Look Left: MP’s pay, Egypt and UKIP’s toxic underbelly

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

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• The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) is likely to recommend on Friday that MPs receive an inflation-busting pay increase of £10,000.

The independent body, set up so that MPs were not voting to increase their own pay, is expected to propose that MPs’ salaries rise from their current level of £65,738 to around £75,000.

Understandably many feel aggrieved by this, including here at Left Foot Forward. While we understand that MPs should be reasonably paid so the profession does not become little more than a hobby for the privileged, at a time when living standards are stagnant an inflation-busting pay increase for MPs would sit uncomfortably with many.

This week Left Foot Forward looked at five arguments against paying MPs more.

• Developments in Egypt has moved quickly over the past few days, with President Mohamed Morsi deposed in what appears to be a military coup after just a year in power.

In recent days huge protests have filled Tahrir Square in scenes reminiscent of the movement that toppled former President Hosni Mubarak in 2011. Protesters’ opposition to Morsi appears to hinge on two central tenets: the Morsi government’s economic ineptitude and the ruling Freedom and Justice Party’s incursion upon secularism and women’s rights.

This week Left Foot Forward looked at the rise (and in the case of Egypt the fall) of leaders like Morsi: the democratators.

• This week UKIP again revealed their true colours, with the party’s health spokesman calling for the introduction of charges in the NHS for A&E patients.

This wasn’t the only unpalatable news to emerge from the UKIP camp, either. It was reported on Wednesday that Nigel Farage’s MEPs had backed French far-right leader Marine Le Pen in a vote on whether to remove her parliamentary immunity for comparing French Muslims to Nazis.

This week Left Foot Forward reported on both stories before anyone else. In other words, we watch UKIP so you don’t have to.

Progressive of the Week:

This week Theresa May announced a six week consultation into the use of stop and search powers by police, after years of evidence that its application has disproportionately singled out ethnic minorities.

As it turns out, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) had to some extent forced the home secretary’s hand.

The EHRC had commenced legal action against two police forces in 2010 because of the controversial measure, and stop and search was suspended after a formal agreement was reached between the EHRC and the two forces to look in more detail at the controversial procedure.

Regressive of the week:

Boris Johnson gave the go ahead this week for the demolition of the Earls Court Exhibition Centre as part of plans to create a 77-acre redevelopment site in Earls Court and West Kensington.

Despite being worth over a billion pounds to London’s real economy and hosting hundreds of events each year, the Earl’s Court Exhibition centers are to be demolished to make way for what the Independent calls a “playground for the super rich”.

This week the Green Party’s Darren Johnson looked at what London is set to lose when the exhibition centre goes.

Evidence of the Week:

Private landlords are out-bidding first-time buyers and pushing house prices out of the reach of many young people, according to a new report.

The Strategic Society Centre has called on the government to “tip the balance” back in favour of first time buyers and prevent landlords using their “equity advantage” to buy up empty homes, locking young people out of the property market.

Analysis by the Strategic Society Centre found that the average age of private landlords was 48 and the average age of renters 32. Mean financial wealth of landlords was £75,103 and the median £20,500, compared to just £9,506 mean and £398 median for renters.

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