ONTD Political

Boris Johnson has won a second term as London mayor, beating Labour rival Ken Livingstone by 3%, after a far closer contest than expected.

Mr Johnson won on second preference votes after failing to gain more than 50% in the first round.

He bucked the national trend after heavy Tory losses elsewhere.


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Budget 2012 at a glance: George Osborne's key points


INCOME TAX

From April 2013, the 50p top rate of tax will be cut to 45p.

Personal income tax allowance raised to £9,205 from April 2013, making 24 million people £220 a year better off, including higher rate earners.

But 300,000 more people will be drawn into the higher rate - 40% - tax band from 2013/14 as the threshold is reduced from £42,475 to £41,450.

New general anti-tax avoidance rule to be introduced.

Age-related allowances to be removed for new pensioners from April 2013, and replaced with a single personal allowance for all. Allowances for those already of pension age to be frozen.

George Osborne said "no pensioner will lose in cash terms", but HM Revenue and Customs estimates that in 2013-14, 4.41 million people will be worse off in real terms with an average loss of £83. (OP: triple locking pensions will mean pensioners gain £275)


CHILD BENEFIT

Will be phased out when someone in a household has an income of more than £50,000. It will fall by 1% for every £100 earned over £50,000.

Only those earning more than £60,000 will lose the entirety of the benefit.


ECONOMY

Independent Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) revises up UK growth forecast for 2012 to 0.8% - from 0.7%.

Forecast for 2013 is 2%, for 2014 is 2.7%, and in each of the two years after that 3%.

Eurozone growth forecast for this year revised down from 0.5% to -0.3%.

UK inflation forecast to fall from 2.8% this year to 1.9% next year.



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Source.

The government's health changes have survived their final parliamentary test and are set to become law.

A Labour call for MPs to postpone their final consideration of the NHS overhaul until an assessment of the potential risks is published was defeated by 82 votes.

The House of Lords approved the Health and Social Care Bill on late on Monday evening.

The government hopes it will now get Royal Assent and become law by Easter.

The Health and Social Care Bill has had a difficult passage through Parliament with the government conceding substantial changes to the legislation.

The government overcame the final major parliamentary obstacle to the bill when it defeated the Labour motion on the issue of the NHS risk register by 328 to votes to 246.




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People who think this is a crap idea: 

  •  The British Medical Association, 
  • the Royal College of Nursing
  • the Royal College of GPs, 
  • the Royal College of Midwives 
  • the Faculty of Public Health
  • EVERYONE ON EARTH
​People who like this idea:


source
Teen rape tackled in Home Office advertising campaign

Rape is not just about violent attacks by strangers, a campaign to raise sex abuse awareness among teenagers says.

The government fears too many teenagers have a false view of what constitutes rape, and are unaware of the risks of being raped by people their own age.

It is highlighting research suggesting that a third of teenage girls and about one in six boys have experienced some form of sexual violence from a partner.

The new campaign will include TV, cinema and online advertisements.

A 2009 survey by the children's charity NSPCC suggested that the highest proportion of sexual abuse experienced by teens (66%) was perpetrated by people under 18.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, who is launching the campaign, said: "This hard-hitting campaign shows that rape is not just about violent attacks by strangers.

"We want to bring this issue out into the open and get young people talking about the importance of consent.

The campaign will give teenagers the facts and support they need to recognise abuse and form healthy relationships."

One of the adverts - aimed at 13 to 18-year-olds - features a teenage girl being coerced into sex at a party.

The girl says "I don't want to", but the boy persists.

A double of the boy appears from behind an invisible wall, and the viewer is asked: "If you could see yourself, would you see rape?"

Jon Brown, head of the NSPCC's sexual abuse programme, said many young people misguidedly accepted rape or other sexual acts as part of a relationship and did nothing about it

Research had shown as many as 250,000 teenage girls at any one time were suffering in this way but were too embarrassed or frightened to say anything about it, he added.

"They will report a sex assault if it's committed by an adult, but when another teenager carries out the offence the same alarm bells don't ring and they suffer in silence."

Holly Dustin, director of the End Violence Against Women Coalition, welcomed the campaign but said the Department for Education should be promoting it in schools, not just on Twitter and Facebook.

Lib Dem Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone, who is launching the campaign alongside Mr Clegg, said: "This campaign aims to dispel the myths that can lead to acceptance of rape in relationships.

"Bringing the issue out in the open will help teenagers feel confident about challenging abuse when they see it and ultimately protect potential victims."

This latest push for greater awareness builds on the government's wider This is Abuse campaign which aims to help teenagers develop healthy relationships.

Source has videos.

With the ongoing attack on women's right in the USA, I thought it might be nice to read about politicians doing something positive.

Mods, does this entry need an lj cut or is it ok without one?
Go, Frothy, Go!

The Lost Party
The strangest primary season in memory reveals a GOP that’s tearing itself apart.

On a biting, brittle mid-February morning 30 miles north of Detroit, Rick Santorum plants his flag in a patch of turf as politically fertile as exists in these United States. For three decades, Macomb County, Michigan, has been both a bellwether and a battleground, as its fabled Reagan Democrats first abandoned the party of Jimmy Carter, Walter Mondale, and Mike Dukakis, then gradually drifted back in support of Bill Clinton, Al Gore, and Barack Obama. Today in ­Macomb, the action is as much on the Republican as the Democratic side, with the county GOP riven by a split between mainstream and tea-party cadres. And yet in demographic terms, Macomb remains Macomb: overwhelmingly white and mostly non-college-­educated, heavily Catholic and staunchly socially conservative, economically anti-globalist and culturally anti-swell.

All of which is to say that when Santorum takes the podium to address a Michigan Faith & Freedom Coalition rally in Shelby Charter Township, the 1,500 souls he sees before him are his kind of people—and soon enough he is speaking their language. To explain how America has always differed from other nations, Santorum invokes the Almighty: “We believe … we are children of a loving God.” To elucidate the evils of Obamacare, Dodd-Frank, and cap-and-trade, he inveighs against liberal elites: “They want to control you, because like the kings of old, they believe they know better than you.” To highlight what’s at stake in 2012, he unfurls a grand (and entirely farkakte) historical flourish: “This decision will be starker than at any time since the election of 1860”—you know, the one featuring Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas on the eve of the Civil War.

But before the nation faces that decision, Michigan has its own to make: between him and Mitt Romney in the Republican primary that takes place on February 28. “Do you want somebody who can go up against Barack Obama, take him on on the big issues … or do you want someone who can just manage Washington a little bit better?” Santorum asks, as the audience rises cheering to its feet. “That’s your choice. What does Michigan have to say?”
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2012 or Never
Republicans are worried this election could be their last chance to stop history. This is fear talking. But not paranoia.

Of the various expressions of right-wing hysteria that have flowered over the past three years—goldbuggery, birtherism, death panels at home and imaginary apology tours by President Obama abroad—perhaps the strain that has taken deepest root within mainstream Republican circles is the terror that the achievements of the Obama administration may be irreversible, and that the time remaining to stop permanent nightfall is dwindling away.

“America is approaching a ‘tipping point’ beyond which the Nation will be unable to change course,” announces the dark, old-timey preamble to Paul Ryan’s “The Roadmap Plan,” a statement of fiscal principles that shaped the budget outline approved last spring by 98 percent of the House Republican caucus. Rick Santorum warns his audiences, “We are reaching a tipping point, folks, when those who pay are the minority and those who receive are the majority.” Even such a sober figure as Mitt Romney regularly says things like “We are only inches away from no longer being a free economy,” and that this election “could be our last chance.”

The Republican Party is in the grips of many fever dreams. But this is not one of them. To be sure, the apocalyptic ideological analysis—that “freedom” is incompatible with Clinton-era tax rates and Massachusetts-style health care—is pure crazy. But the panicked strategic analysis, and the sense of urgency it gives rise to, is actually quite sound. The modern GOP—the party of Nixon, Reagan, and both Bushes—is staring down its own demographic extinction. Right-wing warnings of impending tyranny express, in hyperbolic form, well-grounded dread: that conservative America will soon come to be dominated, in a semi-permanent fashion, by an ascendant Democratic coalition hostile to its outlook and interests. And this impending doom has colored the party’s frantic, fearful response to the Obama presidency.

The GOP has reason to be scared. Obama’s election was the vindication of a prediction made several years before by journalist John Judis and political scientist Ruy Teixeira in their 2002 book, The Emerging Democratic Majority. Despite the fact that George W. Bush then occupied the White House, Judis and Teixeira argued that demographic and political trends were converging in such a way as to form a ­natural-majority coalition for Democrats.

The Republican Party had increasingly found itself confined to white voters, especially those lacking a college degree and rural whites who, as Obama awkwardly put it in 2008, tend to “cling to guns or religion.” Meanwhile, the Democrats had ­increased their standing among whites with graduate degrees, particularly the growing share of secular whites, and remained dominant among racial minorities. As a whole, Judis and Teixeira noted, the electorate was growing both somewhat better educated and dramatically less white, making every successive election less favorable for the GOP. And the trends were even more striking in some key swing states. Judis and Teixeira highlighted Colorado, Nevada, and Arizona, with skyrocketing Latino populations, and Virginia and North Carolina, with their influx of college-educated whites, as the most fertile grounds for the expanding Democratic base.

Obama’s victory carried out the blueprint. Campaign reporters cast the election as a triumph of Obama’s inspirational message and cutting-edge organization, but above all his sweeping win reflected simple demography. Every year, the nonwhite proportion of the electorate grows by about half a percentage point—meaning that in every presidential election, the minority share of the vote increases by 2 percent, a huge amount in a closely divided country. One measure of how thoroughly the electorate had changed by the time of Obama’s election was that, if college-­educated whites, working-class whites, and minorities had cast the same proportion of the votes in 1988 as they did in 2008, Michael Dukakis would have, just barely, won. By 2020—just eight years away—nonwhite voters should rise from a quarter of the 2008 electorate to one third. In 30 years, nonwhites will outnumber whites.
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Yvette Cooper 'deeply worried' by Army A&E medics plan

A proposal to bring in Army medics to cover a shortage of doctors is "deeply worrying", MP Yvette Cooper says.

The A&E unit in Pontefract, run by Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, has been closed overnight since 1 November.

Ms Cooper, shadow home secretary and MP for Pontefract and Castleford, was backed by Hemsworth MP Jon Trickett, who said the trust should "get a grip".

The trust said the unit would reopen fully as soon as enough doctors could be recruited to staff it safely.

It said it had been advised by outside experts to seek help from the Army Medical Service, as Mid Staffordshire has already done, to provide a 24-hour service.


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Source

Fuck this government. Fuck them right in the ear. So fucking angry right now about them and what they're trying to do to the NHS and the welfare system. And what pisses me off even more is that they're able to do it because of some of the groundwork was done by a previous administration who dared to call themselves Labour.
Government launches first-ever action plan to advance transgender equality

For the first time, the UK government has launched an action plan to tackle the inequalities facing transgender people in society.

Entitled “Advancing transgender equality: a plan for action” and released by the Home Office today, it promises tougher sentences for hate crimes, support for trans pupils in schools, and tailored recruitment advice for businesses.

Statistics show that 70 per cent of children who are uncertain about their gender suffer bullying, and 88 per cent of transgender employees experience discrimination or harassment in their workplace.

In September, the police reported a 14% rise in transphobic hate crime across the UK from 2009 to 2010.

The Home Office said the document is intended to create a framework for communities to work with the government to challenge and overcome persisting inequalities.

Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone said: “Too many transgender people still face prejudice at every stage of their lives, from playground bullying, to being overlooked for jobs or targeted for crime.

“I am proud to announce the first government strategy to tackle the specific barriers facing transgender people.

“Like everyone else, transgender people have the right to be accepted, to live their lives free of harassment, and to be free to achieve any ambition they choose.”

According to the action plan, the government will publish a “clear and concise guide for health practitioners”, including GPs and Primary Care Trusts, on the treatment and care available to trans people, and ensure greater consistency in commissioning gender identity services.

The document also commits the government to raising the starting point for the sentences of murders motivated by hostility towards a transgender person from 15 to 30 years.

Lynne Featherstone, who is also the Liberal Democrat MP for Hornsey and Wood Green, added: “Today is an important step, but I recognise that government can only go so far. So we will be working with schools, businesses and communities so that together, we can drive change and help consign transphobia to the past.”

April Ashley, who in 1960 became the first Briton to undergo sex-change surgery, said: “I think there are so many support groups out there unlike when I did my transition 52 years ago when there was no help at all. Today’s announcement shows we are moving forward to breaking down barriers and educating people.”

Jay Stewart, co founder of Gendered Intelligence, which works to tackle transphobic bullying in schools and across communities, said: “The transgender action plan demonstrates a commitment across government to ensure fair treatment to transgender people. It’s fantastic news for our community. We must now work together to educate people about what it means to be transgendered.

“The plan came about through working with the trans community, and this includes young trans people. I am delighted that Gendered Intelligence has played its part and that the voices of our young people have also been heard.”

The full document can downloaded as a PDF from the Home Office website.

The action plan is only 20 pages with fairly large text, so I'd advise giving it a quick once over if you have a few minutes. Warning for Theresa May.

source
Free schools and academies must promote marriage

The importance of marriage is to be taught to every pupil at the Government's flagship free schools and academies.




The schools will be made to sign up to strict new rules introduced by Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, setting out what pupils must learn about sex and relationships.

Headteachers will be told that children must be "protected from inappropriate teaching materials and learn the nature of marriage and its importance for family life and for bringing up children".

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telegraph

Ministers have clashed with union chiefs over claims next week's public sector strikes could cost the UK £500m and lead to job losses.

Downing Street has stood by the claim, saying it is a "fact" that closed schools will stop many parents going to work, which has an impact on "output".

But unions have accused them of scaremongering and "fantasy economics".

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And here we go...

source


Willie Rennie became the leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats after the party's dismal performance in this May's elections. He is a bit of a non-entity, but with the Lib Dems having hardly any MSPs they didn't have a big pool of people to choose from, and the membership seemed to think he was the best choice. Michael Moore, Lib Dem MP and Secretary of State for Scotland, said "His energy, integrity and commitment make him the right person to lead our party in Scotland. As an experienced politician and a veteran campaigner he is ideally placed to promote our values in the new Scottish Parliament and throughout Scotland too."

Well, it seems those Lib Dem values involve exploiting LGBT concerns to score political points, making wildly, knowingly inaccurate comparisons, and racist photoshop jobs!



Yes, that is Alex Salmond in the corner, photoshopped in to stereotypical arab dress and hugging a camel. 

Source: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Willie-Rennie

(Mods: I know the source is only WIllie Rennie's facebook page, but it's too late for this to have broken in any papers right now, but this will be a major row by the morning)
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