Nicola Sturgeon’s first day: what the papers are saying

As Nicola Sturgeon awakes to her first full day in office as Scotland’s first minister, she will not be short of advice from commentators in the Scottish press.

Nicola STurgeon(1)In the Scotsman, its political editor Tom Peterkin this morning reminds Sturgeon of the massive challenge she faces to make good on her political priorities at a time of austerity. In a piece outlining the scale of the job ahead facing Scotland’s first female first minister, he notes: Read More »

Posted in A Britain We All Call Home | Tagged , , , | 1 Response

EU rejects Osborne’s bank bonus cap challenge

The UK government’s challenge to the European Union’s cap on bankers’ bonuses has been throw out by the advocate general.

Canary wharf ncrjThe EU law limits a bonus to no more than a banker’s fixed pay or twice that level with shareholder approval.

Advocate general Niilo Jääskinen today ruled that EU legislation limiting bankers’ bonuses is valid.

Earlier this year the European Court of Justice announced that the UK had failed in its legal challenge to prevent 11 EU Member States – including France, Germany, Italy and Spain – introducing a Financial Transaction Tax across shares, bonds and derivatives. Read More »

Posted in Sustainable Economy | Tagged , , , , | 10 Responses

Five myths about public attitudes towards immigration

immigration ncrYesterday British Future released a report How to Talk About Immigration’providing analysis of an issue that continues to confound our definitions of what is acceptable.

Based on three years of original research into public attitudes, the report highlights the worries people have when talking about immigration, and shows how the fear of being stereotyped stops the moderate majority from communicating their ideas.

Here we identify five myths about public attitudes towards immigration:

1. People base their opinions on racial prejudices

Race and immigration can, and should, be separate issues. The sooner that this message is put across, the sooner people will feel comfortable talking about their concerns with immigration. Read More »

Posted in A Britain We All Call Home | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 10 Responses

Revealed: how our media shuts out migrant voices

From January to April, only 8 per cent of Daily Mail stories on migration featured a migrant voice, and only 6 per cent of Times articles

Immigration ncrjThis week’s mudslinging between the political parties on the eve of the Rochester and Strood by-election shows that migration is never far from the centre of heated debate. Yet in what is a much rehashed and long-running debate there is one notable absence: the voice of migrants themselves.

About one in 10 of the UK’s population is foreign born and more of us are the children of migrants. Despite this, research by Migrant Voice has shown a huge dearth of migrant voices in the immigration debate, with many media outlets going many weeks without a migrant voice.

From January to April 2014 only 8 per cent of Daily Mail stories on migration featured a migrant voice, and only 6 per cent of Times articles.

This huge imbalance in the debate means there are multiple aspects of our immigration system that go unreported. Without the voice of migrants in this debate we lose the human, and it makes the race to the bottom over migration all too easy. Read More »

Posted in A Britain We All Call Home | Tagged , , , , , | 11 Responses

A decade on from the ban, fox hunting is still thriving

If we send the message that police and politicians can turn a blind eye to illegal behaviour simply because they don’t like the law, the entire justice system is undermined

foxTen years ago, on 18 November 2004, the Hunting Act was passed, banning hunting with dogs in England and Wales. It became law three months later, and marked the culmination of years of campaigning by activists and animal rights groups.

But hunting has not been stopped. Even before the Act was passed, 50,000 people signed a petition stating that they would be willing to break the law in order to continue with the sport.

The strength of feeling was remarkable; especially memorable was the philosopher Roger Scruton’s comparison of the pro-hunt campaign with the civil rights movement in America:

“By cancelling our viewpoint and our demands, and regarding us as a sub-human species, they are regarding us in the way that American blacks were regarded at the time of the civil rights movement”.

Read More »

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

EU court rules against UK government on air pollution

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has today ruled that the UK government must take urgent action over its failure to tackle air pollution.

PollutionjIn response to action brought by Client Earth, the ECJ’s first ever ruling on the effect of the Air Quality Directive will determine what action the UK courts now take against the government.

The Directive requires member states which have failed to meet air quality limits to draw up plans to achieve them in the “shortest time possible”.

However, UK government plans will not meet nitrogen dioxide limits until after 2030 – 20 years after the original deadline. Today’s ruling states that the UK Supreme Court must now take action to enforce air quality limits, and could pave the way for a series of legal challenges across Europe in cases where governments are failing to protect people from air pollution. Read More »

Posted in Environment | Tagged , , , | 4 Responses

G20 leaders take small steps on corruption

The UK played a positive role in securing commitments from other countries, but this now needs to be translated into concrete and binding laws

David CameronjAs David Cameron made the long journey back from Brisbane, hopes for securing significant progress on anti-corruption were left unfulfilled.

The prime minister’s transparency initiatives, championed at last year’s Lough Erne G8, require support from the world’s emerging economies to give them real and lasting global impact, but G20 countries failed to step up.

Underneath the rhetoric and publicity, which sent a lot of positive signals, a number of critical gaps were left unaddressed. On a number of fronts, the G20 failed to prioritise public access to information on tax, company ownership and the extractive industry.

Public scrutiny is a vital weapon in the fight to curb tax evasion and corruption and allows journalists, NGOs and citizens to hold governments, businesses and others to account. Read More »

Posted in Clean Politics | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Responses

Band Aid may be nauseating, but does it even matter?

Is anybody seriously suggesting that those fighting Ebola don’t accept Geldof’s contribution?

bobA little ahead of schedule, a Christmas song is polarising public opinion.

On Sunday night, Bob Geldof premiered his fourth version of Do They Know It’s Christmas? on X Factor. Featuring the cream of mainstream pop including Sam Smith, Ellie Goulding and Rita Ora as well as old timers like Bono, Seal and Sinead O’ Connor, the song has been met with a bewildered mix of outrage and money.

Band Aid 30, as it has been dubbed, was recorded to raise money for the fight against Ebola in west Africa, undoubtedly an urgent and worthy cause.

The track can be downloaded for 99p or bought on CD for £4, and according to Geldof pre-orders raised £1m for the Ebola charity drive within minutes of the X Factor showing. Chancellor George Osborne agreed to waive VAT on the single and called Geldof ‘remarkable’. Read More »

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Labour’s new immigration policy: more moderate voices needed

The complex views of the majority on immigration are not always easily represented in opinion polls

ImmigrationjAlmost everyone agrees that immigration is a major issue of concern for the constituents of Rochester and Strood and that these views will influence voters’ intentions on Thursday.

UKIP has exploited fears of uncontrolled EU migration. Both Labour and the Conservatives have also entered the debate, most recently with Yvette Cooper’s speech this morning.

In terms of policy commitments there was little that was new in the speech in relation to policy commitments. Cooper set out the Labour narrative that the party, if elected, would stop unskilled migrants from undercutting British workers. Read More »

Posted in A Britain We All Call Home | Tagged , , , , , , , | 29 Responses

Warning lights on the economy – let’s defend our record or pay the price

By failing to stand up for past successes, Labour are making it harder for themselves to claim economic credibility

Gordon Brown ncrjIn terms of punchlines, the prime minister could probably have come up with a more elegant phrase at G20 than ‘red lights are flashing on the dashboard of the global economy’.

However his timing, coming shortly before it was announced that Japan has unexpectedly fallen back into recession, was immaculate.

With the polls against him, and Labour appearing to be moving on from its unceremonious Westminster wobble, Cameron will need to have luck on his side in order to win next May.

An economic downturn is unfortunate and a continued proactive defence of the Tory ability to manage the economy will be vital if the recovery comes under threat from international trends. Read More »

Posted in Sustainable Economy | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 6 Responses
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