Sunday 25 November 2012

Playing with Rights: Mixed Up Plans on Prisoners

About prisoners or more about Europe for Tories?
In the past week we've seen two significant policy proposals be published on prisoners and Justice policy. First was the long-awaited 'Rehabilitation Revolution' which was laid out in the Coalition Agreement and seeks to involve independent providers in a payments-by-results system of prisoner rehabilitation, much like the A4e unemployment programme. I only hope this new system is administered better as its has a lot of potential if done right.

The second was the Government publishing the Voting Eligibility (Prisoners) Draft Bill for pre-legislative scrutiny last Thursday as a direct attempt to stave off the wrath of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) whose deadline for states' meaningful response to their ruling was 1600 GMT on Friday. This follows a notice to comply by the ECHR in the Spring as the UK had still yet to give prisoners the right to vote.

Reformed individuals destined to re-offend?
My only interpretation to these actions by the Coalition Government is that they are in complete disarray when it comes to rehabilitation. The Coalition Agreement's Foreward said this would be an opportunity to "recast the relationship between people and the state" (pg. 7), empowering citizens, extending opportunities, bringing people together. Yet all they've done is thrown incentives to the private sector, nothing substantial to prisoners and set about dividing the nation between right and wrong.

What happened to individuals, their rights and their freedoms?

Those on the conservative side of the argument argue that prisoner's have broken the laws of the land, those written and
those accepted as a tacit agreement in civility. For that society and its judicial and political representatives should unite in coming down hard on them, removing liberties and exacting punishment for the betterment of everyone on the outside.

I think what many have forgotten is that by removing the liberties and human rights of those 'inside', they inherently damage their own freedoms on the 'outside'. The tacit agreement in civility is tied up in societally agreed moral standards and the individual acceptence of the rule of law. Punishing someone for breaking this only disconnects them from any claim they had on membership of our society. What it results in is a loss of obligation on their part;  we've just chucked inclusivity in the bin, why shouldn't they do the same?

More importantly, this dent in Universal Suffrage (which the UK apparently achieved in 1928, someone tell Grayling!) has the capacity to lead to a tear in our ratification of

Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 10 concerning the right to a fair trial.
The right to society's membership need not apply!
We have had and always will have miscarriages of justice which result in people spending lifetimes inside when they should really be enjoying the life of innocence. No judicial system is perfect, they all include too much of one ingredient; humanity. We can't get away from that but we can do our best to protect against it. Procedural law and its inherent rights exist to ensure all statue laws and rights are correctly implemented and entitled to all those who have rights to them.

It is my opinion that the right to vote should constitute as a procedural right, why? Because following a miscarriage of justice, the facing of a long-term prison sentence, an innocent man or woman will have been denied a free and fair due process. I believe their last remaining right has to be that of voting for a candidate who may not only call for a review of their case but also shares their values of human rights and fair trials.

We cannot know who has been wrongly convicted, unsurprisingly, so we should theoretically afford this right to every prisoner as it also serves a strong purpose in reconnecting them into that tacit agreement in civility. Alas, not every battle can be won but I do encourage all MPs and Lords to vote for the most radical and enlightened option that has been laid out,

give it to those serving up to four years.
If we continue to play with people's rights then this revolution will just peter out. Everyone on the outside has the incentive to see reformed offenders but many are too occupied with their own instincts. Everyone on the inside has no incentive to reform and many still fail to recognise the agreements they've lost with society and the rights they've had taken away. 

NOTE: I haven't read Law so if you disagree, happy to discuss facts and opinions :)

Friday 23 November 2012

Happy Thanksgiving! but what about the UK?

Millions of Americans are getting over their Thanksgiving feasts right now, from turkey legs to mashed potatoes (Roast Potatoes not so popular!), many gathered round their dining tables yesterday to commemorate the harvest festival celebrated by the Pilgrims in 1621 at Plymouth in present-day Massachusetts following a good harvest.

Its the moment of the year when families can recognise their national history, and many do, but also an opportunity to return home to their parents. America is the home of immigrants and many people's work practices take them away from their childhood homes. Equally, its one of the few holidays which is now widely recognised as secular within the western world, a rarity in itself.

All of this has got me thinking, aren't we missing a trick here? In the UK we have our own Harvest Festival which derives from a Pagan festival celebrating good harvests and is held on the Sunday near or of the Harvest Moon. For me, the only contact I've ever had with the Harvest Festival is going to church with my primary school class, clutching the tins and fruit I'd bro
ught from home and sitting through a drafty service. Couldn't we do more? Shouldn't we make it a national bank holiday?

I think we should! It would be one of yet a few opportunities within the year for families and friends to truly come together and enjoy one another's company. Likewise, it would be a perfect education tool for many adults and children a like who simply don't grasp where their food comes from and for whom the countryside is merely an enigma you watch John Craven and the cast of Emmerdale standing in the middle of!
A typical Harvest Festival display
Don't worry though, I hear your screams of "not another bank holiday" as many businessmen and women would rightly decry. The Queen's Diamond Jubilee in June is widely agreed to have taken 0.5 percentage points off Q2 GDP, in a period of economic turmoil where we can't spare losses like that.

However, the US now celebrates Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November, a change thanks to President
Franklin D. Roosevelt. Why did he opt for a change in 1941? Due to pressures from American retailers who wanted more shopping days before Christmas and now the following Friday after Thanksgiving is known as Black Friday; the day the vast majority of the retail sector's books go back into the black! In 2011, shoppers spent an estimated $52 billion on Black Friday which is seen as the start of the shopping season.

The yearly mad dash, right for us too?
Many US retailers in the UK like Apple and Amazon already try their best to bring Black Friday over to this side of the pond. However, I think having a Harvest Festival Day on the fourth Thursday of November would make it culturally easier to see the real benefits of Black Friday here in the UK. There were real fears for the retail sector in the UK at the start of the year but the Olympics seemed to have stemmed the bleed so far, wouldn't an economic boost like Black Friday, a proper rush to the shops help things even more?

I think it's time to take our tins, open them up for a good feast and get prepared for an annual day of shopping, one that will give the green light to those individuals and businesses whose savings are waiting for that confidence booster. Do you think we should follow America?

Wednesday 21 November 2012

British Borgen - Channel 4's Secret State, DON'T MISS IT!

We've had a mixed affair with Political Drama in the UK over the years. It's seemed to ping pong between satirical and thriller with Yes, Minister paving the nation's appetite for House of Cards, jumping years later to The Thick of It and leaving avid viewers of political fiction in a maelstrom of schedule-empty fatigue.

Peter Capaldi reprised his role as Malcolm Tucker!
Television watchers in other countries have fared better with the US being gripped to the West Wing and much of Scandinavia in a feeding-frenzy over Denmark's Borgen. I'm not getting at the UK's broadcasters too much, when we do thing's right like The Thick of It, the US quickly picks it up in the form of In The Loop (film) and Veep, both produced by Armando Iannucci and have been major successes state side.

I consider this a badge of success but others may think of US TV as a poor cousin to the quality of British broadcasting. What we've been missing for years is a good, enticing and thought-provoking thriller that is relevent to Britain in its references and yet continues to captivate viewers with characters and political predicaments which draw us ever closer to the human imperfections of those leading and those being lead.

Statsminister Nyborg behind the desk of power!
Borgen managed to cause a stir in the media and the Westminster bubble alike back in January when BBC Four broadcasted the first season of Birgitte Nyborg's first term as Denmark's fictional Statsminister. It saw Birgitte rise to fame following a Leader's Debate and lead her Moderate party into a Coalition with Labour, Danish Green's and the far-left Solidarity Party. The drama watches her and her team battle the challenges of Coalition as well as her family struggles. I'm sure the political similarities were lost to no one in the shadows of Big Ben!

Don't worry though, Borgen will be back on our screen's in January 2013 so get the boxset and set your PVR's for the second season. In the meantime, it's reopened a chasm, a void if you will of British political thriller and thankfully, Channel 4 has stepped into the breach with Secret State which is based on the book '
A Very British Coup' by former Labour MP, Chris Mullin.

The drama see's the incumbent Conservative Prime Minister killed in a mysterious plane crash, leaving Deputy Prime Minister Tom Dawkins to fight the upcoming General Election. Challenges include the aftermath of a petrol refinery disaster and the intertwining of secret services into the world of politicians and corporates. In my opinion, it has the characters that you can relate to as well as highlighting their weaknesses within themselves and towards others. It's exciting, engaging and has future promise.

Tom has enemies on all sides, who to trust?
Unfortunately, its a mini-series with the next installment tonight on Channel 4 at 10pm. I suggest you treat yourself to a mid-week break and catch-up with series so far at 4OD. I'm hoping they will bring it back as a full series as it already has the faces and themes required to create a world of political darkness and intrigue. It marries up with the gloomy world of our economic situation and could easily feed the appetites of political lovers as we head into the next General Election.

Tetraplegic Man Elected as State Legislator

Following on from last week's news of the House of Lord's Reforms for Baroness Campbell (see Parliamentary Progress in Access to Elected Office!!), I can now report on fantastic news of an individual with similar levels of physical adversity getting elected to office!!

Alas, it was not on our side of the pond but in the state of Arkansas, USA. Josh Miller has been elected to the State Capitol, representing the community of Herber Springs.
Elected on the same day as the Presidential Elections, Josh said "I don't really look at myself as being any different, because in life, everyone has adversity" and stated that authorities were making adjustments to his desk in the State Chamber. 

I believe this shows that real progress is being seen right across the democratic world and all types of legislatives are for the first time, really getting to grips with what is needed to widen access to those with disabilities. In America, the concept of disability is too easily clouded with 'Veteranism' and so its good to see someone with no military history, still continuing to get elected.
(Click the play button a few times if the video doesn't start)

"I don't really look at myself as being any different, because in life, everyone has adversity," Miller said."
What I found most striking is that Miller is a Republican Conservative and is directly opposed to The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) or generally known as Obamacare. Now I'm not saying its a 'line-in-the-sand' rule but you generally find most people with disabilities and rights campaigners are to be found on the left or leaning at least. For the most part, this is down to the necessities of being on low-income and in increased need of Welfare, Healthcare and Social services.

This is true for most people on both sides of the pond. However, what makes his views intriguing more so is that with being Tetraplegic, his personal care and medication needs are considerably higher than most and in the United States, his insurance, especially without Obamacare, will be more expensive from most providers.

He clearly believes the needs of those with complex disabilities can be met without capping insurance premiums and similar protective measures. I hope he's right because having a Spinal Cord Injury can happen at anytime in someone's life and during the acute stages of rehab, it may not be completely clear as to what level or completion your injury is. This 'limbo' period can result in hesitation on the part of insurance companies.

I find it liberating to hear of someone who see's past their physical barriers and even the socio-political expectations of their political thinking. I wonder if there are any prominent Tories with complex disabilities in the UK who are seeking election?

If you have a disability and are interested in getting elected, whatever level of Government; your town hall or into the corridors of Westminster, please have a look at the financial support available through the Access to Elected Office Fund. The Access to Elected Office Fund offers individual grants of between £250 and £10,000 to disabled people who want to be selected as candidates for an election, or who are standing for election.

Thursday 15 November 2012

Parliamentary Progress in Access to Elected Office!!

Yesterday afternoon saw a momentous change in British Politics!! No, it wasn't the eve of the inaugural elections of Police & Crime Commissioners (Vote Lib Dem!) but it was a relatively small change in the House of Lords.

Jane Campbell, Baroness Campbell of Surbiton, DBE became the first member of either Houses of Parliament to contribute to a debate using the assistance of an aide. Speaking on the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill: Second Reading, Jane examined the aspect of equality within the Bill and the removal of section three, Equality Act 2006 which will directly impact the statutory duties of the Commission for Equality and Human Rights (EHRC).

She spoke splendidly for a considerable time and when in need of a rest break, her assistant seamlessly continued reading her written statement. It is the first time in this context that the same speech has been delivered under two separate voices!

"Equality in Action!"
Speaking later on in the debate, Jane thanked the House for their warm words and praise of this change, citing it as "equality in action!" as it enables people with all experiences to contribute to the richness of parliamentary debate.

Reported by James Landdale, BBC as well @  - this change has come about due to the removal of
Standing Order 12 - which dates from 1707 and states that "When the House is sitting, no person shall be on the floor of the House except Lords of Parliament and such other persons as assist or attend the House.".

This was removed earlier this year by the Lords' procedure committee, 300 years of change!
"8. We therefore recommend that Standing Order 12 be dispensed with to the extent necessary to enable Baroness Campbell of Surbiton's assistant to enter the chamber of the House, or any committee of the House, in order to provide her with necessary practical and personal help, and to read out the text of speeches on her behalf."

It is clear that these changes only extend as far as Jane's personal and exceptional circumstances. This leaves much more to fight and reform on including the right for Deaf people to have their British Sign Language interpreters with them on the floor of either House. This is a particular blockage to their entrance into the houses as they will rely wholly on this communication support to understand others' contributions and to deliver their own.

If you have a disability and are interested in getting elected, whatever level of Government; your town hall or into the corridors of Westminster, please have a look at the financial support available through the Access to Elected Office Fund. The Access to Elected Office Fund offers individual grants of between £250 and £10,000 to disabled people who want to be selected as candidates for an election, or who are standing for election.

Wednesday 14 November 2012

You Have Mail! - Message from Yvette

Well isn't that splendid, Yvette took the trouble to drop me a line, so nice.

We're friends, me and Yvette, she e-mails me now and again so this advice is in the spirit of constructive criticism. The e-mail is very poorly laid out and is neither broken up or highlighted in key sections.

It makes it very hard to read and I suspect the disinterested of us will have hit the junk key by the time the link is read.

Subjected as "Will you join the fight to keep our streets safe?" - it has a hint of vigilantism to it, a knee-jerk response to those horrendous Home Office ads of fear and panic maybe?
Above the usual Labour rhetoric, I like how they push their Supporters Network. This is very important given that voters are demanding more flexibility in their politics and the belief that if no perceived loyalty is felt by the public, why should parties come to expect it!

We should look to a similar supporter base, a friends list if you will. They can support specific campaigns like Fairer Tax but should also be able to be supporters of the party as a whole. I believe this should be free, or at the most 99p and then a mixture of donations, monthly magazine and local events can build up the extra monies.

Remember, party memberships will continue to decline but that doesn't mean supporters have to. Labour have cottoned onto this and now we have to too!


Tomorrow, Thursday 15 November, millions of people will go to the polls across England and Wales to vote. I’m asking you to join them, to go out and vote on Thursday, and send a message to this Tory-led Government.

The message is clear: that the Government can’t get away with cutting at least 15,000 police officers, or cutting spending on community safety by 60%.

Will you join those who have been signing up to the Labour Supporters Network to back our message that we won’t stand for police cuts that go too far too fast and put community safety at risk?

That we won’t accept Tory plans for massive private contracts for important public policing including neighbourhood patrols, even after the G4S Olympic debacle this summer.

Labour candidates are campaigning across the country on the issues that matter to local people including neighbourhood policing, anti-social behaviour, tackling domestic violence, and staying tough on crime and its causes too. And our candidates have signed strong pledges to protect the operational independence of the police because the long tradition of impartial British policing must be maintained.

Labour didn't support the policy of Police and Crime Commissioners in Parliament and we believe reforms will be needed in future. But right now as the Government has introduced them we believe policing is too important to turn our backs when a lot is at stake in these elections.

We want as many people as possible to come out and vote for Labour candidates who will protect communities and fight crime so that we can send a message to David Cameron about his cuts to the police.

You can tell him enough is enough by voting Labour on Thursday, and by joining the Labour Supporters Network (it’s free) at, or even becoming a member.

If there isn’t an election near you, you can still help by sharing this email with friends and relatives who can vote on Thursday.

And you can follow me on Twitter @yvettecoopermp to keep up with the national campaign against police cuts.

Thank you.

Yvette Cooper 

Tuesday 13 November 2012

Federal Committee Elections 2012 - Manifesto Booklets

After a request from a friend, I have uploaded all the Manifesto Booklets from the recent Federal Committee Elections.

When I first started thinking about standing, I looked online to see what past manifestos looked like, only to find nothing available. No one I contacted seemed to have kept copies, online or offline and it left me with a bit of a blank page as to what 'needed' to go within the margins of my A5 sheet of paper.

I hope these uploaded booklets will be useful to future candidates, easpecially those people who will be new to the elections and just need a few pointers in what has gone out to member in the past.

Have a look through, I find it interesting the variety of styles used this year and the differing levels of information included. Something for people to ponder on...

The Crisis in the BBC: An Open Assault on Grassroots Organising?

Many people will criticise me for focusing on the BBC Crisis when it could be said the real crisis is the explosion of revelations in past child abuses. Following the unreported Newsnight investigation and the shocking Exposure broadcast, Jimmy Savile's past has served as a catalyst to explore the failings in private and public institutions of child protection and the presumed innocence of establishment figures.

However, I believe the BBC's crisis of management failure has progressed to such a point now that it co-exists independently of the previous crisis as it harbours questions for the very nature of British broadcasting and past much-admired managerial models. The next few weeks could see changes that spread far and wide, beyond the confines of auntie.

George Entwistle, for whom I thought it a disgrace to see leave, wanted to implement a grassroots localism into the heart of his management. It's a practical extension of the beeb's pride of independent journalism but supposedly saw executive management become blind to the failings at the other end of the organisation.

In too deep? or not enough :s
It's clear the BBC Trust now shares the criticisms of many a journalist in that this self-proclaimed removal is now seen as weak leadership. I simply don't believe that! In fact the implementation of this grassroots editorial policy is what has made the BBC a shining example in world broadcasting. It's evidence that those connected on the ground, plugged into the minute-by-minute developments are exactly those who should be in the hot seat of creative control and accountability.

What failed in these instances and quite possibly in the BBC's very culture was the breakdown in information. Reporting standards have clearly lapsed with fundamental checks and balances failing to be that fundamental and awareness of this surpassing the last line of defence that is middle management. You might suggest that the line should stop with the DG but for a successful bottom-up management model, the Executive should exist to prescribe the boundaries and the medicine, not the day-to-day micro-managing that's seen and killed off many a quango of the past.

Out to reverse or reform?
Sadly, this open assault on grassroots organising has seen Tim Davie imposed as the current acting DG. And that's important why exactly? It shows a significant culture shock in that Davie comes from BBC Worldwide, a private subsidiary that possesses the force of profit and the popular management structures to deliver it.

This in turn could result in a heavy handed, authoritarian approach to editorial policy with the boundaries being so over-prescribed that department heads and creatives themselves struggle to find journalistic freedom in sourcing material and ideas. Remember that BBC Worldwide pushses content out but doesn't produce it, that along with no real news experience could very well spell trouble for the much loved independence of the Beeb's journalism.

It's very much a culture fight between Executives with backgrounds of marketing and the private sector against those with clear broadcast journalism experience and an innate understanding of the public embodiment of British journalism. Who wins will no doubt have a lasting effect on the face of our media but be under no illusion, a war of words and ideals has begun!

I'd be interested in seeing a partnership through strength but the preserve of the grassroots, bottom-up model must continue for the sake of public broadcasting and as evidence to organisations around the country that this does indeed work.

The BBC's Charter is up in 2016 and who know's what will have happened by then. Tim Davie did say one thing I can pass on in good faith, the BBC is founded on trust and so trust is what will be called for by both viewers and employees alike. Without that, anything is possible.

Sunday 11 November 2012

Three words to the new FCC - Affordability, Accessibility and Availability

Three words to the new FCC - Affordability, Accessibility and Availability.

Several good people I know were unsuccessful in yesterday's Federal Committee Election results. For FCC in particular, the three people I wanted most in there were Robert Adamson, George Potter and Simon McGrath.

Why? because they either have a record or stood on a platform of making Federal conferences more accessible to a variety of people and from personal experience, have the gusto to actually do something about it.

Alas these people were not to be elected but I'm pleased to see quite a few capable and passionate people were and so conference reform is still a feasible option for the new FCC!
Your mission, should you choose to accept it Committee members, is to make sure conference is more affordable to those on low incomes, more accessible to those with physical impairments and more available. What could I be talking about?

You've guessed it! It's the Three Horsemen of the Conference Apocalypse! Accommodation, Food and Travel! arghhh *shudders*


Going to large cities is part and parcel of being a mainstream political party. We need the space and the travel links but what we don't need is the overly priced rooms and the struggle for accessible availability.

I try desperately at times, six months before each conference to find a room with a wheel-in shower, something I personally require. For next Spring, I phoned the Thistle which has online pictures of very good bathrooms. Problem! they only have accessible bathrooms in their premium suites and so wanted to charge me £1000! for two nights!

I was lucky enough to get a room at the Mecure for £300 for two nights, still out of the price range of many a conference goer! Equally so, those with personal needs usually carry a lot of baggage which means driving down. This results in having to pay £70-100 extra in parking charges, another cost to hit people's already tightened budgets and more than enough to turn others away from even considering attending conference!

FCC needs to explore the practicalities of collective booking - organising members to book hotels in large groups, giving hoteliers assured bookings and members cheaper rates.

The Lib Dem Hotel Bookings sites are useless for those with physical needs whom require much more detailed information about the rooms. Not sure whether you have special rates on these sites but better collaboration with local tourist organisations needs to be had, in order to ensure people aren't racing round for a dwindling amount of rooms with proper access!


I appreciate its very difficult to make a dent in these costs but I think more vouchers and more group dinners that are more affordable would be a good way to start.

Some delegates miss dinner or lunch during conference week and not just because they're too busy! relying on hors d'oeuvres to keep you going is not healthy nor should be recommended by the party through making proper meals unaffordable.


Again another difficult one but I think having a system whereby people can orangise lifts in cars would definitely help. Not always easy to do independently as pick-ups may be in different regions and so a centralised point would help immensely.

Give delegates proper advice about split-ticketting for trains and even see if we can get more travel discounts. It might only provide a small change but result in a big difference.

Splitting your ticket over long journeys saves money!!
These are some of the biggest issues facing conference attendance. Am I the only one who thought Brighton's turnout was not too dissimilar to this year's Spring Conference? With the continuing drop of party memberships, all conferences are going to get gradually smaller.

People are becoming politically flexible and we have a growing supporter base, we should definitely explore online participation of conferences. Streaming the debates, secure online voting and VOIP speeches - all things to be seriously explored. We can and should charge for this too mind but it must be affordable!

The future of conferences means we need to see radical reform and if anyone is capable of such reform, it has to be liberal democrats! Nevertheless, lets bare in mind Conference brings in a lot of funding for the party, so I fully expect a throttling by my friend Ian Wrigglesworth ;) (party Treasurer) in calling for such investments but they are just that, investments!

The new FCC must stop this decline, battle against the three horsemen, increase Affordability, Accessibility and Availability of conference and ensure its democratic mandate continues in representing the heart of the party and not just its apex!

Thursday 24 May 2012

Why I'll be hoping England win the 2014 World Cup!!

Why I'll be hoping England win the 2014 World Cup!!

England is ready for Euro 2012 but what about 2014?
We’re four days away from the start of Euro 2012 and the English team is still embroiled in injuries, squad changes and high expectations of a newly installed manager. Will we win the Championship? I suspect not, but we need to show significant improvement and not just for the cheers of national pride.

The Euros are always seen as the follow up to each World Cup within our continent and it is this international competition that holds so much for our sporting pride and future political direction. Why?

The recent BBC season on the 1970’s highlighted the failure of the 1979 Scottish Referendum on Devolution to succeed in a Yes vote. This was primarily down to a controversial amendment by the Labour MP George Cunningham that required 40% of the total registered electorate to say Yes, rather than a simple majority of those voting.

Annoyingly, despite securing 51.6% of the latter, the Yes camp were significantly short of meeting the rule and thus lost the referendum. The people of Scotland had to wait 18 years to again answer this all-important question but from losing the first referendum, analysis of contributory factors were made.

One popular theory for a turnout of 63.8% and a lower than expected Yes vote was the performance of the Scottish national football team in the preceding 1978 FIFA World Cup. Manager Ally MacLeod raised hopes by stating that Scotland would come home with a medal and this feeling of nationalism and independent pride was fuelled like never before in recent times.
The Scottish Team at 1978 World Cup with hopes raised!

Sadly, Scotland bottomed out in the first round and so did the spirit of Scottishness for a while after. Some believe the Scottish football team’s embarrassing performance in the 1978 World Cup left many Scottish voters believing Scotland was unable to run the country on its own.
Ally MacLeod - Picture of defeat

These events and subsequent outcomes have lessons for the next few years too. Just like in the 1970’s, the 2014 World Cup in Brazil will precede the 2015 UK General Election.

With the economy in the UK, the Eurozone and across the globe all moving forward in sluggish fashion, there may be a tendency for the incumbent Coalition Government to lean on the national pride of England as we head towards the World Cup.

This would be a dangerous strategy as history shows that when voters start associating sporting performance with that of national politics, it is the politicians who become the fiercest supporters and display the worst expressions of defeat.

We should of course support and celebrate our national team and as with every World Cup, I hope they win! If they do, then an electoral boost may well be felt by the Coalition parties and even a small jump in GDP may be experienced in Q3 2014. For now though, we must contend with our fate against the Euros and the Eurozone, both battles will produce direct effects on the morale and living standards of UK citizens.
Will sport decide who walks through in 2015?

For 2014/15, the Government already recognises that its future is wedded to the economy; it would be poor judgement to wed it to the England team as well. We need the economic situation of the future to decide who walks through the door of No. 10, not the performance of our sporting stars!