Dignitaries from around the world are gathering at St Pauls cathedral to pay their final respects to former prime minister Margaret Thatcher whose funeral takes place this morning from 11:00.
It is a ceremonial rather than a state funeral, although spotting the difference will be rather difficult. There’s still quite a lot of coverage of the funeral with commentators debating her political legacy and drawing parallels with today’s leaders, intriguingly the Telegraph’s Mary Riddell says the Iron Lady and who she calls ‘Titanium’ Ed [Miliband] may have more in common than the current prime minister, although she does counter that there are small parallels and in the main the aim of politicians is to shift the centre of gravity, as Thatcher took Britain rightwards she posits Ed could take us left, but it’s a long road to the next election.
Notwithstanding Thatcher the other big story of the day remains the bombing of the Boston marathon. Three people died – including an eight year old boy – and 176 were injured when two bombs exploded, 17 of the injured are still in critical condition. Many questions remain with the FBI still trying to identify who planned the blasts which were constructed from pressure cookers stuffed with nails.
Going from bombs in Boston and back in Britain there will be a 30-second silence before the start of the London marathon this Sunday. The race will go ahead in defiance of the bombers and participants will be encouraged to wear a black ribbon as the pound the streets of London.
During that run they will no doubt circle the City and there are yet more revelations about bad practices. There is at least some good news as the European parliament has voted to cap bankers bonuses, but sharp practices by finance directors continues to get coverage with the latest being Npower which is accused of ‘doing a Starbucks’ after it came to light that the energy firm has raked in £766 million in profits but has not paid a single penny in corporation tax. Why does the chancellor let them get away with that?
Osborne probably has other things on his mind as yesterday the IMF urged the chancellor to revise his austerity programme after it cut its forecast for UK growth. That was on top of more problems regarding inflation remaining stubbornly high and this morning’s unemployment figures which showed a 70,000 rise. It’s all going rather wrong for the chancellor, but the cuts will continue until the Con-Dem coalition collapses.
Never underestimate though what the Tories (and Lib Dems) will do to save their skins. Yesterday also saw a series of debates – or not – in the Commons on Lords amendments to legislation. Communities secretary Eric Pickles under attack from angry backbenchers offered concessions on the planning changes, but a number of bills were snuck through including the chancellor’s shares for rights bill and also the abolition of the Agricultural Wages Board. Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “Even Margaret Thatcher didn’t dare to abolish the Agricultural Wages Board.”
Goodbye workplace rights, job security, fair pay, equal rights and tolerance. That seems to sum up the Con-Dem coalition of today, and there could be more to come as it’s still 25 months to the next general election.
- Bosses get green light to stamp on staff rights (p1) – Len McCluskey quoted
- Thatcher funeral (p2-3/10-16)
- NUJ condemns coalition for ignoring [defamation] bill changes (p4)
- STUC delegates vote to boycott G4S (p5)
- Why Unite members are fighting to win – Pat Rafferty (p17)
(no links all stories behind paywall)
- IMF urges Osborne to adopt ‘plan B’ (p1)
bombing kills boy, 8 (p1/6)
- MPs force planning rethink (p2)
- Npower’s low tax payments provoke anger (p2)
- Stagflation menaces economic horizon (p3)
- Credit unions win £38 million government funding pot (p4)
- Cameron’s Conservatives cannot revive Thatcherism – Richard Vinen (p15)
- Next chief passes pay award to staff (p20)
- Reliance beats market forecast (p23)
Edited by Mik Sabiers