Chris Gilson, Paul Rainford and Amy Mollett take a look at the week in political blogging.
Political Betting considers how successful the government’s plans to privatise the Royal Mail may be, suggesting that a major clash on the issue between the Liberals and Conservatives may actually be favoured, as the tension is shifted from other more controversial policies and funding cuts.
The ‘Yes to Fairer Votes’ campaign unveiled its steering committee, leaving Sunder Katwala at Next Left to comment that the campaign will need to evolve into something considerably broader to be ultimately successful.
The results of a YouGov poll showing Ed Miliband’s narrow lead over brother David in the Labour leader race created quite a buzz of excitement, with Labour Uncut discussing the responses from both Miliband camps, and The Coffee House noting that the results give Ed a much needed “sense that he really could win”.
A group of female MPs and other political activists have also publicly backed Ed in a letter to The Guardian, arguing that the younger Miliband is the only candidate who understands that women may come to “bear the brunt of the effects of the financial crisis, spiralling prices and the pressures imposed by climate change”.
Creating less excitement and more frustration however were the revelations that Chancellor George Osborne plans to cut sickness benefits for those too disabled or ill to work by £2.5bn. The Staggers commented that although the proposed cuts are “disturbing”, they are of course hardly surprising following Osborne’s £4bn benefit cuts to target those who make a “lifestyle choice” to claim benefits.
Mike Smithson at politicalbetting.com ponders how long it will be before Ed Miliband becomes the favourite for Labour leader, while Duncan Weldon at Liberal Conspiracy has a second look at David Miliband’s economic policy. John Woodcock at Labour Uncut says that the party should bring back Mandelson.
Capitalists@Work looks at the TUC conference starting today, and says that unions are coming out with ‘unsubstantiated populist rhetoric’. George Eaton at The Staggers asks how should Labour respond to these calls for strike action, and Mike Smithson at politicalbetting.com wonders how serious the strikes may end up being.
Nick Robinson reckons that it’s unlikely that we’ll be seeing another winter of discontent and Iain Martin at the Wall Street Journal has thoughts on similar lines. John Redwood says that fresh strikes over cuts would be a bad idea, and may lead to further job losses.
Tim Montgomerie at ConservativeHome says that the government should prepare for ‘extreme’ unpopularity, while Sunder Katwala at Next Left wonders if the coalition will come clean on its desire to shrink the state.
Don Paskini, blogging at Liberal Conspiracy finds new evidence that privatising welfare actually wastes money, and Caroline Crampton at The Staggers is concerned how higher tuition fees will affect middle-income earners.
Claire French at Left Foot Forward says that the number of working people living in poverty has risen.
George Eaton at The Staggers wonders if the coalition government’s cancellation of the 2011 queen’s speech is an abuse of power.
Malc at Better Nation looks at the possible ‘Cameron effect’ on the Tories in Scotland.
Tim Montgomerie at ConservativeHome says that voters support a slower path to deficit reduction – George Eaton at The Staggers thinks that the government might be losing the cuts argument, while Tom Clougherty of the Adam Smith Institute’s blog looks at the actual figures involved in the government’s cuts.
Duncan Weldon at Left Foot Forward looks again at Osborne’s VAT rise and finds it ‘regressive and avoidable’. John Redwood says that we need some compromises on welfare reform. And Conor Ryan at Conor’s Commentary says that schools must be able to recruit poorer pupils.
Sunder Katwala at Next Left doesn’t think that the proposed Tory-Liberal Democrat pact at the next election will be a successful one, while Iain Dale wonders what it is Ministers actually do.
Don Paskini at Liberal Conspiracy says that the Labour MP Phil Woolas should be expelled from the party over allegations of racist tactics in his election campaign. Iain Martin at the Wall Street Journal says that David Miliband has been ‘put through the wringer’ in this leadership election.
Charles Crawford at blogoir examines how some civil servants could have advised Labour more strongly to rein in public spending.
Tim Worstall looks at a recent ONS report into public sector pay as Wat Tyler at Burning our Money reckons that British public sector employees are overpaid. Patrick Osgood at The Staggers disagrees.
George Eaton at The Staggers says that the coalition’s cuts are under attack from all sides; police, trade unions and the defence establishment. Richard Exell at Left Foot Forward looks a the figures and finds that the recovery was fragile even before the government’s cuts, and that they have undermined confidence since.
Will Straw Left Foot Forward comments on Iain Duncan Smith’s ‘lack of knowledge’ about George Osborne’s proposed £4bn cuts to welfare.
Claire French at Left Foot Forward says that the coalition is still planning to opt out of the EU directive on human trafficking, while Mike Smithson at politicalbetting.com says that the coalition’s net approval rating is now at minus eight.
Peter Watt blogging at Labour Uncut says that the left’s response to the Coalition’s Big Society plans must be much more sophisticated than at present.
Conor Ryan at Conor’s Commentary finds that despite surges in the polls for Ed Miliband, his brother David is still the favourite to win the Labour leadership. Toby Thomas at Left Foot Forward says that the elder Miliband’s team is ‘increasingly confident of victory’, and Sunder Katwala at Next Left previews the race for the Shadow Cabinet.
Guido Fawkes asks if a Liberal Democrat/Conservative electoral pact is a possibility.
Matthew Triggs at the Adam Smith Institute’s blog says that US-style open primaries would reinvigorate UK politics – something we have previously discussed in this blog.
Jim Pickard at the FT’s Westminster Blog says that some of David Miliband’s supporters may well switch their votes to his younger brother in the lead up to the leadership vote.
Hopi Sen has some challenges for the next Labour leader on public services and public workers. Mike Smithson at politicalbetting.com briefly reports on an Ipsos-Mori poll that has Labour and the Tories neck-and-neck on 37 per cent.
John Redwood talks housing policy, while Frank Spring at Left Foot Forward examines the contrasting reactions to the government’s possible decision to postpone the decision on Trident’s renewal to the next parliament.
Will Straw at Left Foot Forward looks at Vince Cable’s criticism of the coalition’s migrant cap, and Caroline Crampton at The Staggers says that Ministers may be punished by the Treasury if they release early details of departmental cuts.
Nick Valladares at Liberal Bureacracy feels that Nick Clegg’s recent statements that “that the State must not compensate the poor for their predicament” are against his Liberal Democrat principles, while Shamik Das at Left Foot Forward says that just 1 in 3 Liberal Democrat voters are in favour of the coalition’s cuts, and George Eaton at The Staggers says that Nick Clegg is now more popular with Tory voters than with Liberal Democrats.
David Taylor at Left Foot Forward says that the upcoming UN summit on the millennium development goals will test Nick Clegg as he may face criticism of the coalition’s development policies.
Tribune documents Union agreements to act in concert against the cuts and says that it is crunch time for the Liberal Democrats, while Labour Uncut assesses their exit strategy and Mark Pack poses ten questions for their party conference. Similarly, Next Left wonders what prospects there are for a liberalism of the left.
Sunny Hundal at Liberal Conspiracy calls on Labour to challenge the economic consensus, while Left Foot Forward suggests that the party’s strong performance in the polls may be a red herring, a contention that is refuted by The Staggers.
In the wake of reports that a planned investigation into how the police deal with rape cases won’t go ahead due to cost cuts, Sandra Gruescu at ResPublica asks how far are we willing to go to cut the deficit.
The Coffee House comments on Vince Cable’s attack on the Coalition’s immigration cap policy, which is also reported by The Staggers. Michael White at the Guardian calls on Cable not to quit – yet.
Conor’s Commentary suggests that the Tories will face a test of wills over their academy plans, and Olaf Corry at openDemocracy gives four reasons why they should back PR
Jim Pickard at the Westminster Blog wonders whether the Coalition are set to abandon right-to-buy provisions for council houses.
Dave Hill at the Guardian takes a look at Oona King’s campaign to be a candidate in the London mayoral race.
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