Monday News Review

Action on Libya

David Cameron has given his clearest statement yet that the Libyan leader Colonel Gaddafi should step down immediately.  Speaking from Downing Street, Mr Cameron said: “It is time for Colonel Gaddafi to go and to go now, there is no future for Libya that includes him” and he said the British Government was “putting serious pressure” on the regime to relinquish power by imposing a travel ban and an asset freeze.

The Prime Minister also confirmed that a number of Britons had been rescued on Sunday and although there had been some risks, he decided it was the “right thing to do” to ensure British nationals in remote oil fields were evacuated from the country safely. On Sunday evening the Foreign Office confirmed that the Chancellor George Osborne had taken the decision to freeze the assets of the Gaddafi family before the markets open on Monday.  This follows the UN Security Council Resolution tabled by France and Britain, backing sanctions on Libya is response to state violence against protesters. – PoliticsHome

Tory council to ban soup kitchens

Proposals for a ban on soup runs and rough sleeping in a part of the centre of the capital have sparked a political row. Westminster City Council is seeking to pass a bylaw that would prohibit soup runs from operating in a designated area around Westminster Cathedral. Labour councillors have attacked the proposal as ‘cold-hearted and callous’ but the council says soup kitchens perpetuate homelessness and insists it has the support of interested charities…Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg, leader of the Labour Group, said: ‘Nothing illustrates the cold-hearted and callous approach of the Conservatives more than this attempt to criminalise those offering help and support to homeless people in need of a hot meal and a helping hand. ‘I thought that this was what the Big Society was supposed to be all about – generous-hearted people giving their time to those less fortunate, at no cost to the public purse. – the Daily Mail

The richest Tory-run Council in the country is seeking to ban soup kitchens for the homeless from an area around Westminster Cathedral. Labour Uncut has provided the documents to prove that they really hadn’t made up the story with a “you couldn’t make it up” feel to it.  A controversy over banning soup kitchens could prove particularly toxic for the “big society”. Coming so soon after much ‘big society tsar has too little time for the role’ satire, the big idea could certainly do without another existential credibility controversy, while Steve Hilton seeks to patiently nurse it back to health after Andy Coulson’s attempt to kill it with kindness through benign communications neglect.There is legitimate debate about the role of soup runs in providing help to the most vulnerable. The LSE produced a balanced report on the issues in Westminster. While homeless charities are keen to promote alternative provision, it seems very unlikely that civic voices which are widely trusted would support the ban as a way to do this. – Next Left

Searchlight report on rise of far right in UK

RACISM could increase because of David Cameron’s divisive policies. Wage cuts, job losses and axing ­services risk fuelling support for the far right, a report warned. Searchlight Educational Trust found 48% may back a party that would “control immigration and challenge Islamic extremism”. The report says: “Rumbling in the background is an economy not producing enough jobs with a living wage… and a political class that has reached toxically low levels of trust.” – the Mirror

A century of democratic politics teaches that economics and identity are the two most compelling calls to action. Their interplay can produce a dangerous brew. As Britain contemplates a parliament of austerity, we need to understand what makes for the politics of division, and fight it. Compared to some other European countries, we in the UK can consider ourselves relatively lucky in our experience of extremist politics. There have been hard-fought battles. But serious extremist parties have not got a grip. However, research published today on behalf of the Searchlight Educational Trust shows how people can become lured towards more aggressive forms of identity politics. It shows we can’t complacently assume we are exceptional in the European context. We are not. – David Miliband, the Guardian

One Response to “Monday News Review”

  1. Tacitus says:

    It is good that racism in this country is being exposed, but extraordinary that a neo-liberal like David Miliband should be the one bringing it onto the agenda. One would have expected the political left to have been to the fore here, but we simply missed the ball.

    If we are to be a legitimate force in the Labour Party the left needs to become far more vocal, far more active and much more organised. We have a long way to go.

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