SNP and Labour

The Telegraph reveals “the secret documents which show the SNP’s plan to hold Labour to ransom

The Scottish National Party has drawn up secret plans detailing how they will broker an agreement to support a minority government led by Ed Miliband, the Telegraph can disclose. The documents, circulated internally in the SNP, highlight the areas the party has identified where it shares common ground with the Labour party.

However, they also pin-point the policies it will attempt to force Mr Miliband to adopt as its price for making the Labour leader prime minister in the event of a hung Parliament. The documents give an insight into what life would be like under an SNP-backed Labour government.

The papers state that the SNP would be happy to “work to support Labour on a case by case basis”. They add that SNP MPs will “use our influence for an end to austerity, investment in growth, powers for our parliament and an end to Trident”.

Meanwhile, Toby Young in the same paper says “Ed Miliband’s SNP lie could damage him more than Nick Clegg’s tuition fee ‘promise’

This morning’s headlines report that last night Ed Miliband ruled out any sort of deal with the SNP. But did he go further than he has done on previous occasions? “I couldn’t be clearer with you,” he said. “If the price of having a Labour government was coalition or a deal with the Scottish National Party, it’s not going to happen.”

On the face of it, this sounds a lot like what Miliband said on Marr on Sunday, in which he ruled out a coalition or a confidence and supply arrangement with the SNP. The problem with that, as many people have pointed out, is that ruling out a deal singular with the SNP leaves the door open to making deals plural on a vote-by-vote basis. And, indeed, Andy Burnham confirmed this morning that this is what a Miliband-led government would do – and Miliband seemed to echo that sentiment in an interview with Sky this morning.

The Daily Mail wades in with “Ed Miliband’s big lie on the Scots: Labour leader accused of ‘insulting public’s intelligence’ as denials over SNP deal unravel

Ed Miliband was last night accused of misleading voters as his denials over a Labour-SNP deal spectacularly unravelled. Critics said the Labour leader was ‘insulting people’s intelligence’ when he used a TV debate to claim he would not work with Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Salmond.

Within hours, a string of senior colleagues confirmed Labour will seek the support of the SNP – on course to win 50 or more MPs and hold the balance of power in a hung Parliament.

Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said ‘of course’ Labour would have a ‘dialogue’ with other parties. He was backed up by Labour’s energy spokesman Caroline Flint and local government spokesman Hilary Benn. Last night, Mr Miliband was greeted by pro-independence supporters in Glasgow shouting ‘Red Tories out’ and ‘traitors’.

 Conservative and Labour

The Independent runs a warning from Labour about the Conservatives: “UK will be ‘run for the wealthy and powerful’ if Tories retain power, Labour warns

Ed Miliband will try to turn the tables on David Cameron in the final days of the election campaign by denying the UK would be “run for Scotland” under Labour and claiming it would be “run for the wealthy and powerful” if the Conservatives retain power.

In an interview with The Independent, David Axelrod, the American strategist who helped Barack Obama win two presidential elections and is now advising Mr Miliband, disclosed how Labour plans to limit the damage of Tory claims about a post-election deal between Labour and the Scottish National Party.

“The question is: who is this country going to be run for?” Mr Axelrod said. “Cameron is absolutely right about the question. But it is not a question of whether the country is going to be run for Scotland. It is a question of whether the country is going to be run for the wealthy and powerful  interests, who have thrived and prospered under Tory policies while everyday working people have struggled just to keep up.”

Meanwhile, The Guardian sees this battle differently: “Ed Miliband: this is a clash of values, not a clash of nations

Ed Miliband has sought to redefine the election debate as a clash between competing political values rather than a Tory-driven battle between England and Scotland, in a combative interview six days before the polls open.

Speaking to the Guardian ahead of the closest election in a generation, the Labour leader attacked David Cameron for being reduced to arguing that “the key question facing the country is a battle of resources between London and Scotland”.

The Labour leader added: “I have been clear I am not going to have a coalition or a deal with the Scottish National party, but the real battle is not a choice between two nations, as Cameron pretends, but between two sets of values – is the country run by an elite of the most rich and powerful or is it run for working people?”

Conservative and Liberal Democrats

The Telegraph broadcasts on behalf of CCHQ with “Watch out for Liberal Democrat ‘dirty tricks’ campaign, Tories warn candidates

The Conservatives have warned candidates the Liberal Democrats will launch a “dirty tricks” campaign in the final week in a last-minute attempt to save their seats. A memo distributed to dozens of senior Tory activists said the Lib Dems will use “false and exaggerated claims” and “wicked” campaign tactics in the last few days.

It warned the party was returning to the “personal attacks” favoured by Lord Rennard, the disgraced Lib Dem peer, with no signs of a surge in support for the polls. The note, sent out on Thursday and seen by The Daily Telegraph, comes as relations between the former Coalition partners becomes increasingly frayed.

(Ed: That’s rich, coming from the Tories)

UKIP and the BBC

The Independent publishes Nigel’s column: “Arrogant, biased and bad value for money – it’s time for a radical shake-up of the BBC

The BBC’s heyday is long behind it. Ahead lies the inevitably long process of figuring out just what sort of publicly funded programming the organisation should make, and therefore, how much money it should still receive from the licence fee payer.

It’s not a secret that the BBC is guilty of London-centric, left-liberal bias. Its own presenters and staff have been quite open about the fact. What is surprising is that the organisation manages, with a straight face, to maintain the “holier than thou” attitude not just towards the British public, but towards fellow broadcasters and other journalists.

The number of times I’ve heard, “But we’re the BBC…” or something to that effect. Yes, it has a large audience, but I would suggest that without the significant public subsidy which is enforced by the threat of fines or imprisonment, the BBC would struggle to make itself self-sustaining.

Nationalism

Independent leader writer Boyd Tonkin says “The UK was formed in nationalist fires, and today is no different

Whether, by 2025, Scotland enjoys formal sovereignty or near-total autonomy within a federalised UK, change will come. Eight centuries of experience since Magna Carta suggests that the hybrid, fluid elites of these offshore islands will evolve in order to exploit it, just as they have in the face of every past upheaval.

In future histories of this election, the two-faced front pages of The Sun this Thursday – cheering Cameron, the Tories and the Union in England and Wales, hailing Sturgeon and the SNP in Scotland – will occupy a special place. Their proprietor Rupert Murdoch may feel a twinge of ancestral sentiment in favour of the nationalist cause. Still, the double emissions of his organs did present a textbook example of the sheer flexibility of corporate power in an age when the mighty extraterritorial firm can dictate terms to the puny geographical state.

UKIP

The Guardian reports that “UKIP suspends election candidate Jack Sen over racially charged comments

Ukip has suspended another of its parliamentary candidates a week before the general election after he made a series of racially charged comments. Jack Sen, who was to stand for the party in West Lancashire, said that minorities in South Africa were being ethnically cleansed.

And he laid the blame for a “genocide” in western Europe at the door of the Labour leader, Ed Miliband, and other prominent Jewish figures across the world. He also included Labour’s Emily Thornberry, who is not Jewish.

Sen made the comments in an interview with the far-right South African website the European Knights Project (EKP) published on 12 April. He said on Friday that he stood by them. Separately, antisemitic comments about Labour’s candidate for Liverpool Wavertree, Luciana Berger, were posted on his Twitter account on Thursday.

Meanwhile in the Express:  “Nigel Farage urges Labour supporters to vote Ukip to stop SNP holding key in a coalition

The UK Independence Party leader claimed “the game has changed” in politics because Labour could not form a government without support from Nicola Sturgeon’s Scottish National Party. And he insisted Labour leader Ed Miliband was not fit to become prime minister because of his refusal to publicly acknowledge his need for SNP backing.

Mr Farage said his views altered following BBC1’s Question Time on Thursday in which Mr Miliband insisted he would not lead a government supported by the SNP. Mr Farage said: “Mr Miliband, now, cannot be prime minister. It would be the greatest lie of modern British politics for him now to try and form a coalition with the SNP.

The Express wades in against Labour and Conservative too with: “Nigel Farage: Cameron and Miliband ‘betrayed’ England by giving Scotland more powers

NIGEL Farage has claimed David Cameron and Ed Miliband “betrayed England” by promising more devolution for Scotland last year. The Ukip leader argued that their last-ditch independence referendum pledge led to “madness” and could destabilise the union.

He said: “More money, more power, and a raw deal for the English – it’s no wonder the SNP’s popularity has soared. Alex Salmond managed to pull off the greatest victory for Scotland since the Battle of Bannockburn.”

Mr Farage argued that the Barnett formula – the method used to distribute money around the UK – is “drastically skewed”. While Cameron and Miliband pledged to preserve the formula, the Ukip leader added, his party has promised to revise it. Mr Farage also claimed Ukip is the only party to have campaigned for English votes for English laws instead of simply paying “lip service” to the idea.

Labour candidate

The Mail reports that “Police probe Labour parliamentary hopeful who ‘went on Snapchat and asked public schoolgirl, 17: Ready for bed yet?

A Labour Party candidate has been investigated by police over ‘inappropriate’ social media contact with a 17-year-old public schoolgirl. Richard Garvie, 30, is said to have sent messages to the sixth former after addressing students at Wellingborough School, Northamptonshire, last week. It is believed the girl’s mother alerted the school after discovering Garvie had been contacting her daughter.

Allegedly the would-be MP asked the girl whether she was doing anything that night and if she was ‘ready for bed?’. Both the £14,500-a-year co-ed school and the police immediately launched investigations into the matter.

David Cameron

The Guardian’s John Grace reports on “Cameron and the election’s career-defining moment

It’s that moment in a relationship when you know it just isn’t going to work. You’ve pleaded, you’ve begged, you’ve promised to change. Not even flowers are making any difference. You’ve told your partner over and over again how deep your love is, but you’re getting nowhere. You’ve tried to prove that deep down you are passion unbridled. But your better half has heard it all before and is no longer impressed. The ending is just a matter of time.

All three party leaders now find themselves in that position. After months of campaigning, the country is still struggling to feel the love for any of them. The opinion polls have barely moved in months and it is David Cameron who is most feeling the strain. Dave had been so sure; his mates Lynton and Danny had convinced him that the smoothest-talking bastard always won in the end and that come the last week he’d have the voters eating out of his sweaty palms.

Conservative Second Jobs

The Mirror reports: Safe-seat Tory MP puts in long hours during election campaign – in his DENTIST surgery

It’s set to be one of the closest elections in years – and David Cameron needs all the help he can get if he is to stay in power. But while party loyalists are pounding the streets in key marginals miles from home territory, Tory MP and dentist Sir Paul Beresford is spending plenty of time in his surgery.

Over 17 working days, he has been seen in his offices on eight days, clocking up a total of 53 hours and 33 minutes, a Mirror investigation has found. It means that in the three weeks after Parliament dissolved, he spent 47% of the working days inside his dental practice, where he also does his political work. Locals said Mr Beresford’s campaign team in the seat of Mole Valley in Surrey is “invisible”.

And they get another one too in: Fatcat Tory broke promise to become full-time MP with string of second jobs

A fatcat Tory who promised to be a ‘full-time MP’ has been trousering tens of thousands of pounds from second jobs. Shameless Stephen McPartland told voters at a hustings in 2010: “I believe it’s important we have a Member of Parliament for Stevenage who’s going to take the role responsibly and treats it as a full-time job.” But after getting elected a fortnight later, the moneybags Tory began pocketing vast sums from a string of outside jobs.

He earns £42,000 a year as non-executive director of a furniture company.

His private consultancy earns another £35,000 a year advising a recruitment firm in London.

And it is paid £300 an hour for advising the Association of Welding Distribution.

Green Party

Breitbart runs this story on the Greens: “Green party ‘open’ to permitting three-way marriages

Green Party leader Natalie Bennett has said her party would consider allowing polygamous marriages and civil partnerships in the UK. Speaking in a Q&A session with PinkNews readers, the Green leader responded to a question from Redfern Jon Barrett, who asked: “As someone living with his two boyfriends in a stable long-term relationship, I would like to know what your stance is on polyamory rights. Is there room for Green support on group civil partnerships or marriages?”

Bennett responded: “We have led the way on many issues related to the liberalisation of legal status in adult consenting relationships, and we are open to further conversation and consultation.” One of the leading criticisms levelled by opponents of gay marriage was that it could create a ‘slippery slope’ that would lead to marriage being redefined in other ways, including allowing more than two people to enter into a union.

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