ISIS 1) British police foil terror plot

ISIS“Four men in their early 20s were arrested in West London yesterday, with one suspect Tasered by firearms police. … Officials swooped amid heightened fears that fanatics who have returned from Syria are planning a high-profile gun attack or a beheading. … It is understood to be the first plot in Britain that is directly linked to the IS terrorists responsible for the murders of British hostages Alan Henning and David Haines.” – Daily Mail

  • “The Sun can reveal one of the arrested men is Tarik Hassane, 21, – nicknamed ‘The Surgeon’.” – The Sun (£)

And comment:

  • “The Sun today calls on Britain to unite against the murderers of Islamic State. … Whatever your faith — or if you have none — you can help crush the greatest evil of modern times. …  If our campaign convinces one Muslim to turn away from joining the jihadis it will be worthwhile.” – Sun editorial (£)

ISIS 2) Cameron appeals to Moazzam Begg for information

CAMERON Marr Europe“David Cameron has appealed to former Guantanamo Bay detainee Moazzam Begg to share any information he has about the Islamic State militants behind the capture of Western hostages. … Mr Begg has claimed he offered to help the Government secure the release of British hostage Alan Henning from Islamic State (ISIS) extremists but was prevented from issuing a direct appeal. … He also said he believed he knew those who held the murdered aid worker and had helped secure the release of hostages from extremists in Syria in the past.” – Daily Mail

  • “A California Congressman claimed Tuesday that the Islamist terror group occupying the White House’s attention in the Middle East is quietly slipping into the United States through its porous southern border – and that American border patrol agents have already captured ten of its soldiers.” – Daily Mail

ISIS 3) Group set to capture town one mile from Turkish border

Turkey flag“ISIS seems set to take over another town in Syria, this time Kobane, less than a mile from the Turkish border. … Turkey’s president Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday Kobane was ‘about to fall’ as Islamic State fighters pressed home a three-week assault that has cost a reported 400 lives and forced thousands to flee their homes. … U.S.-led air strikes have so far failed to prevent the terrorist group’s advance on the town.” – Daily Mail

  • “At least nine people have died in clashes between protesters and police in Turkey as demonstrations against ISIS’s advance on a town on the Syrian-Turkish border turned violent.” – Daily Mail

And comment:

  • “Time for Turkey to stop sitting on its hands in the face of Isis threat.” – Independent editorial
  • “Turkey must stop prevaricating over Isis” – Financial Times editorial
  • “Whatever the exigencies, the west must resist the temptation to turn Damascus into a partner.” – Guardian editorial
  • “Kurds need help from the West and Turkey to hold off Islamic State.” – Daily Telegraph editorial
  • “With our help, the Kurds can win this fight against Islamic State.” – Nadhim Zahawi, Daily Telegraph

100 British Army medics head for Sierra Leone

Army“More than 100 British Army medics will be sent fight Ebola in Sierra Leone, it has been announced. … Personnel from the 22 Field Hospital have been undergoing an extensive training exercise in preparation for their deployment to West Africa. … The medics will staff a field hospital established specifically to treat other doctors, nurses and health workers who have caught the disease.” – Daily Mail

  • “David Cameron is to chair a Cobra meeting on how well Britain is prepared for an Ebola outbreak.” – The Sun (£)
  • “Home Office Minister Norman Baker said Britain should consider introducing an Ebola screening programme for visitors arriving at UK airports as four major hospitals were put on standby in case the virus reaches the country.” – Daily Mail
  • “Spanish health authorities were monitoring more than 50 people for signs of ebola last night after a nurse in Madrid became the first person to become infected on European soil.” – The Times (£)
  • “Campaigners are taking legal action against the Ministry of Defence today to demand the nation’s youngest soldiers are not forced into serving longer than adult recruits.” – The Independent

The Prime Minister urges Yes voters to accept the result of the Scottish referendum

Scottish flag“David Cameron has issued a rebuke to Nicola Sturgeon by calling on the nationalists to honour their pre-referendum pledge that the vote would settle the independence debate for at least a generation. … The Prime Minister said the September 18 vote had produced a ‘very clear result’ in favour of the Union and quoted Alex Salmond as stating the referendum would possibly decide the issue for a lifetime. … Rather than attempt to rerun the separation debate, he told BBC Scotland that politicians should now be focused on delivering the extra powers promised by the UK parties and disclosed the Government will publish proposals over the next few days.” – Daily Telegraph

  • “The Scottish Labour leader will today make a dramatic plea to Nicola Sturgeon to put aside their differences over the NHS and agree to an expert review aimed at solving a funding crisis that threatens its future.” – Daily Telegraph

> Today:

Lord Hill claims that Britain will remain in Europe

“David Cameron’s ‘right-hand man’ in Brussels has provoked fury by insisting Britain will definitely remain in the EU after the promised referendum in 2017. … Lord Hill suggested that the result of the vote was a foregone conclusion. … Ukip claimed the Tory peer had ‘let the cat out of the bag’, saying the comments proved that the Prime Minister’s real plan was to keep us in the EU no matter what.” – Daily Mail

  • “Lord Hill of Oareford was set to win confirmation as the EU’s new financial regulator after surviving his second grilling by sceptical MEPs.” – The Times (£)

Britain is growing strong, says the IMF – but the eurozone could still upset everything

growth flag“The International Monetary Fund said the UK economy will expand by 3.2 per cent this year, outstripping the rest of the G7 including the United States, Germany and France. … Growth in Britain is set to be more than twice as fast as in Germany and eight times stronger than in France while Italy is heading for another year of decline. The report warned that the eurozone poses a major threat to the global economy.” – Daily Mail

  • “The eurozone is heading to recession; it needs easy money and structural reform.” – Times editorial (£)
  • “The eurozone seems to be waiting for the Godot of global demand to float it off into debt sustainability.” – Martin Wolf, Financial Times

The state pension bill will quadruple over the next 40 years, predicts DWP

“Britain’s state pension bill is set to quadruple by the mid-2060s, official figures show. … Predictions by the Department for Work and Pensions say the bill will double from £98billion this year to £179billion in 20 years – and quadruple to £420billion by 2063-64. … The cost will equate to 7.7 per cent of Britain’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 50 years, compared with 5.8 per cent today.” – Daily Mail

  • “Debt among over-55s has increased by almost 20 per cent in the past year as Britons return to a culture of high spending, a report warns.” – Daily Mail

May celebrates women in work

MAY Warhol“The Home Secretary said that women should celebrate the ‘different approach’ they take to male colleagues in the professional world. … Speaking at the launch of a new female mentoring scheme in London, today, she said: ‘It’s important to recognise that women may approach work in a different way to men. But that’s equally as valid an approach as men bring to a role. And it can achieve just as good results. That’s something we’re still tackling in politics.'” – Daily Telegraph

McLoughlin lowers the speed limit to protect the environment

“The transport secretary has approved a lower speed limit of 60mph for a new dual carriageway in an effort to reduce air pollution. … It is the first time a reduced limit has been imposed to protect people from air pollutants, rather than to improve road safety, and comes despite a pledge by the government to maintain the 70mph limit. … The Department for Transport claims that the speed limit on the new five-mile section of the A556 in Cheshire, between the M6 and Manchester, will be raised by the early 2020s to 70mph because, by then, vehicles will produce fewer pollutants.” – The Times (£)

Bercow continues to lose friends and alienate Tory backbenchers

“John Bercow’s spokeswoman launched a blistering attack on the Tories yesterday, throwing the conventional impartiality of the Speaker’s office into jeopardy and sparking further tensions with Conservative MPs. … Justine McGuinness, a Liberal Democrat activist who was appointed as Mr Bercow’s official spokesperson last year, claimed the Tories ‘will aim to buy the election’ with donations from their ‘hot money hedge fund friends’.” – The Times (£)

Lib Dem conference 1) Clegg wants more tax cuts for the low-paid…

Clegg Hands“Millions more middle-class taxpayers should be dragged into the 40p rate and hit with capital gains tax rises to help pay for tax breaks for the lower paid, Nick Clegg will say today. … The Deputy Prime Minister will oppose Conservative plans to offer relief for the millions sucked into the higher rate of income tax. … He will insist increases in the personal allowance and national insurance breaks must take priority over any increase in the threshold for the 40p rate, paid on income over £41,865.” – Daily Mail

  • “Mr Clegg wants to fund an across-the-board tax cut for 29m people by raising the capital gains tax rate for higher earners from 28 per cent to about 35 per cent.” – Financial Times
  • “The analysis, backed by Treasury sources, suggests that a family in a £2 million house would leave their loved ones with a tax bill of more than £300,000 if they deferred mansion tax payments for 20 years.” – Daily Mail

And comment:

  • “Lib Dems hit back after Tories outflank them on personal tax allowance.” – Andrew Grice, The Independent
  • “As outsiders the Lib Dems promised a new politics. They couldn’t deliver and now Ukip is occupying their old territory.” – Daniel Finkelstein, The Times (£)

> Yesterday:

Lib Dem conference 2) …. better mental health care…

“From April, patients who need counselling will be guaranteed it within a time limit of 18 weeks, the same as for surgical procedures, he will announce. … The Deputy Prime Minister said the Coalition policy was a crucial step to ensure mental health problems were treated as seriously as physical ones. … Another £120million will be put into improving treatment provision on the health service in England, for which there are no currently time limits.” – Daily Mail

  • “Former Boxing champion Frank Bruno today made an emotional plea for better mental health treatment after revealing he had been sectioned twice in the last 18 months.” – Daily Mail

Lib Dem conference 3) …and an apology from Cameron

Curse of Clegg 2“David Cameron should apologise for failing to cut immigration, Nick Clegg suggested tonight in an escalation of the coalition row over control of Britain’s borders. … Mr Clegg hit back at his critics who accuse him of breaking promises to stay in power, pointing to the Tories’ missed target to reduce net migration to the ‘tens of thousands’. … But the Lib Dems have used their party conference in Glasgow to call for more open immigration, insisting migrants from both inside and outside the EU have brought ‘tangible benefits’ to the UK.” – Daily Mail

  • “Nick Clegg has warned Lib Dem activists not to repeat his mistake over tuition fees after they rejected his plan to allow a new runway at Gatwick Airport.” – The Sun (£)
  • “Nick Clegg has sensationally claimed he was the new Tony Blair.” – The Sun (£)

Lib Dem conference 4) Alexander reveals the Government’s emergency plans for housing

House icon“Ministers are drawing up emergency plans to build and sell on 300,000 houses a year themselves, Treasury boss Danny Alexander has revealed. … The dramatic action is designed to lay down the gauntlet to developers in a bid to solve Britain’s homes crisis. … The Treasury Chief Secretary revealed he has ordered officials to study how the government could commission and pay for major private developments if firms don’t step up.” – The Sun (£)

  • “Businesses in the UK are losing out to housing developers, as a result of a change in government planning policy, according to local councils.” – Financial Times

Lib Dem conference 5) Davey scoffs at Labour’s record on energy prices

“Super-fast energy switching will begin next month – weeks earlier than planned by energy secretary Ed Davey. … Speaking yesterday Mr Davey challenged smaller energy suppliers to take 30 per cent of Britain’s gas and electricity market by 2020. … And yesterday Mr Davey mocked Labour leader Ed Miliband by insisting the Lib Dems had achieved far more to bring down bills than he ever had done in the last Government.” – The Sun (£)

Lib Dem conference 6) Cable attacks those who attack wind farms

“Rural communities who oppose wind farms because of the way they look are ‘irrational’, Vince Cable said yesterday. … Turbines are no different to the electricity pylons that already dominate the skyline, said the Business Secretary. … He also claimed the Tories – who have proposed caps on onshore wind farms from 2020 if they win the election – have a ‘phobia’ about the green energy source. ‘We have a problem and it’s a political problem,’ he told a fringe event yesterday.” – Daily Mail

Lib Dem conference 7) Farron’s leadership push

CLEGG Bird“The sheer rudeness – self-absorption – of Mr Farron’s claim was magnificent. His speech might as well have been dubbed ‘pre-leadership election broadcast’. … Chippy, chirpy chap, Farron. All mouth. I mean it. He does have an unusually big mouth. It is a gift to cartoonists, as is his little blond quiff which had yesterday been damped down and made to lie flat. It was more obedient than its master.” – Quentin Letts, Daily Mail

  • “Potential candidates for an eventual Lib Dem leadership contest are beginning to split into two camps, according to senior MPs: a campaign for party president Tim Farron to succeed Mr Clegg and a ‘stop Farron’ campaign.” – Financial Times

Other Lib Dem-related news:

  • “Killjoy Lib Dems have slammed football clubs – for wanting to win. … Activists overwhelmingly backed a motion that attacked the ‘win-at-all-costs mentality’ in the game, claiming it was driving clubs to the wall.” – The Sun (£)
  • “The Lib Dems are relying on private security for their Glasgow conference – after a row over an unpaid £800,000 police bill.” – The Sun (£)
  • “Shamed ex-Lib Dem MP Chris Huhne is to appeal against paying a £77,750 legal bill over his speeding points court case.” – The Sun (£)

And comment:

  • “Liberalism has triumphed, but under Clegg the Lib Dems cannot capitalise.” – Rafael Behr, The Guardian

With Labour discontent rising, Miliband defends his own position

MILIBAND party broadcast“Ed Miliband was last night forced to publicly deny that Labour’s chances of winning the general election would be boosted if he was replaced by Alan Johnson. … The Labour leader, who is facing a revolt over his ‘complacent’ strategy for winning power, dismissed suggestions that health spokesman Andy Burnham was also plotting to succeed him. … Asked if Labour’s chances of success would be improved if he went, an irritated Mr Miliband answered: ‘I don’t. I think that I’m the right person to be doing this job.” – Daily Mail

  • “Ed Miliband is under pressure to make a strong attempt to deliver a Labour victory in the Rochester byelection, with party activists venting their frustration at what they regard as defeatist signals coming from party headquarters.” – The Guardian

And comment:

  • “Nobody would be sorrier to see him go than the increasingly assured David Cameron.” – Daily Mail editorial
  • “OK, Ed Miliband – it’s time you got your act together. Here’s how you can do it.” – Rose Millard, The Independent
  • “The death of the Left in British politics cannot be ruled out.” – Mary Riddell, Daily Telegraph

Lord Falconer criticises the police for spying on journalists

“A former Lord Chancellor has criticised police for ‘inappropriately’ misusing controversial anti-terror powers to spy on journalists. … Lord Falconer lashed out at police chiefs who defended the dubious practice of using snooping legislation to identify reporters’ sources. … He clashed with Andy Trotter, ex-chief constable of British Transport Police, who insisted there were ‘higher concerns’ than protecting whistleblowers who spoke to the media.” – Daily Mail

  • “Boris Johnson has said that it is reasonable for police to use surveillance laws to snoop on journalists if they are investigating serious crimes.” – The Times (£)

And comment:

  • “Laws designed to protect the public from serious threats should not be deployed to identify journalistic sources and whistleblowers.” – Times editorial (£)
  • “Dangerous new crimes are emerging with technology, but we can prevent them” – Norman Baker, The Independent

> Yesterday: ToryDiary – The newspapers discover freedom and the risks of snooping powers, at last

UKIP’s bloke-ish image may be putting off women, admits Farage – as he poses on a tank…

Farage Nigel Eating Cakes“It was probably not the best moment for Nigel Farage to discuss Ukip’s problem attracting the female vote. … Posing on a tank after downing three pints of beer yesterday, he admitted his party’s ‘blokeish’ image may put women off. … Digging himself deeper into a hole, he asked: ‘What do you want me to do? Go sell flowers?’ … The Ukip leader was campaigning in Heywood and Middleton ahead of tomorrow’s by-election. His party’s candidate in the Labour stronghold near Manchester is attracting only half as many votes from women as from men.” – Daily Mail

  • “Ed Miliband will be out of a job by Christmas if Ukip win a crunch by-election, Nigel Farage has claimed.” – The Sun (£)
  • “Boris Johnson today promised to fight UKIP ‘on the beaches of Clacton’ in the bitter fight to stop the Eurosceptic party securing its first seat in the Commons. … But the London Mayor does not seem to have gone to the trouble of learning the name of the Tory candidate – former sitcom actor Giles Watling – who has been tasked with stopping the UKIP bandwagon in its tracks.” – Daily Mail
  • “Immigration is ‘not an issue in terms of numbers’ in Clacton, according to Labour’s candidate for the by-election in the Essex seat.” – The Times (£)

And comment:

  • “From Clacton to Strood, only Ukip seems to speak to voters who feel abandoned, patronised and ignored.” – John Harris, The Guardian
  • “Nigel Farage is seriously tanked up and gunning for Labour.” – John Crace, The Guardian
  • ” I’m not convinced that Ukip supporters want to see prime minister Farage; their vote is like Mersea declaring independence, a one-day act of rebellion without much thought of the day after.” – Patrick Kidd, The Times (£)

> Today: ToryDiary – The Conservatives have a good chance of winning Rochester and Strood

> Yesterday: WATCH – Clacton candidate Giles Watling makes his by-election pitch

…and settles in for another four years as his party’s leader

“Nigel Farage will be leader of the UK Independence Party for another four years, it has emerged. … Mr Farage’s new term in office means that he is likely to be Ukip leader if there is an in/out referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union. … It also means that his leadership has been secured ahead of the Clacton and Rochester and Strood by-elections, which could see either Douglas Carswell or Mark Reckless elected as the party’s first MPs.” – Daily Telegraph

The NHS starts up its health database

NHS“Health officials are to go ahead with a controversial plan to harvest the personal data of millions of NHS patients despite widespread concerns. … A pilot scheme involving 265 GP surgeries and 1.7million patients will see confidential medical information put on a giant computer database, it emerged last night. … The data, which includes childhood illnesses as well as recent conditions, will be uploaded unless a patient specifically opts out.” – Daily Mail

  • “A taxpayer-funded free-at-the-point-of-use NHS will be ‘more important than ever’ in the future as genetic medicine transforms our understanding of people’s disease risk, England’s top doctor has said.” – The Independent
  • “Seething unrest over pay threatens to undermine David Cameron’s bid to present the Tories as defenders of the NHS, an exclusive Guardian survey of heathcare professionals has found.” – The Guardian
  • “Grabbing a muffin and a coffee on the way to work is one reason why Britain is becoming a nation of muffin-tops, contributing to rising obesity rates that are threatening to overwhelm the National Heath Service.” – Financial Times
  • “Increasing numbers of doctors are deserting the NHS for a better life in Australia and New Zealand, figures reveal.” – Daily Mail

And comment:

  • “Until they address the true scale of the healthcare funding challenge, none of Britain’s political parties can claim to have a convincing fiscal plan for the next parliamentary term.” – Financial Times editorial
  • “Our next Prime Minister will be decided in the wards of the NHS.” – Oliver Wright, The Independent

London Underground to go on 2-day strike

On strike“London Underground workers will go on strike for 48 hours next week, adding their weight to a wave of simultaneous industrial action across England. … In the latest stage of a months-long battle about ticket office closures, the RMT union said its members had been told not to book shifts between 9pm next Tuesday and 9pm on Thursday.” – Financial Times

  • “Employees at the Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA) will walk out from the union’s offices in London, Bristol, Derby, Glasgow, Manchester and York on Wednesday.” – The Guardian

Oxford’s vice-chancellor stands up for the pursuit of knowledge

“Oxford University must ‘reserve the right to investigate subjects of no practical use whatsoever’ to aid students’ pursuit of knowledge, its vice chancellor claimed yesterday. … Professor Andrew Hamilton defended learning for learning’s sake, arguing that intellectual curiosity can spark off a ‘hundred unexpected developments’. … He used his annual Oration to the university’s Congregation – the university’s legislative body – to insist that ‘learning with no apparent practical use’ sometimes ‘yields the greatest benefit’.” – Daily Mail

  • “Britain will need international talent if it is to maintain its academic lead.” – Financial Times editorial
  • “Visa curbs could make Nobel glory a thing of the past.” – Colin Blakemore, The Times (£)

Rate-rigging banker jailed – but we can’t know who he is

Banks Face 6 Billion Of Libor Litigation“A senior employee at a leading British bank could face up to ten years in prison after admitting conspiracy to defraud in connection with rigging interest rates. … The individual, whose identity is protected by a court order, yesterday became the first banker in the UK to plead guilty in court following the ‘Libor’ inter-bank lending scandal. … He is also the first senior worker at a British bank to be convicted of criminal wrongdoing since the financial crash of 2008.” – Daily Mail

  • “Two board members at HSBC’s UK unit are preparing to quit as part of a growing pushback against stiff new rules that would jail reckless bankers.” – Financial Times

And comment:

  • “Our bullying corporations are the new enemy within.” – George Monbiot, The Guardian

News in brief

  • Syria admits it has four more chemical weapons plants – Daily Telegraph
  • North Korea admits using labour camps – The Guardian
  • Morocco releases British tourist jailed for “homosexual acts” – The Guardian
  • Commons aide to testify in trial of murder suspect – The Sun (£)
  • Morrissey indicates that he’s suffering from cancer – The Independent
  • Jennifer Lawrence: The nude photograph leaks are a “sex crime” – The Independent
  • Putin celebrates his 62nd birthday in the Siberian wilderness – Daily Mail
  • Is Harry Potter set to return? – Daily Mail

And finally 1) Geek hands

Ed Miliband stare“Labour leader Ed Miliband has the hands of a geek while Prime Minister David Cameron’s pursed lips are tell-tale signs of anxiety, according to a body language study. … Harry Witchel, discipline leader in physiology at Brighton and Sussex Medical School, examined the two leaders’ movements and gestures during their keynote speeches at this year’s Labour and Conservative party conferences.” – Daily Telegraph

And finally 2) A selfie too far?

“A Labour MP’s wife, who has posted numerous ‘cleavage selfies’ on Twitter, was criticised yesterday by two television chat show hosts who labelled her a bad role model to sex abuse victims. … Mrs Danczuk, who has posted more than 50 selfies in recent months, received dozens of supportive messages on Twitter and treated her near 22,000 followers to a picture of her pouting in a low-cut vest last night.” – The Times (£)

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