Daily View 2×2: 26 January 2010

Today we say ‘Happy Birthday’ to the Special One – Jose Mourinho – who is 47, and to ice hockey’s record goalscorer Wayne Gretzky, who is two years older.

Nine years ago today, more than 25,000 people died after a massive earthquake measuring up to 7.9 on the Richter scale hit the Indian state of Gujarat and neighbouring areas in Pakistan. In 1998, US President Bill Clinton told a White House press conference “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky”.

2 Big Stories

Mother aquitted in new ‘mercy killing’ trial 

Yesterday Sussex mother and former nurse Kay Gilderdale was acquitted of attempting to murder her severely ill daughter Lynn. Many commentators compare the stark contrast of her trial and verdict to that of Frances Inglis, jailed last week for giving her brain damaged son a fatal injection of heroin.

The Times criticises the decision of the Director of Public Prosecution to go ahead with the attempted murder trial, despite being invited to withdraw the charge by the judge before the rial.

Referring to her guilty plea to assisted suicide, [the judge] asked: “Wouldn’t it be better to accept it now rather than let this defendant get tangled up in a messy trial for the sake of some legal mumbo jumbo?” The case was reviewed by Keir Starmer, the DPP, after he published guidelines on assisted suicide last September, but the attempted murder charge was not dropped.

Mr Justice Bean’s decision to question Mr Starmer’s role and that of the Crown Prosecution Service will reignite the debate on mercy killings.

The judge thanked the jury for their “common sense, decency and humanity” in choosing to acquit Mrs Gilderdale. Sources close to the family suggested that her trial was used as a test case to sound out public opinion. The CPS remained adamant that its decision to pursue the case was right, saying that the law did not allow mercy killings.

Lib Dem MP Evan Harris commented, “This case illustrates yet again that our law on murder covers too many situations in a clumsy way”.

Save the Children says severe child poverty increasing

The charity Save the Children says the number of children living in ‘severe’ poverty has increased by 260,000 to 1.7 million between 2004 and 2008. In Northern Ireland, 8% of children are extremely poor. In Scotland it is 9% while in England and Wales it is 13%. In London a shocking 19% of children live in severe poverty.

Lee Muir, who lives in Motherwell with her six year old son, told Radio 5Live: “On a daily basis I’ve had to make decisions on whether to heat my house or whether to feed my son. Extra curriculum activities are just out the window completely, that’s just not an option just now.”

The report makes five recommendations to lift more children out of poverty, including: removing barriers to parental employment, making the tax and benefits system fairer and raising educational achievement.

2 Thought-Provoking Blog Posts

Labour’s plans to help young people are a drop in the ocean.

In her ‘Campaign Diary’, Daisy Benson, Reading councillor and PPC for Reading West, explains why Labour’s plans to help young people are not a path on the ones announced last week by Nick Clegg:

“Well, lo and behold after Nick Clegg outlined ambitious plans to help young people badly hit by the recession Labour ministers have been shamed into coming up with more cash to tackle youth unemployment.

“But the proposals set out by Work and Pensions Secretary Yvette Cooper today constitute a drop in the ocean – and will go nowhere near helping all young people affected. And they won’t help all young people right now. And they are unlikely to reach many young people in West Reading who are out of work.”

Cameron will regret his “Broken Britain” rhetoric

Fellow Berkshire blogger Mark Thompson is one of a number of commentators who believes that David Cameron ‘got in wrong on Edlington:

“This way the media is able to continue with their narrative that things are constantly getting worse even when they are not. Cameron is playing straight into this and will come to regret the way he has approached this issue because the narrative will eventually come back to bite him.”

That’s all for today. With only 100 days until one or both of this year’s elections, I’m off to write a couple of leaflets.

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