Chris Gilson, Paul Rainford and Amy Mollett take a look at the week in political blogging
The economy, the IMF and the unions
The Westminster Blog covers the news that 52 economists – including two former Whitehall advisers and two signatories of last year’s high-profile letter backing the Tories’ cuts – have called on Osborne to change tack on the economy. The Coffee House is less than impressed, and John Redwood says that those who are calling for a Plan B need to better understand Plan A. Faisal Islam dissects Osborne’s claim to flexibility, but Michael Burke at Left Foot Forward blogs on ‘the madness of more of the same’, as Sunny Hundal provides a sustained critique on the Tories’ economic credibility.
The IMF came out broadly in favour of Osborne’s policies this week, but Richard Murphy of Tax Research UK says that this is hardly surprising and shouldn’t give the Chancellor too much encouragement. Tony Dolphin at Left Foot Forward provides further comment.
Political Betting wonders what has happened to trade union militancy, and considers whether the government is being given and easy ride, as Vince Cable ruffles a few feathers at the GMB union conference.
Don Paskini at Liberal Conspiracy notes that the government’s own research has shown the Future Jobs Fund to be a success, even though it was axed for being inefficient and wasteful. Richard Murphy wonders why the HMRC isn’t doing more on tax evasion and The Staggers shows up the empty threats of the banks to move abroad.
The Coffee House remarks that the launch of the Work Programme this week marks one of the most significant moments yet for the coalition.
Liberal Conspiracy reveals new research that shows 17 NHS Trusts to be facing deep cuts (commented on over at The Staggers), and Labour Uncut lambasts the Tories’ general approach to health reform as even The Coffee House admits to major worries for Cameron.
Sue Marsh at Labour List wonders whether Cameron’s guarantees on the NHS could amount to a political suicide note, and Left Foot Forward blogs on Ed Miliband’s interjection into the debate. The Staggers reveals polling evidence to show that Labour are trusted more than the Tories when it comes to the Health Service.
Richard Murphy at Tax Research UK argues that the NHS is a stunningly cost effective supplier of high quality healthcare, and warns against private sector involvement. The Westminster Blog notes that the coalition will struggle to maintain unity on health. False Economy discusses why health reforms will cut equality rather than boost productivity.
Higher education reform
The Coffee House tries to make sense of the New College of Humanities, as Adam Ramsey writes an open letter to Richard Dawkins asking him to reconsider his involvement with the project. Maeve McKeown at openDemocracy thinks is just a case of the emperor’s new clothes.
The Staggers outlines how higher tuition fees will end up costing the government more and, as Oxford became the first English university ever to pass a motion of no confidence in a government minister, David Barclay of the Oxford University Student Union argues that the marketised core of the government’s universities plan is rotten.
Social care crisis
Political Scrapbook observes that a key Cameron aide advised on the Southern Cross care home fiasco. Ed Miliband calls for cross party talks on social care as Labour Uncut argues that only nationalisation and CCTV can stop abuse in care homes.
Blue Labour/policy review
Mark Ferguson at Labour List discusses Ed Miliband and the future of social democracy, as Joe Ottaway argues that Labour must abandon sectional politics. Dan Hodges calls on Labour’s ‘flat earthers’ to ‘get real’, which prompts an acerbic response from Sunny Hundal.
Ann Pettifor at Left Foot Forward argues that Labour need to re-embrace Keynesianism for the sake of the poor and the vulnerable, and Asher Dresner provides a few pointers for the labour leader on how to improve his speeches and the delivery of his message.
Political Betting wonders whether Labour can win without David Miliband, and provides evidence of a worrying lack of donations to the party, as The Staggers suggests that voters want Labour to embrace a ‘blue’ agenda (an assertion challenged over at Liberal Conspiracy).
The FT Westminster Blog takes a closer look at how Ed Balls and Ed Miliband are getting on after their part in ousting Blair, details of which were revealed this week in internal memos leaked to The Telegraph. The Staggers covers the responses of both Balls and Miliband to the memos, noting though that the absence of a juicy revelation has so far failed to excite the public. According to PoliticsHome, Cabinet Secretary Sir Gus O’Donnell is set to order an inquiry into the how the documents were leaked.
Political Betting takes a look back through the archives with a video of Ed Balls denying claims of involvement with such a plot in 2010. Dan Hodges at Labour Uncut believes that although Ed Miliband has been a “poor leader” to date, he is in fact safe in his position as leader of the opposition… for now anyway. The Staggers questions the timeliness of the leaking, and is suspicious of a plot to remove Ed Balls.
House of Lords
Labour Uncut argues that the Labour party should take the lead on constitutional reform, as The Tory Diary notes that the Conservative grass roots have turned against an elected House of Lords. Liberal Democrat Voice takes apart some of the arguments against Lords reform.
The Tory Diary reports that the government will crackdown on the commercialisation and sexualisation of children but The Staggers suggests that dodgy polling underpins the review.
The Coffee House comments on Cameron’s withdrawal of support for Ken Clarke’s liberal crime agenda, and suggests that all these U-turns are going to come at a price.
Samira Shackle argues that the government’s approach to Islamic extremism may be hard-line, but it’s not effective.
The Archbishop of Canterbury launches an attack on the coalition’s policies and its democratic mandate in the New Statesman.