Look Left – The Finucane family’s fight for justice, Osborne’s ‘strivers’ strife, and change at LFF

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

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• The report into the murder of Pat Finucane was published yesterday, 23 years after the Belfast civil rights lawyer was shot 14 times in front of his wife and children by a loyalist death squad.

The Finucane family’s demand for a full public inquiry into his death, however, was refused by David Cameron, a decision met with widespread opposition. As Kevin Meagher wrote on Left Foot Forward, that such a state-enabled murder could take place in our country, in our time, is shocking; matters surely cannot rest here. As with the Bloody Sunday massacre, we are entitled to know exactly what happened, how it is that state forces could commit such atrocities in our name – the truth, the whole truth must out, and it will only emerge with a full judicial inquiry.

For more on the background to the fight for justice for the Finucane family, read our earlier reports here, here and here, and for more on the wider significance of the case, read Conn Mac Gabhann, of The Irish Chaplaincy in Britain, here.

• Just as with the ‘omnishambles’ budget in March, so the autumn statement continues to unravel, with battle lines drawn over the impact of last week’s changes. 

Writing on Left Foot Forward today, Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury Rachel Reeves detailed how working families will be hit hard by George Osborne’s “strivers’ tax” – a one earner family with children will lose £534 by 2015 as a result of the autumn statement measures (including the raising of the personal allowance), and 32,000 women who claim maternity pay and 59,000 who claim maternity allowance will be hit by the real terms cut in maternity pay – all this while at the same time the richest of the rich find themselves £3 billion better off as a result of the cut in the top rate of tax. And with all the growth and deficit targets missed, the economy crawling along at just 0.6 per cent growth in the two years since the 2010 spending review, compared to the USA’s 4.1% growth and Germany’s 3.6%.

George Osborne and Ed Balls, and then David Cameron and Ed Miliband clashed on the issue in the House of Commons – watch Cameron v Miliband here – with Balls on both occasions brandishing that IFS graph showing the distributional impact of the government’s tax and benefit reforms. Also this week on Left Foot Forward, check out our latest Economic Update, and our latest labour market analysis.

• We’re undergoing some changes at Left Foot Forward – in look and personnel.

As explained here, and as you’ll no doubt have noticed, the site has been redesigned, with the aim of making the site clearer and easier to use. The new design is not fully complete and will continue to evolve, so do please send us your feedback and ideas on the functionality and look of the site; you can email us, leave a commentTweet or Facebook us with your thoughts.

And finally, after three-and-a-half years at LFF, the last two as Editor, I shall be leaving in the New Year. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here, helping build LFF into one of the leading British political blogs, with our evidence-based, pluaralistic approach, and am hugely proud of the major campaigns LFF has run over the past few years. We are now looking to recruit an Assistant Editor – see our advert here – and do get in touch if interested.

Progressives of the Week

Lewisham MPs Dame Joan Ruddock and Heidi Alexander, who spoke up in yesterday’s House of Commons NHS Funding debate, putting forward the case for saving Lewisham Hospital. Watch their speeches here, and see here, here and here for more background on the deadly consequences, clinical irrationality and economic idiocy of the decision to close it.

We will have more on the latest from the campaign to Save Lewisham Hospital later this week on Left Foot Forward.

Regressive of the Week

Once again, step forward Mr Donald John Trump, Sr., who, fresh from his rantings against President Obama (and subsequent meltdown), and recent spat with Lord Sugar, launched into a tirade against the Park 51 Muslim Community Center in Manhattan, saying “in the Arab world, when they have victory, they like to build a Mosque at that site” – adding he’d like to “buy the site”.

Watch his comments here, and relive Obama’s priceless roasting of “the Donald” from the 2011 White House Correspondents dinner here.

Evidence of the Week

Today’s report from the Committee on Climate Change, “Energy prices and bills – impacts of meeting  carbon budgets“, which revealed the majority (83%) of the increase in energy bills is from wholesale and supplier costs, with less than a fifth (19%) due to low-carbon policies, including 11% from energy efficiency measures “without which bills could have increased further over this period”.

See this graphic for more.

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