March 29, 2016


Monday morning and I'm on the train to London for another week at Westminster.  On Mondays my regular column appears in The National Newspaper.
Photo: The National

George Kerevan: IDS resignation is latest salvo in global crisis for neoliberalism

THE crisis precipitated in the British Conservative party by the calculated resignation of Iain Duncan Smith is best understood in an international context. Across the globe, traditional right-wing parties are losing political hegemony and fragmenting.

In the United States, the Republican Party – both its fat cat establishment and (significantly) its neo-con ideologists – are in arms to stop the insurgency of the demagogic Donald Trump. In France, there is civil war inside the Republicans – the party of the mainstream right – as various factions try to block another run for the presidency by Nicholas Sarkozy. At stake is ceding leadership of the entire French right to the racist National Front of Marine Le Pen. And in Germany, the long era of Angela Merkel looks like coming to an end.

Of course, there is a specific dynamic to IDS quitting when he did. For months, the word around the corridors and tearooms of Westminster has been that Chancellor George Osborne was planning to get rid of IDS after the EU referendum – assuming a vote to remain 'in', of course. So it is no great surprise that IDS got his retaliation in early and to such devastating effect.

Monday I asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, David Gauke MP, if the Chancellor thought the budget might be better if it was produced on a weekly basis. Mr Osborne has been producing a new Budget every three months and clearly seems to think, the more the better. His need to revise the Budget continually is a clear sign of his inability to succeed in the position he has been given.  
Source: Parliament TV


Tuesday I lead the SNP response to the Chancellor's Budget.  The cuts in PIP payments may have been withdrawn under pressure, but Mr Osborne is still going to have to make big cuts if he insists on running a surplus in 2020 - though he is refusing to say where he will make those cuts.  

Source: Parliament TV


On Wednesday afternoon, Boris Johnson faced the Treasury Committee for questions on EU membership. I took him to task on his careless use of outdated figures on EU farm subsidies.  I'm a staunch supporter of our EU membership. 

Source: Parliament TV


Today the Treasury Select Committee questioned Chancellor Osborne. I took the opportunity to ask for clarity on the financing of the Hinkley Point C reactor project. The Chancellor is backing the project through the use of the UK Guarantee Scheme for Infrastructure. The use of the scheme will potentially transfer billions of pounds of risk to the UK taxpayer. After repeatedly pressing the Chancellor for specific answers I forced him to agree that he will write to the Treasury Select Committee and explain the Tory Government's commitment to funding the Hinkley Point C reactors.

Source: Parliament TV
In this week's East Lothian Courier, I discuss the Chancellor's Budget, his assault on the vulnerable while giving a tax cut to the wealthy, and the City Deal for the South of Scotland. 
Thursday night I took a vastly overcrowded train back up to Scotland. Spent the journey catching up on work while sitting happily in the corridor. As always, the best company were the folk sitting on the floor with me.


Friday is the start of the Easter recess at Westminster.  This means I don't have to commute to London for a few weeks. Time to travel round East Lothian to meet constituents. and deal with emails and correspondence. Please get in touch if I can be of help or you want to discuss an issue.


On Saturday morning, I signed one of the East Lothian Welcomes Refugee cards at their stall during the Haddington Farmer's Market. East Lothian Welcomes Refugees is asking David Cameron to increase the amount of Syrian refugees allowed in Britain.  I will be hand delivering these cards to the Prime Minister.
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