Labour and Conservative

The Telegraph reports some views attributed to Tony Blair stating the blinding obvious “Tony Blair: Miliband has failed to connect with voters and is doomed to election defeat

The Conservatives will win the next general election because of Ed Miliband’s failure to connect with voters, Tony Blair has said. David Cameron will remain in power next year because Labour has not persuaded Britain it is ready to govern, the former Labour prime minister has apparently told friends.

Mr Blair’s verdict on Mr Miliband follows criticism of the Labour leader’s performance from several MPs and will increase concern within the party about his ability to win in May. Mr Blair’s apparent ​prediction was made in a private conversation with long-standing political allies earlier this month. The Telegraph has been given an account of that conversation by one person who was present.

The Independent and The Guardian report on the same story.

Sky and BBC

Jeremy Warner has this piece in The Telegraph “Be warned Sky and BBC, a storm is coming

“Bundling” – the practice of aggregating different things together and then selling them as a single package – is one of the oldest conundrums in business. Do you stand to make more money by selling lots of things together, or by selling them individually?

One industry belatedly grappling with this dilemma is US television. In response to the runaway success of Netflix, both CBS and HBO, two of the founding fathers of modern TV, have this month announced plans for live, subscription-based streaming of their services. This will allow viewers to access thousands of programmes, current and past, on demand. These are American versions, if you like, of the BBC iPlayer, only you pay for them.

It’s called “a la carte” TV, and it is meant to cater for the growing ranks of “cord nevers” – those who have never paid for a standard television subscription – and “cord cutters” – those who are fed up with the traditional gatekeepers of aggregated TV, and just want to choose their own viewing according to personal tastes.

EU’s £1.7 Billion

There’s a lot of articles on this. Here’s a selection:

In the Telegraph we have “Both the EU and Cameron must come clean about the origins of this outrageous bill” by Tim Stanley

– Incredibly, no one has yet detailed how the bill was calculated. There are at least two possible explanations, and the Prime Minister seemed all at sea about which is correct.

But Cameron’s anger was disingenuous. While he continuously said that Britain would not pay the bill by the due date, he did not rule out paying the bill altogether. He is angry about timing, not so much the matter of scale – about which he can probably do nothing.

The same paper also has James Kirkup asking “Is the EU trying to push Britain towards leaving?

The Independent says “David Cameron vows to defy European Union on ‘unacceptable’ £1.7bn cash demand”.

The Guardian says “David Cameron kept in the dark over EU’s bill for €2.1bn” (which The Telegraph also reports)

David Cameron admitted that he had been left in the dark by George Osborne for two days as he complained that he had been hijacked by Brussels over an unexpected demand to pay £1.7bn (€2.1bn) to the EU.

The prime minister said he would refuse to comply with the sudden bill, which he first learned about on Thursday, but questions were raised about Whitehall’s competence once it emerged that the chancellor had known since Tuesday. Labour said ministers should have expected the higher bill months ago.

At a press conference in Brussels, with Cameron’s face growing increasingly red as he became more and more animated, the prime minister denounced the conduct of the European commission. “It’s a €2bn bill. It gets presented with a month to go,” he said. “That is not an acceptable way to behave and it’s not an acceptable sum of money.”

The Daily Mail take on it is: “One step closer to the exit: Cameron goes to war on £1.7 BILLION bill as he hints Britain will vote to leave EU… but why was he kept in the dark about shock demand?

The Express simply says “Britain closer to quitting EU

Daily Mirror and Piers Morgan

The Independent reports on Phone Hacking: “The Piers Morgan connection – Mirror admits some stories during Morgan’s tenure may have been obtained by illegal means

The publisher of the Daily Mirror has admitted for the first time that articles likely to have been the product of illegal phone hacking appeared in editions of the newspaper during the period when Piers Morgan was its editor.

In new defence documents produced by Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN), the company accepts that several stories which appeared in the Daily Mirror between 2002 and 2004 were likely to have involved “unlawful interceptions of voicemails” and the blagging of call data.

The publisher is currently fighting dozens of civil claims which allege a “widespread and habitual” use of hacking inside its three national titles.

Putin

The Independent reports that “Putin accuses US of causing global instability

Russian President Vladimir Putin has accused the US of undermining global stability, and warned that the world will face new wars if Washington does not respect the interests of other nations.

During a speech in the Russian city of Sochi, the President argued that while Moscow does not see Washington as a threat US foreign policy has created chaos. Citing the wars in Iraq, Libya and Syria, he went on to accuse the US and its allies of “fighting against the results of its own policy”.

“They are throwing their might to remove the risks they have created themselves, and they are paying an increasing price,” Putin told political experts at the Black Sea resort.

The Guardian also has this story.

ISIS

The Guardian reports that “Kurds fear Isis use of chemical weapon in Kobani

Kurds battling Islamic State militants for control of Kobani fear the extremist group may have used an unidentified chemical weapon, according to officials and one of the few doctors still working in the besieged Syrian town.

Patients with blisters, burning eyes and breathing difficulties turned up at a clinic after a blast was heard on Tuesday evening, Dr Walat Omar said. He described the symptoms as abnormal and said he could not identify their cause, but suspected a chemical weapon.

Russell Brand

The Guardian comments on Brand’s appearance on Newsnight with “Britain, don’t put your faith in Russell Brand’s revolution” The article is as confusing as Brand is himself, but here’s the final snippet:

Brand is, I have no doubt, one of the good guys. His thoughts on, say, Fox News are reliably amusing. Yet to watch his Newsnight interview was to watch a man get tangled up in his own manifesto. There is a difference between noticing people are a bit fed up with politicians and starting a coherent political movement, and you can tell the two apart because a man who truly knows what he is talking about does not start blathering on about 9/11 conspiracy theories. But by God, I would sooner stand in the way of a marauding buffalo than Brand in full flow! Britain, don’t say you weren’t warned.

PPI Selling

The Daily Mail reports on “New crackdown on nuisance calls: Now firms can face fines up to £500,000 for simply ‘causing annoyance’ with PPI adverts

New laws to end the scandal of nuisance marketing calls and text messages plaguing millions of people every day are to be brought in within weeks. Culture Secretary Sajid Javid will dramatically lower the threshold of what is considered a spam call or text and give watchdogs powers to hit the firms behind them with fines of up to £500,000.

He says he is determined to act following research showing that so many people are suffering cold calls that 58 per cent say they no longer want to answer their own phone. There has been a particular explosion in nuisance calls offering to recover mis-sold payment protection insurance (PPI) from banks.

Labour in Scotland

We’ve seen the Scottish polls showing SNP taking large chunks out of Labour’s vote, and now the Daily Mail reports on “Crisis for Labour as Scottish leader quits: Johann Lamont takes swipe at Ed Miliband as she walks away from party in ‘meltdown’

Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont quit last night, with a bitter attack aimed at Ed Miliband. After weeks of infighting, with the Scottish party in ‘meltdown’, Miss Lamont stood down with a shock denouncement of the Labour leadership. She accused colleagues of trying to run Scotland ‘like a branch office from London’, saying she had been left no choice but to resign.

The 57-year-old had faced weeks of pressure to quit following her disappointing referendum performance and is understood to be angry with Mr Miliband for failing to support her. Sources say she has grown sick of internal party sniping and believes she has become a ‘scapegoat’ for party failures in Scotland. Rumours had been circulating that former Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Blairite Jim Murphy were being lined up to take over. But the final straw was said to be a row over the UK party’s decision to axe Scots Labour General Secretary Ian Price.

Eurozone Crisis

The Express reports on Cameron saying “Britain’s growing recovery is not immune from Eurozone crisis

Attending an EU summit in Brussels, the Prime Minister hit out at his fellow leaders for failing to do enough to stop Europe teetering back into recession. And he also complained that other EU nations were failing to contribute to the effort against the spread of Ebola and raised fears the disease outbreak in Africa could also damage economic growth. Speaking over dinner at the summit, he told European leaders: “We can do more and we should do more.”

His remarks came ahead of official statistics to be released today that are expected to show a sudden slowing of the UK’s recovery. City insiders expect gross domestic product (GDP) to have grown by 0.7% in the third quarter of the year, down from 0.9% in the previous three-month period. The data is bound to raise alarm that the recovery is faltering and intensify controversy over Britain’s membership of the EU.

Farage on Friday

In his regular Friday column, Nigel Farage says “‘The British taxpayers are the real losers’ after new EU cash demand

First of all (Barroso) gave that amazingly insightful talk at Chatham House in which he rather took the sparkle out of the magic wand Cameron was planning on waving over EU migration by keenly reminding us that any change to free movement of people was impermissible. And then his outgoing gift to UKIP was dropping a £1.7billion bombshell on the Prime Minister.

For the man that argued just four days ago that a British exit from the EU would be ‘an historic mistake’ he seems to be going a funny way about trying to encourage the British people that they should want to stay. I bet Cameron was somehow hoping the nasty little surprise the outgoing Commission had up their sleeves remained concealed, after we learned that number ten had actually known about this for quite a few days.

Um… Sex and Politics

Bless ‘em, the Mirror reports that “Lib Dem supporters have the most adventurous sex lives, with UKIP followers dullest in bed

Labour supporters enjoy raunchier love lives than Tories, a new book has revealed. Voters who back Ed Miliband are more likely to say that they have long lasting, exciting and varied sex. Left-wingers admit to a wider range of fantasies including outdoor antics, bedding someone else’s partner, spanking and role play. And they are more likely to have tried a threesome or bondage, according to Professor Philip Cowley’s Sex, Lies and the Ballot Box.

Conservatives boast that they have more sex more often and are less likely to say that they are shy, according to the book which is out next week. But David Cameron’s backers are more likely to be turned off by fantasies such as encounters with a stranger than Labour voters.

Liberal Democrats are the most adventurous lovers of all says the guide to elections and the electorate complied by Nottingham University’s Professor Cowley.

You’ll have to read the article to find out what they say about us Kippers!

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