Scotland 1) Brown to the rescue?

guardianbrown“Gordon Brown will spearhead Labour’s last-ditch campaign to save the union as a new poll confirmed that the yes and no camps are neck and neck before next week’s referendum on Scottish independence. The latest poll, by TNS, added to the mood of urgency and anxiety for Labour and the coalition government, disclosing that support for independence has jumped six points in a month, pushing the yes vote to 38%, a single point behind no at 39%.” – The Guardian

  • “The pace of campaigning is reaching a climax: Yes Scotland has booked 334 billboard sites in Scotland, distributing 4.9m campaign papers and leaflets to its campaigners, while Better Together, for the no campaign, has booked 200 advertising sites and is sending 4m leaflets to voters this week.” – The Guardian
  • “Mr Brown is leading the drive because he is still hugely popular among Labour voters north of the border. He said: “A ‘No’ vote on September 18 will not be an end point, but the starting gun for action on September 19 — when straight away we will kick off a plan to deliver the enhanced devolution we want.” – The Sun(£)
  • “Last night Labour leader Ed Miliband appeared to divide the trade union movement heaping praise on those which backed a No at a dinner with union leaders, many of whose organisations, including the TUC, the STUC and the UK’s largest trade union, Unite, remained neutral.” – The Herald
  • If Scotland votes to leave it will self-serving Labour’s fault – Dan Hodges Daily Telegraph
  • The Scots need to wake up – Iain Martin Daily Telegraph

Scotland 2) Pro-Union parties offer a timetable for more Scottish devolution

“The three main pro-Union parties are expected to announce their backing for more powers for Scotland later. It is understood the parties will support a timetable which was set out by former prime minister Gordon Brown. The announcement comes as a new poll showed the rival Scottish independence referendum campaigns tied on 41% each.” – BBC

  • Pound falls after referendum poll – BBC
  • Thousands of jobs threatened if Trident removed from Faslane – The Herald

Scotland 3) The Queen is urged to intervene

telegraphqueen“David Cameron is under growing pressure to ask the Queen to speak out in support of the Union as another opinion poll confirms a surge in support for Scottish independence…MPs from both parties urged him to consider asking the Queen to speak out, as she did in 1977 when Scotland and Wales were voting on devolved national assemblies. At the time, the Queen used one of her Silver Jubilee speeches to deliver a clear warning against breaking up the realm, saying she understood “aspirations” of devolved power but: “I cannot forget that I was crowned Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and of Northern Ireland. Perhaps this Jubilee is a time to remind ourselves of the benefits which union has conferred, at home and in our international dealings, on the inhabitants of all parts of the United Kingdom.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Independent Scotland “could join the EU within 18 months” – The Scotsman
  • A big look back before our big decision – Harry Reid The Herald
  • Uncertainty means firms have put recruitment on hold – The Scotsman
  • Let’s not go back to Canute – Tom Holland The Guardian

Scotland 4) Cameron would face call to quit

“David Cameron is “in a right hole” and in “serious trouble” with his party for risking the future of the Union by agreeing to a referendum on Scottish independence, senior Tory MPs are saying. The news came as it emerged that some MPs are canvassing support for Mr Cameron within the party to see whether they would call for the Prime Minister’s resignation in the wake of a Yes vote in the Scottish referendum on September 18.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Bad news for Cameron, bad news for Miliband – The Independent
  • A third of voters say Cameron should resign if Scotland goes independent – The Sun(£)


The Duchess of Cambridge is expecting her second child

“The Duchess of Cambridge rushed out an announcement that she is pregnant again after suffering the “same level” of morning sickness that left her hospitalised when she was expecting Prince George. The Duchess was forced to go public after deciding on Sunday that she was too ill to attend a planned engagement in Oxford on Monday. Kensington Palace released the news just 48 hours after the Queen and the Middleton family had been told.” – Daily Telegraph

Javid reviews TV licence fee enforcement

Javid Sajid“Ministers are to review how payment of the TV licence fee is enforced amid concerns about the number of people appearing in court for evasion. Culture Secretary Sajid Javid will say more than 10% of all cases heard by magistrates involve TV licences and question whether the system is working. The review should conclude early in the next Parliament, he will say.” – BBC

Britain could join airstrikes next month

“Britain could join US-led airstrikes against Islamic militants in Iraq next month, sources said last night. Military action against Islamic State (Isis) appears increasingly to be on the cards, but not “for a few weeks”, one Whitehall source said. David Cameron yesterday committed to a Commons vote before any airstrikes unless action was needed to “prevent an intermediate humanitarian catastrophe or indeed secure a really important unique British interest”.” – The Times(£)

  • “There is little point in having one of the bravest fighting forces in the world – or expensive equipment such as the new aircraft carrier – if our enemies know we will never deploy it.” – Leader Daily Telegraph

>Today:  John Baron MP on Comment: The West should not combat Islamic State in Syria

Nigel Evans reselected

Nigel-Evans_2859543b“MP Nigel Evans has been reselected to stand as the Conservative Party candidate for the Ribble Valley in next year’s general election. Mr Evans, 56, was chosen after a secret ballot during a meeting in Clitheroe, Lancashire, with members of the local Conservative Association. He resigned the party whip and sat as an independent MP as he fought a number of sexual offences, of which he was cleared. Mr Evans rejoined the party in April.” – BBC

Voters “don’t trust Conservatives on immigration”

“ONLY one in five Brits trusts the Tories to act on immigration, a amning report reveals today. Just 21 per cent feel the Conservatives will deliver stricter border controls, deemed necessary to tackle the migrant wave. This compares with 43 per cent who believe Nigel Farage’s Ukip would act successfully. The research comes in a report out today from consultants Kantar explaining the dramatic rise in Ukip’s popularity.” – The Sun(£)

Sam Gyimah interviewed in The Independent

samg“At the end of Sam Gyimah’s first year at Oxford University his finances were in a mess. His student grant was gone and the rent on his Oxford college room was due. He simply couldn’t afford to pay. Under the rules of Somerville College, the PPE student – who had arrived at Oxford from a state comprehensive – could have been asked to leave for not settling his debts. “I got approached by the bursar of the college asking what’s going on and I had to ‘fess up that I was actually having difficulties,” said Mr Gyimah, now 38 and childcare minister since David Cameron’s July reshuffle.” – The Independent

Lib Dems propose discount bus passes for the young…

LibDemDead“Young people aged 16-21 would get a 66% discount on bus travel in England under Lib Dem plans outlined by Nick Clegg. The scheme would be paid for by cutting the winter fuel allowance and free TV licences for better-off pensioners, the party’s “pre-manifesto” proposes. Mr Clegg told reporters: “We are telling you today that we are choosing to put the next generation front and centre of our plans.” The proposals are part of the Lib Dem pitch for next year’s general election.” – BBC

  • “The Deputy Prime Minister hailed what he called “a manifesto for the next generation”, saying: “We are putting an unapologetic focus on children and young people. For us, this is what governing is all about: giving every child their chance to shine.” He said the Lib Dem programme would be “more fiscally modest and financially smaller” than its manifesto at the 2010 election. “We’ve learnt our lesson from tuition fees – and we’ve learnt it the hard way. There will be no repeat of that mistake.” – The Independent

…and are “open minded” on high street cannabis shops

“The Liberal Democrats are ‘open minded’ about allowing licensed cannabis shops on British streets as part of a sweeping review of drugs laws. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said wanted an end to the ‘knee-jerk prejudice’ and desire to appear tough on drugs. The party’s pre-manifesto, which will form the basis of the policies the Lib Dems will fight the next election on, promises to end imprisonment for people found carrying a small amount of drugs for personal use.” – Daily Mail

Trade unions paid £108 million a year from the taxpayer

FIST Red“TRADE UNIONS are receiving a £100million a year “taxpayer subsidy” — at the same as slamming Ministers over pay inequality. New figures last night said trade union members employed by Government departments or councils spent 680,000 hours on trade union matters in 2012-2013. Taxpayers Alliance said this was the equivalent of £108million in pay. .. Jonathan Isaby, Taxpayers Alliance chief exec, said: “The Government must crack down on this scandalous subsidy. “It’s simply wrong that taxpayers continue to see their money used to pay thousands of trade union activists who organise strikes which disrupt the services that they rely on and pay for handsomely.” – The Sun(£)

  • Rich union bosses attacked for “Downton elite” hypocrisy – The Times(£)
  • “Live television coverage of a speech by Frances O’Grady, General Secretary of the TUC, was cut off minutes after she had warned of a return to a “Downton Abbey” society –  for a newsflash announcing that the Duchess of Cambridge is expecting her second child.” – The Independent

>Today: Local Government: Birmingham City Council is paying the salaries of 69 union officials

Carney to address the TUC on “real wages”

Mark Carney“Bank of England governor Mark Carney will set out his plans for “real wages” when he addresses the annual conference of the Trades Union Congress on Tuesday. Unions have complained that people’s incomes are not rising quickly enough despite the upturn in the economy. Mr Carney will discuss the role that fiscal policy can play in boosting the labour market.” – BBC

News in brief

  • London dominates recruitment – City AM
  • Labour call for Downing Street to have more power on hiring top civil servants – BBC
  • Nothing to fear from leaving EU say economists – Daily Telegraph
  • MPs raise new concerns over horsemeat – BBC
  • Labour plan a “Minister for Issues” – The Independent