Daily catch-up: George’s big day, Andrew’s plans, and ‘Labour’s new mainstream’

All you need to stay ahead of the learning curve

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The Independent Online

1. How is George Osborne going to explain that almost nothing has gone to plan in his Autumn Statement today?

If only he would stand up and say that he had hoped to have closed the deficit by now, but it has proved harder than expected, because the eurozone has stagnated and because, although our economy has created lots of jobs, the tax take from them has been surprisingly low.

There could still be a debate between him and Ed Balls about whether the coalition choked off the recovery by cutting too sharply and overdoing the austerity rhetoric in 2010, but at least the Chancellor would gain some credit for honesty.

Oh well. Prepare for bluster, slogans and sound bites on both sides. Prime Minister’s Questions at 12, Autumn Statement at 12.30, with Balls replying.

2. Andrew Adonis in the Evening Standard yesterday extolled the success of Teach First, Police Now, Frontline and Think Ahead – schemes to attract ambitious and altruistic graduates into teaching, the police, children’s social services and mental health services:

“Why are these graduate schemes so successful? Because they combine altruism, rewarding career challenge, and excellent training and support from the best national leaders in their field. They also show London leading the way. They started in London, a city of huge social challenges but also an exciting place to live and work, open to new ideas.

“Where next? Step forward the entrepreneurs of Teach First equivalents for the prison and probation services, the young unemployed, and transforming London’s worst council estates.”

Adonis is good at making things happen: watch this space.

3. The new kids on the election websites block, May 2015, have put together an excellent website of polling information, called The Drilldown. On it you can look at different trends from different pollsters, different demographic groups and on different subjects with a click of the mouse.

4. I have interviewed John Woodcock MP, chair of Progress, which now brands itself “Labour’s new mainstream”, for its magazine. We talked about music (he recommended Slow Club to me: their 2011 album Paradise is wonderful), mental illness, why so many people hate Tony Blair and the case for intervention to support struggling states.


5. Colin Byrne saw these handy street lights in Helsinki yesterday (right).

6. And finally, thanks to Fro Vo, via Andrew Denny, for this:

The correct way to spell “hats” is HATS because it’s all caps.