May’s deal with France: British police to be sent to Calais

MAY Warhol“British police will be deployed to Calais to target trafficking gangs in a new ‘command and control’ centre with French officers and Border Force staff, it will be announced today. … Home Secretary Theresa May will sign an Anglo-French border agreement to deter migrants and root out people smugglers. … But her tough stance is being undermined by France’s vow to improve humanitarian support for the 5,000 people massed at Calais and hoping to sneak into Britain, by offering hundreds more beds.” – Daily Mail

  • “Berlin has said it expects to receive a record 800,000 asylum seekers this year, more than the entire EU combined in 2014, laying bare the scale of the biggest refugee crisis to face the continent since the second world war.” – Financial Times
  • “The Polish community in the UK will take action on Thursday to demonstrate just how much the UK relies on them: some Polish workers plan to down tools in a daylong strike, while others intend to donate their blood to the NHS.” – The Guardian

And comment:

  • “Billed as a breakthrough against illegal migration, the Great Calais Accord has all the makings of another French farce.” – Daily Mail editorial

Police commissioners to be given control over fire services

Police shield“Police and crime commissioners will be given the right to take control of local fire services under government plans to be announced next month. … They would replace fire authorities, which are set to be abolished as part of a radical restructuring of emergency services in England and Wales. … Members of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) warn that the move would effectively result in a takeover of the fire service by police, undermining the rescue service’s ‘neutrality’ in communities.” – The Times (£)

> Today: Adam Simmonds on Comment – Why we must reform Stop and Search

Osborne looks to boost the rural economy…

OSBORNE non-broken sword“The Chancellor will unveil a series of reforms aimed at boosting productivity and making it easier to live and work in rural areas. … The move comes as official data reveals a sharp increase in the number of people heading from cities to the countryside in search of a better life. … The Chancellor will launch a review of planning controls, which critics claim make it too easy for rural councils to block business expansions, stifling job creation. … He will renew the Government’s pledge to improve broadband speeds, following complaints that many people in rural areas struggle to get online.” – Daily Mail

  • “With our plan, the countryside can become Britain’s engine of growth.” – George Osborne and Liz Truss, Daily Telegraph

> Today:

…as Tyrie urges him to cut the bank tax…

“George Osborne is under growing pressure to reconsider a new tax on banks, amid warnings that it unfairly penalises building societies and ‘challenger’ banks and will stifle billions of pounds of lending. … Andrew Tyrie, the Conservative chair of the Treasury select committee, has urged the chancellor to ensure that the new 8 per cent surcharge on profits does not reduce competition and deter entrants. … Mr Tyrie told the FT that there was a danger of ‘unintended consequences’ from the charge.” – Financial Times

  • “Savers are taking advantage of new pension freedoms and cashing in their pension pots in droves, despite the tax charges, according to figures.” – Financial Times

…and care homes warn of the effect of a Living Wage

Pay“Care homes will be forced to close under because of Government plans to introduce a national living wage, five major providers have warned in letter to the Chancellor George Osborne. … Five of care home companies which in all run 1,200 properties across the UK wrote to Mr Osborne to warn that a major care home provider is likely to fail within the next 12 months to two years because of the changes. … The care home firms said the new national living wage will cost the sector an extra £1billion a year by 2020.” – Daily Telegraph

Tim Montgomerie: Capitalism’s most dangerous enemies are on the right

“Ensuring that the public retains faith in the capitalist system will depend upon at least two ingredients. The first is a belief that we’re all moving forward in some way or other. Not necessarily all at the same pace but at least in roughly the same direction. The second is that there aren’t some people enjoying a special protected status. There needs to be a belief that the poor can get richer and, often forgotten, that the rich can get poorer. … For all of the failures of the anti-capitalists, neither of those two conditions are being met adequately at the moment and that makes the system vulnerable.” – Tim Montgomerie, The Spectator

Cameron’s father-in-law: The new round of peerages will be controversial

Lords“The House of Lords is bursting at the seams. The numbers must come down. And yet David Cameron must appoint more peers in the forthcoming honours list. … Every Prime Minister in history, from Harold Wilson with his ‘lavender list’ to Tony Blair with his cronies, has caused controversy when creating peerages. Cameron’s new peers will probably be no different, however carefully the names are chosen then vetted by the Lords Appointments Commission.” – William Astor, The Spectator

> Today: Daniel Hannan MEP’s column – Cameron’s peerages are helping to discredit the Lords

MOT meltdown! Government computer system fails

“Millions of motorists risk being forced off the road – or to drive illegally – after major glitches in a new multi-million Government computer system left thousands of garages unable to issue valid MoT certificates. … Furious garages owners across Britain complained of ‘incompetence’ as they reported how the system had failed over recent days with some describing it as an ‘MoT meltdown’.” – Daily Mail

  • “The industry body for public relations has launched an investigation following the production of a government leaflet which featured invented quotes from two non-existent claimants talking up their experiences of the benefits system.” – The Guardian

Labour leadership 1) Further revelations about Corbyn’s ties with Arab extremist

LABOUR dead rose“An Arab extremist who Jeremy Corbyn denied knowing said himself the MP lobbied to overturn a UK ban on him. … Labour’s leadership favourite yesterday denied ever meeting Dyab Abou Jahjah — despite The Sun telling how he invited him to speak in Parliament in 2009. … Forgetful Corbyn, 66, told the BBC: ‘Who? I’m sorry, I don’t know who this person is.’ Hours later, his staff discovered they did have dealings. … The Sun can reveal Corbyn was claimed by Jahjah at the time to have challenged Home Secretary Jacqui Smith on her decision to not let him return to Britain.” – The Sun (£)

  • “His foreign policy views are fairly typical of the Labour left. He is a veteran of the Stop the War coalition against the Iraq war, a vociferous campaigner for Palestinian rights, a defender of Hugo Chávez, the late Venezuelan president, and a regular critic of the US.” – Financial Times
  • “Jeremy Corbyn has used his strongest language yet to condemn critics who have labelled him an anti-semite and a racist.” – The Independent
  • “Russell Brand has endorsed Jeremy Corbyn in the Labour leadership race.” – The Guardian

And comment:

  • “Journalists drawing attention to his links to Islamist terror groups, the IRA and anti-Semites do Labour a favour. … It lets voters in the leadership election know the front-runner is not fit to lead a mainstream party.” – Toby Young, The Sun (£)
  • “Cuddly man of principle? No, Corbyn’s spent 30 years sucking up to the world’s most repellent monsters.” – Stephen Glover, Daily Mail

> Yesterday:

Labour leadership 2) Corbyn tells MPs to back him or face the grassroots’ anger…

Corbyn“Jeremy Corbyn issues a stark warning today to Labour MPs that he expects them to back his radical agenda to reshape the party or face organised revolts by his army of grass-roots supporters. … In a barely coded threat to the right of the party, Mr Corbyn told The Independent that MPs should remember they were only in Parliament because Labour Party members ‘worked night and day’ to get them there. … He called on them to ‘recognise’ that there was a ‘huge thirst for significant change in the party’ and not to ‘stand in the way’ of reforming the party.” – The Independent

  • “As Labour leader, how I will unify MPs, rebuild the party and win in 2020.” – Jeremy Corbyn, New Statesman
  • “Labour MPs’ next choice: which leadership coup to back.” – Isabel Hardman, The Spectator
  • “Tories, curb your Corbynmania: you too need Labour to survive.” – Anne Perkins, The Guardian
  • “Corbyn’s surge can be at the heart of a winning coalition.” – Seumas Milne
  • “Renationalising Britain’s railways would be folly.” – Financial Times editorial

Labour leadership 3) …but Kendall says she would join ‘The Resistance’

“Liz Kendall has said she is willing to join other Labour modernisers to form a ‘Resistance’ to Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership. … As the left-winger appears favourite to win the contest, MPs and shadow ministers are increasingly concerned about how they would be marginalised under his leadership. … Two frontbenchers, education spokesman Tristram Hunt and shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna have already outlined plans to form a pressure group dubbed ‘The Resistance’.” – Daily Mail

  • “Moderate Labour MPs have been in discussions how to overthrow hard Left Jeremy Corbyn if he is crowned Labour leader next month, The Telegraph can disclose. … The MPs are understood to have held informal talks about challenging Mr Corbyn when Parliament returns to work next month.” – Daily Telegraph

Labour leadership 4) The New Statesman endorses Cooper

Yvette Cooper 13-08-15“The temptation for some is to write the next election off in advance and elect the candidate who provides most consolation. This must be resisted. History teaches that even the strongest governments can unravel with remarkable speed, which is why Labour must be in a position to offer a credible alternative. The best hope of it being able to do so, in the present circumstances, is the election of Yvette Cooper.” – New Statesman editorial

  • “Why Labour keeps failing to choose a woman leader.” – Charles Moore, The Spectator

Labour leadership 5) Leaked notes reveal the party ignored legal advice about new voters

“A Labour committee voted not to undertake extra due diligence on voters in its leadership election last week, against the advice of party lawyers, according to leaked meeting notes obtained by the Guardian. … Party lawyers had supported an extra stage of verification in order to protect Labour against a legal challenge by unsuccessful candidates, saying this would put the party in a good position to say its election process had been ‘robust’.” – The Guardian

Ashley Madison hack: SNP MP claims she is the victim of a smear campaign

Computer“A married SNP MP today said she is the victim of a smear campaign after her email address was one of millions released in a data hack on infidelity website Ashley Madison. … Michelle Thomson, the MP for Edinburgh West, said her identity was ‘harvested’ by hackers who published details of the social network’s 37million members including 1.2million in the UK. … Bankers, civil servants, UN peacekeepers, firefighters, NHS staff, police officers and even Vatican employees have been outed by the Impact Team because they are considered ‘cheating dirtbags’.” – Daily Mail

  • “A disgraced chief constable has been told to resign after it was revealed he swapped ‘intimate images’ using his police phone.” – Daily Mail

And comment:

  • “This morning 37 million people woke up to find their names, adulterous longings and sexual fantasies online. We can’t know their private sadnesses, or whether they’re making compromises to keep marriages alive. They’ll be condemned. None of us is immune.” – Jenni Russell, The Times (£)
  • “Adulterers, mums and MPs sadly had it coming.” – Emma Barnett, Daily Telegraph

Political parties received £50 million in donations during the first half of this year

“The Labour party repaid a loan of £2m to Richard Caring in June, only to see a company run by the clothing tycoon give £100,000 to the Conservatives, according to new figures from the Electoral Commission. The donation was one of dozens made during the general election period, with political parties receiving over £50m in donations in the first half of 2015. … Between April and June of this year, the Conservatives received £9,163,385, while Labour were given £7,800,618. Ukip were given £2,016,582 in three months, while the Liberal Democrats received only £1,391,939.” – The Guardian

Is the Establishment trying to discredit the Chilcot Inquiry?

Iraq flag“Leading figures in the British political Establishment are behind a plot to discredit the Chilcot inquiry by portraying the panel members as ‘bumbling incompetents’ who cannot deliver their report on time, it has been claimed. … The Independent has spoken to several inquiry sources furious at the increasing pressure being imposed by No 10 and Whitehall to speed up publication of their report into the Iraq war.” – The Independent

  • “Sir John Chilcot finally broke cover yesterday but flatly refused to say when he would complete his long-overdue report into the Iraq War.” – Daily Mail
  • “The long-awaited Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq war risks falling victim to justice ‘done to death’, a leading barrister has suggested.” – The Times (£)

And comment:

  • “War and Peace was finished in less time than it’s taken to publish report into Iraq war.” – Andy McSmith, The Independent
  • “Delaying tactics stand to ruin credibility in the Iraq Inquiry.” – Independent editorial

I’m ashamed at how we treat our interpreters, says former head of the Armed Forces

“The former Chief of Defence Staff and commander of international forces in Afghanistan said he was ashamed at the treatment of interpreters who risked their lives beside Britain’s troops. … General Sir David Richards praised and thanked the Daily Mail for its Betrayal of the Brave series of articles which have highlighted the plight of frontline translators … The former head of the Armed Forces said there should not even be a debate over whether the UK provides sanctuary to men who risked their lives standing shoulder-to-shoulder with British forces.” – Daily Mail

  • “The horrifying reality of life in Afghanistan for translators who helped British forces was laid bare when one interpreter’s seven-year-old daughter was handed a Taliban death threat. – Daily Mail
  • “The families of five British servicemen who were killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan have been told cockpit recordings detailing their loved ones final moments will not be released.” – Daily Mail

And comment:

  • “After a month, the militants realised that Khaled  al-Asaad knew nothing – or would say nothing – and so they decapitated the old man and strung his torso to a Roman pillar.” – Robert Fisk, The Independent

Guantanamo Briton’s lawyer criticises the Obama administration

OBAMA sad“The US authorities are acting in a ‘truly shameful’ way by blocking the release of the last British inmate in Guantanamo and refusing him an independent doctor. … Shaker Aamer’s lawyers have called on the British government to intervene after the US tried to stop him being examined by outside doctors while in Guantanamo. … Ramzi Kassem said David Cameron had to ‘press the White House’ to allow Mr Aamer to be assessed.” – Daily Mail

BBC boss threatened to suspend channels during licence fee row, claims book

“The head of the BBC threatened to shut down BBC2, BBC4 and every local radio station unless the government backed down during a furious row over the licence fee, according to a sensational new book. … Director-General Tony Hall allegedly threatened to announce the closures on the day of Budget amid fears the broadcaster could ‘go broke’. … The claims were made in a new book called ‘The BBC Today: Future Uncertain’ by veteran journalist and former BBC presenter Raymond Snoddy.” – Daily Mail

  • “BBC presenter Victoria Derbyshire has revealed she is battling breast cancer.” – The Sun (£)

GSCE results announced today

School“Pupils picking up GCSE results today should prepare for disappointment in maths and English, head-teachers have warned. … Early indicators suggest some schools have seen an unexpectedly low number of pupils achieving grades A*–C in the two subjects. … Teachers were yesterday said to be exasperated by ‘volatility’ in the results, with some exams appearing to be harder to pass ‘for no obvious reason’.” – Daily Mail

  • “Schools are using community languages such as Urdu and Polish to give themselves ‘an easy hit’ to gain top grade GCSE passes and boost their rankings in league tables, a leading academic has said.” – The Independent
  • “Maths lessons are being taught in some schools by teachers with only a GCSE qualification in the subject because of an acute shortage of mathematicians.” – The Times (£)
  • “Labour’s controversial drive to send half of all youngsters to university has resulted in thousands of debt-laden graduates languishing in jobs they are over-qualified for, a shock report has warned.” – Daily Mail
  • “They have a reputation for being idealistic lefties, but when it comes to the economy students are more right-wing than the rest of us, according to a poll.” – The Times (£)

And comment:

  • “How many maths teachers does it take to change an education system? Lots.” – Times editorial (£)
  • “No wonder they question going to university.” – Isabel Hardman, The Times (£)
  • “Devalued degrees have let our country down.” – Martin Vander Weyer, Daily Telegraph

China fears cause market slump

“More than £85billion has been wiped off the value of Britain’s biggest companies in just seven days – hitting the pension pots and investments of millions of families. … The latest rout was triggered by fresh worries over China where the economy is slowing and its currency and stock market have swung violently despite Chinese government efforts to restore calm. … It is feared that a sharp downturn in China – the world’s second largest economy behind the US – could derail the global recovery.” – Daily Mail

News in brief

  • German parliament backs latest Greek bailout – Financial Times
  • Donald Trump confounds critics with Republican poll lead – Financial Times
  • Three people shot, with one killed, in Tunisian town of Sousse – The Sun (£)
  • Six injured in Cairo bomb attack – The Guardian
  • Oscar Pistorius’s release from prison has been put on hold – The Guardian
  • Cilla Black’s funeral takes place today – Daily Mail