Why Labour is right to focus on fairness

The question of how to distribute scarce resources will soon define politics.

Courtesy of Ed Balls, the IFS graph below made an appearance at PMQs today. As Ed Miliband pointed out, it shows that the poorest third will lose three times as much as the richest third next year.

It's worth noting that Labour's plans would likely have been regressive too, if less so than the coalition's. Public spending follows need and it would have been difficult for Alistair Darling to halve the UK's £160.6bn deficit without hitting the poorest. But this is still a smart line of attack by Labour. As growth continues to disappoint, the question of how to distribute scarce resources will become even more important. The current debate over stimulus and cuts will soon be secondary to this.


George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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En français, s'il vous plaît! EU lead negotiator wants to talk Brexit in French

C'est très difficile. 

In November 2015, after the Paris attacks, Theresa May said: "Nous sommes solidaires avec vous, nous sommes tous ensemble." ("We are in solidarity with you, we are all together.")

But now the Prime Minister might have to brush up her French and take it to a much higher level.

Reuters reports the EU's lead Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, would like to hold the talks in French, not English (an EU spokeswoman said no official language had been agreed). 

As for the Home office? Aucun commentaire.

But on Twitter, British social media users are finding it all très amusant.

In the UK, foreign language teaching has suffered from years of neglect. The government may regret this now . . .

Julia Rampen is the editor of The Staggers, The New Statesman's online rolling politics blog. She was previously deputy editor at Mirror Money Online and has worked as a financial journalist for several trade magazines.