Daily View 2×2: 7 July 2009

by Stephen Tall on July 7, 2009

2 3 Big Stories

US and Russia agree nuclear cuts

The BBC reports:

US President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev have reached an outline agreement to cut back their nations’ stockpiles of nuclear weapons. The “joint understanding” signed in Moscow would see reductions of deployed nuclear warheads to below 1,700 each within seven years of a new treaty. The accord would replace the 1991 Start I treaty, which expires in December.

Nick Clegg welcomed the announcement:

This decision is a great moment and a promising step ahead of next year’s NPT talks. Britain must now play our own part by ruling out like-for-like replacement of Trident. Gordon Brown should follow his international colleagues and finally show some real leadership on this issue, instead of signing the contracts for a new generation of nuclear submarines this summer.”

Post office undervalued, say MPs

Here’s the BBC report:

The government has undervalued the Post Office network as a link with citizens, according to a committee of MPs. The Business and Enterprise Select Committee also said the government’s response to an inquiry aimed at saving post offices had been “inadequate”. … The committee was asked by the the government to study how the network could be improved, but, according to the report, “most departments failed to suggest any way in which they might use the post office network”.

Back in March, the Lib Dem spring conference re-affirmed the party’s plans for the post office and Royal Mail, stressing the importance of staff-ownership to modernisation – you can read the motion passed by confernece in full HERE.

Brown faces new 10p tax revolt

As the BBC tells us:

Prime Minister Gordon Brown is braced for a fresh backbench revolt over his 2007 decision to scrap the 10p bottom rate of income tax. A group of Labour MPs – led by Frank Field and Greg Pope – have threatened to block this year’s entire Budget in a vote in the Commons on Tuesday. Both the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats say they are backing an amendment tabled by the rebels.

If only Gordon Brown and his fellow Labour MPs had been paying attention to then Lib Dem leader Ming Campbell over two years ago, perhaps their actions would have had more effect?

2 must-read blog-posts

Bonfire of the Quangos? (Mark Thompson)

The media have had some fun today with the Tories by contrasting David Cameron’s rhetoric on Quangos with the fact that they have already pledged to bring in through various announcments. … The most important thing for me about this though is what it exposes about government and bueraucracy.

Packing my Bags (Bridget Fox)

Would you pass the citizenship test? I didn’t. I was prompted to try it by Sandra Gidley MP (who passed – cleverclogs!) and the journalist Maggie Philbin, who have been highlighting the absurdity of the citizenship test on Twitter.