25/11/2015 The Papers


25/11/2015

No need to wait to see what's in the papers - Clive Myrie presents a lively and informed conversation about the next day's headlines.


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game against PSV. And Manchester City goes to Juventus. That's all in

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Sportsday in 15 minutes, after the papers.

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Hello and welcome to our look ahead to what the papers

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With me are Isabel Hardman, assistant editor at the Spectator

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magazine, and Ben Chu, the Independent's economics editor.

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Tomorrow's front pages, starting with: The Mail has a

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question for the Chancellor, asking whatever happened to austerity?

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Millions are saved from a life of misery, claims the Daily Mirror,

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thanks to the Chancellor's U-turn on tax credits.

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The Independent highlights criticisms of

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The paper says it is based on forecasts that might not come to

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The Chancellor got lucky, says the Sun, with a windfall that allowed

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The Tories are for turning, says the Metro, with

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The Spending Review indicates a change of course for the UK,

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Councils are to bear the brunt of Spending Review changes,

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Tax rises will pay for foreign aid, says the Daily Express.

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We start with the Daily Mail, whatever happened with austerity,

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George Osborne ducks welfare casts and increases spending -- cuts. It

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is interesting because if you look at the black headings above the

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headline that says your Council tax is set to soar, and to the buy to

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let dream. Those are measures which will hit people in the pocket, some

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might say they look like austerity measures. There is your austerity. I

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was thinking about this on the break and what they mean is whatever

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happened to austerity? Their vision of austerity is something that

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happens to other people, not Daily Mail readers. What they are

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essentially saying is that the Chancellor should have cut spending

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for all those undeserving causes and all those things we don't like, and

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he should have cut welfare for people we don't like, but he should

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have left Middle England alone, which is... That is where the Daily

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Mail has always come from, so perhaps not that surprising. Is it

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true that he has all of a sudden turned into Mr nice guy? He is no

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longer the big bad guy who is chopping this and that? Is that

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actually the case when we do see tax increases taking place? I think he

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has covered some of his political problems by not cutting police

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spending, for instance, by reversing the tax credit cuts. He has overcome

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some of the lines of attack that Labour were going to use. His

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opponents within his own party were using them as well. I don't think

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this means he is giving away all sorts of things and it is a free

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rein for everyone but he has been very clever in that in the weeks

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leading up to the Spending Review he has been very severe in his rhetoric

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and therefore today it has appeared a much kinder Spending Review but I

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suspect that the those who read the Daily Mail they will be quite

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worried about the effects of the local government cuts, actually.

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Conservative council leaders have been warning about the impact on

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council budgets of what has happened today, and while they may not be the

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most dramatic headlines from today, you may see stories appearing over

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the next few months about services disappearing that Middle England

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notices. OK, so that is the Daily Mail appeared appealing to its

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readers with its front page. -- Daily Mail appealing to its readers.

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On the Mirror, the Chancellor being forced into U-turn. It is a puzzling

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front page of a couple of grounds, first of all because they are saying

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it was their campaign, whereas I think anyone... I think Isabel will

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back me up on this, anyone in Westminster will say it was the

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campaign by the Sun which forced a lot of the pace on this. So they are

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claiming credit for a campaign which wasn't associated with them all that

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much. It also says, despite the great victory, Europe, our Mirror

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readers are going to be hit anyway by the fearful Osborne Budget and

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working families will lose an average of ?3000 a week which is

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suspiciously similar to the amount that they said working families

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would lose because of the tax credit cuts in summer. I'm not sure it

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entirely adds up as a piece of journalism. We know that the Daily

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Mirror is left of centre, and all that, is that because those on the

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left are having trouble dealing with not just the Autumn Statement today,

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and the Spending Review, but also the fact that there is no direction

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on the left in terms of the Labour Party? And where it is managing to

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position itself in dealing with a majority Conservative government?

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Absolutely, and I think every publication wants to claim credit

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for its campaign winning in a Budget or economic statement but the Labour

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Party trying to claim credit for the tax credits U-turn is actually more

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audacious than any publication doing so. Because even though Chris Leslie

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when he was interim Shadow Chancellor gave us those figures

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about families being affected by the tax credit cuts on day of the

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emergency Budget, the party disappeared into its own leadership

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contest and what made the running in terms of the tax credits row were

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upset Tory backbenchers talking to the Times, the Sun coming out

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against the changes, and that is what catalyse the rebellion in the

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House of Lords. Peers would not have voted against those changes had it

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not been for those two elements. They had nothing to do with Labour.

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In a sense of the real opposition at the moment are Tory opposition

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backbenchers because the party is such a small majority in government

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and I suspect after the Spending Review it will be Tory council

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leaders as well. The worst time to judge a Budget is on the day of the

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Budget. The effects of these things takes a few days to dribble out, it

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is only then when people will start to realise how it affects them and

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how the fact that distribution around the country. So we have a

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great write up in the summer Budget, all those tax credits, fantastic

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front pages as far as George Osborne and the Treasury were concerned, and

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it soon evaporated. Let's not get too carried away. We will talk about

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Labour and their potential problems with all this towards the end of the

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show. But regardless of who takes credit for this, he did perform a

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U-turn. The Metro and the I. The Tories are for turning, and U-turn

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if you want to. What does this say about his political nous and

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character? The fact that he is willing, we all remember his face of

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thunder the Lords throughout the changes to working tax credits. What

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does it say about him, the person, a politician, that he is willing to do

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this now? I think it shows us that he is a politician. He is not

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someone who will pursue a policy right to the bitter end through

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furious opposition. In that case he is very different to Thatcher, then,

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if you think about it. He is, she U-turn on some things, but less

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towards the end of her career. When he was interviewing Charles Moore,

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Thatcher's via Ghfar, he asked Charles Moore how politicians can

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get out of policy messes. -- biographer. He is not someone who

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will stick to something if it is politically difficult and he has

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realised over the last few months that even though Labour I read a

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tremendous mess at the moment, that doesn't mean you can get away with

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anything, partly because of the small majority has party has, partly

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because the press is also going to cause troubles. Even though Labour

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might complain about a rightleaning press, it was then he went after him

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on tax credits. You can't get away with anything even in this

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situation, and he wants the Tories to be the workers' party and the tax

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credit cuts quite obviously contradicted that, though they had

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to go. Going on to the Independent, Osborne's balancing act. We talked

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about his character, but is there a sense that he has read the rooms and

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the British public have made it clear that they are fed up with

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austerity? -- read the runes. If it is not too much of a contradiction

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here is a pragmatic idealism in -- idealist, in the sense that he is

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not so set in his ideological vision that he can't change. He does have a

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view of where he wants to go, and it is a smaller state, and it is pretty

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Thatcherite and the sense of the private sector doing more, the State

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doing less for people, lower welfare, all these things. He

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doesn't come out and sell that vision directly to the British

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public was very pragmatically he judges that is not going to be

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particularly popular. But you can see it through a lot of the

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underlying policies which emerged very early on that that is where he

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wants to go. Running a surplus, his latest wheeze, if you like, many

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economists say it is not necessarily a good thing, because it excludes

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capital spending which helped the economy grow. He has said that he

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understands that as a good benchmark if you want to drive down the GDP.

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So he will do things like today which look like a huge U-turn but

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actually, if you look at it, in 2019/2020, he still has that surplus

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banked. Maybe it is not about his political genius and being pragmatic

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or ideological or whatever, he is just lucky? The front page of the

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Sun, born lucky. We -- with an e on the end. It is not just that he has

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found extra money, it is also that the office of Budget responsibility

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foundered for him. It is an independent organisation and if the

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OBR didn't exist, and this is something that those around Osborne

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are pretty aware of, I don't think people would have believed him when

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he said he found it down the back of the sofa. It is handy that someone

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else has found that for him and written about it an independent

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booklet. I cover the public finances month in, month out. It looked like

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we were overshooting for this fiscal year so this 27 billion windfall

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came as a huge surprise the city of London analyst and anyone who has

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been watching it. It is basically methodological changes that the OBR

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has decided on. It has obviously been in train for some time but no

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one had wind of it and they decided this was the moment to throw them

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all on the back. I think the independence of the OBR is

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impeccable and I have huge respect for the guys who run it so I don't

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think this is a political ploy. It is just tremendously lucky for

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Osborne that they have done it at this point. Very good headline,

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Borne Lucky. There has been slashed funding to local councils. I want to

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go back to Labour. Mao and the great leap backwards. He produced a copy

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of the Little Red Look in the Commons and tried to suggest they

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were getting too close to the Chinese, and all that kind of stuff

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but it has backfired massively against the Labour Party, and they

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look stranded -- Book. It has backfired, because nobody got the

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joke about Osborne, they thought he was talking about his own political

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beliefs. And the fact it was his personal, well thumbed copy. And

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George Osborne now has that book and the Treasury, along with the famous

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note about there being no money. You can see him deciding which one to

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brandish on which day. It was a poor response to the Spending Review

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already, but those responses are very difficult for Shadow

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chancellors to do. At that stunt was so bad that not even his front bench

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have defended it. -- but that stunt. And when McDonald -- McDonnell

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tweeted a response, funnily enough the Mao stunt was not in that. He

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was selected highlights, so he hadn't removed that bit alone, to be

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fair, but the one big joke wasn't in it. What should McDonnell had said

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today? I think it was set up for him to knock it down. There is a

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Chancellor who in July had come up with this great plan to cut working

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welfare, one of the centrepieces of it was cutting tax credits, only a

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matter of months later he is forced into a full on retreat, not a fudged

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retreat but in absolute back to the enemy had to the Hills retreat. You

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just have to simply point out what has happened, and take credit in a

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way it the Mirror does, and the Sun do. What better way to squander that

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political capital than make a prize idiot out of yourself by waving a

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copy of the book by a man who is responsible for the death of 20

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million Chinese people. There is that, I had forgotten about that.

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Are we seeing Thomas Vanek, through the failure of the stunt, just a

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lack of direction -- are we seeing, then, through this stunt, a lack of

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direction to hit the Conservatives with any punches in terms of dealing

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with the economy? Not just the economy, everything. At the moment

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the Labour leadership, John McDonnell and Jeremy Corbyn, have a

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different stance given to the Labour front bench, let alone the Labour

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backbenchers. The party is in a very sad mess at the moment and it is bad

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politics because it means that there is no official opposition that is

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functioning. That is something that Labour MPs who are quite keen on the

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whole scrutiny role of the opposition are saying mournfully

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over the last few days. We are not acting like an opposition, they say,

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That's it for The say, because they are not. Papers this

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Coming up next, it is time for Sportsday.

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Hello and welcome to Sportsday, with me, Will Perry.

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