Daily View 2×2: 5 July 2009

by Stephen Tall on July 5, 2009

2 Big Stories


MI6 head’s wife posts private details to Facebook

I’ll try and be charitable here. After all, spouses and partners do not choose their loved ones jobs. But, really, if you are married to the incoming head of MI6 there are certain things you just don’t do, such as provide details about your kids and the location of your flat on Facebook without any privacy protection at all – enabling any of the social networking site’s 200 million users to access her profile. Here’s the BBC:

Details about the personal life of the next head of MI6, Sir John Sawers, have been removed from Facebook. … Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs spokesman, Edward Davey, tells the [Mail on Sunday, which broke the story] he wants Gordon Brown to launch an inquiry into whether the disclosures have compromised Sir John’s ability to take up his MI6 post. Sir John is currently the UK’s ambassador to the United Nations and will take up his new post in November. The Mail on Sunday says the information included the couple’s friendships with senior diplomats and well-known actors including Moir Leslie from BBC Radio 4’s The Archers. Lady Sawers revealed the location of the London flat used by the couple and the whereabouts of their three grown-up children and of Sir John’s parents, the paper added.

Gordon’s 10p tax rate blunder returns to haunt him … again

In one of Gordon Brown’s final acts as Chancellor he inexplicably abolished the 10p starting rate of tax, thereby hitting in the pockets some of the poorest members of society. This proved too much even for Labour MPs, who forced the Prime Minister to make a handful of concessions – but they stopped short of demanding a policy U-turn, a point Nick Clegg powerfully highlighted at PMQs over a year ago. Belatedly, Labour MPs are once again waking up to the fact that their party has made poor people still poorer through their actions, as the BBC reports:

A group of Labour MPs – led by Frank Field and Greg Pope – are threatening to block this year’s entire Budget in a vote in the Commons on Tuesday. They say their amendment is also being supported by Tory leader David Cameron and the Liberal Democrats. … the Government headed off an earlier revolt last year – by promising compensation for those who lost out by the decision to scrap the lowest tax band, including larger personal tax allowances. But the rebels say that at least 1.3 million people are still worse off by more than £1 a week, with more out of pocket by less than £1 a week.

2 must-read blog-posts

Our conservative Government is failing us again (‘Costigan Quist’)

Brown and his Government are fundamentally and deeply conservative and risk averse. I’m reminded of John Major’s last few years in office. Reforms were desperately needed in all sorts of areas, but they just didn’t happen. Instead we had constant infighting, “Back to Basics” and the cones hotline. Brown’s always been a conservative at heart. He stuck with most of the Tory’s economic policies inherited in 1997. The costly PFI, talisman of the right, was taken to heart. And his timidity, most clearly demonstrated when he decided not to call a General Election a few months after becoming PM (and will opinion poll ratings over 10% higher than they are today).

4th Lib Dem leaflet in Norwich North (Nich Starling)

No sooner does the 4th Tory leaflet arrive than a Lib Dem response comes keeping the leaflet score at Conservative 4, Lib Dem 4, labour 1, UKIP 1, and the others all zero. I am asking work colleagues to keep track too with a friend of mine in Hellesdon saying he has had no Labour leaflet at all and nobody I know having received anything from the Green Party.