Daily View 2×2: 14 October 2009

Everyone had fun yesterday watching the previously low profile Trafigura score a spectacular own goal as relatively obscure claims about dumping toxic waste on the Ivory Coast became common knowledge to millions around the world.

But that’s had enough coverage on LDV, so let’s look at something else.

Two big stories

Nick Clegg won’t be winning too many friends around Westminster as he calls for another look to be taken at MPs who indulged in flipping second homes and claiming for sometimes non-existent mortgages.  If we’re going to retrospectively re-write the rules for gardening and cleaning, Clegg’s argument goes, let’s have justice done on the more serious cases too.

“I think most people expected the worst offences to come under the toughest scrutiny. Every single MP who ‘flipped’, avoided capital gains tax or claimed for non-existent mortgages, must be forced to repay the money and be held to account.”

A welcome ruling from the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) over an advert claiming Actimel makes children healthier.  Why so interesting?  Because the claim wasn’t complete fiction – there were studies supporting it, no fewer than eight of them.  But rather than backing down under weight of numbers, the ASA looked at whether those studies really backed up the health claims and decided they didn’t.

The company said eight studies were carried out on children up to the age of 16, two of which were carried out on hospitalised children in India who suffered acute diarrhoea or were taking gastritis-related medication.

The ASA ruled that these two studies could not be applied to healthy youngsters.

Two other trials were dismissed as the mean age in each of the sets of children under examination – six months and 15.5 months – were too young to apply to school-age children.

Two must-read blog posts

So you thought Blair was all set to be President of Europe?  North West Lib Dem MEP Chris Davies has thrown his hat into the ring and Nick Thornsby has the details, including a video and Chris’ cheeky letter to all 27 Heads of State.

LiberalEye has an interesting take on the “if Labour’s so unpopular, why aren’t the Lib Dems doing better in the polls” debate, suggesting the party is stuck in a One More Heave rut and need to find our own Cameron-style change of direction.

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2 Comments

  • Herbert Brown 14th Oct '09 - 8:43am

    “I think most people expected the worst offences to come under the toughest scrutiny. Every single MP who ‘flipped’, avoided capital gains tax or claimed for non-existent mortgages, must be forced to repay the money and be held to account.”

    What I can’t understand is why a peer alleged to have claimed more than £40,000 on the basis that a holiday flat in Eastbourne was his main residence shouldn’t also come under “the toughest scrutiny”!

    Until the party deals with that issue in a convincing way, this kind of stuff from Clegg looks like rank hypocrisy.

  • David Allen 14th Oct '09 - 1:25pm

    Herbert, your comment is understandable, but another way to look at it is that Clegg has gone ahead and said the right thing, regardless of the fallout that might ensue. To raise the issue of flipping by MPs, in the circumstances regarding flipping by peers, might perhaps best be called reckless rather than hypocritical.

    Might it be that our best way forward is to encourage Sir Thomas Legg to cleanse the Augean stables for us?

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