Saturday, 19 July 2014

A clear blue sky..

The reshuffle marked the end of the Coalition, in thought if not in form. From Conservative plans for tough anti-strike laws to the Liberal Democrats' newfound opposition to the bedroom tax, both parties are now in a firmly "post-Coalition" state of mind. As our latest Polling Observatory shows, Dave has a mountain to climb in order to win a majority next year.  So governing is on hold while politics dominates. 

But today's newspapers are a reminder that government does not stop. We don't yet have all the details of the apparent shooting of a Malaysia Airlines plane by pro-Russian separatists - we don't yet know what the repercussions will be. (Updates, as we have them, will appear here.)  It's not clear what the endgame to the Israeli ground invasion of Gaza is. 
But both are reminders that the PM and his Foreign Secretary will not be able to ignore everything else and focus on Europe - and, while we're at it, that the remarkable jobs recovery described by Fraser Nelson in his column today may well be affected by economic shocks elsewhere. However cunning your strategy, many of the most important matters of government remain far outside the ability of Westminster politicians to control or predict. 

Patrick Wintour has obtained a leaked draft of Peter Clarke's report into the "Trojan horse" schools, which is due to be published within the next 24 hours. "A sustained, coordinated agenda to impose segregationist attitudes and practices of a hardline, politicised strain of Sunni Islam," the report says. The aim was "the imposition of an aggressively separatist and intolerant agenda incompatible with full participation in a plural secular democracy".  The line you can expect arguments over is this: "the agenda, but not the tactics, involved stem from an international movement to increase the role of Islam in education".  Mr Clarke has warned that "benign neglect" of school accountability in both Birmingham's LEA-run schools and academies overseen by the DfE has left them vulnerable. Tristram Hunt has called for new local Directors of School Standards to improve oversight and standards. 
Record numbers of peers have asked for permission to speak in the assisted dying debate as Lord Falconer's Bill has its second reading. It's a free vote and the outcome is uncertain. In the Indy, Baroness Royall, Labour's leader in the Lords, sets out why she'll be voting for the Bill, while the crossbencher and former Paralympian Baroness Grey-Thompson explains why she'll be voting against in the Telegraph.
Ed Miliband will create a new rail authority that will drive down fares and cut down costs to taxpayers, James Lyons reports in the Mirror, while, in the Guardian says that a deal has been made between the unions and the Labour leadership giving state and not-for-profit firms the right to bid for rail franchises. It ain't necessarily so, Mark Fergusonexplains. The proposals have to pass the National Policy Forum, where there is expected to be pressure from both trade unionists and local party delegates to make renationalisation automatic. WHAT ARE EU DOING, DAVE?
A picture of Dave greeting his old pal Jean-Claude Juncker with a high-five was widely circulated yesterday. The Sun uses Photoshop to imagine more appropriate greetings: a two-fingered salute, a bared bottom or even just a handshake would have been better, they advise. Dave has also signalled his opposition to the appointment of Donald Tusk, the Polish PM, as President of the European Council. The PM fears Mr Tusk might stymie Britain's drive to reform rules on welfare. So it can only be a matter of time before Dave is fistbumping with Donald.
GOVE'S WATERLOOMichael Gove has purchased books on the art of whipping to help ease himself into the role. Just as well - he had need of some bathroom reading after being stuck in a loo, as well as losing a vote over Labour's plans to get the OBR to audit the party's spending plans. If you missed it yesterday, do take a look at John McTernan's guide to being Chief Whip - and why, once he's out of the WC, Mr Gove should excel at it. 

The Morning Briefing is written by Stephen Bush, who tweets as@stephenkb. Our cartoon is the work of the Telegraph's excellent cartoonist Christian Adams; you can view sketches and recent Telegraph cartoons on his InstagramPOLL OF POLLS
Poll of polls 11th to 17th July (Populus-ICM--IpsosMori-YouGov) Labour lead by four points
She fought the paw. The paw won:
@stellacreasy: Just spent 20 minutes fighting a cat for a bowl of strawberries and cream. I began to fear for my fingers and crockery if I didn’t give in..

In the Telegraph
James Kirkup - Who killed Michael Gove? Glenda Jackson
Dan Hodges - Is Nick Clegg actually trying to remind people why they hate him?
Fraser Nelson - What's the secret behind our jobs miracle? Welfare reform
Jeremy Warner - A corporate malaise is afflicting the West

Best of the Rest

Gaby Hinsliff - Silly season now means treating us all as idiots
Philip Collins - Sack your most dynamic minister? PatheticAGENDA

1000 LONDON: Second reading of Lord Falconer's Assisted Dying Bill. Protesters from Not Dead Yet UK are due to rally outside Parliament.
1230 DUNDEE: Alistair Darling opens Better Together office. He will be joined by Dundee West MP Jim McGovern and North East Scotland MSP Jenny Marra.