Friday, 19 June 2015

Let's get radical..



David Cameron will issue a hard-hitting message today to the Muslim community, as Tom Whitehead reports on our front page, warning that some parts "quietly condoning" anti-Western ideology is making it easier for Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) to recruit in British cities.

The Prime Minister will urge Muslims to do more to combat the lure of Isil among young people, and tell those who have lost loved ones to extremist groups to stop "finger pointing" when their relatives flee to Syria or Iraq. His speech risks a backlash from some Muslim leaders. However, he is said to believe a "frank debate" is needed, and judging by how some front pages have distilled his message - the Daily Mail went for "PM: UK Muslims helping Jihadis" - he isn't pulling his punches.

"False ideas about Islamic beliefs should be confronted and corrected; its essential teachings about love and peace should be embraced," we say. "Likewise, we might infer that the Prime Minister is not criticising Islam but urging Muslims to play a stronger role in promoting Islam as it truly is. This is a courageous statement to make. But undeniably necessary."

Is this the blunt sort of message Cameron could only deliver as head of a Conservative government, unrestrained by the Liberal Democrats? Seemingly not. In 2011, the Prime Minister warned that "we need a lot less of the passive tolerance of recent years and much more active, muscular liberalism" in order to stop "Islamist extremism". Cameron's tone may seem more strident than before he entered government. In June 2007, the Tory leader wrote in the Guardian of how he had stayed for two days with a Muslim family in Birmingham, and found that "many Muslims I've talked to about these issues are deeply offended by the use of the word 'Islamic' or 'Islamist' to describe the terrorist threat we face today".

However, the Tory leader has consistently been unafraid to tackle the issue head-on, using a speech in January 2007 to describe Muslim extremists as often the "mirror image" of the BNP and accuse them of seeking out grievances to promote an "us and them" society. Their ideology, he said, was one of the "great threats of our age". Now in government, the Prime Minister is doing something about it. 


GRECIAN BURN

The head of the International Monetary Fund said Greece cannot delay paying its debt after a crucial meeting of eurozone finance ministers ended without a rescue deal being struck, Isabelle Fraser reports. Christine Lagarde, the IMF's managing director, issued the threat as eurozone finance ministers gathered in Luxembourg to find an 11th hour solution in what was seen as Greece's last chance to strike a deal with creditors to release bail-out cash and save its eurozone future.

A Grexit might work in Britain's favour, Jeremy Warner argues, as "it would be a severe setback, or even fatal blow, to the EU's whole mission statement of "ever closer union"". "The realisation that progressive European integration is in fact reversible would fundamentally alter the nature of the beast," he writes

GONE WITH THE WIND

Onshore wind farm subsidies are to be ended but thousands more turbines could still be built before the payments are stopped, Amber Rudd, the energy secretary has announced. A key subsidy scheme that has fuelled the spread of wind turbines, the Renewables Obligation (RO), will be closed in April 2016 instead of April 2017, Ms Rudd said on Thursday. Here is the full story.

"It's time, in short, for a rethink – and for the Conservatives to come up with their own ideas on energy," writes Fraser Nelson. "David Cameron and George Osborne have just defeated Ed Miliband electorally; now they have to defeat him intellectually. It should be a far easier task."

10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT EU

David Cameron's drive to reform the EU is driven by "hatred", "lies" and "national resentment," the president of the European Parliament suggested tonight in a strongly-worded attack, Matthew Holehouse reports. Martin Schulz, one of the most powerful men in Brussels, lashed out at Britain's plans to strip migrants of benefits for four years, just hours after meeting the Prime Minister for breakfast.

This comes as Nicola Sturgeon has told the Prime Minister take into account her views during his talks with European leaders about renegotiating Britain's EU membership, Simon Johnson reports. Cameron's hopes of winning a significant ally in his battle for EU reform stood in the balance on Thursday night as the first exit poll in the Danish election left the result too close to call. Here are more details

Meanwhile, Labour's acting leader Harriet Harman has told the Guardian that former Labour cabinet minister Alan Johnson has agreed to head the Labour yes campaign during the referendum on Britain's membership of the European Union.

IT'S THE CHAIR HEIR BUNCH

The politics Oscars have been decided as MPs learned the results of the elections to the powerful – and lucrative – posts of the chairmanships of the House of Commons select committees. Labour's Meg Hillier is taking over from Margaret Hodge as chair of the Public Accounts Committee and Conservative Jesse Norman will succeed John Whittingdale as chair of the Culture, Media and Sport committee. Rosa Prince has the full results

DECRYING OVER UNSPILT MILK

Caff√® Nero's policy not to stock milk from farms in the badger cull area because of pressure from animal rights activists was "utterly unacceptable", a Cabinet minister has said. Chris Grayling, the leader of the House of Commons, said the coffee shop chain was wrong to make the decision and had "damaged the livelihood" of people unconnected to the row. Ben Riley-Smith has the story

HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF NAT-ZKABAN

JK Rowling is at the centre of a new online row with Twitter's so-called "cybernat" trolls  after challenging the claim that there is no longer any anti-English sentiment in the SNP. The Harry Potter author sparked controversy after questioning a statement by a journalist that "every trace of ethnic nationalism was expunged from the party in the 1970s". In response, pro-independence supporters told her to "grow up" and claimed they were tired of her using her influence to "mislead the public".  Auslan Cramb has more

THE TRUTH? YOU CAN HANDLE THE FRACKING TRUTH!

A secret Government report into the impact of fracking on house prices and rural communities must be published in the public interest, the Information Commissioner has ruled. Ministers last year published a heavily redacted version of the report, commissioned by the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), in response to a request from campaigners, Emily Gosden reports

MARGINALS  OF ERROR

The post-mortem into Labour's election defeat continues, with Keiran Pedley speaking to James Morris, Labour's then internal pollster, for his latest "Polling Matters" podcast. Morris tells him that Miliband genuinely did think he was going to win, and admits that the party had not been polling any marginal "battleground" seats and that it had limited information on the Tories' efforts to take Labour-held seats.

KNOCKING ON EVANS' DOOR

Suzanne Evans, Ukip's most prominent female politician, has been sacked as a media spokesman after she appeared on the BBC's Daily Politics and said Nigel Farage was seen by voters as a "very divisive character". This marks a major fall for Evans, who was once praised by Farage as an "absolute tower of strength" and anointed by him as acting leader, the Guardian's Rowena Mason reports

BOTH SIDES OF THE FENCE

Tony Blair, the former Prime Minister, appeared to be courting both sides of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict as he appeared at Vladimir Putin's "vanity summit", hours after being offered a job by the government of Kiev, Matthew Holehouse reports. Blair appeared on Thursday morningalongside Russian bankers and government ministers at the St Petersburg Economic Forum, a pet project of Vladimir Putin modelled on the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Meanwhile, polling by Ipsos MORI for the Evening Standard has found that voters want the next Labour leader to resemble Tony Blair. Labour supporters were more likely to name Blair than any other past Labour leader as the best role model for Ed Miliband's successor.

SHEERMAN'S SEX APPEAL

Labour MP Barry Sheerman has suggested that giving teenagers the right to vote would make the "more vulnerable" to sexual abuse. Speaking on Thursday as MPs debated giving 16 and 17 year olds the vote in the upcoming EU referendum, he said: ""Isn't what is missing out of this the responsibility we have as parliamentarians to care for young people who are very vulnerable?" 

"Taken aback by this somewhat violent swerve off-piste, I was anxious to hear Mr Sheerman explain precisely how taking part in an election could expose the young to unwanted physical advances," says our sketchwriter Michael Deacon. "Perhaps he was thinking of Westminster MPs knocking on doors during the campaign. But immediately after making his assertion he sat down, as if satisfied that he'd made himself clear."

THE GOOD WIFE

Yvette Cooper has called time on the traditional political wife as she branded the role "uncomfortable" and "outdated", declaring that Britain was now "long beyond the era" of political wives posing alongside their husbands after speeches. Taking questions from Westminster's political journalists, the Labour leadership candidate revealed she had agreed not to join husband Ed Balls on stage when the 2010 contest results were announced and expected him to remain in his seat this time round. Ben Riley-Smith has more.

NO HALL PASS FOR THE TORIES

Tony Hall, the Director General of the BBC, has warned the Conservatives not to "screw around" with the BBC and other broadcasters ahead of a Government review of the Corporation's future, Peter Dominiczak reports. Lord Hall admitted that the BBC is entering a "period of risk" but said that it is important to have a conversation with the Government about the broadcaster's future.

THAT SINKING FEELING...

MPs will be forced out of the House of Commons chamber for a minimum of two years to make way for works to restore the crumbling Palace of Westminster, amid fears it could sink into the Thames, in a move that could cost £5.7 billion and take four decades to complete. The cheapest option to carry out crucial repairs to Parliament would cost £3.5 billion and force MPs and peers out of the entire Palace for six years, an independent review released on Thursday found. Emily Gosden has more.

DANCZUK'S DELI DISPUTE

Selfie queen Karen Danczuk has been slapped with a bill of £2,000 in rent row over her former deli - that she claims she sold. Mrs Danczuk, wife of Labour MP Simon Danczuk, claimed to have sold the deli in February after standing down as councillor in Rochdale, Greater Manchester. Here are more details. 

THATCHER'S AIR WAR

Margaret Thatcher thought the BBC "assisted the enemy" during the Falklands War by broadcasting "the next likely steps" in the campaign before they took place, documents published for the first time on Friday will disclose. The former prime minister wrote that she was "very angry" at some of the corporation's coverage, which she thought placed more value on reporting the latest developments than on "the safety of our forces". Tom Rowley has more.







TOO MANY TWEETS 

@RobFordMancs: Not sure sacking Suzanne Evans for pointing out that Farage is divisive - something regularly seen in polling - much helps his image problem

COMMENT

From The Telegraph

Fraser Nelson - The Tories must seize the chance to rethink climate change policy

Jeremy Warner - Grexit: the truth is it would help Britain no end

From the Politics Blog

Julia Hartley-Brewer -  If we need the Pope to teach us about science, then God help us all

Mark Littlewood  - How free marketeers triumphed in the battle of ideas

From elsewhere

Steve Hilton -  Glastonbury: my model for policy reform

Tim Wigmore  -  How Green party members' long-term influence over policy leads to bizarre results

AGENDA

09.30: ONS public sector finance figures to be published

20.00: BBC Radio 4's 'Any Questions' from Edinburgh with SNP MP Joanna Cherry, former Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont, Defra minister Rory Stewart and Digby, Lord Jones of Birmingham

David Cameron in Slovakia for event attended by host of EU leaders

The Greek debt crisis expected to be discussed at the ECOFIN meeting of EU finance ministers in Luxembourg

Russian President Vladimir Putin is to meet Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras at the St Peterburg International Economic Forum

3rd anniversary of Julian Assange entering Ecuador embassy

Boris Johnson turns 51 today, and former Labour defence secretary Bob Ainsworth turns 63

800th anniversary of renewed oaths to King after signing Magna Carta

TODAY IN PARLIAMENT

HOUSE OF COMMONS

No business announced

HOUSE OF LORDS

Second Readings of Private Members' Bills:
Airports Act 1986 (Amendment) Bill [HL]
Easter Trading Bill [HL]
Regulation of Political Opinion Polling Bill [HL]