Daily Archives: June 9, 2011

Jim Pickard

Tonight’s Telegraph splash is in one aspect sensational: how on earth did they get hold of Ed Balls’ private correspondence? (UPDATE: He left the documents in his old desk at the Department of Education. Sir Gus O’Donnell is set to order an inquiry into the leak, according to Politicshome.)

In another, it is less so: The letters show that the Brownites were agitating to wrest Tony Blair’s hands from the keys to 10 Downing Street six years ago, if not earlier; this we already knew. Not least because it was a very public Brownite coup by half a dozen government aides, led by Tom Watson, who finally held the gun to Blair’s head and forced him to put a timeline on his departure. The poisonous relationships at the heart of New Labour has been well documented by Andrew Rawnsley and countless others. 

Jim Pickard

The general impression yesterday was that Ken Clarke’s plan for “discounts” to offenders who plead guilty early on was now dead in the water. But is that necessarily the case?

The proposals set out in a green paper in December included raising the maximum sentence discount for an early plea from 33 per cent to 50 per cent. 

Jim Pickard

Those wanting to explore what went wrong at Southern Cross might take solace from Vince Cable’s words today that he might launch an investigation into the role of private equity in social care.

“I have asked my officials to look carefully at the business models of companies that provide public services and to ensure that they are stable and the sector regulators responsible for them are able to act responsibly,” Mr Cable said. 

Jim Pickard

It is always dangerous for a senior churchman to stray into political matters, just as it is risky for politicians to stray into religion. (Thus the firm advice from Alastair Campbell to Tony Blair that he shouldn’t ‘do God’.)

And the criticism of the coalition by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, has already prompted a backlash from senior cabinet ministers. Dr Williams has signalled his displeasure with the cuts programme before but this intervention (most notably November) in the New Statesman, is the most passionate and extensive – arguing that “nobody voted for” the coalition’s policies. He also dismissed the Big Society idea as “painfully stale“. It is the most outspoken attack on the government by the church since Robert Runcie criticised Margaret Thatcher in the mid-1980s.