Tony Blair

The Telegraph online headline says IRA victims plan to sue Tony Blair over Libya ‘conniving’. In this they say:

Lawyers for around 200 victims say the former prime minister and other government officials appeared to have “connived” with Colonel Muammar Gaddafi to block their claim against the Libyan regime that supplied Semtex for the attacks.

They accuse Mr Blair of assisting a rogue regime to kill off their class action in a “scandalous and perverse” move and are considering taking both the former prime minister and the Government to court in the UK.

Gaddafi comes in for some stick the Mail with this: The macabre sex chamber of Libya’s Colonel Gaddafi where he raped girls – and boys – as young as 14.

Meanwhile, The Observer ignores that Blair-Gaddafi story for its headlines of Extremist religion is at root of 21st-century wars, says Tony Blair, who frankly states the blindingly obvious:

Tony Blair has reignited debate about the west’s response to terrorism with a call on governments to recognise that religious extremism has become the biggest source of conflict around the world.

Referring to wars and violent confrontations from Syria to Nigeria and the Philippines, Blair, writing in the Observer, argues that “there is one thing self-evidently in common: the acts of terrorism are perpetrated by people motivated by an abuse of religion. It is a perversion of faith.”

Mind you, perhaps that statement isn’t so blindingly obvious to Guardian readers? The Independent has a young columnist who recalls his childhood view of Tony Blair:

If you’re about my age and grew up in hard-left circles, Tony Blair is rather like Sauron, a figure of pure malevolence casting a baleful shadow over everything

Labour’s 50p Tax Plan

Naturally, The Telegraph is also on the attack against Ed Balls reporting that Labour’s City guru savages Ed Balls for 50p tax pledge, with another blindingly obvious statement:

“The economic logic behind his [Mr Balls’s] thinking would not get him a pass at GCSE economics,” he said. “By contrast to Ed Miliband’s recent interventions on energy and banking, which tried to reconcile competitive markets with Labour principles, Ed Balls takes us back to old Labour and the politics of envy.”

His intervention came as business leaders, economists and the Conservatives warned that reinstating a 50p tax bracket would jeopardise the recovery, drive away investment and prove a “disaster” for the economy.

To be fair, The Observer does report this in a balanced way reporting that Ed Balls pledges to restore 50p tax rate and control national debt, the tag line saying:

But shadow chancellor immediately draws barrage of criticism from business groups who claim he will jeopardise recovery.

The Independent also reports on this.

EU Referendum

Iain Martin observes that the great EU farce plays out in Westminster. His report summarises the outcome of The Lords debate on it neatly with this:

“The Bill is sunk,” said a peer emerging from the House of Lords late on Friday afternoon. Although members of the upper chamber seated on the red benches were still discussing the piece of prospective legislation that aims to enshrine the promise of a referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union, it had, as a veteran of Margaret Thatcher’s cabinets acknowledged, been holed below the water line.

One has to ask the question that once UKIP is in Westminster, exactly how would we make any such Bill fireproof to such guerrilla action in The Lords?

Ukraine

The Independent reports on how the Ukraine leadership are backing away from a direct confrontation with the protesters occupying the centre of the capital with this a report that Ukraine: President Viktor Yanukovich offers top government posts to opposition leaders including Arseniy Yatsenyuk and Vitali Klitschko. This paragraph in the report sums up the whole situation:

In a day of growing tension between demonstrators and police, a group of protesters briefly seized the energy ministry’s headquarters as President Viktor Yanukovych held increasingly desperate talks with opposition leaders. Last night, President Yanukovych offered the job of prime minister to one of the opposition leaders, Arseniy Yatsenyuk. The former world champion boxer Vitali Klitschko was offered the post of deputy prime minister. There was no immediate comment from Mr Yatsenyuk. Earlier, Vitaliy Zakharchenko, the Interior Minister in charge of police who is widely despised by protesters, had said efforts to peacefully resolve the unrest were “futile”.

The Observer is surprised: Ukrainian president offers surprise concessions as protests turn violent. Meanwhile The Telegraph has nothing on the story – their online presence at weekends is a little weak, to say the least.

Energy

The Independent can always be relied on for a “go go green” story and here it is this morning with an “exclusive” of: Beat the Big Six power companies – Coalition offers new £10m fund for DIY energy schemes coupled with this picture:

community solar panels

Local communities will be offered up to £150,000 each to create their own renewable energy through solar panels or wind turbines and take on the Big Six gas and electricity giants, the Government will announce tomorrow.

So, yet another transfer of wealth associated with “green” energy, possibly on top of generous feed-in tariffs that other energy users have to pay for.

Liberal Democrats

The Observer reports on the sage advices of David Steel with: Lord Rennard row is damaging Liberal Democrats – David Steel. Former leader Steel is reported as follows:

With the party still split over how to resolve the dispute, Steel challenged Nick Clegg to change course and agree to settle the row by mediation, rather than subjecting Rennard to further investigation that could lead to his expulsion.

Steel’s remarks reflect a sense among sections of the party that a prolonged investigation will drag the row out and damage the Lib Dems’ prospects in May’s local and European elections.

Meanwhile, the Express maintains the onslaught over Mike Hancock reporting that Police said ‘sex assault MP’ Mike Hancock was too powerful for me to be heard. With reporting all the sordid detail, the worrying thing is:

The 39-year-old single mother from Portsmouth says she has “deep concerns” over the way Hampshire Police investigated her allegations in the summer of 2010.

And so:

THE woman taking legal action against suspended Lib Dem MP Mike Hancock for alleged sexual assault is considering asking Scotland Yard to investigate.

Disability Benefits

The Observer have resurrected an ongoing saga with: Disabled charities attack fit-to-work tests after 1m people denied benefit.

The applicants were denied benefits after undergoing a work capability assessment carried out by private firms contracted to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). But disability charities said the tests were unfair and the system was failing to give people the support they needed to get a job.

The testers assessed 32% of new claimants for employment and support allowance (ESA) as fit to work and capable of employment between October 2008 and March 2013 – totalling 980,400 people, according to the figures published by the DWP on Saturday.

One wonders where the truth lies behind this, whether the testing is fair or unfair. The present economic climate with Brits denied jobs that EU immigrants are taking may be influencing this with people being declared fit to work (but perhaps still with a competitive disadvantage in the hobs marketplace, despite discrimination legislation) having trouble finding work.

Conservatives

Not to be left out of all the finger-pointing at parties, the Mail on Sunday “proof” of a Tory MP linked to Nazi salutes with a story Lies of Nazi shame Tory MP: Aidan Burley told inquiry he was NOT at pub where revellers chanted ‘Hitler! Hitler!’… despite MoS exposé. Here’s the proof he lied. Read it if you must.

And the Mirror can be relied on for a good dig at the Tories with a story on Thousands left with no electricity as workers rushed to Cameron’s house so he could watch TV and another on a mix of Jaffa cakes, teabags and pickle!

Education

The Mail on Sunday manages a serious topic with a report that Firms slam illiterate school leavers who are putting Britain’s economic recovery at risk. The tag line bullets on this say it all:

  • The Federation of Small Business said companies are losing out to foreign competition because of a shortage of basic skills by school leavers

  • FSB says school leavers cannot write or add up properly

  • British Chambers of Commerce warns of over-emphasis on exams

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