President Obama says the US is not “a deadbeat nation”, as he warns Republicans not to play politics over the soon-to-expire federal borrowing limit.
One Nation Labour will reach out to voters alienated in the 80s and resist vested interests, party leader will tell Fabian Society
Ed Miliband is to set himself apart from old and New Labour when he declares that both strands in his party’s postwar history have lost relevance in 21st-century Britain.
In his first speech of the new year, Miliband will say his new one nation Labour will reach out to voters alienated by the party in the 1980s while standing up to the vested interests courted by the party in government over the past decade.
“New Labour rightly broke from old Labour and celebrated the power of private enterprise to energise our country,” Miliband will tell the Fabian Society on Saturday. “New Labour, unlike old Labour, pioneered the idea of rights and responsibilities. From crime to welfare to antisocial behaviour, New Labour was clear that we owe duties to each other as citizens.”
But Miliband will say that New Labour, which was famously launched with a “prawn cocktail” charm offensive in the City of London, failed to stand up to big businesses. He will say: “By the time we left office, too many of the people of Britain didn’t feel as if the Labour party was open to their influence, or listening to them.”
The Labour leader sees this speech as a chance to show that his address to the Labour conference last year, in which he first spoke of creating a one nation party, was not just a simple political slogan.
He regards it as a coherent political project which will achieve two broad goals: give an honest account of the party’s past and set out a governing framework for the economy, society and politics.
On the economy, Miliband believes a Labour government would provide greater opportunities than the Tories and New Labour, which “skewed the system to the powerful few”, in the words of one source.
Miliband believes his society theme highlights his determination to focus on greater responsibility from top to bottom, with bankers expected to show restraint in remuneration and responsibility in lending, and welfare recipients expected to seek work.
On the politics theme, Miliband will also focus on empowerment – helping people to feel involved and appreciated.
One example is on immigration, as Miliband makes clear that people should feel free within certain bounds to voice concerns.
He will distance himself from his mentor, Gordon Brown, who famously described the Rochdale pensioner Gillian Duffy as a “bigoted woman” after she raised concerns with the then PM about immigration during the election.
Miliband will say: “I bow to nobody in my celebration of the multi-ethnic, diverse nature of Britain. But high levels of migration were having huge effects on the lives of people in Britain – and too often those in power seemed not to accept this. The fact that they didn’t explains partly why people turned against us in the last general election.”
Miliband will also say that his new approach stands in stark contrast to what is described as the government’s “old trickle-down divisive ideology” in which taxes are cut for the rich while benefits for the poor rise below the rate of inflation.
He will say: “Can David Cameron answer this call for one nation? This week shows yet again why he can’t. At the Ronseal relaunch, all we saw was an empty tin with no vision for the future of our country and an attempt to divide the country between scroungers and strivers.”
LEEDS, UNITED KINGDOM–(Marketwire – Jan. 8, 2013) - Britain is a nation of holiday lovers, however, figures show millions are unprepared for unexpected holiday disasters by travelling without insurance.
Greece has come a long way. And while the nation’s economy remains deeply depressed, the risk it will exit the euro zone has been greatly reduced.
See the original post: Greece may remain in euro after all
Government had hoped to scoop £290m from sale of Port of Dover to highest bidder – rumoured to be Calais
Dame Vera Lynn can relax. The white cliffs of Dover, the most famous symbol of Britain’s indomitable wartime spirit, have been saved from the prospect of falling under French control.
The Port of Dover, which has sat at the foot of the cliffs since 1606, will remain forever England after the government scrapped plans to sell it off to the highest bidder – rumoured to be the local authority of Calais.
On Thursday thetransport minister Simon Burns bowed to public pressure and withdrew Dover from the auction, saving Europe’s busiest passenger port – which handles 13 million passengers and 5m vehicles, including lorries carrying £50bn of goods a year – for the nation.
The port had been destined for sale as part of the government’s mass sell-off of trophy assets, including the UK’s air traffic control system, the student loans company and the Tote bookmaker, to help cut the nation’s record £1.1tn debt.
The government had been hoping the port would fetch up to £290m for the Treasury but Burns withdrew the privatisation plans after warning that the scale of local opposition could jeopardise the sale price.
“The secretary of state also noted the strength of local opposition to the proposed sale and that this might create uncertainty about a sale at this time,” Burns said in a letter explaining the decision. “It is uncertain what price would be achieved in the current climate.”
More than 770 people and organisations had made formal representations opposing the sale, and more than 6,500 had signed three separate petitions against the privatisation of one of Britain’s most well-known landmarks. It also noted that in a local parish vote that 97.5% of residents opposed the sale.
The letter said key concerns were “security, immigration and its historic significance”.
In order to avoid the port falling into foreign hands some of the local residents had clubbed together to propose buying it for the community.
More than 12,000 people have bought a £10 share in the People’s Port Trust, which it said would see Dover “owned by people who love our country”. The trust has a string of celebrity supporters – including Lynn, who made Dover famous with her second world war song The White Cliffs of Dover.
Neil Wiggins, chairman of the trust, said he was “very, very pleased” with the decision that would “ensure Dover remains forever England”.
He said: “If you don’t own it, you can’t control it or the border. Private equity foreign ownership is not good for the UK.
“If it is lost to private equity it can be bought and resold, and who will answer for the history? What will happen to the white cliffs in the nation’s psyche?”
Dover’s Conservative MP, Charlie Elphicke, said the town’s “magnificent victory” saving the port for the nation was the “best Christmas present the people of Dover could have”.
He said: “The port of Dover is the gateway to our nation and should be forever England as much as Stonehenge and Buckingham Palace. The whole community is absolutely delighted that it won’t end up owned by the French or the Chinese or anyone else.
“Think of the port and the white cliffs and you think of freedom and victory over tyranny.”
However, the chief executive of the Port of Dover, Bob Goldfield, said local people would end up the biggest losers from the scrapping of the sale because it would have injected many millions of pounds into the community.
Goldfield said privatisation would have seen local people collect a £10m windfall, a guarantee of £1m a year for five years and £20m worth of shares in the port. The port, which has been owned by Dover Harbour Board since it was formed by royal charter in 1606 by James I, needed to be privatised to fund its development.
“We’re the busiest ferry port in Europe. At the end of the day we’ve got to be able to invest in infrastructure,” he said. “I’m surprised and disappointed, but life goes on.”
Goldfield said NM Rothschild, the investment bank the government appointed to advise it on the sale, had received “a lot of interest” from “a lot of international money” keen to buy it. Rumoured buyers included Pas-de-Calais, the French local authority that owns France’s biggest port, 21 miles away across the Channel, far and Middle Eastern sovereign wealth funds and US and European private equity firms.
“I can’t name names, but it’s all academic now anyway,” Goldfield said.
The French might have lost out at Dover, but the commercial invasion has been successful in Ipswich, Glasgow and pockets of central London.
A host of British brands have fallen for that Gallic charm – or at least cash – the latest being Hamleys, which runs the world’s biggest toy shop in Regent Street, London.
Groupe Ludendo has just spent £60m buying the 250-year-old company, which has eight stores in the UK and outlets as far afield as Mumbai in India and Riyadh in Saudi Arabia.
Other luxury brands in London, such as Stella McCartney and Alexander McQueen, maker of the Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding dress, are also at least half owned by the French – in their case the diversified conglomerate PPR.
Another Paris-based luxury goods group, LVMH, spent £300m chasing off competition from local rival, Pernod Ricard,to secure control of Glenmorangie, one of the best-known single malt scotch whisky producers.
And it is not just companies in the more glamorous parts of the economy that have opted to move ownership to the other side of the Channel. France Telecom, which already owned a stake in UK cable operator NTL, bought the UK mobile phone company Orange from Vodafone in 2000 for an eye-watering £25bn.
And the nuclear power generator British Energy, based in East Kilbride near Glasgow, was bought three years ago for £12.5bn and subsumed into EDF Energy. The combined Anglo-French firm is now the UK’s biggest producer of electricity and together the two companies provide power to a quarter of the country’s population.
Even more humble UK businesses, such as the East Anglia-based pharmaceutical maker, Fisons, have been acquired by the French, in this case Rhône-Poulenc.
Ipswich may have fallen, but Dover remains defiant – for now. Terry Macalister
The EU and Singapore clinch a free-trade agreement – the second between the 27-nation bloc and a major Asian trading partner.
Original post: EU in trade deal with Singapore
According a survey from Ofcom, UK consumers indulge in more web shopping and mobile downloading than any other nation.
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Italy’s bond auctions yielded strong demand, as investors bet the European Central Bank will backstop the nation’s massive bond market.
More here: Why Italian bonds are rallying
Gross domestic product, the broadest measure of the nation’s economic health, grew at a rate of 5.3% from June to September compared to the previous year.
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Agreement Provides Entry of the AgriMarine System(TM) into the World’s Largest Salmon Producing Nation