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.

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