United Kingdom

The Telegraph leads with Labour condemn David Cameron’s plans as Unionist truce collapses over English ‘home rule’

The political truce that saved the Union collapsed on Friday as David Cameron’s plans for English “home rule” were condemned by Labour. Following Scotland’s No vote, the Prime Minister immediately set out plans to ensure that there are “English votes for English laws”. Those plans could result in England having its own first minister and would herald one of the biggest reforms of Britain’s tax system.

But they could prevent Scottish MPs voting on English-only issues in the wake of the independence referendum. Excluding Scottish MPs from votes concerning only England would represent a disaster for the Labour Party. Westminster sources said Mr Cameron’s announcement was calculated to kill Labour’s electoral chances.

Labour has 40 MPs in Scotland and could in theory be left without a majority in Parliament during many key votes if the party was to win the next general election. Mr Miliband, the Labour leader, on Friday refused to sign up to Mr Cameron’s plans, with sources accusing the Prime Minister of “political gimmickry”.

The Independent also reports on this.


The Daily Mail has a different tack on the story above, reporting a Mutiny threat as Miliband fights his own MPs on powers for England: Labour leader sparks backlash by refusing to support plans to limit rights of Scottish MPs

Mr Miliband said he would not sign up to anything that could be ‘used for narrow party political advantage’. However, senior Labour MPs last night warned it was untenable for the party to oppose the move while arguing for Scotland to be given more powers.

Former minister John Denham, a close ally of Mr Miliband, said that while it was right to look at other elements of devolution, it was ‘inevitable’ that there would have to be change at Westminster. ‘As the powers of the Scottish Parliament increase, the role of Scottish MPs in determining English laws will inevitably diminish,’ said the Southampton MP. ‘If the aim is to ensure that laws affecting England alone have the consent of elected English representatives, there are many ways of doing so.’

Alex Salmond

After Salmond’s resignation, Iain Martin of the Telegraph conducts a “political obituary” of the man in “Alex Salmond was a giant of his age

And he’s gone. Alex Salmond has just resigned, although not before his people had banned various newspapers they do not like from his press conference in Edinburgh. This exclusion is a stark reminder of the nature of the narrow brush with disaster that Scotland has just endured. If Yes had prevailed, Scotland would not have been a free society. Dissent would have been squashed, journalists would have been intimidated and Salmond, with his majority in the referendum and a majority at Holyrood, would have been rampant as he constructed a constitution and led negotiations with London.

Still, it should be recognised that Salmond’s achievement on behalf of his party in the last quarter of a century has been enormous.

I say that as someone who has criticised him, frequently, particularly over his reckless approach to Scotland’s economic future. His love of gambling may be all very well, if it is only horses that are involved. Yet in this referendum campaign he extended his hobby into the realm of important subjects such as the currency an independent Scotland might use if Scots voted to leave the UK. On the pound, Salmond just gambled – took a punt – on staring down Westminster in defiance of the facts and warnings. In the end, that lack of attention to basic economic detail, and his failure to develop a coherent economic policy was a major contributory factor in his defeat in the referendum.

The Guardian reports on the event, having been at the press conference.


The Telegraph reports that RAF Typhoons scramble to long-range Russian bombers – something that happened every day of the Cold War.

RAF Typhoon jets have scrambled to investigate long-range Russian bombers north of Scotland for the first time since moving to their new quick reaction airbase. The intercept force fighters launched to meet the Tu-95 ‘Bear’ aircraft as they approached a Nato air defence zone north of the UK.

Lossiemouth in Moray has only been home to the RAF’s quick reaction alert force, carried out by 6 Squadron, since the start of the month and the launch earlier this week was its first since it moved from RAF Leuchars. One pilot who took part said: “It was an honour to be part of what is a milestone in the history of RAF Lossiemouth. The fact that we had a flawless scramble and intercept of two Russian Bears was a testament to the hard work and commitment of all personnel involved.”

Russian long range military aircraft regularly pass through Nato air space and alliance members scramble fighter jets to escort them, then hand them on to the next Nato nation.

Opinion Polls

The Guardian asks Were Scottish independence opinion polls misleading?

Scotland’s answer was a resounding no – and whatever the pollsters and pundits said before the election, the result was not too close to call. The final gap of 10.6 points is a decisive result in a two-horse race, and in reality nearer to a landslide.

Having placed the yes vote on 47%, it turned out that Ipsos/Mori and Survation were closest among the pollsters, but looking at figures across all surveys, the fundamental convergence around a four-point average was incorrect. To an extent, that probably suggests a systematic error across the models the pollsters used.

The polls may have had the right winner, they may have captured evidence of a narrowing gap over the past few months, but ultimately an error of about seven points is sub par, and that’s generous within accepted margins.


The Guardian reports on British Muslim scholars telling Isis that holding hostage goes against Qur’an

British Muslim scholars have made a direct video appeal to Islamist militants to release Alan Henning,whom they are threatening to behead, warning the killing would break Islamic laws.

The video appeals come from three scholars from the orthodox Salafi school of Islamic thought, which many in the west see as fundamentalist.

Their plea on behalf of Henning comes as friends and colleagues of a second British hostage, the photojournalist John Cantlie, spoke of their dismay at the propaganda video he was forced to make, which was distributed through social media on Thursday.


The Independent reports that Plymouth University is under fire for spending £150,000 on 7 designer chairs

A scandal-hit university which has already seen its vice chancellor suspended and its chairman of governors stand aside as part of a bitter boardroom feud, has spent £150,000 on seven designer chairs. Plymouth University has commissioned the award-winning furniture designer John Makepeace to make seven handcrafted chairs to be used at graduation ceremonies.

The news follows revelations earlier this month that the university had spent more than £24,000 on sending six members of staff to a conference in Miami earlier this year. This was despite threatened job losses which have prompted a series of protests by lecturers at the Plymouth University campus this summer.

And this piece as well: New London free school opens with just 17 pupils

One of the Government’s new free schools has opened up in premises bought for £18m with only 17 pupils, it has emerged. Trinity Academy in Brixton, south London, has a planned admission number of 120 per year, and had 90 parents on its books earlier this summer ahead of the new school year.

However, difficulties over moving in to its new premises meant many of the parents pulled out over the summer months. The school, set up by parents who wanted a secondary school with a Catholic ethos in the borough of Lambeth, has moved into accommodation on the former Brixton Hill campus of Lambeth College.

Russia and the Internet

The Independent reports that Kremlin to consider plans which could remove Russia from global Internet ‘in an emergency’

Russia may remove itself from the global Internet to protect itself against perceived threats from the West, a Kremlin spokesman suggested on Friday. The Krelmin dismissed accusations it aims to isolate the Russian Internet, and insists it is merely concerned with protecting its national security – particularly as relations with the West have reached their lowest since the Cold War.

However, the country has recently passed several laws targeting Internet use, which include making popular bloggers register as media outlets, and forcing websites to store the personal data of Russian users. Earlier on Friday, influential business daily Vedomosti reported that global Internet logistics would be the core subject of Putin’s Security Council meeting next week.

Young Voters

The Mail reports that Now Labour wants every 16-year-old to have a vote: Idealistic sixth formers are more likely to back Miliband

Ed Miliband will pledge to lower the voting age to 16, following the trial of the idea in the Scottish referendum. The Labour leader, who has long been a supporter of an earlier voting age, is expected to use a speech at next week’s party conference to pledge that the policy will be included in his general election manifesto.

Such a move – the first change in the voting age since 1969 – would enfranchise more than 1.5million 16 and 17-year-olds. Party sources believe that idealistic youngsters are more likely to vote Labour. The idea is also backed by the Liberal Democrats.

But polls show that the public, including most 16-year-olds, do not support the idea. It is also opposed by the Conservatives. A Labour source last night said that the policy’s place in the manifesto was ‘set in concrete’.

UKIP and Scotland

The Express reports on Scottish MPs’ fury at Farage’s demands that they abstain from English matters.

SCOTTISH MPs should voluntarily stop voting on English-only legislation, Ukip leader Nigel Farage urged yesterday…

…Scottish Labour MP Gordon Banks, who has represented Ochil and South Perthshire since 2005, dismissed Mr Farage’s proposal and insisted he will not be abstaining. He said: “There are not two tiers of MPs. The vast majority of legislation that goes through Parliament has an impact on Scotland.”

Labour would have most to lose if Scottish MPs agreed to Mr Farage’s call. Of the 59 Scottish MPs, 40 are Labour, with 11 Lib Dems, six Scottish Nationalists, one Conservative and one Independent.


The Express reports on the Rotherham scandal: Critisied child-service boss quits in secret deal

THE £130,000-a-year head director of children’s services at scandal-hit Rotherham Council has finally stood down after agreeing a secret severance package. Joyce Thacker has faced fierce criticism over the systemic failure to prevent 1,400 children from being raped, beaten and trafficked by gangs of Asian men but had repeatedly resisted calls for her to resign. Pressure on her increased after South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Shaun Wright finally quit on Monday.

The council said Mrs Thacker was “to leave by mutual agreement, with immediate effect”.  Council chiefs refused to discuss the terms of her departure. She has been at the centre of the controversy sparked by the Jay Report, which highlighted the widespread exploitation of children in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email