Scottish Referendum

Top topic on most papers. The Telegraph leads with Scotland heading for a ‘Great Depression’ after Yes vote

Britain faces a period of severe economic turbulence if Scotland votes for independence next week, economists warned, as the prospect of a Yes vote threatened a new financial crisis. A report from a respected financial advisory firm said that investors were already pulling money out of the UK at the fastest pace since the “credit crisis” of 2008.

CrossBorder Capital said the net flow of capital out of Britain hit £16.8  billion in August, the highest level seen since Lehman Brothers collapsed. Michael Howell, managing director, said outflows from the UK now look to be intensifying “with the possibility of Scottish independence coming to the front of investors’ minds. Sterling outflows have been an issue since the end of June, but they really gathered pace in August,” he said.

Meanwhile, a study by Deutsche Bank said a Yes vote for Scottish independence would “go down in history as a political and economic mistake” on a par with Winston Churchill’s decision in 1925 to return the pound to the Gold Standard or the failures by the Federal Reserve in America that triggered the Great Depression in the 1930s.

The Guardian says Scottish independence: unionists’ big guns fail to halt yes bandwagon.

Conservatives

The Telegraph reports that Boris Johnson selected to stand for Tories in Uxbridge and South Ruislip

Boris Johnson’s Commons comeback moved a significant step closer as he was selected to fight a safe Tory seat at next year’s general election. The London mayor saw off the challenge of three rivals to secure the support of party members in Uxbridge and South Ruislip as their pick for 2015.

Speaking after his selection, he said he was “obviously thrilled” and said he was sure the Conservatives would win an absolute majority in 2015. Before the ballot, Mr Johnson and his three rivals made a behind-closed doors pitch to party members in a school hall.

Labour

Dan Hodges in the Telegraph says Ed Miliband and Gordon Brown haven’t saved the Union. But they may have killed the Labour Party

Do they realise what they’ve done now? Gordon Brown. Ed Miliband. All those Left-wing “defenders of the union”, who this week decided that to beat back Alex Salmond and his marauding army of secessionists, they would have to tear up the current constitutional settlement, and unilaterally announce the creation of a Federal Britain.

Has the penny finally started to drop, I wonder? Perhaps when they saw last night’s YouGov poll showing the “No” campaign with a four-point lead. Or the poll published the night before, showing “No” with a lead of six points. A poll that – incidentally – had been conducted before Brown’s dramatic intervention, and the Saltire was shakily hoisted above Downing Street, and our political leaders departed for their desperate constitutional rescue mission north of the border.

Perhaps it isn’t. Maybe they are still in the grip of their collective psychosis. A sort of “death of Diana” moment for the political classes. Well, some day very soon they will emerge from that psychosis. And then they will understand. They will at last grasp just what this “Black September” means for Labour.

Fighting back on ISIS

The Guardian reports that John Kerry heads to Egypt as US builds coalition for war against Isis.

US secretary of state John Kerry heads to Cairo on Saturday amid a growing campaign to build a broad international coalition for a “war” against Islamic State extremists in Syria and Iraq. Retired US general John Allen, the hawkish former commander of Nato forces in Afghanistan who also led troops in western Iraq, was named on Friday to lead the international effort against Islamic State extremists.

Allen, 60, is on record saying that Isis “is an entity beyond the pale of humanity and it must be eradicated. If we delay now, we will pay later”. Both the White House and the Pentagon stressed that the United States is now “at war” with the group that has seized large chunks of Iraq and Syria. But Kerry appeared reluctant to use the term in a series of television interviews, speaking instead of a “major counterterrorism operation” as Washington expands its campaign against IS.

Russia and Ukraine

The Guardian reports on sweeping new US and EU sanctions target Russia’s banks and oil companies

Russia’s largest banks, oil producers and defence companies will be cut off from international finance and technology under sweeping new economic sanctions announced by the US and Europe that substantially escalate western political pressure over Ukraine. In coordinated moves that may unnerve already jittery financial markets, the US Treasury and European Union announced on Friday that Russia’s largest bank, Sberbank, would be barred from accessing their capital markets for any long-term funding, including all borrowing over 30 days.

Existing 90-day lending bans affecting six other large Russian banks will also be tightened to 30-days, something US officials claim will sharply increasing their borrowing costs and deny access to important dollar-denominated funding sources. Even more draconian measures were imposed on the Russian energy industry.

George Galloway

The Independent reports on an outburst from George Galloway that may have some truth in it: The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain

The strange death of Labour in Scotland is the principal reason why the country this weekend is looking down the barrel of a prolonged and anguished death. The polls still show a lead for the No camp but uncomfortably close. It’s not just the punter who wagered £800,000 on the preservation of the Union entering squeaky bum time.

David Cameron may lose his premiership over this and Ed Miliband, even if elected, could have office torn from him within 12 months. Nick Clegg never seemed more irrelevant. But the 300-year-old Britain will be the biggest loser of all.

These are three centuries in which, for good and ill, this small island punched way beyond its weight, shaping much of the modern world, through a booming slave trade – the biggest empire the world has ever seen – the Satanic mills of the Industrial Revolution, the birth of socialism, trade unionism, the co-operative movement and the international supremacy of the language.

Scotland never was a colony, but a colonial partner in crime. Indeed, before Britain existed as a state, the Scots parliament, as was, proclaimed two colonies, Nova Scotia and Ulster. The financial catastrophe of the attempt to colonise Panama in the Darien Expedition beggared Scotland’s economy, marking the end of solely Scottish imperial ambitions and ultimately to the 1707 Union itself. Thereafter, the skirl of the pipes and the twirl of kilted soldiers helped terrorise the world into submission.

Cycling

An interesting take on cycling in The Independent: £23m Birmingham cycle scheme is attacked by Tory councillor for not catering to the elderly

You might think that a £23 million scheme designed to herald a cycling revolution in Britain’s second city would be met with great delight by local politicians, but councillors in Birmingham have branded the scheme “discriminatory” for only benefiting “white, young men”.

The city has been granted £17 million by the Department of Transport to become a “Cycle City”, with a further £6m coming from the council to upgrade busy cycling routes and distribute 5,000 bikes. However councils have attacked the size of the investment and proposals to “give away” 2,000 bikes.

Leading the charge is Conservative District Councillor Deirdre Alden, who told a council meeting on Monday that “the vast majority of cyclists on our roads are young, white men. Most elderly people are not going to cycle, and it would be dangerous for them to start on our streets now”.

SNP and Business

The Independent reports on Scottish independence with Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatening pro-union companies with ‘a day of reckoning’ after independence.

A nationalist leader has warned that an independent Scotland would take revenge on unionist businesses supporting a No vote as the campaign for independence turned vicious. With a new opinion poll showing the race is still neck and neck, the SNP’s former deputy leader Jim Sillars said pro-union companies would face “a day of reckoning” if Scotland became independent next Friday.

Mr Sillars threatened that BP’s operations in the North Sea could be nationalised and said a future Scottish Government would not be as “soft as we have been forced to be” as part of the UK.

Is it all a case of bluff and counter-bluff, or is there any substance?

The Mail reports on the same story.

Transport

Here’s a good one in the Daily Mail: Labour MP: Beat gridlock with a ban on owning a car and force motorists to share vehicles

Owning a car should be ‘outlawed’ to force people on to public transport, a senior Labour MP has suggested. Motorists who want to drive should instead be forced to join communal ‘car clubs’ where the cars are shared by drivers and used only when needed.

Dr Alan Whitehead, a Labour MP for Southampton Test and a member of the Energy and Climate Change select committee, said the increase in car ownership would lead to ‘something approaching a national traffic jam before 2040’. He claimed that radical action would be needed to avoid national gridlock.

He makes an assumption that the population will keep growing, and that no more roads will be built! It sounds like the USSR, as well.

TV Licence Fee

The Mail has this report: £1,000 bonuses for staff who hound BBC licence fee dodgers: Move comes as MPs plan to drop threat of prison

Enforcement officers working on behalf of the BBC are being offered bonuses of up to £1,000 a month to pursue people who fail to pay the TV licence fee. Almost 200,000 people are taken to court each year accused of failing to pay the £145.50 fee.

They risk a £1,000 fine, a criminal record and even jail. Now private firm Capita, which runs the BBC’s licensing service, has launched a major recruitment drive to hire extra ‘enforcement officers’ to hunt down even more fee dodgers.

Potential employees were told they could double their basic salaries with commission for collecting the evidence the BBC needs to prosecute householders. A Capita regional manager said: ‘A decent officer, hitting targets nine times out of ten, in London, is [on] £30k plus, quite easily.’

English Poll

The Mail has the results of an opinion poll of English people about the Scottish Independence debate: Seven in 10 English want Scots to remain part of the UK…and most think THEY should have a vote, reveals Mail poll

The graphic says it all:

Scottish Independence England Poll

Bureacracy

Frederick Forsyth’s column in the Express says “We’re fleeced by the faceless bureaucrats

IN a move that must have caught millions of motorists by surprise our Government announces that the road fund tax disc displayed on our windscreens will terminate on October 1. In future the limitless maze of cameras that govern us all will note our number plates, check with the computer and, if we are out of date, a large fine will ensue.

But what about those helpful reminders that drop on the mat from DVLA Swansea the month renewal is necessary? Will they continue? If not hundreds of thousands of bureaucracy harassed motorists will simply forget and increase the penalty yield of our money-avid authorities.

Would the Ministry of Transport be kind enough to tell us? Do we even have a Ministry of Transport? I do not recall having heard from it or about it for a decade. But surely there must be a large building on a prime and expensive site full of offi-cials staring at their screens as the helplines ring unanswered, thinking of fresh ways to trip us up.

NHS

The Mirror runs a piece on David Cameron’s seven-day GP surgeries ‘gimmick’ is exposed as a sham 12 months on

David Cameron’s £50million scheme for seven-days-a-week GP surgeries was today exposed as a sham. Plans for daily 8am-8pm coverage in five of seven pilot areas have not begun – a year after the PM trumpeted them at the Tory conference. The failure was exposed in a probe by GPs’ magazine Pulse.

The British Medical Association’s Dr Robert Morley said it confirmed his belief the idea was a “political gimmick”. He added: “Here we are, nearly half way through the year of the pilots – if nothing is happening then it puts some of these pilots at risk. We do not need these one-off soundbites, for the benefit of politicians rather than patients, but proper long-term recurrent investment.”

In total, 20 projects were eventually meant to benefit 7.5million patients in more than 1,000 practices.

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