Category archives for SPERI Comment

Does age now trump class in British politics?

Kate Alexander Shaw

After higher youth turnout in the 2017 general election Labour has to think hard about whether fairness is about class or cohort Labour’s surprise success in June’s election, gaining 32 seats and winning 40 per cent of the popular vote, has quickly been absorbed within a new narrative about the rise of youth. Before the election, the conventional wisdom was … Continue reading

21 August 2017 by
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Are China’s economic activities good for Zambia?

Chinese investment to Zambia has created jobs and trade but there are serious concerns about conditions for labour in the copper industry China is Africa’s largest bilateral trading partner. The value of Chinese trade with Africa increased from $4 billion in 1996 to $200 billion in 2014. Much of the latter value is underpinned by China’s demand for raw materials … Continue reading

15 August 2017 by
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Developing a local government finance system that works for all?

Property and land are increasingly significant to local government financing – but their valuation and taxation need urgent reform to fund local services and support growth In recent years, there have been several political narratives designed, and promoted, to rebalance the way parts of England are governed; variously associated with devolution, decentralisation,  Powerhouses (Northern) and Engines (Midlands). More recently, emphasis … Continue reading

15 August 2017 by
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Has the salience of ‘saving’ in British political discourse declined?

The practice of saving has been complexified, but the concept has until recently retained discursive significance as part of an ‘asset-based welfare’ agenda. The 2017 election may, however, have signalled a significant shift in British economic statecraft The value of saving has been preached by the leaders of both main political parties in the UK for a considerable period of … Continue reading

9 August 2017 by
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Devolution and austerity are intertwined in Sheffield City Region

A new conversation about devolution that acknowledges the impact of austerity on city regions is urgently needed In October 2015, leaders in the Sheffield City Region signed an ‘in principle’ agreement with George Osborne (then Chancellor) for a £900M devolution agreement. At this time, Sheffield was second only to Manchester, with ‘Devo-Manc’ being the trailblazer of the Northern Powerhouse initiative … Continue reading

8 August 2017 by
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Why the Conservatives struggle with empathy

The ‘nasty party’ tag will stick until the Conservatives reject making moral judgements about poorer members of society Emotional intelligence has become such an important political virtue in the UK this summer that First Secretary of State Damian Green recently sought to reassure BBC Breakfast viewers that the Prime Minister Theresa May ‘is a warm and empathetic woman’. This was … Continue reading

3 August 2017 by
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The Labour Party’s free movement dilemma

Owen Parker

There are good pragmatic and principled reasons for the Labour Party to reverse its opposition to the free movement of EU citizens In its 2017 manifesto the Labour Party is unequivocal: ‘freedom of movement will end when we leave the European Union’. But this apparently clear position on free movement is not a longstanding one in a Labour Party that … Continue reading

31 July 2017 by
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Brexit risks harming African economies that trade with the UK

Peg Murray-Evans

The UK must pay urgent attention to the complexities of African trade in order to avoid Brexit having damaging effects In my last SPERI blog I outlined my concern that despite the UK government’s commitment to reinvigorating the Commonwealth, African countries would be sidelined in favour of larger and more important markets in the UK’s post-Brexit ‘Global Britain’ trade strategy. … Continue reading

27 July 2017 by
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The collapse of France’s Socialist Party amidst the Macron surge

With Macron dominant and the left divided, the future of a devastated Socialist Party is extremely unclear The Presidential and legislative elections in France this year delivered arguably the most dramatic upheaval in the French party system since the foundation of the Fifth Republic in 1958. Unprecedentedly, the sitting President did not to attempt to run for re-election, whilst the … Continue reading

26 July 2017 by
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Labour’s Titanic Brexit nightmare

Matthew Bishop

In even flirting with leaving the EU Single Market, the UK is heading full steam towards an iceberg of historic proportions, and this will destroy Labour if a change of course is not pursued We are plausibly living through the endgame of a neoliberalism that has drastically over-reached itself. The great value of Corbynism is its recognition of this essential … Continue reading

24 July 2017 by
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Towards a coherent industrial strategy for the UK

Richard Jones

The new report by Industrial Strategy Commission sets out positive principles that can be the foundations for a new UK industrial strategy What should a modern industrial strategy for the UK look like? Last week the Industrial Strategy Commission, of which I’m a member, published its interim report – Laying the Foundations – which sets out some positive principles which we suggest … Continue reading

19 July 2017 by
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The power relations of debt: care and resistance

Daniela and Johnna

Rethinking debt and how it is ‘cared for’ reveals its gendered, classed and racialised nature We believe there is an urgent need to conceptualise and theorise the ‘care’ of debt and how it is ‘cared for’. Rethinking debt in these terms reveals the power relations that underpin its and its gendered, classed and racialised nature. Nancy Fraser reminds us of … Continue reading

18 July 2017 by
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Has neoliberalism gone too far? And if so, where do we go from here?

To replace neoliberalism we need a renewal of liberal capitalism combined with a renewal of democracy Neoliberalism has gone too far: it has undermined democratic capitalism – by which I mean both liberal capitalism and liberal democracy. We are experiencing the backlash today in the rise of populism, reflective of citizen discontent. The question is: what will replace neoliberalism? Where … Continue reading

17 July 2017 by
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The future history of Donald Trump

Jamie Morgan

The concerns and conflict that are already central to the Trump presidency will be key to understanding Trump as future history The Trump presidency is still in its first year. It has barely begun, but already the possibility that we are entering one of history’s defining moments looks increasingly likely. Trump is future history, and yet we still know relatively … Continue reading

13 July 2017 by
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Understanding foreign relations between India and Iran

Rick Rowden

The India-Iran relationship is often ignored yet it provides insights into shifting geostrategic relationships within Asia The West tends to view India and Iran one at a time, each in isolation. But what about India-Iran foreign relations? The often-overlooked bilateral relations between India and Iran are not only fascinating, but provide a prism by which to view and understand a … Continue reading

12 July 2017 by
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Is China’s Belt and Road Initiative dividing Europe?

China’s grand geopolitical project threatens a new East-West divide in Europe The recent Belt and Road Forum in Beijing ushered in a new phase in China’s global repositioning. In his opening speech China’s president, Xi Jinping, reaffirmed the importance of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a massive investment project launched in 2013 to dramatically expand land and sea trade across Asia and beyond. At … Continue reading

11 July 2017 by
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Learning from China’s success? Europe in the 21st century global economy

Europe can learn lessons from China’s development and should agree a new common approach on trade Following the election of President Trump on an ‘America First’ and anti-globalisation platform the debate about the future of international trade and international competition policy became a hot political issue. Some commentators had hoped that the issue might disappear from the front pages after … Continue reading

7 July 2017 by
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How to fund a state development bank: a two-stage proposal

Our proposal shows how to fund a new state bank that would harness the money creation power of the Bank of England for the public good Industrial policy is back on the agenda in UK politics. Central to the policy debates is the idea of a state bank that can underpin the broad objectives of industrial strategy.  Indeed, the global … Continue reading

6 July 2017 by
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The proletariat problem: general election 2017 and the class politics of Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn

Craig Berry

The election continued the swing of working-class voters to the Conservative Party – but also the more important trend of working-class disengagement from politics. Can Labour respond without succumbing to populism? The general election was peculiar for a large number of reasons. One of those reasons, relatively overlooked to date, is that – amid some stunning victories in affluent areas … Continue reading

5 July 2017 by
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Between a rock and a hard place: Trade negotiations post-Brexit and post-election

Future negotiations about service trade liberalisation will present significant difficulties for the UK – whoever is in power One year after the United Kingdom (UK)’s Brexit referendum, divorce talks with the European Union (EU) have begun. On the first day of negotiations on 19 June, the British Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, David Davis, and the European … Continue reading

4 July 2017 by
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