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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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Tony Blair won't endorse the Labour leader - Jeremy Corbyn's fans are celebrating

The thrice-elected Prime Minister is no fan of the new Labour leader. 

Labour heavyweights usually support each other - at least in public. But the former Prime Minister Tony Blair couldn't bring himself to do so when asked on Sky News.

He dodged the question of whether the current Labour leader was the best person to lead the country, instead urging voters not to give Theresa May a "blank cheque". 

If this seems shocking, it's worth remembering that Corbyn refused to say whether he would pick "Trotskyism or Blairism" during the Labour leadership campaign. Corbyn was after all behind the Stop the War Coalition, which opposed Blair's decision to join the invasion of Iraq. 

For some Corbyn supporters, it seems that there couldn't be a greater boon than the thrice-elected PM witholding his endorsement in a critical general election. 

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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