Blog created by Nick Coughlan

BBC News | UK | UK Edition

Which is your preferred outcome of the General Election?

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

We're now out of the recession

It will be announced at the end of the month that in the last quarter of 2009 the UK came out of recession. The problem being the country has £178 billion worth of debt, which is 13% of the countries GDP. There is still no questioning that the economy is the most important issue leading up to this years general election, which is likely to be held on May 6th.

It is in legislation that the Government has to halve the £178 billion deficit within four years. Surely Labour cannot say to voters it is their investment policy against the Conservatives cuts in public spending. The Conservatives are correct that this is the correct policy after all if you were overdrawn £178 billion i'm not sure anyone would be bailing you out. Although the Conservatives timing of when to make the cuts were wrong, if the country had been under a Conservative Government at the time we fell into recession, cuts would have plummeted us further into recession or possbily a depression.

The Government must now be honest with voters, that cuts and higher taxes are pretty inevitable with such a huge deficit on the eve of the announcment that we have come out of recession. Early warning signs are clear with Lord Mandelson's proposals to cut University spending, but Brown still seems hesitant to annouce public spending cuts. Let's be clear the country has a deficit of £178 billion, 13% of GDP the country knows their will be cuts.

Before you make your decision on who gets your vote on the ballot paper come the next general election. Ask yourself what have the parties told us about their plans for the economy, if you don't know the answer to this do not vote for that party. The real question for Labour, Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats before the general election is what cuts, when and how much.
The country now needs a plan, not political spin to win over our votes. It needs a party to show courage and tell the country exactly what it proposes to do to tackle the deficit.

Nick Coughlan


Tuesday, 5 January 2010

UK's deep freeze

BBC News at One, main headline 'Heavy snow threatens further disruption'. With Global Warming having being discussed at Copenhagen a few weeks ago it's rather ironic that major disruption across the country is being caused by snow and cold icy roads. As I trampled my way through the snow laid pathways at my University a thought occured to me. How do countries with considerably more snowfall than we do cope? Can we learn anything from these countries? We don't exactly live in the tropics so why does winter weather always cause such chaos?

These questions are always asked when the country has a flurrish of snow for at a maximum a couple of weeks in a year. The problem is, do people want to raise a budget dealing with these events with a problem that is only a fleeting one? In the end that could mean more taxes, maybe the possibility of buying a second set of wheels for your car with studded tyres. I can't see people rushing out to buy a second set of tyres for a couple of days in a year when it may snow heavily!

The more I thought this through, the conclusion is simple, that it is not economically viable to spend money on drastic measures in areas that have very little snow.

Speaking to a friend who used to live in Norway, were heavy snowfall occurs far more regularly he added that, "Having lived there I can assure you that the first snowfall of the year does bring chaos!". With more money spent on equipment in Norway he added, " After a day or two it all starts running smoothly, but Norweigans complain just as much as we do".

Differences in equipment for Norweigans are that all vehicles must have "winter tyres" these are compulsory. "Studded ones are often used, but in the towns if you use them you have to pay a 'stud tax' per wheel as they do damage to the road surface if the snow is thin or cleared".

So as much as headlines tell us the Britain is being 'paralysed' by the snow make interesting news there isn't much we can expect to be done about the snow. In effect the jobs of gritters etc are crucial and we should congratulate them on the job that they do, as there is no other economically viable solution for an extremely short term 'disaster'.
Nick Coughlan