The five things you need to know on Friday 29 November 2013...
1) ED HITS THE 'RESET' BUTTON
The political battle over energy prices intensifies today. The Guardian reports:
"Ed Miliband will pledge on Friday to 'reset the broken energy market', promising that all energy bills will be simplified and use the same method to explain the cost of energy per unit and the precise standing charges.
"The idea is one of many laid out in a green paper on energy, including the implementation of its plan for a 20-month price freeze. Labour hopes its proposals will keep the pressure on the government over rising energy prices."
Meanwhile, on Thursday night, "it was reported that the government was asking the big six energy firms to hold prices until 2015, barring any major increase in wholesale fuel costs. Citing industry sources, the BBC said the government wanted to avoid another round of price rises that could be blamed on government green levies."
So, the coalition doesn't want a price freeze - that's a "con", says Cameron - but they do want energy firms to "hold prices until 2015". Er, okay...
2) 'CARELESS ELITISM'
Boris Johnson and Nick Clegg don't get along.
On Monday night, Johnson gave a speech in which he mocked the 16% "of our species" with an IQ below 85 and called for greater support to be given to the 2% of the UK population who have an IQ above 130.
Yesterday on his LBC show, the deputy prime minister went for the mayor of London's jugular:
"I don't agree with Boris Johnson on this. Much as he is a funny and engaging guy, I have to say these comments reveal a fairly unpleasant, careless elitism that somehow suggests we should give up on a whole swath of fellow citizens.
"To talk about us as if we are a sort of breed of dogs, a species I think he calls it … the danger is if you start taking such a deterministic view of people because they have got a number attached to them, in this case an IQ number, they are not going to rise to the top of the cornflake packet, that is complete anathema to everything I've always stood for in politics."
I'm with Clegg on this. Though I do wonder what the opposite of "careless elitism" is... careful elitism?
3) DON'T QUIT THE EU
It's as if we've gone back in time - John Major is railing against Tory Eurosceptics. The Telegraph has the details:
"Britain will pay a 'severe price' if it votes to leave the European Union, Sir John Major has warned.
"Exit could cost billions, would leave the UK isolated internationally and yet still required to implement EU rules it had not framed, the former Prime Minister said... He backed David Cameron's strategy of renegotiating Britain's membership before staging an in/out referendum before 2017. The Government needed to be realistic about what it can achieve in the negotiations, he said in a speech at the annual dinner of the Institute of Directors in London."
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR...
Watch this video of November's best TV news bloopers.
4) 'CARNEY DITCHES CHEAP HOME LOANS'
That's the splash headline on the front of the FT:
"The Bank of England has sent its strongest signal to date that the British economy is ready to start moving away from ultraloose monetary policy as it announced the withdrawal of a key stimulus to mortgage lending and personal loans.
"The overhaul of the Funding for Lending Scheme follows more than four years of ultralow interest rates. The statement brought a sharp stock market reaction, with shares in the housebuilding sector falling lower across the board. One senior policy maker said: 'The BoE no longer wants to put its name to devices that stimulate the mortgage market.'
"In a sign of concern that Britain's property boom and consumer debt risk getting out of hand, George Osborne, chancellor, and Mark Carney, BoE governor, have decided to concentrate bank funding subsidies entirely on lending to companies from 2014."
5) THE HEIR TO GODFREY BLOOM?
My HuffPost colleague Asa Bennett reports:
"Ukip MEP Stuart Agnew seems to have stepped into the void left by Godfrey Bloom, who jokingly called women 'sluts' for not cleaning behind the fridge, by suggesting women lack the ambition to 'go right to the top' because their desire for a baby 'gets in the way'.
"Speaking in the European Parliament in a debate about gender quotas on Tuesday, Agnew said: 'If you look at the people who get degrees more, women get them and they are getting the jobs in the work place, but for various reasons, they don't have the ambition to go right to the top because something gets in the way. It's called a baby.'"
Agnew later tried to defend his comments in a statement to HuffPost UK: “I was certainly not trying to suggest that all women who have babies don’t make it to the top. Margaret Thatcher is an example that springs to mind!"
PUBLIC OPINION WATCH
From the Sun/YouGov poll:
Lib Dems 8
That would give Labour a majority of 78.
900 WORDS OR MORE
Fraser Nelson, writing in the Telegraph, says: "The case for the Union is still strong – so why not make it?"
Suzanne Moore, writing in the Guardian, says: "Boris Johnson's philosophy isn't just elitist – it's sinister."
Justin Webb, writing in the Times, says: "Describing Obamacare as ‘slavery’ may be in poor taste but politics is a dirty game."
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