Look Left – Police double tragedy, Clegg’s fees apology, and Romney’s latest gaffe

Shamik Das looks back at the week’s politics, including our progressive, regressive and evidence of the week.


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• The nation was shocked by the murder of two police officers in Manchester this week.

The killing of Police Constables Nicola Hughes and Fiona Bone prompted fresh debate on whether Britain’s police should be armed, and if the death penalty should be brought back for cop killers.

On Left Foot Forward today, James Hallwood makes the arguments against arming our police, pointing to statistics and examples from around the world, most notably the US, where 166 police officers died from gunfire last year alone.

And in terms of civilian deaths, in 2009, US police recorded 414 ‘justifiable homicides’, while the British police have killed 54 people since 1990. See here for more.

Meanwhile on the death penalty debate, Christopher Wilcock makes the case against bringing it back, again highlighting the lessons learned from the States; see here for more.

• Nick Clegg apologised yesterday for the tuition fees pledge – that’s an apology for making the promise in the first place, not one for the actual policy.

As political mea culpas go, in terms of timing, sincerity, believability and what he was actually apologising for, it has been greeted with a mixture of contempt, anger, renewed rage about fees (which had died down a little), and bemusement.

In essence, he seemed to be saying Liberal Democrat policy (which, incredulously, still states an “ambition to phase out fees” – see here) and the Lib Dem manifesto are worthless. Is an inability to ever deliver true of all Lib Dem policies? What, therefore, is the point of them even having a distinct manifesto if they are unwilling to fight for their convictions in coalition negotiations?

On Left Foot Forward today, we’ve a list of some of the other Lib Dem policy failures, which Mr Clegg might consider apologising for, including the longest double-dip recession since WW2, the million young unemployed; the tax cut for millionaires (while slashing services for the poor); and the cutting away at the heart of the NHS.

See here for more, including a hilarious auto-tune of the apology.

• In the US election race, Mitt Romney made yet another campaign gaffe.

The Republican Presidential candidate was secretly filmed saying 47 per cent of Americans are “people who pay no income tax”. As Ben Mackay illustrated on Left Foot Forward, Romney’s comments on ‘Federal Income Tax’ are as misguided as they were untimely.

See here for more on the Romney gaffe, and check out our latest must-read US election campaign digests by Larry Smith here and here; the next one will be up on LFF on Monday.

Progressive of the week:

Former Labour cabinet minister David Blunkett MP, whose new pamphlet, “In Defence of Politics Revisited”, which argues for the need to change how we do politics, was published this week.

See here for more.

Regressive of the week:

Lord Ashcroft, Tory donor and tax dodger, who this week demanded the slashing of the overseas aid budget, a budget which, no thanks to selfish, unconscionable tax avoiders like him, will put more than 15 million children in school, provide more than 80 million children with vaccines against life-threatening diseases, and ensure better nutrition for more than 9 million people over the next four years.

See here for more.

Evidence of the week:

The new report by Children England, “Perfect Storms: An analysis of the operating conditions for the children, young people and families voluntary sector” (pdf), published this week.

It is the first time a report has modelled and provided case studies showing the cumulative impact of the financial crisis and subsequent austerity measures on children’s charities and their statutory partners. It describes two worrying and interrelated ‘perfect storms’ affecting the voluntary and public sectors, and those they support.

See here for more.

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