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Newsweek Scotland; Libya, Japan and Sarah Brown

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Derek Bateman Derek Bateman | 22:51 UK time, Friday, 18 March 2011

Where to start? We are on a war footing over Libya, facing a critical nuclear meltdown in Japan and Sarah Brown has written a book about living in Downing Street. How will we decide our priorities?

We've also had the extraordinary affair of Labour U-turns which have come thick and fast reversing previous policy positions on tuition fees (there won't now be any), council tax freezes (there will be one after all) and the bizarre statement that Labour won't close A and E facilities at Monklands Hospital (nobody is planning to).

It's hard to know if this is hard-ball politics, taking a credibility hit now to benefit in the campaign proper, or just panic. Since they are still ahead in the polls it doesn't make much sense to panic but it does leave the impression that Labour now thinks the SNP have been right all along on some key positions, calling into question their statements over the last four years like the "unsustainable" council tax freeze and the "inevitable" graduate contribution to university costs. If that point largely escapes many voters then Labour may have neutralised a couple of key campaign areas of the SNP but both parties will come up against a media cynical about such promises. If there are to be no charges and no increases yet cuts are coming, where does the missing cash come from?

Does it also open ever so slightly the door to an electoral arrangement between the two parties, something we have touched on before on Newsweek. An SNP/Labour pact is even more of a neat policy fit now if it wasn't for the visceral hatred that divides them. And, imagine...Labour becomes the biggest party so it's First Minister Iain Gray and deputy First Minister Alex Salmond. What a team!

Our running order this week includes a report from David Pratt of the Sunday Herald, back safely from his expedition to Libya whwere he encountered live fire followed by a discussion on what the military options are...fighter jets, drones etc. How will that all work. Interesting too that another victim of the defence review - Lossiemouth - is being used just as the doomed HMS Cumberland was before it rescued Brits from Benghazi. We'll get a description of Bahrain, the feudal kingdom which is one of our allies and where the royal ruler is cut out of decision-making as the Saudi army rolled in to suppress rebels.

We get the low down on the Japan reactor and the notorious secrecy and downright mendacity at times of the nuclear industry. And Richard Murphy explains the heartless, inhumane side of capitalism which crashed the Japanese currency when the country was at its lowest point. He describes how the legacy of Adam Smith has been abandoned as rapacious investors look for ways to profit from human misery...and he's an accountant!
Lastly, we review Sarah Brown's book about Number 10 and how wonderful it all was. If I say that I am wearing my mocha v-neck from Marks and Spencer and my faded boot-cut jeans from Next and that I'm planning to watch the rugby with my good friend Gordon with my favourite beer from Peroni while my wonderful Jigsaw-attired wife looks after our darling little daughters who make my life worthwhile, you'll get the idea. We're sugar-coated from 8 am. Join me then.

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