Iraq 1) Britain prepared to join France in arming the Kurds.  Hi-tech equipment is top of the list.  Ammunition and weapons could follow

Cameron1“In a shift of UK policy, sources revealed the Government had also agreed to consider “positively” any direct request from the Kurds for military equipment. However, Downing Street said that the Prime Minister believed the humanitarian situation remained the priority. A spokesman said whether to deliver more aid to refugees on Mount Sinjar was now under review “given that there appear to be adequate supplies” there.” – Daily Express

Iraq 2) Greening.  We are still prepared to play our part in an evacuation

“We do know there are many people left on that mountain in desperate straits…‘The US has been clear overnight that although it is saying an evacuation approach is less likely, that is still an option that is on the table. The Prime Minister has been very clear that if an evacuation does take place, we will play our role in that. So that option is still there.” – Daily Mail

Iraq 3) Zahawi: “The Kurds have a heart for this battle”

Nadhim Zahawi portrait“Zahawi, a member of the Downing Street policy board who flew to Irbil on Thursday evening, said: “It is important that we have looked at this carefully and taken a position that effectively supports the Kurdish army in their battle, which will be a long-term battle, with the Islamic State. The Kurds have got the heart for this battle. The Kurdish president has made it very clear to western allies that he doesn’t need their boys and girls on the ground. He just said give us the weapons and the wherewithal and the air cover and they will take this fight to Isis.” – The Guardian


> Today:

> Yesterday: ToryDiary – The Lawrences of Iraq

Fraser Nelson: Why aren’t we offering asylum to Iraqi refugees?

NELSON Fraser“But this is about a different question: what kind of country are we? And if our asylum system is to mean anything, how could we refuse refuge to anyone threatened with death due to their religion – as much as their race or sexuality? Australia has just declared that it will take 4,000 Iraqi Christians as refugees; a figure Britain could easily match. Especially seeing as, for the past 10 years, we have been successfully absorbing 1,200 immigrants a day.” – Daily Telegraph

Other Comment:

  • Western intervention over Isis won’t prevent the break-up of Iraq – Lord Ashdown, The Guardian
  • How the West can end this jihadist carnage – Frederick Forsyth, Daily Express
  • Uncaged demons are tormenting the Middle East – David Gardner, Financial Times
  • Why aren’t British Muslims condemning the maniacs killing in the name of Islam? – Taj Hargey, Daily Mail

Russian armoured vehicles and military trucks cross border into Ukraine

“The Telegraph witnessed a column of vehicles including both armoured personal carriers and soft-skinned lorries crossing into Ukraine at an obscure border crossing near the Russian town of Donetsk shortly before 10pm local time. The Ukrainian and Western governments have long accused Russia of filtering arms and men across the border to fuel the separatist insurgency in Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions, but such an incident has never before been witnessed by Western journalists.” – Daily Telegraph

Eurozone recovery shudders to a halt: no growth in second quarter

Screen shot 2014-08-15 at 08.12.25“Gross domestic product was flat in the second quarter of 2014, compared with growth of 0.2 per cent in the previous three months, according to official figures released on Thursday. Inflation fell to a four-and-a-half-year low of 0.4 per cent in July. Dismal performances from Germany, France and Italy – the core of the single-currency region – were responsible for the stagnation, while parts of the periphery beat expectations.” – Financial Times

  • Bank committee member: ‘Interest rates are not going up in a hurry’ – Daily Mail
  • Treasury wrecks Clegg’s EU jobs claim – The Times (£)
  • Number of homes repossessed falls to lowest levels since 2006 – Daily Mail

Allister Heath: France is now the Eurozone’s weakest link

“Even in the diluted way in which it was eventually implemented, Mr Hollande’s punitive 75pc top rate of income tax was an act of economic suicide. It reminded successful folk that they were neither liked nor appreciated. As to global investors, they were left in no doubt that France is now virulently anti-capitalist and anti-business. The result: a negative supply-side shock, with companies refusing to hire and spend, and unemployment surging ever higher, especially among young people.” – Daily Telegraph

A-level results: A dip in grades shows Gove standards drive beginning to bite

GOVE, Michael blue sky“A record number of disadvantaged teenagers will be heading for university this year after an unprecedented expansion of places. With a dip in A-level grades yesterday, many leading universities lowered their entry requirements to accept applicants who had narrowly missed their targets. Experts predicted that the number of students accepted by universities this year would pass 500,000 for the first time.” – The Times (£)

More news:

  • University admissions poised to top 500,000 – Financial Times
  • Gap between sexes rises: boys still doing better – The Independent
  • Gove’s reforms won’t really kick in until next year – Toby Young, Daily Mail
  • Bet you’re biased against girls doing maths – Hannah Devlin, The Times (£)
  • Play with my children? No thanks, it’s far too boring – Sarah Vine, a.ka Mrs Michael Gove, Daily Mail


> Today: John Bald on Comment – For The Blob, research is dangerous

May mulls Butler-Sloss replacement

MAY Home Office“Mrs May is determined to avoid being rushed into announcing a successor to Lady Butler-Sloss because of the damage it would do to her and the government to make another error. She said last month that the Home Office “will not be hanging around” in finding a new chairman but acknowledged that the scrutiny given to Lady Butler-Sloss meant that any potential candidate “will want to think carefully about the nature of the role”.” – The Times (£)

The Independent taken to task over misleading Grayling headline by Chief Inspector of Prisons

“For the avoidance of doubt, the words of the headline “Grayling’s policy ‘responsible for prisoner suicides’ ” (12 August) are not words I used, and I would not make a personal remark about the Secretary of State in that way – Nick Hardwick, HM Chief Inspector of Prisons, London WC2” – Independent Letters

Rachel Johnson blocked lesbian affair claims

Screen shot 2014-08-15 at 08.15.03“Miss Johnson, a novelist and former editor of The Lady magazine, said she instructed lawyers to stop a tabloid newspaper printing a story that would have amounted to a “lesbian scandal”…Asked by The Chap if she had participated in lesbian activity she replied: “Shall we go in and get some tea? I can’t believe we’re talking about my late-onset lesbian activity so soon! You don’t much around, do you? Anyway, I love lesbians! For my next book I have to do lot of lesbian research! Tell you what, try anything once” – Daily Telegraph

Conservatives drawn level with Labour in Sun daily YouGov poll for the first time since May

“The poll for The Sun puts both parties on 35 per cent of the vote, with the Liberal Democrats on 8 per cent and Ukip on 12 per cent. This comes despite a difficult couple of weeks for David Cameron, losing Baroness Warsi from the foreign office over Gaza and Mark Simmonds announcing that he was standing down over insufficient expenses.” – The Times (£)

The Guardian: The wisdom of John Major

Major calls for windfall tax“Political elders can bring experience, wisdom, freedom and perspective to public debates. Former leaders such as Jimmy Carter in the US or Malcolm Fraser in Australia stand out for doing this very effectively. In Britain we are less good at it. Prime ministers tend to leave office defeated and diminished. Some accelerate that diminution by their later conduct. But a platform for those who manage the transition well should always be available. Tony Blair and Gordon Brown have struggled in different ways to play a role of this kind. Sir John shows it can be done and done well.” – Guardian Editorial

  • The Party should give its grassroots the chance to grow – Isabel Hardman, Daily Telegraph

> Yesterday: Columnist Graeme Archer:  The Conservative charioteer, and his dog

The Yes campaign’s latest woe: the Bank of England rounds on Swinney over his “false” claims about Scotland keeping the pound

“The Bank of England has rebuked John Swinney by suggesting the finance secretary falsely claimed the Scottish Government had discussed its plans to keep the pound with the financial institution.In a highly unusual move, the Bank issued a statement last night contradicting Mr Swinney’s claim that “technical discussions” on a currency union proposal had taken place. The Bank’s decision to clarify the situation comes amid continued attacks on the Scottish Government’s currency plans.” – Scotsman

> Yesterday: Columnist Brian Monteith – How Darling can win the next debate with Salmond

News in Brief

  • Miliband is leader we’d least like to go on holiday with – The Sun (£)
  • Paramilitary-style funeral parade for dissident – Newsletter
  • Sir Cliff Richard says sex abuse allegation ‘completely false’ – The Times (£)
  • Robin Williams had Parkinsons – The Independent
  • Football clubs cry foul over rules to cut wealth gap – Financial Times
  • Welsh councils have more than £700m “in reserve” – Wales Online
  • Royal News 1) How a Leicester retail park has become the Queen’s biggest ever property buy – Daily Telegraph
  • Royal News 2) Prince Harry flies Spitfire – The Sun (£)
  • Royal News 3) Prince Charles was right: Plants really can talk to each other – Daily Express

Screen shot 2014-08-15 at 06.09.03Plus: pictures of attractive girl A-level students jumping and down, waving pieces of paper and shrieking into mobiles – Everywhere

(Photo montage from General Boles)