by Stephen Tall on October 19, 2009
2 Big Stories
Labour’s Hain threatens BBC with legal action over BNP invitation
Labour’s Welsh secretary Peter Hain makes a bid for the media spotlight today by arguing that the BBC could face legal action over this Thursday’s edition of Question Time, due to feature an appearance by BNP leader Nick Griffin MEP:
… in his letter [to the BBC], Mr Hain … said the decision should be reconsidered in light of a legal case about ethnic restrictions on the BNP’s membership rules. The party has agreed to amend its constitution after the Equalities and Human Rights Commission sought an injunction, claiming the BNP was breaking the Race Relations Act by restricting membership to “indigenous Caucasian” people.
Mr Hain wrote: “Now that the BNP have accepted they are at present an unlawful body, it would be perverse of you to maintain that they are just like any other democratically-elected party. On their own admission, at present, they are not. If you do not review the decision you may run the very serious risk of legal challenge in addition to the moral objections that I make.”
Because that’s really the way to take on the BNP, Mr Hain – make martyrs of them. Fortunately his Labour colleague Jack Straw is at least willing to argue against the BNP in public rather than in court – as is the Lib Dems’ Chris Huhne, who will appear on the programme (Mr Hain’s legal threats notwithstanding).
Alcohol will kill 90,000 in next decade
The charity Alcohol Concern has issued the sobering warning after its latest research found drink-related deaths have trebled in Britain over the last 25 years from 3,054 in 1984 to 8,999 in 2008. … Research by the University of the West of England used by Alcohol Concern found there would be 90,800 deaths linked to drink by 2019 if current consumption continues.
Liberal Democrat Shadow Health Secretary, Norman Lamb has called for a minimum alcohol price policy to help combat the problem:
The chilling figures highlighted are a stark reminder of the shocking death toll caused by excess alcohol consumption. The Government’s failure to invest in alcohol treatment services and their refusal to stop alcohol being sold at pocket-money prices is having a devastating impact on our health.
“The high price of cheap alcohol is becoming clearer every day. The Government must heed the advice of its own experts and introduce a minimum price for alcohol, otherwise the death toll will continue to rise and the NHS will be forced to pick up the bill.”
2 Must-Read Blog-Posts
Sorry, Iain (Nich Starling)
Just a quick note to say how sorry I am that my old political foe Iain Dale was not selected for Bracknell.
Book review: Mark Oaten’s Screwing Up (Mark Pack)
Overall, the book is decent middle-brow reading. It won’t make any list of the top political biographies, but it has more to it than a simple mea culpa over the scandal that ended his political career.