Honeyball’s Weekly Round-Up

Labour Party

The big news in the UK last week surrounded preparations of Chancellor George Osborne’s Budget due on Wednesday. He can’t keep as much of it secret as perhaps he had hoped because he has to share it with his coalition colleagues, The Lib Dems.

The one glaring point expected to arise in the Budget is Osborne’s cut to the 50p tax (the top rate of tax paid by those earning over £150,000).

Even the majority of Conservative voters disagree with George Osborne’s plan to cut the top rate of tax, according to Vincent Moss who says it is ­opposed by the majority of Britons.

His comments are based on a Sunday Mirror/ComRes poll published yesterday. It shows that well over half of voters (58%) believe the Chancellor should NOT abolish the 50p tax rate on incomes over £150,000.

Even the majority of Conservative voters (51%) disagree with Mr Osborne’s plan to cut the top rate.

And there is some news for the Labour party, for the poll shows Labour moving ahead of the Tories as tensions over the Budget mount. The Conservatives are stuck on 37%, while Labour surge ahead to 40%, with the Lib Dems on 10%.This would give Labour a ­­majority of 30 seats with the Tories losing 60. The Lib Dems would be ­reduced from 57 to just 10 seats.

You can read the full story here.

‘Women will need more than a spread in Grazia magazine to vote Tory’, was Jackie Ashley’s article in the Observer yesterday.

She argued the budgets effect on gender deserved closer scrutiny, well closer than perhaps women’s magazine Grazia was going to cover it.

On his trip to the States last week Cameron had his normal team of journalists accompanying him on his trip, and according the Ashley, an unlikely reporter appeared from Grazia and she received special access.

The magazine will undoubtedly report on Sam Cam’s outfits, but as Ashley points out it shows quite how worried Cameron is about the female vote.

And so he should be. Public sector cuts hit women hardest, cuts to family services and public sector pay freezes disproportionately hit women.

It remains to be seen whether Grazia can win the female vote over, although I’m sure that Wednesday’s Budget will help form our opinions.

You can read Jackie Ashley’s article in full, here.

Finally I’d like to say how very sad I was to learn of the terrible coach accident in Switzerland in which 22 children from a Belgian school and six adults died. My thoughts are with their families.

Honeyball’s Weekly Round-Up

Labour Party

Once again the headlines were dominated by the News International scandal. First Rebekah Brooks, former News of the World editor and CEO of News International stood down from her post as the chief executive and then earlier today she was arrested, over the phone hacking scandal.

We could be forgiven for believing there was no other news worthy of headlines for the way in which this story has dominated both print and broadcast coverage.

One point worth mentioning is how Ed Miliband seemed to capture the mood of the nation so effectively. During Prime Ministers Questions earlier in the week he used sound bites to great effect, telling the PM ‘he just doesn’t get it’ and calling upon him to apologise for what Miliband labelled ‘a serious error of judgement’. You can watch Michael White’s Guardian podcast here for full analysis.

To confirm this, today’s Sunday Mirror carries a poll by polling firm ComRes which states Miliband has received a ‘big bounce’ following the scandal. You can read the analysis of the ComRes poll here.

Perhaps now Murdoch’s media empire has been shaken we can once again have a proper debate about media plurality. Indeed the Independent raised such a point in its leading article: ‘Our democracy is stronger for the dropping of BSkyB bid: We now know that the integrity of our public institutions is not for sale to the highest bidder’. You can read the article in full here.

Media plurality and the demise of the Murdoch empire will, I’m sure be a big moment in British history, but there was other news. Greece is dangerously close to defaulting on its debts and if it does so the consequences threaten to spread far across Europe and will be a complete disaster for the euro.

An article in last week’s Guardian claims that the euro is run according to Germany’s monetary interests and in order for the euro to survive Germany must reconsider its position. If European monetary policy is run according to German interests, the article states, then huge structural imbalances will accumulate. It goes on to argue that Germany will then either have to pay to correct those imbalances, or agree that the euro should not be run primarily according to German interests. If they are unwilling to do either of those things, the euro can’t survive. You can read the full article here.

I was also saddened to learn that there has been a dramatic rise in the number of older workers who are staying in employment simply because they can’t afford to retire.

The report by the TUC shows a significant increase in the number of over-50s and people over the retirement age in work over the past two decades.

Brendan Barber the TUC general secretary was right when he said ‘the increasing number of over 65s in work shows that older workers are highly valued and that the government is absolutely right to scrap the default retirement age.

‘But there is a darker side to people to working beyond their retirement. Low wages and poor pension provision, particularly in the private sector, mean that many people simply cannot afford to retire at 65.’ You can read the article in full here.

Honeyball’s Weekly Round-Up

Labour Party

Ed Miliband being interviewed by the BBC's Andrew Marr

Ed Miliband has made a good start. He performed well on today’s Andrew Marr show, you can see the interview here (approx 31:30 minutes into the show.) But the party still has a long way to go. A new survey by the polling firm ComRes for today’s Sunday Mirror revealed that if there was a general election called tomorrow the Lib Dems would be left with just 14 seats in Westminster (currently they hold 57). 

The article reveals that this is the lowest figure for the Lib Dems in any ComeRes study since it began doing them in 2004.

Its regular poll revealed that 22% of voters found that Ed Miliband is turning out to be the best leader, this is a significant increase from the December 2010 figure of 17%. David Cameron remains on 38%, no change from December. You can read the full report here and the full survey results here.

In addition to these promising figures, Labour secured a victory and Thursdays by-election in Oldham East and Saddleworth, well yes, opposition parties usually do pretty well in by-elections but it was promising to see the new Labour MP received such a high share of the vote (42.1%) and with a 5% swing to Labour from the Lib Dems.