The Post Office can be a people’s bank

Lord Mandelson's leaked letter in the Guardian today couldn't be more welcome. The business secretary says he wants the Post Office network to be built up and expanded, rather than neglected, pulled apart and run according to swivel-eyed free market principles - government policy for the last decade and a half.

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A step in the right direction

So now we have the Government, in the form of Lord Mandelson and James Purnell, publicly recognizing the future potential of the Post Office to provide financial services at a time when the big banks' credibility and popularity is shot to bits.

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(In)capable

The inestimable Ben Goldacre worries that doctors might be culpable in "medicalising a social problem":

There are 2.6 million people on incapacity benefit today, after all, the largest single group of workless people, and every practical aspect of their lives, their housing, their income, their social role, is founded in an ongoing belief in themselves as incapable people, sanctioned by doctors. We haven’t really researched what the consequences of that will be.

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It’s time for Labour to rediscover its redistributionist roots

The UK's many creditors, mainly Asian investors who have lent with confidence to our high rolling banks, are starting to get itchy feet. UK debt is now priced considerably higher than German debt and there is a real danger of currency speculation leading to a 'rout' of the pound as Will Hutton suggested in the Observer yesterday. More

Green New Deal Round-Up

The GristMill also responds to the anti-GND leader from last week's Economist. The leader even seems to have sparked a minor mutiny at the Economist's own blog:

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Regulating the regulator: saving the post offices from PostComm

Today sees the release of the eighth annual report from PostComm - the regulator for the Post Office. You might think that PostComm's job was to keep the Post Office efficient, on time, that sort of thing. But since its inception in 2000, Postcomm has set up as deregulator in chief. It has trumpeted the virtues of competition, of breaking up Royal Mail, of letting in private competitors who can deliver mail and parcels for the final mile, leaving it to Royal Mail to carry out all the other work to ensure delivery for that final mile.

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Obama on climate change

Okay, so maybe Barack Obama isn't exactly revolutionary in his economic outlook. But when was the last time that you heard an American politician - or a European one, come to think of it - describe climate change in these terms:

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Green New Deal Round-Up

First off, Matthew DeBord at the Huff Post says that a bail-out of the American auto industry could be a decent launch pad for a GND. Professor William Ayers (a.k.a. Barack Obama's 'terrorist pal') has also come out as an advocate of Green New Deal solutions. More

Buying our way out won’t work

Daewoo Logistics has just acquired 1.3 million hectares of arable land in Madagascar on a 99-year lease to grow maize and palm oil for South Korea. 1.3 million hectares, by the way, is about half the size of Belgium - and about 50 per cent of Madagascar's farmland.

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Environment Agency wants a Green New Deal

Speaking at the Agency's annual conference yesterday, Lord Smith called for "swift and bold" measures to tackle the climate and energy crises with as much urgency as the government has responded to the financial crisis.

I believe if there's to be another New Deal, it has to be a green New Deal," he said. "We need a Green New Deal to meet our carbon emissions targets and create jobs in renewable energy and green technology.

Watch his full speech:

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