speri.comment: the political economy blog

Negotiating the impossible? Brexit after the election

Simon Bulmer

Multiple scenarios now exist for the imminent Brexit negotiations. An informed deliberation over the options must be the immediate way forward The June 2017 general election has proved to be a seismic event, like the EU referendum just under a year earlier.  Called by Prime Minister May in order to strengthen her negotiating hand in the Brexit negotiations, it has … Continue reading

14 June 2017 by
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Reassessing Corbynism: success, contradictions and a difficult path ahead

Corbyn’s success in building an alliance that extends from Greens to UKIP voters only postpones the moment of Labour’s reckoning with Brexit The trickle of mea culpas from the rapidly diminishing band of Corbyn-sceptics following the election result has now turned into a flood, and not without cause.  Once widely-held truisms – Corbynism is a ‘movement’ more clicktivist than canvasser, … Continue reading

13 June 2017 by
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Brexit, don’t forget how we got here

Jamie Morgan

Understanding Brexit requires us to consider the political economy of tax justice and the abuse of wealth protection At a time when a general election has dominated the press for the last two months and Brexit has been a shadow of anxiety – a most remarkable event that the political parties have been steadfastly refusing to remark upon in any … Continue reading

12 June 2017 by
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That was the Crisis that was: the 2017 election and the strange demise of the 2007-08 crisis

Chris Kirkland

Despite dominating UK politics for the last decade the crisis has been a notable absence from the 2017 general election campaign 2017 marks the tenth anniversary of the onset of the economic crisis. For the past decade and the last two UK general elections in 2015 and 2010 the issue of the economy has been the central focus of political … Continue reading

7 June 2017 by
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The great Australian neoliberal experiment

The story of how Australia embraced the free market On April 7th the new Secretary of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), Sally McManus, declared that Neoliberalism ‘had run its course’ in Australia. McManus argued that Australia’s embrace of the free market in the 1970s and 1980s had lead to greater inequality amongst its population with ‘ordinary Australians’ becoming … Continue reading

6 June 2017 by
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Tax spillover, development and global governance

Andrew Baker

Our new tax spillover framework is intended to increase scrutiny of countries’ tax regimes and discourage ‘race to the bottom’ behaviours There is growing interest among a range of development non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in something called ‘tax spillover’ analysis.  In the last two months, co-author Richard Murphy and I, have engaged in discussions with Oxfam, Action Aid and Christian Aid, … Continue reading

5 June 2017 by
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Is regionalism declining in world politics?


To counter moves towards more nationalist politics, regional integration must involve greater social integration In 1996, Tony Payne and Andrew Gamble theorised the reorganisation of world order under what they called ‘new regionalism’. They argued that the period since the end of the Cold War had witnessed the rise of political projects in various regions, which were built by states … Continue reading

1 June 2017 by
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The triple lock is a pensions policy, not a pensioner policy

Craig Berry

While the current method of uprating the state pension is imperfect, Theresa May’s proposal to abolish it is based on a flawed view of intergenerational fairness It is now almost certain that the state pension ‘triple lock’ will be abolished once Theresa May retains her premiership at the 2017 general election. The triple lock dictates that the state pension (both … Continue reading

30 May 2017 by
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Independent Scotland is an economic opportunity for the north of England

Shared economic interests mean Scottish independence could enhance not threaten the north’s economy. This must be part of the independence debate There is a widely taken-for-granted assumption that independence for Scotland would be broadly bad for the economic interests of the north of England. In fact, it is an assumption made so readily and which is so rarely challenged that … Continue reading

26 May 2017 by
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The working lives of the under-30s show the future of work for us all

New research by the TUC to understand the lives of Britain’s young workers will help improve work and give them a path to union membership Lindsay’s phone rings again as she squints at the list of house calls for the day. On the end of the phone an elderly client cries as she pleads for someone to come and help … Continue reading

23 May 2017 by
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How the financial industry mobilized against the European Financial Transaction Tax

Despite broad post-crisis support in Europe for a financial transaction tax, the financial industry successfully lobbied to water down proposals and delay its implementation 2017 should be the year when the much-delayed and watered down European Financial Transaction Tax (FTT) is finally implemented – but this is looking increasingly unlikely. After the 2008 financial crisis a large public coalition of … Continue reading

22 May 2017 by
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How to reform the UN Security Council?

Reform of UN Security Council must look to a ‘Weak Veto’ How to reform the troubled UN Security Council? This has been a question challenging policymakers, diplomats and academics for decades.  There is widespread agreement that reforms for the Security Council (UNSC) are needed but no consensus on the best way forward. To consider this question Matthew Gould and I … Continue reading

18 May 2017 by
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Back to the future: women’s work and the gig economy

Learning from the history of women’s work can help to overcome discrimination and improve working conditions in the gig economy ‘The future of work’ is big news, with the debate also picking up speed in policy circles. And with good reason: a persistent lack of decent work globally is negatively affecting incomes, and therefore living standards. Addressing this is an … Continue reading

16 May 2017 by
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Review: The End of British Politics? by Mick Moran

Scott Lavery

This timely new book expertly charts the endurance of the British state and how elites have sought to ‘repurpose’ it. Whether this can be achieved again after Brexit is highly uncertain In the eleven months since the EU referendum, there has been a daily flood of Brexit-related news, analysis and polemic. Legal wrangling between parliament and executive, party political manoeuvrings … Continue reading

15 May 2017 by
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To gain legitimacy new metro-mayors must improve turnout and diversity

New metro-mayors must now deliver on their policy commitments, and quickly seek to secure the ‘democratic moment’ that advocates of devolution promised The elections of metro-mayors in six English city-regions, a significant constitutional innovation, might have been expected to enthuse voters and the media alike, although battle hardened spectators of politics were likely to be more pessimistic. Local elections and … Continue reading

11 May 2017 by
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Longevity as transferable ‘risk’: the new financial dynamics of ageing

Giselle Datz

Transfers between defined benefit pension schemes and (re)insurance companies are expanding the landscape of retirement risk shifts We are witnessing an unprecedented global demographic achievement: the world population’s life expectancy for people at the age of 60 has increased from 18.7 years in 2000 to 20.4 years in 2015, according to the World Health Organization.  Between 2015 and 2030, the … Continue reading

10 May 2017 by
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Falling through the gaps: insecure work and the social safety net

Jane Mansour

Labour market support systems need to adapt to better support the growing number of workers in vulnerable employment Vulnerable employment, with workers experiencing high levels of precariousness, is a global phenomenon.  The ILO projects global growth in vulnerable forms of employment to grow by 11 million a year.  The impacts of this are being felt across developed, emerging and developing … Continue reading

9 May 2017 by
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Millennials versus Baby Boomers: words matter in the politics of intergenerational fairness

Kate Alexander Shaw

Rhetoric used today to describe intergenerational debates will shape tomorrow’s policies – and affect all of our futures The last several years have seen an upswell of interest in the idea of intergenerational fairness, based on concerns that today’s young people cannot hope to achieve the same prosperity as older generations.  The financial crisis of 2008-09, and the subsequent weakness … Continue reading

8 May 2017 by
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Metro-mayor elections: a new type of second-order election?

As polls open a range of electoral features – personality, campaigning and voting systems – will tell us if voters see today’s elections as ‘second-order’ Metro-mayor elections are clearly second-order elections as defined by Reif and Schmitt (1980). Second-order elections are characterised by lower turnout than in national-level elections and they are perceived as less important by voters, parties and … Continue reading

4 May 2017 by
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Organising against the gig economy – lessons from Latin America?

Adam Fishwick

New strategies of organisation and workers’ control in Latin America suggest ways to tackle the insecurity of the gig economy Workers in the so-called ‘gig economy’ face heightening conditions of precarity and exploitation – from delivery couriers to taxi drivers, as has been shown in this series so far, conditions of work are increasingly deleterious and show little sign of … Continue reading

2 May 2017 by
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