Opinionomics | 4 April 2012

Must read comment and analysis. Featuring robots.

1. What Export-Oriented America Means (The American Interest)

A long-read from Tyler Cowen, covering how and why America could return to being a dominant exporter. Featuring robots.

2. Want to Bet on the 2012 Election? The CFTC Says No (Bloomberg View)

Paula Dwyer reports on the ban from the US authorities on betting on the presidential election. No such rule here, where the odds are 3:1 for a Romney victory   and evens for Obama.

3. Wall Street comes to Watton (BBC News)

Robert Peston argues that the seemingly scammy way "asymmetric cap and collar" deals were sold to small business owners could be the next banking scandal.

4. 'Polluter pays' is the only principle that can limit aviation emissions (Guardian)

The EU climate commissioner, Connie Hedegaard, lays out the case for incorporating aviation emissions into the cap-and-trade system.

5. US economy: A market on the move (Financial Times)

The FT's lead opinion piece today suggests that we could be seeing a housing recovery in America.

Are robots the key to an American recovery? Not this kind, sadly. Credit: Getty

Alex Hern is a technology reporter for the Guardian. He was formerly staff writer at the New Statesman. You should follow Alex on Twitter.

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Lord Sainsbury pulls funding from Progress and other political causes

The longstanding Labour donor will no longer fund party political causes. 

Centrist Labour MPs face a funding gap for their ideas after the longstanding Labour donor Lord Sainsbury announced he will stop financing party political causes.

Sainsbury, who served as a New Labour minister and also donated to the Liberal Democrats, is instead concentrating on charitable causes. 

Lord Sainsbury funded the centrist organisation Progress, dubbed the “original Blairite pressure group”, which was founded in mid Nineties and provided the intellectual underpinnings of New Labour.

The former supermarket boss is understood to still fund Policy Network, an international thinktank headed by New Labour veteran Peter Mandelson.

He has also funded the Remain campaign group Britain Stronger in Europe. The latter reinvented itself as Open Britain after the Leave vote, and has campaigned for a softer Brexit. Its supporters include former Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg and Labour's Chuka Umunna, and it now relies on grassroots funding.

Sainsbury said he wished to “hand the baton on to a new generation of donors” who supported progressive politics. 

Progress director Richard Angell said: “Progress is extremely grateful to Lord Sainsbury for the funding he has provided for over two decades. We always knew it would not last forever.”

The organisation has raised a third of its funding target from other donors, but is now appealing for financial support from Labour supporters. Its aims include “stopping a hard-left take over” of the Labour party and “renewing the ideas of the centre-left”. 

Julia Rampen is the digital news editor of the New Statesman (previously editor of The Staggers, The New Statesman's online rolling politics blog). She has also been deputy editor at Mirror Money Online and has worked as a financial journalist for several trade magazines. 

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