Tony Blair admits he is baffled by rise of Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn

Tony Blair has said he is struggling to understand the appeal of Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn because both are hampered by “the question of electability”.

The former British prime minister, a supporter of Hillary Clinton, admitted that he is finding it hard to grasp popular movements in both Britain and the USfavouring mavericks who will “rattle the cage” and which reflect a loss of faith in the progressive centre.

In a joint interview with the Guardian and the Financial Times in Washington, he emphasised that Americans must make their own decision but made clear his scepticism about Sanders, the leftwing senator whose challenge to wealthy eliteshas energised young supporters.

“It’s very similar to the pitch of Jeremy Corbyn,” Blair said. “Free tuition fees: well, that’s great, but someone’s going to have pay for it. An end to war, but there are wars.” But not wars with quite the ramifications of the Iraq war eh Tony?

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Poole Council staff ‘forced to use food banks to survive’

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A POOLE councillor has claimed that council staff are being forced to use food banks and take out pay day loans to survive.

Cllr Phil Eades is calling on colleagues to support a motion urging the council to pay its entire staff at least the living wage. He says recently elected councillors have their first chance to, “make a real difference to Borough employees lives”.

He was among 10 Liberal Democrat members who originally signed a motion calling on Borough of Poole to pay its staff at least £7.85 an hour.

The motion, which has been before the council efficiency and effectiveness overview and scrutiny committee, is due to go back to full council next Tuesday (June 23).

“Bearing in mind that the Borough recently declared a £2.5million surplus for 2014/15 and that it is now sitting on £30million of council taxpayers money in reserves, the sole argument against paying our staff the living wage (that it costs too much money) is a very poor one indeed,” said Cllr Eades.

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He said council papers going to members next week assert that it would cost, “only £55,000 per annum, or less than £1 per household in the borough”.

Cllr Eades added: “There is evidence in front of councillors that a number of borough employees have had to use food banks, take out pay day loans and apply to the local union hardship fund.

“The Borough must set the standard by which all large firms in Poole are judged in paying the living wage and should be a leader in this field,” he added.

Anything to add, suggest, advise Mr Robert Syms Mp? No? You’re diary’s full that day? Hardly a surprise…..

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(Article courtesy of Bournemouth Echo 2015)

Mark Blyth: Austerity – The History of a Dangerous Idea

Governments today in both Europe and the United States have succeeded in casting government spending as reckless wastefulness that has made the economy worse. In contrast, they have advanced a policy of draconian budget cuts–austerity–to solve the financial crisis. We are told that we have all lived beyond our means and now need to tighten our belts. This view conveniently forgets where all that debt came from. Not from an orgy of government spending, but as the direct result of bailing out, recapitalizing, and adding liquidity to the broken banking system. Through these actions private debt was rechristened as government debt, while those responsible for generating it walked away scot free, placing the blame on the state, and the burden on the taxpayer.

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That burden now takes the form of a global turn to austerity, the policy of reducing domestic wages and prices to restore competitiveness and balance the budget. The problem, according to political economist Mark Blyth, is that austerity is a very dangerous idea.

First of all, it doesn’t work. As the past four years and countless historical examples from the last 100 years show, while it makes sense for any one state to try and cut its way to growth, it simply cannot work when all states try it simultaneously: all we do is shrink the economy.

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In the worst case, austerity policies worsened the Great Depression and created the conditions for seizures of power by the forces responsible for the Second World War: the Nazis and the Japanese military establishment. As Blyth amply demonstrates, the arguments for austerity are tenuous and the evidence thin.

Rather than expanding growth and opportunity, the repeated revival of this dead economic idea has almost always led to low growth along with increases in wealth and income inequality. Austerity demolishes the conventional wisdom, marshaling an army of facts to demand that we recognize austerity for what it is, and what it costs us.

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About the Author: Mark Blyth is a faculty fellow at the Watson Institute, professor of international political economy in Brown’s Political Science Department, and director of the University’s undergraduate programs in development studies and international relations.

He is the author of Great Transformations: Economic Ideas and Institutional Change in the Twentieth Century; editor of The Routledge Handbook of International Political Economy: IPE as a Global Conversation, which surveys different schools of IPE around the globe; and co-editor of a volume on constructivist theory and political economy titled Constructing the International Economy. He is working on a new book that questions the political and economic sustainability of liberal democracies, called The End of the Liberal World?

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Blyth is a member of the Warwick Commission on International Financial Reform. He is a member of the editorial board of the Review of International Political Economy, and his articles have appeared in journals such as the American Political Science Review, Perspectives on Politics, Comparative Politics, and World Politics.

He has a PhD in political science from Columbia University and taught at Johns Hopkins University from 1997 to 2009.

This talk was hosted by Boris Debic on behalf of Authors@Google in 2013