Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Leagues apart.

The Welsh Assembly Government today published a report on Wales’s most deprived communities. Top of this most depressing of leagues, remains Rhyl West and second and third are St James and Twyn Carno in  Caerffili.

The Council with most deprived areas remains Merthyr Tydfil followed by Blaenau Gwent and Rhondda Cynon Taff.

It is the intention of Government to take into account this Welsh Index of Multiple Deprivation when determining  priorities in resource allocation.

It is a truism to say that to tackle the complex problems of these areas of deprivation you need cash and imagination. Well, the “cash” is certainly in short supply and the jury is still out on ”imagination.”

By an accident of timing the Treasury also produced a report yesterday under the sexy title of Public Expenditure Statistical Analyses. OK, not the lightest of reads, but it does indicate that Northern Ireland and Scotland are doing nicely out of the Union and Wales lags behind.

The block grant to the countries should be based on need. But there hasn’t been a needs assessment for some considerable time. Indeed, it was when Cardiff’s own Prime Minister, James Callaghan, had the top job over 32 years ago that it was last looked at. Little wonder then, that Wales is being short changed.

But will things change? Well, the government have promised to look at Wales’s funding. Those in the bubble call it Calman Cymru, following a similar look at Scotland’s finances by the Calman Commission there.

It is unlikely though that things will change soon and a more equitable system introduced. Why, well in a nutshell “independence.”

The prospect of a referendum campaign in Scotland on whether to rip up the Act of Union with England or not, will ensure that Mr Cameron will not wish to be seen cutting back on support to Scotland at such a sensitive time.  

So Mr Salmond is in that happy of political situations of a win, win situation. A chance to win his most cherished of ambitions – independence or the consolation prize of considerable more powers over finance and still a very healthy subsidy from the Treasury.

And what of Wales? Languishing.  Dealing with communities with multiple deprivations without the resources to tackle them. Oh, yes the poor will always be with us. Well, in Wales at least.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Plan B required

It looks as if the world economy is grinding to a halt. Growth has slowed down dramatically in both America and Europe. Global share prices have been in free fall.

In Wales the impact of the crisis has been increased unemployment, a lack of consumer confidence resulting in a slump in the retail sector. It surely a sign that times are hard when even charity shops are closing down. It seems that the one retail outlet that is expanding is the pawnshop.

All the signs would indicate that the Welsh economy is slowing down. Some might go further and say it’s at a stop.  
One doesn’t have to be an economic genius or have the gift of prophecy to predict that a double dip recession awaits us.

The response of politicians to all of this? In one word - inadequate.

Those of us who were at tied to our desks most of the summer saw an economic and financial problem developing into a crisis. Why? Because the politicians were slow, inadequate and far, far too late in their responses.

It seems that there is collective amnesia to the lessons of history and to the events of the 1930s. Then, as now, the politicians were too blinkered in their approach to stimulating the world economy. Result - mass unemployment, civil unrest, does it sound familiar? It took a world war to get the world’s economy moving again.

World trade is again slowing down and there seems to be a lack of co-ordination by politicians in finding a way to boost growth. The only policy that they have in common is that of fiscal austerity. They aim to cut their debts in short order.  That’s it, the world’s economic policy in a nutshell.

Well, it’s simple in every sense of the word. It can be described as the cuts agenda. But in economic terms it makes no sense to slam on the brakes when the economy is showing so little signs of recovery.

Of course, public finances have to be brought under-control but like much in life, timing is everything. Politicians throughout the world need to change tack and that includes our own dear Chancellor.

Chancellor Osborne needs to look again and change course. Yes, a plan “B” George. 

Investment needs to be made in building up the nation so that it can grow it's economy again. No I don't mean the investment that my Saturday blogs encourage. But expenditure in capital projects that will stimulate growth.

Friday, 26 August 2011

Yorkshire fancies

After last weeks disappointment of only picking one winner at Chester we’ll try our luck this Saturday in Yorkshire.

A word about last week. Although that one winner did mean that we almost broke even. Note the word ‘almost’.  OK there was a small dip in our fortune but still since starting this Saturday racing blog we’re still ahead of the bookies – just about.

If only the UK economy was in as good a shape. On my reckoning if Greece had followed our winning tips they wouldn’t have had to go cap in hand to Brussels for their bailout.  Consequently, Euro-zone bonds might have been able to compete with this column as an alternative profitable place to invest cash.
This week a visit to the Yorkshire town of Beverley for our races is in order. It’s an historic racecourse dating back to 1680. It is small and compact race course about a mile 3 furlongs in length.

Although small it has its challenges. The last five furlongs to be precise with the final three furlongs up hill. The advice is - make sure that the horses you back are not smokers, a healthy pair of lungs are essential to compete here.

Beverley Minister is always worth a visit for a quiet prayer before you place your bets. 

Remember that on the racetrack just like politics it’s always best to back the right horse. A lesson that  local Beverley man, Cardinal John Fisher would have done well to learn. He  suffered the same fate as Thomas Moore and was martyred for refusing to accept Henry VIII as Head of the Church in England.

Yes, it’s always best to assess the odds and keep you head in life. A point worth noting as we contemplate today’s selections.

Remember the rule, each way bets on odds above 7/1.

2.00 Really lovely if it could take Esentepe which is the one to beat        
2.35 Elijah Pepper has shown more consistency than most politicians but I've always had an artistic bent so will be backing Robert the Painter
3.05 To me its between Sud Pacifique and Malthouse but the odds are better on the latter and so is my each way bet

3.35 It would be Dinkum Diamond but has a bad draw so perhaps in the circumstances Duchess Dora may have the edge.         
4.10  The politicians will go for Select Committee but Green Park gets my nod.   
4.45 Most of the tipsters will give Musnad the thumbs up but Libys Dream takes my fancy
5.15 Herrera is for the risk takers but for the cautious it's La Bacouetteuse

With a one winner, a second and a third neither a profit or a loss. Retirement doesn't beckon yet though.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

It's a bit of a cawl, me thinks.

Well, what is the national dish of Wales? Is it cawl, laver-bread and cockles, Welsh rarebit, Welsh cakes or none of these? Well, the answer is none of these if a petition that was handed in at the Senedd, today, has its way. For the petition extols the virtues of the Corn beef pasty.

Now quite why anyone should think that the Welsh Assembly should be able to pronounce on what our national dish should be is another question, it wasn’t part of the referendum debate as I recall and surely something as important would have been brought to our attention.

But two Conservative Assembly Members broke off from their holidays to accept the petition. So it must be important then, don’t you think?

Over two thousand people have already signed the petition and it has not even been seen in some parts of Wales yet. The aim of the organisers is to get over ten thousand names.

Quite what that will prove your guess is as good as mine, but there you have it.

Now this is a good silly season story and is likely to make the running in our media. Indeed it has already taken a bit of time on the morning radio programmes already. After all we’d much rather talk about this than the fall of Tripoli. And it will undoubtedly generate some column inches and airtime again.

These kinds of questions always stimulate interest and sometimes some heat. Who can forget the very heavy debate on who was the most famous Welsh person. It finally came down to a contest between Owain Glyndwr and Nye Bevan.  If memory serves me right Nye Bevan won but at the time accusations of foul play, dirty tricks and general skulduggery were flying around. As if it mattered.

Now this current debate has been generated by Peter Foods, who yes, you’ve guessed it, produce, Corn Beef pasties. Well what a surprise there then. But who can blame their marketing department for trying, for that’s what marketing departments do.

If any blame is attached it is a to the media for running with such a stupid debate or to the politicians that accept such silly and frivolous petitions.

It is sad that this kind of debate generates more public interest than political issues that affect the lives of those living in Wales.

Of course, if anyone wants to comment on what should be our national dish their remarks will not be censored. I can’t believe I just wrote that!

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

We're all off on a summer holiday, maybe!

What is it about politicians that they always feel that the world will stop if they dare take a holiday? Us mere mortals can take rest and recreation but they don’t seem to have the same requirement.

The question came to  mind as a result of coming across the new Welsh Conservative leader in the Pembrokeshire Show.

He proudly declared that he wasn't going to take a holiday. He was to spend his summer working.

Work presumably means politicking. Whilst the rest of the visitors to the show were enjoying such exciting events such as the parade of tractors and animal based pleasures, the politicians would do the ritual flesh pressing. Human flesh, of course. And in the case of Andrew RT urging his party in Westminster to repeal the laws on fox hunting.

In contrast the spiritual head of the Anglican Church Archbishop Rowan Williams was able to shed his Ecclesiastic duties, depart the corridors of Lambeth Palace turn his back on the Synod and take to the Pembrokeshire Coastal path.

The Archbishop will likely turn up to work refreshed. His energy levels up, batteries recharged, all the better to knock sense into the warring factions that constitutes the modern Anglican Church.

It never used to be so. At one time our politicians  would take the summer off and leave the Palace of Westminster.

When Harold Macmillan wasn’t shooting grouse, he had a stock of books that he would plough through during the summer recess. Clem Attlee would spend his summers watching cricket and out of the public gaze.

Edward Heath when he wasn’t playing the organ would be sailing the oceans and Harold Wilson would take himself off to the Scilly Isles. There would be one photo opportunity, usually of him wearing unfashionable shorts and sensibly sandals, and that was the last we’d see of him until the party conference in October.
No one seemed to be one pennyworth the worse for these months of inactivity.

What has changed?  Well, the nature of politicians. 

Politics today is more of a career choice. At one time most politicians would enter parliament having done other jobs. Now the root to politics is through politics itself.

After leaving University you become a researcher or special advisor to a politician, this gets you known in the tribal world of the “party.” In time you are rewarded with a seat and then you’re ‘In’.

In the last Labour leadership election every candidate had been a special advisor before entering Parliament. Oh, all so similar - a small pool of life experience and back-ground. Was there a real choice, it was either Tweedledum or Tweedledee.

Politicians that know nothing but politics, have no other interests other than politics and have known nothing else.  

Ideas and fresh thinking are commodities you buy into. Books and ideas are for other people “we’re doers.’ They're consummate politicians  Completely obsessed with being seen to be doing and if not doing, simply being seen. Either they do the rounds of summer events or they go on holidays not to enjoy, but as locations for a photo-ops that play up to the self-image.

What a life it must be, always to be on duty. It's little wonder that these limited men and women get it wrong so often. They’re blinkered and usually tired.

Better government, demands that we tell our politicians to chill out. Get a book, get a life, and leave the rest of us to enjoy our summers.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Woe, woe and thrice woe

Riots, panic in the eurozone and the stock exchange seemingly in free fall, all happened in this last fortnight. This blog takes its annual holidays and all this happens. 
In my old LSE days I would be quick to describe it as the death spasm of capitalism but as old Marx, Karl not Groucho was want to say, capitalism is constanly reinventing itself. Whilst it can’t be written off yet, it certainly looks a bit frail at the moment.
It is certain the world’s economy is slowing down and it looks as if hard times are ahead. The number of ships going through the Suez canal is down by 10 per cent.
Britain's high street shops have seen a 2.6% drop in customer numbers over the past 12 months, according to the British Retail Consortium. The high street shops in Wales have seen a 9% drop in customer numbers and in Britain has a whole the drop is 2.6%
More than one in 10 shops (11%) on high streets and in town centre malls stood vacant in May, with the highest vacancies in Northern Ireland (17.1%), Wales (13.4%) and the north of England including Yorkshire (13.1%).
Household finances in Britain are deteriorating at a faster rate than at the height of the recession in 2009. Little wonder with a freeze on wages and inflation running at over 4%.  
Mr Osborne had hoped that the export market would be  the salvation but not so according to the think tank IPPR exports stalled in the first quarter of 2011.
The slow down in the economy impacts directly on employment. The latest figures released last week show unemployment in Wales having risen to 122,000. The Welsh jobless rate is now 8.4% the highest of all four UK nations. In England it is 7.9%, Scotland 7.7% and Northern Ireland 7.3%.
It is little wonder then that last week the FTSE 100 index fell more than 5%. There is little confidence in the economy out there.
Mr Osborne needs to think again on the way he is managing the economy and if he is to stubborn to change course then the junior partners in the coalition have got to stand up to him and insist or pull out before lasting damage is done.
Britain needs a package of radical measures, both fiscal and monetary, to stimulate the economy. Both national and devolved governments need to pass an emergency package of spending on public infrastructure.
Wales needs to electrify all its railways. New schools need to be built and investment needs to take place in new green technology.
Without a plan B, lets not kid ourselves the riots of the last fortnight will not be the last.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Chester gets our bet

Today’s choice is said to be the oldest racecourse in England - Chester Racecourse. Now a confession it’s a course I’ve admired from the train on many an occasion but have only visited once. The North Wales railway line crosses the Dee and acts as the northern boundary to the course. As you gather the course itself lies on the banks of the Dee, the wrong side of the river border in my opinion.
Spectators can watch races for free from the walls that offer a clear view of the whole circuit. Not to be recommended though if you want to wager as it would be quite a run to the nearest bookies.

Now racing in Chester was developed on the site to replace the famous and bloody Goteddsday football match. The game was so violent that in 1533 it was banned by the city and replaced in 1539 by horse racing. A bit like the Bangor City and Rhyl football matches of old. Now there’s an idea replace them with a horse racing track a better use for Farrar Road than an other supermarket.
Another useless piece of trivia in that the first recorded race was held in 1539 with the consent of the Lord Mayor a certain Henry Gee. Immorality beckoned for him, for it was his name that led to the use of the term “gee-gee” for horses
With the stock exchange tumbling and the Bank of England holding down interest rates and inflation outstripping wages, the following tips may just be your chance of moving ahead of the game – or not.
A word about the track there’s a definite bias to the left that favour low numbers so it often pays to stick to a runner 1-3.
Let us see if we can keep our record of being ahead of the bookies with this Saturday’s selection
2.25         The tipsters are all going for Mappin Time and Jamesway but I’m  going for Nine Before Ten
3.00         Its between Na Zdorovie  or Forest Edge but retiring trainer Barry Hills has had a lot of success in Chester so I plump for his gee-gee
3.35         Luv U Forever  is not favoured by the draw but usually makes a quick getaway which just might overcome this handicap
4.10         Oh for an Eternal Heart but not  for me, Icon Dream gets my bet
4.45         Viva Ronaldo has lots of backing but Lowther  has the edge in my opinion but it’s such a big field Advanced could give better each way odds.
5.15         Boss’s Destination has the draw  but Montparnasse  has my money
5.45         Let’s end with a Beautiful Day

Friday, 12 August 2011

Doncaster - winning ways?

Whilst still enjoying time away from the desk in West Wales I deliberately avoided the recall of parliament as a source for a blog.  Unlike Mr Cameron to me the family holiday is not to be disturbed.
With the world’s financial markets in turmoil and shares having been in free fall, the turf is probably as good a way and a much more understandable way of becoming poor.
 After all if central banks can print money, sorry it’s called quantitative easing, it would be remiss of us not to use their efforts in an equally fruitless way. 
Who knows we might have a better result than central banks seem to have in stimulating the economy. After all a few wins will certainly be put straight into the West Wales economy.
So to Doncaster. Well why Doncaster,  a sentimental one, it was the first racecourse that I’d ever physically placed a bet. It was in 1969 when I was a green lecturer in Nottingham Univestity’s and took a trip with some colleagues to Doncaster for a day of rest and recreation. 
Granted many might not thing of Doncaster as a mecca for fun. But this gritty Northern town had a lot to offer in the days when the pits were open and beer was cheap. The town was “buzzing.”
And of course the racing. It is one of the oldest and largest venues in the country for the horses. 
It started in the 16 century indeed the council tried to end racing in 1600 because it attracted to many ruffians. But, like many a local authority initiative it ended in failure. Ruffians won the day and Doncaster remains the home of two of the world’s oldest horse races, the Doncaster cup and the St Leger Stakes. More about these another time. 
To the matter in hand. 
 A health warning last week none of my tips produced a winner. Although those that backed my choices each way would have made a nice return with 5 out of the 6 horses tipped, placed.

2:05 My fancy is Zaahya although Rythmic is likely to be the one that the money will be on having come second in Newmarket in its last outing. winner - Rythmic 4/1, Zaahya 6th

2:40 Fabulouslyspirited is the one to beat. winner - Ganas 7/2, Faulouslyspirited 3rd

3:10 Ted’s Brother is on an upward curve but to me Northern Flyer might be a better each way bet with possibly better odds winner - Ted's Brother 11/4, Northern Flyer 2nd at 5/1

3:45 Manassas or Docofthebay winner - Grissom12/1 Manassas 10th

4:20 Its between Ginger Ted and Secret Witness.  Most of the tipsters are going for the former but the latter could just do it. winner - Secret Witness 9/1

4:55 Can Dhhamaan make it three in a row? Alensgrove could challenge. winner -Elles Image 12/1, 2nd Dhhamaan 13/8

5:30 Its likely to be between Four Nations and Bollin Greta but shucks I’m on holiday and what’s money so Spiekeroog  gets Hughes’s vote winner - Manifestation 11/1, 5th Spiekeroog

6:00 Enough is enough so some Veiled Applause winner - Hall Bold Chief 14/1, 2nd Veiled Applause 9/4
These tips have been chosen before the odds are known so remember each way above seven also check that they are all runners. Best of luck.
Out of the seven tips given there was one winner at 9/1 Secret Witness, three second places and one third. So we beat the Bookies. A better performance than the UK economy.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Jockey's take centre stage

Well, yesterday’s blog was culture. Today is an opportunity to pick not a bard but a horse, or perhaps even a jockey. Strict metre is not necessary, just a deep pocket.
My race meeting of choice today is Ascot.
Now, all of you that thought Queen Anne’s only contribution to civilization was a chair, think again. For it was her, that founded the racecourse at Ascot in 1711.
The social composition and the interest of the early nineteenth century Parliament ensured, you guessed it, horse racing. Forget the great Reform Act, the Napoleonic Wars, agricultural conditions, no the real concern was to ensure that Queen Anne’s contribution to the enjoyment of the landed class remained. This they did by passing an Act in 1813 ensuring that Ascot always remained a public racecourse. It’s the sport of kings, don’t you know.
Now when most of you think Ascot, you think hats. Yes, Royal Ascot was part of the ‘season’, but in these more egalitarian days … nothing has changed. The hats come out and there remains a strict dress code so no change there then.  That’s why it was chosen for a scene in the film “My Fair lady.” 
Oh, change and no change, Ascot as a commentary on our society at large – discuss. It could be an exam question in one of our newer universities. Poor Karl Marx, why did he bother.
The four-day Royal Ascot was at one time the sole meeting, but now there are many more opportunities to throw money away. This brings us to today’s meeting the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup.
Now usually race meetings are about the horses but this one is about jockeys. Racing purists hate this event but who cares about the sniffy lot.
The fun today is about the four teams of jockeys competing over six races for the coveted Shergar cup.
The way it works is, each jockey has five rides and points are given to the first five horses home. Starting with the first on 15, then 10, 7, 5 and 3. The team with the highest points gets the cup and the best jockey wins the Silver Saddle.
Ok, they still have to ride horses and these are today’s selections.
12:50            Swift Gift can do this one although the money will likely go on Dubai Dynamo
1:25            La Vecchia Scoula is the one that makes the  Hughes selection it has underachieved but could start to perform now
2:00            I hate to go with favourites but Medicean Man seems to me a difficult one to beat
2:30            Swift Alhaarth is the prospect that takes my fancy but the tipsters seem to go for Ithoughtitwasover
3:00            Life and Soul good each way.
3:35            Firebream or Desert Law both could do.

But if you fancy a jockey, champion jockey Paul Hanagan is said to be the one to back. He leads team GB who are the favourites to win the Cup

But for my money Rest of the World captained by Whyte may upset the odds. South African Whyte has had a number of wins in Hong Kong. The Chinese love their racing and its very competitive there.

GB: Paul Hanagan (capt), Hayley Turner, Jim Crowley.

Ireland: Richard Hughes (capt), Fran Berry, Colm O’Donoghue.

Europe: Olivier Peslier (capt), Christophe Lemaire, Mirco     Demuro.

Rest of the World: Douglas Whyte (capt), Yutaka Take, Hugh Bowman.
Oh and if none of this takes your fancy you can forget it all by turning up at the post meeting concert with Jason Donovan and King Creole and the Coconuts and other acts that revisit the eighties. The eighties, how post modern.  Forget the eisteddfod now that’s what I call culture.

Friday, 5 August 2011

A day at the eisteddfod

So its August and in Wales and if you’re a poet, singer, dancer  oh and especially a politician the Eisteddfod beckons. This year its Wrexham so the Welsh ‘crachach’ leave the capital and encamp in the North.

Now there is a ritual involved in a visit to the eisteddfod. The first thing is to do a circuit of the ‘maes’ – the eisteddfod field.

Here you will find every organisation operating in Wales with a stand. Now most will not take much of an interest in you. They spend an enormous sum of money to travel to the venue and accommodate themselves to spend a week talking to each other. It’s the Welsh way of bonding.

Now once you’ve done the circuit, which might take a little time as you’ll spend your time ducking to avoid the politicians that hover around the eisteddfod in great force. 

The audience of many a fringe event is enhanced by the public jumping in, to avoid having their flesh pressed by our elected representatives. Why is it the feel that they need to bother us even in the years that they don’t want our votes, insecurity and paranoia, perhaps.

If the main pavilion does not grab your attention and yes you have to have a special kind of endurance to spend time in the main pavilion. Most mortals have a limit to the times they can listen to the same piece being repeated in the name of competition.

There are other diversions a science pavilion, art, drama pavilions dance for those that have a cultural disposition. Indeed this blog contains some images from the Art pavilion so that you dear reader can have a taster. Your comments will be interesting!

And for those that have no cultural aspirations there are also the Society halls. Here every available prejudice can be aired and often is. Its the Mecca for the press in August. After all it’s the silly season and stories are hard to come by. Not so much the equivalent of Hyde Park’s speakers corner as the Welsh meddling class’s summer platform.

All in all a good week’s gig.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Economic woes

So you thought it was all over with a deal finally being made on how to handle America’s debt. And in one sense it has, American politicians can now go on their holidays knowing that government can pay its bills. But it’s when they come back that the problems begin. How are they going to grow their economy?

For the US economic woes are getting worse rather than better. A report just issued on consumer data show that in June American shoppers were cutting back on their expenditure. Thus taking more steam out of the economy.

The American economy relies on consumer expenditure for about 70 per cent of the GDP. Without the American shoppers playing their part their economy hits the buffer.

But it’s not only the US economy that gets into trouble but it effects world trade. That hits us all. Now a temporary fall in consumer spending could be shrugged off, but if this continues then a second recession will arrive, for sure. And with $2.1 trillion’s worth of government cuts in the next ten-years it would take a brave person not to predict this happening.

But that’s America you rightly say what can we do about? Well, according to the National Institute for Economic and Social Research something can be done.

The Chancellor needs to look again at his policies. They reckon that the Chancellor ought to loosen up a bit. Not him, maybe that too, but certainly the economy. The cuts that he’s imposed are too big and too soon. Less would improve output and employment.

The IMF warned earlier this week that in the UK there was still a significant risks to inflation, growth and unemployment.

So something needs to be done. Yes, a plan B.

And what about Wales? The Welsh Government should be straining every sinew to have as much control as it can over its own economy. The wait and see what’s offered by Cameron attitude adopted by Carwyn Jones is not the right response. The Welsh Government’s starting point should be all that is contained in the two Holtham’s report. The levers over the Welsh economy should be moved to Cardiff.

Of course, this will not make Wales immune from what is happening to the global economy, but it will allow a response that is appropriate to the state of Wales and not what is appropriate to a still largely prosperous economy of London and the South East of England.

Whilst the politicians are on holidays this blog will also move down a gear and appear less frequently until the conference season in September. But there may still be a Saturday tip or two.

Monday, 1 August 2011

America sneezes..

The deal is not perfect according to President Obama. He can say that again. The price of raising the debt ceiling in the US by another $2.4 trillion are to be met by cuts over the next ten years of an equivalent amount. 
The world might breathe a sigh of relief that America is not going to create chaos by defaulting on its loans but the relief will be short lived when the implications of the deal are understood and the real cost emerges.
The country’s debt could have been reduced quickly and interest rates lowered if there had been tax increases. But no there ain’t going to be any, the Republicans have stood their ground and the rich will not face any tax hikes.
No tax increase, mean cuts to benefits. It will be that counties poor pensioners that will carry the main burden rather than the well-off. Well, it was always thus as the old song goes “it’s the rich that get the pleasure and the poor that get the blame.
President Obama came into office on a tied of liberalism and his actions in endorsing such a package puts him firmly right of centre. While welcomed by the rich in America, President Oboma will be accused of turning his back on the poor, sick and old.
This deal plays to the Tea Party’s simplistic agenda of cuts and cuts again. Their one ambition is to emasculate the Federal government and by agreeing this deal Obama has given the ambitions a major boost.
Well, that’s a matter for the US many of you will say.  It’s up to them how they run their economy.
Well, of course it is. But these cuts when enacted will mean that the US economy is going to flat line for a number of years, ten to be precise. And as the world’s largest economy  is not to grow then on the other side of the pond there will be a serious knock on effect. 
The UK has seen little growth in its GDP this last year. For things to change for the better our trading partners need to grow their economies. If the world’s most powerful economy is about to give a massive thumbs down to growth, the future looks bleak indeed.
Not for the first time has domestic US politics undermined economic recovery. It happened in the nineteen thirties and it looks set to be repeated in the twenty first century. We’d all better get used to tightening our belts  with ten years of austerity in the offering.