Well, we’re having salmon and scrambled egg for a change this morning… And in the news there’s plenty of tripe and fudge:
The Telegraph leads with the developing story on the paedophile ring operating in Westminster, some 30 years ago:
Whistleblower who prompted Operation Fernbridge says up to 40 MPs and peers knew about or took part in child abuse. More than 10 current and former politicians are on a list of alleged child abusers held by police investigating claims of a Westminster paedophile ring. MPs or peers from all three main political parties are on the list, which includes former ministers and household names.
Several, including Cyril Smith and Sir Peter Morrison, are no longer alive, but others are still active in Parliament. The existence of the list was disclosed by Peter McKelvie, the whistleblower whose claims prompted Operation Fernbridge, the Scotland Yard investigation into allegations of a paedophile network with links to Downing Street.
The Guardian reports that “David Cameron asks top civil servant to look into Westminster child abuse claims” in relation to the same story. And the Daily Mail reports it, plus another angle, with “Cameron orders a probe into VIP child sex abuse – but only seven detectives are investigating explosive claims”
Labour “Cash for Access”
We highlighted this event in UKIP Daily but now The Telegraph is on the case with “Labour criticised for ‘cash for access’ Gala dinner”
Labour have been accused of “soft corruption” and engaging in “cash for access” as it emerged that the party is allowing wealth donors to attend a £15,000 gala dinner without having to publicly register their names.
Despite premier tables at the event costing £15,000, the Labour Party has set the “donation” contribution of the ticket at £7,000 – just below the level at which financial gifts must be officially declared. Those who pay for the most expensive premier tables will have a “political host” and will receive a “signed commemorative memento photo of the event”.
It comes after Labour criticised the Conservative Party for links to billionaires, financiers, a strip club owner and the Judo partner of Vladimir Putin who attended a similar Tory fundraiser last summer. Campaigners called on Labour to “get to grips” with its relationship with wealthy backers and be entirely transparent.
Meanwhile, The Guardian has a pop at the Tories with “Russian banker involved in buying Thatcher portrait at Tory fundraiser” and also at a Tory Donor’s plum appointment with “Wealthy Tory donor David Ross in line for top Ofsted job”
The Independent runs the same story with “‘Conflict of interest’: Outcry at plan to put Tory donor in charge of Ofsted”
A multimillionaire Tory donor is being lined up by Michael Gove to chair the body charged with maintaining and raising standards in England’s schools. David Ross, a co-founder of the Carphone Warehouse high street chain, is believed to be the front runner for the post after the Education Secretary in effect sacked the previous incumbent, Baroness Morgan.
But the move will be deeply controversial because, as well as being a Tory donor, Mr Ross is the founder of a chain of 25 academies – for which Ofsted, the education standards watchdog, has responsibility. “What will happen when inspectors are sent into his own schools?” one teachers’ leader asked.
And the Mirror reports that “Ed Miliband slams David Cameron’s judgement as former spin doctor Andy Coulson is sent down”
The Prime Minister’s judgment came under fire today after his former spin doctor Andy Coulson was jailed for his role in the phone hacking scandal. Ex-News of the World editor Coulson, 46, was caged for 18 months and told by a judge that he took the biggest share of the blame for the plot to intercept thousands of voicemail messages of royals, celebrities and members of the public, such as murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler.
Shortly after the sentencing, Labour leader Ed Miliband slammed David Cameron for “bringing a criminal into the heart of Downing Street”. He said: “My thoughts are with the victims of phone hacking, the victims of Andy Coulson’s behaviour.
UKIP – Farage on Friday
The Express has the usual column from Nigel, headed “‘UKIP hasn’t gone to Brussels to be placid and inert’ vows Nigel Farage”
FIRST day back at school is when the teachers eye the fresh young faces with a mixture of anticipation and excitement. The same goes for the new class. A new term, a new set of targets and responsibilities, new subjects, new classmates and for many, an entirely new experience. The buzz of something exciting with a cautious sprinkle of apprehension fills the air with an energy of conversation, industry and the warming satisfaction of optimism.
So was the first week of the EU Parliament. With UKIP strengthening their representation to become the biggest party the UK has delivered to the European Union, there were certainly whispers in the corridors of power about our People’s Army marching on Strasbourg
Yet far from being the middle class, elderly, male, obsessive and boring brigade of amateur enthusiasts the British media would like to portray, here was a team of true revolution. The voice of discontented Britain was potted in the zeal of the 24 new UKIP MEPs and taken unadulterated into the beating heart of the EU.
The Guardian rings warning bells about more surveillance with this story: “Campaigners fear new surveillance powers in wake of Lee Rigby murder”
Civil liberties groups fear the government may use a report next week from the Intelligence and Security Committee into the Woolwich murder of Lee Rigby to press for emergency anti-terror legislation.
The ISC report, which may be issued as soon as Tuesday after it has been sent to David Cameron, is likely to expose failures by the security services in keeping in contact with the soldier’s two killers, partly owing to a lack of surveillance powers.
The report is to appear after ministers have been saying for weeks that it could take emergency legislation to prevent potential extremists being radicalised by travelling to Syria.
New Aircraft Carrier
Iain Martin of the Telegraph highlights the issue of “An aircraft carrier without planes is the perfect metaphor for Britain’s diminished global status”
A military band, Cameron, the other leaders of the political class and assorted dignitaries assembled to watch the Queen formally put her name to the British navy’s newest and largest ever vessel, the UK’s magnificent looking new carrier. There was justifiably much pride on the part of the workforce and their families.
It is Britain still does this stuff, spectacle and ceremony, extremely well. However, it is difficult to avoid concluding that this time there is a tiny problem. Here we must acknowledge one of the biggest of black marks which should be put against the policies of this and the last government. Lamentably, the country’s new aircraft carrier, as various commentators keep pointing out rather ungallantly, doesn’t have any planes. You might say that an aircraft carrier without planes is not really much of an aircraft carrier.
European Opt Outs and Opt Ins
The Guardian reports that “David Cameron in talks with EU leaders over international DNA database”
Ministers pledge to compensate Brussels if Britain pulls out as part of decisions over Europe-wide policing measures. David Cameron has been involved in talks which could increase cooperation over policing in Europe, documents show.
Ministers have told EU leaders that they will make a decision on whether to take part in a Europe-wide DNA database by 1 December next year and have promised to compensate Brussels if Britain decides to pull out. Britain insisted on the right to opt out of 133 EU-wide policing measures when it signed the Lisbon treaty in 2007. It has until December this year to decide which exactly it wants to implement.
The Telegraph also reports on the intended actions of some Tory rebels with “Right wing Tory MPs to defy David Cameron over EU power grab”
The Government has scheduled a general debate on the UK’s Justice and Home Affairs opt-outs on Thursday. There is speculation that the MPs will force a vote at the end of the debate, although one is currently not planned. This could mean that as many as 100 Tory MPs will openly defy the Government over the plans.
The last Labour government agreed that Britain would have the option to opt out of 133 EU home affairs rules, including the arrest warrant.
Last year, ministers risked Tory backbench anger by agreeing to continue applying 35 of those rules, including those around the warrant. Formally Britain has to opt out of all 133 measures, then opt back in, by the beginning of December. A deadline for a formal decision on the opt-ins passed on May 31, which means that the debate on Thursday is largely for appearances only.
(So, it’s too late anyway!)
The Independent reports on a British jihadist who “calls for ‘flag of Islam’ over Downing Street and Buckingham Palace”
A British man who claims he has been fighting alongside jihadi militants in Syria has told the BBC that the UK is “pure evil” and that he will not return until he can “raise the black flag of Islam” over Downing Street and Buckingham Palace.
BBC 5 live broadcast an interview with a man calling himself Abu Osama, who claimed that he had received military training and taken part in bomb-making and fighting with the extremist al-Nusra Front, an group which is linked to al-Qa’ida and banned in the UK, for the past year.
The man, who spoke in a West Yorkshire accent, said that he had been fighting for the establishment of a caliphate – which he referred to by the Arabic term Khilafah – across the Islamic world. Speaking to interviewer Nicky Campbell, he said: “I have no intention of coming back to Britain…”
To that last statement, we say ‘Amen’.
Corporate Tax Avoidance
The Daily Mail digs out a story on Apple’s profits in UK: “Fury at Apple’s £11million tax bill on £10billion sales: MPs accuse electronic giant of ‘less than honest’ behaviour” (That’s 0.11% !)
Apple faced fury last night after it was revealed that it paid just £11.4million in British corporation tax last year – despite sales of a record £10.5billion. The US technology giant rakes in billions selling its high-end gadgets but funnels its sales through Ireland to minimise its UK tax bill. Yesterday MPs said the practice, which is also used by Google, was ‘less than honest’ and called on the company to pay more.
Once again, the EU facilitates disadvantage to the UK.
The Express runs a story on benefits: “Fury as judge rules forcing benefits claimants to work breaches European human rights law”
TORY ministers were furious last night after a judge ruled that Government rules designed to force benefits claimants into work placements breached European human rights laws. High Court judges declared that the “back-to-work” scheme launched by the Department for Work and Pensions infringed the “right to a fair trial” under the European Convention on Human Rights. And lawyers claimed the Government could be obliged to pay £130million in Jobseeker’s Allowance hand outs that were previously blocked.
Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith was understood to be incandescent about the ruling last night. His department immediately appealed against the decision. A Whitehall source said: “This ruling is very disappointing and we intend to appeal robustly against it.”
Under the back-to-work scheme, long-term jobless claimants can be ordered to carry out temporary spells of work experience to help build up vital job skills to improve their chances of getting employment. Those that refuse to take part face being stripped of their benefits.
Another way in which the EU nullifies any power in Westminster.