The week Uncut

12/02/2012, 06:31:47 PM

In case you missed them, these were the best read pieces on Uncut in the last seven days:

Atul Hatwal reports on an unlikely YouTube sensation

Jonathan Ashworth sends us another page of his whip’s notebook

Paul Crowe says Labour must back financial services

Rob Marchant’s take on the Chris Huhne

Peter Watt on human rights and legal wrongs

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The week Uncut

29/01/2012, 07:20:08 PM

In case you missed them, these were the best read pieces on Uncut in the last seven days:

Atul Hatwal on the need for a coherent message

John Spellar stands up for the link

Peter Watt wants the Ed’s to stick to a script – any script

Jonathan Todd’s lessons from America

Jonathan Ashworth reports on the Government’s falling work rate

Rob Marchant says smart people learn from their enemies

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The week Uncut

11/12/2011, 07:44:22 PM

In case you missed them, these were the best read pieces on Uncut in the last seven days:

Peter Watt thinks volunteers make the world go round

Atul Hatwal looks at Labour’s relationship with the forces

Jonathan Todd says socialism is the language of priorities

Roberta Blackman-Woods reports on what the Chancellor’s doing to the North East

Anthony Painter on “In the black Labour”

Kevin Meagher says Labour must remain a moral crusade

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The week Uncut

29/10/2011, 12:18:23 PM

In case you missed them, these were the best read pieces on Uncut in the last seven days:

Jim Murphy MP on the PM’s problem with Europe

Anthony Painter reviews What makes people tick

Peter Watt thinks “same old Tories” still trumps “same old Labour”

Jonathan Todd on Gaddafi and human rights

Adam Richards on Europe and the economy

Kevin Meagher’s take on workforce reform

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The week Uncut

23/10/2011, 06:25:36 PM

In case you missed them, these were the best read pieces on Uncut in the last seven days:

Tom Harris on the weirdos in Westminster

Dan Hodges reviews Matthew Collins’ Hate

Michael Dugher says DC cares more about Fox than about you

Matt Cavanagh on the government’s record on crime

Peter Watt remembers Tony Gardner

Kevin Meagher thinks Fox is just the beginning

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The week Uncut

16/10/2011, 06:52:33 PM

In case you missed them, these were the best read pieces on Uncut in the last seven days:

John Woodcock doesn’t like Cameron’s chances against Ed’s team

Peter Watt looks at the people behind the numbers

Matt Cavanagh on Cameron’s immigration speech

Dan Hodges drops in his thoughts on Ed Miliband between jobs

Rob Marchant gets carried away with Star Trek references

Jonathan Todd goes in search of common sense socialism

Kevin Meagher finds himself a little full after the leader’s speech

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Thursday News Review

22/09/2011, 08:34:31 AM

Clegg holds strong

The Liberal Democrat leader, Nick Clegg, ended a surprisingly placid party conference by offering himself as the anchor that will keep the coalition government on the centre ground and on a liberal path. Ending a conference dominated by the gathering gloom on the economy, and by whether the Liberal Democrat Keynesians in the government should challenge the Treasury orthodoxy, Clegg promised the coalition “can and will do more” to help a worsening economy. But he said the government would not veer from its commitment to eliminate the structural deficit by the end of the parliament, and admitted this meant a “long, hard road ahead”. Quoting JS Mill, he added: “the only struggles worth having are the uphill ones” and urged his party to lift their spirits, saying: “Never apologise for the difficult things we are having to do.” The party had grown up by going through the door of government, he said, repeatedly claiming his party was “doing the right thing and not the easy thing in the national interest”. – the Guardian

Cameron: we must act quicker to stop suffering

David Cameron will today urge the world to be quicker to take military action to stop states from slaughtering their own people. The Prime Minister will use his first speech to the United Nations to demand that the organisation become less of a talking shop and intervene when people under brutal regimes require its help. In a clear statement of intent following Nato’s successful campaign against Muammar Gaddafi’s Libya, Mr Cameron will tell international leaders that the world must be prepared to act again. “You can sign every human rights declaration in the world but if you stand by and watch people being slaughtered in their own country, when you could act then what are those signatures really worth?” Mr Cameron will ask the General Assembly. “The UN has to show that we can be – not just united in condemnation, but – united in action acting in a way that lives up to the UNs founding principles and meets the needs of people everywhere.” – the Telegraph

News International executives knew in 2006

Up to a dozen News International executives, including Rebekah Brooks, were told in 2006 that the Metropolitan Police had evidence that more than one News of the World journalist was implicated in the phone-hacking scandal. New information obtained by The Independentchallenges the timetable, as publicly stated by Rupert Murdoch’s newspaper group, of when and how it first became aware of the extent of illegality at the now-defunct Sunday tabloid. Senior figures from NI have repeatedly stated to Parliament that the company had no significant evidence until 2008 that illegal voicemail interception went beyond the NOTW’s jailed royal editor, Clive Goodman. The new evidence, which is likely to be central to the investigations into the Murdoch empire, reveals that police informed the company two years earlier that they had uncovered strong “circumstantial evidence” implicating other journalists. A senior police officer held a meeting with Ms Brooks in the weeks after the arrest in August 2006 of Mr Goodman and the private investigator Glenn Mulcaire. – the Independent

National Trust refuses to back down

The head of the National Trust today sets out “red line” demands before the start of negotiations with the Government to end the row over controversial changes to planning rules. Dame Fiona Reynolds, the organisation’s director-general, is expecting to sit down with Greg Clark, the planning minister, to hammer out a compromise over the next few days. The breakthrough came after David Cameron wrote to Dame Fiona with a personal assurance that the environmental benefits of developments would be assessed before new projects were given permission. Replying in an article today’s Daily Telegraph, Dame Fiona says she is delighted that the Prime Minister’s letter “confirms that the purpose of the planning system has not changed”. Ministers are currently pushing through plans to replace more than 1,000 pages of planning regulations in England with just 52 pages in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). The change is controversial because it writes into the rules a new “presumption in favour of sustainable development”, which is not defined clearly in the rules. – the Telegraph

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Tuesday News Review

20/09/2011, 08:33:16 AM

Murdoch £3m offer to the family of Milly Dowler

The family of the murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler have been offered nearly £3m by Rupert Murdoch’s News International as the company tries to draw a line under the single most damaging incident in the phone-hacking scandal. The huge payout, which The Independent understands is to be divided between Milly’s family and charities designated by them, comes after Mr Murdoch held his head in his hands in a meeting with the teenager’s parents this summer and repeatedly apologised for the interception of her voicemails by his News of the World. The revelation in July that the private investigator Glenn Mulcaire accessed Milly’s mobile phone on behalf of NOTW after her disappearance in March 2002 – and that messages were deleted from her phone, giving her family false hope that she was still alive – was a tipping point in the hacking saga, unleashing a wave of public anger and revulsion which ultimately forced the closure of the 168-year-old tabloid. The revelation sparked an unprecedented risis in the Murdoch empire. The main principles of the settlement between NI and the Dowler family have been agreed and the package is expected to be finalised in the coming days. It is likely that Mr Murdoch personally approved the payment to the Dowlers. – the Independent

Cable: Grey skies ahead

The country faces the “economic equivalent of fighting a war” with the global economic crisis worsening, Vince Cable warned the Lib Dem conference in Birmingham. The Business Secretary said that he could see only “grey skies ahead” and that the financial collapse had broken the post-war trend of “ever-rising living standards”. The economy dominated the Liberal Democrats’ annual conference in Birmingham yesterday, where a succession of government ministers stressed the severity of the situation. In his speech, Mr Cable warned that there was little reason for optimism. “Even with a stimulus to support recovery the next few years will be difficult,” he said. “Living standards are being squeezed by continued high imported inflation. And the painful truth is that Britain is a poorer country as a result of the financial crash.” He added: “When my staff saw my draft of this speech they said, ‘we can see the grey skies, where are the sunny uplands?’ I am sorry, I can only tell it as I see it. – the Telegraph

The Business Secretary’s comparison of the economic battle with the Second World War was depressing. He recognises the country is in a financial hole, but his ConDem Government is still digging. I don’t want 10 years of squeezed living standards any more than Cable who is, I admit, a thoughtful chap. Yet to pursue the Coalition’s failed economic policies is utter madness. Yes, the recovery will be built on cars not casinos. The answer, however, isn’t defending 15 months in which the ConDems strangled growth. Politicians are weakened by banksters and assorted gamblers who play roulette with national economies. To be in the recovery game Cable needs to acknowledge deep cuts now are suicidal. He didn’t, so his prophesy will be self-fulfilling, grey economic skies raining austerity for years to come. That is not to deny Cable has a few good ideas. Tackling unearned soaring pay for a wealthy few is one of them. And the Lib Dem’s criticisms of capitalism would never be uttered by a Tory. But the tortured soul in the Business Department needs to get real. If Britain is on the edge of an economic cliff, we must step back. Not wring our hands and shout: “We’re all doomed.” – the Mirror

Gove emails under scrutiny

Education secretary Michael Gove is facing potentially damaging claims that he and his closest advisers have conducted government business using private emails. The emails allegedly include a discussion of replacing personnel in the department but civil servants were unable to find those emails when asked to retrieve them under the Freedom of Information Act, the Financial Times reported. The information commissioner has written to the permanent secretary at the Department for Education to raise concerns about the department’s handling of FOI requests. A spokeswoman for the Information Commissioner’s Office said it was still making inquiries and had not launched an investigation. – the Guardian

Michael Gove and his closest advisers are under scrutiny after Government business was apparently conducted using personal email accounts. The emails allegedly include a discussion of replacing personnel in the department, but civil servants were unable to find the messages when asked to retrieve them under the Freedom of Information Act by theFinancial Times. Moving correspondence to non-official email accounts would mean they could not be scrutinised by anyone through the act. The allegations follow an email sent in February from Dominic Cummings, the Secretary of State’s chief political aide, who wrote to colleagues stating that he “will not answer any further e-mails to my official DfE account”. It added: “i will only answer things that come from gmail accounts from people who i know who they are. i suggest that you do the same in general but thats obv up to you guys – i can explain in person the reason for this …” The Education Secretary’s aides stressed the email was about party political rather than governmental business and did not breach the rules. – the Telegraph

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Monday News Review

19/09/2011, 07:32:35 AM

Faron and Clegg clash over Coalition

The Coalition could break up before the general election, the Liberal Democrat president Tim Farron suggested at the parties conference in Birmingham. Mr Farron made the comment in a conference speech which saw him fire a barrage of criticism at the Conservatives. Mr Farron made the comment in a conference speech which saw him fire a barrage of criticism at the Conservatives. The Coalition Agreement commits the two parties to remain in office until May 2015. But Mr Farron, a leading figure on the Left of thLiberal Democrats, said that the partnership could end in as little as three years. “If it’s a marriage, well it’s a good-natured one, but I’m afraid it’s temporary,” Mr Farron told activists in Birmingham. “I don’t want to upset you and it’s not going to happen for three or four years, but I’m afraid divorce is inevitable.” However, Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister and Lib Dem leader, insisted that the Coalition would survive the 2015 election. “I intend to see it well beyond one term,” he said in a BBC interview. His view is clearly not shared by the rest of his party, with even supportive ministers suggesting he could leave before the election. – the Telegraph

Cable to set out workers rights over boardroom pay

Vince Cable will set out plans on Monday to give workers and company shareholders rights to call time on spiralling boardroom pay as part of a Liberal Democrat-led drive to champion “responsible capitalism” and retain wavering public support for the coalition’s austerity measures. The business secretary will also announce that all directors of firms listed on the London Stock Exchange will be required to set out in a comprehensible form the total value of their salary, pensions, share schemes and bonuses. Remuneration committees will also be forced to explain in annual company reports why they have paid bonuses that are not justified by performance, or are out of line with their pay policy. Cable will argue that for Britain to be “turned around” requires giving people a sense of a shared society. That means, he will say, “reducing our appalling inequalities of income and wealth, and creating a responsible capitalism. I want a real sense of solidarity, which means a narrowing of inequalities.”  – the Guardian

Top Tory demands EU vote

Mark Pritchard, the secretary of the 1922 committee of Conservative MPs, is the most senior Tory yet to demand a vote on Britain’s membership of the European Union following the eurozone crisis. Writing in The Daily Telegraph, Mr Pritchard says that the EU has become an “occupying force” which is eroding British sovereignty and that the “unquestioning support” of backbenchers is no longer guaranteed. He says the Government should hold a referendum next year on whether Britain should have a “trade only” relationship with the EU, rather than the political union which has evolved “by stealth”. He warns that the Conservatives will see constituents “kick back” if taxpayers are forced to foot the bill for the failure of “unreformed and lazy” eurozone countries to introduce fully-fledged austerity measures. Mr Pritchard is a leading figure in a group of 120 Conservative MPs who are pushing the Prime Minister to set out a “clear plan” for pulling back from Europe. – the Telegraph

Clegg warns Cameron on Europe

Nick Clegg will veto any proposals by the Conservatives to repatriate powers from Europe if treaty renegotiations are needed to save the eurozone. Party officials said Mr Clegg had made it clear to David Cameron that any attempt to translate euro-sceptic Tory rhetoric into policy would be opposed by the Liberal Democrats. Mr Clegg is expected to address the question of Europe in his speech on Wednesday and will stress the need to help eurozone countries rather than use the crisis to leverage powers from Brussels. The Lib Dem leadership expects the issue of Europe to dominate the Conservative conference in Manchester the week after next, and are expecting tough words from the leadership to appease the party faithful. But they are insistent that this should not be fed through into policymaking or the position of the Government in dealing with the European financial crisis, which is likely to dominate autumn’s political agenda. – the Independent

Grieve under pressure to block Met on journalists sources

The attorney general, Dominic Grieve, is facing growing pressure to block an attempt by the Metropolitan police to use the Official Secrets Act to force journalists to reveal their sources. As senior Liberal Democrats indicated that Nick Clegg was “sympathetic” to journalists, police sources also expressed unease after Scotland Yard applied last week for an order under the 1989 act to require the Guardian to identify its sources on phone hacking. One police source said the decision to invoke the act was “likely to end in tears” for the Met. Lib Dem sources said that as deputy prime minister, Clegg was unable to express a view on what action the attorney general should take. But senior Lib Dems lined up at the party conference in Birmingham to call on the attorney general to use his powers to rule that the Yard’s use of the act is not in the public interest. – the Guardian

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Thursday News Review

15/09/2011, 06:47:22 AM

Where is Plan B?

David Cameron is under growing pressure to soften his hardline deficit reduction strategy after a wave of redundancies in central and local government sent unemployment surging beyond 2.5m. With the City predicting joblessness would hit 2.75m next year, the Institute of Directors, the Prince’s Trust and the TUC joined the opposition in demanding urgent action to boost the flagging economy. Cameron admitted the official figures – which included the highest female unemployment in 23 years and almost a million young people shut out of the labour market – were “disappointing”. But he insisted that the coalition would not do a U-turn as it attempted to repair Britain’s public finances over the course of the current parliament. He said: “All governments are having to take difficult decisions about cutting public spending. Anyone standing here would have to make those decisions. This government is reducing the welfare bill and reforming public sector pensions. If we weren’t taking those steps you would have to make deeper cuts in the rest of the public sector.” 111,000 jobs were lost in the public sector in the three months to June 2011, against 41,000 created in the rest of the economy. – the Guardian

Unemployment has risen sharply, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics. The 80,000 increase in the number of people without jobs in the three months to June was the biggest rise since August 2009, when Britain was still in recession. Some 2.51 million people are now unemployed, representing 7.9 per cent of the total workforce. Youth unemployment rose by 78,000 to 973,000. Almost a fifth of 16 to 24-year-olds are now out of work. The number of people claiming unemployment benefit rose by 20,400 in August and now stands at 1.58 million. And the numbers working part -time because of a shortage of full-time positions also increased to 1.28 million, the highest level since 1992. In the first real sign that Government spending cuts are biting, public- sector employment fell by 110,000 over the three months, the largest fall since comparable records began in 1999. – the Independent

Ed ‘lashes’ boy George

A thinly veiled S&M joke at PMQs today saw UK Chancellor George Osborne squirming in his Commons front bench seat. Opposition Leader Ed Miliband’s swipe at Government economic policy saw a nudge-nudge/wink-wink remark allude to tabloids’ current favorite scandal about a coke-snorting dominatrix called Natalie Rowe. The sexy lady was pictured some years ago in a compromising position cuddling a much younger Osborne – whose hideously bouffant Princess Margaret-esque barnet has been the subject of ridicule ever since. And oh, some ‘redwoods’ of a mystery whiteish powder complete with rolled-up fifty quid note are also in the frame. Today the sordid saga was on a roll once more as Miliband laid into the Tory with his ‘the Chancellor has lashed himself to the mast…not for the first time perhaps’ quip. Guffaws from the Labour benches were as loud and raucous as last week’s PMQs when Prime Monster David Cameron referred to fellow Conservative MP Nadine Dorries as ‘extremely frustrated’. – the

Ed Miliband yesterday mocked George Osborne over his alleged relationship with a former prostitute. The Labour leader joked about spending cuts, saying: “The Chancellor of the Exchequer has lashed himself to the mast… not for the first time, perhaps.” Mr Osborne has denied allegations by former escort agency boss and dominatrix Natalie Rowe that he took cocaine when they were friends in his youth. Mr Miliband added to his embarrassment with the comment during an exchange at Prime Minister’s Questions, leaving Mr Osborne squirming as MPs on all sides of the Commons started laughing. – Daily Mirror

After questioning David Cameron about the latest unemployment figures (up by 80,000, the biggest increase in nearly two years), and the PM responding that George Osborne would not be signalling a change of direction, the Labour leader pounced: “The Chancellor has lashed himself to the mast… not for the first time, perhaps.” Boom, boom. The reference was lost on no one in the Commons. As the Mole reported on Tuesday, the story of Osborne’s one-time friendship with a certain cocaine-using dominatrix, Natalie Rowe, has been back in the news after she talked to the Australian broadcaster ABC. While Miliband may be the one receiving a political thrashing this week, he saw no reason not to embarrass Osborne when he had the chance. But was it wise? It depends who you listen to. At the ConservativeHome website, they’re saying Miliband went too far: “Ed Balls looked embarrassed. Harriet Harman grimaced. It wasn’t pretty.” Labour bloggers and tweeters, on the whole, believe their man did well. But Benedict Brogan of the Daily Telegraph made a valid point: “Ed M should leave the dirty work to his backbenchers.” – the First Post

Fixed terms finally pass through the Lords

The Fixed-Term Parliaments Bill finally cleared the House of Lords when peers, who had twice blocked the plan, accepted a compromise proposal. They wanted the law to be renewed after each election but ministers said that meant allowing fixed terms to be switched on “like a light switch”. Peers voted by voted 188 to 173 to accept a plan for a review in 2020. Parliaments are currently limited to a maximum of five years, but the prime minister is free to call a general election at any time. The government has argued that fixed terms would eliminate the power of the executive to call elections when it was politically convenient – but their choice of a five-year, rather than a four-year term has attracted some criticism. And some peers had argued that the coalition did not have a mandate to “bind” future parliaments. – BBC News

The Coalition’s charm offensive

A leaked government policy paper shows Downing Street fears the Coalition has significantly less support among women than men and that even Cabinet Office officials think the general tone of the Government could be perceived as sexist. No 10 is looking at proposals to cut school summer holidays, ban all advertising to children and reconsider plans to criminalise forced marriage as part of attempts to win over women voters. The document suggests a series of new policies designed to win back female support, including: Introducing personal budgets for maternity services to allow women to shop around for the services; Front-loading child benefit to help parents with childcare and lost earnings in their children’s early years; Setting up a website to allow women to anonymously disclose and compare salaries with others in their industry; Hosting a Downing Street summit for women in business; Criminalising forced marriage and Banning advertising which targets children. The four-page document, marked “restricted – policy” was circulated across Government. It also includes proposals to put together a cross-government communications strategy to win women back. – the Independent

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