Alex Meredith

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A cap on immigration does not make sense.  That has always been the Lib Dem position and it’s good to see the Tories and UKIP following behind us.  They have both adopted our fairer tax policy, but I thought they would struggle to take on our liberal approach to movement of labour.  However, given the shifting populist sands on which they built their original immigration policies, it’s perhaps no surprise they have… Read More

The Rifkind-Straw affair is pathetic, embarrassing and they’ll probably get away with it.  They look ridiculous, but it’s unlikely they have done anything that will attract any more than a slapped wrist.  Greed is not an offence, even for MPs, and since Jack Straw has managed to escape punishment for his part in an illegal war, I’d expect he’ll wriggle out of this one easily enough [as an aside, who pays £5k… Read More

I know I’m in a minority of people who watch political speeches and amongst an even smaller number who get inspired by them.  To admit to being impressed by Nick Clegg puts me in a very narrow niche indeed. But despite being a little weary of the Glasgow conference I thoroughly enjoyed the leader’s speech. Clegg was clear, thoughtful and passionate.  He set out a vision of liberalism that was, to me… Read More

What has happened to progressive ideas on energy policy?  Politicians seem to be locked in a rhetorical battle to go further and further backwards. There’s talk of a windfall tax which we tried in the noughties; some want a pool which we ditched in the nineties; and some want direct price manipulation which was the fashion of the seventies.  Nationalisation is a word that keeps getting cheers on Question Time.  The debate… Read More

David Cameron is a cowardly prime minister.    Watching his performance at PMQs on Wednesday was embarrassing.  When he announced he would be ‘rolling back the green levies’ it was like watching a school play in which a child is suddenly overwhelmed and promptly wets himself on stage. We have seen this sort of policy incontinence before.  Who can forget that a slightly smaller puddle was found on the House of Commons… Read More

As the Energy Bill  hots up this week, it is essential that the government keeps its head and resists calls for a new target of 50gCO2/kWh by 2030.  Here’s how I see it: Why now? – targets that attempt to centrally mandate a rapid scale-up of renewables should not be set until there is more certainty on grid resiliance, energy storage, CCS and demand management. – the problems of the UK’s planning… Read More

It was no lesser authority than Kenny Rogers who revealed in his 1978 country classic that ‘Every gambler knows; the secret to surviving is knowing what to throw away and knowing what to keep’.   It is a logic that has been whispered around card tables and hollered at barn dances from Kent to Kentucky ever since.  But today saw perhaps its most unusual application to date.  Forget the precautionary principle or sustainable… Read More

There is a whisper circulating around Westminster that Nick Clegg wants an opportunity to replace Danny Alexander with Ed Davey in the ‘quad’ that settles key coalition policy.   If it happens it would freshen up the central coalition team, dispel any Lib Dem fears of a double agent (Alexander) in the heart of government, and provide a direct challenge to George Osborne’s anti-green agenda.   In short, it’s a good idea. The timing… Read More

You don’t need to buy The Daily Mail to get hold of the priceless banter on its opinion pages;  it shouts abuse at you across the newsagent; it bellows out bile from petrol station forecourts; it downloads its distress onto your smartphone.  It’s an addictive dose of comedy, parody and parallel reality.   One editorial column caught my eye recently, included the following line: ‘in the depths of this rapidly worsening economic crisis……this…….. Read More

The resounding view from around my family’s Easter Sunday lunch table was that Boris Johnson remains the most popular politician in the UK. After a week that saw the London Mayor under the microscope, first in Eddie Mair’s interview mauling, and then Michael Cockerill’s Bullingdon-and-the-Beast documentary, Johnson has emerged with credit for being ‘human’, ‘interesting’ and ‘not towing the party line’. The debate about whether the cuddly bear of British politics could… Read More