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The five must-read posts from today, on Afghan polls, free speech and the poverty/parenting debate

1. Sarah Palin: news anchor

At Comment Central, Hattie Garlick offers us some vintage footage of Palin pursuing her vocation.

2. Kinnock warns of potential dangers of opposition infighting

Alex Smith at LabourList quotes advice from a man who knows.

3. No escape for Cameron on importance of poverty

At Left Foot Forward, Will Straw takes his lead from Polly Toynbee's column attacking David Cameron's comments on parenting/poverty, and looks in-depth at the Demos report Building Character.

4. Islam4UK ban: a sensible step or a defeat for pluralism?

Michael White explores the moral issues around the ban, saying that while he believes bans should be avoided, you have to draw the line sometimes, if only to make a point.

5. Listening to Afghanistan

The Bleeding Heart Show asks: how much weight should we give to opinion polls as a measure of the success or validity of a military campaign?


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Cabinet audit: what does the appointment of Liam Fox as International Trade Secretary mean for policy?

The political and policy-based implications of the new Secretary of State for International Trade.

Only Nixon, it is said, could have gone to China. Only a politician with the impeccable Commie-bashing credentials of the 37th President had the political capital necessary to strike a deal with the People’s Republic of China.

Theresa May’s great hope is that only Liam Fox, the newly-installed Secretary of State for International Trade, has the Euro-bashing credentials to break the news to the Brexiteers that a deal between a post-Leave United Kingdom and China might be somewhat harder to negotiate than Vote Leave suggested.

The biggest item on the agenda: striking a deal that allows Britain to stay in the single market. Elsewhere, Fox should use his political capital with the Conservative right to wait longer to sign deals than a Remainer would have to, to avoid the United Kingdom being caught in a series of bad deals. 

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. He usually writes about politics.