Times Opinion today | Bob Diamond should go, Obamacare, Bomber Command, beard tax

Barclays and Bob

Diamond should go, says The Times

Banks must be split apart, says Nigel Lawson, the former Chancellor

Also

“I will never see Arnold Schwarzenegger and not think of a brown condom stuffed with walnuts,” says Philip Collins of the “underrated” Clive James

The authorities have taxed “wealth, numbers of female servants, hearths, watches, dogs and salt…beards, beehives, basements, hats, birth, marriage and death…nothing tears a society apart faster than the perception of a tax burden unshared,” says Ben Macintyre.

The memorial to the men of Bomber Command is long overdue, The Times says

The trench warfare that is Obamacare will rumble on, The Times says

Syrian blogger Fares Chamseddine thinks Syrian rebels will welcome Turkey’s sabre-rattling

Ed Miliband’s poll bounce and confidence boost makes it game on for the 2015 election, says Anushka Asthana

(Times Opinion, Friday June 29, 2012)

Unite plans its coup of the Labour Party | Philip Collins

We became disengaged – spectators while New Labour dominated…Now we are back.

Who said that? David Cameron? William Hague? No, it was Steve Hart, of course. That’s Steve Hart, the political strategy director for the Unite union.

Unite, you will recall, is in the midst of a bizarre attempt to have Progress, the New Labour pressure group, expelled from the Labour Party. A recently leaked document shows what they are really up to.

Unite plans to recruit 5,000 new Labour Party members. How generous, you might think.

Not so fast. The explicit plan is that the 5,000 will all be fed Unite lines. They will control local constituency parties. They will be marshalled as a bloc and governed by the structures of the union. It will all be in place by the end of the year.

Time for the leadership to wake up.

Twitter: @PCollinsTimes

(Document c/o Labour Uncut)

Read more: Unions take on Blairites in fight for Labour’s heart

Nobody likes the puerile unions | Philip Collins

The unions are showing just what they think about Ed Miliband. At the weekend, the Labour leader said: “I’m in favour of more people in our party, not excluding people.”

After the puerile suggestion from the GMB that it would bring a motion to ban the New Labour pressure group Progress, Dave Prentis, the General Secretary of Unison, said that his union would back it.

Last month, Unison refused to allow Progress to host an event at its Reading office. What was the controversial topic? “Labour winning in the South”.

On Labour’s Left, Compass is the equivalent to Progress on the Right. Compass’s chief, Neal Lawson, has sensibly emailed his members: “Progress have as much right as the GMB to organise for their politics.”

The unions are being circled. Nobody likes them but they don’t care.

Twitter: @PCollinsTimes

Read more: Mandelson hits out at unions for leading Labour down a blind alley

Philip Collins wrote yesterday about the GMB union’s plan to outlaw Progress, the New Labour pressure group. Progress has responded to the GMB and its statement is up on LabourList.

Outlawing Progress | Philip Collins

On Monday, the GMB union passed a motion to outlaw progress. Oh sorry, that’s a typo. On Monday the GMB union passed a motion to outlaw Progress. A resolution will now proceed to the Labour party conference to that effect.

Progress is a New Labour pressure group. It publishes a magazine and holds seminars and conferences. Lord Adonis is its current chair and Stephen Twigg its Honorary President.

A few weeks ago Progress held its annual conference. The keynote speaker was Ed Miliband, Leader of the Labour Party. So, clearly, this is an organisation infested with hardcore neo-liberals that needs to be rooted out.

Read more

Airport capacity might be a vote-winner for Labour | Daniel Finkelstein

Vince Cable and Peter Mandelson clashed over airport capacity at The Times CEO Summit today.

Dr Cable argued that the problem has been politically impossible to deal with since the 1960s. “No,” said Lord Mandelson. Labour had grasped this difficult issue and decided to go ahead with the third runway. The coalition had casually ditched the plan. In its place? Nothing.

The audience was with Lord Mandelson and wasn’t prepared to accept Dr Cable’s riposte (it would take ten years to get another runway, in the wrong place).

So if Labour wants to win over some business support then airport capacity might be a crucial issue.

Twitter: @dannythefink

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