Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Labour MPs would rather clock off early than vote against abolishing 50p

Ed Balls and Labour MPs have spent the whole of last week telling anyone who'd listen that they will vote against any changes to the additional tax rate of 50p.

Last night they had the chance to do just that on the last division of the day:

That, notwithstanding anything to the contrary in the practice of the House relating to the matters that may be included in Finance Bills, any Finance Bill of the present Session may contain the following provisions about income tax taking effect in a future year—

(a) provision that for the tax year 2013-14—

(i) the basic rate is 20%,

(ii) the higher rate is 40%, and

(iii) the additional rate is 45%, and

provision about other rates of income tax.

Whilst Labour are spinning this morning that they voted against all provisions in the bill earlier in the evening and they "abstained" from this vote, I understand that Labour MPs (except for the 2 who really believe the rhetoric the party has been putting out and voted no) had actually all gone home for the night.

Clearly clocking off early is more important to them than their principled stand against cutting the 50p rate.

For anyone saying it was a surprise motion it was clearly on the Budget resolutions paper for last night!

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Friday, March 2, 2012

Why Steve Hilton Leaving matters

Every commentator and their dog is either writing a piece about Steve Hilton at the moment or has already written one. Who he was, what he’s done, what kind of a person he was; comment piece after comment piece is pouring out of laptops everywhere.

I don’t know Steve Hilton, I’ve never met him, I’m not sure I’ve ever even been in the same building,  but I do feel that his leaving is going to leave a hole. Why? Because by all accounts he has a vision, and he’s a man that is all about getting things done andy politics and government is all to short on those kind of people.

Don’t get me wrong, politics is full of very smart, very hard working people, but in the main they’re adrenaline junkies. They thrive on crisis and reacting, they’re about responding to what’s happening now. They get things done, but they’re not

By all accounts Hilton was the opposite, yes his day job was implementation, but he was thinking about the long term. Anyone that knows anything about transformational change, knows it’s not about reacting and responding ,it’s about getting things done that will create the change in time. Looking ahead to the future and importantly  thinking outside the box.

In politics you don't get to do that often, it’s all about the now, about responding to what’s happening to the detriment of long term planning. I came into politics with an aim to think long term, but I spend my life responding, worrying about what’s on the table now not later. I do get to think about the future from time to time (projects like Masters of Nothing and 2020 are the two that come to mind the most) but it’s not nearly often enough.

The other reason that I think Hilton will be sorely missed is his radicalism, it was his detoxification strategy (radical at the time) that drew new people to the Conservative party. People that would never have dreamed about voting Tory before. ConHome may blame this strategy for a lost election, but in my view it was what brought us to Government for the first time in 13 years. Without it we wouldn’t have stood a chance.

And it was many of his policies on things like transparency, open public services, and the post bureaucratic age that got me really inspired about politics. It was some of these ideas, thinking about them, and blogging about them, that ultimately saw me leave the world of business behind to go work for an MP.

Steve leaving Downing Street is a loss, someone always needs to be pushing the envelope, being reigned back, asking the awkward questions, and that was him. That role is important and someone has to fill it in any organisation that really wants to create lasting change.

I really do hope that that commentariat is wrong, and he’ll be back after his sabbatical. We need radical thinking from a doer, not just from big academic brains and  in the meantime we need to find someone to fill the Guru’s shoes (not that he wears them much).

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Quote of the Day

"The belief that you can just sit at home or wait to become a TV star and that work simply lands in your lap, in turn, feeds the pernicious idea that success is not related to effort and work."
- Ian Duncan Smith on work experience - read more

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