Charles Kennedy's cautious rebellion

Lib Dem wary of large cuts but says he's not interested in being "an irritant".

Since the silly season rumours of his imminent defection to Labour, we haven't heard much from Charles Kennedy. But the former Lib Dem leader has re-emerged in time for the conference season, giving a rare interview to BBC Scotland.

Asked for his thoughts on the coming cuts, Kennedy declared that it was important not to "throw the baby out with the bath water" and spoke of the need for "enlightened" investment and expenditure. But it looks like those hoping for a full-frontal rebellion from the Scot will be disappointed.

Having previously lamented that the coalition agreement wrecked the possibility of a centre-left realignment, he now insists that the Lib Dems "must make a success of it" and that he's not "interested in being an irritant or sniping from the sidelines".

With Bob Russell raging against George Osborne's "unethical" benefits cuts and Simon Hughes declaring that a progressive alliance is still "on the agenda", Kennedy's criticisms no longer seem as strident as they once did. The former Lib Dem leader is clearly playing the long game.

 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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This is the place: the poem Tony Walsh read at the Manchester attack vigil

The full text of the poem read at the vigil to remember victims of the Manchester terror attack. 

If one moment captured the response of Manchester to the terror attacks, it was arguably when Tony Walsh, who writes under the name Longfella, recited his poem, "This is the place", about the city. 

Originally penned as a commission for the charity Forever Manchester, a charity that funds community activity in the city, Walsh recited a version of it in front of a crowd of thousands. 

Here is the poem in full, reproduced with Walsh's permission:

 

 

 

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