CommentPlus: pick of the papers

The ten must-read pieces from the Sunday papers.

1. The country's renewal is being betrayed by cheap, paltry politics (Observer)

The interminable row over National Insurance is a sideshow, says Will Hutton. Instead, we need an honest discussion about how to rebalance the economy away from financial services.

2. Cameron is cheeky, but right (Independent on Sunday)

David Cameron's pitch for the Guardian vote may be cheeky but it is clever, writes John Rentoul. His plan to introduce a public-sector pay multiple is a small step in the right direction.

3. Joker David Cameron is having a laugh (Sunday Mirror)

Elsewhere, the New Statesman editor, Jason Cowley, says that Cameron's repeated claim that Britain is "broken" proves that the Tory leader is behind the curve. Labour must continue to chip away at the façade of Tory moderation.

4. Who's more honest: voters or politicians? (Sunday Times)

Many have written that voters deserve more honesty from the politicians on the economy but this ignores the inconsistency of public opinion, says Martin Ivens. Everyone applauded George Osborne for the honesty of his austerity message, but voters soon became uneasy about "Tory cuts".

5. Will someone please tell us the truth? (Sunday Telegraph)

But elsewhere, Janet Daley argues that voters are desperate for a politician to admit that tax-and-spend has well and truly reached its endgame.

6. It's not the answers that will win this election, it's the questions (Observer)

The parties are launching their manifestos this week but they will offer us little guidance on what they would do in power, says Andrew Rawnsley. None of them will be honest about spending cuts and they cannot anticipate great events such as 9/11.

7. Obama -- the idealist turns assassin (Independent on Sunday)

Barack Obama's decision to authorise the "targeted killing" of the Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki shows how he has changed since his days as a civil rights lawyer, says Joan Smith.

8. Tories turn up the heat in week one (Sunday Times)

The Tories may be evasive, but they recognise that business leaders and the electorate are tired of paying ever more tax to fund a bloated public sector, argues a leader in the Sunday Times.

9. Out of one nation's catastrophe comes a clarion call for honesty (Observer)

Iceland's plan to create a safe haven for investigative journalism is a huge boost for free speech, writes Henry Porter.

10. Supreme Court will miss its impish inquisitor-in-chief
(Independent on Sunday)

The retirement of Justice John Paul Stevens leaves Obama with the political headache of finding a worthy replacement, writes Rupert Cornwell.

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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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