Wednesday, 3 September 2014


 "A Briton will be next warns 'Jihadi John' as he beheads second captive" is our headline, and the threat that a British hostage - an aid worker who, at the family's request, remains nameless -will be next, dominates today's papers. 
The killing of a second American hostage, the journalist Steven Sotloff, has relegated the ongoing row about what, if any, substance there is to the PM's new anti-terror proposals to the margins, but it's all part of the same question: namely, what, exactly does Mr Cameron plan to do about it all? Even if we wanted to stay out, it's a conflict that is at home as much as it is abroad, as today's reports that pupils at a school from the centre of the alleged "Trojan Horse"  plot were shown a jihadist video by staff, and the PM recognises as much. 

Understanding the stakes, though, has never been the PM's problem. La Repubblica, an Italian daily, has obtained details of the closed-door talks in Brussels on Saturday, when the PM warned his European counterparts that in appeasing Vladimir Putin, they run the risk of repeating the mistakes of the 1930s, and the remarks are picked up bythe Sunthe Guardian and the Mail.  But for all the PM recognises that Something Must Be Done, he doesn't appear to have got very far at actually doing anything.  
The PM heads to Newport tomorrow having, as Patrick Wintour writesin the Guardian today, lost any illusions about Vladimir Putin. The priority for the summit is to make it clear that Nato is serious about its obligations on the world stage, in Ukraine and in the Middle East (where regional unrest is a very real threat to alliance member Turkey). Downing Street is frustrated at what they see as a lack of leadership from the White House, but Britain still faces major challenges of its own in trying to provide that leadership itself. 

"Scots vote fears rattle City" is the FT's splash. Yesterday's YouGov poll has sent jitters through the money markets. Sterling was down from $1.658 per £1 to $1.649, while shares in companies with cross-border interests, including Lloyds and RBS, were hit. Meanwhile, Ollie Rehn, the vice-president of the European Parliament, and fromer European commissioner for economic and monetary affairs, has pooh-poohed the idea that Scotland would be able to keep the pound and remain members of the European Union after independence. EU membership requires access to an independent central bank, so without a currency union, Scotland would either have to use a different currency or remain firmly shut out of the EU, Szu Ping Chan explains.
"Unhappy birthday for Dave" is the Mirror's page 2 lead. The Clacton by-election has been scheduled for October 9th - the PM's 48th birthday. Lord Ashcroft's poll of the constituency suggests that he's likely to receive at least one unwanted gift: a drubbing from Douglas Carswell and Ukip. (No receipt on this one, I'm afraid.)  Lord Ashcroft's poll shows Ukip on course to take 56% to the Conservatives 24%, confirming the grim prognosis of the Survation poll at the weekend. Keep calm and focus on 2015 was the message to Tory backbenchers last night. Alastair Burt was cheered for his widely reported remark that Mr Carswell had "stabbed us all in the back" by making it harder to get a referendum on EU membership.
John Bercow sat down with George Parker in the FT. To say that the appointment is a power grab by his office is "nonsense on stilts", he says. It's all about modernising the Commons, Mr Bercow argues. While the clerks are "a very special group of people", he says, "there is another discipline and that discipline is management.”
Sir Howard Davies is in a war of words with Boris Johnson. It's nonsense to condemn the estuary airport says Mr Johnson in the Indy and the Guardian. It's a "lie" to say that the report has been fixed by the Civil Service, Sir Howard hits back in the Guardian. 
Tony Blair has been named "Philanthropist of the Year" at the GQ Awards for his "tireless charity work". The Mirror's not pleased: "Blair-Faced Cheek" is their headline. 
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 27th August to 3rd September, Labour lead of four points (ComRes-Populus-Opinium-YouGov)
YouGov: Con 32%, Lab 35%, LD 8%, Ukip 15%
How did it come to this?
@wallaceme: Gary Barlow, there, demonstrating how to reignite a story that most people had forgotten about.
From the Telegraph

Mary Riddell - Cameron's anti-terror curbs won't scare the wolf at his door
John Curtice - What will it take to persuade Scots to say no?

Dan Hodges - The future may belong to the Left after all
Best of the Rest

Rafael Behr - Election 2015 is a race neither Labour nor the Tories are fit to win (Guardian)

Stephen McGinty - On the road with Jim Murphy (Scotsman)
Alice Thomson - Wake up, unionists. You really could lose this (Times)
0830 LONDON: Ministers from Nato member states discuss challenges to the Atlantic Alliance ahead of the Nato summit, including speech by Defence Secretary Michael Fallon at 1000.
0930 LONDON: Home Secretary Theresa May speech on policing reform.
0930 EDINBURGH: Yes and No campaigns to take part in charity penalty shoot-out. Members of Better Together and Yes Scotland will hold a penalty shootout for the Gordon's Fightback motor neurone disease charity.
1030 ROTHERHAM: Meeting of Rotherham council's cabinet to discuss response to child abuse report.
1430 LONDON: Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers gives evidence to Commons Northern Ireland Committee on on-the-runs.