Bishops warn politicians of democratic failings

guardiandemocracy“The Church of England has launched a strongly worded attack on Britain’s political culture, criticising politicians of all parties for offering only “sterile arguments” that are likely to make voters more apathetic and cynical in the runup to the general election. In an unprecedented intervention, the church’s bishops have published a joint open letter warning that “our democracy is failing” and attacking the “growing appetite to exploit grievances” and “find scapegoats” in society. They call for “a fresh moral vision of the kind of country we want to be”.” – The Guardian

  • “David Cameron responded angrily yesterday to tacit criticism of the government’s welfare reforms, warning against the dangers of a system “that pays people to stay idle”. Bishops lamented the “stirring up of resentment” against claimants or implying that they were “undeserving, dependent and ought to be self-sufficient”.” – The Times(£)
  • Thatcherism is finished declares Church of England – Daily Telegraph
  • Church gives a pulpit to political prejudices – Leader Daily Telegraph
  • Neutral? God no: 52 pages of Tory bashing – Daily Mail
  • Holy biased – The Sun Says(£)
  • Full text of the letter from the House of Bishops – Church of England

Cameron has “no regrets” over removing Gaddafi

“Speaking in Hove yesterday, the Prime Minister defended his intervention. “Do I regret that Britain played our role in getting rid of Gaddafi and coming to the aid of that nation when Gaddafi was going to murder his own citizens in Benghazi? No I don’t…“Libya, Britain and the world are better off without Gaddafi, but we have to do as much as we can now with, I hope, a willing Libyan population and politicians to try and bring that national-unity government together – but it has been very hard work.” – The Independent

Inflation falls to lowest level since 1960

money“The long squeeze on family finances has finally been ‘reversed’ after inflation fell to its lowest rate for more than half a century, experts said last night. The cost of goods rose by 0.3 per cent over the past 12 months – the smallest increase since 1960…Low inflation was largely driven by the biggest annual fall in grocery and petrol prices on record. The cost of fuel plunged by 16 per cent, reflecting a global slide in oil prices, while food dropped by 2.8 per cent.” – Daily Mail

>Today: The Deep End: Deflation, negative interest rates and the wacky world of European monetary policy

Osborne urges Greece to agree bailout terms

“THE UK urged Greece to agree bailout terms with Europe — as it emerged safe deposit boxes there have all been snapped up. Chancellor George Osborne warned Greek PM Alexis Tsipras, who is haggling over his country’s £180billion debts: “What Britain really needs to see is competence, not chaos.” – The Sun(£)

Stay positive says May

MAY Theresa menacing“Conservative candidates should focus on running a “positive campaign” in the run-up to polling day, the home secretary has urged. Theresa May said that it was “right” to remind people about the implications of a Labour government, but displayed little enthusiasm for her party’s aggressive attack adverts against Ed Miliband. Speaking at an event for Tory women, she was asked whether candidates should run a positive campaign or follow “the national style . . . about what we might fear if we ended up with a Labour government”. She told the gathering: “I’m a great believer, as a candidate, in running a positive campaign.”- The Times(£)

Let grammar schools expand says Cameron

“Grammar schools should be allowed to expand and accept more children, David Cameron said yesterday. In marked contrast to previous statements, the Prime Minister said he strongly supported the right of ‘good’ schools – including grammars – to grow. His comments will be welcomed by Tory supporters who say new selective schools will help drive up standards and offer better social mobility to working and middle class children.” – Daily Mail

Charlotte Leslie decides to keep donation

LESLIE Charlotte red“Labour has criticised a Conservative MP for backtracking on her pledge to return a donation from a businessman whose company avoided tax. Charlotte Leslie said on Monday that she would hand back a £5,000 donation after The Times had brought to her attention the previous day that the company of Hugh Sloane was found to have operated a tax avoidance scheme. In 2012, Sloane Robinson, an investment management firm, was forced to repay Revenue and Customs £13 million after a tribunal ruled against a tax arrangement it had used since 2004. Ms Leslie decided late on Monday that the scale of Sloane Robinson’s tax avoidance was not big enough to warrant returning the money.” – The Times(£)

Council services facing “collapse” claims report

“Public services like adult social care could “collapse” unless councils get new funding powers, experts say. The Independent Commission on Local Government Finance said England’s local authorities need “urgent devolution of powers, funding and taxes”…The commission – made up of economists and business, finance and public service experts – was established by the Local Government Association (LGA) and the Chartered Institute for Public Finance and Accountancy (Cipfa), but is independent of both.” – BBC

Labour to outline animal welfare proposals

fox“Labour has pledged to fight animal cruelty by measures including a ban on wild animals in circuses and ending the “inhumane and ineffective” badger cull. The policies, unveiled ten years after the ban on hunting with dogs in England and Wales, include a vow to reduce cruelty on shooting estates. Labour also promised to defend the Hunting Act, saying the Conservatives might legalise hunting with dogs. The Tories are committed to a free vote on the issue in the next Parliament.” – BBC

  • Ten years on from the hunting ban has anything really changed? – Laurence Dodds Daily Telegraph

GPs could be paid bonus for prescribing fewer antibiotics

“GPs could win bonuses for prescribing fewer antibiotics. Health chiefs fear the drugs are being taken so freely they are losing their power to fight deadly infections. They claim that cash incentives will curb their use and help secure ‘the survival of the human race’. But campaigners say paying doctors could skew their clinical judgement. ‘They’ll be thinking, if I don’t give this patient an antibiotic, my income will go up,’ said Roger Goss of Patient Concern.” – Daily Mail

Former Chairman of Labour’s NEC backs UKIP…

UKIP logo“A former chairwoman of Labour’s ruling National Executive Committee says she has left the party to support UKIP at the general election. Harriet Yeo, a councillor in Ashford, Kent, said she wanted a referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU. But she said she would not become a UKIP member because she wanted to judge things from a voter’s perspective.” – BBC

  • Shadow cabinet wants an EU referendum claims Harriet Yeo- Daily Telegraph
  • Labour candidate: “We face existential threat from UKIP in the south.” – The Guardian
  • Bring on the EU referendum. Britain will vote to stay in – Peter Wilding Daily Telegraph

>Today: Columnist Daniel Hannan MEP: Cameron’s coming EU renegotiations will alter nothing

…as 1,600 complain about Channel 4’s UKIP: The First Hundred Days

“More than 1,600 people have complained to Ofcom over Channel 4’s ‘hatchet job’ docu-drama which imagined Ukip in power. UKIP: The First 100 Days has already become Britain’s second most complained-about one-off show of the past five years. The broadcaster was accused of anti-democratic ´fear-mongering´ for airing the drama, which painted a country divided by race riots, mass unemployment and a crashing economy. Channel 4 said it ordered the drama – which lampooned Ukip, its leaders and its supporters – as a way of engaging people in politics in the run-up to the May General Election.” – Daily Mail

  • Nothing scares UKIP and Nigel Farage so much as a mirror – Dan Hodges Daily Telegraph

Labour’s Mansion Tax “already outdated”

CPS logo“Labour’s mansion tax is already “outdated and unnecessary” as the government’s stamp duty reforms mean that the buyers of the 1.6 per cent most expensive properties shoulder the burden for almost half of all stamp duty. The Centre for Policy Studies said that 18,000 households pay 45 per cent of the stamp duty total due to recent reforms, increasing the tax burden on high value properties from £700 million in 2013 to £1.8 billion in 2015.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Miliband’s Business Rates cit would help HSBC – The Sun(£)

Candidate in vote rigging row seeking another Labour nomination

“A former Labour candidate who was caught up in the Falkirk vote-rigging row is considering standing again to become an MP. Karie Murphy, who is backed by the Unite union, quit as Labour’s candidate for the seat in 2013 after internal allegations that her union had tried to manipulate the party’s selection process in her favour. The row led Ed Miliband to overhaul the party’s links with unions. It has emerged that Ms Murphy is considering putting herself forward as Labour’s candidate in the marginal seat of Halifax.” – The Times(£)

Lib Dems attack Tory youth welfare plans

Lib Dem Bird Tory“David Cameron’s plan to make 18- to 21-year-olds work for their benefits is “cynical electioneering” as it would hit people hardest in the north and Midlands, where the Conservatives traditionally have little support, the Liberal Democrats have claimed. The party laid into its coalition partners over the proposals to make school leavers do community work or face losing state support, saying it showed the Conservatives were “choosing to be tough on the vulnerable and young, whilst being weak on the rich and powerful”.” – The Guardian

  • The young should be made to work for their benefits – Stephen Pollard Daily Express

Oborne resigns from Daily Telegraph as “a matter of conscience”

oborne“The chief political commentator of the Daily Telegraph has resigned from the paper, accusing it of a “form of fraud on its readers” for its coverage of HSBC and its Swiss tax-dodging scandal. Peter Oborne claimed the paper did not give due prominence to the HSBC story because of commercial interests… The Telegraph called Oborne’s statement an “astonishing and unfounded attack, full of inaccuracy and innuendo”. In a lengthy statement published on the OpenDemocracy website, Mr Oborne said he had already resigned from the paper “as a matter of conscience” because a number of its editorial decisions.” – BBC

>Today:ToryDiary: Oborne’s resignation. The firepower is spectacular. But is it well targeted?

News in brief

  • Home Office wins e-borders appeal – BBC
  • Scotland could become net energy importer – Daily Telegraph
  • Bristol Mayor who spent £2.3 million on 20 mph signs is caught speeding – The Times(£)
  • Scottish Conservatives survey finds football clubs back lifting alcohol ban – Daily Telegraph
  • Record high for house prices outside London – Daily Mail
  • Just seven per cent of FTSE 500 bosses back Labour – The Sun(£)
  • Anti semitism is Israel fault says Preston Council leader – The Times(£)

And finally…”Labour are a f****** waste of time” concludes former supporter Noel Gallagher

noelgall“Labour are a “f***ing waste of time”, David Cameron is “trying to be your mate” and Nigel Farage “couldn’t run a corner shop”. Noel Gallagher has delivered his scathing election verdict. Eighteen years after partying in No 10, the face of Cool Britannia prefers what sounds like the sort of grand coalition some pollsters suggest the election will deliver. “These days, my own view is that if they truly, truly wanted to f***ing better the lives of the people, surely they must all realise that a little bit of conservatism married with a little bit of socialism, married with a little bit of f***ing Ukip and a little bit of Green and a little bit of Lib Democrats would be kind of perfect,” the musician said in an interview with Quietus magazine.”- The Times(£)