Daily View 2×2: 19 January 2010

On this day in 1966, Indira Ghandi was elected as the first woman Prime Minister of India, whilst 20 years ago today, the rebel English cricket team, led by Mike Gatting, landed at Johannesburg airport.

Today we wish a happy 30th birthday to world champion Jenson Button and also commemorate the 132nd anniversary of the birth of former Arsenal manager Herbert Chapman. Voters go to the polls today in Massachusetts, to elect a Senator for the seat left vacant by the death of Edward Kennedy.

2 Big Stories

Cadbury agrees Kraft takeover bid

It seems that UK confectioner Cadbury has given up the fight against a takeover from the US, with the board likely to recommend acceptance of the latest offer from Kraft. In The Guardian, Cadbury’s Chairman Robert Carr said the new offer represented “good value” for Cadbury shareholders and that directors were “pleased with the commitment that Kraft Foods has made to our heritage, values and people throughout the world”.

Nick Clegg pledges to curb libel law’s ‘chilling effect’ on scientific inquiry

In a speech to the Royal Society, Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg stated that English libel law is a “legal farce” that needs urgent reform to stop it from gagging scientists and endangering public health. Promising a manifesto commitment to create a strong public interest defence to defamation claims, he said:

“Of course people have the right to protect their reputations from damaging and false statements made recklessly, irresponsibly or with malice. But scientists must be allowed to question claims fearlessly, especially those that relate to medical care, environmental damage and public safety, if we are to protect ourselves against dubious research practices, phoney treatments and vested corporate interests. English libel law as it stands is obstructing that process and threatens the public good as a result.

“Our libel law and practice have turned a country once famed for its traditions of freedom and liberty into a legal farce where people and corporations with money can impose silence on others at will.”

The Times quotes Fiona Godlee, editor of the BMJ (British Medical Journal) welcoming the Nick’s commitment.

“Libel as a constraint on open scientific discussion is a growing problem,” she said. “I would like to see the other parties coming out with a similarly srong statement: this is not a party political issue.”

2 Thought-Provoking Blog Posts

 Today’s posts that have caught my eye from the Liberal Democrat Blogs aggregator are from Liberal Democrat bloggers reviewing the current priorities of the Conservative Party.

Do Conservative plans add up? What would Margaret Thatcher say?

Over at Liberal Bureaucracy, Mark Valladares berates the timidity of the Conservatives’ plans for reducing public expenditure – that’s cuts to everyone except Dave & Gordon.

It’s almost as though the Conservatives want not just power, but to be loved too. It’s hard to imagine a Margaret Thatcher-led administration taking such a stance.

Unfortunately, our blue friends are too busy trying to be loved to find time to talk about real cuts, about a rolling up of the State, about unshackling people from the nanny state. The debate about what the nation wants, what it needs and what it can afford is going to have to be started by someone else.

If Margaret Thatcher were dead, she’d be turning in her grave…

Tories rate defence, Europe and cutting welfare, more highly than the environment, housing, transport & schools

Anders Hanson is one of a number of bloggers to review a survey of which policies are important to Conservative candidates in winnable seats. The post’s title – ‘Tories rate defence, Europe and cutting welfare, more highly than the environment, housing, transport & schools’ – says it all.

This survey perhaps shows most starkly the difference between the two parties when Cameron is trying to claim how much common cause there is. It’s the gut instinct political priorities that usually show what makes a party what it is.

Thanks to those of you that have sent me nice messages regarding my ‘elevation’ to the LDV team. Much appreciated!

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One Comment

  • “Today we wish a happy 30th birthday ……. ”

    Why? Do we know the man?

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