Daily View 2×2: 24 June 2009

2 big stories

As any fule kno, the chair of the Iraq enquiry Sir John Chilcot has ruled that as a default all evidence should be given to the enquiry in public. He has also indicated that he will be calling Tony Blair and Gordon Brown to give evidence. From the Guardian:

The move to open up his hearings, which came on the eve of a Commons debate tomorrow on the inquiry, shows that a wholesale change of the terms has been carried out since the inquiry was established by the prime minister last week. The decision to summon Brown and Blair for public hearings was disclosed by Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat leader, who met Chilcot today on privy council terms. Chilcott held a separate meeting with David Cameron on the same terms.

In a letter to Chilcot, Clegg wrote: “I was pleased to see how much progress has been made from the initial position set out by the prime minister last week regarding the process of the inquiry … It was also good to hear you confirm that you will be seeking evidence from Tony Blair and others in high office at the time, and would want their evidence to be held in public except in very limited circumstances.”

Other big story, and, well I’m cheating here, really. It should probably by rights be Iran or more post-match analysis of the new Speaker’s appointment. But you’ve got Google and bookmarks. You know where to go for those.

This is the story that should be big – or more accurately, given six months to a year, will be big:

Northern cities such as Hull and Sunderland that were battered by industrial decline in the 1980s have become the blackspots for youth unemployment in this recession, according to a report that calls for the government to target financial help on the worst-hit areas.

The Centre for Cities thinktank research, published today, shows where the unemployment rate among the under-25s has risen fastest. Hull comes top of the list, where almost one young person in 10 is claiming unemployment benefit, but Barnsley, Doncaster, Middlesbrough and Wigan also figure in the top 10.

Young people are one in five of the population but two in five of the unemployed. Almost 900,000 people under 25 are already out of work, counted on the wider measure of unemployment favoured by the government, and the Centre for Cities said that figure is likely to burst through the one million mark by late next year.

“Late next year” is pretty conservative, I think. I haven’t read the report, but surely that figure can’t take account of this year’s graduates, due to flood on to the job market within a month, and next year’s.

At the Convention on Modern Liberty, Vince Cable cited the creeping numbers of the young unemployed as a future cause of major upheaval in society – for good or ill. What I think he meant was, either they could become the new socio-economic activists, wresting control of their  communities from bureaucrats and supercharging the third sector with volunteering hours – or they could become the foot soldiers of extremists. Another of his distant predictions, like honey bees and the recession, which may come to pass sooner than we think.

2 must-read blog posts

Caron muses on the Speaker’s ceremony, and the difference between useful and ridiculous tradition.

Mark reckons… actually he doesn’t reckon this time, he has an entertaining and impartial round-up of the Commentariat v Bloggertariat event run by Editorial Intelligence, scene of a swingeing attack on the Times’ Nightjack expose by Iain Dale, and then of a swingeing attack on Iain Dale by David Aaronovitch. With links, podcasts and 1000 elephants.

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