Syria Air Strikes

The Mirror has the results of a Survation Poll on public attitudes to air strikes in Syria: “David Cameron fails to convince public to back strikes against ISIS in Syria

David Cameron is failing to convince the majority of Britons we should start an aerial bombardment of Islamic State in Syria, according to an exclusive Daily Mirror poll. Less than half the country supports his plan to bomb IS strongholds as early as next Tuesday – with the rest opposed or undecided.

48% back British air raids on the extremists, contrasted with 30% who want the RAF to stay out of the fight, and 21% who don’t know. But an overwhelming majority – 59% believe sending Tornado warplanes into action over Syria will increase the risk of terrorists inflicting carnage in the UK.

Britain currently only strikes IS targets in Iraq, but the Prime Minister wants to widen action so our warplanes can pound the militants in their Syrian heartlands. The drum beat to war grew louder following the Paris atrocities which left 130 people dead two weeks ago.

Labour’s bitter divisions over whether to back strikes widened today, with two former ministers calling on Jeremy Corbyn to quit.

And the Telegraph has more on that with: Jeremy Corbyn faces humiliation as more than 100 Labour MPs plan to defy leader over Syria air strikes

Half of Labour MPs will defy Jeremy Corbyn next week over military action in Syria, it has emerged as senior figures in the party openly questioned his leadership. Senior party sources told The Telegraph on Friday night that as many as 115 Labour MPs are preparing to back a government motion allowing British fighter jets to bomb targets in Syria. On Friday Mr Corbyn was in open conflict with Tom Watson, the deputy leader, and Hilary Benn, the shadow foreign secretary, who are both calling for air strikes.

It can also be disclosed that around 20 Conservative rebels have now backed down and agreed to support Mr Cameron’s plans – meaning he now has a substantial Parliamentary majority in favour of air strikes. It came as Francois Hollande, the French President, appealed to Labour MPs to back Mr Cameron’s plans in the wake of the Paris terror attacks.

The Guardian has an opinion piece from Natalie Nougayrède (she previously worked for Le Monde): “Cameron is right about Syria – but the outcome now depends on Russia

As France mourned its 130 dead in an emotional ceremony today, survivors of 13 November attending on stretchers and in wheelchairs, the question of how to defeat Islamic State seemed as intractable as ever. François Hollande has mounted a fullblown diplomatic effort to build a “large and single coalition”. A strong emphasis is being placed on rallying support from European states because, as the French president put it, Isis didn’t just strike at Paris but at Europe as a whole.

Building up a unified European resolve is especially important because no one is under any illusion that the Obama administration wants to embroil itself deeper in the Middle East: America, miles across the Atlantic, simply doesn’t feel its own security is on the line. But Europe’s is. The Middle East is spewing out its violence on to our continent. Germany has announced it will contribute surveillance and refuelling planes over Syria. Eyes are now on Britain.

But what is the strategy? It is clear to all that Isis cannot be defeated with airstrikes alone. Ground forces are needed to rout Isis in Raqqa – its self-styled “capital of the caliphate”, in eastern Syria, and from where the Paris attacks were planned. Ground forces will also be needed for future postwar stabilisation efforts. These ground forces cannot, and should not, be western. That would invite a repetition of the costly mistakes made in Iraq and Afghanistan, where military occupation created a spiral of violence and radicalisation.

Jeremy Corbyn and Labour

Meanwhile, The Guardian cheers Jezza on with: ”Jeremy Corbyn seeks grassroots Labour support for stance against bombing Syria

Jeremy Corbyn is expected to seek the direct backing of grassroots Labour members and the party’s ruling body as he tries to persuade his MPs not to support David Cameron’s case for bombing Islamic State in Syria. The Labour leader is facing a revolt from within his shadow cabinet over whether to back the government in a Commons vote next week, with most leaning in favour of military action, including Hilary Benn, the shadow foreign secretary, and Tom Watson, the deputy party leader.

However, Corbyn is prepared for a fight with the MPs who are in favour of the current proposals for military action by attempting to show they are out of step with wider opinion in the party, especially at grassroots level. He has already written directly to MPs, saying: “I do not believe the prime minister’s current proposal for airstrikes in Syria will protect our security and therefore cannot support it.” The Labour whips were ringing round MPs for their opinions on Friday night about this statement.

Oldham By-Election

The Independent reports from Oldham with: “John Bickley: Ukip candidate for Oldham by-election poses a real threat to Labour’s heartland

Bickley-3

Now, it’s clear, there is a refugee crisis, and for once it is Ukip activists tearing down the floodgates. As locals made their way from Friday prayers at the Werneth House Islamic Centre, they found a short wall of purple rosettes waiting for them, and the outstretched hand of John Bickley, the  Ukip candidate in Thursday’s by-election, which will be far closer than anyone might have dreamt possible not all that long ago.  According to Labour’s own polling, a 15,000-majority could come down to as little as 1,000. A less overtly political source, the bookies, have brought Ukip’s odds down from 20/1 to 2/1.

“Looking at the Labour Party now, it looks like a reverse version of Spitting Image, but with real people,” Bickley says. “It’s as if someone is deciding, ‘Who’s going to write the script today, that’s completely unbelievable.’ Except it’s really happening.” Beforehand, the Ukip team briefly worked out a strategy of sorts, with the help of a local Muslim council candidate. “I will explain we are not racist,” he said. “Then I will bring them to you.” But it was hardly needed. Several people happily stop to chat, nodding along seemingly in agreement with the same old messages: that Labour doesn’t represent the working-class any more; that mass immigration isn’t a race issue, and so on.

Budget

Charles Moore in The Telegraph has a leader on Osborne: “Those smug Tory front-bench grins made even me want to vote Labour” where he starts by referencing Corbyn:

The effect of Mr Corbyn and his precious convictions is to make everything dangerously easy for his opponents. Try taking him out of current politics and imagine the Opposition led by a competent person. Then imagine the reaction to George Osborne’s Autumn Statement this week.

This imaginary, competent Labour leader (I have no idea who it could be) would have pointed out several things. The Chancellor, he would have said, had so miscalculated the reaction to his reform of tax credits that, despite his party having just won a general election, he had let himself be beaten on a financial issue by the House of Lords. His moral authority was so weak that he dared not defy the unelected chamber. He gave in.

Then (says this fictional, competent Labour leader), faced with potential humiliation, Mr Osborne grabbed new projections from the Office for Budget Responsibility – the group of “independent” boffins on whom, in the last Parliament, he had decided to confer bogus authority – and announced that he had £27 billion more than he’d thought a few months earlier. Rather like someone who boasts of a bumper harvest solely on the basis of the long-range weather forecast, he “spent” the whole of the hypothetical sum he had just discovered. Then he had the cheek to tell the world that he was still pursuing his stern course of rectitude. Why on earth, my imagined Mr or Ms Not Corbyn could scornfully have asked, should anyone believe Mr Osborne’s claim that he is making Britain the “most prosperous economy in the world”?

EU and MacMillan

The Telegraph also an article by Alan Sked, one-time founding member of UKIP, on: “How a secretive elite created the EU to build a world government

Why would it want to enter the EEC?

The answer is that Harold Macmillan and his closest advisers were part of an intellectual tradition that saw the salvation of the world in some form of world government based on regional federations. He was also a close acquaintance of Jean Monnet, who believed the same. It was therefore Macmillan who became the representative of the European federalist movement in the British cabinet.

In a speech in the House of Commons he even advocated a European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) before the real thing had been announced. He later arranged for a Treaty of Association to be signed between the UK and the ECSC, and it was he who ensured that a British representative was sent to the Brussels negotiations following the Messina Conference, which gave birth to the EEC.

In the late 1950s he pushed negotiations concerning a European Free Trade Association towards membership of the EEC. Then, when General de Gaulle began to turn the EEC into a less federalist body, he took the risk of submitting a full British membership application in the hope of frustrating Gaullist ambitions.

Jihadis

The Express leads with a piece: “EU and Labour MEPs say we MUST welcome back jihadis because border controls are RACIST

ISLAMIC State (ISIS) jihadis have been given carte blanche to reach the gates of Britain and potentially carry out atrocities against innocent civilians after an EU motion backed by Labour BANNED using border controls to stop terrorism. Labour MEPs voted en masse for a raft of Brussels resolutions which will prevent European security services in Schengen agreement countries from implementing “any border control measures aimed at fighting terrorism”.

UKIP’s Home Affairs spokeswoman Diane James said she was “astounded” that Labour had backed the proposals just days after the horrific Paris massacre, in which 130 people lost their lives.

She raged: “After the events of Paris I am astounded that Labour MEPs have voted for these amendments. The free movement of people has led to the free movement of jihad and the only way to combat this is for Member States to regain control of their borders immediately. Labour opened our borders and have attempted to keep them open even in the face of these barbaric forces. UK citizen’s security should be paramount. Apparently Labour does not agree.”

Germany and Islamic Immigration

The Mail has this: “Migrant blunder splitting Germany in two: Weeks ago, Merkel threw open Germany’s doors. Today, amid fears it’s importing anti-Semitism, many worry their way of life is under threat

Her story in this provincial town (About Syrians wanting a male estate agent to show them round a house), where hundreds of migrants are staying in hotels and camps before being given rental accommodation, is one of many dividing German opinion over mass migration.

In August, when Chancellor Angela Merkel controversially welcomed all Syrians, promising them asylum, benefits and housing as war refugees, the country’s mood was buoyant. Helping out was the right thing to do, said most Germans

But other faraway nations, such as Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Algeria, Morocco and Egypt, took note of Mrs Merkel’s message. Within weeks, thousands of migrants, only 20 per cent of whom are believed to be Syrians, had grabbed the chance of a new life in the West. In what has become the biggest European movement of people since World War II, countries from Sweden to Hungary have hurriedly introduced border checks to try to assess who are genuine refugees.

Russia and Turkey

The Independent reports that “Moscow steps up attacks on Turkey as it accuses Ankara of letting Isis smuggle out oil

Vladimir Putin accused Turkey of allowing Isis jihadists to run a “living oil pipe” across its border as he upped the ante in the row over the downing of a Russian jet.

The Russian President said that reconnaissance footage, shared with world leaders at the G20 summit earlier this month, showed that oil was being smuggled through rebel-held Syria and into Turkey “day and night”. There were “vehicles, carrying oil, lined up in a chain going beyond the horizon”, he claimed.

Speaking after talks at the Kremlin with the French President Francois Hollande, Mr Putin accused Ankara of false naivety over Isis’s huge oil operation. “Let’s assume that Turkey’s political leadership knows nothing about it – it’s theoretically possible, albeit hard to believe,” he said. “There may be elements of corruption and insider deals. They should deal with it.”

American Presidency

The Guardian reports that “Donald Trump suffers his largest drop in polls after week of controversy

Donald Trump’s support among Republicans has dropped 12 points in less than a week, marking the presidential hopeful’s biggest decline since he started leading the field in July, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll. Trump is still in the lead, with 31% of people surveyed naming him as their preferred candidate in a rolling poll over five days that ended on 27 November. However, that number was down from a peak of 43% on 22 November.

The sharp drop follows criticism of Trump for comments he made in the aftermath of the Paris attacks on 13 November in which 130 people died. Following the attacks, Trump told an NBC News reporter that he would support a plan requiring all Muslims within the United States to be registered to a special database, which his critics likened to the mandatory registration of Jews in Nazi Germany.

Child Sex Abuse

The Independent has a piece: “Child sexual abuse inquiry: Current MPs along with Catholic and Anglican churches to be investigated

Current MPs and the Catholic and Anglican churches will be investigated over historical child sex abuse claims in England and Wales, it has been announced. Former politicians, spies, councils, schools and youth offender institutions are also being scrutinised by the independent inquiry led by Justice Lowell Goddard.

Speaking in central London the judge set out 12 different lines of inquiry that will each hold public hearings with victims, witnesses and experts. Both churches as well as Lambeth, Nottinghamshire and Rochdale councils will be among the first areas of focus.

Justice Goddard said: “The investigation will focus on high-profile allegations of child sexual abuse involving current or former members of parliament, senior civil servants, government advisers and members of intelligence and security agencies. It will consider allegations of cover up and conspiracy and review the adequacy of law enforcement responses to these allegations.”

Illegal Immigration

The Mail leads with “Stranded on a Kent beach: French ‘people smuggler’ whose speedboat broke down after ‘ferrying migrants from Calais for £10,000 a time’

 Sitting dejected on the side of his powerful speedboat, this is a suspected French people smuggler who became stranded on an English beach. David Turpin is believed to have just dropped off a group of migrants he had ferried from Calais for £10,000 a time. He claimed to be a penniless fisherman who had taken a wrong turn and broken down off Kent in the dead of night.

However, he could not explain why there were 16 life jackets in his £40,000 boat and his fishing rod did not have a line on it. Turpin was arrested near Dunkirk earlier this month with five others, accused of being part of a ‘vast people trafficking ring’ run by Albanian gangsters.

He claimed he was bullied into making the trips on his boat by the gang leaders. Migrants were paying £10,000 to £12,000 a time for the ‘VIP’ crossings, French prosecutors allege. This picture, taken on Kingsdown beach near Deal in October last year, and salvage documents seen by the Daily Mail, suggest Turpin has been making crossings for many months. The case raises serious questions about Britain’s coastal security.

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