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Balls tells Osborne: Jog on

Could this be the new front in the Balls vs Osborne battle?

The Shadow Chancellor has laid down the gauntlet for Osborne to run the London Marathon to go alongside his new diet.

The “portly” Balls told the Sun: “Now we learn he’s trying to get into shape, maybe he’ll join me in running it this year?”

If he does take up the challenge, the Chancellor will have to get through the course in under 5h 14m to beat his rival. Or, if he’s feeling really competitive, under 3h 30m to beat Labour’s Jim Murphy

Bowie's Broadside

Just what Alex Salmond needed.

After a week filled with criticism from Westminster and Brussels, the First Minister might not have anticipated the next attack coming from the podium at the Brit Awards.  

Alas, David Bowie hadn’t read that script. The music legend put a bit of a spanner in the independence works with his statement pleading: “Scotland, stay with us.” Oh, and if his star power wasn’t enough, he got Kate Moss to read it out for him.

Good news, though, for Salmond (honestly) – the bookies don’t think it matters. 

Wading through the bureacracy



Leaking Government departments aren't unheard of, but things seem to be getting out of hand at DEFRA, leading to civil servants purchasing two pairs of "emergency" Wellington boots to help them when things get wet.

An FOI response published on department's site shows that DEFRA's staff purchased two pairs of the boots, at £14.39 each "as an emergency measure due to the risk of flooding in a file storage area".

The anonymous submitter of the FOI may not have got their frontpage splash - but judging by the reaction on Twitter the results were far from a damp squib.

 

Owen Paterson, floating voter

No mistaking the point Greenpeace was trying to make here. 

 We reckon this advert coming out in tomorrow's Independent and Guardian might be a bit overboard though (geddit).

 

 

YouGov's Valentine's Day special

Well done to YouGov for tackling the big issues.

Perhaps seeking a change from asking about voting intentions, tax rises and the like – the pollsters decided to break down whether size matters by party allegiance.

Of the four highest-polling parties, the Tories are the only ones to agree with the statement: “A man’s penis size matters.” The Lib Dems are most vehemently opposed to the suggestion, followed by UKIP, while Labour is more split on the issue.  

Not content with merely stirring the party-political pot, YouGov has also revealed a schism between Scotland and the rest of the UK. The North of the border reject the statement by 63% to 26%, but in the north of England those numbers are just 47% against and 42% in favour.

Exactly how this feeds into the independence debate remains to be seen.