Daily View 2×2: 8 July 2009

2 Big Stories

Labour backbench revolt over abolition of 10p tax rate is defeated

Big shock this one, I know… Labour MPs realise too late that their party’s tax changes are hitting the poorest hard in the pocket, threaten to mount a rebellion, and then – as per bloody usual – are bought off by the whips with a mixture of coercion and cheap promises. We’ve seen this story played out so many times before. Here’s The Times account:

Gordon Brown saw his Government’s majority cut to 43 in its defeat of an amendment to the Finance Bill that many thought would be jeopardised by the rebellion. The Treasury had sought to dissaude dissenters by warning that the amendment would invalidate rules governing the collection of income tax, but many Labour backbenchers insisted that the party needed to stand up for those on low incomes.

Opposition from the Conservative and Liberal Democrats looked to have been bolstered by 30 Labour MPs who were backing Labour MP Frank Field’s amendment to offer compensation to more than just those hit worst by the abolition of the 10 pence tax band. The Government avoided a humiliating defeat, however, after a number of prominent rebels including Greg Pope and Sally Keeble said that they would no longer be supporting the motion in a debate yesterday.

Trident excluded from defence review

As The Guardian reports

The government bowed to the inevitable today by agreeing to a strategic defence review but said it would exclude Britain’s most controversial weapons system, the Trident nuclear deterrent. “There is no sacred cow besides Trident,” defence officials said.

Lib Dem shadow defence secretary Nick Harvey commented:

Any review which fails to ask the big questions will be a waste of time. In particular, the Government must think again about replacing Trident. Ministers must look at how to find the balance between being prepared for state-on-state conflict while meeting the current need for counter-insurgency capabilities. Any review must be a genuine appraisal of our current and future capabilities and should not be driven by the need for cuts. We need to look more seriously at what we can do with our allies both in the US and Europe.”

2 must-read blog-posts

Remembering 7/7 (James Graham)

This may not sound like a particularly sensitive thing to say, but my overwhelming sense of the day was quite happy. Seeing the commuting population of a city the size of London walking home, with virtually no traffic, was plain surreal and most of us felt the same way. It was a strangely unifying experience. People were making eye contact and even talking with complete strangers. There was an enormous swell of community spirit.

Customer Service and the private sector – reasons to be annoyed (Mark Valladares)

I am a civil servant and, therefore, apparently not the best person to talk about customer service. And yet I find myself almost perpetually puzzled by the inability of banks and utility companies to do even simple things well.

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