Thursday, 11 September 2014

The empire strikes back..

Top marks for the essay crisis Prime Minister this morning. "If this was faking sincerity, it was a tour de force," James Hanning writes in the Indy, of Dave's emotional address in support of the Union."The leaders are in a panic, but in this instance, they've panicked well," says Isabel Hardman of Better Together's counterpunch. 
It's contributed to a bad day at the office for Alex Salmond. Unease on the markets led both Lloyds and RBS to confirm that they have plans in place to relocate to England in the event of a Yes vote, while BP and Shell backed the expert analysis that oil will have all but run out by 2050. The First Minister came off worse in his third and final scrap with Alistair Darling - this time on Mumsnet. And to cap it all off, a new Survation poll for the Daily Record has put the Unionists back in the lead - it's Yes 47%, No 53%. "Alex's Black Wednesday" is their splash.
"We've Got Our Nos In Front" is the Mirror's take. Yes, of course, it's just one poll, and the fieldwork took place before the Three Musketeers rode into town. There was an expectation in Better Together that the polls would boomerang following the reaction - on the doorstep as well as the trading floor - to that YouGov poll that showed the separatists pulling ahead. These figures, if repeated, would suggest that the more level-headed noises coming out of Edinburgh on Saturday may start to look rather more farsighted than they did at the time. 
Barack Obama will provide further arms to the Syrian opposition and expand the American air campaign against Islamic State into Syria, in order to "degrade and ultimately destroy" the organisation. The President believes that only a wider assault on Isil in Iraq and Syria can defeat the organisation. The whips were asking last night how far from London they will be during the recess in should there be a Yes vote next week  - but it could be foreign affairs, not Yes Scotland, that force a parliamentary recall in the end.
HILL BE PLEASEDLord Hill of Oareford has bagged a top post in Jean-Claude Juncker's European Commission - subject to a vote by MEPs. Lord Hill's role as commissioner for financial services is a victory for the PM afer tense talks with M Juncker, Bruno Waterfield reports. It's a good day for the European centre-right all round, Peter Spiegel explains in the FT. That the key posts have gone to the reform-minded and the fiscally hawkishmakes it a good day for the PM, although the appointment of Pierre Moscovici to the economic affairs post means that there will be battles ahead to protect the City of London.
"You know you've just elected the first Prime Minister of Scotland, don't you?" That's what Stuart Pratt, Alex Salmond's election agent, was told on the night that Mr Salmond first entered Parliament as the SNP's MP for Banff and Buchan. Mure Dickie profiles the man who could be kingin the FT.  "It says a great deal about Mr Salmond's political style that even many people who have been watching him for decades struggle to say what - beyond independence for Scotland - he stands for," says Mure.
Trouble at t'mill. John Redwood asked who in the government will "speak for England" in the event of a Yes vote, or, indeed, during conversations over further powers for Scotland in the House yesterday. The grumbling over the Barnett formula and the West Lothian Question is getting louder, and it's not just Conservative MPs calling for a stronger voice for England. Over at LabourList, John Denham calls for an English Labour Party - whatever happens on the 18th.
There are only six people who are non-white in the top 268 leadership roles in the most prominent public bodies. (The figures do not include elected officials in government or local authorities.) The public sector is lagging behind the private, where, former equalities supremo Trevor Philips says, where "the colour that counts is green not brown or black".  Mr Philips has called for a version of the American National Football League's "Rooney Rule" - where football teams are required to interview at least one minority ethnic candidate for a position - for the state sector.
Marcial Boo's call for a 10% pay rise for MPs was "an intended insult to the Trade Union Conference and designed to get a reaction," Dennis Skinner believes. The Beast of Bolsover sat down with Kevin Maguire for a chat. He's against Scottish independence: "I can't understand some of the trade unionists falling for flag-waving in Scotland. It's meaningless. We're citizens of the world." Dave looks "increasingly like the man from TV that he once was". Ed Miliband, meanwhile, "needs to get out more".
Jeremy Hunt has "a great deal of sympathy" for the idea of charging drunks money if they end up in A&E units. Taxpayers should not have to pay for those who have gone "over the top" on a night out, Mr Hunt told LBC.
An independent Scotland would need to amass billions of pounds of currency reserves in order to use sterling without a formal currency union, Mark Carney told MPs yesterday. A Scottish central bank would need at least 25% and possibly more than 100% of GDP in reserves if Scotland is to continue using the pound after independence. The Governor also confirmed that the Bank is drawing up contingency plans in the event of a Yes Vote.
Two local councillors, Sue Lissimore and Giles Watling will go head-to-head today in an open primary to select the Conservative candidate for the Clacton by-election. Mr Watling, an actor director and producer, is best known for playing Oswald the Vicar in the sitcom "Bread".
"Sir - What will Nigel Farage call his party if there is no United Kingdom?" asks Ian Smee in today's Letters.
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 4th to 11th September, Labour lead of four points (Populus-YouGov)
YouGov: Con 32% Lab 38% LD 6% Ukip 14% Green 5%
@philipjcowley: Best recent academic conversation re #indyref: 'I've told all my friends it'll be no. I'll look like I don't know what I'm talking about'.
From the Telegraph
Peter Oborne - Britain is facing its greatest constitutional crisis in 300 years
Helen Lewis - Women strike back in the video games sex war
Nigel Farage - Scots won't get independence from a Yes vote
From elsewhere
David Aaronovitch - Things fall apart with weak western leaders (Times)
George Eaton - Even if the Union endures, Westminster 's authority has been washed away (New Statesman)

Carol Craig  - The SNP have become Scotland's Pollyannas (Guardian)
The Telegraph Festival of Business is taking place once again on the 11th November, at The Brewery, London. Confirmed speakers include: Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO of WPP Group, Sir Charlie Mayfield, Chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, Nigel Wilson,Chief Executive of Legal & General, Tim Steiner, CEO of Ocado and Roger Bootle, Founder of Capital Economics and former HM Treasury Advisor. To register for your free place at the event, click here
0900: Call Clegg on LBC 97.3.
0900 LONDON: Maria Eagle launches national campaign against air pollution.
0945 KILMARNOCK: Former Labour prime minister Gordon Brown will make the case for Scotland staying in the UK at a Better Together rally. He will be joined at the rally by local Labour MP Cathy Jamieson and shadow pensions minister Gregg McClymont MP.
1030 EDINBURGH: Alex Salmond takes part in international press conference on independence.
1130 BALLINDALLOCH: SNP rural affairs spokesperson, Richard Lochhead, will set out a 10 point plan to deliver a 'Rural Renaissance' for Scotland using the powers of independence.
1215 LONDON: London bus drivers pay protest.
1800 GLASGOW: Scottish history expert Niall Ferguson delivers speech on referendum. The Harvard professor will offer his analysis under the title: "Kicking the Life Back into a Dying Mutual Friend: A Letter from America on Independence.