Chris Gilson takes a look at the week in political blogging.
AV Referendum and Council Elections
Mike Smithson at politicalbetting.com thinks that Ed Miliband might prove an election winner for the Labour party in England on the 5th of May, especially given the low point from which the party starts. Political Scrapbook has found that more than 50 Liberal Democrat councilors have quit since 2010. George Eaton at The Staggers reckons that the SNP is heading for victory in Scotland, though perhaps not if Gordon Brown is brought in as Labour’s ‘secret weapon’ according to Political Scrapbook.
A MORI poll finds that Labour and the Tories are now neck-a-neck on 40 per cent support (the Liberal Democrats make 9 per cent).
Sunder Katwala at Next Left debates whether or not ‘AV agnostics’ should vote against Clegg or Osborne, while Laurie Penny says that we should vote for a more honest politics by voting Yes, rather than voting No to punish Nick Clegg. John Lansman at Left Futures is keen on PR for the Lords, saying it, rather than AV, could save the Liberal Democrats. Jonathan Isaby at thetorydiary charts the launch of another CCHQ offensive for the No vote, while Duncan Robinson at The Staggers says that the No campaign should ‘come clean’, and admit that the whole No campaign is a Conservative one.
On Tuesday, the No campaign surges ahead with an 16-point lead – Shamik Das at Left Foot Forward blames fear-mongering by the No campaign for the public’s swing away from reform. Mike Smithson at politicalbetting.com wonders if a No victory in May would give David Cameron the ‘victory’ he was denied in the general election last year.
NHS and health reform
Sunny Hundal at Liberal Conspiracy looks at new NHS waiting time figures – more patients are now waiting longer than 18-weeks for an operation, while Dominic Browne at Left Foot Forward is concerned that the NHS is ‘slipping backwards’.
Tony Dolphin at Left Foot Forward examines retail sales, which have increased by 4.5 per cent in the year to March, as Peter Wrigley at Keynesian Liberal examines the ‘half-hearted’ response to the Vickers Report on banking.
John Redwood is upset at the increasing demands of the EU budget.
Howard Reed at the TUC’s Touchstone Blog finds some encouraging evidence that the 50p tax rate has increased tax yields, despite some earlier predictions to the contrary. Scarlett Harris, blogging at Liberal Conspiracy, finds a sting in the tail of higher employment figures – the number of women claiming JSA has increased. Faisal Islam finds that small businesses are still feeling the credit squeeze, saying that ‘there is no sustainable recovery unless this is solved’.
Jim Pickard at the FT’s Westminster Blog, reports that David Cameron may block Gordon Brown’s bid to head the IMF, while Ed Miliband insists that Brown would be a ‘strong candidate’ according to George Eaton at The Staggers.
Alex Barker at the FT’s Westminster Blog wonders about the role of UK ‘military advisers’ that are being sent to Libya to aid the rebels, as Liberal Conspiracy worries that Libya may be gradually turning into a Vietnam-style conflict.
Will Straw at Left Foot Forward ponders if the government is losing sleep over the risk of a potential drop in university applicants due to higher fees.
Michael Meacher at Left Futures praises Ed Miliband’s calls for a press inquiry into the News of the World’s alleged phone hacking.
Lynne Featherstone looks at possible revisions to the male primogeniture rule and the royal succession, while Political Scrapbook reports that Republic’s “Not the royal wedding” alternative party has been given the all clear by Camden Council.