News Briefing and Comment

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  • 10 Apr 2010

    Labour's daily press conference featuring Liam Byrne, Ed Balls and Yvette Cooper with a focus on Tory marriage tax breaks

    Vince Cable on BBC Radio 4's Today programme

    David Cameron visits Kingston Hospital in Surrey. (Lib Dem-held Richmond Park, and Kingston and Surbiton, both key target seats for the Tories).

    Gordon Brown is in his constituency of Kirkcaldy before heading to Cowdenbeath to take part in a pensioners' forum

    Grand National

  • 9 Apr 2010

    As predicted a few days ago, the detail of the Tory policy on tax breaks for married couples which has just been announced, looks like pleasing no one.

  • 9 Apr 2010

    The Tory party is offering a new Tax Break for Married couples and civil partnerships in a bid to support stable relationships. The tax reform will be modest. But neither does it support marriage, it supports a certain type of marriage - one that is out of touch with modern relationships and makes for unhappy couples. If the token £150 a year actually succeeded in changing behaviour, it could increase separation and divorce.

  • 9 Apr 2010

    The UK government yesterday abstained from voting on a $3.75 billion World Bank loan to finance a massive coal power station in South Africa

  • 9 Apr 2010

    An independent website which allows users to pick a political party based on policy alone has found that most people go for Greens with Lib Dems in second place.

  • 9 Apr 2010

    For years, the Lib Dems have struggled with the accusation of ‘irrelevance’. They have pointed out quite rightly that smaller parties struggle against an electoral system which works against them, and media which give most of the attention to the two big parties.

    For Nick Clegg to now lay into the SNP leader as "irrelevant" and a "two bit player" smacks of double standards. Nether does it do anything to encourage respect, or aid the development of a ‘new politics’. But the most important point is that it perpetuates an arrogant narrative also held by the two big parties, which suggests that smaller parties have little of value to say.

  • 9 Apr 2010

    How powerful is your vote? There's now a new website which can tell you.

    In the 2005 election, more than half of all voters voted against their winning MP. There were an estimated 25 million wasted votes, which were 'thrown away'.

    In the absence of a proportional voting system, in the UK, the voters with real power to choose the government are those who live in marginal constituencies, and these are who the main parties and media focus on.

  • 9 Apr 2010

    Plaid Cymru, the Party of Wales, said that it was "time to burst the Westminster bubble" as it launched its UK election campaign platform yesterday.

  • 9 Apr 2010

    The church can play a crucial role in bringing peace, stopping violence and addressing the injustice and inequality at its root, says an Indian Christian leader.

  • 9 Apr 2010

    Catholic bishops in Slovakia have condemned moves by a US gambling company to set up Europe's largest mega-casino complex on their country's border with Austria.

  • 9 Apr 2010

    This text and podcast is the fifth and final in a series of reflective radio talks for Easter from Harry Hagopian, focusing on the presence, life and witness of the often-forgotten historic Christian communities across the Middle East. Today, he summarises the need for solidarity with the 13 million indigenous Christians there.

  • 9 Apr 2010

    Methodist, Baptist and United Reformed Church leaders are celebrating after the Debt Relief (Developing Countries) Act was passed in the final hours of the current Parliament.

  • 9 Apr 2010

    7.00am Nick Clegg on GMTV

    8.10am David Cameron on Radio 4 Today Programme

    10.15am David Cameron and Boris Johnson at campaign event in West London

    10.30am Gordon Brown speech at Labour campaign event

    Gordon Brown's battle bus begins to make its way around the country

    Nick Clegg returns to his constituency of Sheffield Hallam

    David Cameron will visit a business in Aberdeen.

    Brown will use a speech this evening on economy to reject claims that the bulk of tax rises could be avouded by 'efficiencies'.

    Most MPs back in their constituencies after Parliament prorogued yesterday

    You can follow the party leaders around the country today and see how narrow their focus is on a small number of 'marginal' constituencies, with the Electoral Reform Society: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/11752

  • 8 Apr 2010

    A few weeks ago I argued on BBC1’s Big Questions for a ‘maximum wage’ – a link between the lowest paid workers and the highest paid, to tackle inequality. The idea has been proposed by the New Economics Foundation.

    Writing in today’s Guardian David Cameron seems to be advocating it for the public sector:

  • 8 Apr 2010

    The row over the proposed National Insurance increase has continued today, which some are interpreting as small change. It is true that £6 billion isn’t very much compared to the overall annual Government budget of hundreds of billions.

    What has become lost in the row - and is symptomatic of a much wider problem with many election issues - is that this is about people’s lives. To put things in a different perspective, £6 billion is also what it costs to employ 300,000 people a year on £20,000.