Parchment in the Fire

Politics, Political Theory and History

UK: cost of living crisis continues

Originally posted on Michael Roberts Blog:

The latest data on employment, earnings and prices in the UK confirm that the cost of living crisis continues, despite the claims of the Conservative-led coalition government.

By cost of living crisis, we mean that the average earnings of Britons are not rising as fast as prices in the shops, so that, on average, British households continue to suffer a fall in their standard of living (before we take into account net taxes and benefits).

The latest data for June 2014 showed an uptick in UK consumer price inflation (CPI) from 1.5% yoy in May to 1.9% yoy. This was mainly caused by a jump in food and clothing prices, which have been muted up to now. If the cost of housing is included, retail price inflation (RPI) rose from 2.4% yoy to 2.6%.

UK CPI

So inflation is still outstripping the rise in average earnings. That’s despite the improvement in UK…

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The Radical Left at the 2014 EP Election - Transform Network

The Radical Left at the 2014 EP Election - Transform Network.

The publication of the final results of the 2014 European Parliament (EP) election of 22-25 May finally permits to draw a first assessment of the performance of the radical Left.[1]

By Paolo Chiocchetti

The election marked an important electoral advance for this party family, which won 12,981,378 votes (+1,885,574) corresponding to 7.96% of valid votes (+1.04%). This was matched by an even stronger increase of radical left Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), from 36 to 53, and of their parliamentary group (European United Left/Nordic Green left – GUE/NGL), from 35 to 52.[2]

On the negative side, the radical left failed to hit some key strategic targets. In terms of seats, the GUE/NGL did not fulfil the overblown expectations of some early opinion polls[3] and did not reach the status of third largest force in the coming European Parliament. In terms of votes, its growth was overshadowed by the much stronger gains of far right Eurosceptic parties.

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Social movements in Spain – 15M

Social movements in Spain – 15M.

From Revolution News

Many things have changed and we need to know how to read reality and celebrate our triumphs. The emergence of the 15M movement did not result in an organisation which currently has a significant number of members. The 15M movement is a social movement. This means, it has served as a catalyst for “moving” social collectives, associations, non-mobilized people, initiatives… and in this sense it still exists today, as another step in the spiral of social reactivation. It radically changed the country’s political climate. The most visible consequences have been the success and victories of the PAH (Platform of those affected by mortgages – which already existed before), massive mobilizations against cuts – many organised in the so called “mareas” (social “waves” protecting healthcare, education, women’s rights, anti-repression, etc.), the strengthening of a thousand struggles, the creation of new initiatives building alternatives and solutions, organised legal actions against corruption and injustices and the building of self-support networks all around the state.

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Italian union launches referendum campaign against EU permanent austerity pact

Originally posted on Revolting Europe:

Italy’s largest union has launched a referendum campaign against the EU fiscal compact, a draconian budgetary cap which is set to make austerity permanent across the 27-nation Eurozone.

The CGIL is calling for a repeal of the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union that  was signed on 2 March 2012 by all member states of the European Union (EU), except the Czech Republic and the United Kingdom. In Italy this new turn in the EU austerity screw signifies 45 billion euros annual budget cuts for two decades.

One of the new budgetary rules means a country whose debt / GDP ratio exceeds 60% of GDP must reduce this ratio by a fixed amount each year. It is economically illiterate because countries like Italy – or Belgium – have had decades of public debt at 100% or more of GDP (Japan’s was even at 200%) without generating a…

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Paolo Pini: How Matteo Renzi’s Jobs Act Will Sink Italy

Paolo Pini: How Matteo Renzi’s Jobs Act Will Sink Italy.

Italy’s new PM Matteo Renzi has pledged to slash the country’s record unemployment with his American-branded ‘Jobs Act’. But his labour reforms, which will see short term job contracts extended for up to 3 years, are more of the same medicine applied since the turn of the 1990s that have been such bad news for the Italian economy and workers.

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