Politics Summary: Monday, December 14th

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Foreign affairs once again dominate the front pages, following Gordon Brown’s trip to Afghanistan and his predecessor’s remarks that he “would have gone to war without Iraqi WMD”. The Times reports the Prime Minister’s £150 million pledge of 400 high-tech handheld devices to detect roadside bombs in Afghanistan. The Guardian, however, reports bad news for the mission, in that a key hydroelectric turbine project “may never be installed” because the coalition is unable to secure a 30-mile stretch of road in northern Helmand, while the Independent carries a despatch from the front line detalining the “strategy for the Afghan surge” – namely reconciliation with Taliban forces willing to renounce extremism.

On Iraq, the Guardian gives reassurances that Tony Blair’s evidence to the Chilcot inquiry will be “very much in public” following reports over the weekend that it would be given in secret. Writing in the Times, former Director of Public Prosecutions Ken MacDonald voices his displeasure at the latest developments, saying that Mr Blair “engaged in an alarming subterfuge with his partner George Bush and went on to mislead and cajole the British people into a deadly war”, with the Independent reporting former UN Chief Weapons Inspector Hans Blix’s remarks that the former PM’s statement gave the impression of a “lack of sincerity”.

To Copenhagen, and the Independent’s report that sunspots “do not cause climate change”, debunking another key tenet of the climate sceptics. Scientists, led by a Nobel prize-winner, say evidence claiming sunspots cause global warming is “deeply flawed”. At the summit itself, the chances of a global emissions deal being struck are fading, report the Guardian and Independent, with the Times saying a deal could be stalled “for up to six years”. Yesterday Left Foot Forward published a poll which found that a global deal at Copenhagen is critical to winning over public support for key domestic measures, also reported in the Independent on Sunday.

The Financial Times reports that flaws in the UK tax system cost the country “£40bn a year”. The figure comes from an HM Revenue & Customs estimate of the “tax gap”, which revealed that “8 per cent of the expected tax due goes uncollected for a variety of reasons ranging from simple errors to criminal attacks”, though it is not as bad as the “14 per cent gap in the US, the 10 per cent gap in Sweden and 6 per cent in Denmark” – but some estimate Britain’s tax gap to be as much as £100bn or 20 per cent.

And the Telegraph reports President Obama’s TV interview on Sunday in which he slammed “fat cat” Wall Street bankers. Ahead of a meeting with executives from 12 banks today he said: “I did not run for office to be helping out a bunch of fat cat bankers on Wall Street,” before adding:

“They’re still puzzled why it is that people are mad at the banks. Well, let’s see. You guys are drawing down 10, 20 million dollar bonuses after America went through the worst economic year in decades and you guys caused the problem.”

9 Responses to “Politics Summary: Monday, December 14th”

  1. Politics Summary: Monday, December 14th | Left Foot Forward « Noya Khobor

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  3. Letters From A Tory

    Ironically, the Sunday papers also reported that the IPCC report into climate change had been “debunked”.

    All getting a bit tetchy….

  4. Anon E Mouse

    Letters From A Tory – Absolutely right and the “Hockey Stick” bogus graph on which the IPCC bases it’s findings has now been also shown conclusively as a manipulated fake: http://iaindale.blogspot.com/search/label/Climate%20Change

    Not that rational people ever believed it since the data didn’t go back pre-industrial revolution so without being able to show the Climate before and after man made CO2 came into the mix was never credible. That’s obvious.

    And of course when one does look at the climate over a longer period, using ice cores which give accurate results (they can’t be altered by the CRU who then destroy the original stats so they can’t be rumbled misleading people) it is easy to see that the wild claims are just that – wild claims.

    Look at Australia. Even in the face of the most serious droughts in decades they are brave enough to step up to the plate, act intelligently and show real leadership in this matter – if they can do it so can we. We are crying out for leadership in Britain over this and what do we get? More taxes from Gordon Brown is what.

    This: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/its-the-poor-who-will-pay-for-copenhagens-circus/story-e6frg6zo-1225809976343

    “The tragedy of Copenhagen is that the impact of any agreement on the world’s poor has largely been lost among the self-indulgent circus caused by rich country green activists who’d rather see themselves on television back home.”

    We need to ignore the Ed Milibands and John Prescotts of the world and act properly here – our children won’t forgive us if we don’t. The sooner various people (including regular posters on this blog) stop acting like this important matter is some sort of science fiction movie and get serious about it the better. Your children will not forgive you personally for getting this wrong guys – engage brains please.

    Once this farce in Copenhagen is over and the delusional Climate Cooling Deniers find something else to do, we might actually sort out a means the whole planet can agree on to drastically reduce man made CO2 and leave a planet fit for our future generations to live on.

  5. willstraw

    Hi Anon, Hi Letters from a Tory,

    Let’s be absolutely clear about something. The Sunday papers did not debunk the IPCC “hockey stick” graph. They told us what we already knew after the CRU hack.

    The ‘decline’ being discussed wasn’t global temperatures but local temperatures in one region, which the scientists had elicited by looking at tree rings. The problem was that what the tree rings were saying didn’t match up with what thermometers were saying – and they couldn’t work out why.

    Climate scientists look for temperature records dating back centuries by using proxy measures, such as the width of tree rings, corals, or ice cores. Climate scientists use about 1200 such proxy measures and, oddly, one of them showed a temperature decline after 1960 while we know that actual temperatures, measured with thermometers, increased. It made no sense to mark the false indication of a decline on the graph because the scientists knew the sign from the tree ring was wrong. The ‘trick’ was simply to plot temperature using the best available measure for the time period – proxies where necessary and measured temperatures otherwise. This hides nothing.

    The scientists have obviously behaved, which has elicited suspicion but the facts really speak forthemselves. As this YouTube clip shows there was nothing untoward taking place with their data analysis: http://www.leftfootforward.org/2009/12/shooting-cru-the-climate-change-messenger/

    And the CRU conclusions are completely consistent with the conclusions from NASA and the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. If you believe there’s a global conspiracy taking place, good luck to you. But I’m in the Elvis is dead and Osama bin Laden is responsible for 9/11 camp.

    Best wishes,

    Will

  6. The Trump Network

    Politics Summary: Monday, December 14th | Left Foot Forward http://bit.ly/8AkNV6

  7. Kurt

    Politics Summary: Monday, December 14th | Left Foot Forward http://bit.ly/5q4zYD

  8. Anon E Mouse

    Will – Leaving aside the fact there is no monopoly position on this (Nasa’s own David Rind disagrees with the conclusions and he should know, the IPCC used his personal data) and even though my views are the mainstream opinion here it doesn’t necessary make them right.

    The Hockey Stick shows how they hid the line that they didn’t like and in any event over thousands of years there is clearly no warming.

    What I know for certain is that nothing will be achieved in Copenhagen other than poor peoples in the world being taxed by their governments and everyone saying blah blah, smiles, handshakes, photos, blah blah – nothing done. Except new taxes.

    I just do not like a minority opinion not being open to challenge and in fairness LFF does allow fair debate which is why there seems to be a buzz about this site compared to the other Labour blogs.

    I certainly do not believe in conspiracy theories, global or otherwise and what do you mean Elvis is dead?

  9. Anon E Mouse

    Will – Looks like I’m wrong and this circus may be over faster than I thought:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8411898.stm

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