Talking points: Farage bottles it, more sanctions, and tiny hamster burritos


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Bottling Farage?

There is some caterwauling in Westminster this morning, as Nigel Farage has shied away from a run at Parliament. He could have had a go at Newark following the resignation of Tory MP Patrick Mercer over a cash-for-questions scandal. But the Ukip leader – who insists he is a “warrior”, not a bottler – turned down the opportunity.

The Purple Warrior would probably have lost, notes the New Statesman’s George Eaton: “But having allowed, and even encouraged, speculation to run out of control, he has been unavoidably damaged this morning.”


We need more sanctions

It looks like Kiev is losing control of Eastern Ukraine. But the US ambassador to Ukraine has warned Putin that any cross-border incursion by Russian forces would be met with retaliation. Talk of war suits Putin’s purposes. He is adept at wielding the threat of conflict to pursue political ends. How can the West reassert control? In The Times this morning Roger Boyes bangs the drum for harsher sanctions:

“It is a matter of urgency then that we cast Western sanctions as a major strategic play rather than as a series of mosquito bites. And that means accepting the pain of lost business, Russia’s petrodollars, sooner rather than later.”


The Rent Racket

Don’t like your landlord? Pay too much rent? This Zoe Williams column excoriating the practices of private landlords may add to your fury, or perhaps prove cathartic, in so far as is possible. Yesterday the Residential Landlords Association issued a call for less regulation. Which would make life better for landlords, worse for the poor, and the not-so rich, and possibly you.

“Regulation, incidentally, has been mainly responsible for the only improvements that have occurred within the sector. The problem here is not with the personalities of landlords or letting agents but with the fact that they have too much power.”


And finally…. Hamsters eating burritos

Does what is says on the tin.