Friday, 25 July 2014

Mission accomplished..

"Grow for it" cheers the Sun. "UK has fastest-growing economy" is our splash. "Britain's recovery outstrips the world" is the Times' front page. "Grow for it", cheers page 2 of the Sun. "Boost for Osborne as IMF uprates growth", says the Guardian. 
The IMF has raised its growth forecasts for the second time this year; the UK is now forecast to by 3.2% in 2014 and 2.7% in 2015. It's a good day for George Osborne, says the Mail's leader: now, how about some tax cuts? 
Put the champagne down, says Ed Balls in the Guardian: it's two years behind George Osborne's original plan and GDP per head is still below pre-crisis levels, it's a "lost decade for living standards", says Mr Balls.  There are further caveats, too: we don't yet know what the global effects of the prolonged period of low interest rates, or what will happen to the recovery once the flow of cheap money begins to be cut off; in the Statesman, Gavin Kelly at the Resolution Foundation outlines the squeeze on households that an uptick in bank rate could cause. And that's before we consider the possible effects of a trade war with Russia, who, Matt Holehouse reports, are threatening to hit British companies in retaliation for European sanctions. 

Assuming for a moment that those various potholes can be avoided, what matters is whether or not that growth is felt around the country, and if it creates the fiscal headroom for tax cuts to the basic rate and a rise in the threshold for the 40p rate. But today's good news will contribute to the positive feeling within the Tory party that the wind is at their backs and that their chances of defeating Ed Miliband are better than ever. 

Speaking of Ed Miliband; the Labour leader kicks off his party's summer campaign today with a speech at the Royal Institute of British Architects. The theme is "the Choice"; between a Tory government creating a Hobbesian nightmare and a Labour party putting a huggable puppy on every street corner (I paraphrase). As Allegra Stratton explains, it's partly about Team Ed getting the Shadow Cabinet to "sing for their summer holidays", particularly those middle-ranking Opposition frontbenchers who went AWOL during Ed's difficult summer last year.   Getting the whole Shadow Cabinet to pitch in will also get the party's internal machinery working in the run-up to conference and the battles to come thereafter.
Boris Johnson has defended Dave's decision to play a tennis match with Lubov Chernukhin and her husband. (He took a swipe at the PM's tennis abilities, though. Asked whether he'd be playing alongside or against the PM, he replied: "We'll have to see about that - possibly both at the same time.") Boris also reminded LBC listeners that London is now home to any number of Russian emigres who have now fallen out with the Kremlin, and that simply targeting anyone who has come from that country to this is unlikely to upset Vladimir Putin very much. Regardless, the Mail is going full pelt on this one - "Meet Dave's other chums who made billions under Putin and are bankrolling the Tories" is the story. NO SMOKE WITHOUT IRE
"Don't Mess With The Arrows" roars the Mail's front page. Michael Fallon, newly installed at the MoD, had to personally intervene to prevent an "outrageous" attempt to get the Red Arrows to trail the colours of the Scottish flag rather than the traditional red white and blue, James Chapman and Louise Eccles reveal. Sources close to Alex Salmond insist that he was unaware of the request that the planes trail the colours of the Saltire, while a spokesman for the Scottish government has described the claims as "completely untrue". Meanwhile, in today's Scotsman, John McTernan calls for a new champion for Scottish Labour's battle to save the Union: a little-known politician called Gordon Brown.
The Coalition's flagship programme to tackle youth unemployment is to be quietly ditched amid claims that it has been a failure, Jim Pickardreports in the FT. The £1 billion scheme was a personal project of Nick Clegg but just under 5,000 recruits completed placements in the scheme's first year against a target of 160,000 for the entire programme.
Nick Clegg is under growing pressure to suspend David Ward, who said he would be prepared to fire a Hamas rocket at Israeli civilians, Matt Holehouse reports. In a rare intervention, the Israeli ambassador, Daniel Taub, wrote to Nick Clegg to express his "shock and disgust" at the remarks.
I know that there are still some image issues on certain Android phones - if you are experiencing any, please let me know what device and operating system you are using. Lastly, I have got horribly behind on correspondence - apologies to those of you who are waiting for a response. Have a lovely weekend. 
The Morning Briefing is written by Stephen Bush, who tweets as@stephenkb. Our cartoon is the work of Christian Adams; you can see his cartoons on Instagram.
Poll of polls 18th to 25th July, Labour lead of three points (ComRes-Opinium-Populus-YouGov)
The recess is barely two days old, and already MPs are losing patience with their constituents' problems:
@jreedmp: Family from a haunted house flee for a new life in another house they know to be haunted. Deserve all they get in my view.
From the Telegraph
David Blair - Israel and Hamas are on the road to nowhere
Maggie Philbin - 'Tomorrow's World' doesn't belong in the past - we need it today
Harry Wallop - Don't women have opinions?Jeremy Warner - Why Britain should follow the yellow brick road to Kansas
Best of the Rest
Philip Collins - Put an end to this unspeakable abomination (Times)Mary Dejevsky - Is this the dwindling of a Scottish 'Yes'? (i)
John McTernan - None bigger than Gordon Brown (Scotsman)
0930 LONDON: First estimate of UK GDP for the second quarter is published by the Office for National Statistics.