Week of June 4 – June 10

Read Time:6 Minute, 14 Second

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


Ed Balls: Labour will include pensions in its welfare cap

Ed Balls has just told Andrew Neil on the Sunday Politics that Labour will include pensions in their welfare cap. This opens up a major dividing line with the Tories who have been clear that George Osborne will exclude pensions from his spending cap.

If the Labour Party won’t spend, what’s the point of it?

The Labour Party hasn’t faced up to its huge overspending in office, but neither has the Coalition any appetite to get to grips with Britain’s ever-growing national debt

The People’s Assembly will cohere the left – and finally give Labour some real competition

On June 22, thousands will convene in London demanding an alternative to austerity: it will not only be a show of force, but a launchpad for a missing force in British politics

Select Committee Chairmen should be barred from having outside interests

There are two conflicting ideas of what MPs should be.  The first is that they should be citizen legislators, who are thus free to earn and work outside the Commons.  The second is that they should be professional politicians, who are not – and are thus dependent on the taxpayer.


Conservative radicalism can go too far

David Cameron’s reforming administration is in danger of making too many changes at once

Why is every Conservative Secretary of State who’s a woman being tipped for the sack? (Bar one.)

This morning’s Sun listed the following Ministers as being at risk in a reshuffle: Philip Hammond, Oliver Letwin, Justine Greening, Maria Miller, Andrew Robathan, Theresa Villiers and Helen Grant.The Times also listed Greening in its report, and its worth noting that the reports of the two Murdoch papers overlapped significantly.

Labour still won’t admit that it got us into this mess

The two Eds’ strategy has many gaps, but last week’s speeches showed how determined Ed Balls and Ed Milband are to get back into power


David Cameron is no longer more popular than his party

For the first time, David Cameron is trailing behind his party, according to the latest polling from Lord Ashcroft. Labour has long struggled with this problem, but as the charts below show, voters now also feel more favourable towards the Conservatives than they do to Cameron himself.

What else can the government do about house prices?

I understand the critics of the current government Help to buy scheme, who think more needs to be done to lower home prices. Yesterday I was seeking to explain the thinking behind the government’s policy, which is enabling more younger people to buy their first home.

An average worker spends £367.78p a year of their Income Tax on interest on the National Debt

Gosh, I’m looking forward to getting my tax return through the post next year. It will tell me how the Government spends my money. Transparency is not just a matter of lots of turgid data files available via obscure sections of Government websites.


How Ed Miliband avoided open warfare on welfare

For months, right-wing politicians and commentators have been licking their lips waiting for the Labour party to face up to reality. We all assumed that the sort of speeches delivered by Ed Balls and Ed Miliband this week, in which the two men abandoned the party’s commitment to universalism and promised to cap welfare spending, would send Labour into orbit.

Two in five Tory members back the Communications Data Bill – and a third oppose it

It would be an exaggeration to write that every Conservative born into the world alive is either a Little Authoritarian or a Little Libertarian.  But how much of one?  The result of our last monthly survey question about the Communications Data Bill (a.k.a the Snooper’s Charter) may point towards an answer.

Billy Bragg may not like it, but the Conservatives are the new workers’ party

Ed Miliband argued this morning that the Labour party ought to be more focused on people working. ‘The clue’s in the name,’ he said. The irony is that Labour gave up on working people some time ago, and used the boom to keep five million Brits on out-of-work benefit while foreign-born workers accounted for 99.9% of the rise in employment.


Ukip officially excluded from Scottish referendum campaign

Tonight, the ‘cross-party’ Better Together referendum campaign will have their London launch. At an event in the heart of Westminster the begging bowl will go round, and a rallying call to protect the union will go up. But who will be missing?

Donor John Mills’s gift to Labour avoided tax bill of £1.5m

The Labour Party has helped its biggest financial backer avoid tax worth up to £1.5 million on its largest donation so far this year.

A plea for cheap energy

The Energy Bill going through the Commons is the result of an energy policy in transition – or an energy policy where Conservatives want cheaper energy and the Lib Dem Secretary of State remains wedded to dearer and scarcer energy.

Nick Clegg Blocks Tory Childcare Reforms

The Lib Dem leader says loosening the rules to allow nursery staff to look after more children could cost parents more.


George Osborne was the future once – now Michael Gove drives the Tories on

The Chancellor has been supplanted as the party’s most effective political playmaker

A plea for cheap energy

The Energy Bill going through the Commons is the result of an energy policy in transition – or an energy policy where Conservatives want cheaper energy and the Lib Dem Secretary of State remains wedded to dearer and scarcer energy. The problem with Mr Davey’s old fashioned approach to global warming is it means visiting on the UK especially expensive energy.

In Defence of Ed Balls

The one thing more annoying than Ed Balls refusing to accept that the Labour government was irresponsible to borrow at the peak of the boom is the utter delight and feigned incomprehension of right-wingers at the Shadow Chancellor’s statement yesterday.

Payday loans: cute and cuddly tricks can’t disguise outrageous APRs

From the Wonga puppets to Speedy Roo, the payday loan charm offensive is just that, says Pete Cashmore


The significance of Ed Balls’s speech, and what it means for Ukip

Ed Balls’s speech today is significant for two reasons. First, it implied that a Labour government in 2015 would not spend more on current spending. But, rather, it would borrow more to fund higher capital spending—what Gordon Brown used to calling ‘borrowing to invest’.

Shale gas becomes an even more compelling opportunity – we must seize it

A few weeks ago, I wrote here about the potential benefits of UK shale gas in terms of new engineering jobs, reduced reliance on expensive imports and an opportunity to address the energy gap which is fast approaching.

In Brighton, Conservatives could find the answer to their Ukip worries

The city by the sea that attracts alternative viewpoints is just the sort of place for a Tory revival


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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