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“Incomprehensible” … “Appalling” … The report into abuse in Rotherham

Rotherham“At least 1,400 girls were left to be abused by Asian men because the authorities were too scared to admit there was a race issue, a report said yesterday. … Over a 16-year period, children as young as 11 were sexually exploited by gangs of men – most of them of Pakistani origin. … But police and council officials suppressed evidence of the crimes because they feared being labelled racist. … MPs and charities said the scale of the abuse was almost ‘incomprehensible’ and called for a criminal investigation into those who helped cover it up.” – Daily Mail

  • “How can this happen in a civilised country?” – Daily Mail editorial
  • “…all those who failed to protect the children for whom they were responsible should be held to account.” – Guardian editorial
  • “They prioritised political correctness over the gang-rape of children.” – Sun editorial (£)
  • “It was many years ago that I began investigating this scandal for the Mail. At first, I was accused by some of making up the stories that were, in fact, told to me by parents and the abused girls themselves. I was also branded racist.” – Sue Reid, Daily Mail
  • “The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards.” – Yasmin Alibhai Brown, The Independent
  • “Protection is what matters, not blame” – Paul Vallely, The Guardian
  • “Cameron needs to focus on unhappy families” – Alice Thomson, The Times (£)

Boris chooses to fight in Uxbridge…

Boris Hurdles“Boris Johnson has applied to become the Conservative candidate for Uxbridge and South Ruislip at the 2015 General Election, his spokesman has confirmed. … The London Mayor submitted his name to Conservative Campaign Headquarters this morning – just 48 hours before the deadline. … Uxbridge is a safe Tory seat set to be vacated by Sir John Randall, the veteran Conservative MP, who held it last general election with an 11,000 majority.” – Daily Mail

  • “After announcing his application, Mr Johnson told The Telegraph: ‘A vote for UKIP will kill our chance of a referendum and a renegotiation on Europe.'” – Daily Telegraph
  • “Boris Johnson was last night made 2/1 favourite to be the next Tory leader after he confirmed he aims to stand in a safe West London seat.” – The Sun (£)
  • “If Boris Johnson thought that selecting the safe Conservative seat of Uxbridge and South Ruislip for his parliamentary comeback would ensure an easy ride, the reaction of West London locals suggest he may have another think coming.” – The Independent

…as Farage triumphs in South Thanet

UKIP glass“UKIP leader Nigel Farage was tonight selected to run for the party in the South Thanet constituency in next year’s general election. … Mr Farage was selected ahead of three other shortlisted candidates as the party’s prospective candidate for the Kent seat. … Delegates backed Mr Farage after a hustings session at Old Fellows Hall in Ramsgate. … The seat is currently held by Conservative Laura Sandys, who is standing down at the next election. … She had a majority of 7,617 in 2010.” – Daily Mail

  • “Leaked polling suggested that Ukip will target seats on the east and south cost of England held by Tory MPs, including three government ministers.” – Daily Telegraph

And comment:

  • “What will the party conference fringes be worried about this year? Ukip” – Matthew Goodwin, The Guardian

> Yesterday: ToryDiary – What we can learn from the list of UKIP target seats

Juncker clashes with Cameron

CAMERON EU fence“Brussels chief Jean-Claude Juncker was accused of behaving like a dictator last night after warning he would snub David Cameron for not sending a woman to represent Britain in the EU. … Mr Juncker indicated Britain could expect a lowly European Commission post because of the Prime Minister’s nomination of Lord Hill of Oareford. … Downing Street yesterday rejected the call, saying Lord Hill would be an ‘excellent commissioner’.” – Daily Mail

  • “David Cameron has offered to back Donald Tusk, Poland’s premier, as the next European Council head, despite a blazing row between the pair this year over alleged Polish benefit tourism.” – Financial Times
  • “Europe’s leaders are poised to select Italy’s foreign minister as EU foreign policy chief at a summit on Saturday, despite concerns in some capitals that she is too inexperienced and will not be tough enough on Russia.” – Financial Times
  • “Harold Wilson, then the Labour Prime Minister, was told choosing to stay in Europe would represent a ‘dismemberment of the authority of the House of Commons’, minutes of a Cabinet meeting show.” – Daily Telegraph

Downing Street stands in the way of Bercow’s Commons clerk…

“Government sources said the Prime Minister was effectively sitting on Mr Bercow’s decision to appoint Australian catering manager Carol Mills to the £200,000-a-year post of Clerk of the Commons, in charge of running Parliament. … No 10 yesterday confirmed the Prime Minister had not forwarded the nomination to the Queen for approval, despite having had it for at least ten days. … A spokesman said: ‘It is an important role and for the individual to be able to carry it out successfully, they need support from MPs across the Commons.’” – Daily Mail

…as the Speaker yields some ground

John Bercow“As the former Labour home secretary David Blunkett moved to calm tensions, the Speaker let it be known at Westminster that he was willing to split the two roles and effectively hand the senior position to the clerk. … The move means that Carol Mills, a senior official in the Australian parliament who has been approved by a six-strong panel to succeed Sir Robert Rogers as chief executive and clerk, would have a more limited position. Mills would be chief executive but she would not be clerk.” – The Guardian

Osborne accused of misleading Parliament over tax clampdowns

“George Osborne is facing calls to apologise in Parliament after the official statistics body ruled he used ‘inappropriate’ figures to trumpet the Government’s success in cracking down on tax avoidance in the last Budget. … Will Moy, director of independent factchecking organisation Full Fact – which made the initial referral to Sir Andrew Dilnot – said: ‘This intervention shows how badly we need independent official statistics on tax avoidance.'” – The Independent

  • “The UK tax authorities have caught just seven of their 30 most wanted tax dodgers since 2012, it has emerged, as the government adds another five individuals to the list.” – The Independent
  • “Lawyers last night joined calls for the taxman not to be allowed to seize money directly from bank accounts.” – Daily Mail

Whitehall’s computer problems could be about to get worse

Google“The country’s biggest IT contract is heading for disaster under plans to split it into 100 parts, putting billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money at risk, experts have warned. … Leading industry specialists have told The Times that splintering the £10 billion Aspire contract, which holds the tax records of 50 million Britons, will end in chaos, with higher costs and a substantial risk to the economy.” – The Times (£)

  • “Ed Miliband and Ed Balls were special advisers at the Treasury when Gordon Brown signed off the Aspire contract to Capgemini.” – The Times (£)

And comment:

  • “The coalition knows it has to get better at managing vast IT projects, but it shows no sign of having the right answers or expertise” – Times editorial (£)

Javid takes on Labour over benefits

“Labour’s plans to regionalise the benefits cap could hand London claimants as much as £54,000 a year, a top Tory warns today. … In a searing attack, Culture Secretary Sajid Javid said Labour was prepared to ‘slap taxpayers in the face’ with its welfare changes. … Mr Javid told The Sun: ‘Labour still stand for dependency and benefits as a lifestyle choice. … We will do everything we can to prevent Labour turning the clock back.'” – The Sun (£)

  • “Look to France for a vision of life under Ed Miliband” – Ian Birrell, The Guardian

Daniel Finkelstein explains how to predict the next election

FINKELSTEIN Danny“Put that all together with Labour’s current lead and what do you get? Steve Fisher and Jonathan Jones and their excellent Elections Etc website suggest a 27 per cent chance of a Tory majority, 22 per cent of a Labour majority, 26 per cent of the Tories being the largest party in a hung parliament and a 25 per cent chance of that being Labour. … That sounds about right to me. But what do I know? I think I’m an expert.” – Daniel Finkelstein, The Times (£)

NHS staff vote on mass strike

“A mass NHS strike over pay has moved closer as hundreds of thousands of workers begin voting on whether to walk out. … It comes after Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt rejected independent advice for a one per cent rise for staff on the grounds they already get automatic hikes worth an average three per cent. … Almost 100,000 NHS members of the Unite union started voting yesterday and 350,000 members of Unison will be balloted from tomorrow.” – The Sun (£)

  • “Growing numbers of people being treated in mental health units are harming themselves and trying to take their own lives, new NHS figures suggest.” – The Guardian
  • “The number of nurses from the European Union allowed to work in Britain has doubled in just four years, raising fears of patients being put at risk due to language issues.” – Daily Mail
  • “Electronic cigarettes should be banned indoors, the World Health Organisation said today.” – The Sun (£)

Scotland 1) Salmond’s challenge to Cameron

Scottish flag“David Cameron has been challenged to get off the beach and campaign to keep Scotland in the United Kingdom – by Alex Salmond. … Mr Salmond laid down the challenge after it emerged the Prime Minister did not interrupt his summer holiday in Cornwall to watch last night’s live TV debate on Scottish independence. … The Prime Minister also failed to tune in to the first clash between Mr Salmond and Alistair Darling – despite claiming it would ‘break my heart’ to see the United Kingdom broken up.” – Daily Mail

  • “The BBC has been accused of bias after viewers of the Scottish referendum debate complained it was dominated by supporters of independence.” – Daily Mail

And comment:

  • “For all his plans A, B and C, Mr Salmond remains fixated on the idea of a currency union that the main UK political parties have firmly rejected.” – Financial Times editorial
  • “Scotland’s yes campaign has been based on emotion, not fact” – Douglas Alexander, The Guardian
  • “…on the main issues, Salmond still has miles to go to convince undecided voters that breaking up Britain will give them a better life.” – Alan Cochrane, Daily Telegraph
  • “Who is Alex Salmond’s heir apparent?” – George Kerevan, The Scotsman

> Today: Henry Hill’s column – Independence will end SNP’s student discrimination

> Yesterday: ToryDiary – Last night’s scrap between Darling and Salmond showed how unsatisfactory this kind of debate tends to be

Scotland 2) Brown and Darling, better together?

BROWN Scotland“Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling are to put aside their differences to unite in the fight against Scottish independence as the pro-UK referendum campaign attempts to bounce back from Alex Salmond’s bruising victory in Monday’s TV debate. … In a symbolically significant moment, the former Prime Minister and his former Chancellor will share the same stage for the first time tomorrow during the marathon contest at a Better Together campaign rally in Dundee.” – Daily Telegraph

  • “[Brown’s] book My Scotland, Our Britain is outstandingly good, and it makes the Unionist case better than anything else written or said in this long, drawn-out campaign.” – Allan Massie, The Scotsman

Scotland 3) 130 business leaders write letter in support of the Union

“More than 130 business people in sectors ranging from finance to whisky have signed an open letter arguing that the business case for Scottish independence ‘has not been made’. … The letter, organised by Keith Cochrane, chief executive of Weir Group and signed by figures included Ian Marchant, former chief executive of the utility SSE and Andrew Mackenzie, chief executive of miner BHP Billiton, is the biggest business intervention in the referendum debate so far.” – Financial Times

Anti-terror officer: We’re making “significant progress” in the hunt for “Jihadi John”

ISIS“The UK’s top anti-terror police officer has said today that ‘significant progress’ has been made in the hunt for the UK jihadist who murdered American journalist James Foley. … Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley appealed for help in rooting out aspiring home-grown terrorists as he decried the 41-year-old’s ‘pitiless’ death at the hands of Islamic extremists in Iraq. … Islamic State terrorists posted a video online last week of the horrifying murder of hostage Mr Foley at the hands of a killer who spoke with a British accent.” – Daily Mail

  • “The number of would-be British jihadists and their supporters has increased five-fold in the last year, the country’s most senior counter-terrorism officer has warned.” – Daily Telegraph
  • “The Church of England has expressed frustration at the failure of ministers to respond to calls for Britain to open its doors to minorities facing persecution in Iraq.” – Daily Telegraph
  • “Facial recognition specialists who work with the US government produced the likeness of the Islamic State fanatic filmed wielding a knife before the beheading.” – Daily Mail
  • “An American fighting for the Islamic State was killed over the weekend in Syria, US officials have said.” – The Guardian

And comment:

  • “Look to Syria to halt the deadly march of Isis” – Richard Haass, Financial Times
  • “On terrorism, David Cameron is reading from the Blair script” – John Harris, The Guardian
  • “Jihadists need to be treated like Nazis” – Hazel Blears and Julian Lewis, The Times (£)

> Today: ToryDiary – How should Britain counter the Islamic State group? Take our latest monthy survey

100 police officers a year suspended on suspicion of corruption

Police shield“Almost 100 police officers are suspended on suspicion of corruption every year, MailOnline can reveal. … In the past five years, a total of 460 officers have faced investigation over allegations including selling information, hacking into police computers and interfering with criminal probes. … Officials expressed concern at the scale of the problem, while one MP said the data proves that police corruption is not just limited to ‘a few rotten apples’.” – Daily Mail

  • “Millions of card fraud cases are left out of official figures, making a ‘mockery’ of Government figures that crime is falling, it was claimed yesterday.” – Daily Mail
  • “Britain may need to introduce controversial privacy laws to meet the ‘challenges’ thrown up by lightning-fast internet communications, Britain’s most senior judge has said.” – Daily Mail
  • “Rape conviction statistics will not improve ‘until women stop getting drunk’, a retiring judge has said, as she is criticised by women’s rights campaigners for her ‘potentially very harmful’ remarks.” – Daily Telegraph
  • “The Ministry of Justice was ordered to pay £180,000 after handing out hard drives to all 75 prisons in England and Wales without telling anyone how to make the encryption system work.” – The Independent
  • “Rebekah Brooks and her co-defendants in the phone-hacking trial are looking to recoup between £20m and £25m in legal fees from the taxpayer following their acquittal on all charges.” – The Guardian

A black hole looms ahead of Britian’s defence finances

DEFENCE cuts“A new black hole will open up in Britain’s military budget after 2015, according to independent research commissioned by the military and seen by the Financial Times, which suggests the next government may have to make further swingeing defence cuts. … The analysis, undertaken by a think-tank, shows that whichever government is elected in 2015 will have to find savings of up to £1.5bn per year until at least 2020 if current spending plans are maintained.” – Financial Times

  • “A helicopter which crashed on take-off in Afghanistan, killing a British soldier and two Canadian troops, was not suitable for the mission, an inquest has heard.” – Daily Mail

Truce agreed between Israel and Hamas

“The bloody seven-week Gaza conflict halted last night after Israel and Hamas agreed what it was hoped would be a long-term truce. … Both sides were claiming victory under the deal, brokered by Egypt. Bursts of celebratory gunfire erupted in the Gaza Strip and children held guns aloft as crowds cheered in the streets. … Under the agreement, Israel is to ease imports into Gaza, including aid and material for reconstruction. It will also allow Palestinians to fish six nautical miles offshore, up from three nautical miles.” – Daily Mail

Is the Russian army operating in Ukraine?

Russian flag“Kiev published videos  on Tuesday of what it said were 10 Russian paratroopers captured inside Ukraine, in the strongest evidence yet of the increasingly overt presence of Russian forces in the east of the country. … The videos emerged hours before Russian president Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart, Petro Poroshenko, began what were set to be difficult talks with EU representatives in Minsk, Belarus, aimed at plotting a diplomatic route out of the crisis.” – Financial Times

  • “Russian President Vladimir Putin has urged his Ukrainian counterpart not to escalate an offensive against pro-Moscow rebels, and threatened economic retaliation for signing a trade accord with the European Union.” – The Independent
  • “Nato is to deploy its forces at new bases in eastern Europe for the first time, in response to the Ukraine crisis and in an attempt to deter Vladimir Putin from causing trouble in the former Soviet Baltic republics, according to its secretary general.” – The Guardian
  • “Europe will remain heavily reliant on Russian gas for at least another decade, according to a leading rating agency.” – Daily Telegraph

And comment:

  • “The meeting of the Ukrainian and Russian presidents in Minsk offers an opportunity to move away from fighting to talking: will it be taken?” – Guardian editorial
  • “If Vladimir Putin wants peace in Ukraine, he must stop fuelling war” – Times editorial (£)
  • “Vladimir Putin has gone too far in Ukraine to back down now” – Charles Crawford, Daily Telegraph

News in brief

  • The towns where parents pay extra to send their kids to a good school – Daily Mail
  • Hollande replaces his firebrand economy minister – Financial Times
  • British ebola patient is receiving experimental drug – The Guardian
  • Kate Bush performs her first gig in 35 years – The Sun (£)
  • Manchester United break British transfer record; promptly lose 4-0 to lower league opposition – The Sun (£)

And finally 1) Too many tweets…

Phone“The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has spent more than £92,000 on social media training for its diplomats and staff, including Twitter and Facebook. … The lessons may have been lost on staff at the British Embassy in the US, who enraged Americans with a misjudged joke to mark the 200th anniversary of the Burning of Washington.” – The Independent

And finally 2) Unguarded

“They are renowned for their stony expressions, and ability to remain entirely focused on their job, even in the face of hoards of tourists armed with cameras. … But this Queen’s Guard apparently did not get the memo – as he pulls faces and sticks out his tongue on camera. … The video, apparently showing the soldier grinning, shaking his bearskin and sticking out his tongue from a guard’s box out was apparently taken by a visitor to Buckingham Palace.” – Daily Mail

8 comments for: Newslinks for Wednesday 27th August 2014

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