Daily View 2×2: 19 March 2010

It’s 19th March and LDV Towers will shortly be taking delivery of an enormous cake for Co-editor Stephen Tall’s birthday. Rumour has it he will be leaping out of said cake, and if he does, we’ll be first with the news and photos.

In the meantime…

2 Big Stories

Clarke fails to toe line on party pledge

David Cameron last night overruled Ken Clarke, after the shadow business secretary appeared to backtrack on a Tory commitment to spell out details of a core tax policy ahead of the general election.

The Conservative leader acted after Mr Clarke told a London event that the party could not decide until it was in power whether it would reverse the one percentage point rise in national insurance that is due to take effect in April.

The Tory former chancellor said the party needed to have “the reins of power” before it could make Budget decisions such as the potential tax reversal. “We will only know if we can afford it in the [first emergency] 50-day Budget,” he told a business audience. “The Budget is not just something you knock off for a TV programme.” [FT.com]

RMT rail signal workers to take strike action

Railway signal workers have voted in favour of strikes in a row over jobs and safety, the RMT union has said.

The strikes are over Network Rail plans to cut jobs and for more maintenance work to take place over the weekend.

The RMT said 54% of its members backed strikes, and it will announce walkout dates on Thursday if further talks with Network Rail fail.

The threat of a national stoppage has happened as talks continue to avert a strike by British Airways staff. [BBC]

2 Must-Read Blog Posts

What are other Liberal Democrat bloggers saying? Here are two posts that caught my eye from the Liberal Democrat Blogs aggregator:

  • Daily Fail considers criminalising a generation by Caron Lindsay:

    At the time of writing, 64% of the respondents to the poll are in favour of prosecution. Those of a more socially liberal disposition, you know what to do! I love it when Fail polls don’t give them the result they want. Childish, I know, but I think it’s important to challenge the ridiculous bile they print.

  • Hard sell tactics
    Jackie Pearcey compares Gordon Brown to a salesman who has outstayed his welcome.

Spotted any other great posts in the last day from blogs that aren’t on the aggregator? Do post up a comment sharing them with us all.

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5 Comments

  • Anthony Aloysius St 19th Mar '10 - 2:50pm

    One you missed (though it’s actually the headline story on the BBC’s Politics page):
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8576304.stm

    “Four Lib Dem MPs will have been told to apologise and repay money after breaching Commons rules over payments relating to second homes allowances.
    They accepted one-off cash payments from the owners of an apartment block close to Parliament in return for agreeing to pay higher rent levels.
    Richard Younger-Ross John Barrett, Sandra Gidley and Paul Holmes will pay back about £16,500 in total before tax. “

    True to form, rather than criticising the conduct of the MPs, Nick Clegg said they “should be applauded for alerting the authorities to the case in the first place”. I must admit I don’t understand that. If they alerted the authorites “in the first place”, how did they end up taking the money?

    Or does it mean “alerting the authorities to the case when they realised they were going to be found out”?

  • Anthony Aloysius St 19th Mar '10 - 8:14pm

    I was wrong to suggest that the Lib Dem MPs might have alerted the authorities to the case when they realised they were going to be found out.

    In fact they alerted the authorities _after_ they had been found out:

    “The six referred themselves to the committee after The Daily Telegraph reported that at least 13 MPs had received “windfalls” for giving up their rights to cheap rents in the block following its sale to a private company in 2005.
    The paper said that a number of those who took the money then stayed on in the block – which was previously owned by a non-profit making trust – leaving the taxpayer to pick up the cost of the higher rentals.”

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/lib-dem-mps-ordered-to-apologise-over-homes-cash-1924052.html

  • Anthony – The question that needs to be answered is if the Lib Dem MP’s receiving a compensatory payment self-referred the matter to the fees office, why haven’t the 10 to 15 Labour and Conservative MP’s who also received a payment done so, and will they do so now.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 19th Mar '10 - 10:36pm

    Kevin

    That may be the question that needs to be answered if you want to try to turn this into a point-scoring exercise on behalf of the Lib Dems. And that does seem to be Nick Clegg’s main consideration. But it’s a very strange attitude from someone who vowed that he would come down “like a ton of bricks” on Lib Dem MPs who abused the system.

    Still, that’s how politicians always behave when there’s an election coming, isn’t it? I only wish we could be spared just a bit of the sanctimony from Messrs Clegg and Huhne.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 19th Mar '10 - 10:45pm

    By the way, isn’t it funny that LDV hasn’t posted anything at all about this story?

    I mean, we’ve had a learned disquisition on Canadian political practice from Mark Pack, a report on a district council by-election in Norfolk, an article welcoming new bloggers and an amusing story about a gaffe by a no-hope Tory candidate in the Western Isles.

    But regarding this news story about Lib Dem parliamentarians which actually headlined the mainstream political coverage – absolute silence!

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