Harold Wilson recognised by Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey has announced that it is to have a memorial stone to recognise Harold Wilson, Prime Minister in 1964-70 and 1974-6.  It plans to recognise all prime ministers (there's nothing to mark any beyond 1955) and the stone to Wilson is to be dedicated this year.

My comment, as the Christian Socialist Movement's Political Officer was:

"It is fitting that past prime ministers are being honoured in this way by Westminster Abbey. Holding the office of prime minister is a great responsibility, of which we see only a part.

Harold Wilson famously said that 'The Labour Party is a moral crusade or it is nothing.' Politics and morality, doing the right thing, will always be intertwined. It is a shame that today some people try to divorce the two. Recognising past leaders in Westminster Abbey reminds us that, whatever their own approach to faith, they are part of the ongoing story of our nation, in which faith and God will continue to be vitally important

Stephen Beer, 02/01/2013

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US Fiscal cliff - is it all over?

I've just read an interesting comment piece in the Financial Times by Martin Sandbu.  He makes the point that the deal done in the Senate amends the tax rrises scheduled for 1 January 2013 (reversing the Bush tax cuts but not for everyone) will still lead to a fiscal tightening because taxes will still rise for the middle classes.  Furthermore, automatic spending cuts were scheduled to happen from today unless amended; these have been postponed for just a couple of months.  So this quarter may see growth threatened in the US and continuing uncertainty because a spending deal remains to be done.

I think the immediate impact of the deal (assuming it's passed by the House of Representatives) should be positive for economic sentiment in the US, and maybe beyond.  However, Sandbu is right to caution that the politicians have more to do to secure growth in the economy on which world recovery depends.
The FT article is at: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/7d66f674-5419-11e2-9d25-00144feab49a.html#axzz2GkVlQ7Mg

Stephen Beer, 01/01/2013

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