Look Left: The G8 summit, East Coast Trains and rape apologism

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

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Trade, taxes and Syria were on the agenda at the G8 summit in Northern Ireland this week, as world leaders gathered to discuss the challenges facing developed and developing nations alike.

Leaders of the G8 nations were greeted at the summit site by David Cameron, the meeting’s host, on Monday afternoon.

By the close of the summit, however, many observers were feeling disappointed.

As think-tank chief Kevin Watkins of the Overseas Development Institute put it: “we were promised a bang, but this is a whimper. It is simply a wish list”.

At Left Foot Forward this week Ed Jacobs reported on the reaction in Northern Ireland to Barack Obama’s big speech, while IPPR’s Richard Darlington looked at what came out of the summit and gauged the reaction of summit-watchers.

Today (Thursday) parliament debated a government proposal to re-privatise the East Coast mainline, which was nationalised in 2009 by secretary of state for transport at the time Andrew Adonis.

Despite the fact that the current not-for-dividend operator will have returned £800 million to the taxpayer by the end of this financial year, the government is keen to return East Coast rail services to private hands as speedily as possible.

This week James Bloodworth argued that the success of East Coast showed that another model could work on our railways, while former transport secretary Lord Adonis wrote that Labour should be proud of the success of East Coast as an example of public enterprise in action.

• Tennis star Serena Williams made some ill considered comments about rape this week for which she has now apologised.

During an interview with Rolling Stone, Williams said that a teenager who was raped by two high school football players was “lucky”. She also appeared to imply that the victim was in some way to blame for what happened to her.

This week Left Foot Forward looked at how when it comes to rape victim blaming is still pervasive in Britain, with almost half of Londoners surveyed in 2010 saying that there were circumstances when a rape victim should accept some responsibility for an attack.

Progressive of the Week:

This week Lord McFall of Alcluith argued that the mantra ‘you do the crime, you do the time’ was the case “everywhere but banking”.

“This is one conclusion arrived at after a year on the Parliamentary Banking Standards Commission (PBSC) examining the standards and culture of the industry,” Lord McFall said.

“Why is it an off-shore island seemingly not subject to the normal rules of society?”

Regressive of the week:

Predictably, British National Party leader and MEP Nick Griffin had a vile quote to hand when photos emerged appearing to show British food writer Nigella Lawson being grasped by the throat by her husband Charles Satchi.

“If I had the opportunity to squeeze Nigella Lawson, her throat wouldn’t be my first choice,” the 54-year-old MEP tweeted.

But then is it really such a revelation to find out that the leader of the British National Party is a horrible little toad?

No, not really.

Evidence of the Week:

A temporary employment agency went into liquidation this week owing HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) £58 million in unpaid tax.

Edinburgh-based Employ-E, a division of Legitas Group which is also in liquidation, had about 60,000 low-paid temporary workers on its books, who it supplied to recruitment agencies throughout the UK.

Richard Murphy of the Tax Justice Network asked why HMRC only knew what was going on when it was too late.

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