they need. And we will halt pharmacy cuts and review provision to ensure all patients have access to pharmacy services, particularly in deprived or remote communities.
…PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis)…
Public health
… Labour will implement the Soft Drinks Industry Levy, commonly known as the ‘sugar tax’.
…a Tobacco Control Plan…
NHS Staff
NHS Funding
…we will introduce a new Office for Budget Responsibility for Health to oversee health spending and scrutinise how it is spent.
Labour will halt and review the NHS ‘Sustainability and Transformation Plans’, which are looking at closing health services across England, and ask local people to participate in the redrawing of plans with a focus on patient need rather than available finances. We will create a new quality, safety and excellence regulator – to be called ‘NHS Excellence’. …
TOWARDS A NATIONAL CARE SERVICE
…one in ten people reaching the age of 65 have faced lifetime care costs of over £100,000…
… Around 1.2 million older people have care needs that are going unmet. …
…Labour will lay the foundations of a National Care Service for England.
… We will increase the social care budgets by a further £8 billion over the lifetime of the next Parliament, including an additional £1 billion for the first year. This will be enough for providers to pay a real living wage without cutting the quality of care they provide. It will allow implementation of the principles of the Ethical Care Charter, already adopted in 28 council areas, ending 15-minute care visits…
MENTAL HEALTH
…the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)…

SAFER COMMUNITIES
POLICE AND CRIME
… We will establish a National Refuge Fund and…
Security and counter-terrorism
BORDER SECURITY
FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICES
JUSTICE
PRISONS AND PROBATION SERVICE

LEADING RICHER LIVES
LOCAL COMMUNITIES
… Labour will end the closure of Crown Post Office branches, which play a major role in serving their communities. We will also set up a commission to establish a Post Bank, owned by the Post Office and providing a full range of banking services in every community. …
Labour will support tourism at the heart of government. The tourism industry represents 9.6 per cent of UK employment, 4.9 per cent of export and 9 per cent of GDP, but its importance is too often forgotten. …
The Conservatives have failed to provide a clear, ambitious or sustainable vision for the future of the farming, food and fishing industries.
We will expand the role of the Groceries Code Adjudicator to ensure suppliers and consumers get a fair deal. …
TRANSPORT
… We will introduce a Public Ownership of the Railways Bill to repeal the Railways Act 1993 under which the Conservatives privatised our railways. …
A Labour government will complete the HS2 high-speed rail line from London through Birmingham to Leeds and Manchester… (see the above INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT of CREATING AN ECONOMY THAT WORKS FOR ALL)
We will continue to upgrade our highways and improve roadworks at known bottlenecks. The A1 North, the Severn Bridge and the A30 provide essential connections and require our urgent consideration. We will work with the Welsh Government to scrap the tolls on the Severn Bridge. …
ENVIRONMENT
ANIMAL WELFARE
CULTURE FOR ALL
We will introduce a £1 billion Cultural Capital Fund to upgrade our existing cultural and creative infrastructure to be ready for the digital age and invest in creative clusters across the country, based on a similar model to enterprise zones. Administered by the Arts Council, the fund will be available over a five-year period. It will be among the biggest arts infrastructure funds ever, transforming the country’s cultural landscape. …
We recognise the serious concern about the ‘value gap’ between producers of creative content and the digital services that profit from its use, and we will work with all sides to review the way that innovators and artists are rewarded for their work in the digital age.
MEDIA
… Labour will hold a national review local media and into the ownership of national media to ensure plurality.
To protect democracy and media freedom, we will take steps to ensure that Ofcom is better able to safeguard a healthy plurality of media ownership…
SPORT
… Labour will ensure the Premier League delivers on its promise to invest 5 per cent of its television rights income into the grassroots game to help the next generation of players and coaches…

EXTENDING DEMOCRACY
EXTENDING DEMOCRACY
… We will reduce the voting age to 16. At 16, you are eligible to pay tax, get married or even join the army. You deserve a vote. …
ENGLAND
… Labour will create a role for a Minister for England, who will sit under the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government…
SCOTLAND
… We will establish a Scottish Investment Bank, with £20 billion of funds available to local projects and…
WALES
… We will build on the Development Bank of Wales using more than £10 billion from Labour’s new National Investment Bank. …
NORTHERN IRELAND
…the Good Friday Agreement…

A MORE EQUAL SOCIETY
WOMEN
… Unlawful maternity and pregnancy discrimination is now more common in Britain’s workplaces than ever before, with 54,000 pregnant women and new mothers forced out of their jobs in 2015. …
LGBT EQUALITY
A Labour government will reform the Gender Recognition Act and the Equality Act 2010…
DIVERSE COMMUNITIES
… Black and Asian workers still suffer a massive pay gap. By introducing equal pay audit requirements on large employers, Labour will close this pay gap. …
…the Parker Review recommendations…
PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES
… Currently 4.2 million People with disabilities live in poverty in Britain, and the disability employment gap remains stubbornly high. …

A GLOBAL BRITAIN
A GLOBAL BRITAIN
Unlike the Conservatives, Labour believes Britain’s foreign policy should be guided by the values of peace, universal rights and international law. Today, these values are being tested. As we leave the European Union, keeping Britain global is one of our country’s most urgent tasks. …
DIPLOMACY
… Labour is strongly committed to reducing human suffering caused by war. We will publish a strategy for protecting civilians in conflict, setting out detailed plans for work on conflict prevention and resolution, post- conflict peacebuilding, and justice for the victims of war crimes. Labour has created a Minister for Peace and Disarmament to lead this work.
…we also acknowledge its shortcomings, particularly in light of repeated abuses of the veto power by some permanent members of the UN Security Council. We will work with our international partners to build support for UN reform and make its institutions more effective and responsive. …
DEFENCE
… Cyber security will form an integral part of our defence and security strategy and we will introduce a cyber-security charter for companies working with the Ministry of Defence.
… The scrapping of Nimrod, HMS Ark Royal and the Harrier jump-jets have weakened our defences and cost British taxpayers millions.
Labour’s commitment to spending at least 2 per cent of GDP on defence will guarantee that our Armed Forces have the necessary capabilities…
… Labour will publish a Defence Industrial Strategy White Paper, including a National Shipbuilding Strategy to secure a long-term future for the industry, workers and UK defence.
…the Forces Help to Buy scheme…
…the Armed Forces Covenant…
…a Homes Fit for Heroes programme…
DEVELOPMENT
…the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)…
… Africa’s economies alone lose more than £46 billion annually through corruption and tax evasion – more than 10 times what they receive in aid. …
… We would reinstate the Civil Society Challenge Fund to support trade unions, women’s associations and other civil society organisations which are the most effective forces in winning human rights and workers’ rights.
… We will establish a Centre for Universal Health Coverage, providing global partnerships, support and encouragement to countries that want UHC…

Additional Resources
LABOUR’S FISCAL CREDIBILITY RULE (PDF)
ALTERNATIVE MODELS OF OWNERSHIP (PDF)


Canada Vol.34 (Ontario, Victoria Day)

#VictoriaDay     2017 Victoria Day Niagara Falls (5/17/2017) | Marriott Fallsview     Victoria Day? May Two-Four? What do you call the long weekend? (5/16/2017) | @cbcradio

Ontario

cf. About Ontario | @ONgov     @NorthOntarioBiz     Northern Ontario | @ONmunicipal     Exploring Ontario | #OntarioImmigration     Top Attractions in Huron | @attcanada     The Counties on Lake Erie | @carolinianzone     Where To Fish | @OntarioTravel     Ontario | @lakesuperiormag     @ontariotourism1     @AlgonquinPark     About London | @tourism_london     @PEConca     Landing an international sale is great. Getting paid is even better. (12/16/2015) | @CityBrampton      Bayfield, Ontario     Do Business | @cityofstratford     Business | @MississaugaEDO     Doing Business | @cityofhamilton     Doing Business | @townhuntsville     Business in Burlington | @cityburlington

CanadaOntarioVictoriaday


UK Vol.69 (England Vol.2 – North West)

Cumbria

Lancashire

Merseyside

Cheshire

Greater Manchester


New Zealand Vol.6


UK Vol.68 (England Vol.1 – North East)

England NorthEast 1England NorthEast 2

Northumberland

Tyne and Wear

County Durham

Tees Valley Combined Authority


Texas Vol.3

cf. Texas Vol.2 (@UTAustin #EnergyPoll #EnergyWeek)   Texas Vol.1 (@RiceUniversity researchers solve long-standing mystery about hemophilia protein)


US Policy Changes Vol.60 (Infrastructure Vol.6 – Transportation)

Here are articles on transportation, et al. Excerpts are on our own.

Transportation and the Cost of Convenience (w Podcast; 1/12/2016) | @whartonknows
…Edward Humes…Door to Door: The Magnificent, Maddening, Mysterious World of Transportation…
Humes:… …every time traffic delays the average UPS route a minute, that minute costs the company $12.5 million. …
…the delivery companies around the world are lusting after drones, but not little ones — big ones, 747-sized drones. That’s where they see unmanned aircraft as the next disruption and provider of efficiency, lower costs — obviously, because they’re eliminating humans — and also more safety.
…$1.4 billion was spent to add a lane onto a 10-mile stretch… …just inviting more cars to come to the party. Adding capacity without changing the driving behavior, without providing some kind of incentive or disincentive to drive at peak times doesn’t work. …
… We lost about $160 billion to the economy in 2015 just from traffic delays and congestion and the wasted fuel they cause. … If even 10% of the commuting population in a large city defers their commute by half an hour, it could reduce congestion almost magically.
… You could replace the gasoline tax…with congestion pricing. …it eliminates that 50% of rush hour drivers who don’t really need to be there.
…the rise of the smartphone has also empowered ride-sharing, which is a huge disruptor. And when you combine that with the evolving technology of driverless vehicles, that’s a new paradigm for how we use and deploy cars — and whether or not we even want to own them in the future. We may just buy car time like…
…tunnels that are 100 years old. … There’s a $3.6 trillion backlog in repairs to our transportation infrastructure. …
…60,000 bridges… Every day that was closed, it cost the trucking and goods-moving industry $2.5 million. …
… We can’t forsake the people who are at the heart of our goods movement industry now whose jobs would be at risk from driverless technology. …
… Solve the inconvenience of getting to the train station. The driverless car comes and drops you off. …
… It’s not just big cities. … But yes, those are the places where traffic and a lot of the negative issues associated with it are most intense. …

How four macro forces will shape Elaine Chao’s tenure as Transportation Secretary (1/10/2016) | @AdieTomer @BrookingsMetro
… The next Secretary will have a chance to craft their own digital legacy, including revised street designs to accommodate autonomous and shared vehicles, standardize infrastructure sensor technologies, finalize drone regulations, and respond to products not even yet invented. …
… Infrastructure jobs are one of the few areas of the economy where workers can earn a living wage or more without advanced education. Yet some of those same jobs are among those most threatened by automation, including long-distance truck driving and many other positions involved in logistics and warehousing. The fact that many transportation workers are nearing retirement is simultaneously putting new demands on workforce training programs to prepare the next wave of vital infrastructure employees. …
… Emphasizing that electrified transportation is the industry’s future while downplaying the carbon reduction benefits.
…a 55,000-person agency with a $75 billion annual budget. …TIGER…

Why Better Urban Planning Won’t Reduce Traffic — but Taxes Will (w Video; 2/9/2016) | @whartonknows
… But new research co-authored by Wharton real estate professor Gilles Duranton finds that such policies may not have as great an effect as planners believe. In “Urban Form and Driving: Evidence from U.S. Cities,” Duranton and Brown University professor Matthew A. Turner find that increases in density cause only minimal decreases in aggregate driving, meaning it is unlikely to be a cost-effective policy for responding to traffic congestion or automobile-related pollution. …
Urban Form and Traffic
… One is greenhouse gas emissions — i.e., carbon that fosters climate change, global warming and all of that. And the second one is much more localized: small particulates, which could affect people’s health.
Key Takeaways
…if you bring up density by about 10%, it leads to reduction in traveling of about 1%.
Surprising Conclusions
…there’s one major characteristic of cities that matters: the density around you.
‘Everything Else Will Not Do Much’
… To go after local pollution, you need a tax for congestion — i.e., the concentration of traffic in some areas of a city — so you need to make drivers pay for that. And you need to tax carbon emissions. For instance, the province of British Columbia does this in Canada — it’s a resounding success. …
Global Problems, Global Solutions
…they require federal interventions. …
What Sets the Research Apart
…a big survey done by the Department of Transportation with nearly a million trips. …
What’s Next
…congestion…

How Federal Policy Is Paving the Way for Driverless Cars (w Podcast; 9/28/2016) | @whartonknows
A proactive regulatory regime and a cooperative approach from auto makers are the key backdrops of the U.S. government’s policy for automated vehicles Federal Automated Vehicles Policy – Message from Secretary of Transportation Anthony R. Foxx https://www.transportation.gov/AV… …automated vehicles, such as self-driving cars, could potentially save thousands of lives, especially when 94% of crashes on U.S. roadways are caused by human choice or error…
“Tradeoffs and design choices are being made,” says Wharton management professor John Paul MacDuffie, who is also director of Program on Vehicle and Mobility Innovation at the School’s @MackInstitute. Safety in self-driving vehicles hinges on two critical aspects – “good object recognition and good distance estimation,” he adds. “It may only be that when we have got camera, radar and Lidar (distance estimation using laser illumination) all operating that we may get the accuracy that we need.”
Technology Pulls Ahead: Ride-hailing services provider Uber is piloting driverless cars in Pittsburgh, Penn.; Tesla has launched new software for self-driving cars; and auto component suppliers are realigning themselves…
…breakups, such as that between Tesla and its supplier Mobileye… Mobileye has since teamed up with component supplier Delphi to develop fully autonomous driving technology.
Ahead of the Curve:… Federal policy could also be adopted as the regulatory template by various U.S. states…
Cooperative Stance from Automakers:…in the case of automated vehicles, it is “different and potentially more cooperative,” …auto companies and industry interest groups feel that this time “the government got it right in terms of guidelines…
Preparing for 2021:…the much-anticipated year when the auto industry expects to have a full fledged launch of self-driving vehicles…
…Level 3…the stage where the responsibility for driving is handed back and forth between the artificial intelligence software and the driver. Levels 1 and 2 deal with features like cruise control and alerts when cars stray off lanes. Level 4, where there will be no human intervention in driving at all is much further away…
Perfecting the Technology:…designed to learn from experience, so all the data from testing goes back to help identify different situations that come up… …when vehicles could communicate with each other, such as with transponders and some agreed-upon standards…
…a mix of human drivers and early adopters of automated vehicles… …Uber driverless taxis in Pittsburgh always have one or two Uber employees in them to collect data…

Railroads Present A Bipartisan Case For Regulatory Reform (1/21/2017) | Edward R. Hamberger (@AAR_FreightRail) @Forbes
… Too often, for instance, regulators propose new rules in response to news events without thoroughly examining their effectiveness or how they add to the cumulative burden of existing red tape. Regulators also seek to sidestep legal challenges to rules unsupported by data or evidence by issuing “guidance” which typically has the same effect as regulations. …
Meanwhile the Surface Transportation Board (STB), the economic regulator of the sector, is still mulling a mandate for railroads to use their private infrastructure and equipment for the benefit of competitors. …

Mercury, other toxins drained into Columbia-area creeks as sewage systems failed (11/16/2016) | @sfretwell83 @thestate


US Policy Changes Vol.55 (Comparison with Nixon administration)

Here are the data in 1967 and 2015, and links.

Nixon 1969-74
[Accomplishments]
What were President Richard Nixon’s accomplishments? | @inside_gov
Dec 8, 1969: Nixon declares Vietnam War is ending | @HISTORY
Strategic Arms Limitations Talks/Treaty (SALT) I and II | @StateDept
Chinese Rapprochement under Nixon: A Case Study in Foreign Policy Bureaucracy and Decision-making (PDF) | Joshua D. Roselman @RockefellerCtr
Remembering Nixon’s Wage and Price Controls | @GeneHealy @WashExam_PR @CatoInstitute
How a Republican Desegregated the South’s Schools | GEORGE P. SHULTZ @nytimes
A brief history of Medicare in America | @MedicareMonitor
Nixon and the End of the Bretton Woods System, 1971–1973 | @StateDept
[Nominal GDP] $862 billion
[GDP per capita] $22,454
[Population] 199 million
[Economic Growth Rate] 2.7%
[Stock Market] 7.8%
[Unemployment Rate] 3.8%
[Interest Rate, Discount Rate for United States] 4.0%~4.5%
[Domestic Demand] 7.7%
[Consumption] 5.7%
[Investment] 3.4%
[Sales in manufacturing & trade] 2.0%
[Industrial Production] 1.2%
[Money] 6.4%
[Inflation Rate (CPI)] 3.0%
[Exports (G&S)] 6.1%
[Imports (G&S)] 7.7%
[Trade Balance (merchandise)] $4,141 million
[Current Account (of GDP)] 0.2%
[Current Account Balance] $1.5 billion
[Public Debt (of GDP)] 1%
(in 1967)

Trump: The Presidential Precedents (Episode 4 of 5: Richard Nixon [13:42]) | @BBC

Trump 2017-
[Nominal GDP] $18,036 billion
[GDP per capita] $51,123
[Population] 321 million
[Economic Growth Rate] 0.7%
[Stock Market] -2.2%
[Unemployment Rate] 5.3%
[Interest Rate, Discount Rate for United States] 0.75%~1.00%
[Domestic Demand] 3.0%
[Consumption] 3.1%
[Investment] 4.0%
[Retail Sales] 2.2%
[Industrial Production] 0.3%
[Money] 5.9%
[Inflation Rate (CPI)] 0.7%
[Exports (G&S)] 3.4%
[Imports (G&S)] 3.8%
[Trade Balance] -$759.3 billion
[Current Account (of GDP)] -2.7%
[Current Account Balance] -$484.1 billion
[Public Debt (of GDP)] 106%
(in 2015)


US Policy Changes Vol.51 (Miscellaneous Vol.6 – inequality and democratic responsiveness)

Here is an academic paper: Inequality and Democratic Responsiveness: Who Gets What They Want from Government? (PDF; Aug 2004) | Martin Gilens @PUPolitics @HarvardWCFIA. Excerpt is on our own.

Previous research
Quantitative analyses of the link between public preferences and government decision making have taken three main forms… The most prevalent approach, often labeled “dyadic representation,” examines the relationship between constituency opinion and the behavior of representatives or candidates across political units… This work typically finds strong correlations between constituents’ preferences and legislators’ voting behavior.
A second approach examines changes over time in public preferences and the corresponding changes (or lack of changes) in public policies. …fairly high levels of congruency between the direction of change in opinion and the direction of change in government policy, especially for salient issues or cases with large changes in public preferences.
Finally, using a third approach… …public preferences for policy change expressed at a given point in time with subsequent changes (or lack of changes) in government policy… …substantially higher levels of consistency between public preferences and government policy for issues that the public deemed more important… …an extremely strong influence of public mood on policy outputs…

Limitations of research on democratic responsiveness
… Even if individual legislators’ votes strongly reflect the preferences of their constituents, actual policies may not coincide with aggregate preferences. … policies are shaped by the complex interactions among multiple units of government, by the congressional committee system, by the degree of autonomy granted to the various federal agencies, and by many other characteristics of our governmental structure. …
The second approach… For example, if public support for increasing environmental regulation declined from 90% to 75% over some time period, we might conclude that support for environmental regulation weakened. But if actual regulation was reduced during this period, it would clearly be contrary to, not consistent with, the preferences of the public.
The third approach… …the possibility of spuriousness. … Increases in defense spending following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan may have coincided with increased public support for defense spending. But lawmakers were likely responding to some combination of public preferences and real-world events, and it is extraordinarily difficult to assess the relative importance…
Finally, it is important to acknowledge that surveys of public preferences are at best imperfect measures of what the public wants from government. One important limitation is the willingness of respondents to express opinions even about issues on which they have no clear or consistent views. … …government responsiveness to public preferences is much lower for questions which elicit large numbers of “Don’t Know” responses.
… First, public opinion may be “uncrystalized” about a new or unfamiliar issue. …latent opinion represents something like “what the public would prefer after having considered the issue more fully.”
A second… For example, the public might express support for humanitarian intervention abroad. But… A policy maker attempting to respond to public opinion would need to take both current expressed support, and latent potential opposition into account.
… For our purposes, it is important to recognize that democratic responsiveness is a subtle phenomenon and that…

Assessing inequalities in democratic responsiveness
…an aspect of democratic responsiveness largely ignored in previous work: whose preferences are influential in shaping government policy.
While the notion of “equal representation” is a central element of normative democratic theory, there are good reasons to expect that different sub-groups of the population will be more or less successful at shaping government policy to their preference. …

The current project
…further explore biases in government responsiveness to public preferences asking how successful different population sub-groups are in shaping government policy and how such differences have changed over time, across issue-area, or in response to changing party control of national political institutions. …

Data

Imputing preferences by income, education, or age level
Because the surveys employed were conducted by different organizations at different points in time the demographic categories are not always consistent. …

FINDINGS
Consistency versus influence
… For example, a policy change opposed by 51% of the public and one opposed by 99% of the public would both be inconsistent with public preferences, but the latter clearly represents a greater failure of policy to reflect public preferences.
Overall relationship between preference and policy
… A strong status-quo bias is evident among these 754 proposed policy changes: even policy changes favored by 90% of Americans occurred only 4 times in 10…
Salient and non-salient issues

INCOME AND THE PREFERENCE-POLICY LINK
Policy agreement and disagreement across income levels
… Consequently, the association between government policy and the preferences of poorer Americans may arise not due to these citizens’ influence on government outcomes but to the fact that poor and wealthy Americans share policy preferences most of the time. …
On the other hand, among the 300 questions where preferences differ more strongly by income level, policy outcomes are unrelated to preferences among the poor, and highly related among the rich…
…poor people might hold attitudes that consistently differ from those held by middle-income or wealthy Americans, and if so the lack of responsiveness to their preferences might actually reflect a well-functioning democracy. Middle-income respondents might better reflect the preferences of the median voter on most issues and the responsiveness of government policymakers to the preferences of these Americans might therefore serve as a more appropriate test of biases in representation. …

DIVERGENT POLICY PREFERENCES OF RICH AND POOR
Economic policies
“Pure” economic policies. …rich and poor in the aggregate appear to express preferences that reflect their groups’ differing economic self interest.
Foreign economic policies. … On free trade… rich Americans express solid support while the poor are mildly opposed.
…U.S. aid to developing countries and to Russia and the former Soviet Union. On these questions, the rich expressed solid support while the poor were equally strong in their opposition. …
Health care. … The poor, for example, were strongly supportive of tax funded national health care (in the abstract at least), employer mandates, and government guarantees of universal health care. The rich were only mildly supportive these first two proposals, but shared the poor’s enthusiasm for the last. …
Social security. …the two reform proposals with the clearest redistributive implications (increasing the tax on Social Security benefits of higher income retirees and raising the retirement age) produced no differences in support between rich and poor. On the other hand, directing the government to invest part of the Social Security surplus in the stock market was strongly opposed by poor Americans while the rich were evenly split. …
Welfare reform. …rich and poor expressed equal (and enthusiastic) support: work requirements, job training, child care, and time limits for welfare recipients. The rich were supportive of cutting overall spending in contrast to the poor (who were evenly split), while the rich similarly expressed solid support for eliminating increases in benefits to women who have additional children while on welfare (the poor were again split on this proposal). …

Social issues
Civil rights. … The rich and poor differ most dramatically when asked about affirmative action for individual hiring, promotion, or college admissions. …
Homosexuality. …rich Americans expressed somewhat higher levels of support for gays and lesbians including a slight tendency toward allowing gays to serve in the military, somewhat stronger support for extending legal protections (for example, against job discrimination), and somewhat lower levels of opposition to gay marriage than poor Americans. …
Abortion and school prayer. Rich Americans expressed substantially greater support for abortion and less support for school prayer than did the poor. …
Campaign finance reform. … Rich Americans differed more substantially from the poor over public financing of elections, expressing mixed views in contrast to the solid opposition of the poor.

Summary of divergent policy preferences
… Without exception, when differences between the rich and poor did emerge, the rich favored more conservative policies. However, it is important to point out that rich Americans did support many policies that would be expected to disproportionately benefit the poor. …
… Many other policy areas in my data set produced few systematic differences between the preferences of the rich and the poor, including defense policy, drug policy, education, gun control, terrorism, and crime. …

Causal inference
… The link between public preferences and government policy might arise through some combination of (1) the influence of the public’s preferences on political decision makers’ actions, (2) the influence of decision makers’ statements on the public’s preferences, and (3) the response of both decision makers and the public to “real world” events and conditions. …
… If the cross-state association between high income constituents’ views and senators’ votes is due primarily to the influence of the public on elected officials rather than the other way round, then the broader association between the public’s preferences and government policy outputs is also likely to reflect the influence of high income Americans on elite decision makers.
… If the primary path of influence is from public preferences to government policy, we might expect income to be the stronger moderator… …if the primary causal path is politicians shaping the public’s preferences or attentive citizens responding to changing conditions and events, we might expect education to be the stronger moderator…
…the association between policy outcomes and the preferences of high income Americans declines only modestly when we control for the preferences of those with high levels of education… …biases in government responsiveness across income groups primarily reflect something other than interest in or attention to politics.
For example, a study of donations to congressional candidates in 1996 found that four-fifths of donors who gave $200 or more had incomes in the top 10% of all Americans… Since not only the propensity to donate but the size of donations increases with income level…
…a government that is democratic in form but is in practice only responsive to its most affluent citizens is a democracy in name only. …
Most Americans think that public officials don’t care much about the preferences of “people like me.” Sadly, the results presented above suggest they may be right. …


US Policy Changes Vol.50 (Infrastructure Vol.5 – Water)

Here are articles on water. Excerpts are on our own.

Investing in water: Comparing utility finances and economic concerns across U.S. cities (12/14/2016) | Joseph Kane @BrookingsMetro
cf. https://twitter.com/_WorldSolutions/status/820261737555324928
SUMMARY
INTRODUCTION
Understanding water investment challenges at the city level
Comparing water investment across different cities
– Only a handful of drinking water utilities in the largest cities nationally rank highly across six major categories of water finance and related economic indicators.
– More than three-quarters of large drinking water utilities are able to cover their operating expenses each year.
– Many large drinking water utilities carry high levels of long-term debt—up to 96 percent of the value of their current assets—making it difficult to accelerate new capital investments.
– On average, large drinking water utilities are charging higher rates to cover needed costs, although the specific rates can vary widely from city to city.
– Many cities with large drinking water utilities are experiencing gains in income and population, but they are still struggling to balance affordability concerns, particularly for lower-income households.
Exploring potential strategies and innovations
CONCLUSION

The aging water infrastructure: Out of sight, out of mind? (3/21/2016) | Patricia Buckley, Lester Gunnion, Will Sarni @DU_Press
… The number of water main breaks across the country, from Syracuse to Los Angeles, is staggering: 240,000 per year… The direct cost of these leaks is pegged at $2.6 billion per year. … The American Society of Civil Engineers estimates that, while the cumulative cost to households from degrading water/wastewater infrastructure will add up to $59 billion (in 2010 dollars) over the period between 2013 and 2020, the cost to business will be more than double that, at $147 billion.
EVOLUTION OF THE SYSTEM
SAFEGUARDING THE WATER SUPPLY
[The problem with lead]
THE ISSUES: AGING, FUNDING, PRICING
… The AWWA estimates that the cost of restoring underground pipes will total at least $1 trillion over the next 25 years, without including the cost of constructing new infrastructure or repairing treatment plants. Separately, the USEPA’s 2011 Drinking Water Infrastructure Needs Survey and Assessment (DWINSA) estimated that the United States will require $384 billion in capital investment over the next 20 years to ensure that drinking water standards are in compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act. … …the USEPA’s 2012 Clean Watersheds Needs Survey estimates that $271 billion in capital investment will be needed over the next 20 years to address water-related health problems and ensure that watersheds are compliant with the Clean Water Act.
… In 2012, most Americans paid less than $3.75 per 1,000 gallons of safe water. … …even though US water prices increased by 41 percent between 2010 and 2015,32 the average US household spent just $530 on water in 2014—only about 20 percent of the average amount spent on gasoline ($2,468).
… One of the most commonly proposed solutions for recovering costs is by shifting a greater degree of cost recovery to fixed fees from usage-based fees. …
… In December 2015, for instance, the US Congress passed a five-year, $305 billion transportation bill that, among other things, lifted a ban on the issuance of tax-exempt bonds with loans for projects under the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA). …
[Water prices worldwide]
THE PATH FORWARD
… With regard to innovative funding, we have seen the emergence of green bonds, such as the 100-year bonds used by DC Water, and public-private partnerships, such as that in Bayonne, New Jersey. …

A Tale of Two Public-private Partnership Cities (6/10/2015) | @whartonknows
… The water came from reservoirs 50 miles northwest of the city, delivered through an outdated aqueduct in need of frequent repair that the city could ill afford. Like many other cities, Bayonne had deferred maintenance on its water systems. Its excessive debt burden led to a poor credit rating that made further borrowing more expensive. …
Bayonne’s sewer system, pumping an average of 8.3 million gallons of wastewater daily, had similar challenges, including outdated infrastructure…
… Only a few months after Sandy…a joint venture partnership for both water and wastewater operations with Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) funding 90% of the effort with United Water, a unit of French giant Suez Environnement S.A.
… In 2013, Moody’s Investor Service upgraded Bayonne’s bond rating from Baa1 with a negative outlook to Baa1 with a stable outlook, in particular citing the city’s recent progress in reducing its debt burden through the lease-sale of the MUA operations.
KKR and United Water further pledged to funnel another $157 million into the water systems over the 40-year length of the contract, with about $2.5 million a year earmarked for maintenance and upgrades. …
… “We receive $2.5 million per year, which is a nice chunk of money guaranteed. What the partnership does is remove the need for political will for the maintenance of the system. …
…@foodandwater…
…“Private Equity, Public Inequity,”…
…@NWFinancialGrp…
…the city could save almost $35 million over its 40-year contract, compared to operating the water utilities on its own. …
A Private Sector Lifeline for Rialto
… According to “Private Capital, Public Good,” a research paper from the Brookings Institution, Rialto’s “historically underfunded system also struggled to meet pension liabilities, which were starting to weigh on the utility’s ability to affordably raise capital in the tax-exempt market.” …
…state revolving loan funds and municipal bond financing often have not been sufficient to meet local needs. …
In 2013, Rialto entered into a 30-year, $300 million public-private partnership (P3) agreement with Veolia Environnement S.A.’s Veolia Water as the operator of the project. Ullico, a labor-owned insurance and investment company, was the lead finance partner, along with Table Rock Capital. …

The Path to Water Innovation (PDF; Oct 2014) | Newsha K. Ajami, Barton H. Thompson Jr., David G. Victor @hamiltonproj,@StanfordWoods
Abstract
… Today, it provides sufficient water to support over 315 million people, almost 55 million acres of irrigated farmland, and a $16 trillion economy. …
… Yet, in comparison to the electric power sector, investment in water innovation is extremely low. …
… Among the main management and policy barriers are (1) unrealistically low water pricing rates; (2) unnecessary regulatory restrictions; (3) the absence of regulatory incentives; (4) lack of access to capital and funding; (5) concerns about public health and possible risks associated with adopting new technologies with limited records; (6) the geographical and functional fragmentation of the industry; and (7) the long life expectancy, size, and complexity of most water systems. …
We focus on several recommendations: (1) pricing policies that would both better align with the full economic cost of supplying water and decouple revenues from the volume of water supplied; (2) regulatory frameworks to create an open and flexible governance environment that is innovation friendly and encourages valuable new technologies; and (3) financing and funding mechanisms, such as a public benefit charge on water, that can help raise sufficient funds to implement innovative solutions.

Chapter 1: Introduction
…almost 40 percent of the pipes used in the nation’s water distribution systems are forty years old or older, and some key infrastructure is a century old. On average, about 16 percent of the nation’s piped water is lost due to leaks and system inefficiencies, wasting about 7 billion gallons of clean and treated water every day…
… Research and development (R&D) is a public good that is likely to be suboptimal in scale without public financial support…
… First… Improper water pricing undercuts both the incentive for water-conserving technologies by water users and the financial stability needed to finance the adoption and implementation of new water technologies by the water suppliers. …
Second… …many current regulations frequently hinder the adoption of cost-effective technologies.
Third, we call for a public benefit charge on water to allow for more public funding for water innovation.

Chapter 2: Background
THE WATER SECTOR
FIGURE 1. Water Distribution and Use Cycle
…155,000 drinking-water systems and 15,000 wastewater systems exist…
… While private water suppliers still outnumber public suppliers in the United States, public suppliers today furnish water to about 80 percent of the nation’s domestic and commercial users and almost 20 percent of its industrial users. …
Public water entities are seldom subject to regulation by state public utility commissions. As a result, local political processes provide the principal oversight of public water suppliers. …
COMPARISONS TO THE ENERGY SECTOR
… First…
Second…
…the nature of ownership. …
…state-owned enterprises (SOEs)…
FIGURE 2. Comparison of U.S. Patents Filed under the Patent Cooperation Treaty for Clean Energy and Water Purification, 1999–2011

Chapter 3: State of Innovation in the Water Sector
…53 percent of the water sector’s capital spending goes to system expansion, followed by 37 percent for replacing existing infrastructure and 10 percent for compliance. …
INNOVATION FRONTIERS IN THE WATER SECTOR
FIGURE 3. Size of the Major International Water Markets, 2010
… First, water managers assumed that demand for fresh water would increase with population and that the only way to ensure a balance between supply and demand was to find new sources of supply. …
… Water managers, moreover, generally looked to large-scale, centralized infrastructure projects to increase supply, on the assumption that large-scale projects would generate significant economies of scale and provide greater operational flexibility…
… Finally…if they designed water systems to meet current hydrologic conditions, those systems would also meet future conditions. …
1. Supply enhancement. …technologies that promise more-drought-resistant water supplies, such as reclaimed water or desalination; or that can reduce energy use, such as recycling technologies that extract significant energy from wastewater… …technologies that allow more-localized resource enhancement strategies, such as rainwater and storm water capture, and small-scale water reclamation.
2. Demand management. …technologies that encourage or enable water-use efficiency…or water conservation… Examples range from water-efficient appliances to drip irrigation to smart irrigation controllers. …smart meters…
3. Governance improvement. … Smart metering and advanced data collection methodologies…
These three categories cover a wide variety of technological innovations including:
• Smart water.
• Efficiency and conservation.
• Purification.
• Alternative sources.
• Storage (surface and ground).
• Groundwater.
EVALUATING PATTERNS OF INNOVATION IN WATER AND CLEAN ENERGY
Innovation Indicators: Investment Trends
…clean energy and water…
… In the United States, investments are dominated by venture capital activity in both sectors, but especially in the water sector where venture capital and corporate ventures account for 53 and 24 percent, respectively, of total investment dollars (figure 4b). By comparison, investment banking is the largest global contributor to both clean energy and water, at 31 and 27 percent, respectively, of total investment dollars (figure 4a).
… The United States accounts for approximately 50 percent of global investment deals in both the clean energy and water sectors…
… There were 4,193 venture capital deals for clean energy, raising $20 billion at an average of $4.8 million per deal. By contrast, 372 deals raised $800 million in venture capital for the water sector, at an average of $2.2 million per deal…
FIGURE 4. Sources of Investment Dollars for Global and U.S. Innovation in the Clean Energy and Water Sectors, 2000–13
Venture Capital Investment
FIGURE 5. Number of Deals and Relative Contribution of Investment Types for Global and U.S. Innovation in the Clean Energy and Water Sectors, 2000–13
FIGURE 6. Global and U.S. Investments in Clean Energy and Water by Venture, Corporate and Corporate Venture, and Public Sources, 2000–13
Corporate Investment
… First, some corporations might be seeking to improve their own internal operations. … Second, corporations might be looking for new market opportunities. …
FIGURE 7. Number of Patents Relative to Market Size for Solar and Wind Power Industry, 2000–11
Public Investment
…in the United States the clean energy sector has benefited from about $8 billion in public investment over the past thirteen years, while only $28 million in public dollars has gone to the water sector over the same period. …
Innovation Indicators: Patents
FIGURE 8. Patent Filings with Patent Cooperation Treaty for Water Purification and Clean Energy by Country, 1999–2011
FIGURE 9. Number of U.S. Patents Filed in the Clean Energy and Water Subsectors, 1999–2012

Chapter 4: Explaining Patterns of Innovation
PRICING PRACTICES
FIGURE 10. Tariff Price and Domestic Use per Capita, 2012
The pricing of water in the United States affects innovation in several ways. First, it reduces the revenue available to water suppliers to invest in innovation. …
…about 16 percent of the treated water in the United States is lost to leaky pipes and system inefficiencies. This translates to 7 billion gallons of clean water per day that is produced without generating any revenue for the water service providers…
…about 30 percent of the water in the United States falls under the category of nonrevenue water, meaning water that has been extracted, treated, and distributed, but that has never generated any revenue because it has been lost to leaks, metering inaccuracies, or the like…
Second…the extraction of water from a river or stream can have significant environmental costs. Because prices do not reflect such costs, however, analyses to decide whether to extract additional water for a growing city or to invest instead in water recycling and reuse…
Third, the underpricing of water can undercut incentives that water users would otherwise have to invest in new technologies to reduce water use. …
FIGURE 11. Relative Capital Investment to Revenue Ratio for Several Utility Services
… States with the highest electricity costs—such as Hawaii and California—have seen the most active programs to advance wind, solar, and other forms of renewable electricity. …
REGULATIONS
…(1) ensuring a significant market for recycling technology, (2) encouraging the diffusion of such technology, (3) enabling the refinement and improvement of recycling technology through actual use, and (4) driving the development of less-expensive recycling technologies.
TABLE 1. Regulatory Drivers and Barriers to Adoption of Water-Recycling Innovations
FIGURE 12. Importance of Industry Issues, 2012
LACK OF ACCESS TO CAPITAL

Chapter 5: Infusing Innovation into the Water Sector
IMPROVE WATER PRICING POLICIES
FIGURE 13. Number of Clean Energy Patents and Price of Electricity, 2001–11
BOX 1. California’s Decoupling Experience
DEVELOP INNOVATION-FRIENDLY REGULATION
…each state conduct a systematic review of its regulatory practices relating to the water sector. …:
• State legislators and regulators should avoid geographically inconsistent regulations. …
• Legislators and regulators also should consider crosssector impacts when adopting new regulations. …
• State regulations should provide sufficient flexibility to avoid blocking the timely adoption of new and innovative technologies. …
• State legislators and regulators should consider the appropriateness of rules that encourage the adoption of new technologies. …
INSTITUTE A MECHANISM FOR RAISING PUBLIC FUNDS FOR INNOVATION
FIGURE 14. Governance Structure of Public Good Charge for Electricity in California

Chapter 6: Conclusion

Chapter 7: Questions and Concerns
How can states and local agencies be encouraged or incentivized to implement the proposed reforms?
Would states need to build additional capacity or provide additional funding for these reforms?
Should there be a mandate for these pricing reforms?
What will be the potential obstacles or resistance to these reforms?
• Salience.
• Financial Impacts.
• Complexity.


US Policy Changes Vol.30 (Miscellaneous Vol.1 – tri-state area demography)

Here is an academic article on tri-state area demography: The Receding Metropolitan Perimeter: A New Postsuburban Demographic Normal (w PDF; 2014) | James W. Hughes, Joseph J. Seneca @blousteinschool. Excerpt is on our own.

… The new postwar suburbs of the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s were an escape from inner-city turmoil, crime, poverty, failing schools, deteriorating public transit, ever-higher taxes, and recurring fiscal crises. This was the unparalleled era of tract house suburban America. …
… In the post-2010 years (2010–2013), a “new demographic normal” started to unfold: Population growth in the suburban ring slowed dramatically and, for the first time in the post–World War II era, population growth in the historic center of the region surpassed that of the suburbs. The regional core became much more attractive to suburban-saturated young adults as rental housing achieved housing market dominance. …
… The locus of population losses in the early postwar decades (1950–1980) occurred in the urban heart of the region. The post-2010 losses are taking place in the region’s outer suburban reaches. …

Summary of Findings
– Between 1950 and 1980, the suburban ring of 27 counties in four states experienced explosive growth, nearly doubling its total population; it gained more than 5.3 million people (+177,458 persons per year). At the same time, the regional core of eight urban counties in New York and New Jersey was contracting sharply, losing close to a million (-859,660) people (-28,655 persons per year).
– In the second period (2010–2013), the suburban ring continued to grow, but at a much reduced scale (+37,742 persons per year), barely 20 percent of the annual pace of the earlier period. In contrast, the regional core gained 85,284 persons per year, an annual increase more than double that of the suburban ring. And the core accounted for the great majority (69.3 percent) of the region’s total population growth—the suburban ring just 30.7 percent. This is unparalleled in postwar annals.
– The regional core is now the locomotive of the region’s demographic train. Brooklyn was the unquestioned growth leader in the post-2010 period; its total population increase of 82,426 people between 2010 and 2013 is a startling turnaround from its 1950–1980 performance, when it shed more than one-half million people.
– In the suburban ring, the highest growth totals were achieved by three inlying counties adjacent or close to the regional core: Bergen (New Jersey), Westchester (New York), and Fairfield (Connecticut). However, there were 12 suburban counties —out of a total of 27 suburban counties— that lost population between 2010 and 2013. Thus, over 44 percent of the counties in the suburban ring experienced demographic contraction.
– All of the population-losing counties, with the exception of Monmouth County in New Jersey, were located on the metropolitan outer rim (highlighted in table 1 and figure 2): Litchfield and New Haven in Connecticut; Dutchess, Putnam, Sullivan, and Ulster in New York; Hunterdon, Sussex, and Warren in New Jersey; and Monroe and Pike in Pennsylvania. These counties, the demographic leaders of the second half of the twentieth century, have experienced a dramatic reversal of population dynamics.
– The extraordinary suburban population gains through 1980 provided the labor resources that underpinned the massive wave of postindustrial suburban office growth in the 1980s and 1990s. The new regional core population gains parallel new patterns of centralized job growth and may dictate a much more centralized economic geography in the future.
– Part of the new urban dynamic is being driven by young adults. The baby boom generation swelled the ranks of young adults (20 to 29 years of age) in the 1970s. Between 1970 and 1980, the suburban ring accounted for virtually all of the growth (96.0 percent) in this age sector.
– The pattern was strikingly different in the 2000–2010 period when echo boomers/millennials filled the 20- to 29-year-old sector. During this time the regional core almost gained parity with the suburban ring. The suburban ring’s share of total young-adult growth during the decade fell to 56.0 percent while that of the regional core increased to 44.0 percent.
… The post-2010 period has been characterized by significant changes in many of the dynamics that formerly propelled massive regional suburbanization. Major gains in public safety and fiscal stability in New York City removed a crucial impetus to suburbanize. Changes in the structural composition of the national and regional economies accelerated during and after the Great Recession of 2007–2009, significantly changing workplace geography. New demographics began to reshape the workforce, workplace preferences, and housing markets. The baby boom, the most suburban-centric generation in history, now confronts retirement and represents the workforce of the past—and the suburban values spawned in the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s. In their stead, the baby boomers’ children—echo boomers/millennials—are rapidly becoming today’s critical workforce dynamic. Now in their twenties and early thirties, they are a tech-savvy collaborative generation wanting to live in higher-density, nonsuburban activity environments and do not, in general, find suburban employment and one-dimensional insular office campuses particularly attractive. The most talented and highly skilled of these are now known as the digerati—and because of their labor market skills, they have even stronger work, location, and lifestyle preferences and impacts.
Profound advances in information technology, particularly mobile information technology, and the forces of globalization have fundamentally altered the nature of knowledge-based work and its underlying business models. Already, this technology is providing ubiquitous connectivity, unshackling and untethering workers from fixed-in-place information technology systems. …
Corporate America too has been transformed, with a new corporate urbanism supplanting the once obsessive desire for insulated and isolated suburban office campuses. New locational preferences centered on a different set of social and physical attributes have gained momentum. At the same time, the once glittering, spanking-new, leading-edge suburban office agglomerations of the 1980s are aging and, in many cases, have become obsolete.

The Context of the Report
In 1954, a landmark article, “The Tidal Wave of Metropolitan Expansion,” was published in the Journal of the American Institute of Planners by Hans Blumenfeld… It accurately forecast the pattern of large and rapid metropolitan growth for the balance of the twentieth century—an ever-expanding metropolitan periphery, with an unrelenting suburban development wave pushing further outward from the historic city center. This certainly depicted the secular post–World War II pattern of population growth in the 35-county, four-state region surrounding New York City. Demographic tidal waves swept westward (and southward) through New Jersey and crossed the Delaware River into Pennsylvania; flowed eastward across Long Island; and also moved northward, deeper into New York State and into Connecticut. But now, after more than a half-century, these waves appear to be receding.

The Big Picture: The Startling Reversal of Fortune
… In 1950, the core’s population (9.8 million people) was over 70 percent greater than the suburban ring’s (5.7 million people). By 1980, the suburban ring’s 11.0 million people was over 20 percent greater than the core’s 9.0 million people.
…a dramatic slowing of suburban population growth, population shrinkage on the outer metropolitan perimeter, and strong urban resurgence. …
… Between 1950 and 1980, the suburban ring’s rate of population increase (+93.8 percent) was nearly double that (+49.7 percent) of the United States. Between 2010 and 2013, the suburban’s ring’s growth (+0.9 percent) was less than half that (+2.2 percent) of the nation.

FIGURE 1

The Scale of Past Urban Decline
… Between 1950 and 1980 (table 1), New York (Manhattan) lost 531,816 persons (-27.1 percent), Kings (Brooklyn) lost 507,239 persons (-18.5 percent), and the Bronx lost 282,305 persons (-19.5 percent). The three counties combined had an aggregate population decline of over 1.3 million people, a total greater than the loss of the overall core (-859,660 persons). It was the city’s own outer periphery that escaped this widespread decline. The boroughs of Queens, which gained 340,476 persons (+22.0 percent), and Richmond (Staten Island), which gained 160,566 persons (+83.8 percent), experienced suburban-like population growth during this period. …

FIGURE 2

The New Growth Frontier
… For the first time, the core dominated. It accounted for 69.3 percent (255,853 persons) of this growth; the suburban ring, just 30.7 percent (113,227 persons). The regional core is now the growth locomotive of the region’s demographic train; the suburban ring is the caboose. …
Brooklyn was the unquestioned growth leader in the post-2010 period; its population increased by 82,426 people between 2010 and 2013. Brooklyn’s current performance is also illustrated by a comparison to the 1950–1980 period, when it shed more than one-half million people. In the suburban ring, the highest growth totals post-2010 were achieved by the inlying counties of Fairfield in Connecticut (+21,090 persons), Bergen in New Jersey (+18,731 persons), and Westchester in New York (+18,126 persons). However, the growth of all three combined (+57,947 persons) falls far below that of Brooklyn. …
… fully 44.4 percent of the counties in the suburban ring experienced population declines. With the exception of Monmouth County in New Jersey — which was suffering the harsh aftereffects of Superstorm Sandy — all of the counties that lost population were on the metropolitan edge …
Monroe and Pike Counties in Pennsylvania in particular are noteworthy. They are located immediately west of Warren and Sussex Counties in New Jersey, just across the Delaware River. In the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s, they were the fastest-growing counties in the region (appendix table A-3). For example, between 1990 and 2000, the population of the suburban ring grew by 8.6 percent. In sharp contrast, Pike’s population grew by 65.6 percent and Monroe’s by 44.9 percent. But between 2010 and 2013, both Monroe (-1.7 percent) and Pike (-1.3 percent) Counties experienced population declines.

The Potency of Young Adults   TABLE 1, 2
… The first comprises maturing “60-somethings,” who are aging baby boomers now pursuing empty-nester lifestyles, trying to adapt to cutting-edge technologies, confronting their exit from the labor force, and facing retirement. The second comprises “20-somethings” and young “30-somethings.” These are echo boomers or millennials who are driving a resurgent entry-level rental housing market, new lifestyle preferences, and new workplace protocols and values. …
… Between 1970 and 1980, the four-state region added 378,755 “20-somethings.” Virtually all of the growth in such baby boom young adults took place in the suburban ring (363,595 persons), or 96.0 percent. The regional core added only 15,160 persons in this age bracket, or 4.0 percent. There would actually have been a shrinkage in young adults in the core if not for growth in Queens (+18,084 persons) and Richmond (+13,573 persons), which contain some of the more “suburban-type” areas of the core. The generation born and reared in the suburbs largely settled there as young household-forming adults. And in the two decades that followed (1980–2000), the suburbs dominated the region’s economic-growth ledgers.
… The suburban ring’s share of total regional growth during the decade fell to 56.0 percent (137,348 persons out of 245,220 persons), while that of the regional core increased to 44.0 percent (107,872 persons out of 245,220 persons). …

Conclusion
…both time frames represent two fundamentally different eras—unbridled suburbanization/urban decline versus recentralization/perimeter contraction—then a transformative regional change may be under way that is only just now beginning to reveal itself. The 2010–2013 period suggests that for the first time in the post–World War II era the tidal wave of metropolitan expansion has begun to ebb, with the regional core outperforming the suburban ring.
… the relentless demography of baby boom and baby boom-echo generations, rapid and sweeping technology changes, favorable quality-of-life improvements in the region’s urban core, and new cultural and locational preferences of millennials. …
Alternatively, Americans’ stubborn love affair with large vehicles, cheap gas, and free roads is still a powerful force working to maintain population dispersal. It seems to be impervious to repeated oil crises, $4-per-gallon gas (perhaps because $4 gas seems never to stick around long), and the possibility of higher energy costs in the long run for both transportation and residential heating. Also, although the powerful desire for homeownership may have been deeply dented by the Great Recession, it may recover and dominate housing markets once again.

TABLE A-1,2,3


US Policy Changes Vol.28 (Infrastructure/Economy Vol.3 – Housing, Construction, Immigration, Finance, Key posts)

Here are articles on infrastructure including housing, and related immigration and finance. Excerpts are on our own.

What Economists Expect from a Donald Trump Economy (11/14/2016) | @JoshZumbrun @WSJ
Inflation Rate
2017: 2.2%; 2018: 2.4%
…higher than a month ago, as the potential for fiscal stimulus with an already low unemployment rate could lead to the first sustained bout of more than 2% inflation since before the 2007-09 recession. A trade war, in which countries apply tariffs to each other’s goods, could also potentially make the price of imports more expensive.
Interest Rate on 10-Year Treasury Bonds
End of 2017: 2.35%; end of 2018: 3%
The possibility of higher inflation and more government borrowing suggests that interest rates on 10-year Treasury bonds may be poised to rise. Yields have already jumped about 0.3% since the election. …
Housing Construction and Home Prices
2017 change in prices: 4.3%; 2017 housing starts: 1.3 million
…steady gains of about 5.5% over the past three years. …
Odds of Recession
In the next 12 months: 19%

How The Trump Administration Will Impact Housing (11/14/2016) | Ingo Winzer @Forbes
… Throughout most of the Rust Belt, where Donald Trump won strong support, prices for homes remain very low – partly because the local economic situation has for years been very poor. If government money is routed towards these most visible areas of economic stagnation, local home values will rise for years, as will demand for single-family rentals. …

How Trump’s Presidency Could Impact Real Estate (11/10/2016) | Lawrence Yun @Forbes
1. … A combination of tax cuts and government spending in the form of upgrading nation’s infrastructure and for national defense will provide a short boost to the economy in the first half of 2017. … Should the faster GDP growth be sustained and arise out of higher productivity, then inflation will be manageable. Moreover, more jobs will automatically mean more tax revenue, which will lessen budget deficit. …
2. … Should tariffs be raised to lessen the trade deficit, consumers will face higher prices. If exports and imports significantly decline, then history has repeatedly shown that recession…
3. … Wall Street will cheer because of less government regulation but will frown on restrictive international trade policies. … But the rise of uncertainty in the financial market will hold back corporate investment spending decisions. …
4. … the lifting of compliance costs imposed on small-sized banks. Around 10,000 local and community banks have traditionally been the source of funding for construction and land development loans. With less regulatory burden, …more loans…
5. … Credit is still tight for mortgages as evidenced by very high credit scores among those who are getting approved. …the exposure of random lawsuits by the government on lending institutions…
6. …less regulatory land-use and zoning burden for home construction, and thereby lower the cost of building. … Homebuilders say that is due to all the extra cost of regulation and not necessarily from higher input cost of lumber, cement, and worker wages. …
7. … Fortunately, after management changes Fannie and Freddie today are led by technicians providing a government guarantee on soundly-written mortgages. As a result, they have repaid all the taxpayer bailout money. Moreover, they are doing so well financially given the very low mortgage default rates, that the U.S. Treasury is getting added revenue on the backs of responsible homeowners. …
8., 9., 10.

Why Bond Markets Hate Donald Trump (11/15/2016) | @crobmatthews @Fortune
…prices have fallen a big for the bond market 1.4% in past week…
…theoretical backing: If financial assets’ value is determined by the present value of future income, then it makes sense that both stocks and bonds will be worth more if the economy is doing well…
…bond investors will receive fixed payments regardless of the level of inflation, which erodes the real value of those payments over time…
…@osullivanEcon High Frequency Economics “prospects of new stimulus has clearly been a driver of the bond market,” since last week’s presidential election. …
… The Republican Congress has been pushing for tax cuts, sure, but it’s also believes in cuts in entitlement and other spending, with the goal of balancing the federal budget within 10 years. That would necessitate deep cuts to programs that benefit poor and middle-class Americans, sapping their spending power. …
…higher inflation could cause the Fed to move to raise rates, which won’t be good for bonds, but shouldn’t be good for stocks either. …@pboockvar @TheLindseyGroup…
… Trump Administration could usher in an era of “stagflation” where the economy sees rising prices but slow growth to go along with. …

Victory for Trump could be a boost to US infrastructure (11/18/2016) | @Construction_IC
… “at least double” Hillary Clinton’s spending proposals.
The defeated Democrat Party presidential candidate had revealed plans to deliver a $275bn, five-year program for investment in transportation, water, energy and other projects, as well as launch a federal infrastructure bank. …
… According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, the backlog of infrastructure projects is expected to cost $3.6trn by 2020. Under the outgoing administration of Barack Obama, total public capital investment (which includes infrastructure) stood at $611bn in 2015, the equivalent of just 3.4% of GDP, and the lowest in more than 60 years, according to data from the president’s Council of Economic Advisers. …
… How the longer term forecast will be adjusted depends on whether Mr Trump sticks with some of the more controversial polices that could greatly undermine economic growth, notably plans to impose severe trade protection measures and to place strict controls on immigration.
On the one hand, if his administration proceeds with plans to enact trade controls… could quickly escalate to a global trade war with dire consequences, not just for the US economy, while tighter controls in immigration… could slow population and productivity growth. …
On the other hand…toned down… …unlikely to be any major downturn in the US economy… Moreover, if his administration pushes ahead swiftly with infrastructure development spending, there is scope for an upward adjustment to the forecast growth in construction output.

The problem with Clinton and Trump’s infrastructure plans (8/8/2016) | @DannyVinik @PoliticoAgenda

Trump’s mass deportation plans would cripple the construction industry (11/18/2016) | Jake Flanagin @qz
…@nberpubs…
The working paper, released Nov. 14 by two economics professors at Queens College and titled “The Economic Contribution of Unauthorized Workers: An Industry Analysis,” estimates an immediate drop of $30.9 billion (5%) in the industry’s GDP, and a long-term decline of $47.6 billion from a 2013 industry total output of $619.87 billion. The same report estimates that legalization of undocumented construction workers could precipitate an immediate 1.2% jump (about $7.7 billion annually) and a long-term rise of 1.9% ($12.1 billion annually).
… “But over the longer term, you’re going to have to pay workers more,” Randy Capps @MigrationPolicy…

Why Ben Carson’s medical experience matters at HUD (12/6/2016) | @ikeswetlitz @statnews
… The responsibilities of the job — running a federal agency whose budget in 2016 neared $50 billion and that is responsible for helping local housing authorities manage over a million households…
…medical lens to the job — pushing for quality housing for low-income people and improving people’s health conditions within public housing.
“Not having access to safe, affordable housing is one of the least healthy situations you can find yourself in,” said Mariana Arcaya @MITdusp. …

Ben Carson’s Warped View of Housing (12/19/2016) | @nytimes

Ben Carson’s “life” in public housing qualifies him to be HUD secretary, supporters say (12/6/2016) | @SophiaTesfaye @salon

Trump’s pick for transportation secretary could be good for companies with self-driving ambitions (11/30/2016) | @JMBOOYAH @Recode
… First and foremost, Donald Trump’s priority — and perhaps by extension Chao’s — is his $1 trillion infrastructure plan to repair the country’s roads, bridges and tunnels.
That could mean two things: Self-driving regulations may not be at the top of Chao’s agenda but the DOT and Chao have the opportunity to work with the tech and transportation industries to create roads and infrastructure that are friendly to autonomous tech. …

Trump picks Elaine Chao, former labor secretary, to lead Department of Transportation (11/29/2016) | @jlgolson @verge

Trump’s Pick For Transportation Secretary Could Shape His Infrastructure Plan (11/29/2016) | @DianaBudds @FastCoDesign
… As Transportation Secretary, Chao — who is married to Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and whose family earned its wealth in the shipping industry — will oversee eleven agencies that manage air, ground, rail, and maritime travel. …
…vocally opposed government regulation, like carbon-emissions taxes, which is sure to impact how she leads the DOT. (Chao was on the Bloomberg Philanthropies board, but resigned in 2015 after the organization boosted funding to its Beyond Coal initiative.) Judging from her track record, fossil fuel alternatives are unlikely to be a priority…


UK Vol.59 (Religion and the patterns of conflict in Northern Ireland)

Here is a (draft, 2008?) paper, Religion and the patterns of conflict in Northern Ireland (PDF) | Prof Jennifer Todd @ucdpolitics @YaleMacMillan. Excerpts, underlines, italicization, et al. are on our own.

Religious distinctions are key to social and symbolic boundaries in many societies, and most certainly so in Northern Ireland. The historical patterning of religious opposition, most particularly perhaps in the conservative character of the forms of Protestantism and Catholicism in Ireland, is clear. Recent works have traced the many ways religion has fed into conflict in the present, and the groups for whom it is important for conflict. Building on this research, I will point to some general tendencies or mechanisms which have kept religion mattering for conflict, and to show the particular character this has given to conflict. This is intended to contribute to the analysis of the way multiplex symbolic boundaries can strengthen singular social boundaries and political oppositions and to help clarify the role religion can play in a multiply constituted conflict.

The Northern Ireland conflict 

The conflict in what is now Northern Ireland lies in a direct line of descent from the English reconquest and colonisation (plantation) of Ulster in the early 17th century. This colonisation was never separable from religious differences.  Counter reformation, via Irish priests trained on the continent, came to Ireland before the English reformation had taken hold, so that by the early 17th century, when the bulk of plantation took place, religious conflict was already underway. …

The result was a multiply-constituted conflict, where power relations… were partially organised by formal and informal religious organisation and networks, and where symbolic boundaries were multiplex, with religion, moral-political norms and civilisational values, historical narratives of plantation, and ethno-national identities overlapping if never quite coinciding. This configuration generated interests among Protestants, Catholics and the British state which reproduced the broad contours of the social and symbolic distinctions through the radical social, institutional and constitutional changes of the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and led to endemic conflict between the groups so constituted. In this paper, I focus on the period I know best, late 19th century to present, and within this on the contemporary phase of conflict and settlement, 1969-present.   Conflict between Protestants and Catholics was persistent from the late 19th to the end of twentieth century. It varied in intensity and in institutional and organisational form. There were periods of more or less extreme violence (actual or threatened) from 1912-22, and 1969-94, with intermittent violent episodes throughout. As actors attempted to secure their interests, they entrenched symbolic and social boundaries, while they also came to define their interests in terms of these distinctions. It was a tightly structured conflict, with mutually reproducing feedback between symbolic distinction, social organisation and power relations, giving the conflict an intractable quality. Within this pattern I will argue that religion played a role in making conflict more meaningful, more intense, more totalising. The 1998 settlement, which signalled an end to violence and a more pervasive relaxing of conflict and beginning of a new political order, could have left symbolic and social boundaries intact. It didn’t. Instead it saw a remaking of the symbolic packages, with different roles for religion. …

I want briefly to justify my focus in this paper on religion and conflict rather than religion and violence.  Religion is not an important factor in explaining why some individuals opted for violent means while others didn’t, nor in explaining when they so opted, nor in explaining what they did when they so opted: neither the actors nor the targets of violence were overtly or primarily religious. Joining the IRA after 1969 was a strategic choice in a situation perceived as deeply unjust in which there was neither exit nor voice. Law abiding Catholic citizens shared the same experiences and many of the same aims as republicans and understood their motivations. Rev. James McEvoy, Professor of Scholastic Philosophy in Queens University Belfast, pointed out that both the Catholic church and republican paramilitaries believed that Catholics in Northern Ireland faced a stark alternative – to accept a measure of injustice and live with that, or to revolt – they simply made different choices. The IRA itself was informed by a political rather than primarily religious ideology, and its stated aims were constitutional rather than religious or cultural. Loyalists, for their part, judged that effective repression of the republican threat to the union required informal paramilitary as well as state security response.  Unionists and Protestants shared the aim but rejected the paramilitary means: indeed many joined and almost all supported the state security forces in this task. … The most interesting question is not why, in this situation, a minority of people resorted to violence, but why the mass of the population was so polarised in its politics and perspectives, and how religion contributed to this.

Disentangling the role of religion in conflict

If, in the contemporary period, religion plays one part in conflict, it does not play the determining part. The same religious oppositions coexist with quite different patterns of social relations and political organisation in, for example, the Irish state or in some areas of France. Religious opposition is at most one strand of causal patterning, where institutionalised power differentials, inequalities, ethnic differences and nationalist aims also play a part. …

There is a strong tendency in the contemporary literature not even to attempt such a task. Contemporary comparative political science takes a broad concept of ethnicity, which bundles together ethnicity narrowly conceived as people-hood, as a descent defined group with a distinctive origin myth, and religion, race, caste, region and sometimes even class. In the presently dominant interpretation of the Northern Ireland conflict, it fits neatly into this conceptualisation, with religion understood as an ‘ethnic marker’. This, in my view, is a mistake, cutting short analysis before adequate explanations are reached.

First, to take a broad and inclusive notion of ethnicity is to focus on boundaries rather than on the meaning of those boundaries (religious, or racial, or narrowly ethnic). This dissociation of boundary from content is, I would argue, a wrong turn in the social sciences. Symbolic boundaries and symbolic content are intrinsically interrelated. Barth who insisted that ethnic groups had no homogenous or unique set of cultural practices or beliefs and refused to reduce ethnicity to ‘cultural stuff’, also described the ‘basic value orientations: standards of morality and excellence’ which defined boundaries.  In Northern Ireland, whether (and which) actors define themselves in terms of theological beliefs and religious practices, or in terms of ethnic descent groups, in terms of nationality or of key moral-political values affects not only the persistence of difference and the prospect of eventual integration (via immediate conversion, or long-term intermarriage, or gradual convergence) but also the precise place of boundaries, those marginals who are included and those excluded.

Second, once one acknowledges the relevance of content to boundaries, one would expect conflicts informed by religious distinctions to have a distinctive symbolic logic different from other forms of conflict. This of course leaves open how such conflicts are patterned, how symbolic distinctions do or don’t translate into patterns of behavior, a question that becomes the trickier as we look at real conflicts which have ethnic/religious/national/class/political/civilisational components in different degrees.

Third, the dominant view tends to slip between a broad, inclusive (and therefore empty) concept of ethnicity – where it makes good sense to ask if ethnicity matters for conflict – and a narrow concept of ethnicity as descent, lineage, quasi-kin consciousness which, it is believed, trumps all other categories. This slippage is justified in terms of a socio- psychological or socio-biological explanation of why broadly-conceived-ethnicity has these narrowly-conceived-ethnic-characteristics. This sort of explanation not only elides those cases where it doesn’t have such characteristics but also, in my view, fails adequately to describe or explain those cases where it does.

However, to start to pull apart the role of religion in a multiply constituted conflict like that in Northern Ireland, is exceeding difficult. On all objective indicators, divisions in Northern Ireland are deep: there are comparatively strong correlations between religion of origin, party-political support, constitutional preference, national identification and a set of political views about security, law and equality of treatment.  When one makes finer tuned distinctions within the broad categories of Protestant/Catholic, unionist/nationalist, British/Irish there are no evident correlations of type of religion with type of politics. …

Qualitative and interactional studies show a radical variety of ways of combining positions on religious, political, ethnic, national and moral dimensions, and of giving meaning to these categories. Multiply constituted conflicts invite symbolic tradeoffs where blurring on one boundary (eg a Protestant with an Irish identity) is compensated for by insistence on another (eg that same Protestant’s strong unionism). In everyday discussions there are consistent shifts in emphasis and slippage between categories of nationality, religion, and ethnicity. Clustering exists but it also changes over time: Catholic unionists are interesting in this regard, but the better researched are Protestant evangelicals who cluster into two, relatively balanced, groups of, on the one hand, liberals and radicals, and, on the other, conservatives, and the political positions of each have changed very significantly in the last decade.

In light of these well-known facts, some have argued that religion does not matter for conflict, that it is essentially an ethno-national conflict. However very similar arguments – relying on slippage, symbolic trade-offs, everyday cultural variation, and the lack of correlation between varieties of Britishness, Irishness and Northern Irishness, ethnic-self-definitions and political views – can be used to argue that ethnicity (understood in a substantive cultural sense) does not matter for conflict, that national political division is imposed on a cultural plurality and that scholarship inappropriately echoes this imposition of binary categories on a plural cultural reality. …

… Once one opens this path, the prospect of showing how religion contributes to conflict is clear. First, however, it is useful to show why a direct analysis of the material and political incentives to bloc formation is insufficient to explain the continuation of conflict.

That the political system in the period of unionist rule (1921-72) gave incentives for bloc formation, benefitting the Protestant population in terms of division of the spoils and access to influence, is not in any doubt.  It also gave Catholics incentives to associate together in defence, and the church was their only well-resourced organisation. Significant though lesser benefits for bloc formation continued through the period of British direct rule, diminishing more rapidly post 1985.  Today the benefits are slight: a bias in the Assembly voting system (key votes can be passed with a bare majority of self-designated nationalists and self-designated unionists and an overall majority) which may give a slight incentive to voters to vote for the unionist and nationalist blocs. In addition, the desire of the British and Irish governments to keep the major parties in agreement gives those parties considerable bargaining power and capacity to distribute resources to their supporters. Can bloc formation and behaviour be explained solely by the actual or anticipated material benefit?  One test is what happens when the benefits decrease. The result, in the 2000s when benefits and expectations of benefit have definitively decreased, is that the political cleavage is even clearer and more defined than before, even while political conflict is less intense.

If, however, we need to look at the socio-cultural patterning of conflict, we need to look at cultural trajectories, not simply empirically observable (synchronic) cultural plurality. In Northern Ireland, as elsewhere, the categories of division are only one set of categories used in daily life, and oppositional interpretations of them are only one set of available repertoires. Other things equal, one would expect experimentation with new ideas, a blurring of symbolic boundaries, gradually over time the development of a range of different religious, political, national, historical perspectives and a range of different ways of combining them, a move away from oppositional perspectives. Instead, despite consistent experimentation and boundary blurring which is obvious from a micro-interactional perspective, oppositional perspectives have persistently been reaffirmed whenever collective decisions are necessary. For example, in a whole series of small and large decisions over the last forty years, ordinary people began by blurring boundaries, experimenting with new ideas, moving towards compromise, then wavered, then opted for opposition and division. No obvious material interests were involved, nor was this a following of leaders: the Northern Irish are notorious for rejecting their one-time leaders. … In what follows, I sketch some very general mechanisms which explain this type of reaction, and emphasise the role of religion. To test the value of these schema in explaining these particular decisions would require a longer empirical analysis.

Multiplex symbolic boundaries and the tendency to opposition 

Given the plurality of dimensions or categorisations by which distinctions are made – Protestant/Catholic, unionist/nationalist, British/Irish, even settler/native – the plurality of repertoires within the religious, national-political, ethno-national and historico-colonial fields, and the constant experimentation with new views which goes on in Northern Ireland as elsewhere, what leads towards an emphasis on opposition? I suggest that there is a practical-cognitive mechanism which provides a weak tendency towards opposition. …

This is neither a structuralist argument nor a Weberian one. It is not structuralist in that the binary oppositions are empirical, historical – rooted in the fact that the same or closely linked groups of people in each generation were making and remaking political, religious and historical narratives; the experience of them in practical life varies between groups, as does the internalisation of them; the tendency to internalise is weak rather than strong, and can be counteracted in predictable ways…

The forms of religion which evolved in Northern Ireland have been on the extreme ends of the reformation division: Calvinism or low church, evangelically oriented Anglicanism; Roman Catholicism with little anti-clericalism and no routine challenge to hierarchical authority. Protestants tended to see themselves as rational, progressive, modern, as opposed to Catholic superstition and backwardness. Within this, brands of Protestantism emphasised old testament chosen-people themes, and the covenantal tradition. The parallels with the dominant brand of unionism are striking: unionism sees nationalism as superstitious, traditionalist, backward, and itself as global, progressive, modern, rational. … Akenson shows how the religious sense of chosen people was historically intertwined with the sense of being a settler, and how this tends to make recessive those aspects of the religion that could criticise inequality and injustice. …

Catholics, on the other hand, saw themselves in the one true church with the one truth. In parallel, the nationalist tradition has a singular, concentred self-understanding with a coincidence of ethnic background, religious faith and national belonging. Particular brands of nationalism emphasise a messianic vision of history, with golden age, fall and redemption through suffering. The concepts of justice and equality used to criticise the Northern state were often informed by Catholic social thinking, and sometimes by a more generalised and simple ‘basic’ Christianity: the Campaign for Social Justice (CSJ) policy statement in 1964 concludes: ‘Our aim is, we think, both basic and Christian but, nevertheless, has not been realised here for hundreds of years, namely equality for all’. It is highly significant that the same concepts (for Protestants, rationality, modernity, loyalty) are used to distinguish different classes and sub-groups within the community as are used to distinguish the communities, thus reinforcing overall communal opposition.

Why this seeming gravitational pull to opposition, even while there are so many nonoppositional strands in the (contemporary) Christian religions? Steve Bruce explains it in terms of the need for a clear sense of belonging which is given (for Protestants) in evangelical Protestantism and the sense of being a chosen people. But the sense of belonging (and the felt need for such a sense) varies very dramatically. The extremes within Northern Ireland have shown little sense of solidarity or belonging beyond their immediate group: republicans, in particular, have little solidarity with or affection for their fellow nationals. I have suggested a simpler cognitive explanation: logical coherence is found in the oppositional interpretations of religion, politics, ethnicity, history, not in the inclusive interpretations: there is a clear coherent oppositional ‘package’, whereas breaking with opposition on any one dimension does not imply a particular way to break with it on others. …

Of course these are socialised rather than intellectualised understandings, a practical sense of coherence, not a coherently articulated ideology. The embodied practical concepts of rationality and modernity allow a merging of religious and other distinctions. The young modern liberal Protestant girl filmed by Desmond Bell in the late 1980s goes into a Catholic church and is visibly shocked and displeased by ‘all the statues’. Meanwhile Catholics are shocked by the ‘polish’ of Protestants in their religious practices as if formality and showy-ness is all, and this spills over into judgement of Protestant dress and make-up. Such embodied religious differences, can exist without being generalised to politics or wider social attitudes. In Northern Ireland, however, they are so generalised. Harris describes how there is a Protestant and Catholic position on just about everything, including international relations. … Work places were largely informally segregated until the last decade. There was strong opposition to exogamy, and where it (fairly frequently) took place, mixed marriage couples moved firmly into one community and all but severed linkages with the other. This had the following consequences:

(a) social capital was within each religious group. With this went reliance and trust: who one was likely to believe in a situation of contestation was firmly determined by religion.

(b) communication patterns were within each group. This was of particular importance as violence began and as information flows became specific to each side. It is well attested that rumours play a major role as triggers and precursors to violence, in particular to riots. The prevalence of single-religion organisations and meeting places in Northern Ireland facilitates two sets of rumour-networks. …

(c) The social basis for mobilisation was given by these working, socialisation and communication patterns and this affected the form of mobilisation. For unionists, the interlocking networks of unionism and the Orange Order allowed province-wide mobilisation which marginalized modernisers within the Protestant community. For nationalists, it meant that mobilisation took place by leafleting areas with GAA halls, parish halls and de facto excluding Protestants… the centrality of religion to social division allows that division to ‘penetrate everyday life’, and permits the clergy to play an important role in socio-political organisation. Taken by itself, religious organisation of social division does not necessarily affect the political goals of the mobilised population. It is, however, likely to highlight the religious dimensions of political opposition: the funerals for the hunger strikers were mass religious rituals with immediate political connotations: terrible suffering and grief, hope of resurrection. Once interrelated with the cognitively-based tendency to generalise religiously-informed oppositions, however, it has greater effects. It gives immediate social confirmation to this fusion of religious-political-social values and embeds it in group-belonging. It separates ‘people like us’ from those who breach the most basic norms of rationality and morality…

Institutional confirmation  

Religious division has also been formally and institutionally sedimented. There is an extensive literature showing how Protestantism, Protestant values and Protestant habitus came to permeate the British state and nation.  The devolved state in Northern Ireland was more explicitly Protestant in a Calvinist vein, with enforced sabbatarianism, and immediate and easy access and influence of the Protestant clergy on decisionmaking. Employment in the public sector (as in private firms) favoured Protestants, and the reasons for this merit attention: Barritt and Carter report Protestant views that Catholics were ‘not to be trusted‘, they were ‘shifty, idle and unreliable, fit only to be employed on unskilled work‘… Protestants might not ‘work well under Catholic supervision’. In the public sector, Catholics were not considered good candidates for promotion because in tough cases they would obey their church rather than their superior… Later again it was said that Catholics, and particularly republicans, could not be employed in industries of strategic importance because they would leak secrets. …continued underrepresentation of Catholics in the civil service and in public bodies well into the 1980s, …

As state institutions slowly changed, they gave differential incentives to different subgroups of unionists and nationalists to differentiate politics from culture, ethnicity and religion, or to re-connect it. …

Later ‘structural unionists’ who differentiated unionist politics from religious belief and ethnic belonging and argued for fuller integration into a changing British state, were wrong-footed by the increasingly bi-communal and bi-national policies and institutions set in place from 1985. In the 2000s, the unionist public – recognising that a bi-communal politics was now irreversible – left the UUP, plumping decisively for the communalist, religiously influenced DUP, to fight their corner within new institutions which they now also plumped for.

Different worlds. 

This intersection of symbolism, social practice and institutions created two separate worlds, with different – opposed – values and assumptions, which intersected only occasionally and at risk of violence. Conflict became more intense in the 1960s as the state increasingly penetrated the Catholic social world, and as Catholics increasingly asserted their position in the public (Protestant) world. …

In Catholic theology, God is present in the Communion, and the clergy play a mediating role between individual and God: in Protestant theology, the individual has a direct relationship with God who is not closer to the believer in church than outside. Church-going thus has quite different religio-social meanings in each community. For Protestants, it is a display of respect to God and to the religious community; it is a formal occasion of display, shown in clothing, stance, seriousness of demeanour, control of children in the family group. In some families, if the car is not washed or the clothes not properly ironed, church attendance has to wait. For Catholics on the other hand, the important thing is to attend, whatever the appearance. Moreover there is a radical asymmetry in church organisation and practice. In each small town or city neighbourhood, there are multiple Protestant churches each with a single long Sunday morning service. The congregation arrives at each church at a defined time, whole families together. Catholics, in contrast, have one large local church which holds multiple morning services, so there are always people coming and going, usually walking, and different family members may attend different services, finding seats whereever available. Some arrive late and leave early.

These differences cohere well with the different class and authority profiles of Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland. Protestants often display their position in the community in and through church attendance; the best clothes, the dignified and upright stance appropriate to people of authority and substance. Church is also an occasion to show one’s own respect for authority – the authority of the state, of the security forces, of the monarchy, symbols of which may be displayed in the form of flags or plaques.  Mass-going plays a role in community bonding for Catholics. It does not, however, have the same status resonances as it does for Protestants, not least because social position has not been a source of pride for most Catholics, and the churches never display symbols of the state. Behavior in church varies accordingly. In Protestant churches, children are kept with their families, under strict control; in Catholic churches, children are omnipresent, babies crying, toddlers climbing.

Church-going thus expresses and reproduces much more than simply religious difference. It is of crucial importance in forming perceptions of difference-as-opposition, since it is where Catholics and Protestants were – and are – seen in large numbers, as communities rather than as individuals. In the past, part of what Catholics disliked about unionist rule was being governed by the sort of people they saw going to church on Sunday, dark, polished, formal, humourless, and being made fit into a society in their image. Part of what Protestants feared was being governed by the sort of people they saw walking to church, as if randomly, at all hours, without clear order or formality, in all sorts of clothes, in great numbers, or later pouring out of church, or later again going to the Gaelic football match (not much distinguished from church-going in terms of clothing or style but even more threatening because of the numbers, predominantly male attendance and lack of formal authority).

Secularisation is important less because it makes religious values unimportant to individuals – Mitchell argues that they outlast the ending of religious practice by more than a generation – than because it removes religious practice from the public eye and it becomes easier to privatise and segment its values.

Predictions:  

If – as sketched above – the generalisation of oppositional religious concepts and values through the political and social sphere is a product of symbolic and social mechanisms, certain predictions follow.

1. Argument and evidence alone will be insufficient to break the cognitive frame. The very meanings of terms like ‘rationality’, ‘progress’, ‘modernity’ are communally-loaded. [An example of this is the capacity of even the most intellectually able and sophisticated of unionists and nationalists to describe their respective states in utterly opposing ways. Until very recently, unionists perceived the Irish state, in David Trimble’s words, to be ‘sectarian, mono-ethnic and mono-cultural’, economically weak and globally inconsequential compared to the British state. For nationalists like Garret FitzGerald, on the other hand, the British state is seen as traditionalist, conservative and class-bound, incapable of fully participating in the European and global economy; the Irish state is a small, independent open economy and polity with strong guarantees of human rights, providing the sort of institutional context and social capital that allows full use to be made of its resources.]

2. Secularisation alone will not break the pattern, since the oppositional concepts are already embodied in politics, notions of identity, views of history, thus creating a continued openness to religion. …

3. Since the ‘practical-cognitive-coherence’ mechanism depends in turn on other social mechanisms, it may routinely be set aside where these mechanisms don’t exist, for example where individuals’ social practices in one field involve a quite different set of concepts and values than in others. …

4. Change is more likely to be provoked by a breach of institutional and social networks than directly by a challenge to the symbolic equivalences. …

5. Where change is radical, there is likely to be a tendency to look for new coherences, and to embed these in new social networks. …

Change.  

Since 1998, quite radical institutional and social changes have given widespread incentives to change/breach the cognitive equivalences noted above. The ways this is being done casts light on the specific role of religion in the past and present.

1. The political system and power relations have been radically changed with the following as the key events: 1985 (Anglo-Irish Agreement), 1989 (Fair Employment Act) 1998 (Good Friday Agreement), 1999-2003 (reform of policing). Since 1998 this has begun to percolate down to everyday experience, for example in republican participation at all levels of decision making and in a visible nationalist presence in every aspect of the public sphere.

2. Social networks have been diffused. This has occurred in three ways. First, by increased funding for cross-community venues and integrated schooling, although such cross-networking remains relatively small-scale (only 4% of students attended integrated schools in 2002). Secondly… fair employment legislation has stimulated more widespread change in work relations. Third… general cultural trends and consumerism (from foreign holidays to non-place shopping malls to home cinema) have led to greater individualisation, a lesser reliance on social capital, although separate religio-leisure networks remain.

3. The older social worlds are challenged and increasingly problematised. For Protestants, the new political order disconfirms their previous expectations and rules out their habitual ways of acting: they can no longer march where they want, their world (and their control of it) has changed. For Catholics, once isolated ‘Catholic’ and ‘republican’ worlds are increasingly integrated into the public world: for them, their beliefs (in the need for public equality) are confirmed but their practices are changed.

These changes give individuals incentives to rethink and reframe their worlds, to cast adrift older assumptions and conceptual equivalences, to pull apart the cultural matrix or to change it altogether. …

1. One-time Protestant fundamentalist extremists have changed much more quickly than was expected, as is seen by the DUP’s cohabitation with Sinn Féin in the new executive. Recent research shows phases of this change: first a clear sense of political defeat, a prioritisation of religious values over political and a ‘purifying’ of religion of its failed political resonance; second a changing of political assumptions – which no longer matter so much to them; third, a finding of new religious opportunities as well as economic ones in the new cross-border structures or in moral activism (‘saving Ulster from sodomy’) within the newly egalitarian Northern Ireland.

2. One-time Protestant extremists who have no explicit religious belief find it harder to orient themselves to the new situation. They fear being swallowed up by Catholic, nationalist, republican expansion The new opportunities in Northern Ireland, however, require engagement with erst-while opponents (republicans) with clear public projects by whom they feel easily outmanoevred.  Some reassert the old values in increasingly desperate protest.

3. Some attempt to adapt, moderate, come to a strategic compromise. But this too raises moral issues which are not easy to resolve: if they can compromise now, what of the principles that they fought for in the past? Were they not important? …

Republican electoral success and international favour has been gained by a public silencing of the questions. It remains as yet unclear if the older oppositional mind-sets are being worn away by the practice of peace and compromise…

4. a helter-skelter of change, with initial movement leading to new levels of cognitive dissonance and further change. This group typically refound aspects of their familial and religious traditions which allowed them to legitimate these changes, and to reinvent a continuity with their personal and wider historical past. Many were in mixed marriages. Even in non-conflictual societies, mixed marriage respondents often narrate a refinding of more open aspects of their religious tradition, using ecumenical networks as support. …

when religiously informed conflict ends, the individuals who most quickly come to terms with both conflict and settlement are those who re-find aspects of the religious tradition by which to reinterpret it.

Conclusions:  

I have argued that religion has played a key symbolic role in the Northern Ireland conflict, where opposition is generalised between the religious, political, ethnic, normative, historical spheres. This is not primarily driven by the actions of clerics, or the events in particular churches, or even by changing religious orthodoxies. The generalisation was made likely by the historical development of the traditions, and the highlighting of the same or very similar conceptual oppositions within each. The process of generalisation is in turn underpinned by social networks and communication patterns which prevent the ‘normal’ change and challenge of key sets of beliefs. In the past it was sedimented by state and institutional norms, although as these norms and related practices have changed, so too have the incentives for changing the oppositional understandings and identities in Northern Ireland. The religious values and concepts involved are sometimes explicit, sometimes already secularised, religion-ising values in the political tradition. They are – perhaps paradoxically – the more changeable when they are reconnected to religious tradition than when they are embedded in secularised ethno-political particularity.

Religion, I have suggested, makes conflict much more than a conflict about constitutional claims or political policies. It makes it into a conflict that touches on, resonates with and is informed by whole ways of life, with their constitutive assumptions and values. It makes it an existential conflict. … not all religious conflicts are ethnic, in the sense of being between historically defined and distinctive ‘peoples’. Nor are all ethnic conflicts are about ways of life. Some are about getting ‘our men’ into power, or grabbing resources for ‘us’, with the ‘we’ defined instrumentally, whichever way gets most ‘pork’. Nor are all national conflicts about ways of life: many are about territory and resources. To use Sharma’s categories, ethnic and national conflicts may be about which group rules, rather than about the rules themselves. When they are informed by religion, if this case can be generalised, they become about the content of those rules. The recent history of Northern Ireland also makes clear that while religiously informed conflicts may be fought to protect or to gain recognition for ways of life and identities, the fighting of them, and the process of institutional change involved in settlement, itself changes those ways of life and identities.


Ireland Vol.14 (WHAT WENT WRONG IN IRELAND?)

 

Here is a paper, WHAT WENT WRONG IN IRELAND? (PDF; May 1, 2009) | Patrick Honohan, Trinity College Dublin. Underlines, italicization, excerpts, et al. are on our own, not the author’s.

Abstract

With its fiscal, competitiveness and banking crisis, Ireland is among the most severely affected countries in the global crisis. Yet its sustained growth achievement for almost two decades has been widely admired. This note explains how and why Ireland has entered the recession so poorly positioned. Until about 2000, the growth had been on a secure export-led basis, underpinned by wage restraint. However, from about 2000 the character of the growth changed: a property price and construction bubble took hold. This boom sustained employment and output growth until 2007 despite a loss of wage competitiveness. The banks fuelled the boom, especially from 2003, exposing themselves both to funding and solvency pressures. Successive Governments had bought industrial peace (and at first wage restraint), with tax reductions, relying increasingly on volatile sources of revenue, thereby making the tax base increasingly vulnerable to a downturn. Among the triggers for the property bubble was the sharp fall in interest rates following euro membership: within the euro zone also the disciplines of the market which had traditionally served as warning signs of excess were muted. Lacking these prompts, Irish policymakers neglected the basics of public finance, wage policy and bank regulation.

WHAT WENT WRONG IN IRELAND?

1. Introduction and overview

During the 1990s, Ireland emerged from a lengthy period of economic stagnation marked by high unemployment, emigration, and crippling public debt despite high tax levels. From 1988 to 2007 real GDP expanded by 6 per cent per annum on average (reaching double digits on average during 1995-2000). Even more astonishing, the unemployment rate shrank from 16 per cent…in 1994 to 4 per cent in 2000 – essentially full employment for the first time in modern history. Non-agricultural employment jumped from 33 per cent of the population in 1993 to 41 per cent in 2000 and 46 per cent by 2007…

But, after almost two decades of rapid growth, Ireland’s economy has collapsed more severely than almost all others in the current economic downturn. Real GDP fell by over 2 per cent in 2008 and is expected to fall 8 per cent in 2009 and a further 3 per cent in 2010. The downturn in the real economy has been reflected in the sudden emergence of a twin crisis in the banking sector and in the public finances. These in turn have fed back negatively into credit availability and rising tax rates deepening the output loss.

What went wrong? …combines hubris formed during the years of solid growth (before about 2000), the unprecedented experience on inward migration and the demonstration effect of financial excess in neighbouring countries. EMU membership plays a subtle role in the story in the way in which it lulled policy makers into a false sense of security. At the same time, having the euro has equally protected Ireland from an even worse financial collapse today.

Overview

It was always to be expected that Ireland would be particularly exposure to a global downturn, considering the exceptionally large contribution of exports to GDP and its vertical integration of much of Ireland’s manufacturing sector into the global production chains of major multinational firms. These were characteristics which, when combined with the sustained growth in World Trade contributed to a sustained output boom for over 15 years. Now they had gone into reverse.

Moreover, by mid-2008, the Irish export sector had to cope with a sharp slide in the value of Sterling – the currency of neighboring Britain, still a major trading partner. Indeed, the sudden fall in sterling left even the domestic retail sector exposed as households crossed the border into Northern Ireland to take advantage of suddenly lower prices.

But the Irish crisis from 2007 on was not merely an aspect of international pressures. Ireland was relatively poorly positioned heading into the global recession for three distinct but related domestic reasons: a home-grown banking crisis, a trend loss in wage competitiveness that had been underway since 2000 and a tax structure whose yield was far too heavily dependent on a continuation of the boom.

Two distinct growth phases

To understand what went wrong it is essential to distinguish between two different growth phases. Up to 2000 there was the true “Celtic Tiger” period of exceptional export-led growth with moderate wage and price inflation and healthy public finances. This began back in the late 1980s when, after several false starts, Government finally tackled its over-indebtedness with tough spending restraint, and managed to negotiate a series of centralized social partnership agreements which seem to have bought wage rate moderation in return for income tax concessions. This confidence-restoring policy package, given a competitiveness boost by the successful devaluation of 1986, launched the economy on a belated convergence in living standards towards the highest in Europe. An expanded flow of European Union structural funds amounting to as much as 3 per cent of GDP also helped fund sufficient public infrastructure in those years. The historic pattern of net emigration was dramatically reversed.

By 2000, the convergence phase was over, but rapid growth continued in Ireland – though now the sources of growth shifted sharply. An unsustainable decade-long property price and construction boom, which began before that of the US and UK and went further than these both in price and quantity, had taken over from exports as the main driver of Irish growth. Initially prompted by the increased household formation (related to unprecedented levels of net immigration) and by the sharp fall in interest rates that accompanied the transition to EMU membership, the property boom was increasingly financed after 2003 with foreign borrowing by the banks.

At the same time, the negotiated wage-restraint-for-income-tax-concessions bargain continued to be renewed. Government could afford to offer these concessions because of the buoyant revenue from the construction boom and from corporate profits, on which they became increasingly reliant, insouciant of the increasing vulnerability of the tax base to a downturn. But the apparent restraint in negotiated base wages began to lose relevance as workers negotiated supplementary wage increases. Although international competitiveness began to be eroded, the effects were not yet felt in aggregate unemployment while the domestic boom continued.

Poorly positioned for the global crash

Thus, the international pressures on the Irish economy since early 2008 have been strongly exacerbated by the unwinding of the property price and construction boom, and by the tax collapse and uncompetitive wage structures it has left in its wake.

Real residential property prices peaked in late-2006 and a strong reversal set in both in prices and in activity. The collapse of the construction and property bubble, has brought banking difficulties in its wake. This would all have resulted in a recession even without the global crisis, though the banks would have been better placed to survive without exceptional intervention, and the government would have been able to take offsetting fiscal action had it not been for the collapse in construction-related tax revenues. …

2. Fiscal crisis

The fiscal crisis has been driven partly by an autonomous surge in the share of spending in GDP (after 2004), but more spectacularly by a remarkable collapse in tax revenues in 2008-9. While tax revenue has shrunk in many countries in the recent economic downturn, the revenue collapse in Ireland has been much more pronounced.

Much of the reason for the revenue collapse lies in the systematic shift over the past two decades away from stable and reliable sources such as personal income tax, VAT and excises and towards cyclically sensitive taxes. There has been more and more dependence on corporation tax, stamp duties and capital gains tax (in that order). These three saw their share in total tax revenues rise steadily from about 8 per cent in 1987 to 30 per cent in 2006 before falling to 27 per cent in 2007 and just 20 per cent as soon as the economy turned down in 2008.

Although corporation tax is charged at a very low rate (currently 12½ per cent), revenue from this source grew from little over 1 per cent of GDP in the late 1980s to almost 4 per cent a decade later. A large fraction of this has come from multinational corporations in financial and non-financial sectors. Indeed, Ireland became quite a location of choice for firms seeking to shelter sizable profits from higher tax rates elsewhere. The surge on corporation tax was due not only to the property boom of the 2000s, but benefited significantly from internationally-oriented manufacturing and services, and from the high profitability of the domestic private service sector. …

To an extent, the growing reliance on these “fair weather” taxes has been an almost automatic albeit unintended consequence of the combination of the Social Partnership process combined with an almost unbroken period of rapid growth. From 1987, the former process of triennial tripartite national pay agreements was resuscitated with a view to achieving economic recovery. In each negotiation, in order to obtain or cement agreement of the unions to moderate basic pay trends, Government offered policy concessions, generally including an explicit or implicit understanding that income tax would be reduced. These tax reductions did help to buy wage restraint in the 1980s and 1990s, but left the government accounts exposed to a downturn. The sustained output, profit and asset price boom which extended for two decades from 1988 – with only two brief hesitations in 1993 and 2001/2 – lulled policymakers into a false sense of security as to the sustainability of the revenues from cyclically sensitive taxes, and induced them to take advantage of the extra revenues by narrowing the base of the personal income tax and lowering rates. To be sure, lower tax rates were in the air of international policy discussions from the 1980s, and this thinking also influenced policymakers in Ireland, but Ireland brought them further than most. Thus, at pay rounds, Government negotiators could offer concessions in those taxes that are felt by the working person — especially income tax but also some expenditure taxes. …

In 2008, tax revenue fell by almost 14 per cent — but the percentage fall in the cyclically sensitive taxes was much larger, at 36 per cent. The differential falloff in revenue continued and even intensified into the first two months of 2009.

Had Ireland’s tax structure been less cyclically sensitive, the fall in revenue would have been much lower. Indeed, if cyclically sensitive taxes had been back at their 1987 share of total revenue, the fall in revenue in 2008 would have been much lower: 8 per cent instead of 14 per cent.

…the sudden collapse in taxation. …the way in which Government spending had a strong upward momentum. It doubled in real terms between 1995 and 2007 for a real growth rate of 6 per cent per annum. With GDP and GNP growing even faster, this made for a generally falling or stable ratio until 2003, but thereafter the ratio grew, especially as soon as this started to slow in 2007.

Actually, spending grew by over 11 per cent real in both 2007 and 2008, reflecting an unfortunate late relaxation of spending which has worsened the deficit in the crisis just when it began to matter.

It is clear, then, that a return to budgetary stability requires not only a tax adjustment but also a reining in and rollback of spending; such a policy has been announced by the Government in the supplementary budget of April 2009.

3. The property bubble and the banking crisis

Even if the lower real and nominal interest rates from 1998 meant that any given income could support the servicing of much higher loans, the three-fold increase in average real property prices from 1994 to 2006 was the highest boom in any advanced economy in recent times. Long before it peaked, it looked unsustainable to most commentary. Nevertheless, from 2003 on, banks continued to ease loan conditions such as maximum loan-to-value ratios. These continued to fall right through 2006 despite the increasingly evident vulnerability of the bubble. Competitive pressure on the leading banks to protect market share came especially from reckless expansion by one bank, Anglo-Irish (whose market share among Irish-controlled retail banks jumped from 3 per cent to 18 per cent in a decade, as it grew its total portfolio by an average of 36 per cent real). Foreign controlled banks, especially the local subsidiary of HBOS also contributed.

Bank regulation, although on the surface compliant with international standards, was complacent and permissive. Certainly it should have impeded the growth of Anglo-Irish bank. And it should have acted more vigorously to restrain the relaxation of lending standards: by 2006, fully two-thirds of loans to first time buyers had loan-to-value in excess of 90 per cent; one-third were getting 100 per cent loans. Regulatory stress tests were too timid (for example employing only a 20 per cent fall in house prices). …

Banks funded the surging loan demand by huge foreign borrowings. By early 2008, net foreign borrowing by Irish banks had jumped to over 60 per cent of GDP from 10 per cent in 2003. Irish-controlled banks, long active in the retail market in Northern Ireland and in Britain, were also vigorous lenders in these and other property markets in Europe and North America during these years.

More or less simultaneously with Britain and the US, real residential property prices in Ireland peaked in late 2006. Loan demand slowed and construction – which had employed over 13 per cent of the workforce – began to contract.

At first, the banks were relatively unconcerned, their share prices peaked in February 2007, but remained high through the remainder of that year. Although they had become highly dependent on property-related lending (which now accounted for over 60 per cent of their total lending, up from less than 40 per cent only four years before), the perception was that most household mortgages would continue to be serviced even if house prices fell back by 20-30 per cent. The growing international banking crisis cast doubt on such complacency, and especially after the rescue of Bear Stearns, the liquidity of Anglo Irish bank came under repeated pressure. After the collapse of Lehman Brothers in mid-September 2008, Anglo was unable to secure funding and effectively failed, requiring a government rescue.

Fearing a contagious reaction on confidence in the other banks, the authorities decided not to put Anglo into a government-controlled winding-up, but instead, extended a systemwide bank guarantee on, and with effect from end-September 2008.

The prospective budgetary cost if this guarantee (should it have to be called), together with the dramatic collapse in tax revenue which was becoming increasingly evident, began to put upward pressure on the secondary market yields of Irish Government securities. The spread over German Federal Government bonds at 10 years maturity jumped from about 30 basis points in September reaching 284 basis points in March 2009 before falling back.

Although all of the banks are currently reporting a healthy capital position, bolstered in the case of the two biggest ones by the Government’s injection in the form of preference shares of a total of €7 billion (or over 2 per cent of their aggregate balance sheet), there is a large discrepancy between these reported figures and the market’s assessment of the true value of equity shares in the banks, considering the likely scale of future loan losses beyond those currently acknowledged by the banks. The banks’ share prices have fallen to as low as 1 per cent of their peak value of just two years ago. …

The Government announced in April 2009 that a National Asset Management Agency would be created to acquire the development property portfolio of the banks at a written-down value. The book value of the loans to be purchased was put at €80-90 billion, or about 50 per cent of GDP. If (as seemed likely) the valuation process for the loans resulted in write-downs bringing capital below regulatory levels, the Government will inject common equity, likely taking a substantial majority stake in the banks, though they have indicated reluctance to become outright owners,

4. Loss of wage competitiveness

From 1986 to 2000, wage restraint, generally attributed in part to the effect of the centralized pay negotiations, but owing something also to the high initial level of unemployment and the dampening impact of immigration (econometric work is inconclusive on these points), helped generate and sustain an era of full employment.

But after 2000, wage competitiveness deteriorated. By 2008, hourly wage rates had raced ahead of those in competitor counties, when measured in a common currency, by as much as 36 per cent.

Sooner or later, this loss of wage competitiveness was sure to affect employment expansion, but this was masked and delayed by the construction boom. Employment in the construction sector itself grew strongly from about 6-7 per cent of total employment in the early and mid-1990s to over 13 per cent in 2007. This is what sustained overall employment levels despite the loss of wage competitiveness.

An interesting feature of this pay process was that public sector workers were able to maintain a significant average wage premium relative to private sector workers during the Celtic Tiger period. …

5. The subtle role of EMU membership

Although growth remained strong for most of the first decade of Ireland’s membership of the eurozone, the analysis we have presented suggests that the seeds of the crisis were sown around the time the single currency began at the beginning of 1999. But was this a causal factor or a coincidence?

Elements of eurozone membership certainly contributed to the property boom, and to the deteriorating drift in wage competitiveness. Low interest rates and the removal of exchange rate risk facilitated the boom; the insensitivity of the exchange rate and of interest rates to domestic developments removed a traditional external constraint or at least warning sign. The enlargement of the EU also meant that the boom could continue longer than otherwise, fuelled as it was by strong inward migration.

Specifically, real interest rates 1998-2007 averaged minus 1 per cent, compared with over 7 per cent in the ERM period (even excluding the crisis of 1992-3) and 3¾ in the floating rate period between the two. The fall in nominal interest rates was even steeper. No wonder long-lived assets like residential property, capitalized at permanently lower discount factors, seemed and were appropriately valued more highly than before. …

Up to 2003, the property boom was financed without significant recourse to foreign borrowing, but after then the banks started to borrow heavily from abroad. This was an effortless undertaking thanks to the removal of currency risk and went essentially unnoticed by analysts, the focus of policy attention having shifted away entirely from balance of payments concerns. Unlike imbalances of the past, overborrowing did not lead to interest rate increases, again because currency risk had been altogether removed. Only when credit risk became an issue after September 2008 did the financial markets belatedly sound a warning sign.

… To be sure, all of these imbalances and misalignments could have happened outside of EMU – indeed, similar problems were experienced in other non-euro countries in the EU and the EEA. But the policy antennae had not been re-tuned in Ireland, and corrective action that could and should have been taken (fiscal policy, bank regulation, centralized wage negotiations) were neglected as a result. A costly error that will not be repeated in Ireland and should not be repeated elsewhere..

6. Concluding remarks: Lessons

The Celtic Tiger period represented a solid convergence of Ireland to the frontier. But it ended in 2000, to be succeeded by an old-fashioned property bubble. The lengthy period of success lulled policy makers into a false sense of security, not to say invulnerability. Captured by hubris, they neglected to ensure the basics: a robust tax system, a mechanism for ensuring wage rates—especially those in the public sector and as such under government control—did not get out of line internationally, and above all, they largely ignored the need for conventional prudential regulation of the main banks, allowing a rogue bank’s reckless expansionism to destabilize the whole sector. …

Macro-modellers simulating possible recovery paths have concluded that the future path of GDP in Ireland will be lower than had been projected before the crisis by at least 10 per cent, and that, while recovery could begin by 2011, the economy will not have return fully to its equilibrium growth path before 2015. It should thereafter be possible to maintain the fundamental conditions that allowed the Irish Economy to reach the high levels of output and productivity attained by 2000, including the quality of education, social and physical infrastructure. The main domestic threats to this (that is, apart from the risk of a more prolonged global recession, especially if accompanied by protectionist policies abroad), would be the danger that policy is insufficiently decisive in correcting the public finances and cleaning-up the banks, and that wage determination processes are insufficiently flexible to deliver the declines in real wages now needed at a time when prices are falling.

On these matters, government, employers and trade unions are currently feeling their way towards politically and socially acceptable solutions.


Ireland Vol.13 (Warning that house prices may fall by 80%)

Here is an article, Warning that house prices may fall by 80% (Jan 13, 2009) | Laura Slattery. Underlines, italicization, et al. are on our own.

HOUSING MARKET: IRELAND WILL see more demolition than construction of houses over the next decade, as the economy struggles to recover from the collapse of the housing market and the emergence of “zombie” banks, UCD economist Morgan Kelly told the conference.

In a presentation that drew several collective intakes of breath, Mr Kelly predicted that house prices would fall by 80 per cent from peak to trough in real terms.

“Construction, but not demolition, of residential and commercial property will fall to zero for the foreseeable future,” he said.

Low levels of education among those employed in construction – where worker numbers peaked at about 280,000 – meant retraining would not be straightforward.

Recovery will be slow: “It has taken us 10 years to get into this situation – it will in all likelihood take us 10 years to get out of it.

Mr Kelly said he had been hailed as being extremely prescient as a result of his warnings in relation to the property bubble, when in fact he and a handful of other “amateurs” were merely stating what was obvious.

Sparing no blushes, he said professional economists in the Central Bank and the Economic and Social Research Institute “need to look very closely at their analyses of the Irish economy and figure out what went wrong”.

Mr Kelly said Ireland’s “reputational capital” had been damaged by “chancers” such as ex-Anglo Irish Bank chairman Seán FitzPatrick, who had been abetted by “buffoons” such as former financial regulator Patrick Neary, Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan and the Taoiseach.

In discussing the €110 billion given in loans to developers, Mr Kelly said a typical regional housing collapse in the US saw banks sustain a 20 per cent loss on these loans, but the narrowness of the Irish market increased the risk of “substantially larger losses” for Irish banks.

“The guarantees of Anglo and [Irish] Nationwide liabilities have a strong chance of being called in over the next 21 months,” he said. Extending the Government guarantee to these two financial institutions was “extraordinarily unwise” and could produce losses that the State cannot afford to repay.

The global financial crisis may have been positive for the Irish economy as it “stopped us dragging ourselves even deeper into our hole,” he said. “If it had taken another year or two, we would have ended up in an Icelandic-shaped hole, which is not to say that we won’t end up in one.”

Mr Kelly said the Government should abolish stamp duty on property, compile proper price and quantity statistics and restore competitiveness through a public sector pay cut of 10 per cent.

A paper by TCD economist Patrick Honohan on the banking crisis (What Went Wrong In Ireland?) argued that capital injections in the banks were a prerequisite for recovery. The financial regulator needed to decide now which banks had systemic importance to the economy – in other words, are “too big to fail”, and which are “zombie” banks.

“The goal is to avoid the continued operation of an undercapitalised, error-prone bank with a flawed business model and administrative practices, a problematic customer base and a compromised management facing distorted incentives,” the paper stated.


Ireland Vol.12 (Entrepreneurship Takes Off in Ireland)

Here is an article, Entrepreneurship Takes Off in Ireland (JAN. 17, 2008) | JAMES FLANIGAN @nytimes. Excerpts, underlines, italicization, et al. are on our own.

DUBLIN — Ireland is now alive with enthusiasm for entrepreneurs, who seemingly rank just below rock stars in popularity.

For evidence, consider the Ernst & Young accounting firm’s award for Irish Entrepreneur of the Year. The award show was prime-time television fare in October. (The winner, Liam Casey, runs a business…

The change began when Ireland entered the European Union in 1973. In subsequent years, the government rewrote its tax policies to attract foreign investment by American corporations, made all education free through the university level and changed tax rates and used direct equity investment to encourage Irish people to set up their own businesses.

“The change came in the 1990s,” said James Murphy, founder and managing director of Lifes2Good, a marketer of drugstore products for muscle aches, hair loss and other maladies. “Taxes and interest rates came down, and all of a sudden we believed in ourselves.”

The new environment also encouraged Ray Nolan, who founded Raven Computing in 1989 to provide software for lawyers to keep track of billable hours. He sold that company and founded another that created software for companies to manage billing and receipts. And in 1999, he founded Web Reservations International to provide booking and property management for hostels that cater to backpackers and economy travelers.

“Hostel owners needed to keep track of people sharing rooms, and bookings for Americans coming to Dublin for three nights,” said Feargal Mooney, chief operating officer of Web Reservations. “Hostel accommodations go for 10 to 20 euro a night,” he said, or $15 to $30 at today’s exchange rates, “so booking reservations in them wasn’t profitable for the big travel companies.”

As the business grew — its 100 employees and banks of computers now handle reservations for some 50,000 hostels in 166 countries — Web Reservations was offered an equity investment by Enterprise Ireland. “But we said this is our baby, we didn’t want to give up equity,” Mr. Mooney said. …

Government help for Irish entrepreneurs grew out of an overall economic policy devised in 1987 that reduced personal taxes, said Kevin Sherry, a director of Enterprise Ireland who specializes in start-up companies.

Income tax rates in Ireland today are 20 percent on the first $50,000 of income and 41 percent on income above that. But there are value-added taxes of 21 percent levied on all goods and transactions, with the exception of health and medical services, children’s clothing and food.

The tax on corporate profits, though, is 12.5 percent, which is an incentive to own a business. And government helps out. “We have helped over 300 people or groups in the last dozen years or so,” Mr. Sherry said.

Enterprise Ireland has also put up initial capital for venture investment funds and supports research and development. “We must support new approaches, nanotechnology, biotechnology and other sciences,” Mr. Sherry said, “because we cannot succeed in the future using what got us here in the past.”

Colm O’Gorman, who teaches entrepreneurship in master of business administration courses at Dublin City University, said the government agency is at the heart of several trends. Enterprise Ireland “supports research and development at Irish companies and universities,” Professor O’Gorman said, “and it is encouraging more women to become entrepreneurs, as the role of women has changed in Irish life.”

One reason for many changes in Ireland is its membership in the European Union, which has brought new perspectives and regulations from its governing councils in Brussels.

Elaine Doorly, for example, founded Radiation Safety Ireland three years ago to advise industry on effects of radiation in building materials, scanners and other sources, an evolving field that is driven by regulation from Brussels.

Ms. Doorly runs her consulting company part time while also working as the health officer specializing in radiological protection for the University of Dublin-Trinity College, the institution that is a leading site of Irish scientific research. She has held that post for 10 years. …

Mr. Murphy, 46, of Lifes2Good is one of the entrepreneurs who has expanded his business beyond Ireland’s borders. He qualified as a chartered accountant in the 1980s and worked in several countries in Europe before returning to Ireland in 1991 looking to own a business. …

Mr. Murphy founded Lifes2Good in 1997. Using infomercials to promote micro-current pain relief and health and beauty aids, the business spread throughout Britain and the Continent and grew to 40 employees and $30 million in annual revenue. Now he is trying to expand in the United States. …

Mr. Sherry of Enterprise Ireland said the passion behind the efforts to support entrepreneurs comes from a desire to make Ireland a better place. “We’re old enough to remember when times weren’t good. We don’t want to go back there.”


Ireland Vol.11 (The luck of the Irish)

Here is an article, The luck of the Irish (Oct 14th 2004) | @TheEconomist. Underlines, italicization, et al. are on our own.

The economic boom that spawned the “Celtic Tiger” has transformed Ireland. But, asks John Peet (interviewed here), can it last?

SURELY no other country in the rich world has seen its image change so fast. Fifteen years ago Ireland was deemed an economic failure, a country that after years of mismanagement was suffering from an awful cocktail of high unemployment, slow growth, high inflation, heavy taxation and towering public debts. Yet within a few years it had become the “Celtic Tiger”, a rare example of a developed country with a growth record to match East Asia’s, as well as enviably low unemployment and inflation, a low tax burden and a tiny public debt.

The Economist proved no better than anyone else at predicting this turnaround. Our most recent previous survey of Ireland, “The poorest of the rich”, published in 1988, concluded that the country was heading for catastrophe, mainly because it had tried to erect a welfare state on continental European lines in an economy that was too poor to support one. Yet only nine years later, in 1997, Ireland featured on The Economist‘s cover as “Europe’s shining light” [Ireland shines: Lessons and questions from an economic transformation (May 15th 1997)]. It goes to show how remarkable has been the transformation of a sleepy European backwater into a vibrant economy that in some years grew by as much as 10%.

That transformation has made the Irish republic, with just over 4m people, a place of great interest around the globe. Many rich countries, not least Ireland’s sclerotic neighbours in western Europe, would love to achieve a similar change of image. The eight central European countries that joined the European Union in May seem fascinated by Ireland. Civil servants and businessmen in Dublin talk wearily of a procession of visitors from such places as Vilnius and Bratislava, anxious to emulate Ireland’s leap from one of the EU’s poorest members in the 1980s into one of its richest. They all promise that they will make good use of EU money, as Ireland did, and avoid the fate of Greece, which in the 1980s was not far behind Ireland but has since been left standing.

Punching above its weight

The world’s interest in Ireland is not confined to its rags-to-riches story. Thanks partly to the Irish diaspora, created by a century and a half of emigration, the country has far more clout than its small population might suggest. It had a notable stint on the United Nations Security Council in 2001-02. And Europeans were impressed by the Irish presidency of the European Union in the first half of this year, which took in not only the eastward expansion of the EU and the choice of a new commission president, but also a deal on a new EU constitutional treaty, brokered by the Irish taoiseach (prime minister), Bertie Ahern. On a less elevated level, the main streets of cities the world over feature “Irish pubs” serving draught Guinness.

Over the border, Northern Ireland, which has a population of 1.7m, offers a valuable case-study in how to resolve an entrenched terrorist problem. The peace process in the province remains partial, bumpy and incomplete (only last month British, Irish and Northern Irish leaders failed yet again to agree on a precise formula for the revival of devolved government in Belfast). Yet ten years of painstaking diplomacy, by both the British and the Irish governments and by politicians and paramilitary leaders on both sides of the sectarian divide in the north, have largely put an end to the violence that for two decades disfigured Northern Ireland. Other countries with intractable terrorist problems might take note.

Peace in Northern Ireland has helped to boost the economy of the whole island. A visitor to Dublin, so lively and cosmopolitan today, would find it hard to believe that only a few decades ago it was gloomy and depressed. In the 1960s Ireland’s heavily agricultural economy, almost wholly dependent on exports to Britain, was only just emerging from the misguided protectionism that since the 1930s had been the main plank of Eamon De Valera’s ill-advised economic policy. Ireland had missed out almost entirely on Europe’s post-war boom; living standards were stagnating and emigration was in full flow. In 1960 the republic’s population was down to around 2.8m, the lowest in two centuries and a pale shadow of the 8m (for the whole island) in 1840, when this was one of the most densely populated countries in Europe. Many wondered if Ireland had a future.

In fact, the 1960s proved something of a turning-point. Corporate tax on foreign multinational companies investing in Ireland was cut to zero in 1957. Belatedly, the country embraced free trade with Britain and, by joining the European Economic Community in 1973, with much of the rest of Europe. The combination of zero corporate taxes, a low-wage economy inside the EEC and a shared language proved a strong lure for American manufacturers. Ireland’s long love affair with foreign direct investment (FDI) began in the 1960s. Free secondary education for all arrived in 1967, and after 1973 Irish farmers benefited from Europe’s munificent farm subsidies.

This promising start, however, was kyboshed by the two oil shocks of the 1970s, and even more by a knuckle-headed policy response. Successive Irish governments sought to offset the cut in living standards imposed by higher oil prices through fiscal and monetary expansion. The result, ultimately, was the high inflation, high unemployment, slow growth and even electoral instability that marred the 1980s. Emigration, especially of graduates, hit new highs. At the start of the third Haughey government in 1987, a grim joke made the rounds: would the last Irishman to leave please turn out the lights? Yet only a few years later the Irish miracle had arrived. What caused it? Can it be replicated? And can it last?


Ireland Vol.10 (Must be Mister Fix-It, not a master of disaster)

Here is an article, Cowen must be Mister Fix-It, not a master of disaster (28/12/2008) | RICHARD ALDOUS. Excerpts, underlines, italicization, et al. are on our own.

The year ended with the death of Conor Cruise O’Brien, arguably Ireland’s greatest public intellectual and a political force more honoured abroad than in his own country. As the most prominent anti-IRA member of the Cosgrave government, O’Brien would have had some sympathy for any government minister held hostage at gunpoint.

Like O’Brien, the TD in question, Dick Roche, showed a certain coolness in the face of danger. Perhaps it seemed like déjà-vu. For in 2008 the political establishment has spent most of the year with a gun to its head.

That’s certainly what the Mahon Tribunal felt like for the first four months of the year. In the end, then Taoiseach Bertie Ahern decided to pull the trigger himself for the sake of the political process and the country. Troubling questions remain about the democratic deficit involved in this turn of events. Politicians clearly must be held to account — that is why the tribunal was established in the first place. …

But Mahon was not the only assault on the political establishment this year. Declan Ganley, who many had laughed off, emerged as the most successful campaigner of the year. His triumph in the Lisbon referendum was in turn a humiliation for the political elite. The ‘Yes’ campaign’s message that the treaty was a tidying up exercise was dull to the point of inertia. Nobody seemed to be in charge. …

If the resurrection of the treaty remains a possibility, one death looks final and irreversible. The Celtic Tiger has now gone the way of the dodo. A year ago all the talk was of soft landings and money-making resilience. Now the only question is whether the country can avoid a depression.

In September, having been the golden haired child of EU economic vitality, Ireland became the first western European country to go into recession. Worse followed. Bank bailouts, rising unemployment and emigration, increased taxes (a.k.a. the ‘income levy’), a black hole in the public finances, shrinking taxation revenues, ballooning national debt, out of control public sector spending: all the news was bad with a promise of worse to come.

Global economic woes and the humiliation of Lisbon played havoc with Brian Cowen’s first hundred-plus days in office. …

The challenge now for Mr Cowen is to show that he represents Ireland’s future rather than the fag end of the Ahern years. Events further afield in 2008 will have given him cause for despondency and encouragement.

Who’d have thought that Offaly would produce both the sitting Taoiseach and the US President-elect? But Brian Cowen won’t like the precedent set by the victory of Barack Obama.

Obama was swept to power on a change agenda that saw off his own party establishment in the Clintons and then, in John McCain, crushed just about the only Republican able to claim a reform mandate. It is easy to forget that even as late as September, Senator McCain was narrowly ahead in the opinion polls. Then came the collapse of Lehman Brothers. McCain’s campaign went into instant meltdown and never recovered. Senator Obama may have been untested and offering the kind of liberal economic programme that in previous elections had seen Democrats like George McGovern trounced. The electorate didn’t care: change coupled with Obama’s personal dynamism was better than continuity of any kind.

That’s bad news for Mr Cowen after more than a decade of Fianna Fail government. For encouragement, he needs to look not across the Atlantic but instead over the Irish Sea.

For much of 2008, the British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, found himself in a similar position to the Taoiseach. Opinion polls seemed apocalyptic. His performances in the House of Commons were leaden. Having been an impressive ‘Iron’ Chancellor of the Exchequer, the premiership appeared to have diminished him. It seemed only a matter of time before he was replaced.

Then the banking crisis hit. The prime minister found a new energy and purpose. He even took up yoga. Where previously there had been no direction, now there was vision and strategy. Gordon Brown visibly bucked up. Opinion polls reflected a sense that after all, he might be the right man for the job.

There’s a lesson in this. We forgive mistakes that come from brave decisions. It is inertia and despair that earns our contempt. Early on, the Cowen government took the courageous route. The guarantee to the banks was bold and imaginative. It drew international criticism followed by quiet imitation. Since then, however, there has been only drift.

Another lesson from Mr Brown is that bold decisions require political heft. When the British prime minister was polling badly, there was precious little of that in his cabinet. His response, to widespread amazement, was to bring his old foe Peter Mandelson back from Brussels. Blairite advisors Alistair Campbell and Jonathan Powell also returned to the fold. The turnaround in fortunes was immediate and dramatic.

Mr Cowen has plenty of talent in a young team, but the more experienced cabinet heavyweights, notably Micheal Martin, have been kept at an arm’s length from economic policy making.

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Mr Cowen could do worse than bring Charlie McCreevy back from Brussels. Like Mandelson, he is a controversial figure, but he has chutzpah and is a bold thinker. More than any other individual in Fianna Fail, Mr McCreevy has the ability to get the government on the front foot again. And to cheer everyone up.

That last point is more important than we might think. An observation often made of Mr Brown is that he has visibly perked up since the financial crisis began. That may seem odd in the middle of a global meltdown, but it reflects his renewed sense of confidence and purpose.

Some of that may be to do with the early morning yoga in Downing Street. More likely, it is because he finally believes he’s up to the job.

History teaches us that optimism is one of the most important aspects of political leadership when times are hard. Franklin D Roosevelt, whose New Deal steered the US through the great depression of the 1930s, is considered among America’s very finest presidents. Yet in reality the economy in that decade remained a disaster, with unemployment stuck at 20 per cent even as late as 1938. But Roosevelt, with his breezy fireside chats and sense that he was doing everything possible continued to be trusted — in 1936, he was re-elected with the greatest landslide in the history of the two-party system.

The Taoiseach needs to find a similar kind of optimism and direction. No-one is suggesting yoga in government buildings — although don’t knock it if it works — but what he does need to convey is the sense that he is the master not the servant of events.

Mr Cowen is not afraid of a fight. But he may need to mix it with a smile on his face.

He could find worse role models than Dick Roche and Conor Cruise O’Brien.


Ireland Vol.9 (How Ireland Became the Celtic Tiger)

Here is an article, How Ireland Became the Celtic Tiger (June 2006) | Sean Dorgan (@Heritage). Underlines, italicization, et al. are on our own.

In just over a generation, Ireland has evolved from one of the poorest countries in Western Europe to one of the most successful. It has reversed the persistent emigration of its best and brightest and achieved an enviable reputation as a thriving, knowledge-driven economy.

As a result of sustained efforts over many years, the past of declining population, poor living standards, and economic stagnation has been left behind. Ireland now has the second highest gross domestic product (GDP) per capita within the European Union (after Luxembourg), one-third higher than the EU-25 average, and has achieved exceptional growth.

One of the biggest successes of the Irish economy has been new job creation. From 1990 to 2005, employment soared from 1.1 million to 1.9 million. Economic growth, more Jobs, and rising living standards meant the resolution of the emigration problem, which had bedeviled Ireland for generations.

The population increased by almost 15 percent from 1996 to 2005 in a striking reversal of previous trends. In one year alone (July 2004 – June 2005), employment increased by 5 percent. Ireland is now seen as the land of opportunity by many workers from the 10 newest EU member states. Its unemployment rate of 4.4 percent is less than half the EU average. Public budgets are in balance, and foreign investment was equivalent to 17 percent of GDP in 2003.

Ireland achieved this success through a combination of sensible policies and pragmatism. At the heart of these policies was a belief in economic openness to global markets, low tax rates, and investment in education. While economic success over the past 15 years can be ascribed to a range of domestic and international factors, it was not a fluke. Ireland has long had, and intends to sustain, low tax rates to attract investment. Its current 12.5 percent corporate tax rate evolved from the zero rate on export sales in the 1950s and the 10 percent rate on manufacturing and some internationally traded services introduced in 1980.

Ireland’s transformation was national in scope, with individuals, businesses, institutions, and government sharing the same ambition. It involved parents deciding that their children would have choices that they did not have and would not be forced to leave their home communities because of economic necessity. Political decisions were driven and sustained by the public will for success. There were some deviations from sensible policies at times, but through the many difficult years, the threads of consistent development can be seen. This paper explains how the transformation occurred.

 

Economic Nationalism

For a generation after achieving independence from the United Kingdom in 1922, Ireland sought to be economically self-sufficient. It relied on small-scale agriculture, exporting primary produce to the U.K. market and manufacturing mainly for the home market of less than 3 million people. trade barriers such as high Tariffs and a policy of import substitution sought to make this reliance on economic nationalism successful. Inevitably, it failed.

Ireland’s population was just short of 3 million people when the new state was established in 1922. It fell marginally each decade thereafter until the 1950s, when 400,000 people (one-seventh of the population) emigrated in a single decade. There could be no clearer evidence of the failure of economic policies and opportunities and of the inadequate fulfillment of national aspirations.

By the mid-1950s, it was clear that economic nationalism was not sustainable. The stagnation and emigration, and the despondency they caused, were in stark contrast to other, fast-recovering economies of postwar Europe. As a result, radical policy change was introduced, and the previous protectionism was abandoned in favor of openness, driven by the need for progress from an intolerable position that offered few prospects for economic success.

The policy changes were drawn together in Economic Development, an official paper published in 1958 that overturned much previous policy thinking by advocating free trade, foreign investment, productive (rather than mainly social) investment, and growth rather than fiscal restraint as the prime objective of economic management. In 1956, to spur business development, tax relief on profits from export sales from Ireland was offered for the first time. In 1958, all controls on foreign ownership of businesses were lifted.

In the early 1960s, Ireland unilaterally lowered its import Tariffs and started to negotiate a free trade agreement with the U.K. This agreement was concluded in 1965, and Ireland joined the General Agreement on Tariffs and trade in 1967. In 1961, Ireland expressed its ambition to join the European Economic Community (EEC), which had been founded by the six member states in the previous decade. The U.K. had the same ambition, but this was thwarted by a French veto for some years, and Ireland’s application did not proceed. The U.K., Ireland, and Denmark finally joined the EEC in 1973.

These policy changes were facilitated by a transition from the generation that had won independence (although Sean Lemass, the political leader who made the most changes in a few years, was himself part of that generation) and by Ken Whitaker, the young and forward-looking head of the civil service, who led the Department of Finance from 1956 to 1969. Whitaker was the primary author of Economic Development.

 

The Transition to Openness

More open markets spurred improved economic performance in the 1960s, compared to the previous decade. Annual average growth in national income – both GDP and gross national product (GNP) – was 4.2 percent. The Industrial Development Authority (IDA) sought out new modern industry overseas, which benefited from the attractions of abundant English-speaking and low-cost labor and the exemption from corporation tax of all profits from exports. Pfizer, which established its first plant in 1969, was one of over 350 overseas companies that set up in Ireland by 1970.

However, this progress did not initially spur employment or stop emigration. In fact it came at a price: Many companies that had been set up in earlier years to serve the small closed national market were uncompetitive in the face of free trade. Moreover, Ireland still depended heavily on agriculture, which had low output and income levels, and the migration of people from the land was greater than job creation in new businesses. As a result, there was no net increase in employment in the 1960s, and net emigration from the country continued, although at a lower rate than in the 1950s.

The role of the state also increased during the 1960s. Public expenditure grew from 32 percent of GNP in 1960 to 42 percent in 1973. Social services and education, in particular, expanded with the state. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) sponsored an influential report on education in Ireland, Investment in Education, which was published in 1965. This report emphasized that education was key to the future of Ireland’s society and economy. Although not directly recommended in the report, beginning in 1967, the state paid for all secondary schooling and transportation to school. This measure resulted in a rapid rise in the level of education attained by the younger population.

Attempts were made to adjust to the new openness. The National Industrial and Economic Council, comprising government, business, and other interests, discussed the challenges of restructuring industry now faced with free-trade competition. Underlying the extensive processes of consultation and engagement was a clear commitment to change, even if that change had inevitable problems and costs.

With hindsight, the path to openness was irreversible, although it may not always have seemed so at the time. The establishment of the first (state-owned) television service in 1960 quickly facilitated debate on, and sometimes a questioning of, long-established societal norms and values. The country, which had been introspective and highly sensitized by its history, now began to see the possibilities that others enjoyed.

 

Joining Europe and Going Forward

When Ireland joined the EEC in 1973, its confidence and sense of its own status grew. Now it could deal with large and successful states as a partner, no longer burdened by its colonial history. Business now had free access to a much larger market, and exports could be diversified away from dependence on the U.K. Moreover, through the EEC’s Common Agricultural Policy, agriculture gained from access to wider markets at good prices. An improvement in Ireland’s living standards and prospects lifted spirits.

The 1970s reversed past trends. For the first time since independence, the population increased, rising by 15 percent for the decade. National income increased at a sustained annual rate of about 4 percent. Unlike previous decades, employment increased by about 1 percent per year, although a large part of this increase was in the state sector, contributing to financing problems in subsequent years.

The IDA played a central role in the new drive for success. While still funded by the state, the IDA was established in 1970 with its own board, staff, and operating freedoms, separate from the Department of Industry and Commerce of which it had been a part. It was the first dedicated state agency in the world to undertake a massive and sustained campaign to establish a modern manufacturing base by attracting large-scale foreign investment.

The IDA adopted pragmatic, business-like, focused marketing methods. The key decision was to focus on companies that represented the future-high technology, high output, and high skills. The main targets included the computer industry, pharmaceuticals, and medical technology, followed by international services. Soon investments were won from leading companies, including Amdahl, Baxter Travenol, Digital, Merck Sharpe, Wang, and Warner Lambert. All of these companies were persuaded of the value of using Ireland as an export platform to serve Europe and other markets. By 1975, more than 450 foreign-owned industrial projects, covering a wide range of manufacturing sectors, accounted for two-thirds of Ireland’s total industrial output.

While the new multinational companies brought success, many older indigenous businesses had considerable difficulty in adjusting to the new open trading conditions. An apparent dichotomy in the performance of new and old, foreign and Irish companies would be the subject of debate and some policy reassessment in the following years.

The 1970s also saw a rapid expansion in public (state) expenditure on social welfare, health and education, housing, telecommunications and other infrastructure, and administrative services. Public-sector employment represented a third of the total workforce by 1980, partly because Jobs were created to deal with rising unemployment, which stood at 9 percent of the workforce in 1977.

All of this happened against a backdrop of high inflation, which averaged 13.6 percent per year from 1971 to 1980 and was driven partly by international factors such as oil crises and partly by domestic demand and an expansionary fiscal policy. Public budget deficits and high public borrowing were features of the latter years of the decade, creating the basis for the crises that erupted in the 1980s.

 

Crises Accumulate

Unsolved, the underlying economic problems of the 1970s rolled over into the 1980s, producing disappointment. The causes were the return of high unemployment, emigration, steady worsening of the public finances, and the seeming inability of any government to manage the nation’s affairs and find a solution to the worsening situation. The atmosphere of the 1980s was more redolent of the dark years of the 1950s than of the optimism that had permeated the two decades in between.

The feeling of failure was exacerbated by the waves of emigration of young people, just as in a generation earlier. Whole classes of university graduates would frequently leave the country. There was a disheartening drain of human capital. A net 200,000 people left from 1981 to 1990. In the worst years, more than 1 percent of the country’s population fled. This was not what the policies of the previous 25 years had been designed to achieve. What had gone wrong?

A number of internal and external factors were conspiring to slow down progress and undermine confidence. Global conditions were weaker after the oil shocks of the 1970s. The momentum from EEC entry had faded. Persistent inflation averaged close to 11 percent per year between 1981 and 1986. Jobs created by new foreign investment, while substantial, were inadequate to employ the growing workforce and counter the failure rate of older businesses.

Attempts at government intervention proved to be no better. Continued increases in public spending, tax increases, and deficit financing through borrowing soured the investment climate and failed to raise employment while increasing the drag on the underperforming economy.

Between 1980 and 1986, total government expenditure grew from 54 percent to 62 percent of GNP, and public debt increased from 87 percent to 120 percent of GNP while annual budget deficits exceeded 10 percent of GNP. Over one-third of all tax revenue (over 90 percent of income tax revenue) was being used to service this debt. Meanwhile, the economic dependency ratio rose to 2.3 persons per person employed in 1985, and unemployment stood at 15 percent.

While the IDA continued to attract foreign investors (IBM, Lotus, Microsoft, and Bausch & Lomb, among many others) into the 1980s, some high-profile failures of recent investments raised questions about this strategy. In particular, a specially commissioned investigation by Telesis on behalf of the National Economic and Social Council (NESC) raised some troubling issues.

Telesis found that the value of inward investments tended to be overstated-employment prospects were too often exaggerated at a time of high unemployment-and that promised linkages to the domestic economy were frequently weak. It also criticized what it saw as an excessive attention to overseas companies relative to indigenous businesses. While initially stung, the IDA responded well to the report and increased its attention to Irish-owned industry.

The political parties were not successfully addressing the gathering gloom. Fianna Fail, the opposition party since 1982, won the general election in 1987. When in government in the late 1970s, Fianna Fail had been largely responsible for the excessive and misguided public spending. This time, however, the party tried a different path. On election to government in 1987, they surprised many, including their own supporters, with a program of severe cuts in expenditure accompanied by some novel consensus-building and developmental measures. Within a few years, these steps began to show dividends, helped by a coincidence of other factors.

 

Recovery and Success

Smaller government became part of the road to success. There was surprise with the first moves to cut spending severely across a range of programs and abolish a number of government agencies. These steps were strongly criticized initially, especially when they seemed to affect (state-provided) health and social services, but the depth of the budgetary crisis allowed the momentum to be sustained. The government was assisted by a consensus that had been built in the NESC, comprising business, farming, trade union, and social interest groups. The main opposition party, whose leader had been minister for finance before the election, also supported any measures that restored fiscal discipline.

A second element of the new government’s action plan was moderate wage increases in return for modest reductions in direct income taxes, in effect allowing take-home pay to increase more than the pay raise granted by employers. This three-year Program for National Recovery involved government itself, employers, unions, and farmers. This helped to break the spiral of inflationary wage increases and ensured industrial peace. The program also served to create agreement on the nature of the crisis facing the state and on steps needed to deal with it. The wider benefits of consensus on development priorities and the shared efforts involved to achieve national goals proved to be of lasting value, and similar national partnership agreements have been put in place repeatedly up to 2005.

While cutting back on spending, the government took steps to promote business investment. A notable example was the adoption of a proposal to create the International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) in the old Docklands area of Dublin. The successful development of the IFSC shows the strength of cooperation between business interests and all parts of the state system that is such a strong characteristic of Ireland.

Development steps in financial services and other sectors were assisted by a series of investments in telecommunications from the 1980s onward, although the sector remained largely state-owned until the late 1990s. Late entry to heavy investment in this sector ultimately served Ireland well in that it provided the most advanced and comprehensive digital network in Europe (much as the relevance of the education system was also greater as a result of its late expansion).


Ireland Vol.8 (Economic Crises and the Changing Influence of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions on Public Policy)

Here is a paper, Economic Crises and the Changing Influence of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions @irishcongress on Public Policy (PDF, 2010) | Dr John Hogan, Dublin Institute of Technology @ditofficial. Underlines, italicization, excerpts, et al. are on our own.

Abstract

This chapter examines the dramatic changes in the Irish Congress of Trade Unions’ (ICTU) influence over public policy during the latter half of the twentieth century.  The chapter focuses upon the impact economic crises have had on the ICTU’s role in policy-making.  The chapter concentrates, in particular, upon four periods, the late 1950s, 1970, the early 1980s and 1987, when the ICTU found its influence over public policy radically transformed.  By the late 1950s the trade union movement was invited into the policy-making process by a government desperate to revive a sclerotic economy.  During the following decade the ICTU played an integral part in the development of economic and social programmes.  In 1970, due to concerns over inflation and the increasing level of industrial disputes, the ICTU, initially under government pressure, became a party to centralised bargaining.  The National Wage Agreements that the ICTU was a party to during that decade were marked by their integration with government budgetary policy.  With active state involvement in industrial relations came ICTU involvement in policy-making.  However, by the early 1980s the Irish economy was in serious difficulties again.  This, combined with trade union and employer disillusionment that the centralised agreements were not achieving their respective objectives of full employment and low inflation and a new collation government determined to remove the unions from the corridors of power, led to the collapse of the national agreements and ICTU finding itself shut out of the policy-making process.  The years afterwards saw the economy continue to stagnate and the ICTU marginalised as a policymaking influence.  By 1987, with Ireland teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, a new Fianna Fáil government came to power seeking to promote a three year national pay agreement with the unions and employers, in the hopes of reviving the economy.  The ICTU, weakened through marginalisation and membership losses, favoured a return to centralised pay agreements.  However, these agreements ultimately came to encompass a wide range of economic/social policy commitments that went far beyond the agreements of the 1970s.

INTRODUCTION

Over the last half century, there has been a series of dramatic changes in the influence of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) on public policy.  This chapter examines those changes, highlighting the circumstances under which they occurred and the kinds of influence the ICTU gained and lost, as a result of its fluctuating fortunes.

By the late 1950s, the Irish economy was in serious difficulty and a mood of despair pervaded society.  Into this environment came Seán Lemass, the new Taoiseach and leader of the largest party, Fianna Fáil.  Lemass introduced new ideas on how to manage the economy and how to reform the country’s relationship with the world.  His ideas and influence transformed economic policy and had a profound influence on the role of trade unions in the formulation of public policy.

The growing economic openness of the 1960s produced incentives for new patterns of collective bargaining.  Ireland had come to rely on foreign direct investment (FDI) to promote industrialisation and employment.  In response, from the 1970s onwards, public policy was directed towards minimising strikes and restraining pay increases: ‘the then Fianna Fáil government of Jack Lynch brought the trade union movement into the policy-making process as a way of ensuring economic stability’.

However, by the early 1980s, the economy had deteriorated.  Although centralised agreements between the employers, the government and the ICTU were the hallmark of industrial relations during the 1970s, they were not achieving the unions’ objectives.  This led to reluctance on the part of the ICTU to continue participating in these agreements.  Irrespective of the unions’ attitude, they were excluded from the policy-making environment by the Fine Gael and Labour coalition government (1982-1987) as economic decline gathered momentum.

By 1987, the economy reached a historic nadir.  In response, a new Fianna Fáil minority administration sought a centralised pay agreement with the ICTU and the employers, bringing the unions’ influence directly back into the corridors of power.  This was to be the first of a series of such agreements.  The social partnership born of these agreements contributed to the transformation of society over the following decades.

The chapter is divided into four sections, each one of which deals with a particular period – the late 1950s–mid 1960s, mid 1960s–late 1970s, the early 1980s and the late 1980s – that saw the ICTU’s influence on public policy transformed.  Each section begins with a discussion on the economy at that time and the impact that this had upon government thinking.  Thereafter, the section moves on to examine how economic circumstances impacted upon the relations and interactions between the government and the trade union movement.

THE TRANSFORMATION OF THE TRADE UNIONS’ ROLE IN SOCIETY (1950s – MID 1960s)

The trade union movement expanded with industrialisation in the 1930s.  However, with industrialisation came inter-union rivalry.  During the 1940s Seán Lemass, then Minister for Industry and Commerce, sought to encourage trade union rationalisation.  However, efforts to rationalise the unions created tensions that fissured the movement.  In April 1945, 15 Irish-based unions withdrew from the Irish Trades Union Congress (ITUC) and established the Congress of Irish Unions (CIU).  The existence of two rival congresses weakened the movement’s efforts, dissipated resources and rendered a common front against employers impossible.  However, in 1956, a Provisional United Trade Union Organisation was set up to co-ordinate the activities of both congresses, with a view to reunification.

The general election of 1957 resulted in a Fianna Fáil victory, and saw its 75-year-old leader, Éamon de Valera, form his final administration.  The year ‘1957 is conventionally thought of as the end of an era, marking the final exhaustion of the ideas of the first generation of political leaders’.  Two years later, de Valera was succeeded as Taoiseach by Seán Lemass.  Lemass, although almost 60, and a lifelong follower of De Valera, was nevertheless to stand for a clean break with the policies of the past and was to oversee the opening of the country’s economy.  The transformative impact of his innovative leadership, upon a then poor and insular Ireland, was to constitute the foundations upon which modern Ireland is built.

The Economic Stagnation of the 1950s

From the late 1940s onwards, the Irish economy stagnated.  Ó Gráda and O’Rourke argue that ‘in the 1950s, Ireland’s relative [economic] performance was disastrous, poorer than the European average’.  The benefits from protection had been reaped by the industrial expansion of the 1930s.  The post-war economic boom petered out at the end of the 1940s.  By the 1950s, Irish industry was supplying as much of the domestic market as it could.

OECD analysis showed agricultural production was abnormally low, while industrial output was faltering.  Per capita GNP grew at 2.4 per cent throughout the 1950s, but only because of ‘the exceptional demographic experience during this period when net migration averaged forty-one thousand persons a year’.  Yet, even this growth rate was among the lowest in the OECD.  Although employment in the economy was falling, the cost of living was still high.  The impact of these disastrous figures upon the populace at large cannot be underestimated.

In 1957, manufacturing output was no higher than in 1953, while building activity declined.  Between 1951 and 1958, GDP rose by less than one per cent per annum, employment declined by 12 per cent, unemployment rose and half a million people emigrated.  By the late 1950s, the outlook for the economy was depressing, while Europe was achieving strong and sustained growth.

The Government’s Response to the Economy

Upon his appointment as Minister for Industry and Commerce, in the new Fianna Fáil government of 1957, Lemass began implementing policies opening the state to foreign investment.  Despite fears over the competitiveness of protected Irish industry, the pressure for change increased.  By the end of the decade, both the government and opposition recognised the crisis facing the country.  During the Dáil debate on Lemass’s nomination as Taoiseach, Daniel Desmond of the Labour Party argued that it was time for the political establishment to realise that solving the problems with the economy superseded their own struggles for power.  On becoming Taoiseach in 1959, Lemass stated that the task was to consolidate the economic foundations of independence.  He brought to government vigorous entrepreneurial leadership.

The crisis in the economy prompted a fundamental reappraisal of the policies pursued up to that time.  Into this pessimistic environment came T.K. Whitaker’s report, Economic Development, in 1958.  Whitaker, then Secretary of the Department of Finance, was committed to export-led growth.  He advanced a strategy within the finance department of more planning, fewer tariff barriers and greater emphasis on productive investment: ‘It was in the atmosphere of a new government and a more active and interventionist Department of Finance, that Economic Development was born’.

This document was ‘a watershed in the modern economic history of the country’.  It proposed the gradual transition to free trade, stimulation of private investment, the reorientation of government investment towards more productive uses, the introduction of grants and tax concessions to encourage export orientated manufacturing and the inducement of FDI oriented manufacturers.  The document advocated abandoning the protectionism Fianna Fáil had pioneered since the 1930s.  These measures were incorporated into the First Programme for Economic Expansion in November 1958.  This White Paper, based on Whitaker’s document, ‘was drawn up by Charles Murray of the Department of Finance, supervised by a four-member Government subcommittee headed by Lemass’.  The fact that Lemass was involved in the White Paper ensured that the essence of Economic Development’s recommendations remained intact:

While there were some significant differences between Economic Development and the [First] Programme for Economic Expansion, which arose out of their different parentage, such differences were for the most part cosmetic as the main thrust of both documents was the same.

The ICTU Brought in from the Cold

The ITUC and CIU eventually reunited after 15 years apart.  The absence of ideological and organisational differences between the congresses made the process of reunification easier. …

Soon after Lemass became Taoiseach he sought a meeting with the ICTU to discuss the challenges facing the economy and how co-operation might be fostered between the various economic interests.  The number of meetings between the new Taoiseach and the unions increased thereafter, whereas there had been little interaction with de Valera.  These meetings covered a range of issues, from the economy to the prospects of Ireland joining the European Economic Community (EEC).  This development was in line with the calls for consultation between state, unions and employers contained in the First Programme for Economic Expansion.

The Fianna Fáil government’s 1958 and 1959 budgets reflected a change in fiscal policy.  Lemass’s speeches in 1959 often paralleled the positions adopted by the ICTU.  These included the need for state involvement in development and the expansion of the state sector.  The ICTU argued that the government should pump-prime the economy for growth and that capital investment should not be pursued to the detriment of social spending.  Within a year of Lemass becoming Taoiseach, budgets began expanding, with increased investment in areas identified by Congress.  By 1961, the reshaping of public capital expenditure, to give increased emphasis to directly productive investment, something the trade unions had argued for, stimulated economic growth.  A policy of grants and tax exemptions attracted foreign capital and the government also pursued an increasingly liberal trade policy.

The Unions and Their Role in Policy Development

Until the 1950s, the unions’ influence was largely indirect.  However, during the late 1950s, the government’s policies began to reflect those of the unions.  Lemass’s perspective on economic development was close to that of Congress.  In June 1959, Lemass remarked on the need for change in industrial development policy.  The government began to regard the trade union movement in general, and the united Congress in particular, as both an ally and supporter of its programme for national development.  The task of adjusting industries to competition led public policy into the realms of labour practices, industrial relations and pay bargaining.  In return, Lemass was prepared to offer the unions an integral part in the development of economic and social programmes:

He [Lemass] clearly understood that the government would have to play a more active, even hegemonic, role in the Irish economy, but he also realised that the success of government strategy assumed a new partnership with different interest groups, which would (in time) become players in the policy game.

In 1961, the ICTU and the Federated Union of Employers (FUE) reached agreement on the formation of the Employer-Labour Conference (ELC), which the government subsequently facilitated.  This body became central to corporatist control.  The unions’ increasing influence was visible in all areas of government policy.  For instance, the 1961 budget saw increases in social welfare payments at the behest of Congress.

Lemass argued that social progress would follow from economic development…  With the move towards the liberalisation of trade and economic planning, Lemass was instrumental in creating consultative bodies involving the unions and employers…

Union membership, declining throughout the 1950s, increased after 1959 and would go on rising for the next 21 years.  After 1959, the number of committees on which the ICTU was represented expanded.  The Irish National Productivity Committee (INPC) was a joint consultative body charged with improving productivity.  The Committee on Industrial Organisation (CIO) was set up in 1961 to examine the ability of Irish industry to compete within the EEC.  The National Industrial and Economic Council (NIEC) was established in 1963 as a consultative body in economic planning.  These bodies, paralleling ‘the state’s commitment to economic planning as contained in the first two programmes for economic expansion’, permitted the unions to co-operate with the state on a range of problems posed by economic expansion.  Thus, the period between 1959 and 1965 was to witness a new pattern of Congress participation in state institutions, such that ‘[t]he institutional setting soon became largely tripartite, with the representatives of business, of labour and of government discussing the issues of employment, output, prices and trade’.

THE MOVE TO CENTRALISED BARGAINING (MID 1960 – LATE 1970s)

In the 1960s, the economy performed well, real Gross Domestic Product  (GDP) increased by 4.4 per cent per annum, economic openness grew by 23 per cent, while unemployment averaged 5.05 per cent.  Economists attribute this success to export-led growth based upon trade liberalisation and FDI.

The Institutionalisation of the ICTU/Government Relationship

Congress’s attitude to EEC entry was initially cautious, but by 1962 it was willing to support Lemass’s plans.  Congress, recognising free trade as inevitable, decided to embrace it from a position of influence with the government through membership of the CIO and NIEC… the limitations of relying on a web of collaborative bodies to oversee economic adjustment, while collective bargaining remained unregulated, became clear.

The government’s attitude towards collective bargaining was influenced by its increasing economic significance.  As more workers became unionised, bargaining exerted a major influence on macroeconomic policies.  Industrial development’s pride of place in national policy influenced the government’s stance towards centralised collective bargaining.

Lemass had urged a corporatist strategy towards industrial relations following the Second World War.  Corporatism (or as it is sometimes called neo-corporatism) is an inclusive bargaining approach involving the unions, employers and government.  However, the employers’ and unions’ preference for the status quo – free collective bargaining – prevented corporatism’s introduction. …

The pay-rounds of the 1960s prompted attempts to again centralise collective bargaining.  Growing trade union power, rising industrial conflict and wage pressures impelled governments to adopt a more interventionist stance.  The dangers of economic crisis from industrial unrest and an unprecedented pay-round increase in 1969 were the catalysts for the move towards corporatism.  This resulted in the unions’ influence over public policy increasing substantially. Throughout the following decade, pay determination became increasingly politicised and public policy was directed towards minimising strikes and restraining pay.

Economic Stagnation at the Beginning of the 1970s

Economic expansion and decentralised collective bargaining were viewed as incompatible in the NIEC’s Report on Incomes and Prices Policy.  To compound matters, economic growth slowed.  Statistics for output, employment, imports and sales all indicated a stagnating economy.  Industrial production and construction activities were affected by strikes, while investment was depressed by a six-month bank strike.  Inflation was running at 8.5 per cent, its highest level since 1952.  The OECD argued that the high level of inflation was partly due to the labour disputes.  The Central Bank warned that the penalty for high and prolonged inflation would be declining sales, followed by a fall in production and employment.  The improvements in living standards in the 1960s were in danger of being lost to inflation.  At this time, economic openness declined, while the total number of days lost through economic disputes peaked at over one million.

The Government’s Deepening Relations with the Unions

‘The chief lesson emerging from the operation of collective bargaining in the 1960s was that decentralised wage rounds were by their nature unstable and prone to inflation’.  The government’s economic policy, traditionally geared to long-term growth and industrialisation targets, from 1969, became increasingly concerned with inflation.  Demand and output were depressed by the government’s anti-inflationary policy and the recession in the United Kingdom.  The combination of relatively slow growth, inflation and a large external deficit in 1970 presented a dilemma.  As prices became a primary concern, budgetary strategy was aimed at moderating government spending so as not to contribute to inflation.  In response, the government’s policies towards organised labour changed.

The NIEC viewed economic expansion and decentralised collective bargaining as incompatible.  The 1970 budget argued ‘the principle need at present is for a more orderly development of incomes if we are to bring the present inflationary situation under control’.  Another lesson from the 1960s was the need for a joint body to administer national pay agreements.  It was against this background of industrial strife and economic difficulties that the NIEC prepared its Report on Incomes and Prices Policy.  A consequence was the reconstitution of the ELC in May 1970 (which had become defunct during the early 1960s), a significant event in restructuring the adversarial approach to industrial relations.  The government became a participant in the ELC with the intention of influencing wages.  Then Minister for Finance, George Colley, stated that the economy could not afford wage increases unrelated to productivity increases.  Following the collapse of talks at the ELC in the autumn of 1970, the government threatened statutory controls on wages and salaries with a Prices and Incomes Bill.

… it should be noted that the ICTU refused to ratify the agreement until the government withdrew its Prices and Incomes Bill.  The 1970 agreement marked the beginning of a decade of engagement in centralised collective bargaining, a significant change in the politics of pay determination.  Between 1972 and 1978, six National Wage Agreements (NWA) were reached through bipartite negotiations between the ICTU and employers.  A further two agreements reached in 1979 and 1980, referred to as National Understandings (NU), were arrived at through tripartite negotiation with the involvement of the government.

By the mid-1970s, the new collective bargaining was marked by quid pro quo arrangements on taxation between the unions and the state and the integration of government budgetary policy into national pay determination.  The linkage between the national pay agreements and government budgetary policy was ‘the most profound change in the nature, functions and prerogatives of democratic government in the history of the state’.  With active state involvement in industrial relations came union involvement in policymaking.  The relationship between the ICTU, the FUE and the government had changed significantly.

Trade Union Representation and Government Policies

… following the 1970 agreement, the boundary between politics and industrial relations was dismantled by the state and unions.  ICTU representation on government committees, in the economic and social fields, expanded.  All centralised pay agreements were drafted and concluded by employer and trade union representatives in the reconstituted ELC and thereafter adopted as state policy. …

The 1970s saw union membership expand.  Throughout that decade the unions’ and employers’ federations became major actors in policy formulation. … there was a marked change in the level of ICTU policies incorporated into the government’s policies.  The Industrial Relations Act of 1971 largely followed the proposals of the ICTU, and the National Prices Commission was established by the then Minister for Industry and Commerce in line with Congress’s proposals. … By the end of the 1970s, formal tripartite agreements were concluded.  The government went from using budgetary policy to underwrite national pay deals, to placing a range of policy issues on the negotiation table.  The ICTU, through dialogue with the government, gained influence over the most important economic policy instruments in the state.

Industrial relations difficulties – attributed to the wage round system and free collective bargaining – along with inflation, the loss of competitiveness and industrial conflict, impelled the centralisation of collective bargaining.  With the conclusion of the NU in 1979, the government acknowledged a new role for pressure groups in an important sector of economic policy-making and incurred commitments to them; they, in turn, incurred reciprocal obligations involving the conduct of their members.  However, by 1978, the ICTU had grown strong due to the state’s willingness to grant it concessions.  This became clear in 1980…  This left the employers disgruntled and questioning their place in social partnership.

THE COLLAPSE OF CENTRALISED BARGAINING (EARLY 1980s)

By the close of the 1970s, centralised agreements had become policy agreements.  However, by the time the second NU expired in 1981, the unions and employers were disillusioned.  The sought after economic stability had not materialised. …

The Economy Crisis and Economic Policy

The centralised agreements, implemented as solutions to the economic and industrial relations problems of the 1960s, were increasingly relied upon to address the problems of the 1970s.  The late 1970s saw the economy recover from the downturn following the 1973 oil crisis.  Inflation and unemployment began to fall, while strong growth returned.  Real GDP increased by 5.3 per cent annually from 1976 to 1979.  However, the Fianna Fáil government of 1977 employed an expansionist fiscal policy when the economy was already growing unsustainably.  Strong pro-cyclical policies led to deterioration in fiscal balances, with the public sector borrowing requirement (PSBR) rising from 13 per cent of GNP in 1976 to 17 per cent by 1979.  The structural problems highlighted by the first oil crisis remained unresolved when the second crisis struck in 1979.

Adjustment to the European Monetary System (EMS), entered in 1979 after severing the link with Sterling to reduce inflation, proved problematic and inflation fell more slowly in Ireland than the UK.  The average rate of consumer price increase in 1980 was 18.25 per cent.  Although high levels of current expenditure produced a budgetary over-run in 1979, the government continued its expansionary policies due to the worsening international economic climate resulting from the second oil crisis, increasing unemployment and emigration.

Following rapid growth in the second half of the 1970s, demand fell in the early 1980s.‘The second oil shock, the protracted international recession and the failure to achieve the fiscal policy of retrenchment led to a worsening of [economic] imbalances’.  With a slowdown in growth, unemployment rose to historic levels.  The increase in fiscal deficit, intended to be temporary, became impossible to eliminate as the economy declined.  By 1981, the national debt reached £10.195bn.  The PSBR peaked at 20.1 per cent of GNP, while the current budget deficit stood at 7.3 per cent.  Government spending was so high that the total amount budgeted for 1981 had been used by June.

The Unions and the Ending of the National Agreements

Taoiseach Haughey, who came to power after winning a divisive party leadership contest within Fianna Fáil in December 1979, needed to prove his authority to a divided party with an election victory.  In this context, the government was reluctant to adopt measures that could prove unpopular.  In September 1980, as talks on a second NU entered their final stages, they collapsed, resulting in government intervention.  ‘The Taoiseach managed to press the FUE national executive into resuming negotiations by pledging guarantees on the content of the 1981 budget’.  The second NU was subsequently ratified, but the FUE resented the pressure brought upon it.

Centralised bargaining was not meeting the FUE’s objectives.  For employers,  particularly in indigenous companies in exposed sectors, the agreements imposing similar wage norms across the economy undermined competitiveness.  For the unions, the agreements were not transforming pay restraint into jobs at a sufficient level to meet the labour supply, nor were they reducing social inequality.  The state looked to the agreements to restrain pay increases, preserve competitiveness and deliver economic growth.  However, these objectives were compromised by extensive bargaining below national level.  The result was a second tier of pay determination developed in the 1970s.  Although the agreements had procedures for containing industrial conflict, this was historically high during the 1970s.

Irish governments have tended to appease interest groups through ad hoc policy concessions.  This worked against enduring agreements between the state and interest groups found in continental neo-corporatism.  Additionally, close ideological affinity between the unions and government, a feature of stable neo-corporatist arrangements, was absent in Ireland.  The social partners’ failure to share comparable views on the policies needed for tackling economic problems compounded difficulties.  Employers warned that spiralling wages fuelled inflation and contributed to rising unemployment.  The unions argued unemployment was a consequence of deficient demand.  Their solution was expansionary fiscal policy.  Employers resisted the demands for public sector job creation on grounds that it would have a crowding out effect. …

Political and Economic Instability

The general election of 1981 saw a minority Fine Gael and Labour coalition government come to power.  At a most inopportune time, Ireland was condemned to a period of unstable government.

Prior to the election, the Central Bank stated the ‘fundamental problem is that the community still does not realise that it must adjust its living standards and expectations downwards in the face of deteriorating terms of trade and the need to commit resources to servicing the increased external debt’.  The new coalition government was determined to bring order to the public finances.  According to the National Economic and Social Council (NESC), a spiralling current budget deficit, PSBR and national debt precipitated a new approach to economic management.  Regaining control of the public finances would entail constraining public service pay. …

Government ministers saw little merit in tripartite agreements.  When discussions on a new NU broke down, the government was unwilling to intervene to save the talks. … From late 1981 onwards, with worsening economic conditions, wage rounds became decentralised.  By 1982, all political parties were committed to curbing public spending, which was incompatible with the terms of the NUs.  Union influence on public policy was drastically reduced during the first half of the 1980s, as the ICTU was pushed out of the policy-making process.  The Fine Gael wing of the coalition decided social partners had no right to influence policy.

Political and economic instability peaked in 1981-1982.  With the national debt and budget deficit spiralling out of control, a coherent policy approach was essential.  However, the governments of 1981/1982 lasted such a short time that no clear policies emerged.  When the second Fine Gael-Labour coalition came to power in November 1982, the national debt was almost on par with GNP.  By then, all the parties agreed on the need to stabilise the debt/GNP ratio.

The state’s strategy for much of the 1980s was to exclude the unions from the policymaking process.  State policy changed from focusing on employment to balancing budgets, export growth and international competitiveness.  Persistent turbulence over public service pay, and government disinclination to return to tripartism, meant meetings between the government and the ICTU were formal, tense and unproductive.

The Changed Influence of the Unions

After expanding for two decades, union membership peaked at 545,200 in 1980 and then declined thereafter.  During the late 1970s, the unions’ polices had been finding their way into legislation.  However, by January 1982, the ICTU was at loggerheads with the Fine Gael-Labour coalition over their budget.  Determined to cut government expenditures, the subsequent Fianna Fáil government ignored ICTU proposals.  From mid-1982, in the face of an unsustainable national debt, all political parties committed themselves to curbing public expenditure as a precondition for economic recoveryThe Fine Gael-Labour coalition budget of February 1983 saw the tax burden on pay-as-you-earn (PAYE) workers increase and social welfare cut.  Thereafter, it was clear that on taxes, wages and welfare, the government and ICTU were in disagreement. …

The coalition government of November 1982 to February 1987 experienced considerable difficulties in righting the economy.  As McCarthy put it ‘an attempt to achieve fiscal correction and disinflation through increased taxation, rather than expenditure reduction, completed the economic picture’.  However, the stabilisation of the debt required sharp cuts in borrowing and, consequently, in current spending.  Control over current spending proved difficult to achieve with high unemployment and population growth.  Government spending on social services jumped from 28.9 per cent of GNP in 1980 to 35.6 per cent in 1985. … With investment and productivity capacity depressed by high taxes and interest rates, the economy entered a downward spiral.

THE REINSTITUTION OF CENTRALISED BARGAINING (LATE 1980s)

The 1980s saw a stagnating economy, deteriorating public finances and unprecedented unemployment.  By the mid-1980s, the level of unemployment was being offset by emigration.  Between 1981 and 1986, 75,000 people left the country, and, for the first time in a quarter of a century, 1986 saw the population decrease.  By 1987, the economy reached its lowest point ever.

The State of the Economy

By 1986, most economic indicators had reached historic lows, while national economic and political commentators, the media and domestic and international organisations, all regarded the economy as in crisis.  The policies introduced to shelter the economy from the oil shocks of the 1970s led to unsustainable macroeconomic imbalances.  Between 1982 and 1987, the national debt doubled to over 130 per cent of GNP.  The government borrowed to spend on welfare services that could be sustained only by more borrowing.  Economic commentators advocated debt repudiation.  Although inflation had fallen, the borrowing requirement stood at 13 per cent of GNP in 1986.  Unemployment reached 17.7 per cent in 1987, with 254,526 people out of work.  The numbers in work had fallen from 1,145,000 in 1979 to 1,095,100 by 1986, shrinking the tax base.

The Central Bank viewed the situation with pessimism, as it would not permit for improvements in welfare benefits to the needy.  The business community was extremely concerned and leading businessman and entrepreneur Tony O’Reilly warned of the dangers of International Monetary Fund (IMF) intervention in the economy.  If the IMF were to intervene in the operation of the Irish economy, it would signal to the international financial community the diminution of Irish economic sovereignty and be widely perceived as confirmation that the Irish government was incapable of righting the economy on its own.

The NESC Report: A Strategy for Development

In this context, the government became interested in building support among the economic and social interests for a national recovery strategy.  Through the involvement of the major economic interests, the NESC acted as a forum for discussing the crisis.  In the autumn of 1986, it produced a report A Strategy for Development, 1986-1990, in which it noted that ‘[t]he argument against a continuation of present policies is based on the consideration that discretion over economic and social policy would ultimately be removed from [Irish] control’.

The NESC report emphasised a plan, requiring an integrated medium term strategy that would command acceptance throughout society to tackle the crisis in public expenditure.  The report was conceived as a means of supporting the coalition government’s recovery plans.  While still in opposition, Fianna Fáil proposed building on the NESC’s report and its 1987 manifesto, The Programme for National Recovery, absorbed much of A Strategy for Development.

The 1987 General Election

By 1986, Fianna Fáil, in opposition, was aware that the unions were disillusioned with the government, especially the Labour Party.  In the absence of political links, the union movement faced the prospect of continued marginalisation from policy debates.  Spotting an opportunity, Fianna Fáil sought to woo the unions through its willingness to involve them in policy discussions if elected to government.  It did not regard the arms length dealings with the unions, employed by the coalition government, as ideal for imposing fiscal discipline upon the troubled economy.  Haughey also denounced the Thatcherite policies of the Fine Gael-Labour government, supporting the calls of union leaders for a return to social partnership.

Labour Party ministers struggled in cabinet to maintain social benefits, imposing considerable strains on the coalition.  Yet, the Labour ministers’ stance had not made their relationship with the unions easier.  The coalition government collapsed in 1987, when Labour resigned in disagreement over budget cuts.

The election of 1987 saw all party leaders proposing fiscal rectitude.  Haughey, leader of Fianna Fáil, stressed that the election was about economic recovery.  The Fine Gael election manifesto, Breaking out of the Vicious Circle, proposed reduced public spending and borrowing.  Fianna Fáil campaigned on a platform of opposition to cuts in social spending and advocated a return to centralised pay agreements.

The election saw a shift of urban working-class support towards Fianna Fáil, in protest at the harshness of the measures proposed by the coalition. The new Fianna Fáil minority administration was considered likely to want to avoid the risks of implementing severe spending cuts.  However, after Haughey visited the Department of Finance for a briefing on the national finances, Fianna Fáil recanted on its manifesto promises, making clear it proposed little modification to the outgoing government’s plans.  The budget introduced in March 1987 sought greater fiscal adjustment than was achieved in preceding years.  This was a marked shift in policy emphasis and a determination to reduce the deficit.  Expenditure was reduced by £250m, while tax revenue increased by £117m.

The Unions and the Programme for National Recovery

The new government’s actions appeared unpromising from the ICTU’s perspective.  However, Fianna Fáil wanted to avoid confrontation with the unions, especially in the public service.  Within a few months of assuming office the government promoted talks on a national pay agreement – The Programme for National Recovery (PNR) – in accordance with the principles in the NESC report.  The administration was interested in securing a three year tripartite agreement throughout the economy.  ‘The Taoiseach invited the unions, along with the other social partners, to take part in an effort to spur recovery by means of consensus’.  To facilitate agreement, the government was willing to modify its stance on public service pay and discuss tax concessions, job creation and welfare.

By supporting a centralised pay agreement for industrial peace and union commitment to spending cuts, Fianna Fáil revealed a preference for defusing, rather than inflaming, industrial conflict and for seeking union support, rather than excluding them from policy deliberations.  By 1987, the unions favoured a return to centralised pay determination.  The prospects of agreement on a moderate pay rise, combined with tight control over second-tier bargaining, also drew in the employers.

The union movement entered negotiations in a weaker position than in the 1970s.  Although the unions had not been consulted on policy by the coalition government, they still possessed leverage in the Dáil with the Labour Party and Fianna Fáil.  However, with Fine Gael now in opposition and operating under its Tallaght Strategy of not opposing the government’s measures to revive the economy, many of which had ironically been proposed by Fine Gael in the run up to the election, the unions had few options besides doing a deal.

Talks built on the NESC report.  The ICTU executive argued that the PNR would prevent Ireland going down the Thatcherite road, where the UK Trades Union Congress (TUC) had been utterly marginalised.  Thus, the PNR restored social partnership, as well as brining considerable benefits for capitalism.  The PNR resembled the NUs in scope, but not content.  The central issue was an agreement on wages in the public and private sectors for three years.  However, the PNR, and its successor agreements, also encompassed a wide range of economic/social policy commitments on job creation and welfare benefits.  Unlike the 1970s, these agreements were based on shared understanding of the problems facing the economy and the policies required to address them.

The Unions and Policy Developments

Following the recommendations of the NESC, the government’s objective was to reduce the debt/GNP ratio to a sustainable level.  The change in government economic policy, first encapsulated in its March 1987 budget, as a determination to reduce the deficit, was elaborated in the PNR.  In contrast with earlier attempts, the targets for 1987 were achieved.  Subsequent budgets were designed in harmony with the PNR and the agreements thereafter and they provided for implementation of policies over which the unions had direct input.

Three joint government-ICTU working parties on Employment and Development Measures, Taxation and Social Policy were established and chaired by the Secretary of the Department of the Taoiseach.  More committees were formed following subsequent national agreements.  A Ministerial-ICTU group also met monthly to review progress.  The unions had secured input into policy-making through their position as an essential constituency with rights of representation on state boards, committees and policy fora

From 1987 onwards, Congress policies on pay, tax and social welfare found their way into government policy.  Ireland had embarked on a tripartite approach to income policy, marking ‘a fundamental change in [the] approach to social partnership between that practised up to the early 1980s and that practiced from 1987 onwards’.  The agreements of the 1980s and 1990s were not confined to wages, but encompassed a range of socioeconomic policies.  The focus of these agreements was economic stability, greater equity in the tax system and enhanced social justice, with the result that, ‘in the decade after 1987, interest group activity in Ireland attained centre stage, with the tripartite agreements of the 1990s cementing social partnership’.  Ireland’s political economy shifted from a British, towards a European, mode of consensus between social partners. ‘These arrangements re-established a reciprocal relationship between Congress, the government, and employers on a much stronger institutional footing than heretofore’.

Social partnership arrangement continued to function up until the collapse of talks on a new national agreement in 2008, as a new economic crisis took hold.  It remains to be seen whether Ireland will witness a return to the decentralised collective bargaining of the early 1980s, or if the social partnership arrangements can be revived.  In this respect, the current situation in some ways mirrors conditions in 1981.  The decision on this issue will have huge implications for the role of trade unions in Irish society, and for the performance of the economy, over the coming decade.

CONCLUSION

This chapter examined the four periods in which the trade union movement’s influence over Irish public policy changed dramatically during the latter half of the 20th century.  In each of these cases, extant economic circumstances had a significant role to play.  Thus, the unions’ changing influence was examined in the context of the broader Irish political economy.

The 1950s was a depressing decade.  However, after Lemass came to power in 1959, the Fianna Fáil administration sought to open the economy to competition and FDI.  Lemass regarded trade union involvement as critical in this attempt to revive the economy.  As a result, ICTU access to the Taoiseach, representation on government committees, government economic policies and policies towards organised labour, changed in the unions’ favour.

Fear that industrial unrest might frighten off FDI led to centralised collective bargaining between the state, unions and employers throughout the 1970s.  The NWAs and later NUs, provided the ICTU with unprecedented access to government, its policies, and their formulation.  These centralised collective bargaining arrangements were linked to government budgets.  Thus, the state came to play a role in industrial relations, in return for which the unions gained influence over economic policy.  By the end of the 1970s, wage agreements were being concluded in a tripartite context.

The early 1980s were a time of economic turmoil and political instability.  The national agreements of the 1970s, a solution to the industrial relations problems of the late 1960s, were no longer addressing the needs of the economy.  The employers’ had become disillusioned with the agreements’ failure to control wage inflation, while the unions felt pay restraint was not resulting in job creation.  In 1981, the government abandoned centralised bargaining, as it sought to bring public spending under control.  As a consequence, the ICTU was excluded from directly influencing policy.

By 1987, with the country on the verge of bankruptcy and unemployment at almost 20 per cent, the political establishment recognised the need for a new consensual approach to the economy.  A new Fianna Fáil administration, building on an NESC report and determined to impose fiscal discipline, sought to involve the unions in policy consultation to avoid the dangers of open confrontation.  For the weakened ICTU, fearful of permanent marginalisation, the prospect of reinstituted centralised bargaining was a welcome lifeline.  The unions saw this as an opportunity to regain influence over taxation, unemployment and social welfare policy.  From 1987 onwards, a tripartite approach to managing the economy developed, wherein the social partnership agreements encompassed a range of economic and social issues.  The ICTU, through involvement on numerous committees and working parties, secured an input into state policies that endured up to 2008.

However, with the collapse of social partnership in 2008, a large question mark hangs over the whole process.  If the impact of current recession was sufficient to collapse the social partnership process, this raises questions as to the underlying strength of the agreements.  Did Irish social partnership hold together from 1987 onwards because of an underlying societal commitment to what the agreements represented?  Or, did partnership exist primarily due to a very favourable set of economic circumstance that, once ended, made it an unsustainable proposition?  The answer to these questions will determine the future of Irish social partnership, and that of the wider economy and society, over the next decade.