EU Referendum

The Telegraph leads with “David Cameron may campaign for Brexit, allies say

David Cameron has privately conceded he will have to campaign to leave the European Union if he continues to be “completely ignored” by Brussels, the Daily Telegraph has learned. The Prime Minister has made clear to his closest allies that he will lead the “Out” campaign if he considers the result of his renegotiation with Brussels to be unsuccessful.

It came as Mr Cameron travelled to Bulgaria, where he praised a razor wire security fence being used to prevent migrants entering the country from Turkey and said there were “real lessons to be learned”. The disclosure comes at the end of a week which has seen Mr Cameron abandon his hopes for an early EU referendum, amid growing opposition in Europe to his plans to curb migrants’ benefits.

There is a growing belief amongst British officials that a “Brexit” is more likely than ever due to the gulf between Mr Cameron’s renegotiation demands and the entrenched position of EU leaders. Angela Merkel, the Prime Minister’s closest European ally, has in recent weeks made it clear that she is opposed Downing Street’s plans to deny in-work benefits to EU migrants for four years.

BBC

The Guardian worries over this: “David Attenborough says BBC in ‘real danger’ in face of cuts and online rivals

Sir David Attenborough has warned that the BBC is in “real danger” and he is “very concerned” about its future. The naturalist said the threat of cuts as well as competition from rivals such as Netflix are “very real problems” and said if the BBC does not have the support of the public it is “lost”.

The BBC’s royal charter, due to expire in 2016, is being reviewed by the government, and the culture, media and sport secretary, John Whittingdale, sparked fears the BBC would be scaled back when he said the review would look at whether the corporation should continue to be “all things to all people” or have a more “precisely targeted” mission.

Speaking about the future of the broadcaster, Sir David, 89, said: “It’s in real danger. And if you lose the BBC, I mean I certainly will have lost a very, very important element of my life. And I would like to think that quite a lot of people in Britain think the same thing. I certainly do.

ISIS

The Independent has “Is Isis in crisis? Syrians who once supported Islamist extremists are now repulsed by their brutality

The very foundations of the caliphate appear to be crumbling. Territories once enjoyed by the “Islamic State”, and brutally enforced public support are, perhaps for the first time, under serious threat.

Amid defections from fighters, often unpaid because of air strikes on oil supply lines and a sclerotic economy, the caliphate appears weaker than ever. And its adherence to a brutal view of Islam, enforced by unwelcome foreign fighters, is creating unrest among the people it is struggling to keep within its borders.

While a complete collapse is not imminent – despite recent defeats and air strikes, Isis remains a potent military force in Iraq and Syria – the withering support for the Islamist group could present an opportunity for its enemies – rebel groups including the al-Qaeda-aligned Jabhat al-Nusra and the army of President Bashar al-Assad.

The Mail has “Death by explosive necklace, rocket launcher, or obliterated at sea: ISIS release a series of sickening execution videos from war-torn Yemen filmed in just 24 hours

ISIS has released a series of depraved execution videos from Yemen whose ongoing sectarian war has allowed the terror group to spread its tentacles into the country.

Four videos show Houthi rebels, who are battling both the government and al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), being executed in different sickening scenarios in a desert location.

Six men were blown up by a rocket launcher, another six were put on a boat which was sent out to sea and exploded, four were obliterated by the mortar shells hung around their necks and nine were beheaded with sharp daggers.

In one video, four men in orange jumpsuits stand with mortar shells tied around their necks like lanyards.  A deafening blast then sends huge amounts of soil and rock into the air. As the dust settles, the men’s destroyed, charred bodies can be made seen.

And the Express has “CREEPING EVIL: ISIS jihadis invade AFGHANISTAN just months after British troops left

Tens of thousands of Afghan villagers are reportedly fleeing their homes as ISIS, also known as Daesh, spreads its tentacles and imposes a brutal regime on the country. The jihadis are apparently conducting public beheadings, extortion and ordering a strict following of Koranic teachings alien to Afghanistan.

Meanwhile Afghan security forces are losing 500 men every month as they battle to stem the tide. A Pentagon spokesman said: “We are aware of the presence of Isil affiliated militants in Afghanistan, and we are monitoring closely to see whether their emergence will have a meaningful impact on the threat environment in the region.”

ISIS has taken advantage of the country’s vulnerability after the withdrawal of British and American troops, as well as the fragmentation of the Taliban. Earlier this year a United Nations report revealed: “The number of groups and individuals who are openly declaring either loyalty to or sympathy with ISIL continues to grow in a number of provinces in Afghanistan.”

Immigration

The Telegraph also reports  “Across Europe with Tommy Robinson: inside the new wave of anti-immigration protest coming soon to Britain

Late Monday night in Dresden, Germany, former English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson gave a speech to a large group of Pegida supporters. He told the crowd that he’s been working with nationalist groups across Europe in order to coordinate a Europe wide movement that seeks to, in his words, counter the “Islamification of our countries”. The first demo, he said, will be taking place on February 6, 2016, in at least 12 European countries simultaneously, all marching under a single banner: ‘’Save our Country. Save our Culture. Save Our Future.”

I’ve been following Tommy for the last few months for my next book, Radicals. After he left the EDL a couple of years back, he spent time in jail for mortgage fraud, and had tired of running a near uncontrollable street-based movement. He joined the Quilliam Foundation, an anti-extremism think-tank, but that petered out. The end of his licence period for the fraud case coincided with the refugee crisis, and he decided to get back involved in street politics. He still thinks Islam poses a real and growing risk to the culture and identity of Europe, and that the refugee crisis is bringing this forward.

Sharia

The Independent reports “Sharia courts in Britain lock women into ‘marital captivity’, study says

Sharia courts in Britain are locking women into “marital captivity” and doing nothing to officially report domestic violence, according to an academic who gained unprecedented access to Islamic divorce hearings.

Judges at the courts “uphold the theory and practice of the strong hold men have over women”, and set out to frustrate women whose husbands do not want them to leave, according to the study seen by The Independent.

The findings, which are to be unveiled in the Houses of Parliament next month, are based on the most detailed and informed analysis of the workings of British sharia courts ever undertaken by an independent researcher.

Labour

The Telegraph reckon s “Jeremy Corbyn is safe for now, but must protect his MPs from trolls

Today was highlighted in the diaries of Jeremy Corbyn’s critics as the leader’s date with downfall. Had Labour lost the Oldham by-election or scraped in, as many moderates expected, then Mr Corbyn would have been seen to have failed his first electoral test.

He would then, so the theory went, have slid gradually downhill until next May, when unfavourable results in local and Scottish elections would have sealed his fate. But Labour did not flunk Oldham. Instead it won comfortably, seeing off the Ukip challenge by 10,835 votes.

That majority, though lower than general election majority, represented a triumph by the candidate, Jim McMahon, and – at least to Corbynistas – a vindication of a popular leader. Moderates within shadow cabinet had been predicting the narrowest of wins. “We’ll hang on to Oldham, but only just,” one senior figure told me in advance of the poll.

The Guardian predictably has “Labour leadership strengthened by Oldham win, Jeremy Corbyn tells critics

A defiant Jeremy Corbyn is to tell critics in his shadow cabinet that his leadership has been strengthened by Labour’s emphatic victory in the Oldham byelection and by his success in winning a majority in the party for his opposition to airstrikes.

The party leadership said the win in Oldham West and Royton in the early hours of Friday morning had proved that Labour is electable, while shadow cabinet sceptics acknowledged that Corbyn would remain in place for “far longer” than they had expected.

“Jim McMahon’s victory makes a nonsense of the claim that Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party is unelectable,” a spokesperson for Corbyn said. “Now Labour has increased its share of the vote in Oldham, Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership is stronger as a result.”

 

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