Politics Summary: Tuesday, October 20th

A database of the BNP’s rank and file UK membership are expected to be posted on the wikileaks website today. The Guardian say it shows the BNP had 11,560 members as of April this year. Political Scrapbook confirms that the file had been encrypted to make it harder to access the data. Meanwhile a group of former generals including Mike Jackson and Richard Dannatt write to the Times about the BNP: “We call on all those who seek to hijack the good name of Britain’s military for their own advantage to cease and desist … The values of these extremists — many of whom are essentially racist — are fundamentally at odds with the values of the modern British military, such as tolerance and fairness.” Mary Riddell, writing in the Telegraph, says to defeat the BNP Labour must, “begin a massive building programme for social housing … stop the use of cheap, unregulated foreign labour for public projects … [and] start talking about immigration.”

Ed Balls defended his decision to appoint Maggie Atkinson as Children’s Commissioner to the House of Commons. The Times says Barry Sheerman, who yesterday described Balls as a “bully,” “was accused by Labour MPs of using the episode to launch a proxy battle against Mr Brown.” Martin Narey, the chief executive of Barnados, said, “Maggie is an excellent choice and will fearlessly and independently promote the interests of children in England.” John Coughlan, director of children’s services at Hampshire county council, said, “She’s hugely respected and nobody’s pushover.”

The Financial Times reports that Governments on both sides of the Atlantic are now softening their call for a global target of halving emissions by 2050, in an attempt to build a consensus around a less ambitious deal in Copenhagen. The biggest remaining problem is over finance with poor countries wanting aid from rich nations if they are to quantify the actions they will take on emissions in a binding deal. Climate Secretary Ed Miliband said, “There is a universal view that we need to get an agreement, but not at any price. It is not a done deal and remains in the balance in my view.” Despite reports in the Telegraph that President Obama “may attend” the talks in Copenhagen, US representative Todd Stern refused to be drawn.

Civil partnership ceremonies will be held at the Houses of Parliament under a plan to be put forward by Gordon Brown today. According to the Independent, The Prime Minister wants the parliamentary authorities to allow civil partnership ceremonies for MPs, peers and parliamentary officials and to consider whether the provision could be extended to the general public.

In the US, the New York Times reports that Barack Obama is getting the cold shoulder from bailed out bankers who are not attending a major Democratic fundraiser. This is attributed “to a broader disenchantment with Mr. Obama over the angry language emanating from the White House over the million-dollar bonuses and anti-regulatory lobbying.” More than a third of the attendees at the dinner will come from other Wall Street institutions.

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