SNP and Conservatives
The Telegraph makes a big splash of Nicola Sturgeon secretly backs David Cameron.
Nicola Sturgeon, the SNP leader, has privately said that she would “rather see” David Cameron win the general election because Ed Miliband is not “prime minister material”, a leaked memorandum seen by The Daily Telegraph has revealed. The SNP leader told the French Ambassador in February that she would prefer that “David Cameron remain” in Downing Street, according to an official account of their conversation seen by this newspaper.
The disclosure undermines public claims made by Miss Sturgeon this week that she wants to build a “progressive” alliance with Ed Miliband and other left-wing parties to keep the Conservatives out of office. It appears to confirm growing speculation in Scotland that the SNP would privately favour another Conservative-led Westminster government – which it could campaign against in a bid to stoke up anti-English sentiment and make an “out” vote more likely in another referendum.
Mind you, last night Nicola Sturgeon tweeted this to the journalist:
SNP and Ed Miliband
In a continuation of story reported in the broadsheets, the Mail stressed her remarks about Labour:
Miss Sturgeon said the question for Ed Miliband now was ‘would he be prepared to vote with the SNP’ in the next parliament, rather than the other way round.
‘If the SNP is a big force in Westminster we can make sure a Labour government does not sell out on its values like the last Labour government did,’ said the steely first minister.
Sajid David and Islam
The Telegraph has an interview with the Telegraph where he talks about “The ‘cultural’ problem among Asian Muslim men”
Muslim communities in parts of Britain have a “cultural” problem that has allowed Asian men to view women as commodities to be abused, Sajid Javid, the Culture Secretary, has said. Mr Javid told The Daily Telegraph that some of the values in certain communities were “totally unacceptable in British society” and must be discussed by the Government. Mr Javid, the son of a Muslim bus driver, said a “misplaced sense of political correctness” prevented police and social workers from “properly investigating” claims of abuse.
His comments follow inquiries into sexual abuse by Asian men in Rochdale, Rotherham and Oxford. The scandals saw hundreds of vulnerable young girls fall into the hands of gangs because the authorities failed to protect them, often because police and social workers were fearful of being presented as racist.
Breitbart claims “We do pay for children to be given pro-EU Propaganda”
British taxpayers are funding propaganda for school children designed to make them support the European Union. According to the European Commission website in the UK, a free book called The Mystery of the Golden Stars is available free of charge to schools and similar organisations.
According to the website, the material is designed ‘to introduce some aspects of the European Union in a child-friendly way to upper junior school-aged children in the UK. It allows children to discover what the EU is; how it works and how it may be relevant to them, in a fun and stimulating way.’
Earlier this week, the Liberal Democrats were condemned by UKIP for saying that 16 and 17-year-olds should be able to vote in an In/Out referendum on British membership of the EU. UKIP MEP Patrick O’Flynn said young people were more likely to be pro-European because they had been ‘brainwashed’ and accused the Lib Dems of trying to “gerrymander” the result of any vote.
The Guardian carries an article that says “Isis ‘tentacles’ spreading in Muslim community, warns Rochdale imam”
An imam in Rochdale has warned that the “tentacles of Isis” are spreading far and fast through the Muslim community as it emerged that a local Labour councillor’s son was among nine people from the town arrested on the Turkish-Syrian border. It is not yet clear why Manchester University politics student Waheed Ahmed, the 21-year-old son of Rochdale councillor Shakil Ahmed, had travelled to Hatay province in Turkey. He was detained by Turkish authorities on Wednesday as part of a group believed to include his aunt, Zadia Bi, two of her sons, one of the son’s wives and children aged one, three, eight and 11.
But Irfan Chishti, an imam from the Rochdale Council of Mosques, who has worked for the government’s anti-radicalisation programme Prevent, said he was very worried about young people in Rochdale being radicalised by Islamist hardliners. Before his Friday sermon at the Chashtiah mosque on Milkstone Road in Rochdale, Chishti said he would warn his congregation against radicalisation and urge them to resist the lure of Islamic State. “No one is immune to it. The tentacles of Isis really are spreading so quickly, not just into homes but into palms, via the internet on phones. We have got smartphones that are making us dumb. Isis is not in any way Islamic and we need to push back harder to say it’s not. We have to be pushing this message shrewdly to counter Isis’s narrative,” he said.
Nigel Farage and HIV
Tim Stanley of the Telegraph comments on the Leader’s Debate “the SNP won. The rest of the country lost”. In this analysis, after talking about the nationalists, he rounded on Nigel Farage:
Another nationalist, of sorts, who stood out was Nigel Farage. Farage is great at playing “the voice of the audience” – someone who can shout “liar, liar, pants on fire!” at all the moments when we’re thinking just the same. And it was a jolly good act until, apropos of nothing, he suddenly decided to have a pop at immigrants with HIV using the NHS. He had already rolled out that line once before and generated controversy for it, so why take the risk again? And does he not realise that while we all hate benefits tourism in the abstract, the moment you actually present us with a real person suffering from a real condition we turn to mush?
Moreover, HIV is a disease that rings too many bigoted bells to use in debate: it’s widely (unfairly) associated with gay men and Africans. It felt like dog whistle politics, but was such a strange and unnecessary whistle to blow that one wonders if Nigel does really have a problem with foreigners with HIV – and that makes him sound nasty rather than just honest. It was disappointing. When the debate ended, the other panellists looked reluctant even to shake his hand. It was as if he’d said, “How about we all go for a pint after?” And they’d replied, “Nah mate, I’d better get home to the wife and kids…”
The Mail also focuses on this with “As debate rivals and leftwingers savage Ukip chief for saying 60% of victims aren’t British… Did Farage get it right on HIV health tourists?”
When Nigel Farage attacked the high cost of health service treatment for foreigners with HIV it was guaranteed to provoke controversy. Instantly the Ukip leader was accused of ‘dangerous scaremongering’. But, while some of his claims were overstated, the latest official figures show that more than half of those newly diagnosed with HIV in Britain – where their country of origin is known – were born overseas.
Mr Farage said on Thursday night’s televised debate: ‘Here’s a fact and I’m sure that other people will be mortified that I dare to talk about it. There are 7,000 diagnoses in this country every year for people who are HIV positive. It’s not a good place for any of them to be, I know, but 60 per cent of them are not British nationals. You can come into Britain from anywhere in the world and get diagnosed with HIV and get the retroviral drugs that cost up to £25,000 a year per patient.’
The Guardian carries an NHS scare story: “Basic NHS services could be charged for after general election, BMA chief says”
Patients could have to start to pay charges to use basic NHS services such as GPs because the health service’s finances have become so dire, the leader of Britain’s doctors has warned. Dr Mark Porter, the head of the British Medical Association (BMA), said that whoever takes office after the general election will inevitably be tempted to bring in charges and may not be deterred by the unpopularity of such a seismic change to the health service.
In an interview with the Guardian, Porter said: “I think they will be tempted. They said in 1950 that a Labour government wouldn’t introduce charging and it did.” The introduction of prescription charges prompted the NHS founder, Nye Bevan, to resign from Clement Attlee’s government in April 1951. The existence of such charges for some areas of healthcare could persuade ministers to extend fees to others, Porter said. The health service in England currently raises about 1% of its income from charging for services such as prescriptions and dental care.
The Independent reports that “Labour unveils £5bn plan to build 150,000 new homes funded by Help to Buy ISA scheme”
A £5bn plan to build 150,000 homes by 2020 will be unveiled by Ed Miliband today, as Labour puts housing for first-time buyers at the top of the party’s agenda. A Labour government would order banks and building societies to put money into a new “future homes investment fund”, with the money coming from savings they hold under the “Help to Buy ISA” scheme announced by George Osborne in last month’s Budget.
The Chancellor pledged to top up the savings of first-time buyers trying to raise a deposit, giving them £50 for every £200 they save up to a maximum £3,000 of state support. But some experts warned that his plan would do nothing to boost the supply of housing and could push up prices. Mr Miliband will argue that the only way to tackle the chronic shortage of housing is to build more homes. Labour would keep Mr Osborne’s top-ups and any financial institution offering these ISAs would have to invest in housing.
The Mail picks on a particularly extreme example of benefits abuse with: Portrait of the feckless ‘father of 40’ who’s cost YOU £4.4million
Given the amount of Strongbow cider he’s consumed over the past few decades, it’s not surprising that Michael Holpin’s memory has become somewhat patchy. This week, the 56-year-old unemployed alcoholic from Ebbw Vale, South Wales, became an unlikely TV star after appearing in a Channel 5 documentary called “40 Kids By 20 Women”.
His claim to be Britain’s most prolific father also earned him a place on the sofa of ITV’s This Morning, plus a couple of money-spinning double-page spreads in red-top newspapers. Given his inability to remember the names of all these children — he’s had some tattooed on his back as a reminder — the question of how truthful Holpin has been about his past is something we shall return to shortly.
But an investigation by the Mail this week — in which many of his disgusted family members speak for the first time — suggests he knows even less about the actual number of children he’s fathered than methods of contraception.
The Express says “Future pensioners in peril as experts predict £100 a week shortfall”
Based on current saving trends, the average retirement income per person will be £307 per week, analysis of official figures shows. Yet retirees will need an average income of £402, some £95 more, to pay the bills for the lifestyle they want in old age.
Women will be harder hit than men, the study shows. On average, women think they need an income of £24,068 a year, or £462 a week, in retirement to live as they wish. Being realistic, they expect to receive only £16,242 or £312 a week.
The retirement income men say they would like is £25,086 or £482 a week. They think, however, they are more likely to receive £20,014, or £384 a week. But if the analysis is right, and the average figure both sexes will receive is £307 a week, then men and women face a pension shortfall in retirement.
The Express reports that “Britain is in need of turbines twice as big as Big Ben, claim energy experts”
BRITAIN should welcome “super” wind turbines more than double the height of Big Ben, says a wind industry task force. Councils should no longer concentrate on visual blight but take more heed of the need to meet climate change targets, it says. The new turbines would be up to 656ft from base to blade tip, compared with an average of 299ft for those built here last year.
Taller turbines would take advantage of stronger wind at higher altitudes. The task force claims relaxing planning rules would help onshore wind to become “the most cost-effective new electricity source by 2020”. The average height of turbines in Britain has increased from 243ft in 2000 to 299ft last year.
The Independent has an interview with Neil Hamilton: “The former Conservative MP on Margaret Thatcher, boozy lunches with Nigel Farage, and the odd regret”
What did you do the night of the 1997 general election, after finding out you’d lost Tatton to Martin Bell?
We went back to our house and had a bit of a wake with some of our supporters. I think we opened a magnum of Champagne, which seemed the best thing to do in the circumstances. It was a non-election really, Martin Bell was a joke candidate. He didn’t have any policies; all he had was a white suit.
Your grandfathers were miners. What drew you to the Conservative Party?
I’m just one of life’s natural non-conformers. If there is a tide going, I want to swim against it. That’s been the story of my life in many, many ways. I grew up in the mining valleys of South Wales and I wanted a bit more out of life than that, I suppose. I’ve always been an individualist.
How do you think this lot are doing?
I think [David] Cameron is a complete shyster. He is the Tory Blair. He tried to turn the Conservative Party into a kind of a soft-focus, pinko, liberal party with predictable consequences. He has done more than anybody, apart from Nigel Farage, to create UKIP.
Conservatives and Pornography
The Mirror reports that “Children to be ‘locked out’ of hardcore porn sites if Tories win election”
Hardcore pornography websites would be forced to lock out children or face being shut down if the Conservatives are re-elected. Culture Secretary Sajid Javid said the party would act to ensure under-18s were locked out of adult content after a recent Childline poll found nearly one in ten 12 -13 year olds are worried they are addicted to porn and 18% have seen shocking or upsetting images.
Experts welcomed the move – targeted at both UK-based and overseas websites – but warned it would take hard work to implement in practice. Under the Tory proposals the system would be overseen by an independent regulator with the power to compel Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to block sites which failed to include effective age verification.
ISPs could be fined if they did not co-operate. Mr Javid said: “If you want to buy a hardcore pornography DVD in a store you need to prove your age to the retailers.
Marine Le Pen
Marine Le Pen has known far better weeks. Five days after her far right party underperformed in French local elections, she received a double blow to her credibility today from hacked Kremlin text messages and a Holocaust-minimising outburst by her father.
Texts to and from a Kremlin official, hacked and leaked by a Russian opposition group, implied that Ms Le Pen’s party had been given a 9m euro loan by a Russian bank last year as a “reward” for supporting President Vladimir Putin’s annexation of the Crimea. Earlier, the founder of the Front National Jean-Marie Le Pen repeated his declaration that the Nazi gas chambers in which millions of jews died during World War Two were merely a “detail” of history.
So, seems like they are suffering the same kind of smears, albeit having some unwise people in their ranks.