Cost of living crisis over? Three things the Tory press won’t tell you this week


Recovery. What recovery? asks James Bloodworth

George Osborne nc1jDon’t believe the hype – the living standards crisis if far from over.

Glancing at the papers this week, or turning on the television news, you’d be forgiven for thinking that most Britons are living in a land of milk and honey thanks to the sterling work of chancellor George Osborne. “Cost of living fears groundless,” declared yesterday’s Daily Mail, while according to Guido Fawkes, Labour’s continued emphasis on living standards is “hilarious“.

Their arguments rest on a number of statistical releases that have come out this week – specifically inflation and jobs figures showing – which show that, after six long years, wages are finally catching up with inflation. Read More »

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Britain’s sharia councils and secular alternatives


sharia councils-1jThe secular legal system can uphold the rights of minority women forced to conform to patriarchal religious laws, writes Lejla Kuric

In a secular legal system, the right to hold religious beliefs is absolute. However, the right to manifest those religious beliefs is limited by the need to respect the autonomy and rights of others.

A religious or theocratic legal system, on the other hand, does not recognise such limitations – its notion of justice rests instead on the supremacy of its own revealed truths and the whims of the – invariably male – clerical authorities who interpret them. Read More »

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Villiers calls for new process to deal with Northern Ireland’s past


In a wide ranging speech to be delivered in Belfast today, Northern Ireland secretary Theresa Villiers will call for a new process to address legacy issues, with a “proportionate focus on the wrongdoing of paramilitaries”.

Theresa VilliersjArguing that so far too great an emphasis has been placed on wrongdoing committed by the state, she will use the speech to explain: Read More »

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Unemployment down 77,000 to 2.24 million


Unemployment decreased by 77,000 from September to November 2013 to 2.33 million, with the unemployment rate now at 6.9 per cent, today’s labour market statistics reveal. Read More »

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A crisis made in Downing Street: one MILLION people visit food banks


Is that what the government calls a recovery? asks James Bloodworth

Almost one million people had to rely on a food bank for emergency food aid in the past year, according to figures released today by the Trussell Trust.

Food banks imagej913,138 people received three days’ emergency food from Trussell Trust food banks in 2013-14, compared to 346,992 in 2012-13. According to the chairman of the Trussell Trust, these figures are the “tip of the iceberg”.

To put it starkly, in the sixth largest economy in the world almost a million people are now unable to afford enough to eat, a savage indictment of the coalition if ever there was one. Read More »

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Five interesting stories about Trident


The fate of the UK’s nuclear weapon system will be decided in the next few years. Whether to renew Trident and what defensive posture to take will be the subjects of internal party debates when manifesto writing, when preparing for the NPT Review Conference in 2015 and when Parliament votes on the ‘Main Gate’ decision on Trident replacement in 2016.

Trident ncjBut there have been some interesting stories about Trident in the press of late. Here are just a few: Read More »

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America: Clinton takes on the court


It was a measure of how tedious coverage of the 2016 presidential race has already become that so much of last week’s news cycle in the US focussed on Hillary Clinton’s encounter with a stray shoe. Numerous outlets covered how Clinton handled the assault, as well as the identity of her attacker.

As it happened, Clinton’s brush with the offending footwear came just days after she made one of her most political interventions in months.  Read More »

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Five signs the cost of living crisis is far from over


George Osborne ncjDon’t believe the coalition hype. The so-called ‘cost of living crisis’ is far from over, writes James Bloodworth

No doubt there will be a great deal of carping in the conservative press today about how we’re all feeling much better off now that the rate of inflation is finally set to fall below the rate at which wages are increasing.

Consumer Price Inflation was 1.6 per cent in March – down  from 1.7 per cent in February, according to the Office for National Statistics, meaning that inflation is now at its lowest level since 2009. Who would argue that this isn’t welcome news?

Not us at Left Foot Forward, that’s for sure. But is it cause for celebration? Well no actually, for there are a number of powerful reasons to think that for most people the so-called ‘cost of living crisis’ is far from over. Read More »

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Farage challenges Salmond to EU debate


Fresh from taking on Nick Clegg, Nigel Farage has called on Scottish first minister Alex Salmond to debate with him ahead of September’s referendum, arguing that UKIP is the only party offering true independence for Scotland, namely from the European Union.

Nigel Farage 1jHaving earlier this week criticised the SNP for failing to give the people of Scotland a referendum on their membership of the EU, Farage has used an interview with the Scotsman to call on the Salmond to hold a one-to-one debate with him. Read More »

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Poland: no friend of the Eurosceptics


Poland’s is committed to the European Union, despite what David Cameron may like to think, writes Matt Broomfield

Polish PM ncjDavid Cameron will have been relieved to hear Polish minister for foreign affairs Radek Sikorski offering his support over the hot topic of EU reform last week.

“We are perfectly willing to help [Britain] fix some of the problems of the EU…”, he said in an interview in Warsaw. “You have a problem with the Working Time Directive – I have to tell you it applies to all countries just as much as it applies to you…We should be able to fix it, perhaps with a treaty change, perhaps without.” Read More »

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