Daily View 2×2: 2 June 2009

2 Big Stories

Expenses ‘mistake’ hangs over Darling
The Financial Times reports that not even the Chancellor himself is blameless in the MPs’ expenses controversy:

Alistair Darling’s future as chancellor was looking precarious on Monday after he admitted making “a mistake” over his expenses and Gordon Brown refused to say whether he would be in his job in 10 days’ time.

Mr Darling yesterday paid back £668 he wrongly claimed and apologised “unreservedly” but speculation was growing at Westminster that he could become the first chancellor in postwar Britain to be demoted in the middle of a recession.

Three things must ye know about this story:

1. Gordon Brown is a hopeless poker player –

Mr Brown on Monday refused to answer questions about Mr Darling’s future, telling Channel 4 News: “Alistair Darling has been an excellent chancellor.” When pressed, Mr Brown said only: “Alistair Darling has been a great chancellor.”

2. Our own Shadow Chancellor sums up Darling’s fate so much better than anyone else:

Vince Cable, Liberal Democrat treasury spokesman, said he was “in many ways a capable guy”, but added: “They are writing his obituary.”

3. “Alistair Darling” is an anagram of “Sangria? Raid Till!”

Speaking of which…

Shamed MEPs take share of £20m ‘farewell’ payout
From The Times:

Three politicians accused of misusing public money will receive hundreds of thousands of pounds in pensions and benefits as part of a £20 million payoff for British MEPs who retire this week.

One of these is Ashley Mote, the former UKIP MEP who was jailed for benefit fraud. His pension is worth £174,968 and he will also get a “transitional alllowance” of £32,382.

2 Must-Read Blog Posts

Euro Influence
Richard Allan writes on the power of the European Parliament, compared with the Westminster one, and explains why a protest vote for UKIP is an own goal for voters who are hostile to the EU:

If some of the polls are correct then UKIP will also have a good election. Their position is overtly on the fringes of the legislative process as they don’t believe in the EU institutions at all. They therefore cannot be relied upon to take an active role in debating the detail of legislative proposals that, as long as the EU does exist, will have a major impact on British citizens. Meanwhile the European Parliament has no real role in deciding issues such as EU treaties which belong to the UK and other national governments.

Haikus at Kings Cross
Bridget Fox‘s blog post contains three of civilisation’s greatest achievements: haikus, trains and Twitter:

The arts centre at Kings Place is sponsoring a haiku-writing contest for Londoners. Entries are flashed up on screen at Kings Cross station.

Islington haikus
Twitter your lines to take part
What a great idea!

What’s your view on today’s big stories? Answers, please, in the comments below. (Haikus or anagrams optional…)

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