Friday, 26 September 2014

It's not EU it's me..

"Their tanks are digging up my lawn," Sarah Champion, Labour's MP for Rotherham, told the Today programme this morning. Ukip are in Doncaster today for their annual conference, with Labour firmly in their sights, and that party is beginning to worry. Forget the obvious symbolism of holding the event in Ed Miliband's backyard (although the venue itself is actually in the seat of Labour's Chief Whip, Rosie Winterton). Wiser heads within Labour have long said that Nigel Farage's party posed a threat to Ed Miliband as well as David Cameron. Now the word from the party's footsoldiers is beginning to filter through to the top brass.
The party leadership believes they may have found the trick to beating the People's Army. You can't trust Ukip with the NHS - huh, deja vu - is their line. They're even more Conservative than David Cameron is the message that they want to drum home in their Northern heartlands. That's the background to Nigel Farage's planned overtures on keeping the NHS funded and reducing tuition fees on science degrees, trailed in today's FT.
Will it work? Bluntly, Ukip's rise is not about policy. As James Kirkup wrote after Douglas Carswell's defection, "it's about trust, and it's absence". It's about the fact that, with the sound turned down, it's difficult to tell the difference between the attendees at Labour's gathering in Manchester and the Conservatives' get-together in Birmingham. It's about a political and a media class that is no longer trusted, liked, or respected. While that endures, no amount of movement towards Nigel Farage's party on Europe or immigration or attacks on that party's left flank will leave a mark on the People's Army. 

The House is expected to vote in favour of strikes against Isil later this evening, triggering a war that Michael Fallon says could last for years in an interview with the House Magazine. Adam Holloway, Conservative MP and a veteran of the first Gulf War, strikes a warning note in this morning's Guardian: "If your answer is to start bombing Isis in Iraq then what you are actually doing is bombing the tribes and the Ba’athists who are exactly the people you are going to need to get rid of Isis." 
Ed Miliband's planned minimum wage rise to £8 by 2020 would actually be 6p lower than the one that is on course to be delivered by the Low Pay Commission Steve Hawkes writes in the Sun, while, Sam Dunn reports in the Mail, his mooted mansion tax would raise less than planned according to the estate agent Savills. They estimate that the mansion tax would hit revenues on stamp duty and inheritance tax as the cost of housing fell, wiping out any revenue increases made by the tax. 
William Hague has warned Conservative MPs not to be distracted by arguing over the In-Out referendum promised in a second Cameron term, and to focus on holding onto power in 2015, Steven Swinford reports. He's not yet sure what all of his retirement plans will be, but, he confirms, it will certainly include more books: “I will certainly write. I haven’t yet discussed with any publisher or agent what I will write, but I’m sure it will include history." You can read the full interview with Paul Waugh and Daniel Bond here
Gatwick's vision is of two world-class airports in London helping to connect the country to the rest of the world. We want to see Gatwick grow, and Heathrow improve. As connections to emerging markets become more important, and the UK's core European markets continue to grow, we need a network of airports, enabling London to function as a true global city and our economy and tourism to thrive as a result.
Local critics say that Nigel Farage has barely been seen in Thanet South since his selection, Laura Pitel reports in the Times. "No-one has seen him," says Bunny La Roche, who has set up the Thanet branch of a union-backed "Stand Up to Ukip" campaign. Mr Farage's roles as an MEP, leader of his party and most effective media asset are all obligations that may damage his own chances of being elected in May.
Tony Blair has been recognised as one of the top "gay icons" of the past thirty years by Gay Times in its 30th anniversary special edition, for his role in lowering the age of homosexual consent, bringing it into line with that for straight couples, as well as the introduction of civil partnerships. 
Labour is recruiting for a Party Reform Liaison Officer to help shepherd the tricky process of party reform, implemented after the Falkirk affair. Meanwhile, David Lammy has called for greater clarity on the Labour party's primary to select their Mayoral candidate. The timetable - and, indeed, the fee necessary to sign up for the primary - are still unclear. Mr Lammy believes a lower, £1 fee, would involve more people, as the French Socialists found in their primary to select a Presidential candidate in 2012.
PCC-mania is still some way off. Just one member of the public turned up to a public engagement event held by Devon and Cornwall's police and crime commissioner Tony Hogg. Gail Hickman, from Bideford, was there to complain about anti-social behaviour. 
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 19th to 26th September (Populus-YouGov) 

YouGov: Conservatives 31%, Labour 37%, Liberal Democrats 7%, Ukip 13%
@laurapitel: Met a Labour voter in Hey & Mid who summed up the party's image problem. "Miliband and Cameron even wnet to the same school, didn't they?"
From the Telegraph
Fraser Nelson - How Obama went from 'No' to 'Go' with his plan to defeat Isil
Bonnie Greer - I wanted to make my own mind up about Exhibit B
From elsewhere 
Gaby Hinsliff - The niqab is no reason to deny a girl an education(Guardian)