Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Telegraph Morning Briefing

Green Grass & High Tides.. 

Good morning. Natalie Bennett will be feeling awfully chipper this morning. ICM has the Greens at their highest rating with that pollster for 20 years (9%). The latest Ashcroft has her party on 11%. And today's YouGov poll for the Sun has the party at its highest ever rating for that pollster (10%). That's contributed to Labour's worst rating with YouGov for five years - they're down to 30%. "Ed's Triple Whammy" is the Sun's headline. 

The usual caveats about getting too excited about individual polls apply. Added to that, remember that poll fluctuations can be caused by bursts of enthusiasm - or the lack thereof - among the supporters of one party or another. (If you are a depressed Labour supporter you're less likely to take the time to participate in a poll than a newly-enrolled Green) But given the surge in their membership and the increased focus on the Greens due to the ongoing row over the debates, it seems likely that Ms Bennett's party will continue to rise in the polls. Yes, there will be increased scrutiny of their members and their manifesto, but as Ukip has shown, the usual rules don't quite apply to populist parties.

Champagne all round in CCHQ and Downing Street? The decision to focus on the Greens' exclusion on the debates, to raise their profile to the discomfort of Ed Miliband looks as if it's being validated. It's a "Ukip of the left" is the familiar refrain. But I'm not so sure. It feels not so very long ago that Labour figures were telling all and sundry that they had nothing to fear from Nigel Farage, or that the only party with reason to fear the SNP at Westminster was the Conservatives. The Greens are feeding off the same disillusionment with politics that keeps Ukip in the game. And frankly, if you look at the profile of the Green defectors - young, well-educated, disillusioned by Ed Miliband and more inclined to trust the PM and his Chancellor over the Eds on the economy - the question has to be asked: shouldn't at least some of these people be being targeted by the Conservatives? 


Jeremy Hunt has warned paramedics that their 12-hour strike will put patients at risk, Peter Dominiczak and Laura Donnelly report. The unions are demanding a 1% pay rise. "Paramedics told: your strike over pay could kill patients" is our splash. 


The Chilcot inquiry will be delayed until after the next election. "Outrage as Chilcot report is delayed until after the election" is the Indy's splash.  "Verdict delayed - no Iraq war report until after the election" is the Guardian's take. It's the Maxwellisation process of consulting those criticising that is taking so much time.  Bernard Jenkin is unfazed: the inquiry into Bloody Sunday "took a decade when it was never meant to do so", Mr Jenkin pointed out on Today.


The Foreign Office has accused Theresa May of jeopardising plans to re-open the British embassy in Iran because of her tough line on immigration, Laura Pitel and Hugh Tomlinson report in the Times. Mrs May is said to be refusing to open a visa office - a "key demand" by Tehran - until 4,000 Iranians who do not have leave to remain in Britain are deported. "'Hardline' May accused of blocking Tehran deal" is the Thunderer's splash. 


Britain is "wide open to abuse" from "freeloading" European migrants says Philip Hammond. "Free movement to work is one of the principles of the European Union, free movmeent to freeload is not." Raziye Akkoc has the figures on benefit claimants. 


A good anecdote from Jim Murphy via the Times Diary. A recent camping holiday brought an awkward encounter with a fellow camper. "You look just like that Jim Murphy," they said. "Oh, ah," replied Mr Murphy. "You also sound like him." Just a coincidence, Mr Murphy, who was eager to have a quiet holiday, said. "Good," came the reply, "I wouldn't want to spend ten days pitched next to that prick."

You can get in touch with me by pressing "reply" or on Twitter. Our cartoon is the work of Christian Adams- a gallery of his work is available here.


Poll-of-Polls (Ashcroft-Populus-Opinium-ICM-Ipsos-YouGov) Conservatives 32% Labour 33% Liberal Democrat 8% Ukip 15% Greens 7% 


ICM: Conservatives 30% Labour 33% Liberal Democrat 11% Ukip 11% Green 9%

YouGov: Conservatives 32% Labour 30% Liberal Democrat 8% Ukip 15% Green 10%


@ChairmanMoet: That Tim Aker story instantly transported me back, in an anxious reverie, to all the work deadlines I've spectacularly failed to meet. Awful


From the Telegraph

Mary Riddell - Ed Miliband needs to get his groove back to fight off the Greens

James Kirkup - George Osborne's tainted love for Boris Johnson

From elsewhere

Daniel Finkelstein - Here's why we all have reason to be fearful (Times)

Rafael Behr - The general election could unleash a new wave of contempt for politics (Guardian)


1000 LONDON: Energy Secretary Ed Davey gives evidence to the Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee.

1200 LONDON: Prime Minister's Questions. 

1700: Ed Balls on LBC radio.

1930 BELFAST: Ed Miliband to address a local business community in Belfast.


COMMONS - 1130: 

Wales Questions. 

Prime Minister's Questions. 

A 10 Minute Rule Motion: Onshore Wind Turbine Subsidies (Abolition). 

An Opposition Day debate: The NHS. 

A motion to approve a statutory instrument relating to terrorism. 

A short debate on the implementation of the introduction of standardised packaging of tobacco products. 

Westminster Hall: 

0930: Implications of the independent review of Personal Independence Payments. 

1100: Fuel prices in the UK. 

1430: Government support for homeless young people. 

1600: Mobile phone coverage in East Yorkshire and North Linconshire. 

1630: Future of adult social care. 

LORDS - 1500: 


National Insurance Contributions Bill - Third reading. 

Criminal Justice and Courts Bill - Consideration of Commons amendments. 

A debate on the report of the Communications Committee on Broadcast general election debates.