Politics Summary: Friday, December 11th

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On his first day in Copenhagen, ahead of the formal ministerial part of the negotiations, Ed Miliband writes exclusively for Left Foot Forward and outlines how the atmosphere has changed. Elsewhere at the summit, the Telegraph reports poorer countries’ demands that the US “should spend as much on global warming as war”, and also reports George Soros’s plea to the International Monetary Fund that they “should use $100bn (£62bn) of gold reserves to back green loans from rich to poor nations”, with the Independent reporting that next year is forecast to be “the hottest on record” – contradicting the sceptics’ claims that global warming stopped in 1998. Their report says:

“The global average surface temperature for 2010 will be 0.58 degrees C above the long-term average for 1961-1990 (which is 14 degrees C), compared to the average for 1998, which was 0.52 degrees above.”

The fallout from the pre-Budget Report continues, with several papers reporting that Gordon Brown “overruled Alistair Darling” over the Chancellor’s desire for “much tougher” measures to tackle the deficit. The Telegraph, Guardian, Independent, Standard and Financial Times all report the Chancellor’s wish for a VAT rate above 17.5%, with the Prime Minister favouring a later hike in National Insurance. They also all report the Institute for Fiscal Studies’ analysis of the PBR, which estimated there would be “‘severe cuts’ across departments such as housing, transport, higher education and even defence”, calculating that “the equivalent of £2,400 per family, would have to be found over the course of the next two parliaments in order to restore the public finances”.

There was good post-PBR news for the Government, however, with the Guardian, Independent and FT all reporting France’s plans to emulate the bankers’ bonus tax – with Germany and the US primed to follow suit. Gordon Brown’s entente cordiale with Nicolas Sarkozy is pictured, with the Indy quoting a French source as saying:

“The tête-a-tête worked a treat – they came out of their meeting with huge smiles and big gestures. It was all jollity. Spats across the Channel are part of life, we’re all used to it. Europe is used to them too. This will blow over.”

The latest round of expenses revelations are widely covered, with Quentin Davies coming in for stinging criticism for claiming £20,700 to repair a bell tower and the roof of his country home. The Times, Telegraph, Guardian, Mail, Express and Sun all picture the Defence Minister and his home, with Marina Hyde of the Guardian describing him as “the star in game of Spot the Chisellers”. Among the more bizarre claims, reports the Mail, are the £103 for emptying Michael Ancram’s septic tank, £224.99 for David Clelland’s “robot vacuum cleaner” and an undisclosed sum for Sarah McCarthy-Fry’s “waterproof towelling mattress and pillow protector”.

And the Guardian pictures Barack Obama arriving in Oslo to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. In his acceptance speech, he spoke about the inevitability of war:

“Inaction tears at our conscience and can lead to more costly intervention later. That’s why all responsible nations must embrace the role that militaries with a clear mandate can play to keep the peace.”

The President added that:

“We must begin by acknowledging the hard truth: we will not eradicate violent conflict in our lifetimes. There will be times when nations – acting individually or in concert – will find the use of force not only necessary but morally justified.”

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