Catalonia

The constitutional crisis in Spain continues. The Telegraph reports:

Carles Puigdemont, the Catalan leader who has been ousted by the Spanish government, faces imminent arrest after he continued to defy Madrid by standing by the declaration of independence he led in Catalonia’s parliament.
Mr Puigdemont could face more than 30 years in prison and sources from the Spanish public prosecutor’s office said they would demand that he be remanded in custody as soon as he is arrested.
Spain’s prosecution service was already preparing accusations of rebellion and misuse of public funds against Mr Puigdemont for going ahead with an illegal referendum on independence for Catalonia, held on October 1 amid scenes of police violence against hundreds of voters.
Friday’s declaration of independence in Catalonia’s parliament made Mr Puigdemont’s arrest a possibility. His fellow government members and the speaker of the house, Teresa Forcadell, are also at risk for permitting the vote to go ahead.

The Times reports hopes of a peaceful solution to the problem are fading.

Hopes of averting upheaval in Spain faded yesterday after the defiant head of the self-proclaimed new Catalan state urged his followers to resist Madrid and stand up for their independence.
In a brief television address after the Spanish government dismissed him and his administration, Carles Puigdemont made clear that he would not cede control.
“We’ll continue working to create a free country,” he said, calling for “non-violent” and “democratic” resistance.
Madrid announced that Soraya Saenz de Santamaria, Spain’s deputy prime minister, would replace Puigdemont until new elections on December 21.

The Sun reports a call for calm.

CATALAN’S deposed leader has seemingly refused to concede he had been sacked as he called for calm in Spain as the country teeters on the brink of its worst political crisis in four decades.
As the Spanish government held its first meeting to discuss their new roles since imposing direct rule over Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont instead promised to continue to build a “free country”, and called for “democratic opposition” to Madrid.
In the pre-recorded, televised message, Puigdemont urged people to continue pushing for independence, saying: “We do not deviate: we continue persevering in the only attitude that can make us winners.

The Mirror also reports on the situation.

Spain has taken control of Catalonia and sacked its defiant separatist government just a day after the region’s parliament voted for independence.
The world is holding its breath amid fears of violence – as Catalonia’s separatist leader has called on Catalans to peacefully oppose the takeover.
Madrid fired regional police chief Josep Lluís Trapero from his post in the early hours of today after lawmakers passed the declaration of independence.
Meanwhile, unionists have called for the jailing of Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont, who could face 30 years behind bars if charged with “rebellion”.
It comes as a top UK professor has warned that violence will likely be seen as protesters clash with Spain’s civil guard amid rising tensions.

And the Times says a new Catalan president has been appointed.

Mariano Rajoy, Spain’s prime mini­s­ter, appointed his steely deputy as Cat­­alonia’s president yesterday.
Soraya Saenz de Santamaria is charged with bringing the region to heel after its decla­ra­tion of inde­pen­dence, raising the pros­pect of two rival Catalan presidents turning up for work in Barce­lona if ­Carles Puigdemont, the separatist leader, refuses to step down.
Yesterday, he showed no signs of bowing to Spain. “We’ll continue working to create a free country,” he said in a brief statement on Catalan television, and called for “non-violent” opposition to Madrid’s rule.
Resistance is certain to prolong Bar­celona’s month-long trial of strength with Madrid that came to a head on Friday with the declaration of an indepen­dent “Catalan republic”.

Brexit

It seems that senior Tories are trying to persuade the Prime Minister to walk away from negotiations, says the Guardian.

Senior Tory donors have warned that Theresa May should walk away from Brexit talks rather than accept an “unsatisfactory and unfavourable deal” that would poison relations with Europe for another generation.
In a sign of growing frustration among pro-Brexit Tories over the lack of progress made in talks with Brussels, one donor said he feared some pro-Remain cabinet ministers were suffering from “Stockholm syndrome” – when hostages develop a bond with their captors.
The calls for May to be prepared to walk away comes amid new warnings that a “no deal” outcome will lead to foreign firms leaving, steep price rises, widespread job losses and disaster for the Irish economy.

But the deal could be thrown out by the EU itself, says the Mirror.

Our Brexit transition could be scuppered by any one of the remaining 27 EU countries.
The nightmare arose because no one agrees just who needs to agree whether Britain should have two years to shuffle out.
Brexit Secretary David Davis thinks Article 50  allows us to gradually adjust to life outside the EU after we leave on 29th March 2019.
But Brexit Select Committee Tory MP Craig Mackinlay told us: “No one has ever used Article 50, so no one knows how transition works. The whole EU may have to be in agreement if we are to get it.”
That means one uppity country could put the kibosh on Theresa May’s plans and the UK will fall off a cliff edge.

The Sun reports on the trade gains we will make.

BRITAIN stands to save £90BILLION in trade tariffs when we leave the EU, a study revealed yesterday.
That was the huge cost of foreign levies imposed on UK exports outside Europe during the past ten years.
They are slapped on by countries which have failed to negotiate a free trade deal with Brussels – and as an EU member we have to pay them.
But although these countries must also pay tariffs on their own goods exported to Britain, the vast majority of this cash is taken by the EU as its “own resource”.
But when Britain leaves the EU’s Customs Union and takes back control, we could gain an average of £2.7billion a year in tariff savings, it is claimed.

EU

Meanwhile, over the Channel, further integration within the bloc is being planned says the Mail.

Brussels was accused last night of ‘hurtling at breakneck speed’ towards becoming a post-Brexit superstate after the EU set out plans for its own Chancellor of the Exchequer.
Jean-Claude Juncker’s European Commission has signed off a new ‘agenda for a more united and stronger’ Europe.
It includes a new European Union finance supremo able to go into member states and make ‘structural reforms’ to their domestic budgets – and accelerates Brussels’ timetable for closer integration.
The decision was last night greeted by Brexiteers as vindication for the UK’s Leave vote.

And the Express claims thousands of European nationals want to be British.

EUROPEAN Union nationals are rushing to become British citizens before Brexit, official figures show.
More than 19,000 applications have been made in the first six months of this year alone.
The figure is already significantly higher than the total number received last year.
Richard Tice, co-chairman of campaign group Leave Means Leave, said: “This is evidence that EU citizens think that Britain will be better off because of Brexit  and want to be a part of this exciting opportunity.
“The huge economic benefits Brexit can bring is clearly enticing people from the EU to secure British citizenship.”

And Guido points out the continuing waste of money by the EU.

The European Parliament adopted amendments on the draft EU budget this week.
A line-by-line breakdown of spending proposals was circulated to MEPs – it’s eye-watering even by the EU’s troughing standards. €2 million for “private storage of certain cheeses” really grates, as well as €700,000 for a “manual of good practices for cruises”. All-time-classics of outrageous splurging…
Independent MEP Steven Woolfe said: “The EU is actually a parody of itself. If the British people needed further reminding of why they voted to leave the EU last year it’s set out in black and white in this year’s budget. ‘Ocean literacy for all’, a ‘Manual of good practices for cruises’!? The mind boggles.
Presumably, the ten million Euros spent on ‘storage measures for skimmed-milk powder’ is to ensure that, in the event of a nuclear holocaust, Eurocrats in Brussels will still be able to enjoy a white Americano as they slowly die from radiation poisoning…”

Animal welfare

The UK government’s attitude to animal welfare may be weakening, says the Independent.

Michael Gove is accused today of backtracking on high-profile pledges to protect animals from suffering, in climbdowns linked to Brexit.
The Environment Secretary has dumped a cast-iron guarantee that animals will still be regarded as “sentient” – responsive beings, capable of feelings – say animal rights groups.
Similarly, a heavy hint that exports of live animals will be banned after Britain leaves the EU has also been watered down in recent weeks, they are protesting.
Both controversies have been sparked by Brexit, with suspicions that the Government does not want to tie its hands following the Leave campaign pledge to “take back control”.

Northern Ireland

The problems in Northern Ireland continue, reports the Express.

WESTMINSTER is poised to take control of Northern Ireland as power-sharing talks in Stormont edge on the brink of collapse again.
Secretary of State James Brokenshire has set Monday as a deadline for protracted talks between Sinn Féin and the Democratic Unionist Party to be wrapped up after months of wrangling, before Westminster steps in.
But even after ten months of talks since the collapse of the Northern Irish executive, politicians are not confident an agreement will be reached.
Last week Irish premier Leo Varadkar waded into the debate as he condemned Sinn Fein and the DUP, saying the two parties “are not close” to reaching a power-sharing agreement.

Universities

It seems that the pro-EU universities are forcing their views on students, reports the Telegraph.

University students have claimed they feel pressured into writing essays which pander to the “anti-Brexit bias” of lecturers amid fears they will otherwise be marked down, The Sunday Telegraph can reveal.
Students from across the country have alleged that free debate on Brexit is being “shut down” by pro-Remain lecturers at some of Britain’s top universities.
They include undergraduates studying law, politics and PPE degrees, who claim their faculties have created a “hostile” environment which is deterring some with dissenting views from speaking out.

And the Times says some universities are censoring debate on subjects that don’t conform to their own views.

Universities are considering the insertion of warnings into books and even moving some off open library shelves altogether to protect students from “dangerous” and “wrong” arguments.
The proposal could hit books by climate-change sceptics, feminists, eugenicists, creationists, theologians and Holocaust deniers. It will generate new controversy over free speech at British universities, where speakers have been “no-platformed” because of their views.
The move on books follows a campaign to restrict access to work by the historian David Irving, which has already resulted in some university libraries, including Churchill College, Cambridge, moving his books into closed storage. Others, such as University College London, have also labelled some of Irving’s books “Holocaust denial literature”, or shelved them with historiography rather than history.

Breitbart also reports the bias.

A survey from a leading think tank has revealed that an overwhelming majority of conservative-minded students believe Britain’s universities hold a “clear and extreme bias” against support for both Brexit and conservative views, and suppress their political beliefs for fear of putting their careers at risk.
The Bow Group, the United Kingdom’s oldest conservative think tank, conducted a survey in partnership with Conservative Progress of more than 400 conservative students in Britain. They found that 81 per cent do not believe that the subject of the UK leaving the European Union (EU) is taught in an impartial manner, and of those, 97 per cent said they believed lecturing was negative towards Brexit.
A large number, 85 per cent, also said they believe the public has a right to know what content is being taught and the level of bias with which it is being taught.

Child care

The Times reports that some nurseries are having to close, leaving parents unable to work.

Parents are facing a childcare crisis in some parts of the country, MPs will be told this week, as cash-strapped nurseries close, leaving families struggling to find places and some parents unable to return to work.
Official government statistics reveal that half of private nurseries in England will not make a profit this year; data from five bursary associations reveals the figure is closer to three-fifths.
Nursery owners and parents will tell a parliamentary childcare group led by Labour’s Tulip Siddiq that some nursery chains charge parents for extras such as nappies, trips and meals as owners try to cover the cost of offering 30 hours of free childcare to three and four-year-olds under a government scheme that started last month.

Prisoners’ rights

Should prisoners be given the vote? The Times reports the possibility.

Prisoners are to be granted the vote in a move that will raise fresh questions about the government’s approach to law and order.
Those sentenced to less than a year behind bars who are let out on day release will be allowed to go home to vote after the justice secretary, David Lidington, decided to tear up the existing ban.
Plans were circulated to other ministers last week, after a 12-year dispute with the European Court of Human Rights, which ruled in 2005 that it was a breach of prisoners’ human rights to deny them the chance to vote. The former prime minister David Cameron once said the thought of prisoners voting made him feel “physically ill”.

ITV News says the move will infuriate MPs.

Theresa May is to risk incurring the wrath of Conservative MPs by granting voting rights to some prisoners, it has been reported.
Prisoners sentenced to less than a year in jail and who are let out on day release will be allowed to return home to vote after Justice Secretary David Lidington decided to end the existing total ban, according to The Sunday Times.
The move follows a 12-year dispute between the UK and the European Court of Human Rights which has repeatedly ruled the blanket ban breaches prisoners’ human rights.
The former prime minister 
David Cameron once said the thought of prisoners being given the vote made him feel “physically ill”.

NHS

More stories of problems in our health service are emerging, says the Telegraph.

Hospitals are failing to tackle “significant safety problems” which can cause death or disability, the NHS medical director has warned.
In a major intervention, Prof Sir Bruce Keogh said patients were being left in danger by the absence of any central NHS system ordering changes in medical practice on safety grounds.
Patients were being left at risk of suffering needless harm – including amputations, devastating maternity complications and deaths – because of the lack of action to protect them, the former heart surgeon said.

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