Angela Merkel warned last week against British cherry–picking on Brexit. Or rather, she warned against “Rosinenpickerei”, which literally means raisin-picking. But this is hardly news. On 28 June, 5 days after the referendum, Merkel first included such a warning in a speech to the Bundestag, immediately before the European Council meeting and the first informal … More Raisins or cherries, the message remains the same
The Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR) has been the subject of much comment since Wednesday’s Autumn Statement. But the fact that its remit has been changed seems to have passed largely unnoticed. Tucked away among the hundreds of pages of supporting documents is a revised draft Charter for Budget Responsibility. The charter fulfils a dual … More OBR can no longer shock us
Once upon a time, in a pre-Brexit, pre-Trump world, a conservative government unexpectedly won an election. One of their key priorities was to eliminate the deficit, and in the Budget immediately following the election they came up with a way to “raise” a few £billions by what amounted to an accounting trick. They decided to … More Smoke and mirrors don’t fill the deficit
Since New Labour’s election victory of 1997, there has been a professed commitment from the UK executive to “open government”. The most tangible evidence of this was the Freedom of Information Act 2000, which enshrined a Labour manifesto commitment, though for various reasons it did not come into force until 1 January 2005. I recall … More Farewell to Open Government
On top of the pressures of defining what “Brexit means Brexit” might mean and starting to map out the UK’s new place in the world, there are signs that engagement between the Brexit departments – Department for Exiting the EU (DExEU) and Department for International Trade (DIT) – and business has not got off to … More Testing times for the civil service: some rules of engagement for the Brexit departments
My first encounter with the Polish community was around the age of 8 or 9, when I shared my primary-school desk (one of those old-fashioned affairs, big enough for two and with holes for ink-pots) with a Polish boy called Jon Mikes. Contact with people from central or eastern Europe was unusual then – the … More Solidarność! Why I went to Harlow on 3 September 2016.
In the wake of Brexit, George Osborne planned to “woo business” by reducing corporation tax – already heading for 17 per cent, the lowest rate in the G20, by 2020 – to less than 15 per cent. Will Philip Hammond, the new Chancellor, now follow through this plan, and would this be a step towards making … More Philip Hammond should shelve Osborne’s plan to cut corporation tax
This is the second vote on Britain’s membership of Europe in my lifetime (and yes I know the Leave brigade will quibble that this isn’t about “Europe” the continent but the EEC/EU but the tenor of the debate shows it’s about something much deeper than that). I can’t pretend to recall the eve of the … More Referendum Eve