Alex Salmond. Getty Images
As journalists scramble to find out what different members of the coalition and Labour party think about press regulation in the run-up to tomorrow’s publication of the Leveson report, one party has been largely overlooked.
It is a little-known fact that press regulation, unlike rules for broadcasters, is a devolved matter. So the person making the decision on whether or not to put Leveson’s proposals into law in Scotland is Alex Salmond, not David Cameron.
Until this morning, Salmond had remained curiously quiet on the issue, but today he spoke out. Read more >>
Ed Miliband chose not to ask David Cameron about the Leveson report today, which has arrived on the PM’s desk, but not the Labour leader’s.
It would have been tempting for Miliband to try and force Cameron into saying something that would then limit his options for how to respond to the report when he does so tomorrow, but instead he chose the more concrete attack of the government’s failing back-to-work scheme, the Work Programme.
Miliband was on solid ground. The key statistic on the programme is that it has found six months’ worth of work (or three months, if the person is particularly difficult to help) for just 2.3 per cent of those on it. The Labour leader held the killer stat until his second question though, coyly beginning with a request for Cameron to “update the house on its progress”. Read more >>
Sometimes words change the world and sometimes they do not.
For now, Nick Boles’ intervention over planning is a statement of long-term intent rather than a change in policy.
Inevitably, however, the new planning minister has caused a furore after claiming that the amount of land built on should increase from 9 per cent today to 12 per cent in the future: over a 20-year timeframe.
He also threw in a criticism of “nimbies” who opposed new homes – while (for good measure) accusing builders of making “pig ugly” homes.
Maybe it is the language from tonight’s Newsnight interview that created the controversy. After all, Nick Clegg said roughly the same thing last week without any negative reaction to speak of. (He called for an array of new “garden cities”.)
Yet Boles is worth listening to. The Newsnight interview was ahead of a speech the minister is giving on Thursday. I’ve seen a copy and it makes fascinating reading.
The main thrust of the argument is that it is not only natural landscape that can be beautiful, but also the built environment. He cites Edinburgh as an excellent Read more >>