Today’s digest opens with a strong speech from Len McCluskey at last night’s LSE. Len outlined his alternative. Full details of Len’s address feature in the Morning Star and on leading left wing blogsite LabourList Len argues: “Politics is about struggle, about the clash of interests. It is, ultimately, about how to create a society of common interests. The labour movement has been the backbone to political change and progress for generations ... Unite is leading the way with an ambitious new programme to recruit, organise and educate across the whole of our communities. The labour movement’s message must be one of ‘hope’. Britain is broken, but it is the system that is broken, not the people.” Well said.
And evidence of the divide is the latest attack on benefit claimants. The Sun is peddling not just an attack on benefit claimants, but also focusing on a divide between north and south with a scurrilous headline ‘Voters on dole keep Labour MPs in jobs’ while ignoring the reality of life in Con-Dem Britain were thousands of jobs are vanishing before our eyes. With HMV the latest casualty on the high street – which the FT notes is driving the total of empty shops to a record high – while the Guardian reports that government claims to have created 500,000 jobs in the past year have called into question of after it was revealed that 105,000 of those jobs are on back-to-work schemes.
With inflation data released yesterday also remaining unchanged - and higher than expected – the UK economy is teetering on the brink of a triple dip recession. The Guardian notes that Fitch has put the UK’s AAA credit rating on watch and with a slowdown in the eurozone any scope for growth seems to be vanishing. That will only be exacerbated by concerns of any potential referendum in EU membership, polls show a majority would back staying in, but the divisions in government and the Tory party in particular widen. The Guardian sums it up best with ‘Cameron warned off Europe opportunism’ so the stakes are high ahead of Friday’s long trailed speech…
There has however been some good news as pressure on Goldman Sachs seems to have forced a U-turn on the planned bonus dodge while it looks like private healthcare will have to pay their taxes after more protests from 38 Degrees activists. A mixed win for religious freedom is also reported across the press after a BA worker won her discrimination case over not being allowed to wear a crucifix to work, although the Telegraph reports that three other cases were thrown out.
And finally also being thrown out is beer and burgers, the former as John Smith brewery announced that although the price of its beer has risen it has actually reduced its strength with the beer watered down to save apparently save millions in tax. Worse news for customers of Tesco as a batch of the supermarket’s burgers was found to have 29 per cent horsemeat, subs in the Sun have fun with the headline ‘Shergar ‘n fries’ following up on mentions on Twitter of people saying now we know what happened to the top Irish racehorse stolen in 1983, bon appétit!
(no links all stories behind paywall)
- Goldman forced into U-turn (p1)
- Facebook takes on Google with search tool (p1)
- Risky investing on rise, warns King (p2)
- Ken Clarke interviewed (p2)
- Analysts say poll on EU will harm sterling (p2)
- High street heartache as empty shops at record high (p3)
- Watchdog fears for big projects (p4)
- BA employee wins right to wear cross (p4)
- Police officer starting salary cut (p4)
need a European strategy – not a speech – Ian Davidson (p11)
- Japan launches probe into Boeing 787 (p16)
- French energy groups lose momentum (p17)
- Renault plans to shed 7,000 jobs (p19)
- Ford aims to stay ahead of pickup rivals (p19)
- Former Siemens employee says he was fired after bribe claims (p19)
- Ocado boosted (p21)
- Spirit in better state after Christmas (p21)
Edited by Mik Sabiers