Huhnes career in the balance as police look into speeding claims – UK Politics, UK – The Independent

Huhnes career in the balance as police look into speeding claims – UK Politics, UK – The Independent. Huhne speeding story gathers momentum…

Predictably the story leads in the Telegraph and Mail, but nearly every newspaper and broadcaster is now carrying it.

Odds from Ladbrokes on politicalbetting.com has Huhne at 4/6 to be the next Minister to leave the Cabinet, and 2/1 that he won’t survive the end of the month.

It seems my assertion yesterday was a bit misplaced;

 “Huhne is one of the Liberals best politicians and it will take alot more than this story to oust him from the Coalition”

The first part still holds and I don’t think the Liberals will happily let go of one of their key figures, but Huhne’s position in the Cabinet judging by this mornings coverage seems more untenable by the minute.

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Chris Huhne ‘warned witness to stay silent over speeding offence’ – Telegraph

Chris Huhne ‘warned witness to stay silent over speeding offence’ – Telegraph. – right-wing media attack intensifies on Conservative critic Huhne.

With the story being broken this morning by the right-wing Times newspaper and gaining traction across the right-wing media, could this be Huhne’s comeuppance for anti-Conservative comments during the AV Campaign?

In what is  an insignificant and irrelevant story about driving licence points for speeding, it seems that yet again a vocal critic of Conservative Coalition partners is falling foul of a right-wing media campign whose aim is to discredit and ruin any dissenters.

In the opening sentence of the story reported in the Telegraph it says;

In a secretly recorded telephone conversation, Mr Huhne tells the person – believed to be his ex-wife Vicky Price – it is not “sensible” to discuss the allegations in public.

Of course it wouldn’t. How odd for a high-profile politician to suggest to a family member not to discuss personal matters in public?

We’ve been here before when – using the same tactics – Vince Cable was ‘secretly’ recorded by the Telegraph stating he had “declared war” on News Corporations plans to take over BSkyB.

Huhne is one of the Liberals best politicians and it will take alot more than this story to oust him from the Coalition.

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politicalbetting.com » Blog Archive » Which firm is getting closest with the Labour lead?

politicalbetting.com » Blog Archive » Which firm is getting closest with the Labour lead?. – Not Much to Worry about for Labour….

Recent opinion polls have shown a negligible lead for Labour over the Conservatives – with an anomaly from YouGov giving them a 5 point lead.

Best bets are that any lead – if any – Labour does have over the Conservatives is small but this should not cause concern.

The Party is still only a year on from a bad election defeat and it still conjures up in many peoples minds images of Gordon Brown and that final year of power when it was clear the party was lost and simply clinging on.

As the ConDem cuts continue to take hold, growing opposition to them will swing more heavily away from the Lib Dems onto the Conservatives and turn the real debate into one of ‘two alternatives’, 1)Conservative cuts vs. 2)Labour alternative. The Lib Dems increasingly look like a  spent political force whilst they continue to allign themselves wholehaertedly with Coalition policies which are predominantly Conservative Party policies.

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Pornography Is Found on Bin Laden’s Computers – NYTimes.com

Pornography Is Found on Bin Laden’s Computers – NYTimes.com.

Interesting how the source to this piece wishes to remain anonymous.

‘The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity about classified material, would not say whether there was evidence that Bin Laden or the other men living in the house had acquired or viewed the material.’ 

Seems like a cheap attempt to discredit Osama Bin Laden and provide excellent fuel for right-wing reactionaries. Just take a lookm at the discussion raging on the Mail’s website; http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1386856/Stash-pornography-Bin-Ladens-squalid-lair.html

    

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Tories begin attack on BBC

It isn’t to much surprise that today the Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt told The Telegraph that “The BBC should not interpret the fact that we haven’t said anything about the way licence fee funds are used as an indication that we are happy about it. We will be having very tough discussions.”.

The Tories have long had a perculiar hang-up when it comes to the BBC. They see the issue through a very narrow and one dimensional prerspective. Essentially, they see that no-one should have to pay a manadatory TV Licence (or tax in their words) to watch TV – especially if they don’t want to watch the channels the BBC broadcasts. Instead, their perfect situation would be to scrap the licence fee and turn the BBC into a purely private company in competition with the rest of the broadcasting market

What the Tories consistently fail to recogise is the richness, and breadth, of high-quality programming the BBC consistently delivers. It is because the BBC is an autonomous public broadcaster that it can air, for example, the recently saved BBC 6 Music. Seeing BBC 6 Music trough a Tory  , or market, perspective would have led to the station being brought off air since it costs £9 million to run but only has a small dedicated band of listeners. Within a market environment no broadcaster would air this service because of its small audience, and thus lack of  appeal to potential advertisers.

For the Tories, they would also argue that individuals should be able to choose who they pay for the TV service they receive – maximizing choice. But, within television broadcasting in particular the market invariably does the exact opposite – it stifles choice. For example, to watch Premiership football or Boxing an individual must – not by choice – buy the appropriate package through SKY. Plus it is not as simple as ordering the individual channels you desire. These are usually bundled into packages which you must – not by choice – buy to access the one or two channels you desire to watch. There are then of course the added costs of buying your SKY set-top box, paying to have the service installed and then paying a monthly fee. All this culminates in costs far exceeding the TV Licence in return for the one or or two channels you CHOOSE to watch, plus the hundreds of others which come as part of your package – most of which offer repeats of terresterial programming, or offer their own low-quality programming cut-up into regular segments for advertisments. The TV licence is a one-off payment and in return you get access to some of the best programming output in the world – and that is no overstatement when you consider the prestige and high regard with which the BBC is held throughout the broadcasting world.

Jeremy Hunts comments are a clear statement of intent that the ConDem Government will be gunning for the BBC, and these comments represent a test to see what, and how strong, the public opposition will be to major cuts in the BBC and the further marketisation of its services.

Yet again, I find it astonishing that the Liberal Democrats are propping up an overtly right-wing wing Tory Government obsessed with cuts, and obsessed with cutting any service which is run in the national good and not for the profit of businesses within the financial market.

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the Graduate Tax and student funding

Vincent Cable’s announcement today that he is considering – and that should be emphasised here, that he is ‘considering’ – a new Graduate Tax to fund Higher Education would go someway in re-balancing the current unfair system whereby students pay hefty fees upfront with no guarantee that their degree will lead to greater, and better paid, job prospects in the future.

The idea of a tax to repay fees is essentially what happens now, whereby you pay back your student loan once you earn above £15,000pa. However, the disparity within the current system is that regardless of your income you still pay back the same amount. Therefore, an individual earning £15,500pa will pay the same as an individual who earns £50,000. Under a Graduate Tax system, you could still have a threshold of £15,000 but the amount an individual pays in tax could operate on a sliding scale. So an individual earning £50,000 will pay a higher Graduate Tax than an individual who earns just above the threshold on £15,500. The Tax would then continue to be paid until the individuals cost of tuition has been paid off – although this latter point has not been clearly explained yet, and it seems there are some suggesting the Graduate Tax could end up with students paying beyond the cost of their tuition, something which is simply unfair.

Beyond the ins and outs of the proposed Graduate Tax, two attached point deserve greater attention and should be courting greater concern. Firstly, is the suggestion that rates of tax could differ according to which institutions an individual graduated from. This would only re-inforce the already entrenched class bias within our University system where three tiers of ‘respect’ or ‘prestige’ exist; Oxbridge, Redbrick, and old polytechnic. This imbalamnce needs to be re-addressed and there needs to be wider acknowledgement that a University education desreves equal merit whether it be from Oxbridge or one of the ‘new’ Universities such as the one I attended. Secondly, other proposed measures to cut costs in Higher Education included suggestions today for the introduction of more part-time, and two-year courses. Again, this would still further exacerbate the class influence within our system – with two-year courses coming to be seen as nothing more than ‘mickey mouse’ degrees when compared with traditional three year courses.

The emphasis for the Coalition Government must be to increase the numbers of individuals attending University, especially those from lower income backgrounds. This concern must come before the costs involved, and the current emphasis on cuts. Of course, University funding is an important issue, and one can not expect to receive a free higher education. But the emphasis must be on widening access, not on funding. Further, with more and more inividuals attending University some real work must be put into re-addressing the class bias entrenched within our sytem where it is not ones ‘university education’ that matters, but ones ‘source of university education’ that matters – with preference given to Oxbridge, then Redbrick, then old polytechnics.Indeed, this latter point has PARTLY led me to pursue masters study at LSE – a “prestigious” institution – to add some weight to my own social positiononing. This is wrong, and is a sad reality many graduates from the old polytechnics face once they graduate.

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Liverpool’s opening fixtures

Just had a look at the fixture list for next season and noticed that Liverpool have two immensley diffcult games to Arsenal at home, and then Man City away. On Liverpool’s current form (as of the end of last season) you would expect us to start the 2010/2011 campaign with 0 points after two games – probably leaving us chasing an already unlikely top four finish.

But this opportunity – with two games against teams going for the league title – throws a chance to Roy Hodgson, and the now be-littled Liverpool team, to show that we are still capable of beating the top teams and that a top four finish is well within our grasp.

We must hang on to Fernando Torres, Steven Gerrard, and the often forgot about Javier Mascherano if we stand any chance of returning to the top – and almost as importantly, if we are to attract some meaningful signings this summer beyond speculation linking us to the services of the Paraguayan forward Caceras. More hopeful are our links to the Belgian Midfielder Steven Defour, and the Argentine playmaker Ever Banega.

Only through keeping our existing stars, and bringing in already established young talent can we compete with Arsenal, United, and the super rich elite of Chelsea and City.

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