UKIP

The Telegraph leads with “UKIP vote in European elections no flash in pan according to new poll

The poll, by ComRes suggests that 86 per cent of people who voted for Nigel Farage’s party will do so again next year. More than 4.3 million people voted for Ukip in the European elections, giving the party its first national victory. The Conservatives came third, suggesting many of their previous supporters had defected to Ukip. Several Cabinet ministers have publicly said that many Ukip voters are merely “lending” their votes to Ukip this year and will return to the Tory fold ahead of the general election. But the poll, conducted in the days after the European election, casts doubt on those predictions.

The survey found that 37 per cent of Ukip voters said that they were “certain” to support the party at the general election. Another 49 per cent said that they were “likely” to do so, while 14 per cent said that they would probably back another party.

The poll was commissioned by Paul Sykes, Ukip’s biggest financial backer. In a further boost for Mr Farage, Mr Sykes today pledges to help the party score a second major victory over the Tories in next week’s Newark by-election.

Is it too early to use a David Steel quote from 1981? “Go back to your constituencies and prepare for government”

The Guardian doesn’t have details of the Sykes poll, but reports from Newark instead. The attempts to belittle UKIP are more subtle now:

“Where are we canvassing?” shouts out one of the troops, who range from a retired chap of military bearing, wearing a tweed jacket and brown brogue shoes, to a dishevelled fan of Viz comics. Peering at a crumpled printout of the ONS map of the less affluent north-west side of Bingham – a rich source of Ukip votes – Helmer announces to his canvassers: “We’re in Carnarvon … something or other.”

With their marching orders, the team wander off at varying speeds from Carnarvon Place into a warren of streets, mainly social housing, where they find a ready audience for their anti-establishment message. “I am right there, it is time for a change,” Helmer is told by Meryl Donovan, the first voter to open a front door to the Ukip candidate in next Thursday’s Newark byelection.

The spirited, if slightly amateur, Ukip byelection operation suggests that the “People’s Army” needs to brush up on logistics if it is to topple the Westminster political establishment.

NHS

Yet another NHS maltreatment story in the Telegraph with “NHS breaks promise after Winterbourne View scandal

Vulnerable children and adults with disabilities are being left at risk of “sickening abuse” because the NHS has failed to transfer thousands of people into suitable accommodation, a leading charity has warned. Ministers pledged that the care of around 3,000 people with learning disabilities and autism should be reviewed, following a major scandal three years ago at Winterbourne View, a private hospital in Bristol, where residents were tortured by staff.

The Government promised to reform the system of care, setting a deadline of June 1 for the transfer of thousands of people out of such institutions. It followed a review which found that residents were suffering poor care and an increased risk of abuse because many were left for years in units far from their families – when with the right help many could live in their own homes, or in nearby accommodation. But latest figures show that despite Sunday’s deadline, just one in 10 residents has been rehoused.

Energy

If the commenters are to be believed, it seems that the normally calm, cool, rational Ambrose Evans-Pritchard has lost his head over solar panels in China with “Solar to match coal in China by 2016, threatening fossil dominance

Wuxi Suntech Power expects the cost of electricity from solar modules match to coal-powered stations in China as soon as 2016. If so, we are entering a dramatically different world. The company’s chief executive, Eric Luo, told RenewEconomy that grid parity is at hand, even in competing with the cheapest and dirtiest form of fossil fuels. “We are sure that by 2016 – or at the latest 2017 – the levellised cost of solar PV will be the same as coal-fired generation. It is going to completely transform the energy market in China,” he said.

Coal makes up 69pc of China’s energy supply. It is the biggest single cause of Airpocalypse, the suffocation of Chinese cities in perma-smog. The Communist Party is hell-bent on cutting reliance before the middle classes rise up in fury.

Police

The Guardian leads with “Police Federation must rebuild trust, says new chair

The days of scandal, alleged bullying and officials getting “bladdered” on expenses at the Police Federation must come to an end, according to its new leader.

Steve White, who was elected last week as chair of the federation, which represents 125,000 rank-and-file officers, made a pledge to transform the scandal-hit body, which he conceded had sometimes looked like a “militant trade union”.

In his first interview since securing the post, White said his priorities were unifying the federation, and “rebuild[ing] the level of trust the police service has with the public”, which has been “so severely damaged” by national stories such as “Plebgate”, tales of bullying among officials and of secret bank accounts laden with tens of millions of pounds.

The Express has a different story but linked to the same root problem: “Police criticised for waning numbers of patrolling police

Researchers found the number of people who reported spotting a patrol officer at least once weekly had dropped for the first time in seven years from 38 to 34 per cent. The trend – linked to falling confidence in the police – emerged just weeks after it was revealed that forces do not record thousands of crimes including some rape offences. It also follows Home Secretary Theresa May’s stinging criticism of the Police Federation for “contempt for the public”.

Europe

The Guardian reports that “Merkel backs Jean-Claude Juncker for European commission president

Angela Merkel has thrown her weight behind Jean-Claude Juncker for the next European commission leader, dealing a blow to David Cameron’s attempts to block Luxembourg’s former prime minister from taking up the role. The German chancellor said at the National Catholic Congress in Regensburg: “I will now lead all negotiations in the spirit that Jean-Claude Juncker should become president of the European commission.”

Both Merkel and Juncker’s parties are members of the European People’s party (EPP) bloc, the centre-right group that gained the most seats in Sunday’s European parliament elections. David Cameron, whose Conservative party left the EPP in 2009, as well as Hungary and Sweden’s prime ministers have opposed Juncker, lobbying for a more reformist candidate.

So much for David Cameron’s renegotiations and reform with Europe, and our “influence” in the EU.

Education and the “Trojan Horse”

The Guardian exploits a leak with: “Ofsted inspectors make U-turn on ‘Trojan Horse’ school, leak shows

Ofsted’s first inspection of Park View academy – at the centre of the Trojan Horse allegations of an Islamist plot – cleared the school of allegations of discrimination and retained its “outstanding” rating, according to a leaked draft of the inspector’s recommendations seen by the Guardian.

The results of that initial inspection were rejected just a few days later when Ofsted inspectors re-entered the school and overturned their initial findings, replacing a string of relatively minor recommendations with more severe criticism that could see it placed in special measures as early as next week.

Education and Discipline

The Daily Mail reports on an interesting experiment in education: “Attention! Army lessons improve pupils’ schoolwork and respect for others, claims initiative that sees ex-soldiers teaching formal lessons to troublesome students

Military style lessons help improve children’s behaviour and boosts their progress in lessons, new research has revealed. Pupils’ resilience, listening skills, attendance and attitudes towards teachers are also enhanced by having classes with former soldiers. The findings come as the Government plans a dramatic expansion of a ‘military- style’ ethos in English state schools.

Professor Susan Hallam, from the Institute of Education, University of London, examined SkillForce, an initiative working with more than 5,000 primary and secondary pupils in 200 schools across the UK. Ex-military staff take pupils at risk of ‘disengaging’ from education out of timetabled lessons once or twice a week. They use a ‘hands-on’ approach to teach traditional subjects such as maths or science, alongside life skills designed to encourage resilience and discipline.

Researchers surveyed more than 250 students and found that two-thirds had better relationships with their teachers as a result of the programme.

Data Privacy

The Independent runs a story on the Google right to be forgotten saga: “Google privacy law ‘means total rethink of basic freedoms’

Hundreds of millions of people across Europe will be forced to change completely the way they use the internet, according to one of Google’s key advisers. The era of freely available information is now over in Europe, warns Professor Luciano Floridi, who has been appointed by the £225bn search engine firm to find out how it should comply with a landmark ruling that allows people to ask for personal information to be taken down.

His warning comes as The Independent reveals that 12,000 requests were made on Friday, around 20 a minute, from people across Europe demanding to have their personal details removed from Google. More than 1,500 of these are believed to have come from people in the UK who were looking to take advantage of a service launched by Google to make it easier for people to apply for personal data to be removed.

Tower Hamlets

This image appears nears the top of The Independent’s online page: Islamic area - no dogs

The Mail has the same story but the Independent story reports that:

The warning, branded “alarming and divisive” by the local council, appeared in Bartlett Park in east London’s Poplar. It read: “Do not walk your dog here! Muslims do not like dogs. This is an Islamic area now.”

Local Labour MP Jim Fitzpatrick alerted police to the sign after a dog walker complained. “The question is whether it was put up by the EDL to be provocative or by religious zealots to be racist,” he told the Evening Standard. “It’s another facet of intolerance, or, because there’s no guarantee it was done by Islamists, it could be those in society who are trying to polarise and divide us.”

The Independent has another story on the same area: “Divide and rule: How race politics has poisoned Tower Hamlets

Overcome with emotion at winning a second term, in the early hours of last Saturday, the Mayor of Tower Hamlets broke down. Choking back the tears, Britain’s first directly elected mayor of Asian heritage said: “People say I’m a racist, I’m sectarian … it saddens me … I’m sorry I’m emotional … I’m emotional because what I seek from you is fairness.”

Lutfur Rahman sees himself as the victim both of a relentlessly hostile media and his former party, Labour, which dumped him as its mayoral candidate in 2010. He says he was never given the chance to disprove the allegations that he rigged his selection and that he became the willing servant of an Islamist entryist organisation based at the East London Mosque which, like the Militant Tendency of the 1980s, sought to infiltrate the party. One thing is clear, though: the Mayor is not a racist. “I grew up with black kids and white kids,” he sobbed. “I grew up with Jewish kids, Christian kids, people of no faith.”

Tax Collection

The Daily Mail reports on Tax collection methds: “‘They should stop picking on hard-working people’: Taxman’s bully-boy letters to innocent families

Innocent taxpayers are being sent ‘bully-boy’ letters by HM Revenue & Customs demanding to know why they are paying less than it expects them to. In a new attack on suspected tax avoiders, officers are targeting individuals whose payments don’t match up to official expectations. The alarming letter sent to homes tells them the taxman has been scrutinising their self-assessment form – and that their bill is ‘lower than the average for people with a similar amount of income to you’. It then suggests they check their form again before warning of possible additional tax to pay and penalties.

However, experts warn innocent workers and pensioners are being unfairly accused. Donations to charity, big one-off pension payments or an investment can all legally lower a tax bill – and are not evidence of tax dodging. HMRC’s heavy-handed approach to those who may owe relatively small sums is in stark contrast to its kid-glove handling of multinational companies such as Google and Starbucks which are accused of paying too little corporation tax in the UK.

Sheffield and Roma

The Daily Mail reports from Sheffield with: “The new face of racial tension: As ex-Home Secretary David Blunkett warns of clashes between Roma and locals in Sheffield, the bitter irony is that the previous generation of immigrants are angriest

In recent years, the area was home to a social and ethnic mix of indigenous Britons, Pakistanis, Yemenis and Somalis who lived happily together. They shopped in the same places, their children went to the same schools and played on the narrow pavements outside the back-to-back houses.  However, those days are, sadly, a vanishing memory. In Page Hall tensions are rising between the myriad different communities who speak different languages and come from different cultures – while Mr Blunkett himself has become the focus of controversy.

This tiny network of streets, just a quarter of a mile square, is on the frontline of a multicultural battle after skirmishes between the locals and many hundreds of newly arrived Roma from a poverty-stricken part of Slovakia threatened last week to spill over into full-blown riots. A clash between two youths – a Yemeni and a Roma – escalated into a mass street brawl and provoked a flurry of media headlines. It led a worried Mr Blunkett to urge police in the area to get tough.

Housing

The Express leads with one of its favourite weekend topics: “Will the bubble burst? Boost for homeowners as property prices soar by £1,500 a month

In news that will bring cheer to millions of homeowners, experts said the boom will last until 2016. They predicted property prices will continue to rise by at least five per cent over the rest of this year and could leap by a further seven per cent in 2015.

The confident forecast came after figures from the Land Registry yesterday showed no sign of a slowdown in the market. Prices were up by 6.7 per cent year-on-year in April and by an incredible 17 per cent in London. In April alone, London prices were rising by an average £588 a day, the highest rate since calculations began in 1995.

Liberal Democrats

Last, and also possibly least, the Liberal Democrats get the full treatment from Brian Reade in The Daily Mirror with “As Liberal Democrats implode is it any wonder traitors like Lord Oakeshott are doing their worst?

Forget the Westminster meltdown, it’s the implosion at local level that is so gob-smacking to behold. Take my city, Liverpool, where they had held such a powerful presence for 40 years yet have now been replaced by the Green Party as the official opposition.

Believe me, this is as staggering as waking up from a coma to find Kelvin MacKenzie has been voted mayor on a ticket of replacing the Liver Bird’s head with ­Margaret Thatcher’s. Back in the mid-70s, Liverpool’s Liberals instigated US-style dirty tricks politics which included dumping rubbish on the streets and cleaning it up in front of pre-arranged camera crews. I’ll never forget an uncle telling me he didn’t trust politicians in general, but he’d “trust a cheesecloth Johnny more than a Liberal”. Ever since, I’ve viewed them as principle-free, fly-by-nights.

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