Thursday, 4 July 2013

Labour in union turmoil..

BREAKING NEWS: William Hague has been speaking to the Today programme about the military coup in Egypt, confirming that Britain would recognise the new military regime.
"It's a dangerous precedent - if one president can be deposed by the military so could another in the future.
"We recognise states not governments. We recognise the state of Egypt and we have to work with whoever is in authority... There isn't really a question of not recognising."
"Yes it is wrong. We don't support military interventions in democratic systems... This will now move on very quickly." 
Good morning. Labour's troubles over Unite grow ever greater, with a leaked document claiming that the union have drawn up plans to install its preferred candidates in 41 Commons seats for the next general election. Considering that Unite are Labour's largest donors, it is all rather disastrous for Ed Miliband, exposing Labour's over-reliance on trade unions for financial support: over 80 per cent of their donations since the last election have come from them. Today's news, allied to what we already know about Falkirk and the new accusations in The Times (£) that Labour have hung a Falkirk whistleblower out to dryall suggest that the unions expect to get something for their cash. 
Mr Miliband has acted decisively enough over Falkirk, but if he thinks he can ride the storm without fundamental steps to prevent something similar happening again, that illusion was shattered by Dave at yesterday's PMQs. Whatever Mr Miliband asked, Dave turned the question back to Unite and Len McCluskey, to the delight of his MPs: I'm not sure I've ever seen them quite so raucous at PMQs. Michael Deacon imagines Dave on Mastermind in this mood:
John Humphrys: “In Shakespeare’s play, who murdered Hamlet’s father?”
David Cameron: “Len McCluskey.” 
John Humphrys: “What is estimated to have killed around half the population of Europe in the 14th century?” 
David Cameron: “The Unite union.”  
Against this backdrop, the last thing Mr Miliband needed was a scene worthy of The Thick of It. But that's what he got, as notes written to help him were left in a Commons toilet by a parliamentary aide and released to the media. These included his defence of Tom Watson: "I'll take Tom Watson over Andy Coulson any day." The Times (£) has the full note
It could get even worse for Mr Miliband. He knows he must take the fight to Unite, but it's one he would rather not have under two years before the next election. We could be about to witness, as was once said of Denis Healey's fight against Tony Benn for the Labour deputy leadership, a battle for the soul of the Labour Party. As Dan Hodges blogged, "Ed Miliband is now locked into a direct confrontation with the most powerful trade unionist in the Labour movement. It’s a confrontation he cannot afford to lose."   
Andy Murray may have reached the Wimbledon semi-finals, but his real achievement is beating the curse of Cameron. Dave's Twitter messages have cursed Laura Robson, Lewis Hamilton and Mark Cavendish before - not to mention Murray in last year's Wimbledon final. But Dave really tempted fate yesterday, going as far as posting a pic of himself watching the match. 
After Mandy's devastating intervention on HS2 yesterday, Westminster's three main parties have fought back on HS2, as the FT (£) reports. Maria Eagle, gave a “cast-iron guarantee” that Labour would pursue the project if elected after 2015, while Dave said HS2 was "an example of what we need to do to equip us to succeed in the global race, secure economic prosperity, rebalance the economy and support tens of thousands of jobs." Clive Betts, the Labour MP for Sheffield, said backing HS2 was an “act of faith”. Can the politicians hold the line?
Michael Gove has given his backing to a huge expansion in Church schools. Mr Gove has said that secular state schools could be run by the Church, though it would be legally obliged to preserve the character of non-faith schools. The Government has agreed a deal to expand the Church's role in education, whereby a community school that joined a Church academy chain could keep its existing admissions policy, religious education lessons and teachers’ employment terms, as The Times (£) reports. Church schools are consistently judged as above the national average by Ofsted, and should be protected from the trend towards enforced secularisation. 
Two years after Francis Maude claimed to have outlawed excessive severance deals, the Whitehall gravy train looks to be rumbling on. The former permanent secretary at the Energy Department, Moira Wallace,was handed an exit pay-out worth £472,000, of which over £200,000 was "discretionary", when she "voluntarily" left her role last year. Tough talk about changing the pay-offs awarded to Whitehall mandarins seems rather easier than tough action. 
Many always suspected it, but now we know for sure: the BBC has a “deep liberal bias” and has failed to reflect public concerns about immigration and the European Union. That's the verdict of Helen Boaden, the BBC’s former director of news and current head of radio in a report commissioned by the BBC Trust. 
Dave's attempt to jinx Andy Murray:
@David_Cameron: The sky over Downing St a little grey right now. Let's hope it clears up for @Andy_Murray to win at #Wimbledon. Best of luck Andy. 
In the Telegraph 
Best of the rest 
John Cridland in The Times (£) - In or out, Britain has to play by Europe’s rules
John Gapper in The Financial Times (£) - Regulators are finally closing in on banks

1200 London: Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee interest rate decision announcement, the first since Mark Carney became Governor.