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Ofsted publishes its verdict on the “Trojan Horse” schools…

School“Revealing the shocking extent to which strict Muslim practices are being imposed on pupils and teachers alike, the chief inspector of schools said the plotters used ‘fear and intimidation’ against their opponents. … Sir Michael Wilshaw said the aim of the ‘Trojan Horse’ campaign was to impose a ‘narrow faith-based ideology’ on schools in Birmingham. … The Ofsted reports – and a separate set of Department for Education investigations – make many other revelations including that teachers attempted to vet the script of a nativity play.” – Daily Mail

  • “…at the school gates, parents were worried that the Trojan horse row would shadow the youngsters for the rest of their lives. ‘If you google Oldknow now you see Trojan horse and extremist plots,’ said Naeem Yousef. ‘We’re worried it’s going to blight their lives. College admissions tutors, employers will look at that and wonder about our children.'” – The Guardian
  • “As Ofsted criticised five schools at the heart of the row, Labour’s Jim Fitzpatrick said there is a risk of ‘race politics’ taking hold after the re-election of controversial mayor Lutfur Rahman in Tower Hamlets.” – Evening Standard
  • “The government body responsible for allocating more than £50bn a year of public funding to schools, colleges and academies has been criticised by MPs for being too slow to intervene in failing institutions.” – Financial Times
  • “The Public Accounts Committee said a ‘fit and proper persons test’ should be introduced for the chief executives and trustees of semi-independent Academy chains.” – The Sun (£)

And comment:

  • “What seems to be emerging in Birmingham is not a plot to instil jihadist values, but a more familiar tussle between ‘rational’ and religious teaching, in the novel context of non-Christian faith.” – Guardian editorial
  • “The lesson of Birmingham? State education is in chaos” – John Harris, The Guardian
  • “Amid all the furore about Islamist infiltration of schools in Birmingham, another story involving the education watchdog Ofsted has received rather less attention…” – Richard Littlejohn, Daily Mail

> Today: Garvan Walshe’s column – Why the Vauxhall View of cutting deals with extremists is wrong

> Yesterday:

…as Gove looks to promote Britishness…

michael-gove“The Education Secretary announced that from September, England’s 20,000 primary and secondary schools will be required to actively promote tolerance, fairness, respect for other faiths, and the rule of law and democracy. … But last night there were doubts about what could be included in the Government’s definition of British values, amid warnings it could be struck down under human rights law. … Dominic Cummings, a former senior adviser to Mr Gove, poured scorn on the plan and said the move to allow ‘no notice’ inspections of schools was far more important.” – Daily Mail

  • “Michael Gove blocked a plan to introduce dawn raid inspections of schools two years ago, the head of Ofsted has said.” – Daily Telegraph
  • “The inspection body itself first mooted the idea of surprise checks in 2007, but backed down in the face of opposition from school unions, who said it would increase the stress on teachers. The idea was also criticised by parents, who said they would not be able to air their views to assessors if inspections were not flagged in advance.” – Financial Times
  • “Theresa May has scored a victory in her explosive Cabinet spat with Michael Gove to enforce tough new rules at weekend Islamic schools. … The Education Secretary has agreed to the Home Secretary’s demand to make a new code for the supplementary schools mandatory rather than just voluntary, The Sun can reveal.” – The Sun (£)

And comment:

  • “Mr Gove is right to insist that all state schools should subscribe to the liberal democratic values of the country as a whole, and be held to account if they don’t. To that end, unannounced spot checks are to be welcomed and, if necessary, so are professional governors.” – Daily Telegraph editorial
  • “As for his pledge to put ‘British values’ at the heart of every school’s ethos, what a disturbing reflection on our nation – in the week of the D-Day commemorations – that so many consider it controversial.” – Daily Mail editorial
  • “Teaching British values is a potent weapon against the Islamist brainwashing of children. Unannounced spot-checks are even more powerful.” – Sun editorial (£)
  • “What is vital is that head teachers who feel threatened by their own governors can turn to Ofsted or central government confident of a swift response.” – Times editorial (£)
  • “All pupils deserve a basic set of principles” – Philip Johnston, Daily Telegraph

> Today: ToryDiary – The strength of the Conservative team, the weakness of the Labour team

> Yesterday: LeftWatch – Labour fluff their assault on Gove and May

…and May answers questions about that letter

MAY Commons Ellison“Theresa May insisted yesterday she did not authorise the publication of her explosive letter to Michael Gove, as she repeatedly stonewalled questions from MPs over how much she knew about the leak. … As speculation swirled about the impact of her spat with the Education Secretary on a forthcoming Cabinet reshuffle, Mrs May told MPs that an inquiry by Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood had cleared her of releasing the correspondence.” – Daily Mail

  • “Fury flittered across her sunken eyes when Labour MPs laughed at her assertion that there was ‘joint working at the top of Government’. She does not like being laughed at.” – Quentin Letts, Daily Mail
  • “Michael Gove characterises the disagreement in government over tackling extremism as a debate between those who want to ‘beat back the crocodiles that come close to the boat’ and those who think it’s necessary to ‘drain the swamp’.” – Rachel Sylvester, The Times (£)
  • “Senior Tories are not meek innocents unsullied by ambition. But neither is everything they do informed by ambition.” – Janan Ganesh, Financial Times
  • “Trojan Horse squabble masks a major flaw in Tory policy – how can we shrink the state and maintain standards?” – Steve Richards, The Independent
  • “Mr Cameron and his team have performed shoddily.” – Financial Times editorial

Cameron goes for Juncker’s jugular

CAMERON POINTING“David Cameron has blasted Jean-Claude Juncker’s bid for Europe’s top job a ‘stitch up’ – and was backed by Labour. … In a fierce attack, the PM said Juncker’s push to become European Commission president was little more than seizing power though the back door. … Just hours earlier – in a rare show of unity – Labour ganged up with the Tories to block his candidacy. … Labour said its MEPs would vote against the federalist, who wants more EU integration.” – The Sun (£)

  • “Britain’s economic recovery must benefit every part of the country, the Prime Minister said on the opening day of an event aiming to boost business outside of London.” – Daily Telegraph

And comment:

  • “It should be clear by now to Mr Juncker, the former Luxembourg prime minister, that he is not an acceptable candidate for this post.” – Daily Telegraph editorial

Hague speaks out against sexual violence in conflict

“William Hague will vow to ‘remove warzone rape from the world’s arsenal of cruelty’ as he opens a landmark summit with Hollywood star Angelina Jolie. … The Foreign Secretary will stand alongside the crusading Oscar-winning actress to kick off the four-day gathering in London – the first ever global summit to end sexual violence in conflict. … Angelina, a United Nations special envoy, will also hold talks with PM David Cameron in Downing Street.” – The Sun (£)

  • “Rape and sexual humiliation in conflict zones must never go unpunished” – Times editorial (£)

£14.3 billion in one year: Maude hails the Government’s savings drive

Francis Maude“Slashing wasteful spending and streamlining Government saved a jumbo £14.3 billion last year – or £850 for each working household. … More than a third – some £5.4billion – was saved through a radical overhaul of the way departments buy goods and services. … Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude said it was ‘good progress’. … ‘But we know there’s so much more to do to address the legacy of wasteful spending and renegotiate over-fat contracts which are yet to expire,’ he said.” – The Sun (£)

  • “Whitehall mandarins clock up £133,766 on chauffeur-driven cars” – Daily Telegraph

> Today: Francis Maude MP on Comment – How we saved almost £850 for each working household last year

The Government wants bigger fines and fewer court cases

“TV licence evaders and motorists caught speeding on the motorway face a fourfold increase in fines. … The maximum penalty in a magistrates’ court for not buying a TV licence will leap from £1,000 to £4,000. …  And drivers who break the 70mph limit on the motorways could be hit with a fine as high as £10,000. … The huge penalties will be introduced as part of a government drive to give magistrates greater sentencing powers. This will help cut the number of cases going – at great expense – to crown court.” – Daily Mail

  • “Drivers were forced to pay out a record £350million in parking tickets last year. … The 11 per cent increase in just two years came as local authorities were being forced to freeze council tax and trim spending in line with Coalition austerity demands.” – Daily Mail
  • “Parents could save a collective £2 billion a year if they ditched the school run and accompanied children to lessons on foot or by bicycle, says a transport charity.” – Daily Telegraph
  • “Up to 20,000 monkeys and other primates are being kept as pets in Britain as internet sales soar, a shock report warns. … The Commons environment committee said a ban might be needed if ministers failed to make sure the trendy pets were properly treated.” – The Sun (£)

The MoD’s plan to reform the Army goes awry

Army“A plan to restructure the armed forces by boosting the number of reservists has been placed on a government watchlist of troubled projects, a blow to Number 10’s hopes of convincing critical backbenchers that defence cuts will not compromise UK security. … At the heart of the blueprint is a plan sharply to increase the number of reservists to make up for a 20 per cent cut in the regular army. So far, however, army reserve numbers have barely risen, remaining around the 19,000 level they were at when the coalition came to power.” – Financial Times

  • “Two SAS soldiers face manslaughter charges over the deaths of three special forces hopefuls who died during a gruelling selection test, a coroner’s court heard.” – Daily Telegraph

And comment:

  • “Deserters need compassion, not condemnation” – Charles Glass, The Times (£)

Norman and his fellow historian-MPs

“[Jesse] Norman himself sees the seismic upheavals at the ballot box as symptoms of a longer story: ‘We are going through a very managerial phase in British politics. That’s one of the reasons people are excited by non-traditional parties.’ At a time when elite technocracy has fallen into thorough disrepute and ‘that consensus is ready to be broken’, could politics refresh itself by closer and smarter attention to the past? If so, then an energetic new group of historian-MPs may have much to contribute.” – The Independent

Clegg’s Big Speech: he reheats the mansion tax for 2015

Curse of Clegg 2“The richest must pay more tax, Nick Clegg said yesterday as he set out plans to raise money after the general election next year. … The Liberal Democrat leader revealed his party’s manifesto would target the wealthy with measures including a reformed ‘mansion tax’. … In a speech seen as the start of a fight back after the Lib Dems’ disastrous European and local election results, Mr Clegg also indicated he is prepared to borrow to build homes and boost the economy through infrastructure projects.” – Daily Mail

  • “Nick Clegg has said that he would consider standing down as Liberal Democrat leader if it would improve his party’s electoral prospects. … The deputy prime minister insisted, however, that his departure would not make the party’s problems ‘float off like the morning mist’.” – The Times (£)
  • “Nick Clegg has attracted criticism from some in his party for claiming to have gained the support of every Liberal Democrat at a crunch party meeting last week, despite not having asked them to vote on his leadership.” – Financial Times

And comment:

  • “Have some fun, Nick. Just say what you think” – Hugo Rifkind, The Times (£)

Brown takes on his own side in the independence debate

BROWN Scotland“Gordon Brown warned yesterday that Scotland could be ‘lost by mistake’ as the battle against independence was being run  so ineptly. … The former Prime Minister hit out at the negative tactics of David Cameron, George Osborne and the cross-party Better Together campaign run by his  former Cabinet colleagues Alistair Darling and Douglas Alexander. … Mr Brown warned that ‘patronising’ lectures about the pound and Scotland’s EU membership risked driving voters into the hands of the Nationalists.” – Daily Mail

  • “The closest he came to a mea culpa was when he was asked to apologise to the victims of the dark arts of political character assassination revealed by Mr McBride’s memoirs.” – The Independent

And comment:

  • “The referendum is not Scotland v Britain. It’s about a patriotic alternative to the SNP” – Gordon Brown, The Guardian
  • “One hundred days to go until Scotland makes the most historic decision since the old Scottish parliament decided 307 years ago to vote away the remnants of Scottish sovereignty. But after two years of research and discussion, are we any clearer about what this vote might mean for our living standards?” – Peter Jones, The Scotsman

> Yesterday: WATCH – Brown: “I think Scotland can be big in the world without being a separate state.”

Kahn: Labour could have done more to close the gap between rich and poor

khan“The last Labour government could have done more to address the gap between rich and poor that has become the single biggest threat to the UK economy, society and personal wellbeing, the shadow justice secretary has said. … In a speech to the GMB union on Tuesday, Sadiq Khan will say the rise in inequality under the coalition is a ‘stain’ that is getting worse, especially as senior Tories such as Boris Johnson have argued that greed is a good thing. But he will also acknowledge that the rise in inequality did not start under this government.” – The Guardian

  • “The Labour Party has been accused of having a form of ‘homeless spikes’ outside its central London HQ.” – The Independent
  • “Boris Johnson has said spikes embedded in doorways to deter homeless people from sleeping there are ‘stupid’ and should be removed as soon as possible.” – Daily Telegraph
  • “People in affluent middle-class areas like Cheltenham, Welwyn Garden City and North Lakes are increasingly turning to food banks after running out of cash, according to a new charity report published today.” – The Times (£)

And comment:

  • “On yesterday’s Today programme Mr Milburn claimed the government is doomed to miss its legally binding target to all but eliminate child poverty by 2020. What he didn’t say, of course, is that official poverty statistics are an utter nonsense.” – Ross Clark, The Times (£)

Introducing the North East Party

“Ten years since a resounding ‘no’ vote in the north-east saw the Labour party abandon plans for elected regional assemblies, an ex-Labour MP has formed a new political party which aims to resurrect hopes for devolution and “ginger up the staid politics” in the region. … But the newly formed North East Party is determined to resurrect them, and has pledged to field 12 candidates in next year’s general election. Its leader, Hilton Dawson, sat in parliament at the time of the 2004 vote as the Labour MP for Lancaster and Wyre, but now brands the Labour campaign ‘pathetic’.” – The Guardian

Put that holiday on hold! More strikes are threatened

On strike“Union chiefs are threatening strikes which would worsen the passport crisis and enrage hundreds of thousands of families planning summer holidays. … The Public and Commercial Services (PCS) Union cynically seized on the problems at passport offices – which are struggling to issue travel documents in time – to warn that its members could take industrial action over job cuts.” – Daily Mail

  • “What won’t help is union belligerence. They say they won’t ‘stand by’ and allow the chaos to continue. Then, incredibly, they threaten a one-day strike. … That’ll help, brothers.” – Sun editorial (£)

The £32 billion bill for autism

“Autism is the most costly medical condition in Britain, say researchers. … It costs the UK £32 billion a year – more than heart disease, cancer and stroke combined. … Researchers at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) have produced the most comprehensive estimate yet of treatment, lost earnings, care and support costs for children and adults with autism.” – Daily Mail

  • “More than a third of adults in England are at high risk for type 2 diabetes, according to research which paints an alarming scenario for individual health and the finances of the NHS.” – The Guardian
  • “Only 48 per cent of people know that the NHS is run by the Welsh Government and 43 mistakenly thought Westminster was responsible, the research found.” – The Independent

> Yesterday: Charlotte Leslie MP’s column – My decision to stand for election to chair the Health Select Committee

News in brief

  • Lee Rigby’s name engraved into Britain’s largest military memorial – Daily Mail
  • Hillary Clinton insists that she has no regrets about her handling of the Benghazi attack – Daily Mail
  • Confidence in UK financial system hits post-crisis high – Financial Times
  • Marine Le Pen and her father Jean-Marie Le Pen divide over anti-Semitism allegations – Financial Times
  • Unrest in Brazil, ahead of World Cup – The Guardian
  • Reports of more Boko Haram kidnappings – The Guardian
  • Financial hardship can make people more racist, scientists claim – The Independent
  • Bills stay high, despite wholesale gas prices falling to their lowest level for four years – The Times (£)
  • Stop mocking the working class, says Melvyn Bragg – Daily Telegraph

And finally 1) Hillary loves Miliband – David Miliband, that is

Hillary Clinton“Hillary Clinton’s verdict on senior British politicians emerges in a chapter of her autobiography leaked to The Times in Washington. … On her first day in office as secretary of state in 2009 she set about the task of repairing damaged relations with Europe lingering from the Bush era, and David Miliband was one of her first calls. … She writes that “he caused me to gulp and smile simultaneously when he said ‘My goodness, your predecessors have left you with a world of problems, It’s a Herculean job, but I think you’re the right Hercules for this task”.’ – The Times (£)

And finally 2) Bad timing

“On his way to his grilling by [the Transport Select Committee], [the new boss of Network Rail] Mr Carne encountered the sort of problems every commuter faces: ‘I had to stand on a train this morning because it was delayed. The lack of capacity we have on the railway today creates a very unacceptable experience.'” – The Independent

And finally 3) RIP Rik Mayall, total B’Stard

B'Stard“We asked him what he wanted to do, what was his dream role, and he was very honest. ‘I want to play a character who is just like me,’ he said. ‘Vain, greedy, depraved, obsessed with money, and not afraid to kill.’ … It sounded to us like he wanted to play a Conservative backbencher. And so, The New Statesman, satirising the Tory government, was born. Rik as the scheming, lecherous Alan Beresford B’Stard was truly brilliant.” – Maurice Gran, co-writer of The New Statesman, Daily Mail

12 comments for: Newslinks for Tuesday 10th June 2014

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