Politics Summary: Friday, October 9th

Reaction to David Cameron’s speech dominates the papers. Both Jonathan Freedland and Steve Richards ask the same question: How? “How exactly does a shrunken state create “a country where the poorest children go to the best schools”? Martin Kettle sees the address as “the most ideologically reckless” yet delivered by Cameron coming “as close to vacating the political middle ground as Cameron has ever been.” Philip Stephens in the FT writes, “At times in Manchester, I imagined I was living in another country. For all its troubles, the Britain of my experience does not seem to be sliding into economic and social chaos.” Although regarding it as a “very profound speech,” Peter Oborne in the Mail sees a paradox: “Mr Cameron wants to transform our public services by handing power back to the people – yet it will initially require massive government intervention in order to administer the changes necessary to revolutionise services.” But Jeff Randal in the Telegraph says Cameron “has what it takes.” Left Foot Forward produced a line-by-line response to the speech yesterday.

General Sir David Richards criticised the appointment of General Sir Richard Dannatt as an adviser to the Conservative party. He said it put Dannatt’s successor in an “extremely difficult position.” Dannatt last night risked angering his new colleagues by saying he was asked for help because the Conservative leader’s team “lacked expert understanding” of defence. Speaking about Trident, Dannatt said it was “expensive, big bucks in the defence world … The thing that does need to be reviewed is the deterrence.” Left Foot Forward reported yesterday that Liam Fox had not, in his speech, mentioned Trident by name opening the door for a shift to a cheaper submarine-based nuclear deterrent.

Michal Kaminski said he remained opposed to an apology for the 1941 Jedwabne massacre made by his country’s then president, Aleksander Kwasniewski, in 2001. The leader of the new European Conservatives and Reformists group said it was unfair to put the massacre “on the same level as the Nazi policy.” Jewish leaders have asked senior Conservatives to prove that the party vetted its new rightwing allies in Europe before it joined forces in the EU parliament.

The Communication Workers Union said its members backed nationwide walkouts by three to one in protest at changes to working practices as well as cuts in pay and job losses. Writing in the Guardian, General Secretary Billy Hayes writes, “The CWU is committed to a future for Royal Mail as an efficient, modern public service.” The Royal Mail condemned the strike plan as “deplorable and irresponsible”, saying it would drive away customers and undermine confidence in the postal service.

The Revolutionary Court in Tehran sentenced Mohammad Reza Ali-Zamani to death for his involvement in the mass protests in Iran against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s disputed re-election. The 37-year old was convicted of muhabereh – taking up arms against Iran’s Islamic system. Dr. Mehrdad Khonsari of the London-based Center for Arab and Iranian Studies says that the stiff nature of the sentence came as a surprise.

Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.