Questions about Cameron’s attachment to Kids Company…

cameron-face“David Cameron last night faced claims he was ‘mesmerised’ by the controversial founder of Kids Company – as the scandal-ridden charity finally collapsed. … The BBC reported claims from ‘senior figures’ that Mr Cameron was ‘mesmerised’ by Miss Batmanghelidjh and that opponents of the new funding were ‘all over-ridden by Number 10’. … In addition, a former ministerial advisor pointed the finger directly at Mr Cameron for overruling ministerial opposition to more money for the charity three years ago.” – Daily Mail

  • “The British government is trying to recoup a £3m grant given last week to a children’s charity championed by David Cameron. The cash was handed over just days before it closed after allegations of financial mismanagement and sex abuse.” – Financial Times
  • “The founder of the children’s charity Kids Company lashed out yesterday at ‘rumour-mongering civil servants’ and ‘ill-spirited ministers’ as it was announced that the organisation she founded 19 years ago was about to go bankrupt.” – The Independent

And comment:

  • “Organisations like Kids Company have a vital role to play, but its demise shows the need for effective oversight.” – Independent editorial
  • “Kids Company’s rise and fall is a modern social policy morality tale.” – Guardian editorial
  • “Charities need more scrutiny.” – Daily Telegraph editorial
  • “Certainly, the history of Kids Company over the nine years that I have followed its progress offers a disturbing insight into how easy it is to exploit government goodwill, along with the public’s commendable idealism and impulse to help the vulnerable.” – Harriet Sergeant, Daily Mail
  • “The lesson from Kids Company: leave to charity, leave to chance.” – Stephen Bush, The Independent
  • “Oliver Letwin must answer for the Kids Company fiasco.” – Henry Zeffman, The Times (£)

…and about his honours list

LORDS logo“David Cameron risks a major cronyism row with plans to send one of the Tory party’s biggest donors to the House of Lords. … James Lupton, who has donated £2.5million to the Conservatives, is in line for a peerage in the controversial dissolution honours list. … The dissolution honours are mired in controversy over expectations that a ‘big handful’ of donors will be rewarded, and a backlash over initial plans for 100 new Tory peers.” – Daily Mail

  • “Mr Cameron has not even published the dissolution honours list from the last Parliament yet, and already there is a strong whiff of scandal.” – Daily Mail editorial

> Yesterday: Cllr Peter Golds on Comment – The House of Lords should be replaced with an indirectly elected senate

And Osborne comes under heavy criticism for the RBS sell-off

Banks Face 6 Billion Of Libor Litigation“The Chancellor has been accused of allowing hedge funds to make ‘a killing’ from Royal Bank of Scotland at taxpayers’ expense. … George Osborne is already under fire for short-changing taxpayers after selling a 5.4 per cent stake in the High Street giant at a loss of £1.1 billion. … But last night another row erupted after it emerged that hedge funds rushed to gamble on RBS shares falling in value after government plans to start selling its stake were leaked last week.” – Daily Mail

  • “It is the first time the Bank of England will publish simultaneously at noon its latest interest rate decision, the minutes of that meeting and the quarterly inflation report giving a comprehensive update on the BoE’s thinking on the economy. Just for good measure, 45 minutes later, Mark Carney, the Bank governor, will also give a press conference.” – Financial Times

> Yesterday: ToryDiary – The month of Osborne continues: he tops our latest Cabinet league table

The latest from Calais

  • “The French are running out of fences to protect the Channel Tunnel terminal in Calais because so many of their workers are on holiday.” – The Sun (£)
  • “British anarchists living in Calais are ‘manipulating’ migrants into using more aggressive tactics, French police claimed yesterday.” – Daily Mail
  • “Immigration offences in Kent rose by a quarter in 12 months even before this summer’s Calais migrant crisis.” – The Times (£)
  • “Mike Hookem, a Ukip MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber, has claimed he discouraged 25 migrants from trying to get to the Eurotunnel during a visit to Calais.” – The Independent
  • “A boat carrying more than 600 migrants attempting to reach Europe capsized off the Libyan coast on Wednesday, triggering a search and rescue mission in the Mediterranean Sea.” – Financial Times

Stephen Glover: Dejected Boris should lead the Out campaign

BORIS angel devil“The latest humiliation visited on the man who was until recently the Conservative Party’s brightest star is that in a poll of Tory activists to be the next leader, he has slipped into third place behind Mr Osborne and Mr Javid. … For his part, he is said to be furious, brooding, dejected — and possibly finished. … And yet I venture to suggest that there could be a glittering future for Boris Johnson if only he has the courage and determination to match his thwarted ambitions. Boris could — and should — be the de facto leader of the ‘No’ campaign in the forthcoming referendum on our membership of the European Union.” – Stephen Glover, Daily Mail

  • “The euphoria that accompanied the Tories’ surprise victory in May is beginning to evaporate. While ministers continue to enjoy the schadenfreude of Labour’s internal strife, there is little sign they recognise the scale of the divisions that their own party is about to go through in a Commons once more full of sound and fury.” – Isabel Hardman, The Times (£)

> Today: Syed Kamall MEP’s column – The ECR is advancing the cause of enterprise, free trade and open markets

Another reason for the Conservative majority: the rise of the mercenary voter

“The rise of the mercenary voter – prepared to put self-interest ahead of traditional allegiances, to ‘game’ opinion polls and to vote tactically – is central to pollster Mark Textor’s analysis of the UK election result and the failure of others in his field to predict it. … The veteran Australian pollster says the same knowledge that enabled his internal polling to predict David Cameron’s victory – when published polls had the result on a knife-edge – also helped the success of his business partner Lynton Crosby’s Tory campaign strategy: an understanding of the modern voter.” – The Guardian

Hancock moves to reform union funding, as the Tube strike takes hold

On strike“Furious ministers declared war on trade unions last night by announcing radical plans that threaten to strip them of millions of pounds in funding. … The Government said public sector organisations would no longer automatically deduct union subscriptions from pay packets and transfer them to the likes of Unite and Unison. … The practice — called check-off — is estimated to cost the taxpayer a small fortune in administrative costs. … Cabinet Office Minister Matthew Hancock said: ‘Public resources should not be used to support the collection of union subscriptions.’” – The Sun (£)

  • “Millions of London commuters are facing travel misery today as the Underground network remains shut due to strike action in an ongoing row over pay and working conditions for the proposed nightly service.” – Daily Mail
  • “A nationwide survey on people’s contentment with their home and local community, left the capital severely wanting.” – The Times (£)

And comment:

  • “Today’s walkout by Tube workers is symptomatic of the disregard rail unions have for the passengers who use their service.” – Times editorial (£)
  • “Taxpayers should not be forced to support trade unions.” – Daily Telegraph editorial
  • “This isn’t a 1970s economy. It’s a 1950s economy. One of the last places in the UK where unions exert total control — anti-social, greedy and hugely short-sighted.” – Rod Liddle, The Sun (£)
  • “Call me a heartless neoliberal, but those taking part in the Tube strike are not victims.” – Kristian Niemietz, The Independent
  • “Against the Tube strike? Then try spending 15 years as a train driver like I have” – Colin Gardener, The Independent

> Today:

> Yesterday: WATCH – Boris urges striking tube workers to accept the “unbelievably generous” deal on the table

Whitehall’s digital chief departs

Whitehall“The government’s head of digital services, Mike Bracken, has resigned just four months after being promoted to Whitehall’s data chief, dealing a blow to plans to modernise public services and improve their efficiency. … This year, in an interview with the Financial Times, Mr Bracken hinted at his frustrations when he said: ‘In two and a half years we’ve created four platforms which fundamentally change how government works digitally. The sobering analysis is that we think we need about 30.’” – Financial Times

  • “UK statistics fall short of what is acceptable for a modern economy. Making the ONS fit for purpose should be an urgent priority.” – Financial Times editorial

Stewart mourns Cecil the Lion, but won’t ban hunting trophies

“The slaughter of Cecil the Lion was ‘illegal, horrifying and disgusting’ the environment minister said yesterday. … But Rory Stewart refused to commit to a ban on the import of trophies like lion heads or put pressure on British Airways not to carry them. … Mr Stewart revealed 61 licences had been granted to bring animal trophies into the UK last year and there is no immediate sign of them being refused in future.” – Daily Mail

Davidson to swap Glasgow for Edinburgh in next year’s Holyrood elections

DAVIDSON Ruth“Ruth Davidson is to swap Glasgow for Edinburgh when she stands as an MSP at next year’s Holyrood elections, it will be announced. … The leader of the Scottish Conservatives, who currently represents Glasgow, said she intended to go through the same process as other prospective candidates seeking to contest a seat in the capital by adding her name to the Lothians list. … Ms Davidson, 36, moved to Edinburgh in February to direct the Scottish Tories’ general election campaign and has now decided to remain in the city, where she was born and attended university.” – The Independent

Heath investigation set to go nationwide

“A national police investigation into child abuse allegations against Sir Edward Heath is to be launched within days. … Forces in Wiltshire, London, Kent, Jersey and Hampshire are already looking into abuse allegations linked to Sir Edward – and others, such as the Police Service of Northern Ireland, are expected to examine claims against the Tory politician, who died aged 89 in 2005.” – Daily Mail

  • “A brothel owner who allegedly threatened to expose former Conservative Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath as a child sex abuser has denied the claims, and said she was unaware of any wrongdoing by the late politician.” – The Independent
  • “The barrister who aborted the criminal case at the centre of the Edward Heath child abuse cover-up claim said last night that his decision had nothing to do with the former prime minister.” – The Times (£)
  • “Cops are investigating links between ex-PM Ted Heath and a notorious paedo pal of Jimmy Savile dubbed King Cornet.” – The Sun (£)

And comment:

  • “When historic claims are made, they need to be subjected to a serious test before they are publicised in any way — not least by asking: did the alleged victim make any complaint at the time and if not, why not?” – Spectator editorial
  • “I’ve rarely written a word in favour of Edward Heath, but I don’t believe these accusations.” – Charles Moore, The Spectator
  • “Who would have thought that about Ted Heath? Well…” – Rod Liddle, The Spectator
  • “How easy it is to convict the dead and defenceless.” – Simon Jenkins, The Guardian
  • “The Edward Heath witch hunt is the stuff of Hitler’s dreams.” – Dan Hodges, Daily Telegraph

Corbyn: I’d do a deal with the SNP

LABOUR dead rose“Jeremy Corbyn has said he would do a deal with the SNP if it propelled Labour into power. … The party leadership frontrunner revealed he would back a ‘supply arrangement’ with the Scottish Nationalists if Labour could form a minority government. … Before the May election, Ed Miliband pledged there would be ‘no deal, no pact, no coalition’ with the SNP, after Tories highlighted the dangers of the Nationalists propping up Labour. … But Mr Corbyn said he would not repeat that vow ahead of the 2020 election.” – Daily Mail

  • “A plan to extend the ‘right to buy’ to tenants in privately rented accommodation is among the policies being put forward by Labour leadership candidate Jeremy Corbyn that would shake up property rights in the UK.” – Financial Times
  • “Jeremy Corbyn has signalled that he could fight the 2020 election, as his campaign gathers momentum.” – The Times (£)

And comment:

  • “The kind of state socialism at the heart of Jeremy Corbyn’s beliefs has had catastrophic consequences worldwide.” – David Aaronovitch, The Times (£)
  • “Win or lose, Jeremy Corbyn has already changed the rules of the game.” – Seumas Milne, The Guardian
  • “If the Labour party were seeing a relationship counsellor, it would be told it’s all over.” – Suzanne Moore, The Guardian
  • “Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters should get off Twitter and read a book instead.” – Allister Heath, Daily Telegraph
  • “How Jeremy Corbyn could destroy the Tories (yes, really).” – Matthew Parris, The Spectator

> Yesterday: LeftWatch – Cruddas’ prescription for Labour is pure Osbornomics

Burnham vows to put a stop to academies

“Andy Burnham has said he would ban new free schools and academies, as the Labour leadership contender looks to burnish his radical left-wing credentials. The shadow health secretary included the pledge in his personal manifesto, which he released on Wednesday, in an attempt to recapture momentum in the race. … The MP for Leigh has moved to the left in the past few weeks as he looks to nullify the threat from the staunchly socialist MP Jeremy Corbyn, whose support has taken the party by surprise.” – Financial Times

  • “Burnham announced on Wednesday that he would renationalise the railways ‘line by line’ if he becomes prime minister, as he promised to end the ‘fragmentation and privatisation’ of the rail system.” – The Guardian

Labour’s Hunt vs smartphones

Phone“Children are failing to learn to speak properly because parents are too busy on smartphones to talk to them, it was claimed last night. … Mums and dads would rather check Instagram than teach their kids nursery rhymes, said Shadow Education Secretary Tristram Hunt. … He insisted: ‘This isn’t a question of money. Every parent can afford to talk to their child. … It is a question of culture and understanding.’” – The Sun (£)

  • “Smartphones have overtaken laptops as the UK’s preferred device for accessing the internet, according to an Ofcom survey, highlighting the need for businesses to adapt their strategies for mobiles.” – Financial Times
  • “Selfie mania appears to be here for good after new figures revealed that vain Britons have taken around 1.2billion photographs of their own faces in the last year alone.” – Daily Mail

More students taking maths and sciences

“More pupils are choosing maths and sciences this year after a government drive to encourage them to study ‘tougher’ subjects. … Exams regulator Ofqual said more teenagers are taking biology, chemistry, physics and computer science at both A-level and GCSE, with a higher proportion also taking further maths. … The watchdog said so-called ‘Mickey Mouse’ subjects appeared to be in decline, with entries for GCSE citizenship studies halving in just one year.” – Daily Mail

  • “The Government is being urged to press the body that handles university applications to release its full data on students from poor backgrounds in order to boost efforts to improve social mobility.” – The Independent
  • “The UK still comes second in terms of how many Nobel Laureates were won by researchers born in each country, behind only the US.” – The Independent
  • “Privately-educated graduates in top jobs blag their way to higher salaries because they are more assertive than their state school colleagues, a report has found.” – Daily Telegraph

And comment:

  • “The era of graduates from the university conveyor belt is over.” – Hamish McRae, The Independent

> Today: Daniel Stafford on Comment – In protecting our children from extremism, we mustn’t strangle free speech or faith in schools

UKIP’s Mayoral hopefuls line up

UKIP glass“The deputy chair of Ukip, Suzanne Evans, has announced that she will stand to be the party’s candidate for mayor of London. … Evans, who was responsible for the party’s election manifesto and served as its acting leader for four days in May when Nigel Farage reversed his decision to resign, made the announcement on the radio station LBC on Wednesday. … Evans joins Peter Whittle, Ukip’s culture spokesman, and Richard Hendron, its LGBT activist, in the race to be the party’s candidate for the mayoral elections, which will be held in May 2016.” – The Guardian

Choudary appears in court

“Hate preacher Anjem Choudary finally appeared in court yesterday, accused of inviting support for the banned terrorist group Islamic State on social media. … Choudary is the UK’s most outspoken and provocative Islamist preacher but has always insisted his activities remain on the right side of the law. … The decision to charge him marks a key moment for counter-terrorist detectives who have been keeping a close eye on his activities for many years.” – Daily Mail

The last Briton in Guantanamo Bay is denied a medical test

Prison bars“Britain’s last Guantanamo Bay detainee has been denied a medical examination by the US despite growing concerns his health is deteriorating rapidly. … In an extraordinary legal submission, the US Department of Justice said it would be ‘too difficult’ to allow independent doctors to assess Shaker Aamer. … They also again described the 48-year-old detainee as an ‘enemy combatant’ – a discredited term used by George W Bush’s administration to justify holding suspected terrorists in Guantanamo without trial – which Mr Aamer’s lawyer condemned as ‘Orwellian’.” – Daily Mail

  • “…to continue to imprison him without trial for 13 years is an insult to all the principles the US claims it holds dear.” – Daily Mail editorial

> Yesterday: ToryDiary – Over three quarters of Conservative Party members think we should bomb ISIS in Syria

Russia claims four diplomats are being “forced out” of London

“In an unusual public attack, the Russian Embassy in London accused the Home Office and Foreign Office of attempting to ‘wreck the international order’ and of violating the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations. … It claimed that by extending a number of long-serving diplomats’ visas by only three months, instead of what it said is a more normal one-to-two years, the Home Office had declared them ‘persona non-grata’ and obliged them to ‘pack up’.” – Daily Telegraph

  • “Books by the celebrated British historians Antony Beevor and Sir John Keegan are being removed from some Russian libraries after officials claimed the works were ‘infused with stereotypes of Nazi propaganda’.” – The Times (£)

Tim Montgomerie: We must wake up to this loneliness epidemic

MONTGOMERIE Tim offical“Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, has identified loneliness as potentially as big a problem for his department — and wider society — in the coming decades as obesity. While two thirds of over-65s in Singapore live with their children and 40 per cent of Chinese do, the number is only 16 per cent in Britain. That is a huge burden on taxpayers and a growing one. One million more Britons will be over 70 by 2020; a third will live alone.” – Tim Montgomerie, The Times (£)

Dominic Sandbrook pays tribute to Robert Conquest

“Not long after the collapse of Communism — an event he had long predicted — historian Robert Conquest was preparing a new edition of his masterpiece The Great Terror, which charted the horror of life under Soviet dictator Stalin. … When his publishers asked him for a new title, Conquest’s friend, the novelist Kingsley Amis, had the perfect answer. ‘How about I Told You So, You F****** Fools?’ he suggested. … Those words would make a fine epitaph for a man whose intellectual honesty and moral courage placed him among the greatest writers of the last century.” – Dominic Sandbrook, Daily Mail

> Today: Daniel Hannan MEP’s column – Robert Conquest: historian, victorious Cold Warrior, poet and lover of the limerick

News in brief

  • Aircraft wreckage is from missing Flight MH370 – Daily Mail
  • London’s City airport is up for sale – Financial Times
  • Japan commemorates the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima – Financial Times
  • BP invests a further £670 million in North Sea oil fields – The Times (£)
  • NICE refuses to fund ovarian cancer drug – Daily Telegraph
  • Prostitution should be legalised, says think-tank pamphlet – Daily Telegraph
  • Two more people charged in connection with Hatton Garden raid – The Guardian

And finally 1) Sam Cam’s Conservative charm

CAMERON Samantha Carla“Samantha Cameron has been crowned one of the most stylish women in the world by Vanity Fair. … The magazine put the Prime Minister’s wife at No 1, describing her fashionable look as ‘Conservative charm’. … Mrs Cameron was above singer Taylor Swift, who was listed as No 2, followed by Misty Copeland, a principal dancer of the American Ballet Theatre.” – Daily Mail

And finally 2) Loughton for Corbyn

“A former Tory minister has been caught trying to humiliate Labour by attempting to infiltrate their leadership contest. … Tim Loughton claimed he was trying to ‘blow the gaff’ on the party’s new membership rules after signing up as a ‘registered supporter’ for just £3. … In his application, which he sent from his Commons email account, he said he wanted to ‘vote for Jeremy Corbyn to consign the Labour Party to oblivion for a generation’.” – The Sun (£)

  • “More than 100 Green Party candidates have tried to join Labour in the latest evidence of entryism by people who want to vote for Jeremy Corbyn in the party’s leadership contest.” – The Independent

6 comments for: Newslinks for Thursday 6th August 2015

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