Recent News Articles

Astonishing graphic: how English house prices have shot up

by Sunny Hundal     September 19, 2013 at 5:03 pm

Neal Hudson, a UK housing market analyst for Savills, today made this graphic.

It shows how house prices have risen (from blue to red) as a multiple of income, across the UK.

And this is just from 1997 to 2013, by the way.


Another graphic here shows how house prices have risen (in £s) over the same period.

Neal Hudson is on Twitter as @resi_analyst

Labour moves much closer to repealing Bedroom Tax

by Sunny Hundal     September 19, 2013 at 9:02 am

On reports that 50,000 Britons are facing eviction over the Bedroom Tax, last night Liam Byrne MP, Labour’s Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, released this statement:

These appalling figures prove once and for all that while this government stands up for a privileged few, a debt bombshell is exploding for a generation of people.

While the nation’s millionaires get a huge tax cut, thousands more now confront arrears and eviction from which they’ll never recover. This is final proof as if we needed it, that the hated tax must be dropped and dropped now.

This is the strongest sign I’ve seen so far by the Labour leadership that they’re planning to announce a repealing of the tax if they come into power, in 2015.

I suspect that Ed Balls MP has kept everyone’s hands tied back, so Labour cannot yet announce this policy until they’ve laid out a proper budget.

Maybe it will be in the Labour leader’s speech at conference.

Watch: presenter mistakes paper stack for iPad

by Newswire     September 18, 2013 at 1:27 pm

BBC news presenter Simon McCoy left viewers baffled today when he presented a report while carrying a stack of photocopier paper – after mistaking it for an iPad

(via @joshhalliday)

Remember when Lib Dems opposed Free School Meals?

by Sunny Hundal     September 18, 2013 at 9:03 am

Today Nick Clegg will announce that every child at infant school in England will receive free lunches from next September.

This has already been policy at several Labour-controlled councils across London.

Amusingly, the same policy was repeatedly attacked by Lib Dems in the past.

Here are Islington Lib Dems

Islington Liberal Democrat councillors have slammed Labour’s plans for taxpayer-funded school meals in the borough as expensive and not helping those most in need.

Liberal Democrats have identified the following problems with Labour’s plans to introduce taxpayer-funded meals for primary children:
– the Labour Government won’t fund a pilot scheme as Islington doesn’t meet its criteria so local taxpayers will have to pick up the whole tab.
– it does nothing for secondary school children for whom there is much greater need.
– will lead to a dramatic drop in Government schools funding for Islington as it is based on number of people who sign-up for free school meals
– will give taxpayer-funded school meals to families who can afford to pay for them.
– will mean subsidising families living in other boroughs using local schools.

Last year, Southwark Lib Dems too called on Labour to scrap Free School Meals for primary pupils.

And there are MPs too!

It’s going to be interesting to see how Lib Dems spin this.

EDL supporter calls for shooting at Muslims, on FB

by Sunny Hundal     September 16, 2013 at 3:48 pm

An EDL supporter, angry about “the islamification of our country” calls for people on the English Defence League’s page to shoot at Muslims. For that he gets ‘Likes’ rather than having the comment deleted.

What’s ironic is that he doesn’t even live in the UK, having moved to Thailand permanently. Link to the comment (via @exposetweets)


Of course, EDL supporters are not violent at all.

Model Jodie Marsh attacks Co-op ban on ‘lads mags’

by Newswire     September 9, 2013 at 3:27 pm

Following the decision by Coop to take Lads mags off their shelves entirely, the fitness model Jodie Marsh launched an impassioned defence of the controversial publications on Twitter.

Here is the multiple-tweet point she made. Do you agree?

















Jodie Marsh is biased here though, as she earns money from those magazines.

But what about the women who are impacted from those mags?

Writer Vicky Beeching pointed out earlier how Lads mags affected her

– It damaged my understanding of what it means to be a woman; the lie that we are only worth as much as the attractiveness of our bodies.

– It taught me from a tiny age that to get men’s attention, women “have” to look a certain way and that becoming physically attractive should be our all-consuming task.

– It hit me with the reality that women are sex objects within culture and this must just be accepted not challenged. Even though this deeply upset me as a little girl I already felt like I was faced with the need to accept this as the norm.

– It actually made me not want to be a woman as I felt like my ‘lot’ in life was a terrible one: that I was destined to spend my days fighting to look attractive only in order to be used as some kind of object.

Both sides have a point?

‘Labour will outlaw abusive use of zero-hour contracts’

by Newswire     September 9, 2013 at 11:51 am

Ed Miliband will tomorrow (Tuesday) declare that a One Nation Labour government will outlaw the exploitative use of zero hour contracts that make life a misery for thousands of families.

In a speech to the TUC in Bournemouth, he will return to his theme of building an economy which works for working people, saying a recovery which benefits only a few at the top is not only unfair but also unstable.

Mr Miliband will set out some of the big reforms Labour will make to create an economy which works for working people including measures to get young people back to work, improve vocational education and create more apprenticeships.

Although the flexibility of zero hours contracts can benefit both employers and employees in some circumstances, the increasing use of such contracts has left too many families insecure, and exposed others to the risk of exploitation.

Some employees are forced to be available whenever the employer requires them, even if there is no work. Others are required to work exclusively for one employer, and yet have no guarantee that they will get adequate amounts of work in return. Still more are on zero hours contracts even though in practice they work regular hours.

Mr Miliband will say that a Labour government will outlaw the exploitative use of zero hours contracts.

He will propose three specific measures:

· Banning employers from insisting zero-hours workers be available even when there is no guarantee of any work.

· Stopping zero hours contracts that require workers to work exclusively for one business.

· Ending the misuse of zero hours contracts where employees are in practice working regular hours over a sustained period

Shouldn’t Jim Murphy resign over Unite allegations?

by Sunny Hundal     September 7, 2013 at 2:04 pm

Yesterday evening the news broke that an internal inquiry by the Labour party had cleared both Unite and suspended party members Karie Murphy and Stephen Deans of any wrongdoing in the Falkirk candidate-selection row.

A statement said: “Karie Murphy and Steve Deans, who were suspended, will now be reinstated as they have not been guilty of any wrongdoing. No organisation or individual has been found to have breached the rules as they stood at the time.”

It’s an open secret within the Labour party that shadow defence secretary Jim Murphy MP was key among those alleging wrong-doing in Falkirk.

In an interview with the BBC back in July he said:

Something had gone really badly wrong in Falkirk when it came to the selection of the Labour candidate. I don’t blame the people locally – there’s clearly been some external interference.

While trade unions are an important part of a society and our politics, there seems to be one trade union in particular that has well and truly overstepped the mark. It’s clear that Unite don’t run the Labour party – Ed Miliband does. And we should never confuse those two things.

Except, there is no evidence of ‘external interference’, especially by Unite the Union.

There is also no evidence that Unite “overstepped the mark” in Falkirk, but Murphy is yet to retract his comments.

Last night Tom Watson MP underscored this point


But no retraction came from Jim Murphy…


And yet, as a result of the Falkirk affair, Tom Watson was pushed into resigning his job while Jim Murphy remains in his. That doesn’t look very fair.

Ads shows Hindu goddesses facing domestic violence

by Sunny Hundal     September 6, 2013 at 12:42 pm

More than 68% of women in India are victims of domestic violence – which is extraordinary for a country that claims to revere women and put them on a pedestal.

In fact, Indian culture features a variety of strong female goddesses that project power and strength (Durga, Kali) and others that bring knowledge (Saraswati) or prosperity (Lakshmi). It’s often asked that if there are such strong women characters in Hindu mythology and culture, why is violence against women so endemic? (I discuss this in my book btw).

Of course, domestic violence isn’t a problem just in India. In the UK around a quarter of women will be a victim of domestic violence in their lifetime, while one incident of domestic violence is reported to the police every minute.

Now, the NGO Save the Children in India is turning this on its head.

A new campaign called Save Our Sisters urges men and women to act if they see domestic violence before its too late.

Figures published last week said that one woman dies every hour in India because of dowry-related crimes (dowry is usually paid at marriage).



The images feature three bruised Hindu goddesses: Saraswati, Durga and Lakshmi.




It says: “Pray that we never see this day. Today more than 68% of women in India are victims of domestic violence. Tomorrow it seems like no woman shall be spared. Not even the ones we pray to”

The campaign was created by blending traditional hand-painted Indian art, using real models by Mumbai’s Taproot India advertising agency. It has already won multiple awards at ad festivals. (via Scoop Whoop)

Labour MP: Ed M needs to talk to unions with “respect”

by Newswire     September 5, 2013 at 11:29 am

The Labour party leader needs to have a respectful discussion with Trade union leaders, a key Labour MP said today.

The comment underscores the extent to which unions feel like the Labour party is marginalising them and not treating them as equals.

In comments made to the Newcastle Journal newspaper this morning, Ian Lavery MP, chair of the trade union group of Labour MPs, said:

We need the party to work with the trade unions on an understanding of respect so that we can avoid the financial meltdown which could face us as a party.

Labour needed to work with the unions not just for money, he added:

We have an election to prepare for a year from now and I’m not sure we are going to be in a good position, the trade unions provide more than just money, it is support and manpower at election times.

He said he expected other unions to consider substantially reducing their financial support to the Labour party too.

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