Web Only: the best of the blogs

The five must-read posts from today, on Amnesty, the Taliban and Northern Ireland.

1. "Scum-sucking pig" -- how it compares with the great political insults

Following the Labour MP David Wright's foolhardy description of the Tories as "scum-sucking pigs", Andrew Sparrow of the Guardian looks at how it stacks up against the great political insults.

2. This campaign to undermine Amnesty is shameful

Over at Pickled Politics, Sunny Hundal revisits the evidence and defends the human rights group's decision to work with Moazzam Begg and suspend Gita Sahgal.

3. The sting in the tail of the fight against the Taliban

Channel 4's Alex Thomson says the arrest of the Taliban's Mullah Baradar is a significant coup for Nato, but warns that defeating the Taliban remains a formidable challenge.

4. Mo Mowlam and the politics of private lives

Daniel Finkelstein argues, in opposition to David Aaronovitch, that the example of Mo Mowlam strengthens the case for greater disclosure about politicians' health.

5. Recognising the role of Irish Londoners

Ken Livingstone looks back at the Northern Ireland peace process in a guest blog on Left Foot Forward, ahead of a debate at the TUC on Saturday.

 

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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.