Category Archives: British Politics

All my blogs on British politics, journalism and UK news

Some pictures from Saturday’s protests

A few days late but I thought I would put up some photos from Saturday’s protest in central London. I was lucky enough to be live tweeting it with the great Kyle Ross.

Churnalism tracked… and the Mail have already cocked up

Its an issue that has faced any journalist. Its 6pm and you get a press release shoved on your desk and your editor tells you to bash out 200 words asap. You want to go home and relax but you know you should fact check the random piece of paper in front of you. What do you do? Well maybe this new tool will stop journos being so lazy…

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Blair’s legacy won’t be Iraq, it will be PFI

In 20 years time future generations will look back on the Iraq War with a kind of bemused disinterest. In much the same way my generation view Vietnam or Korea as rather odd footnotes to a grand narrative rather dramatically called the Cold War, these generations will feel nothing of the polemic passion of 2003, just a strange sense of confusion.

Not so with PFI. The Private Finance Initiatives agreed in the Tony Blair years won’t feel like abstract oddities of a bygone era. They will be real and pressing concerns for a generation  still paying the price for the last two decades of spending.

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MPs ‘editing their own Wikipedia entries’

Great article by the Tom Scott on how MPs apparently try to edit their own Wikipedia pages to take out the awkward stuff like their expenses record…

My favourite bit is this:

The ‘sweeping things under the carpet’ award goes to the anonymous editor of the article on Joan Ryan, the former MP for Enfield North. Ever since June 2009, someone within Parliament has been persistently trying to remove the section about Ryan’s involvement in the MPs’ expenses scandal. Sometimes the section would vanish for just a few minutes; sometimes it would disappear for weeks before being noticed and replaced — but reliably, every couple of months or so until the General Election, someone within Parliament would try and sneakily wipe the past. Except on weekends, that is, when identical blanking attempts would come from an anonymous user in Joan Ryan’s constituency of Enfield.”

What a mug…

Here is an exclusive I just got while working for the Hendon Times. The local MP here nearly went blind after he dropped a mug on his face…

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News of the World assistant editor suspended over phone hacking

The assistant editor of the News of the World Ian Edmondson has been suspended over serious allegations of phone hacking.

It actually appears that Edmondson was relieved of his duties before Christmas, but the story is just breaking today. Edmondson was implicated in documents, obtained by Nick Davies of The Guardian before Christmas, which suggested that he had told a private investigator to hack into the phone of Sienna Miller.

The paper has always declared that private investigator Glenn Mulcaire had been a rogue reporter acting outside of the law, so this could undermine that defence. The potential for political repercussions are there as well with Andy Coulson, the paper’s then editor, now David Cameron’s director of communications.

I expect the Guardian to splash with this tonight, probably written by Nick Davies.

Why The Times is wrong to claim the VAT rise hits the rich hardest

The Times today argues that  as the VAT rise is not being added to food and children’s clothing, it is “likely to hit middle-class and higher income groups much more than poorer groups.” But when you look more closely at the statistics it is hard to see how this evidence is supported.

Let’s start by taking the figures at absolute face value. The Deloitte figures the paper uses show that those families earning a combined income of £70,000 will pay £561 more in tax a year, while those on a household income of £25,000 pay an extra £150. So these initial figures suggest that the rich are hardest hit by the tax rise.

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Exclusive: Benefit checks to cost £100m a year

Seeing as the costs of the government’s reforms to welfare and unemployment are in the news today I thought it would be a good day to reveal an exclusive I have been sitting on – the costs of testing every individual on incapacity benefit are to be at least £100m a year.

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The rainbow coalition…

There seems to be some confusion in the Conservative Party about mixing colours. The MP Mark Pritchard has labelled those who are proposing to merge the Conservatives and the Lib Dems the ‘purple plotters’ but it is unclear why they are purple.

The two parties’ colours are yellow and blue which when mixed together, as any 7 year-old will tell you, makes green, not purple.

In an article for today’s Mail on Sunday, Mr Pritchard says they are purple because they are trying to permanently blend the traditional blue and yellow colours of each party with a dash of red for the sizeable Lib Dem Left’.

But red, yellow and blue together makes brown, not purple. Maybe Pritchard should get his water colours out…

The lasting legacy of Cablegate will be Cameron’s disdain for The Telegraph

The lasting legacy of The Telegraph’s secret taping of Vince Cable may be a breakdown in the relationship between the paper and David Cameron.

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