Labour councillors upbeat but Ed Miliband seen as a hindrance


New polling reveals that Labour councillors are optimistic about 2015 but Ed Miliband viewed as a hindrance

Ed Miliband ncr 1jPolling released by the Labour History Research Unit at Anglia Ruskin University today reveals that the Labour base is upbeat about the party’s prospects next May, but somewhat wary of the mandate the party will seek at the election.

Surveying over 400 Labour councillors across the party’s 106 target seats and the 50 Labour held seats most vulnerable to a Conservative swing, our polls show over three-quarters of respondents in such marginals believe Labour will emerge as the largest party in 2015. Read More »

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Today’s Mail energy piece – hot gas from vested interests


The Mail seems intent on becoming a mouthpiece for the Big Six

Gas hob ncrj“Red Ed blunder blocking cuts to your power bills.”

Or so reads the headline of a piece in today’s Daily Mail, which quotes from “anonymous energy industry sources”.

It looks remarkably like the mega-companies are pushing for a Tory victory via their friends in the right-wing press, with one high-up source apparently telling the paper: “if [the polls] point to a Labour win, then reductions in bills are unlikely”.

Subtle. Read More »

Posted in Environment | Tagged , , , , | 4 Responses

The five worst MH17 conspiracy theories


The Russian media, seemingly propped up by a rag-tag band of cyber conspiracy theorists, has been indulging some pretty bonkers stuff

Malaysia planejTo most people it seems pretty clear that the MH17 flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was probably shot down by separatist forces in Ukraine, potentially with Russian involvement.

The same isn’t true, however, if you live in Russia – nor if you spend much time hanging around the dark fringes of the internet, where conspiracy theories are spreading at an impressive rate, even by online standards.

For Vladimir Putin, it’s all Ukraine’s fault – and Russian media, seemingly propped up by a rag-tag band of cyber conspiracy theorists, has been going full-steam to follow his advice in spreading this ‘objective’ picture. Read More »

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Qatar – the sugar-daddies of Islamist financing


The implications for the Muslim world are grave if the liberal/progressive voices lose the battle for the very soul of the faith

Qatar ncrjWe live in strange times. The world seems to be becoming both simultaneously more secular and more fanatical.

On the one hand we have progressive Muslims like Tehmina Kazi or Irshad Manji.

On the other hand the Sunni Islam of my parents and the vast majority of Muslims in the UK is being slowly but surely supplanted by an Islam that is inflexible, rigid, fundamentalist and supremacist in its outlook with Britain being a microcosm of what we are finding in the broader Muslim world.

The implications for the Muslim world are grave if the liberal/progressive voices lose the battle for the very soul of the faith. Muslim liberals/secularists are becoming more outspoken whilst the Islamists are emboldened as seemingly the only politically coherent force in a post-Arab spring. Read More »

Posted in Multilateral Foreign Policy | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 8 Responses

Lambeth council accused of ‘cover up’ over air pollution deaths


The Green Party has accused Labour-controlled Lambeth council of a ‘cover up’ after a Green council motion was amended to remove references to over 100 annual deaths in Lambeth linked to air pollution.

PollutionjThe Labour amendment also deleted references to the borough’s breech of Nitrogen dioxide levels, as well as the risk to Lambeth schools from poor air quality. Read More »

Posted in Environment | Tagged , , , | 3 Responses

This week’s most read: Gove, Gaza and Norman Tebbit


The most read stories this week:

Gaza protestsj1. Outraged about Gaza? Fine. Now worry about SyriaDave Rich

2. The Hamas rockets matter too: a reply to Owen Jones - Alan Johnson

3.  Questions to Michael Gove from a concerned Haberdashers’ Aske’s parentJill Rutter

4. The ‘modern-day Norman Tebbit’ is now a Treasury minister. Be afraidJames Bloodworth

5. Strong unions won you your rights, not kind-hearted rich menJames Bloodworth

Posted in Left Foot Forward | Tagged | 1 Response

Africa is losing six-and-a-half-times the amount it receives in aid


Whilst we often hear tales of Britain’s benevolence when it comes to aiding Africa, these tales are not always correct. In reality, Africa is losing $192 billion each year to the rest of the world – nearly six and a half times the amount it receives in aid each year.

Africa aidjResearched published this week by 13 African and UK NGOs shows that when compared to all other inflows to Africa – such as loans, foreign investment and remittances – Africa suffers a net loss of $58 billion a year. Read More »

Posted in Multilateral Foreign Policy | Tagged , , , , | 9 Responses

It’s time for football’s great reform act


Fifa may decide to reform itself. More likely, a grassroots movement will have to emerge that is strong enough to push through the changes that are needed

FifajThe Great Reform Act of 1832 is best known for extending the franchise. But the Act’s other significant achievement was the elimination of so-called ‘rotten boroughs’.

These parliamentary constituencies were so-called because the size of their electorates, and the absence of a secret ballot, opened the door to corruption. The constituency of Newton, on the Isle of Wight, comprised just 14 houses, having shrunk over the years but retained its right to elect an MP. Read More »

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Compassion doesn’t have to mean assisted dying


Compassion is also about providing high quality care that should be available to all

Lord Falconer ncrjAmidst all the politicking of a reshuffle earlier this week and the knock about over Michal Gove’s demotion and the UK’s place in Europe, Peers will today consider what should be the most serious issues facing us all – namely matters of life and death.

Just weeks after the President of the Supreme Court used a judgement to invite Parliament to reconsider the law around assisted dying, the House of Lords will do so. Read More »

Posted in Good Society | Tagged , , , | 12 Responses

Politicians must live up to their devolution promises


Bold proposals devolution proposals have a habit of not living up to the full height of their promises

Nick Cleggncr1jGiving power to local people and communities to identify and overcome the challenges they face has always been at the heart of Liberal Democrat values. Nick Clegg’s speech in Liverpool earlier this month again demonstrated this strand of liberalism, reiterating the argument that England’s cities, not Whitehall, know best.

He called for greater powers for our major Northern cities and invited civic leaders, businesses, opinion makers and the general public to propose ideas that would help to create a booming Northern hub, capable of competing with the biggest cities around the world. Read More »

Posted in Good Society | Tagged , , , , | 1 Response
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