Look Left – The Week in Fast Forward

The Week in Politics

• Alistair Darling delivered his pre-Budget Report, getting a 66 per cent score from Left Foot Forward for his troubles. Among the main announcements were a 50 per cent tax on bankers’ bonuses – criticised by both the Tories and Lib Dems – a 0.5 per cent increase in National Insurance contributions from 2011 and a rise in VAT back to 17.5 per cent. There had been talk of a widespread rift between the Prime Minister and Chancellor, flatly denied by the man himself who today said:

“Alistair Darling and I have worked together for many, many years, and we worked closely together and continue to do so. I want to praise him for the pre-Budget report that he has given.”

• After months of anticipation, the Copenhagen summit finally began on Monday, with Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband, in an exclusive article for Left Foot Forward, writing:

“Whether these talks succeed or fail, the world will be transformed by the middle of this century. Our choice is how. We can choose a future we want for ourselves and our children or we can let events choose a less positive future for us.”

Today, Britain and France led the European Union in committing more than €2bn (£1.8bn) a year to help poorer countries cope with global warming, though delegates from developing countries remain frustrated at the perceived lack of progress, pace and urgency in the negotiations. Left Foot Forward will continue to bring you all the latest from our reporters in Copenhagen, and on Sunday we will publish an exclusive poll examining public attitudes to climate change and Copenhagen.

• The latest tranche of expenses revelations emerged yesterday, with “Labour toff” Quentin Davies’s £20,000 bill to repair a bell tower the most flagrant example of abuse. Tory toff George Osborne, meanwhile, did his Bullingdon best to live up to his image by claiming for a chimney sweep – that’s right, a chimney sweep. In 2009. Vote Blue, go Dickens…


Progressives of the week

Tuvalu, the tiny Pacific island idyll, winners of the first ever “Ray of the Day” award at the climate change summit in Copenhagen for standing up to the big boys and refusing to back down from demanding a legally-binding deal, saying:

“We cannot accept your ruling on this matter. This issue is too important for us. We cannot accept an informal process.”


Regressive of the week

Republican Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, who this week voiced his outrage at the Environmental Protection Agency’s ruling that greenhouse gases are dangerous to human health; I mean, how dare they? Who do these scientists think they are to contradict a climate-denying congressman from Wisconsin?! A man in the pocket of big business who has made several overseas trips paid for by lobbyists, in clear breach of congressional rules.


Evidence of the week

The Met Office data which predicts 2010 to be the hottest year on record – shattering the spin of the Sensenbrenners of this world who believe 1998 marked the end of global warming. They Met also predict that half the years in the next decade will be warmer than 1998. As we will explain (again) the past decade has seen some of the highest temperatures ever recorded:

The eight warmest years in the 150 global temperature record are, according to the Hadley Center, in order, 1998, 2005, 2003, 2002, 2004, 2006, and 2007. It’s a fact that this is the hottest decade in recorded history.



What’s trending on Twitter


Politically, the most popular item on twitter this week was the pre-Budget Report, predictions, commentary and reactions to Wednesday’s announcement. Here is a selection of the best:

@KerryMP: Osborne says can choose Lab route out of recovery or Tory route – presumably stopping to refuel in Cayman Islands en route to Belize. #pbr09

@TheTaxBuzz: Bankers bonus tax charge goes wider than announced in #PBR09. Will hit asset managers, hedge funds, private equity and more.

@AmyLTaylor: Good to see that everyone’s main concern, bingo, has been handled by the government. http://trunc.it/3xfj1 #pbr09

@ToryTavern: Wahey! Jacqui Smith’s on the telly! Perhaps her husband could swap porn for bingo? #pbr09

@warrenmorgan: #PBR09 the serious Chancellor has sat down and the schoolboy debating team captain is reading his soundbites.

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13 Responses to “Look Left – The Week in Fast Forward”

  1. Anon E Mouse

    Shamik Das – Didn’t George Osbourne, the Tory toff, go to St Pauls boy’s school while Harriet Harman, the Labour Toff, go to St Pauls girl’s school?

    The sooner all the toffs are cleared out of Parliament the better. Here’s a few Public School educated Labour toffs to start with:

    Ed Balls (Morley and Outwood)
    Hugh Bayley (City of York)
    Hilary Benn (Leeds Central)
    Bob Blizzard (Waveney)
    Chris Bryant (Rhondda)
    Stephen Byers (North Tyneside)
    Charles Clarke (Norwich South)
    Ann Clwyd (Cynon Valley)
    Jim Cousins (Newcastle-upon-Tyne Central)
    Alistair Darling (Edinburgh South West)
    Quentin Davies (Grantham and Stamford)
    Louise Ellman (Liverpool Riverside)
    Natascha Engel (North East Derbyshire)
    Mark Fisher (Stoke-on-Trent Central)
    Barry Gardiner (Brent North)
    Linda Gilroy (Plymouth Sutton)
    Paul Goggins (Wythenshawe and Sale East)
    Peter Hain (Neath)
    Patrick Hall (Bedford and Kempston)
    Fabian Hamilton (Leeds North East)
    Harriet Harman (Camberwell and Peckham)
    John Healey (Wentworth)
    Margaret Hodge (Barking)
    Geoff Hoon (Ashfield)
    Lindsay Hoyle (Chorley)
    Tessa Jowell (Dulwich and West Norwood)
    Sally Keeble (Northampton North)
    Ruth Kelly (Bolton West)
    Jim Knight (South Dorset)
    Ivan Lewis (South Bury)
    Martin Linton (Battersea)
    Ian Lucas (Wrexham)
    Denis MacShane (Rotherham)
    Fiona Mactaggart (Slough)
    Judy Mallaber (Amber Valley)
    John Mann (Bassetlaw)
    Rob Marris (Wolverhampton South West)
    Gordon Marsden (Blackpool South)
    Bob Marshall-Andrews (Medway)
    Michael Meacher (Oldham West and Royton)
    Chris Mole (Ipswich)
    Julie Morgan (Cardiff North)
    Doug Naysmith (Bristol North West)
    Nick Palmer (Broxtowe)
    Gordon Prentice (Pendle)
    James Purnell (Stalybridge and Hyde)
    Nick Raynsford (Greenwich and Woolwich)
    Geoffrey Robinson (Coventry North West)
    Andrew Slaughter (Ealing, Acton and Shepherd’s Bush)
    John Spellar (Warley)
    Phyllis Starkey (Milton Keynes South West)
    Howard Stoate (Dartford)
    Gavin Strang (Edinburgh East)
    Mark Todd (South Derbyshire)
    Kitty Ussher (Burnley)
    Keith Vaz (Leicester East)
    Malcolm Wicks (Croydon North)
    Michael Wills (Swindon North)
    Rosie Winterton (Doncaster Central)
    Shaun Woodward (St Helens South)

    And Grammar school educated – the schools Labour hate so much:

    Diane Abbott (Hackney North and Stoke Newington)
    Nick Ainger (Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire)
    Graham Allen (Nottingham North)
    David Anderson (Blaydon)
    Janet Anderson (Rossendale and Darwen)
    Hilary Armstrong (North West Durham)
    Charlotte Atkins (Staffordshire Moorlands)
    John Austin (Erith and Thamesmead)
    Adrian Bailey (West Bromwich West)
    Vera Baird (Redcar)
    Margaret Beckett (Derby South)
    Stuart Bell (Middlesbrough)
    Roger Berry (Kingswood)
    Liz Blackman (Erewash)
    Hazel Blears (Salford)
    David Borrow (South Ribble)
    Karen Buck (Regent’s Park and Kensington North)
    Richard Burden (Birmingham Northfield)
    Colin Burgon (Elmet)
    Alan Campbell (Tynemouth)
    Martin Caton (Gower)
    Colin Challen (Morley and Rothwell)
    Ben Chapman (Wirral South)
    David Chaytor (Bury North)
    Paul Clark (Gillingham)
    Vernon Coaker (Gedling)
    Ann Coffey (Stockport)
    Rosie Cooper (West Lancashire)
    Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North)
    David Crausby (Bolton North East)
    Tony Cunningham (Workington)
    Janet Dean (Burton)
    Andrew Dismore (Hendon)
    Frank Dobson (Holborn and St. Pancras)
    Jeffrey Ennis (Barnsley East and Mexborough)
    Bill Etherington (Sunderland North)
    Paul Farrelly (Newcastle-under-Lyme)
    Frank Field (Birkenhead)
    Michael Foster (Hastings and Rye)
    Hywel Francis (Aberavon)
    Bruce George (Walsall South)
    Neil Gerrard (Walthamstow)
    Mark Hendrick (Preston)
    John Heppell (Nottingham East)
    Stephen Hesford (Wirral West)
    Patricia Hewitt (Leicester West)
    Keith Hill (Streatham)
    Kate Hoey (Vauxhall)
    Kelvin Hopkins (Luton North)
    Kim Howells (Pontypridd)
    Beverley Hughes (Stretford and Urmston)
    John Hutton (Barrow and Furness)
    Eric Illsley (Barnsley Central)
    Glenda Jackson (Hampstead and Highgate)
    Alan Johnson (Hull West and Hessle)
    Diana Johnson (Hull North)
    Martyn Jones (Clwyd South)
    Gerald Kaufman (Manchester Gorton)
    Barbara Keeley (Worsley)
    Alan Keen (Feltham and Heston)
    Stephen Ladyman (South Thanet)
    Tony Lloyd (Manchester Central)
    Andrew MacKinlay (Thurrock)
    Christine McCafferty (Calder Valley)
    Sarah McCarthy-Fry (Portsmouth North)
    John McDonnell (Hayes and Harlington)
    Tony McNulty (Harrow East)
    Alun Michael (Cardiff South and Penarth)
    Austin Mitchell (Great Grimsby)
    Madeleine Moon (Bridgend)
    Kali Mountford (Colne Valley)
    Denis Murphy (Wansbeck)
    Edward O’Hara (Knowsley South)
    James Plaskitt (Warwick and Leamington)
    Greg Pope (Hyndburn)
    Stephen Pound (Ealing North)
    Joan Ruddock (Lewisham Deptford)
    Christine Russell (City of Chester)
    Martin Salter (Reading West)
    Alison Seabeck (Plymouth Devonport)
    Barry Sheerman (Huddersfield)
    Siôn Simon (Birmingham Erdington)
    Alan Simpson (Nottingham South)
    Dennis Skinner (Bolsover)
    Andrew Smith (Oxford East)
    John Smith (Vale of Glamorgan)
    Peter Soulsby (Leicester South)
    Helen Southworth (Warrington South)
    Jack Straw (Blackburn)
    Gerry Sutcliffe (Bradford South)
    David Taylor (North West Leicestershire)
    Stephen Timms (East Ham)
    Paddy Tipping (Sherwood)
    Jon Trickett (Hemsworth)
    Des Turner (Brighton Kemptown)
    Neil Turner (Wigan)
    Joan Walley (Stoke-on-Trent North)
    Alan Whitehead (Southampton Test)
    Alan Williams (Swansea West)
    Mike Wood (Batley and Spen)
    Phil Woolas (Oldham East and Saddleworth)
    Tony Wright (Cannock Chase)
    Derek Wyatt (Sittingbourne and Sheppey)

    And people wonder why Labour are despised so much in the country…

  2. socialist conscience

    What a poor excuse for a “progressive” blog
    Your roundup of the week has no mention of the continuing Labour blood fest in Afghanistan not to mention the bloodbath in Iraq.
    Are the casulaties of the civilians their too much of an embarassment for you?

    Labour the party that bails out the wealthy few and persecutes
    the many poor,unemployed,elderly and the disabled

    The Trade Unions should stop using our subs
    to fund the Neo Liberal Labour Parties privatisation offensive

    No more blood, votes or funds for
    privatising, torturing Labour Party.

  3. Anon E Mouse

    socialist conscience – I’m no fan of the current government but in fairness to LFF I’m not sure you claim that there was tacit support for torture by the Labour Party….

  4. Shamik Das

    socialist conscience, we have covered Afghanistan extensively on this blog, we have published many posts on the subject. I agree though that what is happening in Iraq has slipped down the agenda – that shouldn’t be the case; I hope the mainstream media do not forget about it.

    Anon, that’s an interesting list, thanks for bringing it to our attention.

  5. Liz McShane

    Anon – sorry but I don’t see the point of he list either… the people on it would probably have been 11-12 years old and even if they were opposed to the choice of schools politically I am not sure that their parents would have been receptive or very understanding.

    Are you going to provide a list of people who went to comprehensives or secondary moderns who are uber right wingers?

    I agree that politcians who say one thing and do another is hard to accept but sometimes these decisions aren’t easy and when it comes to their children’s choice of school it’s a no win – no win situation as they will get damned if the do & damned if the don’t and accused of jeopardising their kid’s eduaction if they do send them to their local state school which the media deem as underperforming.

    I went to a grammar – I didn’t have a choice about it – there are no comprehensives in NI.

  6. Anon E Mouse

    Liz – The point of the list is to show that before Labour start their stupid class attack they should think ahead and remember Nantwich and Crewe and the hypocrisy this list shows – but they won’t.

    I don’t need to produce a list of either Tories or right wingers since it is only Labour that will make the class mistake (again).

    In 1964 when Labour brought in Grammars they said they would raise the standards of comprehensives/secondary moderns but never did – and before you say anything about comps, like council houses, more were built under Tory governments.

    I think that Labour have no choice in the class bit – their internal polling has told them the truth about the polls – they know it won’t be a vote for the Tories that finishes them but the collapse of the core Labour vote.

    There was a time around here when a monkey in a red shirt would be elected but not any longer so if the class card can shore up part of the core vote then it’s worth a shot but it won’t work.

    The big problem Labour have is Brown. They have to devise a way to have the hustings without him because (as again their internal polling shows) he is Labour’s biggest liability.

    Like their colour, people have no choice in their background so to attack them on it is petty and unfair – especially considering the people in the list above.

    Personally I am not fussed on anyones colour or background and just believe that decency would prevent any mention of it but you just know Brown will go for it – he has nothing left in the locker as they say.

    I always remember Dr.King – “Judge my children by the contents of their character and not the colour of their skin”.

  7. Shamik Das

    This fixation of yours with Gordon Brown, it’s not healthy! You’re being completely unfair to blame everything that’s gone wrong on him, not that I accept for one second that it’s all doom and gloom, but in your mind to focus solely on him is not pretty.

  8. Liz McShane

    Anon – I think you mean more council houses were sold on the cheap under the Tories.

  9. Anon E Mouse

    Shamik – I focus on him because he’s the Prime Minister and ultimately the buck stops there. I also dislike the way he stabbed Tony Blair in the back to get rid of him – what I’m saying is his character is at fault and he’s going to cost us the election. He’s useless. Always was.

    We need a total clear out of this lot and a new batch, you Shamik, Will Straw, Liz McShane – your age group I mean will form what will become New New Labour – you get the point – “A Change Is Gonna Come”.

    Call it progressives, whatever but already without being overt just the postings you all make on this blog and the fact this blog exists shows that despite a European move to the right there is a future for Left of Centre politics.

    Although I think that the Tory bloggers run rings around you at least LFF has a fair crack at original pieces which is good and you also respond to posts people make.

    Remember Shamik that the reason that Blair was ultra successful as a PM was his ability to be inclusive and to get the electorate behind him.

    I know the position on this blog is to be supportive of Climate Change stuff and I realise you honestly believe all you are told – fine – we will agree to disagree but remember you do not want to alienate the majority of the electorate by using such silly terms as “Denier” and the like. It just isn’t clever. Brown may do it but he’s the past – you may be the future.

    Blair would never have been so crass and if I were writing articles for this blog, I would be far more temperate in my language, irrespective of the point to be made.

    You don’t see it now because you are all way too partisan but for Labour it *needs* to be over and I say that coming from a family who have never voted anything but Labour.

    Liz – More council houses were built under the Tories. I agree it may have been to sell them cheaply and create more Tories but there you go…

  10. Anon E Mouse

    Shamik – Last post here I promise!

    I actually equally dislike an awful lot of Labour MP’s – it’s not just Brown.

    I like a fair few as well, Charles Clarke types – thinkers not soundbiters.

  11. Liz McShane

    Anon – I am definitely not New New or even New Labour – I am (pragmatic) Labour. I can’t believe you are ever were Old Labour – some of your posts hint at that. I know that on some policy issues there is not a great deal of difference but that’s where we are but I know who I’d still rather vote for. Remember Tony Blair’s famous quote at one of his first conferences as Prime Minister – “It’s not the Labour Party of your dreams”…etc

  12. Anon E Mouse

    Liz – Been Labour my whole life although I did vote for and deliver leaflets for a local Lib Dem councillor a couple of years ago (I ranted at him over the Lib Dems supporting the smoking ban and so being non liberal when he knocked at my door – he looked like he was going to burst into tears so I helped him out. I’ve quit smoking since as well) and I’ve also voted Greens in the past – before this climate was as fashionable as it is now.

    It’s like Greenpeace. Soon as they got political and seemed to care more about their agenda and less about saving whales the less I liked them.

    I just cannot face any more of Gordon Brown as PM – he is utterly hated here in South Wales because of the unemployment situation I see, because my business partner’s, son’s, girlfriend’s, brother was seriously maimed in Afghanistan and the hopeless feeling there is locally.

    No disrespect to you cit

  13. Anon E Mouse

    y dwellers but things outside London are really tough and if Labour are helping we don’t see it.

    I want a Prime Minister who I feel is trying to help the people rather than messing around with things no one cares about (in my opinion Liz) like Climate Change – unless it’s to hit the poor again with yet more taxes.

    The deficit in this country is HUGE and yet all Labour are doing is griping about the Tory Inheritance Tax increase (which we know will never happen) instead of getting the bills paid.

    But I have to go – early start and got a couple more hours work to do yet and this blog distracts me big time!

    Have a good night Liz and I’m sure we’ll be at loggerheads again tomorrow.

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