Voices on the Left: 5 blogs from the left you need to read this week

A roundup of progressive news…

A pile of newspapers with text overlaid reading "Voices on the Left"

1.Anti-Net Zero MP Backs ‘Laughable’ Report Urging Renewables be ‘Wound Down’-DeSmog

Tory MP Craig Mackinlay, who chairs the Net Zero Scrutiny Group (NZSG), which opposes many of the government’s net zero policies, has endorsed a report calling for renewable energy to be “wound down” completely.

DeSmog highlights how Mackinlay is quoted at length in a press release for a report released by Net Zero Watch entitled: “Taking Back Control: Addressing Britain’s Energy Crisis”, which was released over the weekend and covered in the Telegraph newspaper.

The report calls for the rapid extraction of oil and gas as well as the return of fracking. It further states: “Renewables must be put on the same footing as other generators, with no subsidies and no preferential dispatch, and eventually wound down.” 

2. Exclusive: 39% of UK adults see Tories as high tax party vs 27% for Labour – poll-LabourList

An exclusive poll for LabourList has found that 39% of UK adults see the Conservatives as “the party of high taxation”, against 27% who would describe Labour as the party of high taxes.

The interesting poll findings come as Labour attacks the government for raising taxes on ordinary workers.

Savanta ComRes associate director Chris Hopkins said: “For years the Conservatives have been known as the party of low tax, but no more, it seems, with Labour more likely to be seen as the party of low tax and the Conservatives the party of high tax.

“The fear among Conservatives will be that parties that raise taxes tend to be punished at the ballot box but there is, ultimately, a long way to go before people truly trust an alternative Labour government with economic competence and that they wouldn’t raise taxes if in power again.”

3. The Rent Is Too Damn High-Tribune Magazine

Tribune Magazine features a piece on how the dire state of housing is driving the cost of living crisis. Taking a deeper look at how soaring rent prices and some of the worst protections afforded to renters have seen average rents across England rise to over £1,000, Joe Bilsborough argues that it’s time for radical action.

“In England in 1949 close to 140,000 council houses were built. In 1999 this number was fifty. Solving the housing crisis requires not just reversing these trends, but re-embedding and re-asserting the vision which, as the writer John Broughton notes in Municipal Dreams, has long defined social housing: ‘The visible manifestation of a state which took seriously its duty to house its people decently.’

4. Why did a popular UK news site run anonymous propaganda about Russian oil?-openDemocracy

OpenDemocracy investigates how a popular news website ended up running a flattering anonymous article about BP’s investment in a Russian state-owned oil firm.

London Economic is also investigating two other similar cases of alleged ‘reputation laundering’ following an investigation by openDemocracy.

The investigation reveals that notable people in the PR industry have been involved in paying the London Economic to publish favourable articles about wealthy clients. They said the aim in each case was to “push down” negative publicity on Google rankings.

The London Economic published an article about BP’s investment in Rosneft before the government pressured BP to cut ties with the Russian state-owned energy producer, and was credited only to an anonymous “Guest Contributor”.

Rosneft’s CEO, Igor Sechin, was recently placed under UK sanctions and BP announced it would sell its stake in Rosneft.

5. High childcare costs forcing parents to cut down the hours they work, Labour warns-Morning Star

The Morning Star reports on how high childcare costs are forcing parents to cut down the number of hours they work or in some cases even leave their jobs altogether.

The report is based on a warning from the Labour Party which said it had analysed multiple surveys to highlight how soaring child care costs are limiting parents’ ability to work. According to data from the Coram Family and Childcare annual survey, the annual cost of a full-time nursery place for a child under two years old has increased by almost £1,500 over the last five years.

For primary school children, the cost of after-school clubs has risen nearly 20 per cent over five years.

On average, parents are spending more on after-school clubs than on their weekly food shop.

Shadow education secretary Bridget Phillipson said that Chancellor Rishi Sunak had failed to provide security to families in the latest budget, adding: “The Conservatives are making high quality childcare increasingly unavailable and unaffordable”, she said.

Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward

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