Changing to survive

Fighting fire with fire

Mark Rusling  |  7 October 2014

This year, I had the professional pleasure of visiting Tory conference for the first time. The annual gathering is famed for its diversity – some middle-aged white men were from south-east England and some were from south-west England. There were stands selling tweed and handbags, and speaker after speaker denounced the coming European super-state. But …

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Whose side are you on?

Mark Rusling  |  20 August 2014

Gove is gone, but has ‘the blob’ won? The battle between the former secretary of state for education and the teaching unions was presented as a zero-sum game, not least by Michael Gove himself. His every move had to be a victory – which had to mean a defeat for his opponents. Unfortunately, Gove’s own …

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Build, baby, build

Mark Rusling  |  16 July 2014

Sarah Palin is not my usual source of inspiration for political slogans, but ‘drill, baby, drill’ was pretty catchy. We should adopt our own – build, baby, build. In elections, housing is often the dog that does not bark, despite being one of those issues that affects everyone – buyers and sellers, owners and renters, …

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Ukip and the Greens – snog, marry, avoid?

Mark Rusling  |  4 June 2014

Reading the media coverage of the 2014 elections, you’d be forgiven for forgetting that there were two sets of votes – local and European. The United Kingdom Independence party won the European elections hands down, but the locals presented a slightly more hopeful picture. Labour gained 338 seats and now has more councillors than the …

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An honest day’s work for an honest day’s pension

Mark Rusling  |  13 March 2014

Among the news this week, you might have missed one seemingly unimportant piece. Eric Pickles’ department has decided that English councillors, GLA members and the mayor of London will be forced to leave the local government pension scheme from May. Unlike members of parliament and, bizarrely, police and crime commissioners, councillors are deemed by Pickles …

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What matters is what does not work

Mark Rusling  |  10 March 2014

Consider these facts about the East Coast railway franchise. Between 2003 and 2009, when the franchise was privately owned, two operators failed and the average cost of a peak fare between York and London ballooned from £69 to £111.50 – a 62 per cent increase. Since the government stepped in and took it over in …

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When you’re in the bunker, use the wedge

Mark Rusling  |  7 February 2014

Wedge issues are part and parcel of politics. You can’t use them too often, but it is difficult not to use them at all. They are more often controversial than they are effective but, when successful, they create new coalitions of interest, split opponents and supporters and tell people whose side we’re on. Unfortunately for …

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Too many snakes and not enough ladders

Mark Rusling  |  9 December 2013

Last month, the Swiss voted overwhelmingly against a proposal that was billed as a pay cap for the rich. Executive pay would have been limited to 12 times the amount given to the lowest paid in a firm – a proposal rejected by over 65 per cent of voters. Whatever the merits – or otherwise …

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Keep it simple

Mark Rusling  |  1 November 2013

Those of us who knock on doors or watch lower league football often hear the same complaint: don’t complicate things; keep it simple! Whether it is the delights of watching York City or the difficulties of explaining policy on a Walthamstow doorstep, things are better when they are simple. That is certainly the case when …

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Tell it again, Ed

Mark Rusling  |  19 September 2013

This time last year, David Cameron was mocking Ed Miliband for advocating ‘predistribution’. Ed argued for a move away from an approach to low pay based purely on top-ups through the tax and welfare systems towards one in which welfare becomes less necessary as employees are paid a decent wage in the first place. At …

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