The New Statesman’s rolling politics blog


Five of the Best

The top five political articles from today's papers and the web

Gordon Brown is planning to set out a list of specific spending cuts before the general election in an attempt to reassure voters that Labour can reduce the deficit, reports the Independent's political editor, Andrew Grice:

Mr Brown will deny he is redrawing his favourite "dividing line" -- contrasting "Labour investment versus Tory cuts". However, he has come under pressure from Cabinet ministers, led by the Chancellor, Alistair Darling, to change his language on public spending amid fears that Labour could lose the argument.

In his Times column David Aaronovitch argues that the US government was justly furious about the release of the Lockerbie bomber and has some choice words for the Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill:

The utterly unrepentant al-Megrahi, according to Mr MacAskill, who had by now switched to high sanctimony, was facing a "sentence imposed by another power . . . He is going to die." . . . So these are the new "laws and values of Scotland" -- if you're going to snuff it within a reasonably short time (let's say months, or a year or so) you are thought to have been transferred into the custody of God and you get let out. How could one not agree with that?

The Daily Telegraph reveals the five books that Barack Obama plans to take on holiday to Martha's Vineyard:

At the serious end are Hot, Flat And Crowded - Why We Need A Green Revolution And How It Can Renew America by Thomas Friedman and John Adams, a biography of the second US president by David McCullough. McCullough is a particularly tactful choice as he lives down the road from where the Obamas are staying.

Over at Comment is Free Dominique Moisi argues that only Franco-German leadership can revive the European Union:

As long as each remains convinced that no alternative to co-operation exists within the EU, and that European co-operation remains a priority for both, it should not be overly difficult to restore their leadership . . . With the return of France to integrated military structure, the two countries are on the same "Atlantic" wavelength for the first time since 1966.

The Independent's Mary Dejevsky explores why the US tolerates far higher levels of inequality than Europe:

Some put the divergence down to the ideological rigidity that led Puritans and others to flee to America in the first place; others to the ruthless struggle for survival that marked the early settlement years and the conquest of the West. Still others see it as the price the US pays for its material success.