Opinionomics | 29 May 2012

Must-read comment and analysis. Featuring the return of pasties.

1. What views can you hold about Spain? (Marginal Revolution)

Tyler Cowen lists all the possible positions one can take on the Spanish situation.

2. The IMF on UK macroeconomic policy: Part 2 (Financial Times)

Martin Wolf asks: Is it the case that greater flexibility on fiscal policy, to support demand, might destroy the UK government’s credibility, with disastrous results? Martin Wolf answers: No.

3. What a joke as pasty-faced Chancellor is forced to eat humble pie and bin plans for a pasty tax (Telegraph)

Ian Cowie on pies, pasties and populism.

4. From NHS to the national Serco service (Guardian)

Jacqueline Davis is concerned about the more pernicious effects of privatisation in the NHS.

5. Shareholder spring? It was just a cynical attempt to keep Vince Cable at bay (Independent)

Companies should put some of the money they give to their executives back where it belongs... in the pockets of shareholders, writes James Moore.

Greggs must be happy about their pasties. Photograph: Getty Images

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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