Saif Gaddafi emerges defiant in Tripoli

Gaddafi's son, who was reportedly arrested on Sunday, appears on video and declares: "we are winning

"The era of Gaddafi is over," declared Mustafa Abdul Jalil, the leader of the Libyan rebels, yesterday, and few disagreed with him. But the dramatic reappearance of Gaddafi's son, Saif al-Islam, who was reportedly arrested on Sunday, suggests that the battle for Tripoli could be far more bloody and protracted than the allies expected. It remains unclear whether he escaped from rebel custody or whether he was released as part of a deal. Waheed Burshan, a member of the National Transitional Council, told al-Jazeera: "We had confirmation Saif al-Islam was arrested, but we have no idea how he escaped."

The younger Gaddafi, who drove in an armoured vehicle to the Rixos Hotel, where the foreign press corps is trapped, mimiced his father's rheotric and declared that the "Libyan people rose up yesterday and today, and broke the back of the rebels, and the rats, and the gangs." He added, sounding ever more like the regime's Comical Ali, that: "Everything is normal."

But while his reapperance offers a psychological boost to loyalist fighters, it is insignificant in military terms. There is little prospect of them halting the rebel advance and regaining control of the city. In the meantime, the manhunt for Gaddafi senior, who US officials believe is still in Libya, continues. As Jalil told reporters at the rebel headquarters in Benghazi yesterday: "The real moment of victory is when Gaddafi is captured."

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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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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