Posts Tagged ‘Nick Gibb’

Thursday News Review

21/04/2011, 06:54:39 AM

Guardianistas go negative – at last

A leading Labour figure in the campaign for a no vote in the alternative vote referendum has praised its gutter politics, saying there are too many people on the liberal left who think politics is a spectator sport. Dan Hodges, a paid consultant to the no campaign until two weeks ago, ridiculed the yes campaign’s style, saying that gutter politics is where political battles are won and lost. His remarks come as allies of Nick Clegg have confirmed that the deputy prime minister feels David Cameronis breaking a private pact between the two men to maintain a low profile during the campaigning. Clegg refused to discuss the prime minister’s promise on the BBC, but will make a speech directly attacking first past the post. Clegg’s allies say the betrayal of the promise will have long-term consequences for the coalition’s future conduct. Hodges claims the yes campaign has not got a prayer in the referendum on 5 May. He writes in article for the website Labour Uncut: “I thought one of the positive legacies of Blairism was that it had finally put some lead into the progressive pencil. Those countless debates about ‘should we go positive… should we go negative’, ‘we mustn’t be too aggressive, the public don’t like it, ya da, ya da, yah’. All that had gone. Once we’d been campaigners. Now we were street fighters. If someone hit hard and low, we’d hit lower and harder.” – the Guardian

Whilst Clegg downplays his own importance

Nick Clegg has downplayed the effect his unpopularity could have in the AV referendum. In an increasingly personal campaign that has seen the ‘no’ campaign splash pictures of Nick Clegg across its literature, the deputy prime minister said it would be “daft” to vote against electoral change because of one politician. “I really don’t think that people are so daft that when they’re asked to have this once-in-a-generation opportunity to change the electoral system they’re going to do it based on what they think about one party or one politician,” he told BBC Breakfast. The deputy prime minister also explained his much-quoted remark before the election that AV was a “miserable little compromise. What I was actually referring to was Gordon Brown’s suggestion very late in the day in his government of making changes which everyone knew would not come into effect,” he said. –

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg insists he is thick-skinned enough to deal with the personal attacks he has sustained in the run-up to the Alternative Vote (AV) referendum. The Liberal Democrat leader has been repeatedly mocked by those in the “No to AV” campaign, which is backed by Prime Minister David Cameron. Mr Clegg denied suggestions his stance on the referendum was causing problems with his working relationship with Mr Cameron – but said the No camp’s tactics were becoming “desperate”. He said: “I’ve been in politics long enough to know when people start mudslinging and start playing the man rather than the ball they are rather desperate. – the Scotsman

Now the teachers are unhappy with the coalition

Activists interrupted a speech by Nick Gibb, the Schools Minister, with shouts of “rubbish” and “not true” as he addressed a union conference in Liverpool. Speaking to the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, he claimed that proposed Government changes to the teachers’ pension scheme would protect their “gold standard” retirement fund. But members – traditionally viewed as more moderate than other classroom unions – repeatedly barracked the minister, saying he failed to understand their concerns. One activist also accused Mr Gibb’s boss, Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, of “political cowardice” for failing to address the annual conference in person. It is the first time teachers have publicly barracked a Coalition minister since the Government was formed last year. A series of Labour ministers were subjected to high-profile attacks over issues such as class sizes and national testing. The ATL claims the Government’s reforms, including a rise in pension contributions, will force them to work for longer and receive less when they retire. – the Telegraph

The schools minister, Nick Gibb, was heckled and jeered by teachers as he attempted to justify proposed changes to their pensions that have prompted a ballot for industrial action. When Gibb told delegates at the Association of Teachers and Lecturers annual conference in Liverpool: “I fully understand the strength of feeling on this,” and said teachers’ pensions remained a priority, he was greeted by shouts of “no, you don’t” and “rubbish” – along with calls for evidence of the need for change. ATL delegates voted to ballot for strike action over pensions, which could see schools shut by June. The union fears the changes will mean teachers working longer, paying increased contributions and receiving less when they retire. Teachers are also fiercely opposed to the coalition’s education changes, with a survey underlining the challenge facing the government. The survey commissioned by the Sutton Trust found only 8% of teachers believe free schools will raise standards, while 69% believe the expansion of academies will lead to greater social segregation. – the Guardian

He will wear a morning suit after all

David Cameron yesterday caved into his inner toff by agreeing to wear a traditional morning coat to the royal wedding. Downing Street had briefed that the PM would wear a lounge suit, because he did not want to remind voters of his posh past. But it was claimed yesterday that he will wear the full waistcoat and tails next week. A source close to the PM told the Daily Telegraph: “Of course he’s got to wear tails. He knows that. He’s the Prime Minister, it’s the Royal Family, there will be foreign dignitaries present. It is only proper that he dresses for the importance of the occasion.” Downing Street refused to confirm that the PM, after days of dithering, had now opted for a morning suit – or whether he will be wearing a top hat. – the Mirror

When Gordon Brown wore a lounge suit at the Mansion House, some were willing to forgive it as an eccentric piece of ideological nonconformity. But even Mr Brown wore a white tie and tail coat for a state banquet at Buckingham Palace. So when it was bruited that David Cameron, as Prime Minister, would be wearing a lounge suit to the wedding of Prince William to Catherine Middleton, there was more public outrage than perhaps he bargained for. For this is not a wedding of private individuals. As a semi-state occasion, the monarch will be present and foreign heads of state will attend. The British head of Government is invited in his official role, not merely for his agreeable small talk. “Reclothe us in our rightful mind,” says the popular hymn. We congratulate Mr Cameron on his change of mind – soon to be seen in a change of clothes. – the Telegraph

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