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.

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George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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Quiz: Can you identify fake news?

The furore around "fake" news shows no sign of abating. Can you spot what's real and what's not?

Hillary Clinton has spoken out today to warn about the fake news epidemic sweeping the world. Clinton went as far as to say that "lives are at risk" from fake news, the day after Pope Francis compared reading fake news to eating poop. (Side note: with real news like that, who needs the fake stuff?)

The sweeping distrust in fake news has caused some confusion, however, as many are unsure about how to actually tell the reals and the fakes apart. Short from seeing whether the logo will scratch off and asking the man from the market where he got it from, how can you really identify fake news? Take our test to see whether you have all the answers.

 

 

In all seriousness, many claim that identifying fake news is a simple matter of checking the source and disbelieving anything "too good to be true". Unfortunately, however, fake news outlets post real stories too, and real news outlets often slip up and publish the fakes. Use fact-checking websites like Snopes to really get to the bottom of a story, and always do a quick Google before you share anything. 

Amelia Tait is a technology and digital culture writer at the New Statesman.