DUNCAN SMITH AITW‘Relentlessly negative’ BBC is the greater foe to welfare reform than Labour, claims IDS

“Mr Duncan Smith claimed the corporation had run five negative stories this week alone about sickness and disability benefits, and ‘ignored’ a major announcement on an extension of his flagship new universal credit. ‘Who is the biggest opponent of welfare reform? Not a weak Labour Party, but the relentlessly negative BBC,’ he said. ‘This government is fixing the broken and bloated welfare system left behind by Labour – a system which trapped the very people it was designed to help into cycles of worklessness and welfare dependency.’” – Daily Mail

  • Huge shift to sickness benefit could breach government welfare cap – Daily Telegraph

Comprehensive schools still linked with ‘mediocrity and failure’, claims Ofsted chief

“Sir Michael Wilshaw, head of watchdog Ofsted, believes too many are still clinging on to poor teaching methods which are a “throwback to the 1960s and 1970s”, such as “informal learning”. He also attacked a lack of academic rigour, a neglect of basic literacy and numeracy and a resistance to exams and “meaningful” qualifications. Sir Michael warned that nearly one in five is not up to scratch and many others are in a “constant battle to avoid slipping backwards”.” – Daily Express

  • Don’t blame poor children for poor education – give them good schools – Deborah Orr, The Guardian
  • Schools have changed, but teacher training and provision for the poor remain problems – The Times editorial (£)

OSBORNE SWORDChancellor plans northern ‘super-city’ linking Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds and Sheffield

“The chancellor will announce plans to channel investment over many years into improving transport and science across a region made up of traditionally rival cities, but whose combined population of 9m is similar to that of the capital. Mr Osborne’s vision, to be set out in the coming weeks, is an attempt to build Conservative appeal outside the party’s southern heartlands and to show the Tories have plans for the north beyond building the HS2 high-speed rail line from London to Manchester and Leeds.”  – Financial Times

Javid seeks to introduce ‘national roaming’ to improve rural phone coverage

“Ministers are in talks with mobile phone operators about asking them to share mobile phone masts to increase coverage in rural areas. Sajid Javid, the Culture, Media and Sport secretary, wants mobile phone firms to introduce national roaming for users in the UK. The policy is being driven by changes in the European Union which will bring in free roaming from 2016. Unless action is taken this could mean foreign visitors will be able to come to the UK and benefit from free roaming – when people living in the UK cannot.” – Daily Telegraph

Matthew Paris: Have no doubt, we’re heading for EU exit

parrisBritain is heading for the exit. Something seriously impressive has to be achieved to change our course. David Cameron does not want us to leave; he did not anticipate the likelihood when he promised a referendum; he has still not reached that conclusion. But I have and I’ll tell you why. The warning was best expressed by Professor Vernon Bogdanor at an “In or Out” symposium I recently attended on the costs and benefits of exit. The constitutional expert’s words were chilling: “Don’t imagine that Mr Cameron can pull off Harold Wilson’s trick a second time.”” – The Times (£)

  • Solitude beckons for Cameron’s England – Gideon Rachman, Financial Times
  • Cameron pushes those who support Juncker to explain why – The Guardian
  • Prime Minister launches ‘last ditch’ bid to block Jean-Claude – The Sun (£)
  • Saga highlights misunderstanding of Berlin’s position – Financial Times

>Yesterday: James Davis on Comment – Tory Euroceptics are harming their own cause

Pickles to ban CCTV parking enforcement and end ‘plague’ of paring tickets by post

“Councils are to be banned from using CCTV cameras and “spy cars” to enforce parking restrictions in an effort to stop “over-zealous” enforcement, ministers will announce today. Drivers will be encouraged to appeal against more parking tickets, with the introduction of a 25 per cent discount for those who try to overturn a fine but fail. Ministers are trying to ease the policing of parking, as they believe it often makes driving to shops too difficult and forces people to go out of town or online. Hundreds of thousands of drivers are caught by cameras each year.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Drivers rejoice as “hated” stealth-fine camera cars are binned – Daily Express
  • While cracking down on local excesses, government quadruples speeding fine to £10,000 – The Sun editorial (£)
  • Now you’ll be able to park by a broken meter without paying, too – The Times (£)

>Yesterday: Local Government – Pickles denounces attempt to prevent parish councillors talking to the press

Fabricant sparks fury after claiming he’d punch Yasmin Alibhai-Brown ‘in the throat’

Fabricant Moustache“A Conservative MP has been forced to apologise after he said he would punch a female journalist in the throat and suggested she should be deported. Michael Fabricant, the former Tory vice chairman, wrote on Twitter that he could never have a debate with commentator Yasmin Alibhai-Brown as he would violently lose his temper. He tweeted: ‘I could never appear on a discussion prog with @y-alibhai I would either end up with a brain haemorrhage or by punching her in the throat.’”– Daily Mail

  • Sorry Michael, you’ve just proved why MPs don’t automatically become national treasures – Marina Hyde, The Guardian
  • Ruffley’s night in the cells after attacking then-girlfriend in Pimlico flat – Daily Mail
  • Fabricant wants to silence me – Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, The Independent

>Yesterday: Watch – That Fabricant/Alibhai-Brown rumpus

Both Tories and Labour risk decline if they don’t adapt to minority vote

“Labour and the Conservatives face structural decline unless they grasp the potential of the fast growing minority vote, according to an authoritative new analysis. A study of demographic patterns, polling data and statistics from the recent European elections indicates that the so-called superdiversity emerging in towns and cities will have a massive impact on future results.” – The Guardian

  • Conservatives to target over a third of LibDem seats – The Sun (£)

Miliband Odd and RedMiliband’s office engulfed by bullying row

“Anna Yearley, the Labour leader’s political secretary, was accused of bullying a more junior worker. Three sources with knowledge of the leader’s office allege that Ms Yearley treated Gemma Tumelty, the stakeholder relations manager, who joined last summer, poorly. Ms Tumelty, 33, a former president of the National Union of Students who was widely liked by other party figures, left about a month ago after the relationship with Ms Yearley deteriorated, sources said.” – The Times (£)

Miliband must go if Labour lose in 2015, claims frontbencher

“Ed Miliband is to be told by Labour frontbenchers that he will have to resign as leader if he loses the general election next year, as they move to prevent him following the example of Neil Kinnock by leading the party to two consecutive defeats. Amid increasing concern that the Labour leader is failing to connect with voters, MPs across the party are saying Labour would need a fresh start if Miliband were defeated. “Ed really cannot stay on if he loses – that really would not work,” one frontbencher said. “He has to go if we lose,” said another.” – The Guardian

  • The fatal fantasies of Loony Tunes Ed – Simon Heffer, Daily Mail
  • Labour continue to struggle with the ‘wrong brother’ – Macer Hall, Daily Express
  • Miliband fails to convince voters – Financial Times
  • Bercow bans film crews from Commons eateries to protect MPs fearful of pulling a Miliband – Daily Mail
  • Labour leader’s best and worst moments – Financial Times

Balls called to court over hit and run

BALLS Miliband pubShadow Chancellor Ed Balls was yesterday slapped with a court summons for allegedly hitting a car and driving off. The MP is said to have damaged the parked Peugeot 306 when he left Labour Party offices. Mr Balls, 47, claims he did not realise what had happened until he was contacted by cops. Prosecutors authorised West Yorkshire Police to summon him to court.” – The Sun (£)

Passport office ‘profiting from public’s hardship’, claims Vaz

“The Passport Office has been accused of “profiting from the public’s hardship” by charging a £13 surplus on applications as tens of thousands of people face delays. Keith Vaz, the chairman of the Commons home affairs committee, said officials should use the surplus to tackle the crisis disrupting holiday plans by employing more staff.” – Daily Telegraph

  • No passport? Holiday at home, says Tourism minister… from Brazil – Daily Express
  • May’s extended passports for expats rejected abroad – The Times (£)

Blunkett to stand down as MP in 2015

BLUNKETT David“Former home secretary David Blunkett is to stand down from Parliament at the next general election, he has announced. Mr Blunkett said it was clear that Ed Miliband would want “new faces in ministerial office and a clear break with the past” if Labour won next year’s election as he informed his Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough constituents of his decision.” – Independent

Charles Moore: How Tony Blair made bedfellows of Deirdre Spart and Colonel Blimp

“This assault on Mr Blair resembles what happens in dictatorships after a coup. The actions of the previous regime are treated as criminal. The ex-leaders are tried, maimed and shamed. That is not how a free country should behave. When Britain went to war in March 2003, it did so after extensive media and parliamentary debates which Mr Blair never shirked. The invasion was endorsed by votes in the House of Commons, supported by most of Labour and most Conservatives. Any legislator who later says he was hoodwinked into voting the way he did is only making himself look ridiculous.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Kidnapped by Nigerian fanatics: the haunting faces of Nigerian schoolgirl hostages the world has forgotten – Gordon Brown, Daily Mail
  • Will British jihadis turn their guns on us? – Philip Johnston, Daily Telegraph
  • Islam and the blame for today’s chaos – Max Hastings, Daily Mail

CLEGG BirdTeaching ‘British values’ in schools could upset moderate Muslims, claims Clegg

“Nick Clegg has expressed concern that the Government’s plans to promote “British values” in schools could alienate moderate Muslims. The Deputy Prime Minister has written to the Muslim Council of Britain in an attempt to reassure it about the move, which followed allegations that a “Muslim agenda” was being introduced in some schools in Birmingham.” – Independent

  • Gove lists ‘fundamental British values’ by which schools must abide – or face closure – Daily Mail

Lib Dem MPs urge Clegg to ditch holiday and spend ‘summer of pain’ doing ordinary jobs

“Nick Clegg is being urged by colleagues to forego his usual holiday in Spain and volunteer for a ‘summer of pain’ doing ordinary jobs outside Westminster. With the Liberal Democrats fearing wipeout at next year’s general election, and the Deputy Prime Minister’s personal ratings through the floor, senior party figures are drawing up a radical plan for him to reconnect with ‘real people’. It is based on former leader Paddy Ashdown’s decision in 1993 to spend several months outside the ‘Westminster bubble’, which was credited with boosting his popularity.” – Daily Mail

Radio 4’s documentary ‘Generation Right’ asks – why are young people so right-wing?

“The research shows that today’s young tend to want to spend less on welfare, favour reduced government spending and lower taxes. Not because they don’t care about those in need, but more probably because their attitudes include a suspicion of collectivism, a greater scepticism towards the state and more faith in themselves as individuals to get things done.” – Vicky Spratt, Daily Telegraph

News in Brief:

  • Since 2011 Hungary has granted citizenship to 550,000… solely on the basis that their ancestors once lived in the Austro-Hungarian Empire! – Daily Mail
  • Government climbdown on child protection – The Guardian
  • Transport minister Goodwill claims potholes are a sign of economic recovery – Daily Telegraph
  • HMRC hand-delivers £0.00 tax demand, then threatens recipient with court – Daily Express
  • Middle class parents push doctors to label their children mentally ill – The Times (£)
  • Major murder case collapses in new corruption disaster for Metropolitan Police – Independent
  • Father’s plea to Briton featured in ISIS recruitment video – The Guardian

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