I wish everyone a very Happy Easter and I hope everyone remembered to put their clocks forward!
Let us all remember the true meaning of Easter. I will be off to the Easter Day service at St.Anne’s later but whatever you are doing I hope you have a peaceful and relaxing Easter holiday. Not forgetting all those especially in the emergency services who will be working today.
As I say every year the true value of a budget is often not ascertained until sometime after the budget has been delivered. It is understandable that in an era of 24 hour news snap judgements and analysis are demanded by news outlets and there is no shortage of commentators willing to give such judgements.
What is clear from this budget is that Britain is on the road to recovery. Yes, it is a long road and yes, progress is slower than everyone would like but nevertheless we are still on the road to recovery. This budget will not make a dramatic difference to the pace of recovery but it will, I believe, underpin the recovery and help build confidence in our economy which is the one thing above all else which we need.
Businesses need confidence to invest and continue to recruit more new employees. By continuing to reduce the rate of corporation tax down to a single rate of 20% and by cutting Employers National Insurance Contributions by £2,000 plus a raft of other measures businesses will know that Government is on their side. For every job lost in the public sector six have been created in the private sector as the economy starts to re-balance. The measures in the budget will hopefully help this trend to continue.
Thousands of words have been written about last Thursday’s by-election and the result and the effect of it has been analysed and dissected from it appears every angle.
The full result can be found here
I think the best way to look at the result is to look at the overall picture of what the whole electorate did. By far the largest group did absolutely nothing. Despite the hundreds of thousands of leaflets, posters, telephone calls knocks on the door. 47 people in every hundred decided the best thing to do was do nothing and not to vote at all. The lack of voter participation in elections is something I have been concerned about for some time and whilst it is true that the turnout at this by-election was much higher than in the other recent by-elections considering the amount of publicity that it had and the work that all parties put in (and the sheer number of candidates fourteen in all) it is not very impressive if almost half of the electorate do not vote. I hasten to add that I do NOT blame the electorate in any way. In my view it is up to politicians to enthuse voters to go and vote and I certainly do not agree with compulsory voting.
The exact figures for turnout according to the House of Commons Library are that 41,616 voted out of electorate of 79,004 resulting in a 52,7% turnout.
We then come to what the 53 out of every hundred who voted did and in order to simplify the figures I have removed the decimals and just dealt in whole numbers. This gives the following :
17 out of every 100 voted Liberal Democrat (16.9%)
15 out of every 100 voted UKIP (14.6%)
13 out of every 100 voted Conservative (13.4%)
5 out of every 100 voted Labour (5.2%)
3 out of every 100 voted Other (ie for one of the other Independent or ‘Minor’ parties)
I have added the percentages to one decimal point so readers can see the effect of rounding.
What does it all mean? Well in my view I do not think it would be sensible for any Party to draw conclusions about what may happen in 2015 from this result. On the one hand it could be argued that only 30 out of every 100 voters supported one of the governing Coalition parties. On the other hand if voters in middle England were as upset with the Government it is reasonable to assume that more than 5 in every 100 would vote for the principal Opposition Party.
Having considered the Eastleigh result I continue to be of the view that come 2015 voters will be faced with two simple choices.
Firstly on the economy: continue with the medicine and the road to recovery or hand control back to the Party which got the Country into this mess in the first place.
Secondly, on who do they want to be the Prime Minister of our Country David Cameron or Ed Miliband and all the evidence is most choose David Cameron.