Tuesday, 28 October 2014

More EU..

ch, Michael Deacon decides: "They want Britain to leave. That has to be it."  The PM came close to agreeing yesterday. The affair is "not a good development" for people trying to argue that the European Union is "capable of reform", Mr Cameron said.  
"We are not paying a sum anything like that," he continued. "So now we knew," quips Ann Treneman in the Times: "Britain was like, sort of, kind of, not going to pay anything nearish or even more-ish." You'll open a "Pandora's Box" warns Jacek Dominik, the departing EU commissioner, which could even end up with Britain losing its EU budget rebate. It could go a bit further than that, says Nick Watt in the Guardian: "a toxic mix of an impending Ukip victory...combined with some deeply unhelpful developments in the EU, are forcing the PM to adopt ever harder positions". It could end up with Mr Cameron ending up arguing for a European exit in 2017. 
He'll worry about that tomorrow. As Ann Treneman puts it: "Dave now fears only those who sit behind him. All he says is for their ears only". The official Opposition did rather well yesterday thanks to a letter from Nicky Morgan in March showing that the Treasury was aware of the possibility of a big bill some  months ago. The Sun's not sold, though. "Who cares if a few officials in Whitehall knew months ago we would be slapped with a £1.7 billion invoice?" their leader asks. "We all know how Miliband would react to a shock £1.7 billion EU bill: by writing out the cheque. Credit to Cameron that he hasn't."  

That's as maybe, but the problem is that it has awoken the old fears on the government benches about the PM's tendency to drift into crisis, and it's making both the Eurosceptics and the Europhiles antsy. Frankly the ongoing debate about whether Britain is swamped, deluged or merely lightly spattered with immigrants may well do more for Ukip's chances in Rochester than any bill, no matter how outrageous it may be. The prospects for exit, however, may be rather stronger than the polls suggest.  
Politicians must choose their language carefully and "not treat immigration as just a deep menace that will overwhelm" Britain, the Archbishop of Canterbury warned yesterday, suggesting that inflammatory rhetoric was leading to an increase in racial tension in communities. David Blunkett appears to have missed the memo."Blunkett: Migrants Really Are Swamping Parts Of UK" is the Mail's splash.  The former Home Secretary has ridden to Michael Fallon's rescue in a column for today's Mail. Eastern European immigration to his constituency has caused "a host of difficulties" including increasied waste collection because of houses of multiple occupation, exploitation of migrants by rogue landlords, and "the gathering of large groups in the streets". 
THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP BLUE SEABritain will not support any further search and rescue operations to prevent migrants drowning in the Mediterranean, the Foreign Office has announced.  It's believed that the rescue operations encourage others to attempt the dangerous crossing, actually endangering more lives than it saves. But Maurice Wren, chief executive of the British Refugee Council, is not convinced. "Boarding a rickety boat in Libya will remain a seemingly rational decision if you're running for your life and your country is in flames," he tells the Guardian.
Gordon Brown as well as two rising stars of Scottish Labour, Jenny Marra and Kezia Dugdale, have ruled themselves out of contention for the leadership, while Anas Sarwar, the deputy leader, has also confirmed that he will not be standing. It looks like a straight contest between Neil Findlay from the party's left and Jim Murphy, who is expected to declare his intentions later today. The election will be decided by Labour's electoral college; one third MPs and MSPs, one third members, and a third from "affliates" (that is, trade unions, councilors and various groups like the Scottish Fabians). Pressure is growing on Mr Sarwar to announce that he, too, will stand down, in order to allow an MSP to take his position. 

David Cameron's protection officers are under fire - not like that - after allowing Dean Farley, a jogger, to run into the PM yesterday, seemingly shoving him. (You can watch the video here.)  "It Could Have Been A Terrorist" squeals the Mirror's splash. "What if this man had been carrying a knife?" the Mail frets.  
Highly paid government officials will be stripped of their redundancy payments if they are subsequently rehired, the government will announce today. Under new legislation, individuals earning more than £100,00 who take a new job in the same part of the public sector within a year will have to repay all or part of their redundancy package. The law will apply to local government civil servants and NHS workers but not to the Armed Forces, the BBC or the Bank of England, Steven Swinford reports
Terrorists will use Britain as a bolthole if MPs vote to pull out of the European arrest warrant, the security services have warned. Mark Field, the MP for Cities of London and Westminster, said: “The security services have made a pretty compelling case that we do need to opt back in. There are jihadists from Europe and if we are the weak link in the chain, the risk is some of them would come to the UK and go to ground."  But Jacob Rees-Mogg has accused the Home Office of giving "inaccurate briefings" about the risks of opting-out. 
The UK's gender gap has continued to widen, according to a World Economic Forum report. Britain has slipped out of the Top 20 countries, falling from 18th to 26th in the annual Global Gender Gap report, its lowest overall score since 2008. When the league table began in 2006, the UK was ranked ninth. 
Ukip activists took a break from campaigning for Mark Reckless in Rochester & Strood to take a picture with Britain First activist Jayda Fransen, the far right party. "Our policies are very similar to Ukip's, in fact they almost mirror them," Ms Fransen said. Ukip disagree. "We have no connection with Britain First and reject any association with them," a spokesman told BuzzFeed, "A mistake of this nature will not happen again." The activists in question have had the error of their ways explained to them, the spokesman continued. 
Our cartoon is the work of Christian Adams; see a gallery of his workhere.  You can get in touch with me by hitting "reply", or on Twitter. .HOW HAVE THE POLLS MOVED OVER THE LAST MONTH?

ComRes-Opinium-Populus-YouGov(21.10.14-28.10.14): Conservatives 32% Labour 33% Liberal Democrat 8% Ukip 17% Others 10%LATEST POLLS
Ashcroft: Conservatives 31% Labour 31% Liberal Democrats 7% Ukip 18%
Populus: Conservatives 34% Labour 36% Liberal Democrats 8% Ukip 13%
YouGov: Conservatives 32%, Labour 32%, Liberal Democrats 8%, Ukip 16%
@MikeSmithsonPB: It's been calculated that cost of administering the 2012 PCC elections was £11.19 per vote cast
From the Telegraph

Emma Barnett - David Cameron:this is what feminism looks like
Philip Johnston - Only the spirit of Fontainebleau can reduce our soaring EU bill From elsewhere 

Janan Ganesh - Cameron is right to stand up to Brussels on the budget(FT)
Ed Conway - Europe is still awaiting its Thatcher moment (Times)
AGENDA0900 LONDON: Ofgem's annual winter outlook seminar where National Grid will explain its latest analysis on supply and demand for gas and electricity this winter.
0930 LONDON: Energy minister Matthew Hancock publishes security of supply report.
0945 LONDON: Boris Johnson speech on investing in infrastructure and Crossrail 2.
1430 LONDON: NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens gives evidence to the Commons Health Committee on spending on health and social care.
1445 LONDON: Commons Home Affairs Committee takes evidence from Mayor of Calais on migration. 
1530 LONDON: Lords Communications Committee takes evidence on women in broadcasting.
1830 LONDON: Tristram Hunt in conversation with David Aaronovitch at Progress event.
Foreign Office Questions.
A Ten Minute Rule Motion: School Governors (Appointment).
Two Opposition Day debates: i) The negative effect of the Government's policies on disabled people; ii) Coalfield Communities.
A short debate on the A5 trunk road between the M42 and the M69.
0930: Copycat websites for Government services.
1100: Citizens Advice Scotland's report entitled Voices from the Frontline: Personal Independence Payments.
1430: UK aid to education for children and young people with disabilities.
1600: Future of the Furness line.
1630: UK visa applications from Malawi.
Introductions, Baroness Evans of Bowes Park and Lord Cashman.
Serious Crime Bill [HL] - Report stage (Day 2).
A short debate on the long-term financial sustainability of music education hubs and the National Plan for Music Education.