US Elections 1) Biden appeals for calm as he edges further ahead

“Joe Biden has called for an end to “unrelenting, unending” political “warfare” as he said he would win the US election count and vowed to use the presidency to represent “all Americans”. Speaking on Friday night as he held a growing vote lead in battleground states, the Democratic presidential nominee appeared to pivot from the campaign to preparing for the White House. Mr Biden said the election had given him a “mandate for action” on issues such as taking on the Covid-19 pandemic, rebuilding the economy, countering climate change and tackling “systemic racism”. Throughout the 10-minute address, Mr Biden kept emphasising a message of unity, an implicit contrast with Donald Trump, who has vowed to contest the election in the courts.” – Daily Telegraph

>Today: ToryDiary: A one-term President Biden?

US Elections 2) Republicans divided over challenging the results

“The Republican party was bitterly divided on Friday night as senior figures lambasted Donald Trump while the president’s son called for a “fight to the death”. Donald Trump Jr made it clear that anyone wanting to stand for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024 must back his father now. After initial silence in the wake of Mr Trump’s claim that the election was being “stolen”, some prominent Republicans, including senators Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham, rallied to his defence. However, Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader in the Senate, appeared more neutral, saying: “Here’s how this must work in our great country. Every legal vote should be counted. Any illegally submitted ballots must not. “All sides must get to observe the process. And the courts are here to apply the laws and resolve disputes. That’s how Americans’ votes decide the result. Beyond that, I don’t have anything to say.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Pence steps back as Trump’s allies keep their counsel – The Times
  • Trump’s unwillingness to concede risks doing lasting damage to American democracy – Leader, The Times

US Elections 3) Britain rushes to forge links with the new White House

“While no one is expecting Mr Johnson to be at the “front of the queue” to work with Mr Biden there is confidence that bridges can be built. “The obvious route is climate change. Regardless of their hairstyles Boris is in a very different place from Donald Trump. Climate change is the top of that list,” a senior figure said. “They will want to work with us on the outcome of this big climate change conference next year. They will want to influence what the conclusions are: how we get China and India to contribute. How we make the most of America rejoining [the Paris climate agreement]. That is quite an important entry into a closer relationship with the Biden administration.” Lord Darroch of Kew, Britain’s former ambassador to Washington, said it was vital for the prime minister to use his first contact with Mr Biden to emphasise areas of mutual interest.” – The Times

  • Biden, Gerry Adam and IRA chief who tried to kill an army officer – Daily Mail

US Elections 4) Moore: Claims of voter fraud may be accurate

“As I write, Joe Biden would seem to have been chosen by the voters. If so, he will duly be elected the next President of the United States of America when the Electoral College meets next month. But note a certain tentativeness. Here in Britain, most of our media, following – as usual – the lead of the main US TV networks expressed outrage at President Trump’s claim that the election was being stolen by Democrat voting fraud. Yesterday morning, BBC reporters spoke of Mr Trump’s “false claims”, as if they knew them to be so. How could they? The claims concerned details about voting and vote-counting practices in several states: no reporter could pronounce on their validity. All that could be accurately stated was that Mr Trump was making the claims and was not, at that point, producing evidence to support them.” – Charles Moore, Daily Telegraph

  • TV stations cut away from Trump – The Sun
  • We shouldn’t be so dismissive of vote fraud risks – Benedict Spence, Daily Telegraph

US Elections 5) Parris: Trump got many things right

“The Trump presidency was ahead of almost all of us in its visceral understanding of the threat to the West posed by communist China. Clever people have been muttering about this (some, like our last governor of Hong Kong, Chris Patten, more than muttering) for decades, but Trump took the bull by the horns. Post-Trump, neither his own country nor Europe will ever be able return to their relaxed confidence that China’s rise can happen in a way that meshes easily with western interests. Trump saw that it must be at best a scratchy business. He saw that crude shin-kicking has a role in international affairs. He saw the same with North Korea, too. And there were shins that needed kicking.” – Matthew Parris, The Times

Other US elections comment

  • A fickle America cannot lead the world – Janan Ganesh, Financial Times
  • America now has to pull itself back together – or as close as it’s capable – Leader, Daily Telegraph
  • Why America faces its greatest peril since the Civil War – Justin Webb, Daily Mail
  • End Trump’s war on the truth – Leader, The Guardian

Coronavirus 1) Sunak agrees to boost Universal Credit

“Rishi Sunak is expected to bow to pressure to extend a £20-a-week increase in universal credit for six million people amid mounting tensions between No 10 and No 11. The Times has been told that the chancellor and the prime minister have agreed in principle to extend the additional payments at a cost of £6 billion. The move, likely to be announced in the budget next year, comes after Mr Sunak pledged more than £30 billion this week in support for workers. A government source said that Mr Sunak and Mr Johnson had agreed in principle to extend the boost to universal credit for another year. “The money is there,” the source said.” – The Times

  • Over nine million employees will be on furlough by the spring, Bank of England claims – The Sun
  • Johnson launches new investigation after furlough extension leaked – Daily Telegraph
  • It is pure folly that Johnson isn’t listening to business – Camilla Cavendish, Financial Times
  • An opportunity to fix roads – BBC

Coronavirus 2) Wallace praises contribution from the military

“The Defence Secretary today urges Sun readers to buy a poppy for our troops serving on the Covid front line. Ben Wallace praised their commitment as 2,500 arrived in Liverpool to begin mass virus testing.He told The Sun the military have been central to the UK’s pandemic battle, but added: “There were no carers’ claps for them and much of what they have done has been unseen. “I am proud that Defence has played — and will continue to play — a major part in easing these pressures. Whilst Remembrance weekend will look very different this year, please buy a poppy and think of our brave armed forces — both those who fought for our freedoms in the past, and those fighting for us to be able to regain them today.” He added: “The UK’s Armed Forces have contributed their skills to local planning, testing, transport and logistics. They have, as ever, gone the extra mile, and will continue to go above and beyond.” – The Sun

  • Government orders councils to discourage public from paying respects on Remembrance Sunday – Daily Telegraph
  • We will all remember how Johnson poisoned Poppy Day – Amanda Platell, Daily Mail
  • Liverpool mass testing trial “could do more harm than good” – The Guardian

Coronavirus 3) Tory MPs “bullied like mad” to back lockdown

“The leading lockdown critic and former Tory minister Steve Baker, who organised the hour-long morning meeting…The anti-lockdown group is not tight, in the way that Brexit factions were co-ordinated. Some are from rural constituencies. Others are passionate libertarians and oppose lockdowns on a values basis. But it isn’t small. Baker runs a WhatsApp broadcast list – which allows users to send a message to several contacts at once – entitled “lockdown sceptics”, which has 95 Tory MPs on it receiving updates, although colleagues cannot see who else is on it or reply to other recipients…One rebel MP said that whips had focused on the 2019 intake. “Lots of people that didn’t vote with us were bullied like mad yesterday, most of the young lot, new entrants, were given speeches by the whips and told their futures lay supporting the government,” the MP said. “Boris was determined. He was ringing everybody.” – The Guardian

  • Second wave of Covid was dropping and R rate was stable before new lockdown announced – Daily Mail

“Wide divergencies” remain in EU trade negotiations

“Boris Johnson will speak to Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, on Saturday in an effort to help break the impasse in the talks on a post-Brexit trade deal. Serious differences remain between the UK and the EU on two key policy areas: fishing access rights and a “level playing field” for fair business competition. The talks are currently stuck on the issue of “non-regression” and whether future UK standards should evolve to stay in line with Brussels as part of any trade pact — something British negotiators have so far resisted. Downing Street said on Friday that the call would allow both leaders to “take stock of the UK-EU negotiations” — a sentiment echoed in Brussels.” – Financial Times

  • “Deal to be done” says the PM – BBC
  • Global Britain can prosper through free trade – Tony Abbott, Daily Telegraph

>Today: Columnist David Gauke: If Johnson goes for a Brexit trade deal, as he should, he should also go for a further implementation period.

Government plans in house consultancy to reduce costs

“Boris Johnson’s government is quietly working on creating its own in-house consultancy arm — dubbed “Crown Consultancy” — to cut its dependence on high-charging private sector firms. The idea, driven by efficiency minister Theodore Agnew and championed by Downing Street adviser Dominic Cummings, would bring bright civil servants and graduates together in a new division to improve delivering policies across Whitehall. “There’s a lot of reliance on consultancies,” said one official close to the project. “It would be sensible to look at what we can do internally, rather than externally.” There have long been concerns over the spiralling costs spent on consultants by the government. The UK spent a total of £2.6bn on just eight consultancies between 2016 and 2020, according to research firm Tussell. These were the Big Four accountants PwC, KPMG, Deloitte, and EY; US advisory giants McKinsey, Bain, and Boston Consulting Group; and UK group PA Consulting.” – Financial Times

Number of children in state care “over 100,000”

“The number of children in state care is thought to have passed 100,000 for the first time. The rise is because of police fears over violent families and teenagers getting sucked into crime, a report said. It revealed a record 98,756 were living in care across the UK in 2019. And it said this number is likely to have passed the six-figure record during lockdown. The report, from care industry watchers Laing Buisson, follows a major increase in children taken from families and placed in homes or with foster parents over the past 12 years.” – Daily Mail

Phillips: Wokeism is  new oppression

“In Scotland, the SNP government plans to outlaw speech “stirring up hatred”, even in private homes; if I lived in Edinburgh I imagine that reading my own columns on race or religion out loud in my kitchen would provoke a visit from the police, ready with the handcuffs. Last week the BBC published new editorial guidelines on the use of “racist language”. The first question journalists are told to ask themselves is “Does the identity of the individual using the language make a difference to its acceptability?”, implying that George Alagiah or Clive Myrie might be permitted to use language that Huw Edwards and Fiona Bruce are not, a kind of creeping speech apartheid, and a whole new chapter in censorship.” – Trevor Phillips, The Times

News in brief

  • Biden sleepwalks to the White House – Freddy Gray, The Spectator
  • The casualties of lockdown – John Redwood
  • Lockdowns will kill millions more than Covid ever could – Karen Harradine, Conservative Woman
  • What will a Biden presidency mean for Britain? – Malcolm Rifkind, CapX
  • Pennsylvania started life as a battleground state – George Trefgarne, Unherd