Labour faces a decline into irrelevance warns Blunkett

“The resignation of one of Labour’s longest-serving MPs over anti-Semitism must be a “catalyst for seismic change” or the party risks falling into “decline and irrelevance”, Lord Blunkett has warned. The former Labour home secretary says Frank Field’s decision to resign the whip highlights the need for a fundamental rethink about the “Corbyn project” as he condemns his response to the anti-Semitism scandal as a “shambles”. Writing in The Telegraph, Lord Blunkett warns that under Jeremy Corbyn the “bullying and thuggery” of the militant left during the 1980s has returned, posing a “dangerous” threat to democracy. Mr Corbyn’s promise of a “new style of politics” has proved to be “anything but”, he says as he warns the Labour leader that his response over the next week will determine the “continuity of the existence of the Labour Party”. – Daily Telegraph

  • The thuggery of the “Corbyn project” – David Blunkett, Daily Telegraph
  • So Jeremy Corbyn thinks I don’t get irony, says Yes Minister’s Jewish creator – The Times
  • Momentum admits his own left-wing friends are anti-Semitic – The Sun
  • Anti-Semitism row is tearing Labour apart – Tim Newark, Daily Express
  • Labour has become a swamp of ignorance and hate – The Sun Says
  • The Labour Party we all grew up with is dead – Leader, Daily Telegraph

Field may resign his seat and fight the by-election…

“Veteran MP Frank Field has said he is considering triggering a by-election in his Birkenhead constituency. He resigned the Labour whip over the leadership’s handling of anti-Semitism allegations and what he calls “bullying and intimidation” in local parties. He says he wants to remain a party member and sit as an “independent Labour” MP – Labour says resigning the whip means quitting the party. His critics say he quit because he was facing deselection by local members. He recently lost a vote of confidence organised by members angry at his support for the government in Brexit votes. The leader of Wirral Council, Labour’s Phil Davies, is demanding Labour investigate allegations of bullying in the local party. He claimed Wirral Labour had been taken over by “a small group of hard line extremists that are pursuing a narrow ideological agenda and are using tactics like bullying and intimidation to further that agenda.” – BBC

  • Emily Benn might quit too – The Times
  • Corbyn wants to drive out moderates says Mandelson – Financial Times
  • Sky News host mistakenly refers to Corbyn as the ‘Labour s**t’ in interview – The Sun
  • Field to challenge Corbyn in court – The Sun
  • A voice worth hearing – Leader, The Guardian

>Yesterday: Philip Booth on Comment: Field is a great man and a great politician – but no, he is not a Conservative

…Gapes “agonising” over whether to quit

“A second Labour MP has warned he could quit over Jeremy Corbyn’s  handling of anti-Semitism. Mike Gapes, the Labour MP for Ilford South, said he is “agonising” over whether to stay on in the wake of Frank Field’s resignation on Thursday. The Telegraph understands that a least two other Labour MPs are considering their position. Mr Gapes could quit if the national executive committee, the party’s ruling body, fails to adopt the full internationally-recognised definition of anti-Semitism on Tuesday.” – Daily Telegraph

Parris: Labour could ditch Corbyn – then the Tories would be toast

“Cut to the chase: if Labour had a decent, centrist leader, this Conservative government would be toast. That scenario terrifies the Tory party. Doesn’t almost everybody know as much? Can it really be impossible for Labour to proceed from this certain knowledge to the obvious next step? Oppositions exist to form governments, and here is how this one undoubtedly could…How might this revolution be organised? Somebody has to step forward. Yes, that’s been tried, Angela Eagle stumbled and Owen Smith was slaughtered. But a new wind is blowing. The antisemitism has been shaming; Brexit is poisoning the wellsprings of Corbyn’s support among the young in Momentum. And we’re entering a season of huge uncertainty for Mrs May’s administration. This could be when Labour strikes. If it could precipitate a general election then under any credible leader it would win. Isn’t it time for others to ask, as Frank Field has, what’s left to lose?” – Matthew Parris, The Times

Wallace: The Conservatives are partly responsible for the threat of Corbynism

“Corbynism has been given a chance to spread, and its advocates are not wasting the opportunity. Labour continues to lead in the polls, even as its leader’s past is exposed in ever more unpleasant detail. Things which would previously have been career-ending for a would-be prime minister have become tolerated and even celebrated. The Conservative Party let this happen, and it has a responsibility to right that wrong sooner rather than later. It must stop thinking of 2017 as a regrettable blip which can be easily corrected next time with no harm done. Defeating Corbyn himself might once have been enough, but his creed is now embedded. We must steel ourselves for a sustained battle to defeat it in detail, wherever it is to be found. Muddling along, tolerating mediocrity, and settling for getting by is not sufficient. Arguably, it is what caused this mess in the first place.” – Mark Wallace, Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: Kristian Niemietz on Think Tanks: We need more stories about the fundamental flaws of socialism

Banks claims to be responsible for 8,000 new recruits to the Conservatives

“Arron Banks told the FT that his intervention is loosely modelled on the Tea party, the grassroots movement that has pushed the US Republican party to the right in recent years. We know grassroots Tories are upset with the leadership over Chequers, we think a number of things could be done to democratise the party Arron Banks He said he was already having an impact, with 3,500 people clicking through from his newsletter to the Tory party membership page on the first day of the campaign. “We have calculated that over the past month we have probably got 8,000 new people into the party,” he said. Three months after joining, new members would have a say in any leadership contest — which is expected in the next year or two — with leading Brexiters Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg likely to stand.” – Financial Times 

  • Disaster! The Conservatives have been infiltrated by conservatives – Michael Deacon, Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: MPsETC: In Northern Ireland, the Tories are quietly blocking membership applications

Champagne is Brexit issue…

“Parmesan cheese and champagne have emerged on the latest front of Brexit negotiations after Michel Barnier, the EU’s lead negotiator, warned that European food producers had to be protected after the UK had left the bloc. More than 3,000 gourmet foods are protected by the EU’s geographical indications, meaning they can be marketed under names such as Parma ham only if they are made using traditional methods in their region of origin. The issue is dear to Mr Barnier, a Frenchman from the Savoy region of the French Alps that has eight protected cheeses. He is said to be infuriated by Britain’s refusal to guarantee European geographical indicators as a form of intellectual property in a Brexit withdrawal treaty.” – The Times

  • Raab is “stubbornly optimistic” about getting a deal – BBC
  • Barnier offers Britain access to Galileo – Daily Express

…as Barnier “stands firm” over Irish border

“Michel Barnier is refusing to back down on establishing a border in the Irish Sea to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland, and has publicly asked the British government for data to prove that the checks on goods flowing within the territory of the UK would be few in number. The EU’s chief negotiator, who has been strident on the issue during the behind-the-scenes negotiations, made public his request for the information as he warned he needed an agreement on Northern Ireland and other outstanding withdrawal issues “by November at the latest”.” – The Guardian

  • EU plan to scrap clock changes could create Irish ‘time border’ – Daily Telegraph
  • Northern Ireland won’t change time zone to suit the EU, say unionists – Belfast Telegraph

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Leavers must not make the mistake of promising an end to boom and bust

Honours for tax avoiders to be blocked

“Tax avoiders are being blacklisted by the authorities to prevent them from getting knighthoods and other honours, The Times can reveal. Celebrities who use controversial schemes to reduce their tax burden are being quietly identified by the taxman to block them from awards for public services, new documents show. The discovery will lead to speculation that figures such as the footballers Wayne Rooney and Gary Lineker and the singer Robbie Williams have been overlooked for honours because of their involvement with lawful schemes targeted by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).” – The Times

Government “failing to tackle” health tourism

“Cabinet ministers have broken a pledge to close a £20 million a year health tourism scam exposed by The Sun eight months ago. Today we reveal a fresh batch of fake European Health Insurance Cards (EHIC) we have obtained in the name of Cabinet ministers – including Theresa May.The Prime Minister herself vowed in January to close the unacceptable loophole that allows fraudsters to exploit British taxpayers by obtaining EHIC cards with false details. She and the then Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt ordered NHS bosses to put new checks in place after The Sun obtained 13 fake cards issued in the names of Cabinet ministers and even US President Donald Trump. Since 2006 UK taxpayers have paid out an estimated £200 million to European hospitals for treating people who have obtained an EHIC card with false details. Millions have taken advantage of the loophole to claim free healthcare across Europe – leaving Britain to pick up the bill.” – The Sun

“No special treatment” for Salmond warns Sturgeon

“Nicola Sturgeon has warned SNP parliamentarians that Alex Salmond would receive no special treatment over sexual misconduct allegations as his lawyers served papers on her government. With the party on the brink of civil war, the First Minister told a gathering of Nationalist MPs and MSPs in Edinburgh that there could not be “one rule for the powerful and another rule for everyone else.” In an apparent attack on her predecessor’s decision to cover his legal fees through a crowd funding appeal, which has won widespread support from SNP members and some MPs, she praised the two women who made their complaints for their bravery.” – Daily Telegraph

Abusive tweets to MPs “more than doubled” between elections

“The number of abusive tweets about politicians more than doubled between 2015 and 2017, according to analysis of more than one million tweets. Twitter insults targeting politicians rose from about 10,000 during the 2015 general election to just under 25,000 in the snap election two years later. The best-known politicians got a lot of tweets and abuse – but less well-known MPs got proportionally more abuse. Sheffield University’s computer science department carried out the research. Project leader Kalina Bontcheva said the increase in abuse towards public figures was “shocking”.” – BBC

>Today: ToryDiary: Which MPs get the most abuse on Twitter? Conservatives.

Biggest monthly fall in house prices for six years

“House prices fell by the largest amount in six years on a month by month basis, new figures from the Nationwide Building Society have revealed. House values dropped 0.5 per cent month on month in August – the biggest decline since July 2012, according to the Nationwide’s House Price Index. This follows a 0.7 per cent increase month on month for July.” – Daily Mail

Trump threatens to quit the WTO

“Donald Trump has threatened to pull the United States out of the World Trade Organization if it doesn’t “shape up” and treat the US better. The US president issued the threat against the international trade body during an interview with Bloomberg news. “If they don’t shape up, I would withdraw from the WTO,” Trump said, making public a proposal he has reportedly made to top aides in the past. According to Axios, Trump expressed consternation that the US was still a part of the global trade body.” – The Guardian

US ends aid to Palestinian refugee agency

“The United States is ending all funding for the UN’s Palestinian refugee agency, the US State Department says. It described the organisation, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (Unrwa), as “irredeemably flawed”. The US administration has “carefully reviewed” the issue and “will not make additional contributions to Unrwa,” spokeswoman Heather Nauert said. A spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas later said the move was an “assault” against his people.” – BBC

Oborne: Rebellion is growing over HS2

“Momentum to block the white elephant HS2 high-speed rail project between London and Birmingham is gathering strength following my revelation last week that a Cabinet rebellion is brewing. I understand that the name of another Cabinet minister should be added to the list of doubters. Friends of Leader of the Commons, Andrea Leadsom, tell me she is concerned by spiralling costs associated with the project, as well as the devastating impact on the lives of residents affected by construction.” – Peter Oborne, Daily Mail

Sacks: The threat to free speech

“The American social psychologist Jonathan Haidt has a new book, published next week on the assault on free speech taking place in university campuses. It  is called The Coddling of the American Mind, subtitled, “How good intentions and bad ideas are setting up a generation for failure.” One of the lasting unintended consequences of multiculturalism is that we no longer think of the nation as a whole. It tells of how the new ideas of “safe spaces”, “trigger warnings” and “no platforming”, despite their good intentions, can screen out from university life views and voices that fail to fit the prevailing canons of political correctness. This is being done in the name of the right not to be offended – a right that would have terrified George Orwell, whose dictum, engraved on the walls of the new BBC Broadcasting House, states: “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” – Jonathan Sacks, Daily Telegraph

News in brief

  • The radical centrism of the Conservative Party – Fraser Nelson, The Spectator
  • Time for the comrades to follow Frank’s courageous lead – Kathy Gyngell, The Conservative Woman
  • Searching for a compromise on the Irish border – Pieter Cleppe, CapX
  • How Britain’s political conversation turned toxic – Helen Lewis, New Statesman
  • Is Theresa May dancing towards a mini comeback? – Iain Martin, Reaction