UK News

Insights from the UK and beyond

Drawing up the Battle Lines

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Newspapers were in no doubt of the significance of the pre-budget report – this was a defining moment in British politics.

New Labour is no more, they announced, and prudence has been blown away by a massive gamble for the hearts and minds of the electorate before the next election.

“The landmark mini-Budget was a pivotal moment which will shape British politics for years ahead,” wrote The Independent. “It presents voters with a stark choice between two very different futures: a European-style social democracy under Labour, in which the better-off pay higher taxes to maintain public services, or a nation of lower taxes and state spending under the Tories.”

The Guardian, in an editorial entitled “Everything Changes,” said Chancellor Alistair Darling had read the last rites for New Labour. “He abandoned, through necessity, the deal Tony Blair and Gordon Brown struck with the electorate a decade ago, that progressive politics could be paid for without overt economic pain.”

Tories form an orderly queue for Dave

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cameron2.jpgStockport councillor Linda Holt started the queue for David Cameron’s closing speech at 10 a.m. this morning — four and a half hours before the Conservative leader was due to walk onto the stage at Birmingham’s Symphony Hall.

With 10,000 registered attendees — the highest at a Tory conference for many years — and only 3,000 seats, an early start was essential for those wanting to be in the arena to hear Cameron’s hour-long address.

Banana politics delight Tories

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miliband.jpgDavid Miliband was photographed clutching a banana at the Labour conference last week in Manchester, much to the delight of his political opponents, inside and outside his party.

Life-size cardboard cut-outs of the grinning Foreign Secretary committing his fruity faux-pas have now appeared all around the Conservative conference at Birmingham’s International Convention Centre.

No scandal over “5-in-a-bed” Tory

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gove.jpgIt’s a good thing Michael Gove has a sense of humour.

The Conservative shadow schools secretary is in Birmingham preparing for his big speech on education to the party conference on Tuesday.

But the Mail on Sunday decided to distract him by digging out an scurrilous student newspaper report from his days at Oxford in the late 1980s.

Are lads’ mags really THAT bad?

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nuts.jpgConservative Shadow Children’s Secretary Michael Gove has accused lads’ magazines like Nuts and Zoo of promoting a shallow attitude towards women which in turn, he says, has contributed to Britain’s high teenage pregnancy rate.

“Titles such as Nuts and Zoo paint a picture of women as permanently, lasciviously, uncomplicatedly available,” he says. 

Would a new leader brighten Labour’s chances?

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miliband1.jpg   *** For full politics coverage click here *** 

 A Daily Telegraph poll coming on the heels of all the speculation about David Miliband’s leadership intentions suggests that even if Labour did ditch Gordon Brown, they would still be thrashed in the next general election.

It predicted that with Miliband at the helm, Labour would still only win 24 percent of the vote, against 47 percent for the Conservatives.

Can the government be trusted with your personal data?

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darling1.jpg“Woefully inadequate”, “a muddle-through ethos”, “a lack of awareness” – just some of the phrases used in scathing reports to describe data protection practices at the HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

The inquiries followed Britain’s biggest data loss scandal, when two discs containing child benefit records, including names, addresses and bank details, of some 25 million people, went missing after being put in the post by a junior employee.

Sun’s man gets gaffe in early

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mackenzie.jpgFormer Sun editor Kelvin MacKenzie has scored the first own goal of the Haltemprice & Howden by-election, just hours after saying he was a likely candidate for the Humberside seat.

In off-camera comments broadcast by BBC television he described Hull as “an absolute shocker, it’s beyond shock, actually.”

Brown and out?

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crewe.jpgAs much as stunned Labour MPs wander around like Corporal Jones telling each other not to panic after the dreadful result for them in Crewe, many of the newspapers believe Gordon Brown’s days are now numbered.

The Guardian, under the headline “Brown faces meltdown,” says he is facing the gravest crisis of his premiership in the run-up to the Autumn party conference. Like many other newspapers it says the decision to dress Labour activists in top hats and deride the Conservative candidate as a “toff” was a fundamental mistake, albeit one endorsed by Brown.

Johnson overtakes Cameron

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For the first time since he became mayor of London on May 2, Boris Johnson has overtaken Conservative leader David Cameron in “favourability”, according to an opinion tracker published on www.politicshome.com.

Johnson scored a rating of 3, up from -7 at the end of April, while Cameron got rated 1, up from -5.

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