Any decent For Sec wld have stepped down re Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe but then any decent For Sec wouldn’t have behaved as Boris did https://t.co/3f5uqgEUfe
Caroline Lucas, the Green party’s co-leader, has joined other pro-Europeans in attacking Boris Johnson for his stance on the NHS. In a statement she said:
It seems that brass neck Boris has struck again. Not only does this brexiteer-in-chief keep repeating lies about mythical savings from leaving the EU, but now he’s trying to position himself as a saviour of the NHS after his party’s extreme brexit stance has caused EU nurses to leave the UK in droves.
Foreign secretary calls for more funds but chancellor says economy is suffering
Economic confidence is suffering due to the UK’s impending withdrawal from the EU, Philip Hammond has said, as he pointedly knocked down demands from Boris Johnson for a “Brexit dividend” for the NHS, in a sign of growing divisions within the government.
The ill-conceived regulator is already drinking in the last chance saloon because it is failing to address the issues students need it to
Not since the Child Support Agency has a state body got off to a worse start than the Office for Students. Engulfed by controversy and the resignation of Toby Young, it is virtually stillborn after only three weeks.
Controversy about the composition of the OfS board is not over. The further education sector and the National Union of Students are rightly angry that they are not represented on the new regulator and that good candidates have been discarded for political reasons, not least opposition to tuition fees of ?9,250 a year among the student candidates.
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The Corbynites channel a widely held feeling that capitalism is not working. But they are cagey about what would come next
A Swiss mountain retreat for global business elites is not the obvious place to meet sworn enemies of capitalism. It is more the kind of place to hang out with aspiring European finance ministers. That John McDonnell happens to be both of those things makes him one of the more exotic guests at the World Economic Forum in Davos this week.
McDonnell’s attendance is less surprising than it would have been a few years ago. When the shadow chancellor and his friend Jeremy Corbyn were rebellious Labour backbenchers, they had no time for oligarchic Alpine jamborees. (Plus they weren’t invited.) That old scorn might not have been forgotten, but the prospect of real power – not anticipated by either man before last year’s election – imposes new nuances of tone. According to a spokesman, McDonnell travels to Switzerland “to explain Labour’s vision for an alternative economic approach to replace the current model of capitalism”.
Now is the time for campaigners across the continent to reach out to Labour, and help stop Britain from going off the rails
Thirty years ago a French socialist, Jacques Delors, then president of the European commission, travelled to Bournemouth to speak to the British Trades Union Congress. Delors argued for a “social Europe” in a speech that contributed to swinging the mood among the British left, parts of which had long had misgivings about the European project – doubts that linger today.
Last week Emmanuel Macron, who has promoted the idea of a “Europe that protects”, travelled to London for a meeting with Theresa May. Yet for all the resemblance of his ideas to Delors’, Macron didn’t once say the words “social Europe”. This was a missed opportunity.
Gen Sir Nick Carter gives stark warning of ‘complex and capable security challenge’ for Nato
The chief of the general staff, Gen Sir Nicholas Carter, has described Russia as the biggest state-based threat to the UK since the cold war and warned that hostilities could begin a lot sooner than the UK expects.
Carter’s speech on Monday evening at the Royal United Services Institute was the most pointed and expansive portrayal yet of Russia as a hostile state intent on undermining the US-led Nato alliance.
Juncker said to sympathise with proposal to cover expected ?72 cost to seek ‘settled status’
Brussels could seek the moral high ground by covering the application costs of EU nationals who want to stay in the UK after Brexit, under proposals being discussed at the highest levels of the European commission.
The UK Home Office has threatened to charge a ?72 fee for applicants seeking so-called “settled status” in the UK, which grants them indefinite leave to remain. Applicants will have to demonstrate five years’ continuous residence and pass a criminal record test.
Comments from Alison Saunders come after the collapse of a series of rape prosecutions
Rape victims have been warned by the director of public prosecutions that if they stayed silent during the assault their attackers may have assumed consent was given and therefore could escape being charged.
Alison Saunders’ comments come in the wake of the collapse of a series of rape prosecutions. Her implication that silence or apparent acquiescence can amount to consent is likely to prove controversial among those who monitor sexual assaults.
Bolton insists he will stay to ‘drain the swamp’ within party despite mass resignations
Henry Bolton has refused to quit as Ukip leader and signalled he may rekindle his romance with a young activist who sent racist text messages, despite mass resignations from the party’s senior team over his handling of the affair.
The Ukip leader insisted he wanted to stay in post to “drain the swamp” within the party, even though at least 15 of his spokespeople have now quit their jobs in protest at his behaviour.
Bolton has perhaps been handed a lifeline by Nigel Farage, who said the leader could become Ukip’s version of Jeremy Corbyn, and backed his attempts to reform the party.
Farage said he has “despaired” at the party’s NEC and decision-making processes and praised Bolton’s decision to let an emergency meeting (EGM) of party members decide his fate.
As one party spokesman after another resigns, I am reminded of the nightmare Jeremy Corbyn faced in 2016 when 21 members of his shadow cabinet resigned. Corbyn was written off by the press, but the rank and file membership saved him.
If Bolton has the courage and the vision to introduce a new constitution, and shows that he can be a strong spokesman for Britain leaving the single market, taking back its fisheries and restoring pride in the UK, he may well surprise all of his critics too.
Failure on issue will let Corbyn win, cabinet told – but reference to experts may raise eyebrows
Boris Johnson will tell cabinet colleagues that all experts are agreed on the need for an urgent financial boost for the NHS, as he warns that Conservative failure to act will result in Jeremy Corbyn winning the next election.
Allies of the foreign secretary suggested that he would not stop making the argument for more money – with a particular demand for ?100m extra per week after Brexit – until Theresa May concedes.
The Ukip leader will not resign. Far from it – he’s putting himself forward as the man to unite all the different leave campaigns. Theresa who?
One by one, the resignations had come. People no one had ever heard of, quitting jobs that no one knew existed. By mid-afternoon, more than half the Ukip frontbench team had done a bunk in protest at Henry Bolton’s continued leadership of the party. At least, that was a best guess figure; it was hard to keep an exact tally of who had gone and when, since a few members had to reannounce their resignations as no one had noticed when they had done so the first time around last week.
All the while, Bolton remained holed up in a Folkestone hotel room. Just around the corner from his apartment. No one was going to take him alive. Bolton was genuinely perplexed. His only crime had been to fall in love with a woman half his age with racist views, who had happened to join a party that attracted racists of which he was leader. What could possibly be more normal than that? Now, if he had copped off with someone in her 50s who supported immigration and was pro-EU, that would have been a story. People were just jealous of his pulling power.
‘Scientific’ eugenics is on the rise, and grabbing a foothold in respected journals. The claim that these theories are a credible part of a general discussion should worry us all
In the fallout from Toby Young’s resignation from the Office for Students this month, it emerged that University College London has been unwittingly hosting an annual conference attended by race scientists and eugenicists for the past few years. This might have come as a shock to many people. But it is only the latest instalment in the rise of “scientific” racism within academia.
Researchers with extreme views on race number relatively few but, having languished on the margins of their fields for many years, they are now managing to push their ideas into the mainstream, including into respectable scientific journals.
The idea that disadvantaged people place undue strain on the system won’t go away. But the problem is underfunding – not people who eat too many chips
Anyone still observing dry January may be on to something: last week the Big Issue’s founder, John Bird, launched the magazine’s “NHS pledge”: a request for readers and supporters to “volunteer for the NHS by staying healthy” and not become “a drain” on its time and resources. The depiction of individual people as a drain on resources understandably left many of us bridling – as it fits the narrative promoted by the government and its supporters that the key problem facing our healthcare system is too much demand, rather than too little funding.
Yes, we could all do more to take responsibility for our own health. But health and the decisions we make about health are complex, as any doctor will tell you, and poverty is a crucial factor. Such admonishments about personal responsibility are invariably directed at the poor, so that the deserving/undeserving poor become deserving/undeserving patients. Eating habits in particular are endlessly scrutinised, with the “let them eat gruel” trope regularly trotted out. Why on earth do poor people go hungry, wonder rich people, when porridge is so cheap?
Senior figures in CBI urge lobby group to toughen its message amid concerns over exports
Business leaders are privately pushing for a new campaign to reverse Brexit as concerns mount about the viability of government plans to prevent a collapse in exports to Europe.
On Monday, the CBI launched its most sustained attack yet on the government’s Brexit strategy by calling for full customs union with the EU and single market participation, even if it means abandoning the pursuit of separate trade deals with the rest of the world.
The internet is now used as a low-level weapon of war. How should Britain best defend itself?
In the desperate scramble to rearm before the second world war there was always an undercurrent of pessimism. “The bomber will always get through,” Stanley Baldwin warned. In his dark fantasies, destruction and poison gas rained from the skies and obliterated civilisation. That isn’t quite what happened, though the bombers did their best. Today’s equivalent is the feeling that the hacker will always get through, and that attacks on computer networks will become the most devastating form of future warfare.
There are certainly grounds for fear. Technological civilisation is now built on software, much of it desperately insecure. Even when the software itself is secure – and you’d assume that the CIA at least would use properly secured software – the human parts of a bureaucracy can fail, as is shown by the extraordinary case of a teenage hacker, Kane Gamble, operating from his bedroom in Leicestershire, who managed to impersonate the director of the CIA and the deputy director of the FBI and gain access to part of their emails, which included a great deal of classified material.
Germany’s main centre-left party has voted for more talks about going back into government with Angela Merkel. But the SPD’s acute divisions remain
Germany has now been without a government for more than three months, and it could be at least the end of February before Angela Merkel can start her fourth term as chancellor – if she ever can. It is surely significant that two successive elections have each been followed by record-breaking difficulties in forming a government. It is a reminder that the once seemingly commanding large parties are dwindling in Germany, just as they have dwindled elsewhere in Europe. German party politics is fragmenting: there are now six different party groupings in the newly elected Bundestag or parliament.
Following the weekend vote by the social democrats (SPD) to begin detailed coalition talks with Angela Merkel’s centre-right CDU-CSU bloc, normal political business may now reassert itself to some degree. Nevertheless, there are still major hurdles to jump, of which the largest will be a referendum among SPD members on the deal, and success is not guaranteed. Even without serious hitches, it may be fully six months before a new government is finally formed in Europe’s richest and most important country. This may not do much to shake Germany’s economic credibility. But it is putting unfamiliar pressures on Germany’s party and governmental systems. The fact that Mrs Merkel has long been Europe’s dominant leader in spite of never having secured an overall majority should not disguise the importance of these new signs of weakness.
There is little to reassure mainstream news outlets in a survey that shows the impact of fake news and the big tech backlash on public trust
A global survey has revealed twice as many people distrust the media as trust it, a third of people say they’re watching less news than they used to and only 6% of UK adults describe themselves as “informed”. Nonetheless, many in the media see this as good news.
The reason is that the survey shows people trust journalists more than they trust “platforms”, such as Facebook and Twitter, and this is being taken as a reassuring piece of news that quality journalism and traditional media institutions are beginning a fightback against technology giants.
Pace of response condemned as dispute escalates over who pays for cost of making blocks safe
Only three of the 160 social housing towers identified as dangerous after the Grenfell Tower fire are known to have been reclad with safer materials, leaving tens of thousands of people still living in “fire hazards”.
Seven months after the fire that killed 71 people in west London, the number of council and private blocks over 18 metres high across England found to be wrapped in similar combustible plastic-filled cladding has risen to 312, figures released by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government revealed. Almost all of those – 299 – are likely to be in breach of building regulations on fire safety. Officials predict the numbers will continue to rise.
More than 200 UK agencies that provide ‘CE’ safety labels may lose recognition after March 2019
Highly specialised jobs in Britain assessing whether products ranging from MRI scanners to phones can carry the “CE” safety label could be at risk post-Brexit after the European commission put manufacturers on notice over future standards.
In an official notice, the EC said the agencies that provide the safety certificates may not have their work recognised after 29 March 2019, unless an agreement can be reached.
Chief of general staff Sir Nick Carter says a bigger budget is required to keep up with Russia. Here are five key considerations
Military chiefs calling for more spending is almost as regular an event as the first cuckoo call. Usually, the calls are left to retired generals and admirals. It is safer for them to make the case; for serving officers it is harder, with the risk of clashing with political masters.
Kafkaesque case sees man unable to stay in UK, but with no home country to return to
A man who has been stateless for 31 years has been denied protection in the UK after the Home Office refused to accept he was originally from Palestine, despite advising him to return there on two occasions.
Mohammed Al-Mustafa, 36, left Palestine at the age of five with his parents after his brother was killed. They did not have identity documents and he has lived without legal status in Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Libya, Italy and France before arriving in the UK in 2010. His parents have both since died.
Embattled leader indicates he will not step down despite overwhelming vote against him
Ukip has been plunged into chaos after its leader, Henry Bolton, overwhelmingly lost a vote of confidence from the party’s national executive committee, but then indicated that he would not step down from the role voluntarily.
If he stays, the party will have to hold an emergency meeting of members in the next month to try to force him out.
Sources say ex-leader of Ukip and former biggest donor are discussing new political ‘movement’
As Ukip implodes amid the likely departure of yet another leader, it faces yet another threat: the possibility of its best-known figure, Nigel Farage, launching a new political vehicle.
While Farage has not publicly said anything on the issue, he has been in talks about a possible new grouping with Arron Banks, the millionaire insurance businessman who was Ukip’s main financier before becoming disenchanted.
Observer poll finds majority of existing and potential voters back Britain remaining in single market and customs union
Jeremy Corbyn is under huge pressure to shift party policy on Brexit as an exclusive poll for the Observer reveals a substantial majority of existing and potential Labour voters want him to back permanent membership of the EU’s single market and customs union.
Four times as many Labour supporters favour that option as oppose it. The survey by Opinium also finds that more than twice as many in this group want Corbyn to support a second referendum on the eventual Brexit deal as reject it.
Foreign secretary criticises systems of planning in Britain and calls Labour mayor of London ‘Sadiq hashtag useless Khan’
Boris Johnson lambasted the UK’s record at delivering major infrastructure projects just days before raising the prospect of erecting a 22-mile bridge across the English Channel to better connect Britain to the rest of Europe.
The foreign secretary criticised systems of planning as being “extremely inimical at getting things done at pace and scale” and warned that Britain spent billions more than countries such as France on equivalent projects.
European commission moves to ensure complete Galileo satnav infrastructure remains in an EU country
Britain has suffered another Brexit blow after the EU decided to relocate a key satellite monitoring centre from the UK to Spain.
The UK won the contract in 2010 to provide the backup monitoring centre for the Galileo satellite navigation system, which was launched by the EU in late 2016 and will eventually involve 30 satellites.
Henry Bolton’s girlfriend, Jo Marney, has been suspended for reported offensive comments about Prince Harry’s fiancee
The Ukip leader, Henry Bolton, should quit his post, senior figures from the party have said, after Bolton’s girlfriend was suspended from the party for a reported barrage of racist remarks including ones about Prince Harry’s fiancee, Meghan Markle.
Bolton, 54, who has been leader of the party for less than four months, came under increasing pressure to resign on Sunday after it was revealed that his girlfriend, Jo Marney, 25, had sent a series of messages to a friend in which she made the highly offensive comments.