“Battleground” Britain facing “unparalleled natural crisis”

Snip20140213_2“Britain is in the grip of an ‘unparalleled natural crisis’, the Army officer in charge of the flood recovery effort declared on Wednesday. As hurricane-force winds gusting at more than 100mph lashed the country, forecasters warned that the weather will get worse this weekend as a month’s worth of rain falls in just 48 hours. The chaos now threatens to derail Britain’s economic recovery, Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank of England warned” – Daily Telegraph

  • It’s not that bad yet – David Aaronovitch, The Times (£)
  • We must keep a sense of proportion – Peter Oborne, Daily Telegraph
  • There were far worse storms in 1362 and 1953 – Stephen Moss, Guardian
  • 94,000 homes in Wales are without power – WalesOnline
  • Money no object? Pull the other one, Dave – Stephen Glover, Daily Mail
  • Lib Dem attacks “diabolical” Tories who question climate change – Daily Mail
  • Endangered mollusc halted dredging of Thames – Daily Mail

>Today: ToryDiary: Never again can money be no object

Parties unite to deny separate Scotland the pound

“The UK government will not agree to allow an independent Scotland to use the pound, Chancellor George Osborne is to say today in a major speech in Edinburgh. In a watershed for the referendum debate, Mr Osborne is set to be joined by his Labour shadow Ed Balls and Liberal Democrat Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, who will also say they are ruling out a sterling zone. That means that even after the 2015 General Election, whoever is in power is likely to block a formal currency union with an independent Scotland. The move is a blow to the Scottish Government” – Scotsman

  • Salmond no longer has the pound in his pocket – David Torrance, Guardian
  • There’s no independence in a currency union – Mark Wallace, City AM

> Yesterday: Mark Wallace – It turns out the SNP don’t know what “independence” really means

Kettle: Cameron will fight general election as the new Baldwin

Stanley Baldwin“The political mood in Britain today has a lot of similarities to the mood of the 1930s, a leading Conservative told me this week as he explained Tory thinking about the year to come. Just like in the 1930s, the country is still in shock from a major economic trauma, he said. Just like then, the Tory party needs to offer the thing that voters want more than anything else from a politician: reassurance after hard times. It therefore falls to David Cameron, this leading Tory explained, to be the 21st century’s man you can trust in a crisis. That’s why, he went on, Cameron will fight the 2015 general election as the new Stanley Baldwin” – Martin Kettle, Guardian

Ten years of struggle against the State Goliath

“The f**king TaxPayers’ Alliance celebrates its tenth anniversary this week. Formally there may be no F in the TPA’s title but across the public sector the campaigning organisation created by Matthew Elliott does transform normally placid civil servants and local government officers into expletive-spewing Mr Angrys. And that is the TPA’s great achievement. While its research is often highly populist — and sometimes unrealistic — it does what it says on the tin. It represents Britain’s taxpayers in a way they’ve never been championed before” – Tim Montgomery, The Times (£)

Plebgate: a new email

MITCHELL Andrew “Details of an encounter between Andrew Mitchell and Downing Street police officers on the night before the Plebgate incident can be disclosed today. A Metropolitan Police e-mail reveals that officers on Britain’s most closely guarded street had asked for advice on how to handle his repeated demands to be allowed to cycle through the main gates, in contravention of the security rules. Less than a day before his now infamous confrontation with officers, the e-mail said that the gates had been opened for Mr Mitchell when he allegedly insisted: ‘I am the Government Chief Whip and I will be leaving via these gates’” – The Times (£)

Carney drops jobs link with interest rates

“Interest rates are unlikely to rise before next year’s election, the Bank of England indicated on Wednesday, as it unveiled bullish economic forecasts that boost George Osborne’s claim that the economic recovery is on track. Ditching the previous guidance linking interest rates to unemployment, Mark Carney, the governor, said the central bank would no longer tie its future policy decisions to any particular economic indicator” – Financial Times

  • Affordability is biggest housing concern, poll finds – Guardian

The women of Westminster have had enough

Mary Macleod“Are the women of Whitehall and Westminster so hacked off with our degraded way of doing politics that they are finally going to force some revolutionary changes? I’ve never known so many senior women so dismayed by the one-upmanship games of male politicians. ‘How can we entice more women to stand for Parliament when we have this unprofessional image of a childish, old-fashioned boys’ club with hectoring and bullying that would never be tolerated in a boardroom or classroom?’ asks the Tory MP Mary Macleod, who is chairing an all-party inquiry into why so many women are quitting politics” – Sue Cameron, Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: ToryDiary – The Tory case for all-women shortlists

UKIP struggle to make headway against Labour in Wythenshawe and Sale

“For these reasons – the unpromising terrain, and their large organisational disadvantage – Ukip will be happy to come away a distant second in today’s by-election…We suspect Wythenshawe will deliver a disappointing outcome for Ukip, but the real fight for Northern hearts and minds is yet to come” – Daily Telegraph

  • UKIP facing humiliation in by-election – Sun (£)

Boris: someone needs to restore Clooney’s marbles

BORIS open mouth“Boris Johnson has hit back at Hollywood star George Clooney for suggesting London should return the Elgin Marbles to Greece. The capital’s mayor was angered by Clooney calling for the 2,500-year-old sculptures to be returned to Athens while publicising his new film, Monuments Men, which tells how artworks stolen by the Nazis were rescued and returned to their owners. The Mayor said: ‘Someone urgently needs to restore George Clooney’s marbles. Here he is plugging a film about looted Nazi art without realising that Göring himself had plans to plunder the British Museum. And where were the Nazis going to send the Elgin marbles? To Athens! This Clooney is advocating nothing less than the Hitlerian agenda for London’s cultural treasures. He should stuff the Hollywood script and stick to history’” – Daily Telegraph

News in brief

  • Afghanistan frees 65 prisoners despite US objections – Guardian
  • Iran executes poet who wrote in Arabic – Independent
  • Belgium set to allow euthanasia for terminally ill children – The Times (£)
  • GPs warn of “crisis of confidence” in NHS database – Daily Telegraph
  • Jade Rabbit lunar rover alive after all, says China – Guardian

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