Week of Feb 3 – Feb 9

Read Time:7 Minute, 31 Second

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


Pensioner bonds, austerity and the reasons old people still get free money

As George Osborne sets aside yet more scarce money to subsidise older people’s savings, a look at the simple facts of political life that explain why pensioners are spared austerity

A million pensioners to benefit from bonds

More than 610,000 people bought pensioner bonds worth £7.5billion since they were launched last month, in a move branded ‘inter-generational theft’

Nadhim Zahawi MP: Six reasons why I’m optimistic about the coming election

A clear plan. A strong retail offer. The right direction. A vision for the country. Labour’s strategic failure. And let’s not forget…Ed Miliband.

Free market thinktank claims chancellor’s scheme is gimmick that subsidises wealthy pensioners at taxpayers’ expense


Taki’s recipe for the survival of the Greek nation

If Syriza follows my advice Greece will be the Switzerland of the south in five years’ time (and I’ll have a sex change)

The dangers of an early EU referendum

The Sunday Times reports that No.10 is considering a date in 2016. What does that say about a Prime Minister who, apparently, wants to keep us in?

Will anyone be able to govern Britain after the next election?

With every week that goes by, the more likely it is that the next election could result in a stalemate with neither Labour nor the Tories able to put together a deal that gives them a majority in the Commons. One Downing Street source, who has crunched the numbers, predicted to me last week that, because of what is going on in Scotland, the Tories will be the largest party on 280-odd seats.

Labour’s Boots bashing is bad for UK business

Labour is wrong. Britain needs businessmen like Stefano Pessina – and a government that understands economics

Je suis (parts of) Magna Carta

On Thursday afternoon I visited the exhibition of the four remaining copies of Magna Carta in the House of Lords. There was a sense of reverence in the Robing Room as we peered through the glass cabinets at the small and powerful writing of the scribes 800 years before.


The stand-off on Greek debt is still explosive

Today’s €60 billion of European Central Bank loans to Greek banks is a temporary lifeline — but no solution to the underlying crisis. Yesterday’s bad-tempered meeting between Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis and German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble left the stand-off over Greece’s debt unchanged.

No, Balls isn’t anti-business. Indeed, he understands business.

Plus: Lord Ashcroft’s Scotland poll – I must revise my predictions. Abuse in Rotherham. An upset in Sheffield? My drivetime success. And: in memoriam, Martin Gilbert.

Exclusive: Nick Clegg complains to Cabinet Secretary about being left out

Nick Clegg has complained to Sir Jeremy Heywood, the Cabinet Secretary, that he was ignored before a government policy was announced, Coffee House has learned.

Our duty to protect the Baltic states

There are strict limits to what we can or should do for Ukraine. However, NATO member countries are a different matter.

War in Ukraine


This time next year Greece will be out of the euro or Syriza will be out of power

There has been much interest in the European Central Bank making a new call on Greek government bonds, saying that ‘it is currently not possible to assume’ the bonds to be safe assets once the bailout programme expires. This is as you might expect: after all Yanis Varoufakis, the new Greek Finance Minister, has been touring European capitals this week to remind creditors that Greece is bankrupt.

What’s more important to voters? Coherent policy or the chance to ‘send a message’

The Conservatives are getting into the Facebook thing. The BBC reports that CCHQ is spending more than £100,000 a month trying to boost the Tory presence on Facebook. Is it working?

Conservatives, Ukip or Greens: who’s winning Facebook? Maybe it doesn’t matter

As the Conservatives throw cash at Faceboook in order to be liked, does success on social networks actually turn into votes?

Margaret Hodge quits the mayoral race. Cui bono?

Labour’s London mayoral race is hotting up with one of the front-runners out of the picture. Margaret Hodge recently saw her backing from Labour supporters climb from 10 per cent to a substantial 16 per cent. But she today bowed out of the battle to become the party’s candidate to take over from Boris in 2016.


Greek brinkmanship

So far so good. The new Greek government has been touring the capitals of the EU, seeking to reassure and to push others to support them in a bid to extend the repayment dates of their debt and to make it easier to service. They have come up with sophisticated lines on how with agreement they could live with their debts, and all could believe they will ultimately meet the obligations, but not anytime soon.

Not-working: class and politics

I look much more like a Greek Marxist than I do a British Tory. And so do most people.

Tony Blair coulda woulda shoulda joined the euro? I think not

The Europe Dilemma, by Roger Liddle, poses some of the big historical questions about the New Labour government

One of Gove’s most important education reforms is in danger

One of this week’s most important stories is tucked away in the Times’ Higher Education supplement today. It appears that one of Michael Gove’s most important reforms, putting universities—not Whitehall—in charge of A-levels, is being reversed.

Why renters could decide the result of the next election

With over 10 million of us, we could make a real difference

The best answer to the West Lothian Question is localism

P.S: We need it for its own sake anyway.

William Hague’s plan for ‘English votes for English laws’ is a balanced plan to secure the Union

The compromise over the West Lothian question strikes a clever balance between protecting the English and preserving the Union

The biggest event of the election is about to happen — are you paying attention to Lord Ashcroft?

Released tomorrow, the latest round of Ashcroft’s polls could significantly change the course of the election

Ashcroft poll: Labour faces wipeout in Scotland

How much is the SNP going to harm Labour in the general election? Labour is already braced for a battering but a new set of polling from Lord Ashcroft shows just how great the SNP threat is.

English votes

As I understand the William Hague proposals England will now decide her own spending within English agreed totals and will decide her own tax rates where Scotland has devolved power. That is progress, and I look forward to seeing the detail of how and when this will happen.

Greens ditch citizens’ income from election manifesto

Caroline Lucas, the party’s only Green MP, says plans to give every adult £72 a week regardless of income will not appear in 2015 election manifesto


Which party has the strongest message?

One interesting nugget from Lord Ashcroft’s latest batch of polling is what his focus groups in two seats – Sutton and Cheam, and Elmet and Rothwell – had to say about the parties’ messages.

While flashier talents have come and gone, the home secretary is now a potential leader of the Conservatives. What does her rise tell us about the Tory party today – and its relationship with women?

The next generation of Conservative MPs

The Party’s main electoral problem is that it is seen as for the rich. This cohort is gifted in many ways and novel in others. But it is not well placed to counter that perception.

Ed Miliband’s ‘personal attacks’ are shutting down political debate, say business leaders

The business leaders spoke out after Stefano Pessina, the chief executive of high street chemist Boots, said a Labour Government would be a “catastrophe” for the British economy. Mr Miliband said “it turns out” Mr Pessina ‘lives in Monaco and is actually avoiding his taxes’

The right-wing press sets to work on Miliband

Today’s papers demonstrate how the Conservative press pack has shifted into campaign mode and marked their target: Labour.

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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

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