Politics Summary: Wednesday, May 19th

Nick Clegg appears on the front of several papers ahead of his first major speech as Deputy Prime Minister. The Times declares, “Clegg risks rift with Tories over tax and human rights”. In an interview with the paper, the Lib Dem leader said that, “The Conservatives have always been ideologically in favour of a tax reduction and the Liberal Democrats in favour of fairer taxes and the coalition agreement strongly emphasises the latter.” He went on to says that, “Any government would tamper with [the Human Rights Act] at its peril” but said he would be “completely pragmatic” about his party’s ambition for a fully elected House of Lords.

The Guardian reports that decisions over the HRA will be “passed to an independent commission after a disagreement within the new coalition.” Mr Clegg also told the Times, “What I call liberalism David Cameron calls the Big Society.” The Daily Telegraph‘s front page trails Clegg’s speech where he will ask the public which laws they want scrapped. A front page picture story in the Independent compares Nick Clegg to Lord Grey, Prime Minister at the time of the 1832 Great Reform Act. ID cards, limits to peaceful protests, and the ContactPoint children’s database are all for the chop.

The Sun reports that Ed Balls will today “launch his bid to be Labour leader”. The Guardian reports that, “Balls is backed initially by 15 MPs, short of the 34 required to stand.” The leftwing Labour MP John McDonnell revealed yesterday that he would throw his hat into the ring if he can get enough support for a nomination. The paper speculates that Andy Burnham, the former health secretary, is also expected to announce his candidacy in the coming days. As supported by this blog, Harriet Harman announced yesterday that there would be a long race concluding on the eve of Labour’s annual conference on September 25th. But there was “disquiet from MPs that the timetable asks them to nominate their chosen candidate by Thursday next week”. Jon Cruddas told Radio 4’s PM programme that this nine-day schedule was “an absolute nonsense.”

The Guardian‘s front page reports that, “Top civil servants made formal protests over Labour spending”. The Financial Times reports that there were ten “letters of direction” from former cabinet ministers instructing senior officials to authorise spending on projects – despite concerns over value for money – ranging from the car scrappage scheme to compensation for Icelandic trawlermen. Five were issued by Lord Mandelson. By contrast, only five such letters were required between 2005 and 2008 and they were issued at a rate of two a year between 1990 and 2005. The former chancellor Alistair Darling said: “Every new government tries blaming the last one … it’s the oldest trick in the book.”

The Independent reports that poorer students are still struggling to make it to Britain’s top universities. The paper reveals that “Britain’s most selective universities have made no progress in the past 15 years in increasing the number of places given to students from disadvantaged backgrounds.” The report by the Office for Fair Access says that students from the most affluent 20 per cent of the country are now seven times more likely to obtain a place in the top third of selective universities – compared with six times in the mid-1990s. The president-elect of the National Union of Students wrote yesterday for Left Foot Forward about the Lib Dems election pledge to “vote against any increase in fees and to pressure the government to introduce a fairer alternative.”

The Independent reports that, “Osborne fails to block European crackdown on City hedge funds”. The paper outlines that the new Chancellor’s first foray to Brussels “ended with defeat” as European Union finance ministers backed a tough crackdown on the City.” The Financial Times‘ is more nuanced and reports that “Mr Osborne decided not to use up political capital in Brussels … Rather than fighting a last-ditch battle over hedge funds, Mr Osborne wants to keep his powder dry for a much bigger debate next month over plans to create an EU-wide regulatory system for financial services.” Adding a little confusion, the Telegraph says that, “George Osborne wins EU hedge fund concession” as a statement after the talks said the EU group “notes the concerns” expressed by the UK and a handful of other countries.

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16 Responses to “Politics Summary: Wednesday, May 19th”

  1. House Of Twits

    RT @leftfootfwd New post: Politics Summary: Wednesday, May 19th http://bit.ly/anqnI1

  2. Left Foot Forward

    New post: Politics Summary: Wednesday, May 19th http://bit.ly/anqnI1

  3. Anon E Mouse

    Will – You seem to have missed the main headline in The Guardian – the one where the “Top Civil Servants Made Formal Protests Over Labour Spending”.

    To get you up to speed it’s where Labour Ministers tried to accuse the Coalition for “blaming the last lot” rather than being honest and admitting that Labour blew all the money.

    So far in interviews and (mainly) on this site you have displayed a balance to your articles but this is partisan and certainly “old” politics.

    You can’t hide the truth Will – it’ll be back to bite you on the arse. Any chance of correcting your article to reflect the HEADLINE in The Guardian please?

  4. Will Straw

    FFS, Anon. It’s the 3rd story above. Why don’t you read our pieces before jumping all over us!!!

  5. Mr. Sensible

    Clegg seems to have swallowed this ‘Big Society’ nonsense hook, line and sinker.

    In my view, we need a DNA database; in Nottinghamshire, the Collette Aram case was only resolved thanks to DNA evidence. That underlines how important it is.

    And as for all this rubbish being reported about police being allowed to charge people – what on Earth?

    The CPS has to make those decisions based presumably on legal advice.

    And I notice the CBI is talking about public sector pay again; ridiculous.

  6. Cruddas: Labour should change nominations timetable | Left Foot Forward

    […] Labour should change nominations timetable With Ed Balls and John McDonnell expected to announce their candidacy today, the Labour leadership election is well under way. But although campaigners are pleased that […]

  7. Marcel Duda

    <b>Politics</b> Summary: Wednesday, May 19th | Left Foot Forward http://goo.gl/fb/TAc4Y

  8. Anon E Mouse

    Will – Sorry dude, started ranting without reading the full article.

    Please accept my apologies,


  9. Will Straw

    Accepted! And good to know that we’re now on first name terms. Are you still having problems posting from home? If so, email your home ip address to editor@leftfootforward.org.

  10. james kirk

    Politics Summary: Wednesday, May 19th | Left Foot Forward http://bit.ly/caMRtE

  11. james o kirk

    Politics Summary: Wednesday, May 19th | Left Foot Forward http://bit.ly/caMRtE

  12. maxinefrasermf@yahoo.co.uk

    The Civil Servant debacle reported in the Guardian is a non story. Surely what is more important is the prominence it was given in the media generally. The reporting of politics has become so partisan to the point whereby all that is up for discussion is a right wing interpretation of the headlines. The Labour Party must carve out a distinctive progressive voice which is genuinely different from the LibCOns. However in order to move on, Labour needs to apologise and re-appraise its policy regarding, Afgahnistan, Israel, Iran, ID cards, the trampling of human rights if it is to win back the trust of the voters. Unfortunately, because of the media age that we live in, figures like Jon Cruddas, Alan Johnston, Ken Livinstone are not attractive and young enough to appeal to a wider audience.

  13. SadButMadLad

    Yes we do need a DNA database. However we don’t need a database of innocent people. The previous government didn’t even get round to taking the DNA of prisoners already in jail. However the DNA database is not a value for money solution. The number of convictions through the database is miniscule, 0.36% of all convictions. CSi might make it seem like you can solve all crimes with DNA. In reality very few crime scenes provide useful DNA.

    As for the police being able to charge over minor crimes. They already can, but for extremely minor cases. What this does is give responsibility back to the police to do their job and handle slightly more serious cases. It doesn’t allow them to do it for all cases. In future police will be able to make a decision as to whether or not to charge someone based on the evidence before them. If they (it’ll most likely be chief inspectors) believe that the evidence is very strong (and police do have the appropriate legal training required) they can charge the person rather than waste time writing a report to send to the CPS and wasting time waiting for the answer to come back. All this time wasted means that they are not out on the beat. The convicted person then goes before the court who can decide properly if they are guilty or not.

  14. Kurt

    Politics Summary: Wednesday, May 19th | Left Foot Forward http://bit.ly/doHQ96

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    […] Politics Summary: Wednesday, May 19th | Left Foot Forward […]

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