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Iraq 1) Cabinet split over military action

Iraq flag“Senior ministers are at odds over whether to back US airstrikes against the militant group Isis amid disagreements about the extent to which British national interests are under threat. … Hawks say Britain will have to allow American warplanes to use bases in Britain to launch attacks and believe the UK has vital interests at stake. … But doves, led by minister without portfolio Ken Clarke, are warning that it would be folly to get involved in any form of military support. President Barack Obama has sent 300 military personnel to Iraq and is considering airstrikes.” – Sunday Times (£)

  • “Obama said that without political consensus, ‘no amount of American firepower’ would ‘be able to hold the country together’.” – The Observer
  • “The SAS has been ordered to draw up contingency plans to airlift dozens of Brits from Iraq.” – Sun on Sunday (£)
  • “…figures reveal that more than 22,000 troops in the British Army were found to be overweight and at risk of health problems during the past three years.” – Sunday Times (£)

Iraq 2) Fox warns of a security catastrophe

FOX Liam blue background“Failure to defeat the extremists will have ‘catastrophic’ consequences for security in the Middle East and at home, the former defence secretary warns. … In an article for The Telegraph, Dr Fox, urges ministers to be prepared to send British military assets to the region to help any American-led attacks on fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (Isis). … However, he warns that any assistance provided by the west must be as part of a political deal for a major change in the policy of the ‘inept’ Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki.” – Sunday Telegraph

Read Liam Fox’s article in full

Other comment:

  • “Memo to the Oval Office: don’t invite Iran to join the axis of good” – David Frum, Sunday Times (£)
  • “Are we opening the door to a tyrant worse than Saddam?” – Christopher Booker, Sunday Telegraph

Iraq 3) The new British jihadis

“Hundreds of veteran fighters from Syria and Iraq are already back in Britain, among them radicalised jihadists intent on mounting terror attacks. And British intelligence services face an ‘impossible’ task in trying to track them, a leading security expert warned last night. … The grim warning from Richard Barrett, the former head of counter-terrorism at MI6 comes amid escalating fears over the threat posed by returning foreign fighters from the twin conflicts. Mr Barrett estimated that ‘possibly up to 300 people have come back to the UK’ already.” – Independent on Sunday

  • “Britons fighting for the brutal Islamist group terrorising the Middle East have faked their deaths on the battlefield in an attempt to return to the UK undetected, according to security sources.” – Sunday Times (£)
  • “Once he dreamed of becoming the first Asian Prime Minister, but now this British-born jihadi spouts only hatred as he boasts of his allegiance to the murderous terrorists of ISIS, on their killing spree in Iraq and Syria. … Identified today by The Mail on Sunday, Reyaad Khan, 20, sits with a Kalashnikov assault rifle against his shoulder alongside two other British Islamists in a chilling recruitment video, urging British Muslims to take up arms.” – Mail on Sunday

Iraq 4) What would Thatcher do about Islamism?

THATCHER resolute“‘The challenge of Islamic terror is unique,’ Thatcher wrote in an article a few months later. ‘The enemy is not, of course, a religion — most Muslims deplore what has occurred. Nor is it a single state, though this form of terrorism needs the support of states to give it succour. Perhaps the best parallel is with early communism. Islamic extremism today, like bolshevism in the past, is an armed doctrine. It is an aggressive ideology promoted by fanatical, well-armed devotees. And, like communism, it requires an all-embracing long-term strategy to defeat it.'” – Niall Ferguson, Sunday Times (£)

> Yesterday: ToryDiary – It’s time to let the Lady rest in peace

Gove’s commandments: Freedom, democracy, tolerance, respect, the rule of law

michael-gove“Education Secretary Michael Gove is to hand himself sweeping powers to shut down schools that fail to root out extremists. … He has drawn up a list of commandments to make sure British values are pushed in the classroom. … Under the rules to be unveiled this week, all pupils must be taught about freedom, democracy, tolerance, respect and the rule of law.” – Sun on Sunday (£)

  • “Schools face being closed down by the government if they fail to promote British values such as ensuring children know the difference between right and wrong, under plans to prevent extremism in the classroom.” – Sunday Telegraph
  • “The Queen is to mark the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta by sealing a 21st-century version ‘reconfirming’ its values.” – Sunday Times (£)
  • “Pampered military chiefs spent millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money sending their kids to Britain’s poshest schools.” – Sun on Sunday (£)

And comment:

  • “Michael Gove is right to insist that all schools teach British values to their pupils. … It will not be enough to stop the hate preachers, but it is an essential start.” – Sun on Sunday editorial (£)
  • “Education is the key to combating fundamentalism” – Sunday Telegraph editorial

Cameron faces a showdown over Juncker…

CAMERON EU fence“David Cameron is to force a major showdown with German leader Angela Merkel this week after claims that the man set to become the European Union’s most powerful politician is a ‘drunk who has cognac for breakfast’. … He is to use a summit at Ypres to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the First World War to try to stop Mrs Merkel’s ally, Jean-Claude Juncker, becoming President of the EU Commission. … ‘Most European leaders privately admit Juncker is the wrong man for the job,’ said a senior British source. ‘But they have given in to the Germans. Let them vote for him in public so we know who to blame when he makes a mess of it.’” – Mail on Sunday

  • “The former Luxembourg prime minister is set to win the top European Union job this week despite British efforts to stop him — in part thanks to Germany’s answer to The Sun and its owner’s quarrel with the internet giant Google.” – Sunday Times (£)
  • “In a letter to the Sunday Times, 54 of Britain’s leading businessmen turned on the prime minister, warning that they are ‘extremely concerned’ by the government’s failure to protect the UK from European Union plans to tax the City and impose new red tape.” – Sunday Times (£)
  • “Britain has privately warned France not to hijack the centenary of the First World War and use the event to promote the European Union.” – Sunday Telegraph
  • “Tory MEPs were accused of hypocrisy last night after spending tens of thousands of pounds of  taxpayers’ money on a week-long junket to the popular holiday destination of Croatia.” – Mail on Sunday

And comment:

  • “He will be the human embodiment of the democratic deficit that will one day be the death of the EU.” – David Davis, Sun on Sunday (£)
  • “There is one last hope for Cameron. The new, youthful Italian prime minister, Matteo Renzi, isn’t yet convinced by Juncker. If he is prepared to join Cameron, then the Luxembourger might still be stopped.” – James Forsyth, Mail on Sunday
  • “The change from ‘I’m winning because I’m right’ to ‘I’m losing but I’m right’ had Tory MPs cheering and waving their order papers, but it is ominous for Cameron’s plan for a referendum in 2017.” – John Rentoul, Independent on Sunday
  • “David Cameron is right to fight on Juncker” – Iain Martin, Sunday Telegraph
  • “England will be ‘playing for pride’ against Costa Rica on Tuesday. So will David Cameron in Brussels on Thursday and Friday.” – Independent on Sunday editorial
  • “Defeated on Juncker, No 10 must fight on” – Sunday Times editorial (£)

> Today: ToryDiary – Cameron’s European plan would be upset by another Coalition

…as Britons want Out

EU Exit“Opinium found a total of 48% would definitely or probably vote to leave under present rules, while 37% said they would definitely or probably vote to stay in. … However the poll suggests the tide could be turned if David Cameron, who has promised to hold an in/out referendum by the end of 2017 if the Conservatives win the next election, does manage to secure a favourable renegotiation of terms. … In that event, 42% say they would either definitely or probably vote to stay in, against 36% who would probably or definitely vote to leave.” – The Observer

Osborne to announce a new efficiency drive, with a million extra public sector workers to go

“Hundreds of thousands of civil servants and other government employees are facing the sack under sweeping Tory plans to cut back the state, The Telegraph can disclose. … Ministers are drawing up radical measures, to be announced in George Osborne’s Autumn Statement, which will see widespread privatisations and at least one million public sector workers removed from the government payroll by the end of the decade.” – Sunday Telegraph

The Chancellor’s new Islamic bonds could raise £200 million in their first week

UK notes and coins“The first Islamic government bonds could be issued by the Treasury as early as this week after a roadshow by Whitehall officials in the Middle East  and Asia. … The Government plans to raise £200million from the bond issue – the first carried out by a Western country – as part of an effort to make the UK a global hub for Islamic finance. … Chancellor George Osborne has made clear his desire for London to be a centre for international finance with a particular focus on the Islamic world and China” – Mail on Sunday

  • “The technology and information sector in London and the south-east is growing faster than in California” – The Observer
  • “Today’s teenagers are the most ambitious, career-minded generation in 100 years, according to a report that scotches the myth that modern youngsters are work-shy and disengaged, frittering away their time on Facebook.” – Sunday Times (£)

And comment:

  • “Why do we grovel to China’s tyrants? Because bankrupts can’t be choosers” – Peter Hitchens, Mail on Sunday
  • “We should welcome China – it is the future” – Martin Jacques, Sunday Telegraph
  • “The economy may be recovering but tax revenues aren’t. This is a mystery, with no happy ending” – Hamish McRae, Independent on Sunday

Hancock: My parents’ struggles to build a business

“While I was growing up, I watched my parents start and build their business from the ground up. … I saw first-hand the struggles and strains that come with running a small company. I saw how important timely payment was, how frustrating unnecessary bureaucracy could be, and how access to the relevant finance was a continual challenge. … It is this experience and knowledge that gives me a real passion for the Small Business Enterprise and Employment Bill, which I will be leading through parliament.” – Matthew Hancock, Sunday Telegraph

The NHS is out of control, warns Ellison

NHS“A Tory health minister was at the centre of controversy after she was secretly recorded saying that the government could no longer exert much day-to-day control over the increasingly stretched NHS. … The public health minister, Jane Ellison, told a private meeting of the Tory Reform Group that providing political direction to the NHS was like being on a high wire without a safety net – which she described as ‘exciting’.” – The Observer

  • “A damning investigation has found that a three-year old boy died after systemic and catastrophic failings by Britain’s out-of-hours NHS services.” – Sunday Telegraph
  • “Injured soldiers are being left to fend for themselves by the NHS, an official report backed by Prince Andrew has found.” – Sunday Times (£)

And comment:

  • “The NHS is loved and efficient, so why the obsession with reform?” – Will Hutton, The Observer

Grant under pressure after passport blunders

“Passport gaffe minister Helen Grant is facing calls to be sacked in next month’s reshuffle. … David Cameron is being urged to axe the 52-year-old Tory after she sparked anger by suggesting families hit by delays getting documents should holiday in Britain. … It came months after Ms Grant — Minister for Sport and Tourism — was blasted for saying women should try cheerleading or ballet if other sports felt ‘unfeminine’.” – Sun on Sunday (£)

  • “The Passport Office was plunged into fresh crisis last night after it emerged that ‘under pressure’ workers are sending out travel documents to the wrong people. … A Home Office investigation has been launched after passports, birth certificates and visas were posted to individuals they did not belong to.” – Mail on Sunday
  • “A record number of foreign criminals began legal action in an attempt to avoid being deported from Britain last year.” – Sunday Telegraph

And comment:

  • “The treatment of cleaners at the University of London highlights our shameful treatment of immigrants” – Nick Cohen, The Observer

Parish pushes for longer sentences for pet thieves

Prison bars“Prison sentences of up to five years should be given to thieves who steal dogs, cats, horses and other pets, according to MPs and animal welfare groups. … Neil Parish, chairman of the Associate Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare, is demanding a Government summit on the issue. He told The Mail on Sunday: ‘We need to get Ministers together from across the Government. Beloved pets are members of the family and people who steal them should be locked up for four or five years.'” – Mail on Sunday

  • “Two criminals have gone on the run from an open prison – meaning four have fled from the same facility in just five days. … Convicted robber Marcus Brotherson, 27, and 24-year-old Jordan Hall, who was jailed for grievous bodily harm, disappeared overnight from HMP Sudbury in Derbyshire.” – Mail on Sunday
  • “Child ‘judges’ and ‘jurors’ as young as 14 are being given the power to punish thugs, arsonists and vandals with soft sentences such as writing poems or drawing posters to atone for their crimes.” – Mail on Sunday

Rudd defends PMQs

“Because anything can happen, and backbenchers can ask any question they want of the PM, there is always an added excitement about the session. But within that, it is a serious part of the transparency of our democracy. I wouldn’t change it. It is for the Speaker to manage the volume and occasional silliness, but it is actually something we should all be proud of.” – Amber Rudd, The Observer

  • “Outdated, ruthless, rich and male: that is women’s overwhelming and damning view of Westminster, according to a survey by the parenting website Mumsnet.” – The Observer

Did May break the Ministerial Code? Labour want an investigation

“David Cameron risks a ‘cover-up’ in his handling of the political row between two of his senior cabinet ministers, Labour claims today. … Michael Dugher, the shadow Cabinet Office minister, has asked the Prime Minister to order a full independent investigation into the conduct of the Home Secretary, Theresa May, arguing that there is ‘clear evidence’ that she may have broken the Ministerial Code.” – Independent on Sunday

Labour’s self-confessed weaknesses: immigration, public spending and welfare

MILIBAND Red Ed“Ed Miliband has secretly admitted he may lose the Election because voters oppose his stance on immigration, public spending and welfare benefits. … A Labour document obtained by The Mail on Sunday suggests that he has also given up hope of winning over new supporters. … The damaging disclosures are contained in a leaked copy of Labour’s General Election strategy sent to all Labour shadow cabinet ministers.” – Mail on Sunday

  • “A Labour-backed group has come up with a wide-ranging manifesto demanding ‘sin taxes’ on fatty, salty and sugary foods.” – Sun on Sunday (£)

And comment:

  • “Voters don’t trust car-crash Labour” – Sunday Telegraph editorial
  • “Those who treat the electorate with such contempt should not be surprised if the voters, in return, treat them with matching scorn.” – Mail on Sunday editorial
  • “…if the Opposition should be compared to a national football team, I think they are closer to Spain.” – Jane Merrick, Independent on Sunday

Blunkett’s parting warning for Miliband

“Pressure on Ed Miliband was heightened yesterday when one of his party’s senior figures warned that Labour risks 15 years in the political wilderness if it does not win the next election. … David Blunkett, the former home secretary and education secretary, said he believed the Labour leader will lead his party to victory next May, but added that defeat would put them out of power until 2030.” – Independent on Sunday

  • “Insiders speak of policy disagreements, personality clashes and poor party management, framed and exacerbated by the character of the leader.” – Sunday Times (£)
  • “Today The Sun on Sunday reveals the answer to the question that has gripped Westminster — just what is going on in Ed Miliband’s head?” – Sun on Sunday (£)

And comment:

  • “Miliband may have brains, but does he speak human?” – Matthew d’Ancona, Sunday Telegraph
  • “…by shunning meritocracy in favour of egalitarian tomes such as Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-first Century, [Miliband] is heading down a political cul-de-sac.” – Dominic Raab, Sunday Times (£)
  • “It’s OK to like being the underdog, Ed, but you still have to bite” – Adam Boulton, Sunday Times (£)
  • “Stop pretending you’re the new Thatcher, Ed” – Louise Mensch, Sun on Sunday (£)

But at least the Labour leader can count on support from… Neil Kinnock

KINNOCK Neil“Neil Kinnock has joined a concerted fightback on behalf of the Labour leader Ed Miliband, attacking the ‘vindictiveness’ of a hostile media, as other senior party figures warned that without more unity Labour would be out of power for a generation. … Kinnock, who while Labour leader faced his own bloody battles with the press in the 1980s and early 90s, claimed Miliband was being aggressively targeted but insisted he had the courage and conviction to survive and lead Labour to victory in next year’s general election.” – The Observer

  • “‘Can I speak to you off the record?’ said one senior party figure, who went on to decry, in hushed tones, problems with ‘the leadership’. Another, flicking through the book, noted that it was an event ‘not so much about the Condition of Britain but the Condition of Ed’.” – The Observer

Hunt considers plan to send children to school at the age of two

“Toddlers would go to school from the age of two and be taught by high-flying graduates in plans being considered for Labour’s election manifesto. … In an interview with The Sunday Times, Tristram Hunt, the shadow education secretary, revealed that Labour would also fund a Royal College of Teaching which, like other professional colleges, would monitor teaching standards and remove membership from underperformers.” – Sunday Times (£)

Danczuk would name living parliamentarian linked with child abuse

“The MP whose book made sexual abuse allegations against the late Liberal politician Sir Cyril Smith is planning to use parliamentary privilege to make similar claims against a second, living, parliamentarian, next week. … Simon Danczuk, Labour MP for Rochdale, has told The Independent on Sunday that ‘if asked any question, I will feel obliged to answer that question’ when he gives evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee on 1 July.” – Independent on Sunday

  • “Measures being put to a vote in the Commons tomorrow aimed at cutting bureaucracy could make it easier for sex predators to pose as minicab drivers, it is alleged.” – Independent on Sunday

Blair and Brown, Inc: How our money goes towards the two former Prime Ministers

Blair and Brown“Tony Blair has been given £500,000 in taxpayers’ cash since he quit as PM — despite his £30million fortune. … And his successor Gordon Brown has been paid at least £215,000 from the same fund since he stood down in 2010. The shock figures will provoke anger among hard-working families when public services are being slashed.” – Sun on Sunday (£)

  • “…in Mr Blair’s effort to grow his successful commercial enterprises, he has now recruited the chief executive of a gold mining company operating in Sierra Leone in west Africa.” – Sunday Telegraph
  • “A former senior intelligence official has accused Tony Blair of attempting to ‘rewrite history’ over what he really knew about President Bashar al-Assad’s chemical weapons capability.” – The Observer

Dominic Lawson on Salmond’s scratchcard plan

“Salmond’s remarkable political talent is for describing an economic prospectus based on subsidies with words such as ‘vibrant’ and ‘energising’. … It is a monumental con on the public, rather like the lotteries that the first minister characteristically invoked as a model for Scotland’s route to economic plenitude.” – Dominic Lawson, Sunday Times (£)

Lord Ashcroft pays tribute to a First World War fighter ace

ASHCROFT blue shirt“At the time of his premature death, Albert Ball was his country’s leading ace and he was particularly popular with the public because of his ‘lone wolf’ style of combat flying, often stalking his prey from below. A posthumous Victoria Cross (VC) followed within a month of him being killed. … In the skies, Ball won the admiration of the greatest German fighter pilot of all time – Manfred von Richthofen, the ‘Red Baron’ – and, on some occasions, took on up to six enemy pilots alone at any one time.” – Lord Ashcroft, Sunday Telegraph

News in brief

  • Putin backs Ukraine ceasefire… but orders huge military exercise – The Observer
  • Tens of thousands, including Russell Brand, march against austerity – The Observer
  • Fifa’s chiefs pocket secret pay-rise – Sunday Times (£)
  • Pilot named as “chief suspect” in MH370 investigation – Sunday Times (£)
  • Royals defend palace refurbishment and new helicopter – Sunday Telegraph

And finally 1) Marr kills off a Tory Prime Minister

“Andrew Marr, the former BBC political editor who is still recovering from a stroke, has written his first novel, about the death of a Tory prime minister just before a referendum on Europe in September 2017.” – Sunday Times (£)

And finally 2) Official Government advice for dealing with World Cup blues – “have sex”

England football manager Roy Hodgson“The government has offered consolation to England football fans by advising them to get over their sorrow at the team’s early exit from the World Cup by having sex. … The World Cup survival guide, issued by the government-funded Men’s Health Forum, advises supporters: ‘If England get knocked out, try at least one of these tips to beat depression: take some exercise, sing, have sex, do something you enjoy, do something different (eg fill in your wall chart with a different-colour pen).'” – Sunday Times (£)

29 comments for: Newslinks for Sunday 22nd June 2014

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