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Europe 1) Cameron attacks the “scale” of those budget demands – but will we end up paying something anyway?

CAMERON EU fence“…it seems the UK will almost certainly be forced to pay something extra after the Commission suggested it could withhold our £3billion-a-year rebate. … Mr Cameron said: ‘Britain will not be paying 2billion euros to anyone on December 1 and we reject this scale of payment. We will be challenging this.’ … But later a spokesman said that in the past, Britain had been happy to pay sums of ‘the low hundreds of millions’ – indicating that the UK may end up paying a similar amount this time.” – Daily Mail

  • “Support for Ukip has surged to a record high following the surprise attempt by Brussels to levy a £1.7bn ‘surcharge’ on Britain, a ComRes survey for the Independent reveals today.” – The Independent
  • “White people should be allowed to ‘black up’ their faces without causing offence, the Ukip leader Nigel Farage has said.” – Daily Telegraph
  • “Ukip was forced last night to deny any association with the far-right group Britain First after a photo emerged of figures from the parties posing together on the campaign trail in Rochester.” – The Times (£)

And comment:

  • Newspaper mastheads“…we all know how Miliband would react to a shock £1.7billion EU bill: by writing out the cheque. … Credit to Mr Cameron that he hasn’t. … If he caves, though, he’s toast.” – Sun editorial (£)
  • “Isn’t it the ultimate irony that Mr Cameron’s eurosceptic critics will have no realistic chance of a vote to end our EU membership unless the Conservatives win next year?” – Daily Mail editorial
  • “Europe’s financial demands will backfire.” – Daily Telegraph editorial
  • “Mr Clarke (Rushcliffe) began his sally by saying that he ‘sympathised’ with the PM over the big bill – ‘because everyone in the Treasury and Foreign Office must have known’ it was coming. This was silken, brutal, patronising, all in one.” – Quentin Letts, Daily Mail
  • “David Cameron refuses to pay the EU’s bill… for now.” – Michael Deacon, Daily Telegraph
  • “Europe is still awaiting its Thatcher moment.” – Ed Conway, The Times (£)
  • “Only the spirit of Fontainebleau can reduce our soaring EU bill.” – Philip Johnston, Daily Telegraph
  • “Cameron is right to stand up to Brussels on the budget.” – Janan Ganesh, Financial Times
  • “This war on windfarms is the Tories’ latest sop to Ukip.” – Polly Toynbee, The Guardian

> Yesterday: Lord Ashcroft on Comment – The Tories draw level with Labour in my weekly poll

Europe 2) Ireland wades into the EAW row

Ireland flag“IRA terrorists will be able to skip justice just by crossing into Ireland if Britain ducks out of EU arrest laws, Dublin has warned. … The Irish Government has written to the Home Secretary to insist that Britain’s opt out from the European Arrest Warrant would spell a return to the dark days of the Troubles. … Under its constitution, Irish judges will have no choice but to refuse to hand over terror suspects as their offence is deemed a ‘political offence’.” – The Sun (£)

  • “Mark Field, a Tory MP and member of the intelligence and security committee, said MI5 and MI6 chiefs made a ‘compelling case’ that Britain would become a ‘weak link’ if it failed to opt in to the warrant.” – Daily Telegraph

The Prime Minister makes the case for HS3 in Leeds…

high-speed rail“David Cameron has hit back at critics of a £7billion high-speed rail link across northern England – insisting it will make a ‘massive difference’. … The PM said he was a ‘passionate’ believer in the project and Britain should catch up with technology in other countries. … Mr Cameron said: ‘These sorts of decisions — plans that can make a massive difference to the future of our country — I think really matter. … They’re not always popular, HS2 is not always popular. But I profoundly believe they are right.'” – The Sun (£)

  • “A new high speed rail line between London and the north is needed to allow thousands of southern Manchester United fans to get to the game more quickly, the project’s boss suggested today.” – Daily Mail
  • “Families taking to the road during the school half-term holidays are benefitting from a new price-war at supermarket petrol pumps.” – Daily Mail

And comment:

  • “Even as ministers talk up HS3, HS2 has yet to win full parliamentary approval – and will not take passengers until 2027.” – Daily Telegraph editorial
  • “…the Westminster elite seems at last to have noticed there’s an England beyond London, with vast potential they’ve neglected for far too long. … If HS3 is part of the solution, it can only be welcome.” – Daily Mail editorial
  • “The north needs new trains now, not years down the line.” – Christian Wolmar, The Times (£)

> Today: ToryDiary – Railways. What the North needs is local plans, better trains and faster journeys – quickly

…where a jogger bumps into him, triggering a security row

Jogger“Fitness fanatic Dean Farley, 28, charged into the Prime Minister outside Leeds Civic Hall yesterday. … Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan Howe has ordered an investigation as MPs and security experts pointed out that Mr Cameron could have been stabbed or killed. Although he was uninjured, police faced withering criticism. … Tory MP Mark Pritchard called for a full inquiry. ‘Met Police close protection officers are some of the best in the world, but what if the protester had been carrying a knife?’ he said.” – Daily Mail

  • “It begs the question how good is security if I managed to run between them before they stopped me.” – the jogger’s words, reported in the Daily Telegraph

And comment:

  • “This was a deplorable breach of security about which the PM’s police team should feel utterly ashamed.” – Sun editorial (£)

Fallon withdraws his “careless” immigration remarks…

FALLON Daily Politics“Michael Fallon has been forced by Downing Street to take to the airwaves to withdraw his claims that British towns are being ‘swamped’ by immigrants and their residents are ‘under siege’. … The defence secretary said on television and radio that he had been careless and had used words he would not usually use when defending David Cameron’s plans for a renegotiation with the EU over the freedom of movement of workers. However, he stood by the thrust of his argument – that mass immigration from Europe is putting pressure on local services in many British towns.” – The Guardian

  • “Border agents have been criticised by a judge for ‘catastrophic failures’ that allowed dozens of work permits to be given to a company that then sold them to migrants for thousands of pounds.” – The Times (£)
  • “Britain will not support any future search and rescue operations to prevent migrants and refugees drowning in the Mediterranean, claiming they simply encourage more people to attempt the dangerous sea crossing, Foreign Office ministers have quietly announced.” – The Guardian

And comment:

  • “People may talk of Britain ‘swamped’ by immigrants, but we’ve never been more tolerant.” – Emma Duncan, The Times (£)

> Today: ConservativeHome’s latest monthly survey – Immigration policy. How restrictive? An amnesty for illegals or not? Defy the EU?

…but Blunkett defends them anyway

BLUNKETT David“Specific parts of Britain ARE being swamped by migrants, David Blunkett insists today. … Writing in the Daily Mail, the former Labour Home Secretary backs claims made by Defence Secretary Michael Fallon. … Mr Blunkett says politicians cannot simply avoid the issue and Mr Fallon was right to ‘voice the concerns of ordinary voters’. … He warns of increasing public fears about immigration and says those who claim a large influx of migrants does not create problems are living in a ‘fantasy land’.” – Daily Mail

Read David Blunkett’s Daily Mail article in full

200,000 plan to blow their pensions after Osborne’s reforms

“More than 200,000 people plan to cash in all their retirement savings next year, with one in five using part of the windfall to fund a holiday, according to the first detailed study of the impact of new pension reforms. … Both the scale and consequences of the reforms are revealed for the first time today in research by Ipsos Mori. It suggests that 12 per cent of those eligible are planning to cash in their entire pension pot next year. … This flood of savings withdrawals would hand the Treasury a windfall of up to £1.6 billion in tax, according to calculations by Hargreaves Lansdown, which commissioned the poll.” – The Times (£)

The Chancellor lends £100 million to the Northern Ireland executive

OSBORNE ConHome“George Osborne has agreed to lend £100 million to the Northern Ireland executive to help pay off its debts, in a timely olive branch to the unionists. … The deal was brokered with the Democratic Unionist party after the executive refused to implement welfare reforms to bring down spending. … The chancellor agreed to lend the cash, to be repaid next year, to bridge a funding crisis on the condition that the executive agrees its 2014-15 budget by the end of October.” – The Times (£)

Grayling suffers a defeat in the Lords

“The justice secretary, Chris Grayling, has suffered a defeat in a key House of Lords vote on his plans to curtail access to judicial review, which would have made it harder to challenge government decisions in court. … Peers voted by 247 to 181, a majority of 66, to ensure that the judges keep their discretion over whether they can hear judicial review applications after a warning from a former lord chief justice, Lord Woolf, that the alternative amounted to an ‘elective dictatorship’.” – The Guardian

Pickles rails against the “Tesco tax”

PICKLES Eric 2009“Eric Pickles has slapped down an attempt by cash-strapped local authorities to levy a ‘Tesco tax’ on large retailers to help support local economies. … The secretary of state for communities and local government said the proposal, which was backed by 20 local authories and led by Derby city council, was a ‘lazy’ solution to the problem of ailing high streets. ‘Imposing new, additional taxes on supermarkets and larger shops will ultimately push up the price of food and the cost of living, hitting low-income families the hardest,’ he wrote in a letter to Derby city council.” – The Guardian

  • “Tesco has begun selling off its fleet of luxury private jets by putting a 14-seater plane up for sale for nearly $35m (£22m).” – Daily Telegraph

Goldsmith keeps on pushing for stronger recall

“Politicians would be forced to keep election promises if MPs could be sacked by voters, Zac Goldsmith has said during a debate on Coalition recall proposals. … The Tory backbencher said the Liberal Democrats would never have pledged to scrap tuition fees if they knew voters could punish them individually for U-turning after the election. … Mr Goldsmith, a key proponent of recall, said MPs would have to be ‘much more careful’ about public promises in the run-up to elections if Parliament gave voters powers to hold MPs to account.” – Daily Telegraph

Cracknell continues his search for a safe Tory seat

“Olympic rower James Cracknell has applied for a safe Tory seat – after being pipped to his dream constituency by Boris Johnson. … The double gold medallist will now fight to be selected in leafy Bexhill and Battle, East Sussex, in a tough contest for the Conservative nomination next month. … It comes after he withdrew his CV for the plum seat of Uxbridge and South Ruislip when the London Mayor applied.” – The Sun (£)

Alexander to announce new rules for departing public sector supremos

Alexander Danny Jan 12“Fury has erupted after it emerged public sector fatcats will be able to hang on to their golden goodbyes — as long as they don’t get another job for a year. … Treasury Secretary Danny Alexander will announce that in future, they will be forced to hand back some of the cash if they take up a new job in the same part of the public sector within 12 months. … But critics say the new rules are too weak because it will allow departing bosses to simply go on a year’s gardening leave and keep their cash.” – The Sun (£)

  • “A bronze model of a crushed polystyrene cup and a video of flowers being burnt with intense rays of light are among modern works of art that have been bought for display in Whitehall.” – Daily Telegraph

And comment:

  • “The Liberal Democrats’ poll rating is reflected in the demise of Cleggmania.” – Times editorial (£)

Murphy the favourite to lead Labour in Scotland, after Brown rules himself out

Scottish flag“Gordon Brown has ruled out a bid to become the new leader of Scottish Labour, dashing the hopes of supporters who believed the former UK prime minister could revive the fortunes of the once-mighty party in Scotland. … Mr Brown’s decision not to contest the leadership means Jim Murphy, member of the UK parliament and Labour’s shadow international development secretary, is seen as the most likely successor to Johann Lamont after her acrimonious resignation last week.” – Financial Times

  • “The fight between Scottish Labour and Scottish Nationalists is a preview of a bigger fight for the soul of the British left.” – Times editorial (£)
  • “Labour starts a civil war north of the border.” – John McTernan, Daily Telegraph
  • “Ed Miliband isn’t the villain of the Scottish Labour piece.” – Steve Richards, The Independent

Insurer speaks out against Labour’s mansion tax

“Families who have saved hard to own their own home would be punished under Labour’s ‘mansion tax’ plans, a major insurer has warned. … Chief executive of Legal and General, Nigel Wilson, said the party was ‘pandering to the politics of envy’. … He fears that Ed Miliband’s pledge to impose a tax on homes worth more than £2 million would exacerbate the housing shortage and make it hard for first-time buyers to get a foot on the property ladder.” – Daily Mail

Joyce arrested again

“A brawl-shame MP has been arrested for the fourth time in three years. … Speaker John Bercow was told by cops of Eric Joyce’s latest run-in — and his officials sent a circular to MPs. … The ex-Army Major, 54, was arrested in Scotland. … Details of his latest brush with the law were unclear last night.” – The Sun (£)

The Bank of England deputy who’s taking on City culture: “I find this behaviour outrageous”

Banks Face 6 Billion Of Libor Litigation“The woman charged with cleaning up the City of London has launched a stinging attack on ‘outrageous’ behaviour in the financial markets. … Bank of England Deputy Governor Nemat Shafik said last night that more could be done to punish traders following ‘a series of appalling cases of misconduct’ over recent years. … The 52-year-old highlighted ‘truly shocking evidence’ of traders manipulating the prices of everything from gold and oil to lead and coffee, as well as fixing interest rates and currencies.” – Daily Mail

  • “The Bank of England has written to dozens of insurance companies to assess the risk that climate change poses to their solvency and earnings, in a sign of regulators’ concern about the potential financial fallout of global warming.” – Financial Times
  • “The UK’s biggest retail bank confirmed plans to shed around 9,000 staff and close 150 branches as it focuses on creating a leaner, more digitally-focused operation.” – Financial Times

Britain falls to 26th in league table for gender equality

Downturn“In the Global Gender Gap Report, published by the World Economic Forum (WEF), Britain has dropped eight spots to 26th place – lagging behind Latvia, Burundi, South Africa, Rwanda and Nicaragua. … The report, which covered 142 countries, looked at how nations distribute access to healthcare, education, political participation and resources and opportunities between women and men. … The UK was ranked ninth in the first report in 2006 and has dropped through the ranking ever since. It is believed changes in income estimates are behind the fall.” – Daily Mail

  • “The Prime Minister rejected the chance to wear a ‘this is what a feminist looks like’ T-shirt – despite being asked five times by a women’s magazine. … Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and the Labour leader Ed Miliband both accepted the challenge – alongside celebrities Benedict Cumberbatch, Joseph Gordon Levitt and Tom Hiddleston.” – Daily Mail
  • “The Prime Minister’s wife arrived at a Diwali party in London last night wearing a beautiful flowing royal blue sari with a detailed gold trim.” – Daily Mail

And comment:

  • “I want a feminist Prime Minister, not one pretending in a feminist T-shirt.” – Emma Barnett, Daily Telegraph
  • “David Cameron doesn’t have to wear Elle’s feminist t-shirt to show how much he cares about women.” – Mollie Goodfellow, The Independent

Slowdown in number of schools converting to academies

School“Is becoming an academy going out of fashion? Have we perhaps seen peak academisation? The number of schools in England that are converting seems to be slowing, with new academy conversions in the secondary sector dropping dramatically, Education Guardian can reveal. … The total number of new academies in the year to 1 October was 889, a fall of 11% compared with the same period in 2012‑13. In the secondary sector, only 125 schools became academies over the period, compared with 215 in 2012-13, 436 in 2011‑12 and 707 in 2010-11.” – The Guardian

  • “Hundreds of thousands of students will be hit by a marking boycott by academics amid a bitter row over pensions.” – Daily Mail

And comment:

  • “Cameron’s schools speech was an admission of failure over education.” – Estelle Morris, The Guardian

> Today: Rebecca Coulson’s column – We must reconsider the purpose and nature of university education

> Yesterday:

Jobcentre staff struggling with the Universal Credit rollout

“A leaked staff memo at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) appears to show the government is still struggling to roll out its flagship welfare programme, universal credit (UC), across the UK. … The memo, seen by the Guardian and titled: ‘Ideas please: Sinking’, appears to be a plea from a jobcentre manager to her staff for solutions to tackle an ever-growing workload brought about by the new system for delivering social security to more than 7 million people.” – The Guardian

GPs allowed to strike off hundreds of patients

NHS“Overstretched GPs have been given the green light to strike thousands of patients from their lists. … So far, 25 surgeries across England have been granted approval by NHS bosses to shrink their catchment areas as they cannot cope. … Some practices have already removed as many as 1,500 patients from their lists, including elderly widows, amputees, young mothers and – in one case – all the residents of a care home. … A further ten surgeries have applied this year to cut their registers and are awaiting approval.” – Daily Mail

  • “The cash-strapped NHS has forked out more than £50million on weight-loss surgery in the past two years, figures show.” – The Sun (£)

West Midlands police given six weeks to improve child protection

Police shield“The police watchdog has given West Midlands police six weeks to improve child protection after inspectors found a range of concerns, including warning of a ‘general lack of understanding’ by staff about the extent of child sexual exploitation. … A report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) identified a weak response to difficult, complex or prolonged child protection cases and concluded that heavy workloads meant staff in child abuse investigation teams were unable to manage their investigations effectively.” – The Guardian

  • “Social workers tried to impose a draconian secrecy order about the mystery death of a 13-month-old girl after she was allegedly sexually abused, it was disclosed yesterday.” – The Times (£)
  • “The independent policing watchdog hid the truth about the fatal shooting that led to the London riots to protect Scotland Yard from ‘anti-police feelings’, new documents show.” – The Times (£)
  • “Children and the police have a ‘lack of mutual respect’ which is leading to widespread friction, a Parliamentary report has claimed.” – Daily Telegraph
  • “Harry Roberts, a murderer who was jailed for life for shooting police officers, has criticised the light sentences handed out by the modern criminal courts.” – Daily Telegraph

And comment:

  • “Baby P: the Untold Story is the anatomy of an establishment cover-up.” – Patrick Butler, The Guardian

> Today: Paul Goodman on Comment – Tory Reform 2) Theresa May: Victorian Values in a Modern Setting

Archbishop of Canterbury “broke down” on hearing of abuse

WELBY, Justin“The Archbishop of Canterbury has told how he ‘broke down completely’ after hearing from victims of Church abuse – as he warned of more scandals set to be uncovered. … The Most Rev Justin Welby said the Church of England had ‘failed terribly’ but was now taking the issue ‘as seriously as we can’. … He also warned politicians to be careful over language on immigration – saying clergy were seeing an ‘upsurge of minor racist, anti-Semitic, anti-Islamic’ sentiment.” – The Sun (£)

  • “…a poll of Anglican clergy which found that as many as 16 per cent are unclear about God and two per cent think it is no more than a human construct.” – The Independent

Let them come back, says family of British jihadist killed in Syria

“The family of teen jihadist Mehdi Hassan, killed in Syria, has blamed the government for making it hard for IS fighters to return. … The 19-year-old was killed in the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani after joining up with four pals in October 2013. … Speaking to ITV News after gruesome pictures of his body emerged on social media, Mehdi’s uncle Muslim Khan said: ‘If the British government helped them to come back, I think all of them would come back.'” – The Sun (£)

  • “British ISIS hostage John Cantlie has been used as a news reporter from the battle-ravaged city of Kobane in a slickly-produced new video released by the insurgents.” – Daily Mail
  • “A British science teacher today admitted plotting to fight with ISIS in Syria but was only stopped after his upset family confiscated his passport and told the police.” – Daily Mail

Afghanistan: Seven-in-ten say the conflict hasn’t been “worthwhile” for Britain

Afghanistan“Nearly seven in ten people believe the military campaign in Afghanistan has not been ‘worthwhile’ for Britain. … As the last British troops left Camp Bastion yesterday, a poll suggested the majority of the public are sceptical of the claims of politicians and generals that the 13-year conflict has made both Afghanistan and the UK safer from terrorism. … The research, for BBC news, found 68 per cent thought it had not been worthwhile and 42 per cent believed the UK was actually ‘less safe’ now than when the war began in 2001.” – Daily Mail

  • “But now the district in Uruzgan, central Afghanistan, is about to fall back under the control of the insurgents, according to officials and community leaders.” – The Guardian
  • “Argentina’s Secretary for the Malvinas has urged Britain to follow its withdrawal from Helmand by closing its hugely expensive garrison in the Falkland Islands.” – The Independent

And comment:

  • “That we can’t even leave a memorial behind says everything.” – Max Hastings, Daily Mail
  • “Our failure in Afghanistan must be exposed.” – Richard Williams, The Times (£)
  • “The British army’s reputation has suffered in Iraq and Afghanistan: it was asked to do too much and it offered to do too much.” – Guardian editorial

> Today: Garvan Walshe’s column – Enough gloom – five things Britain can do to make the world more secure

News in brief

  • The Met Office’s shiny, new £100 million supercomputer – Daily Mail
  • The Ford era ends in Toronto, as John Tory is elected Mayor – Daily Mail
  • Even a global catastrophe wouldn’t halt the world’s population growth, claim academics – The Independent
  • Television presenter explains why he’s encouraging young people to vote – Daily Telegraph
  • Four million people are expected to visit the poppy display at the Tower of London – Daily Telegraph

And finally: Baroness Rawlings, more eligible than Pippa Middleton

“It seems like only yesterday that Pippa Middleton was crowned Britain’s most eligible woman, beating her own sister Kate to top Tatler’s annual Little Black Book list. … Six years on, however, and Pippa, 31, has failed to make it even into the top 100. Worse still, she has been usurped by 75-year-old Baroness Rawlings.” – Sebastian Shakespeare, Daily Mail

16 comments for: Newslinks for Tuesday 28th October 2014

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