Remembering the July 7th terror attacks, the latest Coalition cuts, Michael Gove's week from hell and more.
The Week in Politics
• This week marked the fifth anniversary of the July 7th terror attacks, in which 52 innocent men, women and children were killed in attacks on the London transport network. On Wednesday, Londoners stopped to remember the victims, with wreaths laid on behalf of the prime minister and Mayor of London at the Hyde Park momorial to the victims.
Left Foot Forward published an article on Wednesday looking into the attack, the backgrounds of the suicide bombers and how it came about, and asking what can be done in the future to prevent a repeat, concluding that:
The sad fact is that the people of Dewsbury, and numerous communities like it, will probably never read this article.
A proper response to 7/7 must be to bring the alienated and angry young men of Britain, whether seduced by Al Qaeda, the BNP or football hooliganism, into society. Only then can we have social cohesion and only this is true counter-terrorism.
And on Monday, Left Foot Forward reported the findings of a study into terrorism in the UK, which revealed more than two thirds of convicted UK-based Islamist terrorists are British nationals, almost half are from London and nearly one third have attended university.
• The Muir-Russell report into the so-called ‘climate gate’ story was published this week – it came as further evidence confirming the record levels of decline in Arctic Sea ice was published. The reports this week exonerated the scientists at the centre of the investigations, while the media came in for criticism for the reporting of climate change in sceptic publications.
Left Foot Forward’s Joss Garman reported:
The Daily Telegraph this week retracted another story that turned out to be bogus about Pachauri’s links to industry. This followed a German newspaper’s report into so-called ‘Africagate’ – which also turned out to be bogus and was retracted. This in turn followed the Sunday Times’ retraction of the ‘Amazongate’ story.
And world leading climate scientists told The Guardian:
“This was a shameful chapter in the history of news reporting, and a lesson for those who are concerned about fair and honest communication with the public.” Professor Mann says, “We’re currently witnessing the warmest temperatures ever globally, and are in the midst of a record-setting heat wave in the US associated with the warmest early summer temperatures ever.”
• More cuts were announced by the Coalition Government this week, the main development being the axing of the Building Schools for the Future programme (see below for more). Also this week, it was revealed that the legal aid training contract grants scheme would be scrapped, as reported by Left Foot Forward today.
The scheme’s axing will, as ever under the Coalition, hit the poorest hardest, jeopardising hundreds of potential new jobs over the next few years, with far fewer training contract places available for legal practice course (LPC) graduates, who are already struggling to overcome so many barriers within the profession.
Daniel Harrison, a trainee solicitor from Eastbourne who benefitted from the scheme explained to Left Foot Forward that he wouldn’t have got a training contract at his firm without the training contract grant. With part of his salary being paid by the grant, it allowed him to carry out work that. whilst not always being particularly profitable, did in fact serve to make a difference in peoples’ lives.
Progressives of the week
The European Parliament, which on Wednesday backed tough new rules on bankers’ bonuses. The new regulations will require banks to defer 40 to 60 per cent of bonuses for three to five years, and half of any immediate bonus must be paid in shares or in other securities linked to the bank’s performance, and could take effect within the European Union’s 27 member states by this winter.
As Left Foot Forward reported on Monday, Labour MEP’s have led the way on this issue in the European Parliament, Labour’s Arlene McCarthy secureing Council and Commission backing for the Capital Requirements Directive (CRD 3), which will place strict limits on bonuses – particularly bailed-out banks – saying the new regime should help address “fundamental flaws in the banking system” and discourage excessive risk-taking.
Regressive of the week
Education secretary Michael Gove, who this week announced the scrapping of the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme, resulting in 719 school redevelopments being axed and undercutting George Osborne’s pledge in the Budget last month that “there will be no further reductions in capital spending totals”. Not only that, but he was then forced to apologise to the House for publishing the wrong list of which schools were to be targeted by his axe and the few which would be spared.
Labour backbencher Tom Watson called Mr Gove a “miserable pipsqueak of a man“. Earlier this week, Left Foot Forward highlighted yet another error of Mr Gove, reporting that his claim Labour’s spending plans “were based on unsustainable assumptions and led to unfunded promises” were nothing of the sort, the permanent secretary at the Department for Education revealing that Ed Balls had the “appropriate cover” of the Treasury when running the department.
See tweets below for more on the talentless Mr Gove.
Evidence of the week
Dr Andrew Goudie this week published a report warning that it could take up to 16 years for the Scottish budget to return to 2009/10 levels, as reported by Left Foot Forward yesterday. Dr Goudie had reported in April that Scottish expenditure would be expected to fall by £25-35 billion in real terms by 2024/25, as well as warning that spending would be likely to face five consecutive years of real-term cuts, but has since revised his figures.
The cumulative loss, compared to a scenario where the Scottish Government Budget was assumed to remain at its 2009/10 level in real terms, is estimated to be approximately £42 billion. This compares to a cumulative loss of £26 billion under the assumptions in the March 2010 UK Budget.
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