Rebuilding our economy

But what type of economy do we want?

Sign of the times-again Sign of the times-again
And following on from the title and sub-title of this post, do the voters and taxpayers of the UK get a choice here? For at the moment it looks as if the great and the good, or if you prefer our politicians, are to form a world coalition with scant reference to their electorates to lead us out of a mess which just happened to start on their watch but for which, mysteriously, they are not responsible. Needless to say Gordon Brown is very keen on this.

In 1996 during a tour of America I saw numerous bumper stickers saying: "It's the economy, stupid". This was a key phrase from Bill Clinton's 1992 US presidential campaign that has stayed with us and not just stuck on the back of a pick-up truck. But then, from the dawn of democracy the health of the economy and so the 'feel good factor' has been vital to get the voters on side.

Now it's 2008 and voters in the UK are worried and the economy, if it too had feelings, would have turned from feeling good to feeling bloated with the effects of all that debt. As the current economic downturn is not the first to hit the UK, I'm suggesting that everyone over 30 years old normally resident in the UK knows what to expect next. But just in case anyone needs reminding, then the fear of unemployment heads up the list, as from this catastrophe the loss of the family home and even divorce may follow.

What shall we do?

Goodbye Belgium?

An unstoppable force ?An unstoppable force ?

What shall we do with the drunken sailor? is the opening line of perhaps the most well known sea shanty of all. What shall we do with an unwanted country? is not a long-lost verse of this shanty recently found by a ferreting musicologist-cum-folksong fanatic, but is my question to you; and the country in question is Belgium. These things have a sort of connection, in so far as the music for the shanty was written down in 1825, the Belgian Revolution establishing that country, using bits of Holland and France, was in 1830, and the words for the shanty were first heard in 1891. Some of us are dreamers, and so it could just be that, to keep their spirits up during the revolution, someone did hum the music.Then again, by the mid 1890s perhaps the whole song was popular in the coastal taverns of Belgium - could be.

Independence, fact or fancy?

Independence for all, or just some?

Holyrood, government, or regional office?Holyrood, government, or regional office?

The report on the elections held in May this year for the Scottish Parliament and local councils has just been published. On the one hand 49% of those eligible to vote in these elections did so, which may be regarded as a good turnout. On the other hand, about 140,000 ballot papers were 'lost', for a variety of reasons, and this number is high enough to reduce the value of the results for all parties. Also, the report's author, Bryan Gould, suggested that all the Scottish political parties have to shoulder the blame for the outcome, he says that they treated the voters as, "an afterthought", and were too "partisan". As a Labour MP under the former Labour Leader John Smith, who, as a Scot, was very sympathetic towards more power for Scotland, we may conclude that Gould would know about these things. The report makes many suggestion for the future, so what of the future?

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