Daily Archives: 16 November 2007

EXCLUSIVE: Dr Harris comes out for Huhne

Following last night’s Question Time hustings, Evan Harris MP has come out for Chris Huhne:

“I have known Chris Huhne for over 20 years as a political campaigner, journalist, businessman, MEP and leading party spokesman. He was SDP candidate in Oxford West and Abingdon in 1987 when his energetic campaign paved the way for my gaining the seat 10 years later. He has lost none of his energy, as he showed last night on Question Time. Both candidates are very effective communicators but I have been particularly struck by Chris Huhne’s commitment to ensuring that the Liberal Democrats remain a progressive and radical party. He is committed to social justice as a top priority and to the protection of equitable access to public services.”

Possibly not the greatest of coups ever, but Evan certainly has his fans within the party and is nobody’s fool. I haven’t seen Question Time yet, although it does seem to have been somewhere between a win for Huhne or a score draw, as the (relatively impartial) Liberal Conspiracy summary seems to confirm.

By the way Team Clegg, feel free to leak me stuff as well! 🙂

White wristbands are history

Remember those halcyon days of 2005 when Make Poverty History “forced” the G8 to finally take the problem of international debt and development seriously? Remember how keen both Prime Minister Blair and his then Chancellor Gordon Brown were on championing this issue?

Strange then that as PM, Brown has been quietly letting those commitments drop:

Exhibit A, from the Treasury’s own website: the 2004 Spending Review which stated: “Total UK official development assistance (ODA) … will have risen from 0.26 per cent of Gross National Income (GNI) in 1997 to 0.47 per cent in 2007-08.”

Exhibit B, also from the Treasury’s own website: the 2007 Pre-Budget Report which boasted of: “an increase in overseas aid as a share of national income from 0.37 per cent in 2007-08 to 0.56 per cent in 2010-11.”

So, having promised in 2004 that aid levels would be at 0.47% in 2007-8, they’ve now cut that figure to 0.37% – which is equal to around £1 billion.

Wee Dougie Alexander says its all okay. Word of political advice: when Dougie Alexander says everything is okay, panic. The last person who listened to him is currently in the cludgy.