Friday, 11 July 2014

Nothing to hide..

The Government's plans to fast-track the Data Retention and Investigation Powers (Drip) Bill through Parliament dominate the news.  In the Guardian, Shami Chakrabarti, David Davis and Diane Abbott are concerned that the legislation could will open the door to further mass surveillance without a proper debate. The Sun's leader says that we don't have time for any of that: "fanatics intent on our destruction will not put their plains on hold while we talk", they say.
In the Telegraph, Willard Foxton is intensely relaxed about the whole thing; Padraig Reidy is somewhat more alarmed. If only there were some national venue for such a discussion to play out in  - what's the name of that old building that politicians make announcements in?
It's worth taking a moment to look away from the news from Westminster. The inquest into the death of Cherry Groce is a reminder that, in Britain, the trouble with overweening state power has come not from government collecting too much information, but from concealing it. Cameras - and metadata - don't lie; which cannot always be said with confidence of the police. Meanwhile there is the not inconsiderable matter of those "fanatics intent on our destruction" to think about. As our leader somewhat optimistically notes, Drip's 2016 sunset clause should allow for a fuller debate on the balance between privacy and security - the concern is that "the debate" will take place behind closed doors between Coalition ministers.

The Government has botched the sale of the Royal Mail, a highly critical report by the Business Select Committee says. Meanwhile, Professor David Parker, the government's official historian of privatisation, has said that the sell-off achieved poorer value than the state auctions of the 1980s and 1990s. The claims come in an article for the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, the FT reports.  SOMETHING OF THE NIGHT ABOUT BRUSSELS?
James Forsyth's summary of the possible contenders for UK's man (or woman) in the European Commission is widely reported in today's papers. Nominating a woman might increase the UK's chance of a plum job, as Jean-Claude Juncker has pledged to give more senior positions to women than his predecessor, Jose Manuel Barroso did. Unfortunately for Downing Street, many of the government's senior women are too Eurosceptic for the role. The word on the street appears to be that Andrew Lansley's chances are slipping - no-one wants to risk Britain's hope of a good job by handing it out as a consolation prize - while giving the post to a peer would avoid the risk of a potentially hazardous by-election, which could mean one last big job for Lord Howard.
The Office for Budget Responsibility has revised down long-term North Sea oil revenue by a quarter, Szu Ping Chan reports.  It's a further blow to Alex Salmond and the SNP's financial projections for an independent Scotland.
Michael Gove's plan to get former soldiers into schools has run into difficulty, the Sun reports. Just 41 recruits have signed up to the Troops to Teachers drive, at a cost of £2 million. Tories accuse senior civil servants and the Liberal Democrats of conspiring to wreck the scheme.
Lord Lawson of Blaby has been interviewed by the House magazine. He's reiterated his belief that renegotiation will fail and that the PM will have to campaign for Britain to leave the EU. But he's also sending a message of support for Owen Paterson, the Environment Secretary, still bruised after the floods. It's all part of the Tory Right's attempt to keep Mr Paterson in post after the reshuffle, the Times explains.
LORD COE'S A GOLord Coe is "a virtual shoo-in" to become the next chairman of the BBC Trust, Robert Peston has said on his blog. It's suggested that, far from being a safe pair of hands, the next four years may well see a radical reform of the Trust if not the wider BBC.THE COST OF OUR RULERS
The latest round of Parliamentary expenses have been released by Ipsa, including an 11p claim for a ruler from Ken Clarke (Jamil Mustafa has the details).

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 4th to 11th July (Opinium-Populus-YouGov) Labour lead by five points

Crazy talk!
@BarrySheerman: Wouldn't it be better to have a massive campaign on healthy living diet exercise & danger of obesity?
In the Telegraph

Isabel Hardman - Labour media team spends more time squabbling than selling Ed Miliband

Fraser Nelson - The public sector strike shows just how much times have changed
Tim Stanley - Hey, Cameron, leave those teaching unions alone: striking is a civil right
Jeremy Warner - The NHS doesn't have a prayerBest of the Rest

Francis Elliott - It's Team Cameron that needs the reshuffle
John McTernan - Voting No because I love Scotland
AGENDA1500 YORK: General Synod of the Church of England meets.