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Is Westminster listening to regional rebalancing?

Is Westminster listening to regional rebalancing?

by Graeme Henderson / 29 Oct 2013 14:52

Yesterday saw the launch of yet another commission aimed at reviving the UK’s regional cities. Jim O’Neill, the Chair of the City Growth Commission, as a retiring Goldman Sachs banker, seems an improbable candidate for rebalancing the economy. Yet promisingly his commission will focus on infrastructure, skills and devolution rather than special incentives and tax breaks for business. The key question though is with several high profile reports over the last 12 months

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Review: Handbagged

Review: Handbagged

by Anoosh Chakelian / 24 Oct 2013 15:55

“It’s all artifice and sham,” grumbles one of two unsettlingly realistic Margaret Thatchers to the audience. The essence of Handbagged, Moira Buffini’s play sending up the Queen and former PM’s relationship, is its self-referential wit. “Whatever we say must stay between these three walls,” quips an Elizabeth II, poker-faced.

This new political satire showing at the Tricycle Theatre and sturdily directed by Indhu Rubasingham is a feast of mirroring and juxtaposing characters – with most

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PMQs sketch: It's not easy being green

PMQs sketch: It's not easy being green

by Anoosh Chakelian / 23 Oct 2013 13:31

"It's not easy being green," a morose puppet once sang, wearing a perpetually fixed smile while perching sorrowfully on a selection of hard green and brown benches, alone. The lyrics continue: "When I think it could be nicer being red, or yellow... or something much more colourful like that."

But the only hue Kermit the Cameron was today was blue - in more ways than one. For he began singing that signature tune the moment Ed 'the Eagle'

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A Major intervention

A Major intervention

by Sam Macrory / 22 Oct 2013 17:09

"I can say what I think now. I don't have worry at all about what I say".

So said John Major, signing off after a speech to the press gallery earlier today. He had been true to his word – and how.

For many observers – among them a handful of political journalists who were working in Parliament when Sir John was prime minister – this had been one of the most impressive speech they

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How to make the NHS fit for the future

How to make the NHS fit for the future

by Sarah Bickerstaffe / 21 Oct 2013 16:23

It seems we cannot go a month without another report landing to shake our confidence in the NHS and social care system. From the horrors of Mid-Staffordshire to last month’s reports that death rates in the NHS may be 45% higher than in the USA, questions are being asked about the care provided in our hospitals. Overcrowded emergency departments and reports of substandard homecare add to sense of services struggling to cope.

The health

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COMPETITION: One World Media Festival tickets

COMPETITION: One World Media Festival tickets

21 Oct 2013 14:28

The One World Media Festival brings together the most innovative minds from across the global media industry for two days of insight and inspiration.

It is on the 8 and 9 November at the University College of London.

The One World Media Festival’s exclusive closing event will feature a one-woman show BONO & GELDOF ARE C**TS, a lighthearted look at foreign aid and who it really helps, from the acclaimed comedienne, comedy writer and author Jane Bussmann whose credits

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How open for business is Britain?

How open for business is Britain?

by Tom Wadsworth / 16 Oct 2013 10:59

Can you be on the side of business and on the side of voters at the same time?  It’s a big challenge for politicians, and this week has brought into sharp relief the tensions between keeping the electorate and business happy.

Boris Johnson and George Osborne are both in China this week selling British wares.  Meanwhile, Japanese-owned Hitachi and Nissan, as well as manufacturing body the EEF, have all warned that Britain

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Speakers and their deputies: A democratic deficit

Speakers and their deputies: A democratic deficit

by Richard Berry and Sean Kippin / 15 Oct 2013 16:15

Tomorrow, MPs will elect a new Deputy Speaker to replace Nigel Evans, who resigned after being charged with sexual assault. There are two things we know for certain about the new Deputy. The first is that they will be a Conservative, as convention dictates Evans’ successor must be a governing party. David Amess, Henry Bellingham, Brian Binley, Simon Burns, Nadine Dorries, Eleanor Laing and Gary Streeter are all expected to stand. Liberal Democrats are eligible to

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Clinton's world tour

Clinton's world tour

by Sam Macrory / 12 Oct 2013 11:06

She went away, she briefly looked like stopping all together but Hillary Clinton is back. No question about it.

After stepping down as Barack Obama’s Secretary of State earlier this year, Clinton officially moved onto the side-lines after three decades in public office. Her health had briefly failed her, after she was diagnosed with a blood clot, and a lengthy rest, if not semi-retirement, beckoned. Her supporters, who had earmarked 2016 as the year in which

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R.E.S.P.E.C.T - find out what means to Lord Leveson

R.E.S.P.E.C.T - find out what means to Lord Leveson

by Sam Macrory / 10 Oct 2013 13:08

With the greatest of respect, Brian Leveson didn't seem overly respectful of parliament's esteemed culture, media and sport select committee this morning.

With the greatest of respect, he came armed with a catchphrase: with respect. He used it time and again in his replies to the committee's crack team of interrogative MPs, a useful prefix to answers which were essentially the verbal equivalent of a rollings of his eyes.

With the greatest of respect, he

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Politics: it’s a dog-eat-dog world

Politics: it’s a dog-eat-dog world

by Anoosh Chakelian / 10 Oct 2013 12:56

“He’s an old, retired dog, and so am I.”

John Randall, the Tory MP who just resigned as deputy chief whip at the weekend, is looking decidedly relaxed in Victoria Tower Gardens, where he is entering his old Lurcher of “grizzled ebony” Mortimer into the Westminster Dog of the Year competition.

Does he have high hopes to win? “Not particularly.”

Yes, it’s that annual scene of anarchic merriment in which MPs compete for hearts rather

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PMQs sketch: Cameron's perfect present

PMQs sketch: Cameron's perfect present

by Sam Macrory / 09 Oct 2013 15:42

Back in the early 1970s, a single-digit aged David Cameron probably had high hopes for his birthday presents. Some toy soldiers (which young David isn’t allowed to play with as much as he'd like)? A sparkling new train set (protestors not included)? A Mickey Mouse towel? Fast forward to 2012, and birthday expectations seem to have dipped faster than an Adam Afriyie popularity rating.

"The best birthday present I could want is the

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