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Cameron condemns yesterday’s terror attack in Peshawar…

Cameron1“Politicians and Asian groups in Britain have condemned the attack by the Pakistani Taliban on a school in Peshawar in which 141 people died. … Prime Minister David Cameron called the killings ‘shocking’ and ‘horrifying’. … Ramadhan Foundation chief executive Mohammed Shafiq said terrorism was ‘a cancer within Pakistan’ and needed to be ‘removed permanently’.” – BBC

  • “A teacher is believed to have been burned alive while her pupils were forced to watch as Taliban gunmen stormed a school in Pakistan in an apparent revenge attack for Malala Yousafzai winning the Nobel Peace Prize.” – Daily Mail
  • “At least 15 children, were among 25 dead, after their school bus was caught in an Al Qaeda car bomb attack.” – Daily Mail
  • “Sony has told theater owners they can cancel screenings of their upcoming film The Interview following threats of a terrorist attack.” – Daily Mail
  • “Islamic State is now selling looted antiquities worth millions of pounds directly to western collectors, according to a senior police officer involved in stopping the trade.” – The Times (£)

And comment:

  • “It is hard to imagine greater evil, or the workings of a mind capable of it.” – Sun editorial (£)
  • “Pakistan’s own policies are also to blame.” – Guardian editorial
  • “A crucible of terror threatening the world.” – Michael Burleigh, Daily Mail
  • “Pakistan has been braced for this kind of bloodthirsty attack.” – Ian Birrell, Daily Mail
  • “Massacre of the innocents in Pakistan born of ambivalence towards Taliban.” – Robert Fisk, The Independent

…warns of the “Sydney-style” threat to Britain…

Australia-Police Operation-Gallery“Britain could be hit ‘at any moment’ by a Sydney-style terror attack, David Cameron told MPs today. … The Prime Minister said the Australian attack, in which two hostages died and Islamic extremist Man Haron Monis was killed, was a reminder of the danger Britain faces. … He said it was only through the efforts of the security services that plots to murder UK police officers ‘in cold blood’ had been foiled in recent months.” – Daily Mail

  • “A gunman responsible for a deadly siege in a Sydney cafe was once on the national security agency’s watch list – but was dropped off it years ago for reasons that remain unclear, Australia’s prime minister said on Wednesday.” – Daily Telegraph
  • “The café manager who launched himself at the gunman holding 17 people hostage in Sydney was remembered as a hero on Tuesday, as full details emerged of how the drama came to a bloody end.” – Daily Telegraph
  • “David Cameron has attacked Labour’s policy towards Israel, claiming that the party had shown its ‘true colours’ over a vote on Palestinian statehood.” – The Times (£)

And comment:

  • “How do we keep the extremists at bay?” – Con Coughlin, Daily Telegraph

…and rejects the case for cutting the number of police forces

Police shield“David Cameron has rejected an idea from Britain’s most senior police officer to cut the number of police forces in England and Wales from 43 to nine ‘super forces’. … Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, head of the Metropolitan Police, said that “radical action” was needed to deal with impending cuts to budgets.” – Financial Times

  • “A shake-up of the controversial legal doctrine of joint enterprise, used to convict the killers of Stephen Lawrence, could be needed to stop ‘minor’ players being condemned to life in prison for another person’s crime, a group of MPs has said.” – The Independent
  • “Police criticised for secrecy bid over sex grooming gang.” – Daily Telegraph

And comment:

  • “UK can no longer afford patchwork constabulary.” – Financial Times editorial

> Today: Christoper Salmon on Local Government – Police and Crime Commissioners have given people a voice

Heseltine predicts a revolt against Scottish devolution unless EVEL is implemented

HESELTINE Michael“Lord Heseltine predicted a revolt against giving Holyrood the right to determine tax and welfare policy unless Scottish MPs are barred from voting on such issues only affecting the rest of the UK. … ‘Let’s be frank about it: English MPs are not going to implement that [Scottish devolution] unless they get a degree of equality for England,’ said the former deputy prime minister.” – Daily Mail

  • “Scottish MPs would be barred from having any say on the English tax and welfare system under radical Tory plans. … Ministers unveiled the dramatic proposals in the Commons yesterday. … Labour refused to take part in the process, claiming it would threaten the Union.” – The Sun (£)
  • “Senior figures in Whitehall and Downing Street became so fearful that the Scottish independence referendum could lead to the breakup of the United Kingdom that the Queen was asked to make a rare public intervention in the final days of the campaign.” – The Guardian
  • “More than four out of ten Yes voters think the Scottish independence referendum was marred by electoral fraud despite there being no evidence to suggest this, according to an official report into the historic vote.” – Daily Telegraph
  • “New Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy has put close allies and his rivals for the leadership into key positions on the party’s front bench at Holyrood.” – The Guardian

And comment:

  • England flag“English votes for English laws is a necessary corrective to an undemocratic status quo, yet a lasting solution will require careful consideration.” – Times editorial (£)
  • “The one logical solution is that only English MPs can vote on English laws.” – Daily Telegraph editorial
  • “The UK will certainly be divided if the English are left with less democratic clout than the Scots.” – Sun editorial (£)
  • “The proposals for English devolution are a recipe for chaos.” – Independent editorial
  • “The UK needs to be remade, but William Hague’s plans are a non-starter.” – Guardian editorial
  • “John Redwood (Con, Wokingham) came over all Nelsonian and cried ‘England expects!’” – Quentin Letts, Daily Mail
  • “Forces of Evel kick constitutional reform into long grass once again.” – John Crace, The Guardian
  • “Preserve the Union. Give Scots home rule.” – Alice Thomson, The Times (£)

> Today: Henry Hill’s column – The SNP give state guardians – but not parents – a role in school advice

> Yesterday: ToryDiary – Will EVEL triumph?

Good news for Osborne and for our bank accounts: Inflation falls to a 12-year low

OSBORNE non-broken sword“Inflation reached a 12-year low of 1 per cent in November, falling from 1.3 per cent in October, official figures show – largely thanks to plummeting food and petrol prices. … Yesterday, Treasury Chief Secretary Danny Alexander said: ‘This is a welcome early Christmas present to millions of families across the country.-” – Daily Mail

  • “George Osborne is giving back VAT on all sales of a new charity version of The Farm’s hit ‘All Together Now’.” – The Sun (£)
  • “Today The Sun demands greedy petrol giants go the extra mile and slash prices to 113p a litre.” – The Sun (£)
  • “Oil’s fall below $60 a barrel to five and a half year lows gathered pace on Tuesday after data showed Chinese factory activity had weakened.” – Financial Times
  • “Motorists could be paying less than £1 a litre for petrol in the New Year as oil continues to plummet, the RAC predicted today.” – Daily Mail
  • “Homeowners have seen £3,000 wiped off the value of properties in just two months as the housing market continues to cool.” – Daily Mail

Bad news for May: the Home Office has lost track of 174,000 illegal immigrants

MAY Commons Ellison“The Home Office has lost track of 174,000 illegal immigrants and is struggling to find them, a report will warn today. … The dossier, which Home Secretary Theresa May has been accused of suppressing, is set to say that three-quarters of foreigners refused permission to stay in Britain have vanished. … The scandal of huge numbers of ‘over-stayers’ – migrants who remain in the UK even though their visas have expired – will be exposed in a scathing study by the independent immigration watchdog.” – Daily Mail

  • “More than 50,000 people aged 16 to 18 not in education or work have ‘gone missing’ from official statistics and are receiving no support, according to research published today.” – The Independent
  • “DNA samples from thousands of foreign criminals have been deleted from British databases due to a legal loophole.” – Daily Mail
  • “Around one in ten local authority homes are now lived in by foreign tenants, figures showed last night.” – Daily Mail

And comment:

  • “Why illegal migrants can laugh at the law.” – Daily Mail editorial

Morgan wants to build pupils’ character

MORGAN Nicky headshot“Schools are being urged to give character-building the same weight as academic subjects under a multi-million pound initiative unveiled by Nicky Morgan. … She announced details of a £5million fund aimed at helping schools offer classes and activities which foster traits such as self-control, commitment, endeavour and humour.” – Daily Mail

  • “Schools are struggling to cope with an influx of Roma children from Eastern Europe who arrive unable to speak English, Ofsted warned yesterday.” – Daily Mail

Javid reveals that he was racially abused at school

“Britain’s first Asian Cabinet minister has told how when he was racially abused as a child. … Sajid Javid, the Culture, Media and Sport secretary, said that a classmate called him a ‘P**i’ at school. … He added that he ‘hit him’ and then ‘things sort of went downhill from there’, suggesting the pair engaged in a fight.” – Daily Telegraph

Criticism of the Government’s PFI deals for trains

train“The purchase of new trains costing £10.5bn through two private finance initiative deals transferred all the risk to UK taxpayers, according to a damning report by MPs. … The government failed to consider other options that would have been better value for money, the public accounts committee said on Wednesday.” – Financial Times

  • “MPs have accused the government of ‘dragging its feet’ over proposals to deregulate charity lotteries and lift fundraising limits.” – The Times (£)

Consternation at the contents of the Chilcot report

“Draft reports of the official inquiry into the Iraq war have sent shockwaves through Whitehall, with key players fighting to tone down or even delete the criticism contained in them. … ‘The lawyers are getting called in all over the shop,’ one well-placed figure said. ‘It’s much more punchy than people thought it was going to be.’ … There is said to be particular consternation among former military personnel who were involved in the planning and operation of the Iraq invasion in March 2003 at the draft findings.” – The Times (£)

  • “A £30 million public inquiry into allegations troops killed, mutilated and mistreated Iraqi prisoners is expected to largely clear British soldiers of abuses.” – Daily Telegraph
  • “Politicians were unable to hold generals to account over strategy in Afghanistan because of their ignorance of military affairs, with one minister admitting they ‘did not know the difference between a Tornado and a torpedo’, a former ambassador has said.” – Daily Telegraph

Further pressure on Miliband to back a torture inquiry

Ed Miliband stare“More senior Labour figures came forward last night to heap pressure on Ed Miliband, demanding a judge-led inquiry into allegations that Britain was complicit in torture. … MPs and peers, including Tony Blair’s former envoy to Iraq, insisted a formal probe led by a judge was needed to get to the truth and ensure public trust in its conclusions.” – Daily Mail

  • “A career civil servant who once worked in the No 10 policy unit under Tony Blair has been appointed as the new chief executive of the broadcasting regulator Ofcom.” – Daily Mail

Rafael Behr on Labour’s localism

Labour-Party-Red-Rose-logo“Less widely noted, but no less significant, is the manual’s suggestion that MPs target their message as locally as possible. ‘The best way to re-establish trust with voters,’ it argued, ‘[is] moving away from what is perceived as “national, ambitious and unrealistic” to “local, modest and achievable”.’ That advice reflects a wider trend in Labour thinking towards the value of street politics as a way back to national rehabilitation.” – Rafael Behr, The Guardian

  • “Ed Miliband must stop dithering – his party’s future depends on it.” – Mary Riddell, Daily Telegraph

And other Labour-related news:

  • “The son of the former deputy prime minister John Prescott has become the latest ‘red prince’ to be selected to run for Labour at the next election.” – The Times (£)

> Yesterday: Left Watch – Labour advise their campaigners to dodge debating immigration

Joyce charged with assault

“MP Eric Joyce has been charged with criminal damage and two counts of assault after an altercation with teenagers at a shop. … The 54-year-old independent member for Falkirk explained his actions after the incident, insisted he was only trying to stop a young vandal smashing up the property in Chalk Farm, North London.” – Daily Mail

Shamed UKIP candidate speaks out against the party’s dark arts

UKIP glass“The Ukip candidate who resigned after he was taped referring to ‘fucking disgusting poofters’ and a ‘Chinky’ has warned other parliamentary hopefuls to beware of dark arts within the party. … Kerry Smith, who had recently been reinstated as a candidate for South Basildon and East Thurrock, was criticised after a recording of him using homophobic and racist language was leaked to a Sunday newspaper.” – The Guardian

  • “Nigel Farage must ditch Neil Hamilton or UKIP will be destroyed.” – Peter Oborne, Daily Telegraph
  • “Ukip hasn’t got the monopoly on fruitcakes.” – Daniel Finkelstein, The Times (£)

> Today: Interview with Jacob Rees-Mogg – “I think the love-bombing of UKIP voters would be an intelligent strategy”

The NHS’s reliance on foreign staff

NHS“Four out of five new NHS nurses are foreign, it emerged last night. … Almost 6,000 were recruited from abroad last year, many from Spain and Portugal. … The huge influx – a four-fold rise on the previous 12 months – has sparked fears that some nurses will lack the English language skills to do their jobs properly.” – Daily Mail

  • “Women make better leaders, the Health Secretary has said, as senior officials call for more ‘oestrogen to dilute the testosterone’ in NHS boardrooms.” – Daily Telegraph
  • “Britain’s top emergency doctor has warned that the NHS 111 helpline is piling pressure on overstretched A&E units because cautious call handlers have nowhere else to send patients on evenings and weekends.” – The Times (£)
  • “Paramedics have left bodies unattended at ambulance stations for hours at a time to avoid finishing their shifts late, a disturbing report has revealed.” – Daily Mail

And comment:

  • “From immigration to trade and the NHS, politics is about open vs closed.” – James Kirkup, Daily Telegraph

> Today:

> Yesterday: John Baron MP on Comment – NHS transparency on cancer survival rates will be transformational

Town halls should act together to avoid a pension crisis, says think-tank

“Town hall pension schemes risk running out of cash to pay retired staff unless radical changes are made to the £178bn Local Government Pension Scheme, a report warns. … In a paper published on Wednesday, the Centre for Policy Studies, a free market think-tank, calls for the 89 separate town hall funds in England and Wales to merge to prevent a ‘pension crisis’.” – Financial Times

Russia’s economic troubles deepen

Russian flag“The Russian rouble collapsed to a record low yesterday as the country’s economic crisis deepened. … The Central Bank of Russia raised interest rates from 10.5 to 17 per cent in a desperate effort to prop up the currency. … But the move triggered panic among international investors and the rouble tumbled by as much as 21 per cent against the US dollar.” – Daily Mail

  • “President Barack Obama is to sign a bill authorising new sanctions on Russia and offering further aid to Ukraine, despite concerns that it could cause a rift with Washington’s European allies.” – Financial Times
  • “The West would be prepared to lift sanctions against Vladimir Putin in a ‘matter of days’ if the Russian President makes a ‘different set of choices’ in Ukraine, the US Secretary of State has said.” – Daily Telegraph

And comment:

  • Newspaper mastheads“Will Russia’s economic woes finally force Vladimir Putin to stop his adventurism and concentrate on problems at home?” – Daily Telegraph editorial
  • “The rouble crisis reveals Putin’s strategic failure.” – Financial Times editorial
  • “Russia’s long rise to energy superpower status is being thrown into reverse.” – Times editorial (£)
  • “Vladimir Putin has been cornered – and now he could now lash out.” – Edward Lucas, Daily Telegraph
  • “Russia risks Soviet-style collapse as rouble defence fails.” – Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Daily Telegraph
  • “Moscow must act to get international sanctions lifted or the economy will struggle to recover.” – Anders Aslund, Financial Times
  • “Beware of the trapped bear as the rouble goes into freefall.” – Alex Brummer, Daily Mail

News in brief

  • Church of England’s first woman bishop chosen – Daily Telegraph
  • British charity boss could  be “as bad as Savile”, say police – Daily Mail
  • Obama signs a $1.1 trillion spending bill to avoid government shutdown – Daily Mail
  • Jeb Bush exploring 2016 US presidential bid – Financial Times
  • 2014 could be the warmest year in Europe since the 1500s, claim scientists – Financial Times
  • Ireland to hold referendum on gay marriage in May – The Guardian

And finally 1) Pickles supports flogging

PICKLES Eric 2009“Eric Pickles, the Local Government secretary, was asked by MPs if families should be ‘punished’ for leaving their bins in the street after they are emptied. … He said: ‘They should be flogged, flogging is too good for them.'” – Daily Telegraph

And finally 2) Sturgeon’s Christmas video

“The YouTube production appears to be a take-off of that scene in Love Actually where Andrew Lincoln reveals himself to be stalking Keira Knightly and Knightly, mysteriously, doesn’t slam the door in his face. … No matter. The message seems to be that the people of Scotland should love teenagers like we love children, or soup, or onesies, but that we don’t have to buy them any Christmas presents.” – The Guardian

  • “Invitations have been sent out for a Conservative fundraising event due to be held in February at a five-star London hotel, where donors have been asked to pay up to £1,500 a head for a ticket.” – The Guardian

6 comments for: Newslinks for Wednesday 17th December 2014

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