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Thursday poverty and regeneration

There are a number of areas in which there are very strong feelings worldwide and there unreconciled disputes.

One is the aspect of globalisation and "free trade" vis a vis protectionism. The government are clearly committed to globalisation. The consequences in terms of jobs being exported and challenges such as the proposed Multilateral Agreement on Investments are continually brought to the fore.

My own view is that a balance is needed between different ideological positions. A process which involves a too rapid sequences of changes undermines the quality of life. Economic and Political power both tend to be centripetal which in itself brings in a factor which is ignored in the debates about globalisation.

The EU itself can readily be a single market without imposing a "one size fits all" economic model.

The pressure of other activities (bringing correspondence up to date - casework etc, meeting on Europe, general admin and G8 debate) prevented me attending much of the debate on regeneration which is another area in which the government have a very muddy approach.

Unusually today (Friday) I am remaining in London to go to a meeting about Local Area Agreements a scheme which Birmingham has been given the opportunity to aim for a pilot scheme.

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