Taxation is the Price of Civilisation

In the USA there are reports of so-called ‘tea-party’ protests, modelled on the famous ‘Boston Tea Party’ protests against taxation imposed by the British government on the (then) US colonies. But the US protesters (in reality the Republicans) rather the miss the point – the ‘Boston Tea Party’ was not a protest against taxation, but against ‘taxation without representation’, which is rather different. Continue reading “Taxation is the Price of Civilisation”

Universities and the Impact of the Recession

I recently attended a ‘professorial dinner’ at Manchester, the purpose of which was to discuss our future strategy. The main message at the start was – universities, after a decade of a relatively benign environment, face a decade or more of austerity. How are we placed to deal with this new reality and what should we do? Here’s my response. Continue reading “Universities and the Impact of the Recession”

Clear Blue Water

So where are we now, after Budget 09, in terms of the size and shape of the state and public services for the future? The reduction of annual growth in public spending to a mere 0.7% in real terms, whilst protecting some big and sensitive areas like health and education, will mean real terms cuts across many other areas. Continue reading “Clear Blue Water”

Zen and the Art of Cutting without Cutting

When is a cut in public spending not a cut – when you can disguise it as an “efficiency saving”.

The first big round of ‘fantasy efficiency savings’ took place before the 2005 general election when the Labour and Conservative parties competed via the Gershon and James reviews – the two aforementioned gentlemen being business-persons (in those days when business could do no wrong) who allegedly ‘reviewed’ the public sector and came up with an impressive set of ‘efficiency’ savings. Continue reading “Zen and the Art of Cutting without Cutting”

Are spending cuts back? Deliberative poll results…

An intriguing new poll from PoliticsHome suggest an important shift in public attitudes on “tax and spend” issues.

“The results of this special deliberative study, involving a balanced group of over 1,400 people, point to a new landscape of public opinion on issues of tax and spend. Continue reading “Are spending cuts back? Deliberative poll results…”

Fair Access to the Professions – Not Yet

A new study commissioned by the British government shows that far from “fair access” improving within the high-status professions, people from lower social strata our now even less likely to make it into these jobs. This is despite the massive expansion in higher educational opportunities in recent decades. Continue reading “Fair Access to the Professions – Not Yet”