Week of Dec 13 – 19

By Steve Parkhurst, Senior Editor, USDR.

Looking at the news and opinion out of London each day.


An unacceptable assault on a free press

For the past three days on the freezing streets of Warsaw, thousands of people have taken part in a series of protests in front of Poland’s parliament. Inside the session hall, opposition MPs occupied the speaker’s podium for several hours and blocked a vote on the 2017 state budget. The cause of these demonstrations are plans by the ruling Law and Justice party to restrict the access of reporters to the legislature.

The new battle for press freedom

The fight for press freedom is back on – and it needs your help. The government is consulting on a draconian new law, the so-called Section 40, that could mean publications like The Spectator, who refuse to submit to Max Mosley’s regulator, would have to pay the legal costs of anyone who wants to sue us, win or lose. We would be made a sitting duck for anyone who felt inclined to complain about anything.

The UK should stop negotiating with itself

If I went  to an auction with a business partner we would not spend our time at the auction bidding against each other.  We would agree the best course of action for buying the item at the lowest price, and stick to that. Only one of us would bid. We would not advertise in advance how much we wanted the item or what our bidding strategy would  be.


The protracted negotiations to extricate Britain from the European Union are exposing the falsity of Farage and his cohorts

What would be the words of a Britishness oath?

Javid wants office-holders to swear one, and thinks that all new arrivals should too. But what’s to stop it becoming a litany of political correctness?


The EU does not care about its citizens

Giving the cold shoulder to the Prime Minister was juvenile. Refusing to reassure all EU citizens living in each other’s countries that they can stay after Brexit was morally repulsive.

The Government must crack on with the unfinished business of trade union reform

The growing clamour for action is entirely justified.

Vladimir Putin is dividing the West –don’t bet on Trump to help us

In the British mind, the Crimea means the Charge of the Light Brigade, Florence Nightingale, and all that, more than 150 years ago. We – and the West in general – know little of what the Crimea means right now. We should know more, because it helps explain why this week the Russians have literally got away with murder in Aleppo, why they tried to affect the result of the US presidential election and why they are winning.


Who pays for social care?

Most people agree the  UK needs to do better at providing social care. Some think it is just a case of increasing the money to pay for it by more than it has been increased in recent years. Others say there needs to be reform of the way public sector care is organised and provided. Underlying the debate are two major issues which need discussion.


Theresa May should make good on her fine words and end the legal persecution of all British troops

Revelations by this newspaper that members of the Armed Forces are facing what amounts to legal persecution from Ministry of Defence bureaucrats and activist lawyers over their military service in Iraq caused deep and justified public anger, a sentiment that proves once again how highly the people of this country value those who serve.

George Osborne is seizing the moment to be a major political player again

With his comments on the Syria crisis, the ex-Chancellor has made a timely return to the Westminster stage


Jeremy Corbyn may be unassailable, but he is not leading Labour

As the party languishes in the polls, even his allies see that he lacks the ability to move their project forward

Strikes are relatively rare – but it isn’t acceptable that certain services are still regularly disrupted by them

The transport sector is yet to shake off the bad habit of mass industrial action. Tougher rules may be needed.


Nothing is more permanent than the temporary. The pluses, minuses and paradox of an interim deal.

The Chancellor suggested that thoughtful politicians incline to one. But the more thoughtful one is about it, the more problematic it looks.

Time to fix the banks

Many advanced economies, especially on the continent, have struggled since the crash of 2008-9 thanks to the failure to mend the commercial banks. The main authorities of the advanced world lurched from being far too lax with how much banks lent compared to their capital, cash and reserves, to being too tough. As a result we have had slow growth or no growth, depending on the relative weakness of the individual national commercial banking systems. The US and UK fixed their banks more quickly than the Euro area, but still demand levels of cash and capital that makes normal levels of credit expansion difficult in this cycle.

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Across The Pond is edited daily by Steve Parkhurst. Steve is a political consultant, a writer at his blog as well as a Senior Editor here at US Daily Review. Follow Steve on Twitter @SteveParkhurst

All opinions expressed on USDR are those of the author and not necessarily those of US Daily Review.