Stewart Lee - UKIP and Immigration. Tony Benn: 'a giant of 20th century politics' - video. The Bank of Salford could start a revolution in local finance. I have lived in Salford for 50 years.
I raised my family here; this is where my roots are. Salford is a great city and we have a proud history. But there is a terrible and shameful secret that haunts our community, one that we have to be honest about and address. We have a problem with debt. In Britain, a third of people do not earn enough to cover their living costs. As our city's first directly elected mayor I have made it part of my mission to use every power I have to try to lift living standards and tackle debt. We have established an employment standards charter for the public, private and third sectors – which pushes for a full living wage, is tackling in-work poverty and is combating the odious practice of blacklisting.
All of this is important. Setting up a bank isn't easy. We are also working with employers, local communities, workers and other organisations to bring the resources we need into the city. Is Britain sleepwalking towards a European exit? Slowly but surely, Britain is detaching itself from the European project, slipping into an EU membership category of its own, one marked "outlier nation".
That, at least, was the impression left by statements emanating from a European Union summit in the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius, on Friday, where the UK's reputation as the club's most awkward and unhappy member was underlined yet again. It is also the clear lesson from a landmark four-nation poll of attitudes to Europe carried out by Opinium in the UK, Germany, France and Poland and published by the Observer. The survey shows not only that British people regard the EU much more negatively than do citizens of other countries, but also that the citizens of other EU nations think Britain brings few benefits to the union.
As a result, more people on the continent seem happy to see us leave than seem keen for us stay. That, in itself, should worry pro-Europeans profoundly. Migrants contribute £25bn to UK economy, study finds. Migrants coming to the UK since the year 2000 have been less likely to receive benefits or use social housing than people already living in the country, according to a study that argues the new arrivals have made a net contribution of £25bn to public finances.
People from European Economic Area countries have been the most likely to make a positive contribution, paying about 34% more in taxes than they received in benefits over the 10 years from 2001 to 2011, according to the findings from University College London's migration research unit. Other immigrants paid about 2% more than they received. Recent immigrants were 45% less likely to receive state benefits or tax credits than people native to the UK and 3% less likely to live in social housing, says the report written by Professor Christian Dustmann and Dr Tommaso Frattini. Amid Tory disarray, Labour's critical moment looms. 'Out here, a cascade of bad news this week was ignored by the unhinged government benches.
Report after report revealed mismanagement of just about everything.' Photograph: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images The madness of the Tory party defies belief. Forget banging on, these out-of-control crazies are in the grip of a brain fever, crushing themselves to death in a stampede for the Euro-exit . Top dogs fight over the bone of the leadership, but who in their right mind wants to lead this rabble? Majority of British children will soon be growing up in families struggling 'below the breadline', Government warned - UK Politics - UK. Within two years, almost 7.1m of the nation’s 13m youngsters will be in homes with incomes judged to be less than the minimum necessary for a decent standard of living, according to a new report.
The figures, which emerged a week ahead of George Osborne’s Budget, suggest that an unwanted legacy of the Coalition’s squeeze on spending will be to leave more children living close to poverty. The north of England: The great divide. The Manchester metropolis: a rare bright spot IN 1962, as Britain pulled slowly out of recession, Harold Macmillan told an audience that he was determined to “prevent two nations developing geographically, a poor north and a rich and overcrowded south”.
The price of failure, the Conservative prime minister said, would be that “our successors will reproach us as we reproach the Victorians for complacency about slums and ugliness.” If Macmillan has escaped reproach, it is not because he succeeded, but because the task was so hopeless. Forget the Queen's jubilee. Let's have a knees-up for the Magna Carta. The glossy newspaper supplements are out, the BBC (supposedly a hotbed of subversive lefties) is preparing wall-to-wall coverage, MPs are going on holiday for two weeks, the populace is ready to put out the flags and the picnic tables.
In an orgy of deference, we are celebrating Elizabeth II's 60 years on the throne. If any other country were paying homage to an unelected head of state in this way, while the living standards of the majority of the population fall and schools and hospitals struggle with diminishing resources, we would call it "the cult of the personality" and probably think about invading.
According to a Guardian/ICM poll last week, the royal family is more popular than ever, with only 22% believing Britain would be better off without a monarchy, and as few as 10% preferring, on the Queen's death, an elected head of state rather than a King Charles or William. That is unsurprising. Elizabeth II has understood all that. Mosquebusters - By Spike Johnson. LONDON — It is winter, the middle of December, and I find myself making an odd phone call. Pacing around my living room, I kick at the carpet as I dial the number. "Hello? " I say. Bringing Mecca to the British Museum by Malise Ruthven. Over the next two months the great domed interior of what used to be the British Museum’s reading room, where Marx researched Das Kapital and Bram Stoker (creator of Dracula) was a reader, is host to Hajj, a remarkable exhibition that celebrates the most sacred event in the Islamic calendar, the pilgrimage to Mecca.
The exhibition seems more than a cultural event—a milestone, perhaps, in the public recognition and acceptance of Islam at the heart of British life. Conceived by British Museum director Neil MacGregor and the museum’s Islamic art curator Venetia Porter with assistance from the Saudi Arabian government, it is an unusual collaboration between a museum dedicated to secular learning and the current rulers of Islam’s holiest sites, who have lent many important works. Presiding over its opening in late January were Prince Abdulaziz bin Abdullah, deputy Saudi foreign minister and son of the Saudi King, and Prince Charles—the heir to the British throne. Britain and the EU summit: Europe's great divorce. An amateur government. © The Prime Minister’s Office For all the modish talk of modernisation, all too many of the bad headlines and public relations blunders that have beset the coalition have sprung from an old-fashioned, old-chums-all-together way of conducting the serious business of government.
This amateurish culture is far from the purposeful professionalism of Margaret Thatcher’s days. A typical example was the ruination in 2010 of some perfectly sensible proposals to improve the management of the national asset of commercial forestry which ended up in an unmannerly row between the Forestry Commission and the National Trust on one side and the government on the other.
Foolishly, I thought that the treasury would have learned from the discomfiture of other departments and taken rather more care in the presentation of the budget. Not so, however. Britain and the EU: The Failure of a Forced Marriage - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International. It was to be expected.
And now it's official: The British have elected not to join the treaty governing Europe's new financial system. Prime Minister David Cameron refused. Does that mean, then, that German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy have failed? The British “Non” - Harold James. Exit from comment view mode. Click to hide this space LONDON – At the just-concluded European Union summit, British Prime Minister David Cameron vented decades of accumulated resentment stemming from his country’s relationship with Europe. Following in Henry VIII's Footsteps? Would a new Act in Restraint of Appeals such as Henry VIII enacted against Rome in 1533 achieve a similar objective for Eurosceptics today of ‘repatriating powers’ from the EU? Asks Stephen Cooper. 'The Pope suppressed by King Henry VIII', 1534, in a contemporary woodcut from Foxe's 'Actes and Monumentes'In the early 1530s Henry VIII had a considerable legal problem.
Only the pope could grant him a divorce, but Clement VII was unwilling to do so. The case coincided with a widespread feeling in England, at least among proto-Protestants, that too many cases were being decided in Europe, which ought properly to be decided at home. The result was Thomas Cromwell’s 1533 Act in Restraint of Appeals, prohibiting all appeals to Rome. Why the super-rich love the UK. Here's something you definitely shouldn't do if you're even a tiny bit leftwing and suffer from high blood pressure: look at a document called the Forbes cost of living extremely well index.
Forbes is an American business magazine, and its cost of living extremely well index is an annual survey of price trends for things popular at the very, very top end of the income distribution. The riveting thing about the CLEWI isn't the headline attached, because that tends to be the same every year. The headline news is usually that very expensive things have gone up at a rate higher than the rate of inflation – often by as much as double. Common sense leads us not to be surprised at that, since people who don't care what stuff costs will logically not mind too much if the cost of that stuff goes up.
Philip Hensher: Is it a castle – or is it just a source of capital? - Philip Hensher - Commentators. It's been argued that inequalities in wealth in Britain greatly exceed inequalities in income, an injustice which a tax on the value of property would begin to address. And there seems no doubt at all that property, even now, is insanely overvalued. Very ordinary one-bedroom flats in very ordinary parts of London are 10, 15 times an average London salary. The "mansion tax" is quite misnamed. If the tax bites at property values of £1m, it will affect semi-detached Edwardian houses in Clapham. The woman who lives in a shed: how London landlords are cashing in.
Maria's front door has a house number – 48 – screwed in to the wood and its own letterbox, but it isn't possible for a postman to get here to deliver anything. George Osborne's growth policy is turning British cities into Detroit UK. Extremism in Britain's House of Lords. The horror of female genital mutilation in the UK. **Advisory: Graphic language and descriptions of a sexual nature** London, United Kingdom – "After the pain, it was the screaming that I'll never forget. It wasn't just mine and my sister's screams, there were so many other girls there - all being cut.
I've never heard screams like that again and I don't think I ever will. "Aissa, from Mali, West Africa was just six years old when she and her one year-old sister were told: "We have to go somewhere. " Tumultuous Britain. Life in limbo for UK’s irregular migrant children and families. The Obama administration’s recent decision to suspend deportations and grant renewable residence permits to young ‘illegal’ migrants brought up in the United States will benefit up to 800,000 young people.
Meanwhile, the UK government offers no solution for its 120,000 irregular migrant children. For over ten years, the US Congress has been pondering whether or not to pass a bill called the DREAM Act (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) to regularise the position of young undocumented migrants who were brought to the US at an early age. "Britain’s Cultural Kowtow" by Ma Jian. Exit from comment view mode. Click to hide this space LONDON – You would think that the British, having practically invented appeasement, and paid a heavy price for it, would know better.
But appeasement of China for commercial gain apparently is not considered morally repellent. His story, our story. The knock at the door. Britain Unveils Electronic Mass Surveillance Plan. LONDON -- British authorities on Thursday unveiled an ambitious plan to log details about every Web visit, email, phone call or text message in the U.K. – and in a sharply-worded editorial the nation's top law enforcement official accused those worried about the surveillance program of being either criminals or conspiracy theorists. The slow creep of complacency and the soul of English justice. The Falklands War’s 30-Year Dénouement by Marcelo G. Kohen.
The Falklands’ new boss. The Falklands Syndrome: the 30 year legacy of Iron Britannia. Free exchange: Nudge nudge, think think. Mayors: The best job in politics? How the Daily Mail Conquered England.