Close to a million public sector workers are on strike today; firefighters, civil servants teachers, nurses and diverse local government officials have walked out in protest over the continuing public sector pay freeze.
It's war. The teaching unions ought to be putting the education of our most deprived children first, not pay and pensions, Michael Gove will say in a speech today. Grant Shapps has written for the Express today; he joins David Cameron in calling for strikes without a fresh ballot to be made illegal. There's a widespread feeling within the Tory Party that an NUT ballot from 2012 is an inadequate defence for a strike in 2014. The PM's pledge has provoked a hostile response from the trade unions. He's a "Bullingdon bully", union leaders say in the Guardian, while Unite are brandishing a Survation poll showing broad support for today's strike.
Labour is copping it from both sides. The Tory attack that Ed Miliband is too weak to stand up to his paymasters is well-rehearsed. Dave Prentis, the general secretary of Unison, is having a go too: "It is time for Labour to make up its mind," he says, rather than trying to have it both ways.
Ignore the politics for a moment, and consider the policy. Ed Balls has committed Labour to continuing the public sector pay freeze and balancing the books within the next parliament. Their line is that the onus is on the government to dial down the rhetoric and get around the table. Both Team Ed and Team Dave think it's in their interest to say that, whether because Mr Miliband is too weak or Mr Cameron is too warlike, these strikes wouldn't be happening under a Labour government. But beyond the platitudes, it's difficult to see what Labour would really do so differently if they want to get Britain back in the black.
WANTED: ANTI-ESTABLISHMENT JUDGE
Baroness Butler-Sloss - the retired judge appointed to investigate allegations of a cover-up of child sex abuse, is under fire for being too close to the establishment. That her late brother, Sir Michael Havers,was the Attorney-General during the early 1980s when some of the scandals may have been swept under the carpet is raising eyebrows in some quarters. Meanwhile, the Baroness has been hit by the disclosure that she was forced to issue an apology after making crucial errors in a previous inquiry into two paedophile priests. SUPER SNOOPER
Emergency laws to allow the spooks and the cops to probe the Internet for terror plots will be rushed through Parliament, Tom Newton Dunnreveals in the Sun. Theresa May has won over the Liberal Democrats to give security chiefs the new powers, while senior Labour MPs have been invited into the top secret discussions in a bid to secure cross-party support. The Cabinet met this morning to talk over the plans and with the government has securing the backing of all three parties; the new laws are expected to be passed within a week, Nick Robinson said on the Today programme this morning.
WAR! IS ACTUALLY QUITE EXPENSIVE
The MoD has already been cut to the bone, Philip Hammond warned aRoyal United Services Institute conference yesterday. The planned cuts put the department on "a tight trajectory, but it is one we can live with," Mr Hammond said, but further cuts would imperil Britain's interests. There are fears within the MoD that the ministry will be asked to make further savings after the election.LET'S GET READY TO RUMBLE
Alistair Darling and Alex Salmond will go head-to-head in a two-hour debate on August 5th, Ben Riley-Smith reports. It will be chaired by Bernard Ponsonby, STV's political editor, while an audience of 350 voters will be able to ask questions. The First Minister has vowed to continue chasing the debate with David Cameron that the SNP craves.
TAXI FOR VINCE CABLE!
"Cable orders asset sale review on eve of Royal Mail report" is the FT's splash. (Wuh?) "Vince Cable has bowed to nine months of intense criticism of the sale of Royal Mail," Louise Armitstead explains. The Business Secretary has ordered a review of the listing process for the Royal Mail's sale, after a National Audit Office report accused the government of costing hundreds of millions of pounds.
The PM is under pressure to sack Theresa Villiers, Laura Pitel reports in the Times. A senior Northern Irish politician likens her to a tape recorder: “She puts in a tape, presses play and this stream of stuff comes out. She doesn’t listen.” One of her allies says: “It’s not that she doesn’t work hard or is not competent. She is. She’s just not good at the relationships stuff.”
BORIS FOR UXBRIDGE?
A safe London seat may be opening up for Boris Johnson, the Sun reports. Sir John Randall will step down from his Uxbridge constituency, leaving behind a 11,216 majority. Is this BoJo's moment?
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 Instagram.
TWEETS & TWITS@Jeremy_Browne: Germany came to bury Cesar, not to praise him. Ha! That is the most disorientating result I have ever seen. Remarkable
POLL OF POLLS
Poll of polls 3rd to 10th July (ComRes-Opinium-Populus-YouGov) Labour lead by three points
COMMENTIn the Telegraph
Peter Oborne - The over-ambitious John Bercow must be stopped in his tracks
Iain Martin - In the grip of a moral panic, Britain is turning into a banana republic
Polling Observatory- Ignore the Juncker bounce and the Labour surge
Tom Chivers - The '10,600 people died within six weeks of being declared fit to work by Atos' stat is simply wrongBest of the Rest
Tanya Gold - Harriet Harman's real sin is ambition
David Aaronovitch - Let's see some evidence. Then we can panic
George Eaton - Labour must be clear that money for the NHS will lead to cuts elsewhere
AGENDA0930 LONDON: Business Secretary Vince Cable will give a speech to the Social Market Foundation.0930: Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) releases its lending trends figures for May.
0930 LONDON: Michael Gove to speak at Education Reform Summit. Hosted by the Department for Education and the Education Foundation think tank.
0935 LONDON: BBC boss Tony Hall speaks about the future of the licence fee.
1000 LONDON: Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe and Boris Johnson to be questioned about police performance.
1130 LONDON: Chief of Air Staff Sir Andrew Pulford speech to Rusi Air Power Conference.1200 LONDON: Bank of England decision on interest rates and quantitative easing.