David Laws, writing in the FT:
The coalition still has the potential to be one of the great reforming governments of the postwar era. The changes we are making in education, welfare and pensions are radical and right. The country will judge us over our full term and not on the basis of a turbulent few weeks of “here today, gone tomorrow” headlines. But after five years, we must show we have made the right decisions on the economy and got Britain back on track. That must be the coalition’s overriding obsession in the year ahead.
This whole piece takes a very positive, even bullish stance, on the Coalition government. And Law’s - the Liberal Democrat MP - is right at least about one thing: that it’ll be the whole five years that gets judged come the general election in 2015, not these awful few weeks the Coalition have been having.
It does seem crazy to me that so quickly into a five year plan, it is being decided that its not working. It’s as if people are surprised that making cuts really doesn’t feel good. Of course they don’t! This was always going to be an incredibly tough few years for the UK - regardless of who was in government.
I don’t think the government have been getting all the decisions right, but I do still broadly agree with their overarching plan of reducing public spending and getting control of the deficit. And we do need our public services to be run more efficiently if they’re to be sustainable. That said, the priority has to shift towards getting our economy growing again. The best way to overcome the mess we’re in economically is to have both decreasing costs and increasing growth. If it’s only the former, we’ll never get out of this mess.
The Coalition will be judged come 2015 on how it does on the growth front between now and then. The reduced public spending is known and certain. The growth isn’t. Get the economy growing again and Labour’s lead in the polls will evaporate very quickly whilst ever Ed Miliband is at the helm.
2015 is a long three years away. Whatever we may think of the Coalition, it’s far too early to write it off or think that the plan has failed. For better or worse, they’re going to stick with Plan A (whilst placing renewed emphasis on growth) and hope things turn around before the general election. Anyone who loves the UK will hope for that the plan does work. But, of course, it’s in the Labour Party’s interests that it doesn’t.
It’s interesting that Apple hasn’t yet announced the pricing for the iPad 2 here in the UK. In the US they made the immediate announcement that the iPad pricing in the States would be identical to the iPad 1.
So why haven’t they said the same for here in the UK? Could they be considering actually dropping the price here?
I got in touch with Apple yesterday and they simply said that the pricing will be announced closer to the launch date (25th March). And that’s interesting because they’re not saying it’ll just be the same - which they easily could have done.
One of the reasons that I think the price may drop is the competition. The Motorola Xoom pricing seems better and more comparable to the iPad in the UK than the US due to the fact that Apple is charging UK users more for the iPad than in the US. Dropping the pricing would reduce the reasons for buying a Xoom even further.
It’s worth saying that whilst UK users do pay more than US users for Apple products, it is not to the extent that people often think. A straight $499 converted to pounds comes in at £308, a full £121 less than the £429 iPad 1 has been selling at. However, US pricing doesn’t include sales tax (which is different in each state) so the UK price has to have VAT added on. This would bring the price to £370. So on that basis, even factoring other costs for Apple to sell products in the UK, there is clearly scope for Apple to drop the price in the UK.
Ultimately, if I was to have a guess - and it is just a guess - I would suggest that Apple may look to sell the iPad 2 starting at £399.