Stripping the week 31st January to 4th February

Elvis has left the building. After months of speculation, a resignation, and two weeks in limbo, Andy Coulson finally left 10 Downing Street.  He will be replaced by the BBC’s Global News Editor Craig Oliver. Oliver was undoubtedly a surprise choice, with a leading right-wing journalist such as Guto Harri or Benedict Brogan always considered more likely appointments. Oliver has a big job ahead, shifting the coalition’s narrative away from cuts and towards positivity and growth. That debate continues to rage, with forests and libraries the lates focus of protests.

PMQS was a rather odd affair this week, with Cameron and Miliband actually having a civilised and worthwhile debate. Expect Punch and Judy to replace the two statesmen come 12pm this Wednesday though.

Crime was in the headlines too. Firstly, Home Secretary Theresa May announced the launch of online crime maps, which can show crime rates in any area in the UK. Except, unsurprisingly, the site crashed and nobody could see anything. The Ken Clarke’s restorative approach to justice got a ringing endorsement too, as the Sun had a pop at him over knife crime.

Transfer deadline day was Monday and, as the song goes, it was rather manic. The main stories involved Liverpool and Chelsea. With Luis Suarez on his way, Liverpool eventually let Torres go for £50 million, £35 million of which they promptly spent on 21-year-old Andy Carroll, who hasn’t even played 50 Premier League games. All in all a record-breaking £214 million was spent by Premier League clubs over the transfer window.

On the subject of splashing the cash, Deputy PM Nick Clegg announced £400 million worth of Government investment in mental health care. The move finally points mental health on the same level as physical health. While he was at it, Clegg put an additional £7.2 million into mental health care for army veterans, and scrapped the arcane rule whereby an MP who suffers mental illness can be removed from their seat.


Hero of the week: Nick Clegg for leading Government investment in mental health services

Villain of the week: The Sun – because VN doesn’t like people who call Ken Clarke ‘dodderry’


Reading this week: Total Politics Guide to Political Blogging 2010/11

Watching this week: John Nettles’ last appearance in Midsomer Murders.

Listening to this week: Fearne Cotton beating Zane Lowe on ‘versus’


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