No Recession, but Big Policy Task

The economic ghouls may be disappointed that this week’s real GDP read-out for the quarter came without a minus sign. There is no hint of recession. The ‘fiscal stimulus for dummies’ book can go back on the shelf.  But one doesn’t need to be a ghoul to find plenty to worry about in the national accounts details. Although real GDP is still growing, it is not growing enough to match population growth — so real GDP per capita declined slightly in the year to the June quarter. That is another way of saying real living standards are stagnant — which…

Glenn Fahey: Choice a Solution for Equality

With all the talk of the alleged gross educational inequality of late, one would be forgiven for thinking we were mired in Groundhog Day. As host Julia Baird observed on ABC’s The Drum on August 13: “didn’t we just go through all this with the Gonski debate?” Australians aren’t a class-envious bunch, but the home of the ‘fair go’. Dragging down the top does not improve the lot for those at the bottom. We want a society that lifts those at the bottom. With all the clamouring, one would suspect some dramatic escalation in inequality had beset us. But that is simply not reflected…

All Rise to Clap Comrade Corbyn (Minimum 15 Mins)

In ‘The Gulag Archipelago,’ Solzhenitsyn recalled how someone toasted Stalin at a Communist Party conference and ‘stormy applause, rising to an ovation,’ broke out.  Stalin wasn’t present but the applause continued regardless. ‘Palms were getting sore and raised arms were already aching,’ he wrote, ‘but who would dare be the first to stop?’

Proponents of the New Backbench Bill to Stop No Deal Face a Significant Dilemma over Queen’s Consent

The proponents of a new Bill to prevent No Deal are caught on the horns of a dilemma. If they had drafted a Bill that only mandated the PM to seek an extension, the PM would have been left free to refuse to agree any extension in negotiations with the EU27. However, Benn-Burt goes much further than Cooper-Letwin did (paras 30-32). It mandates that the PM must not only seek but also agree to an extension, either 31 January 2020 or another date if the House of Commons approves a date suggested by the EU27. Mandating that the PM agrees to an extension manifestly…

A Brexit Britain Can Help Avert a Global Trade War

Post-Brexit the UK can lead a global move to free trade. A UK/US FTA will markedly reduce UK consumer prices and business costs, and incentivise the EU to negotiate a trade deal with the UK free of legal subjugation and annual payments. A clear Free Trade strategy from a newly elected majority government will be needed to achieve this.

Paul Craig Roberts: I Feel Sorry for President Trump

Yes, I know.  I am lining up on the wrong side.  You are supposed to hate him. The presstitutes hate Trump.  So does the Democratic Party, part of the Republican Party, the military/security complex, the entirety of the liberal/progressive/left, the universities, feminists, and Washington’s vassal states.  No one likes him but the “racist, white supremacist Trump deplorables.” Nevertheless, I feel sorry for him.  I started feeling sorry for him when he announced he would run for President of the United States.  You see, I had inside information. I had held a presidential appointment from a President of the United States.  I ended up fighting battles for…

Hurricane Dorian Forecast to Commence Passage up US Eastern Seaboard

According to Hubert Minnis, the Prime Minister of the Bahamas, the Royal Bahamas Police have confirmed the deaths of five people in Abaco following the slow passage of one of the strongest Atlantic hurricanes ever to make landfall, over the Bahamas. Although currently downgraded from a category 5 to a category 2 hurricane, Dorian continues to batter the Bahamas and the Eastern seaboard of the United States, with forecasters warning not only of the risks from storm force winds and rain, but also of storm surges as it continues its slow passage in the direction of the US coastline. The…

Why Does the EU Go On About the ‘Integrity’ of the Single Market When It Has Been Such a Failure?

If you believed the rhetoric, you would accept that the Single Market was a great success. But the truth is that is has failed to deliver on each of the four freedoms. The European Single Market (SM) is the jewel in the crown of the ‘European Project’ with its four freedoms of movement – of goods, services, workers and capital – or so we are told.  Within the SM, all goods and services produced are supposed to satisfy a common set of regulatory standards. This ought to make it easier to export to other member states of the European Union.…

MPs Fears about the Economic Impact of ‘No Deal’ Make No Sense

Those MPs supporting Parliamentary efforts to prevent a ‘No deal’ Brexit largely avoid talking about democracy, independence, and sovereignty, where they are on weak ground. Instead they focus on the “catastrophic” economic damage they expect the UK to suffer if it leaves without a deal. But here too all the evidence suggests they are on equally weak ground Firstly, we need to stress that the very phrase ‘No Deal’ is a complete misnomer. There are already a series of mini deals in place – on issues such as trade facilitation, air travel, citizen’s rights, students, transport, security, – that would…

Brexit, Tariffs, and GATT’s Original Intent: Why a Forgotten MFN Exemption Merits a Closer Look

Exit from the EU on GATT/WTO terms is assumed to mean that the UK will find itself between a Scylla and Charybdis of either eliminating all tariffs on all countries or snapping into place tariffs on the remaining EU Member States at the same levels that the EU currently applies to the rest of the world. The most-favoured nation rule—MFN—is indeed an important tool of the world trade system, and if the UK and EU were complete strangers (and all else being equal) there is no doubt MFN would apply in that way between them, and between both of them…

The EU: No Friend of Workers’ Rights

It has become a mantra, endlessly repeated by Remainer trade unions: “Workers must not pay the price of Brexit.” What price would that be? And how about acknowledging the price to workers of staying in the EU? On 6 July 2017 Michel Barnier, the EU Brexit negotiator, addressed the EU’s Economic and Social Committee. His words were noted and passed on to unions in Britain by the TUC delegate to the committee under a title saying that Barnier ‘spells out the truth’ about Brexit. Barnier’s address, wrote Unite’s Martin Mayer with doe-eyed devotion, was ‘clinical in its analysis and impressive in its…

Teacher Education Degrees Should Face Scrutiny

Australian teachers are underprepared for the classroom compared to those in other countries, according to a recent global survey. The result indicates initial teacher education in Australia often isn’t up to scratch. The OECD Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) asked teachers around the world how prepared they were after completing their teacher education degrees. And on almost every measure — including being prepared to teach specific subjects, teach mixed-ability classes, and manage the classroom — Australian teachers reported being less prepared than the OECD teacher average. While we should not rely too much on international surveys (because teachers in different countries…

Israel Folau: Moral Compass All Askew as Virtue Is Eclipsed by Values

Unease is growing in Australia that something has changed for the worse in our live-and-let-live culture. The seismic shifts giving rise to this pervasive anxiety seem to have been coming in cumulative waves. Free speech has given way to the drive to eliminate “hate speech”; bonds of trust have broken in commercial life — especially in our financial services sector; dying is becoming a medicalised event activated on ­demand by the individual, rather than the natural ending of life; and religion has become such a divisive issue that a new law is now being drafted to protect religious freedom. Less…

Six Ways We Can Be Sure Boris Is Serious

It seems increasingly likely that the next leader of the Conservatives, and UK Prime Minister, will be Boris Johnson. On the face of it, this looks like good news for supporters of Brexit given Johnson’s record on this issue and his recent statement that the UK will leave the EU by October 31 ‘do or die’. Yet given the history of the last two years, during which the genuine Brexit envisaged at Lancaster House was watered down to the Brexit in-name-only of Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement (WA), Brexit supporters should avoid euphoria and be very cautious. There were key moments…

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