Friday News Review

 Leadership Contest

“I am an economic realist. The public finances need addressing. Labour’s plans would halve the budget deficit and remove the bulk of the structural deficit in four years. It is the sensible, credible middle-ground between extreme cuts and unchecked spending. But the government’s proposals, designed without an escape hatch in the event of slowing growth, reflect ideology, not realism” – David Miliband, Financial Times.

 Ed, the younger of the two Miliband brothers, has been heavily supported with Coral bookmakers in the last two days to be the next Labour Leader, and has been slashed in price to 13-8 (from 9-4). David is still the odds-on favourite at 1-2. – Live Odds and Scores.

Ed Balls, Labour’s toughest street-fighter both inside and outside the party, is fiddling with his shoelaces. Sitting in his office at the House of Commons, we have reached the stage of the interview where he must tackle the difficult questions. Has he ever briefed against colleagues? – James McIntyre, New Statesman.
Labour accused Andrew Cook – the Tories’ largest donor in Yorkshire, who subsidised David Cameron’s flights in opposition to the tune of £54,000 – of a conflict of interest after he wrote to the Conservative business minister Mark Prisk in May to warn that an £80m state loan to Sheffield Forgemasters might be illegal under EU law. – UTV.

Lockerbie bomber 

 Jack Straw has been invited to attend an influential US senate hearing that is investigating links between oil giant BP and the release of Lockerbie bomber Abdulbaset Ali al Megrahi. Mr Straw, the former Foreign Secretary, has been asked to appear at the hearing in Washington on July 29. – Sky News.   


Eric Illsley, the MP for Barnsley Central, has appeared in court facing charges of false accounting related to his parliamentary expenses. PA The 55-year-old politician, who is currently suspended from the Labour Party, has been charged with three counts of dishonestly claiming more than £20,000 in allowances – The Telegraph.  

Lib Dem seat fight  

Lib Dem MPs fear they will lose seats to Labour in the north at the next election and struggle even to mount a coherent argument as to why it is necessary to vote Liberal Democrat in Tory-held seats. Clegg believes that so long as Labour is led by “deficit deniers”, it will never gain electoral credibility. But he knows he faces a politically fraught autumn spending review, difficult local elections in May and a referendum on the voting system. –  The Guardian.  

Kinnock: secret smoker  

“But the funniest thing was Neil. He was leader of the Labour Party and he’d given up smoking. He kept sneaking into the lounge and saying ‘have you got a tab, lads – but don’t tell Glenys, she doesn’t know’.”
Trimdon Labour Club members reminisce as the club closes – The Northern Echo.  

Avoiding electoral coma  

When serious Labour figures argue that “We lost because we weren’t Left-wing enough”, you can see how Labour could easily slip into the same electoral coma the Tories fell into after 1997. Liam Byrne has been trying to head off this trad-left instinct, calling on Labour to remember the aspirations of the C2 voters who delivered Blair’s huge majorities. – The Telegraph.  

Oz can learn from UK TV debates  

The British electorate’s verdict was inconclusive, but many now think that the sober and intelligent tone of the debates was instrumental in highlighting the opportunity for bipartisan compromise, and laying the groundwork for a coalition government. As Australia faces its own debate between Tony Abbott and Julia Gillard on Sunday, we could learn a thing or two from the success of the British debates. – Sydney Morning Herald.

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