Posts Tagged ‘Security’

Sunday papers – 18 February 2018

Sunday papers – 18 February 2018

Brexit

The Express reports on the petition to scrap the transition period.

SUPPORT for a petition demanding Britain leaves the EU without a transition has rocketed past 30,000 signatures in frustration of Brussels ordering the UK abides by its laws without having a say.
Under proposals from Brussels, Britain would be subject to all EU rules and regulations, including freedom of movement, but have no control on the bloc’s decision making until the two-year Brexit transition ends.
Brexiteers including Jacob Rees-Mogg have claimed the deal would make Britain a “vassal state” and have branded it an “ultimatum”.

The Express has a story about the head of the IMF.

ARCH Europhile Christine Lagarde issued an extraordinary snub to Theresa May yesterday by talking throughout her speech and then leaving half way through.
The head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), who is a fierce critic of Brexit, was spotted chatting to a fellow delegate as Mrs May delivered her speech at the Munich Security Conference.
Even though Ms Lagarde was sitting in the front row, she refused to look at the British Prime Minister on the podium, preferring instead to watch the speech on a nearby screen.
Rolling her eyes and gesturing to her female companion, she then got up in the middle of the speech and walked out.

It seems the Prime Minister is sticking to her Brexit guns, says the Sun.

THERESA May yesterday insisted Britain is leaving the EU as Eurocrats begged her to reverse Brexit.
The PM was twice asked to explain why she was pushing ahead with the divorce when it was much easier to stay.
She had to hammer home why she will not over-rule the will of the British people during a security conference in Munich.
Mrs May also warned that lives would be put at risk if EU chiefs let their “deep-seated ideology” block a post-Brexit security deal.
In a keynote speech she called for a “deep and special” partnership to be struck before Brexit next year. But she was bemused that delegates would not accept Britain was leaving.

And the Mail reports Mrs May will not call a second Brexit referendum.

Theresa May sternly rebuked a former German Ambassador who told her to reverse Brexit as she shut down a delegate for saying it ‘wouldn’t be a matter of national shame’ if she called a second referendum.
Applause erupted at today’s Munich Security Conference after chairman Wolfgang Ischinger said ‘things would be much easier’ if Britain stayed in the EU.
The PM was also faced with another delegate who stood up and said it ‘wouldn’t be shameful’ to give Britain another chance to vote on Brexit.
Mrs May shot back immediately, insisting Britain is leaving Europe and politicians should respect the population’s decision.
Questions about why she was pressing ahead with Brexit won louder applause from delegates than Mrs May’s speech.
But in response to the pleas for a U-turn, Mrs May insisted that Britain’s democratic decision must be respected.

The Mirror reports Mrs May’s comments that Brexit talks could be stalled.

Theresa May risked a clash with European allies today by warning their “ideology” could stall crucial Brexit talks – and put millions at risk from terror.
In a major speech setting out a post-Brexit security partnership, the Prime Minister warned of “damaging real-world consequences” if the EU tries to “avoid co-operation” with nations outside the bloc.
Highlighting Britain’s role in fighting terror – including the “tragic massacre here at the 1972 Olympics” – she told the Munich Security Conference: “Those who threaten our security would like nothing more than to see us fractured.”
Mrs May has been attacked by her critics over her own red line – pulling out of the European Court of Justice, which oversees security measures. And her own Tory backbenchers have been accused of pushing her towards an ideological ‘Hard Brexit’.

And the Telegraph claims we may not be able to use the EU’s satellite network after Brexit.

British Armed Forces could be blocked from using the military applications of Europe’s Galileo satellite network after Brexit, The Telegraph has learnt.
EU legal concerns over whether a non-EU state can be granted access to the ultra-accurate encrypted satellite navigation data when it comes online in 2020, are behind exclusion plans being discussed in Brussels.
Military experts warn that British forces would be working with “less than the best” unless the UK can broker a deal to gain access to the network.

The Independent has a similar story.

Britain will not be able to use its military might to win a more favourable trade deal with the EU after Brexit, the European Commission President has warned.
Jean-Claude Juncker said fears that Europe’s security will be undermined by the UK’s departure must not become tangled up in the negotiations to secure an economic agreement.
“I wouldn’t like to put security policy considerations with trade policy considerations in one hat. I understand why some would like to do that, but we don’t want to,” he told the Munich Security Conference.
The warning came after Theresa May used her speech to propose a new UK-EU treaty to maintain defence and security cooperation after Brexit to keep citizens safe.

The EU’s chief negotiator has claimed we’re stupid to want to leave the bloc, says the Express.

GUY Verhofstadt has continued to mock Brexiteers, describing the vote to exit the EU as “stupid” and boasting that Europe is now more popular and more united since the referendum took place.
The European Parliament’s chief Brexit  negotiator has regularly taunted Leave voters since the UK poll with a series of incendiary tweets.
And, in an interview with the BBC’s Andrew Marr, he stuck the boot in again.
During the conversation, to be broadcast tomorrow morning, he claimed predictions of a “domino effect” after the landmark vote had been proved wrong.
And he said, although there were some critics of the bloc, no one else would be “stupid” enough to leave. 

Bolton

Many of the media report yesterday’s big UKIP meeting . The Express says:

SENIOR Ukip figures have urged supporters to rally behind the party to push for “proper Brexit” after the ousting of its embattled leader Henry Bolton.
One senior figure hailed the move as “the rebirth of Ukip”.
Activists voted by 867 to 500 to give the former Army officer his marching orders after fewer than six months in the job at a crisis meeting in Birmingham.
His departure leaves Ukip having to hold its fourth leadership contest since the 2016 referendum.
It is an election the cash-strapped party can ill afford, already facing the threat of hefty legal costs over a defamation action brought by Rotherham’s three Labour MPs against MEP Jane Collins.

 The Telegraph reports threats made by Bolton.

Henry Bolton has been ousted as Ukip leader after members voted overwhelmingly to back a vote of no confidence in him.
The motion, which was issued against him by the party’s national executive last month, was backed by activists 867 votes to 500 at an extraordinary general meeting.
But in an act of defiance, Mr Bolton suggested that he could pursue legal action against individuals in the party over his treatment, having made similar threats to senior party figures on Friday evening.
His dismissal means that Ukip will be forced to appoint its sixth political leader in just 18 months. The party’s national executive committee announced Gerard Batten MEP as interim leader until a contest is held.

The Times says:

Ukip installed its seventh leader in less than two years yesterday after a vote of no confidence in Henry Bolton, whose reign descended into chaos after it emerged that his 25-year-old girlfriend had sent racist text messages about Prince Harry’s fiancée, Meghan Markle.
The party gathered for an emergency meeting in Birmingham yesterday to decide on the fate of the former army officer, with another former leader, Nigel Farage, signalling his support and saying the party faced “self-destruction” and “irrelevance” without Bolton.
A decisive majority of members voted to oust Bolton, however, making his 142 days the shortest tenure since Diane James quit after just over a fortnight in 2016. He was defeated by a margin of 876 votes to 500 (63% to 37%).

And the Mail also reports Bolton’s threat of legal action against the party.

Henry Bolton today threatened to sue Ukip after being ousted as leader – as his ex girlfriend Jo Marney hinted they are back together.
The former Army officer, 54, was toppled from the top job when party members decided to support a no confidence vote against him at a crunch meeting today.
His political career ended in scandal after his ex Ms Marney, a former glamour model 30 years his junior, was exposed for sending racist texts about Meghan Markle.
Speaking after today’s vote, Mr Bolton revealed he is considering launching legal action against against Ukip’s NEC over the way he has been treated.
Meanwhile, Ms Marney – a former glamour model – sent a series of tweets declaring her love for the father-of-three and hinting that they will pick their relationship back up. 

The Independent claims the party’s future is uncertain.

Henry Bolton has been ejected as the leader of Ukip at an emergency conference, throwing the future of the party into further uncertainty.
The decision at the crisis meeting of around 1,500 Ukip members gathered in Birmingham came after the party’s ruling body – the National Executive Body (NEC) – voted no confidence in the 54-year-old leadership last month.
After Mr Bolton refused to step down, he was forced to make his case to the membership on Saturday, but he lost the no confidence motion by 867 to 500 votes.
Following the announcement of the result Mr Bolton said he was “disappointed”, but added: “I have not finished in politics yet.”
The party now faces a fourth leadership contest in 18 months while Ukip MEP Gerard Batten will act as interim leader.

The Guardian reports:

Members of Ukip voted yesterday to sack Henry Bolton, who had been elected only last September as the crisis-hit party’s fourth leader in 18 months. Bolton had been clinging on to the leadership despite a revolt by senior figures after the press reported his relationship with Jo Marney, a model who sent offensive messages about Meghan Markle, the fiancee of Prince Harry.
Bolton was ousted on Saturday at an emergency meeting where an overwhelming majority of party members endorsed a motion of no confidence in his leadership passed by the party’s ruling national executive committee (NEC). Activists at the meeting in Birmingham voted by 867 to 500 in favour of a no-confidence motion on his ability to lead Ukip.
The party’s new interim leader is Gerard Batten, a Ukip MEP who sparked controversy last year when he said that non-Muslims should have a “perfectly rational fear” of Islam, which he described as a “death cult” steeped in violence.

The Mirror reports the jubilation at the vote.

UKIP leader Henry Bolton has LOST a no confidence vote at a packed meeting of 1,500 members in Birmingham.
There were cheers and shouts of protest as 63% of members at the dramatic summit – 867 to 500 – backed the motion to oust him today.
The result plunges the cash-strapped party into crisis after Mr Bolton was branded an MI6 plant by a member – and used his keynote speech to brand UKIP’s ruling body “the enemy within”.
Ex-Army officer Mr Bolton, 54 – who is refusing to rule out legal action against his own party – became leader just 141 days ago.

Labour Party

In an exclusive, the Sun claims top party officials were spies during the cold war.

JOHN McDonnell and Ken Livingstone were among at least 15 Labour politicians who sold information to the Communists during the Cold War, an ex-spy claims.
Lieutenant Jan Dymic alleged the shadow chancellor gave “valuable” pointers to the KGB.
Mr Livingstone was described as a “very good contact” for the Czech State Security (StB).
The Sun revealed on Thursday how secret documents revealed Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn met Dymic, real name Jan Sarkocy, a number of times in the mid-1980s.

The Mail has picked up the story.

Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell and Ken Livingstone were among a group of at least 15 Labour figures who passed information to the Soviet Union, a former Eastern-bloc agent has claimed.
Former Czechoslovak spy Jan Sarkocy said the hard-Left politicians were ‘great sources’ in the 1980s.
Mr Sarkocy, 64, claims there is ‘no question’ Mr Corbyn and his Labour colleagues knew he was a spy and said: ‘Everything was absolutely clear at the time.’
Mr Livingstone, then a Labour MP, was a ‘good boy’, the Czech agent told the Sunday Telegraph.

All schools would have sprinklers under a Labour government, says the Independent.

Labour government would ensure all new schools have sprinkler systems in place as fresh figures show less than one in three schools built or refurbished by central government since 2010 have them installed.
Party officials told 
The Independent that, if elected, Labour would remove a “loophole” in the existing legislation, which they claim allows a significant proportion of schools not to fit sprinklers.
The announcement comes after new figures were disclosed by schools minister Nick Gibb in a response to a written parliamentary question in the Commons this month.

And the Morning Star reports a Labour council’s plans to offer free school meals to children in low-income households.

A LABOUR-RUN local authority plans to offer year-round free school meals to children from low-income households, in what it described as “the most ambitious” proposal in Britain to tackle “holiday hunger.”
North Lanarkshire Council aims to expand its free meal entitlement to cover the 175 days of the year when pupils are not at school during weekends and school holidays.
The council said the “Food 365” programme, which will be discussed at an education committee meeting on Tuesday, would bring noticeable benefits for young people in the area.
If approved, the scheme will be piloted in Coatbridge over the spring break and, if successful, could be rolled out across the area in time for the summer holiday.

And the Express reports a hard-left group’s plans to take over a council.

MOMENTUM is accused of plotting a council takeover in Leeds in what is being dubbed “the next Haringey” by Labour moderates.
Far-Left activists are fielding candidates in Shadow Justice Secretary Richard Burgon’s Leeds East constituency, where an unprecedented number of Labour councillors in the city have stood down, fearing de-selection attempts.
The move echoes the Momentum takeover in the London borough of Haringey where moderate Labour leader Claire Kober quit, blaming “sexist, bullying and undemocratic” behaviour of socialists infiltrating the party.

Education

The Times reports on a review of student loans.

Universities will be ordered to offer students a new “value for money” deal, which will see tuition fees slashed for arts and social science courses that do little to boost their careers, the new education secretary has told The Sunday Times.
In his first big interview, Damian Hinds stamps his authority as a traditionalist with a pledge to expand grammar schools, unleash a wave of new faith schools and reaffirm the right of parents to take their children out of sex education classes.
He said a review of university finance to be unveiled tomorrow could also lead to a cut in the interest rate on student loans, a reduction in the number of years for which graduates are expected to repay money.

Earthquake

The Sun is one of the media reporting an earthquake in Wales.

BRITAIN has been hit by it’s biggest earthquake in a decade as ‘terrified’ homeowners felt tremors across several hundred miles.
The British Geological Society confirmed a 4.4-magnitude earthquake struck near Swansea at around 2.30pm this afternoon.
A spokesman said tremors had been felt as far away as Birmingham and Devon.
Hundreds of people across south-west England and Wales say they felt their homes and workplaces shake. The most serious tremors were felt in South Wales area.
It is the biggest earthquake to hit the UK since the 5.2-magnitude quake in Market Rasen, Lincolnshire, in 2008.

The Express also reports the tremor.

AN earthquake has hit the UK with thousands of people reporting tremors across England from as far as Cornwall to Liverpool. Its epicentre fell about eight miles northeast of Swansea city centre, according to the US Geological Survey, sparking an evacuation at Swansea University.
The EMSC, an independent scientific organisation based in Paris, said it measured 4.7 on the Richter scale, at a depth of 10km.
Tremors were felt up to 300km, 190 miles, from the epicentre. It is the fifth biggest earthquake ever recorded in the UK and the biggest to rock Britain in ten years.

And ITV News says the quake was felt in other parts of the country.

An earthquake with a 4.4 magnitude has hit south Wales, with tremors felt in other parts of Wales and England.
It was the biggest earthquake to hit the UK in a decade, the British Geological Survey said.
The BGS said the earthquake hit at 2.31pm on Saturday, with the epicentre 20km north of Swansea. It had a depth of 7.4km.
It was felt across Wales, the Midlands, and the west and north west of England.
There have been no reports of injuries or serious damage.
The BGS said an earthquake happened in the UK every two to three years.
South Wales Police said the earthquake was “minor” and there is no need to call the emergency services unless people need to report damage or injuries.

The Sun claims there’s going to be a bigger earthquake in the ‘ring of fire’.

OVER the past few weeks earthquakes have hit Japan, Mexico and Taiwan and volcanoes have erupted around the Pacific’s ‘Ring of Fire’.
Now scientists have warned the frequent seismic activity, which has already claimed lives, could mean a huge quake is on the way.
A new study from California says that the cluster of tremors around the planet’s so-called Ring of Fire- a horseshoe-shaped geological disaster zone – could indicate the “big one” is due to hit, the Mail Online reports.
The research, published in the journal Science Advances, involved analysis of 101 major earthquakes around the Pacific Ring of Fire between 1990 and 2016.

The Star also reports the possibility.

WITH earthquakes hitting Japan, Taiwan and Guam in recent weeks, scientists now fear that a mega quake is imminent.
The planet’s “Ring of Fire” – a geological disaster zone in the Pacific – has seen a slew of activity recently that can cause aftershocks on the edges of the areas hit and can result in clusters of tremors.
A new study published in the journal Science Advances involved an analysis of 101 major earthquakes around the Pacific Ring of Fire between 1990 and 2016.
It showed that most of the aftershock activity occurred on the edges of the areas where the faults slipped during the main earthquakes.

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Saturday media – 17 February 2018

Saturday media – 17 February 2018

Brexit

The Sun claims the battle for Brexit is about to start anew.

REMAINERS are joining forces to launch a fresh bid to stop Brexit within weeks – with a summer of campaigns, a rock festival and an app.
Anti-Brexit activists are refusing to give in on their fight to try and reverse our historic referendum result, and will launch a blitz of action to try and get Leavers to change their minds.
A Best for Britain organiser told Politico that the group has planned a billboard campaign, training meetings and techniques to win over Brexiteers, and a Momentum-style mobile-phone app to direct activists to swing areas where the result was close.

EU

It seems that over on the Continent, they’re preparing for a ‘no deal’, says the Express.

NETHERLANDS is bracing for a British exit from the European Union without any deal on customs as measures to hire 750 extra customs agents and dozens of fresh produce inspectors are launched.
The port of Rotterdam is leading the way with 100 new staff to be hired help tackle the expected chaos.
CEO Allard Castelein said he had had two meetings in the past week with “policy makers, the cabinet, the government and supporting officials about the consequences” of a so-called “hard” Brexit, which would move Britain away from EU rules.

And several of the media claim that the Prime Minister will issue a warning to the EU today. The Telegraph reports:

Theresa May will today warn the European Union that lives will be put at risk if it lets its “deep-seated ideology” act as a barrier to a new post-Brexit security treaty.
In a landmark speech in Munich the Prime Minister will say that there will be “damaging real world consequences” if it puts “political doctrine” before co-operation on security.
The EU is threatening to bar Britain from joining the European Arrest Warrant and limit access to a European police database containing information about criminals and terrorists after Brexit.
Its approach is being viewed with increasing concern by member states, who believe that co-operation with Britain’s world-class security services is vital.

Sky News says:

Theresa May will tell world leaders and politicians at the annual global security conference in Munich that Britain will continue to contribute to the security of Europe but a new security treaty needs to be reached.
Her speech on Saturday will highlight the successes that the UK and European security agencies have had in stopping terrorism and call for unity during a testing time as Britain leaves the EU.
She will tell the EU that security is too important to let the traditional structures of the union get in the way.
“Europe’s security is our security,” she will tell the conference. “And that is why I have said that the United Kingdom is unconditionally committed to maintaining it.

The Independent claims EU leaders won’t like what she says.

Theresa May will risk a fresh clash with EU leaders over  Brexit when she warns them not to let “doctrine and ideology” stand in the way of preserving cross-border security.
Speaking at an international conference in Munich, the Prime Minister will turn the tables on critics who have accused her of putting joint working to combat terrorism and organised crime at risk.
Instead, Ms May will propose a new UK-EU security treaty to maintain full cooperation – and argue that only “rigid institutional restrictions” in Brussels jeopardises it.
“Those who threaten our security would like nothing more than to see us fractured,” she will warn the security experts gathered in Germany on Saturday.

And the Times says lives could be lost if rulings by the ECJ are not accepted.

The European Union’s rigid Brexit “ideology” risks endangering the lives of its citizens and hampering the fight against terrorism and organised crime, Theresa May will claim today.
Mrs May will demand that the EU drops its insistence that future security co-operation is overseen by European courts. She will warn that while the UK remains “unconditionally committed” to the continent’s security, “rigid institutional restrictions” from Brussels risk hampering co-operation.
Her remarks will be seen in European capitals as an attempt to use security as a Trojan horse to get a more favourable deal in other areas.
Brussels insists that accepting EU rules and oversight of the European Court of Justice is a condition of British involvement in all EU programmes after Brexit.

But the German Chancellor is more upbeat about a trade deal with the UK says the Times.

Angela Merkel has delivered her most upbeat assessment of Britain’s chances of securing a good trade deal with the rest of the EU.
The German chancellor said she believed that it could be possible to agree a bespoke deal rather than a traditional model, such as those the EU has with Norway and Canada.
At a joint press conference with Theresa May in Berlin, Mrs Merkel said that a bespoke deal did not have to mean that Britain was cherry-picking the best elements of the single market without paying for EU membership.
She reminded Mrs May that the clock was ticking to conclude trade talks before Brexit and said she was “curious” about Britain’s detailed proposals.

Even though she hates Brexit, says the Sun.

ANGELA Merkel has told Theresa May that she still hates Brexit, even a year and a half after we voted to leave the bloc.
The German Chancellor said during a joint press conference with the Prime Minister that she “deplores” our exit from the EU.
The PM held crunch talks with her today on our post Brexit future – amid talk that the Germans are frustrated by the UK’s lack of clarity on leaving the bloc.
Mrs May flew to Berlin today, where she is under huge pressure to reveal what Britain wants in future from the EU.
“I’m not frustrated at all, I am just curious on how Britain envisages this future partnership. And obviously we have our own vested interests,” Mrs Merkel said this afternoon.

Breitbart also reports Merkel’s comments.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel made a dig at Brexit during a press conference with Britain’s Theresa May in Berlin, saying she “deplores” it.
“We basically have not changed our stance on Britain leaving the European Union,” she told the assembled journalists. “In fact, we deplore it.”
Merkel’s comments echoed those of failed U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who branded “half” of then-candidate Donald Trump’s supporters “deplorables” during the 2016 elections.
Merkel added, however, that she wanted to establish a “constructive position” in the Brexit negotiations, “because we want to have as close as possible partnership with Britain after they have left the European Union. Both economically and politically.”

The Mail has the same story.

Angela Merkel today insisted she ‘deplored’ Brexit and warned the German position had not softened in the months since the referendum.
The German Chancellor said Brexit talks are under ‘time pressure’ and agreements had to be put in place to keep planes flying and allow cross border healthcare to continue.
And Mrs Merkel said Germany has not changed its position on Britain leaving the EU, saying ‘we deplore it’.
Although she also also admitting the EU also wanted a ‘close partnership’ in future and signalled that Britain would get a bespoke deal.
The German leader grabbed the opportunity of a joint press conference with Mrs May in Berlin today to use tough words to urge quicker progress on Brexit.

Fox News reports on the proposals to enlarge the EU.

The European Union’s foreign policy chief says that all countries in the Western Balkans have realistic chances of joining the world’s largest trading club by 2025.
Federica Mogherini said at a briefing in Sofia that a recently adopted EU strategy addresses the entire region and “does not create different boxes or categories” among the regional candidates.
The strategy says Serbia and Montenegro can join by 2025 if they meet the EU’s conditions, but Mogherini said that’s “a realistic possible perspective” for them all.
The Western Balkans countries not in the EU are Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro.
Mogherini spoke Friday at the end of an informal meeting of EU foreign ministers and their counterparts from candidate countries in Bulgaria, which currently holds the Union’s rotating six-month presidency.

Corbyn

Back home, in an exclusive story, the Sun makes astonishing claims about the Labour leader.

A FORMER Cold War spy has claimed Jeremy Corbyn was paid to work as a Communist intelligence “asset”.
Lt Jan Dymic — real name Jan Sarkocy — alleged the Labour leader was in collaboration with the Soviet-era Czechoslovakian intelligence agency StB in the late-1980s.
He said he met the left-wing Labour MP on numerous occasions in the House of Commons and at his Seven Sisters constituency office.
Dymic, later kicked out of Britain in 1989, said Mr Corbyn gave him “very good” information valued by his country and its Russian masters.
Mr Corbyn on Friday night denied being paid by Communist secret police to spy on Britain.
The Sun revealed this week that Mr Corbyn met Czechoslovak agent Dymic in the House of Commons.
The spy said he was the MP’s “handler” during the 1980s.

The Mail has picked up the story.

Jeremy Corbyn was a paid informant of the Czech secret police at the height of the Cold War, a former Communist secret agent claims.
Former spy Jan Sarkocy said he recruited the MP, codenamed Cob, in the 1980s.
Mr Corbyn was an ‘asset’ who knew he was working with the Soviet puppet state, Mr Sarkocy claimed.
Earlier this week it emerged Mr Corbyn had hosted Mr Sarkocy – who was posted to Britain as a diplomat under a fake identity – in the House of Commons.
The Labour leader insisted he had no idea Mr Sarkocy, who was actually working for the Czech secret police and was later expelled from Britain by Margaret Thatcher, was a spy.

And the Telegraph also reports the secret agent’s comments.

The Czechoslovak secret agent who met Jeremy Corbyn during the Eighties claimed last night that the Labour leader knew he was a spy and said the MP had supplied information to the Communist regime.
Speaking for the first time since it emerged that he had met Mr Corbyn, Jan Sarkocy on Friday dismissed the suggestion that the Islington North MP believed he was simply a diplomat.
“Everybody knew that ‘diplomat’ was just a cover for spy,” he said. “It was a conscious cooperation. Diplomat and agent were the same thing.”
Mr Corbyn has denied being an agent or informer.

Education

The Guardian reports the Prime Minister’s upcoming review of higher education funding.

Theresa May is to set out details of her government’s long-promised major review of higher education funding in England – with the current structure of £9,000 undergraduate tuition fees up for scrutiny.
In her speech on Monday, May will outline the delayed review of university funding, with vice-chancellors nervously awaiting the small print of the overhaul that is expected to take up to a year to complete.
The options being considered include cutting tuition fees for students in England from the current level of £9,250 to closer to £6,000 a year, by dismantling requirements on universities to spend funds on widening participation measures and bursaries aimed at disadvantaged students.

And BBC News reports a call for more money for university staff.

University staff are calling for a “radical” overhaul of tuition fees and higher education funding in England in a review of student finance.
Sally Hunt, leader of the UCU lecturers’ union, says the review must be more than “tinkering at the edges”.
The review, to be formally announced in the next few days, follows a promise by the prime minister to examine the cost of university.
Theresa May said the review would show “we have listened and we have learned”.
Ms Hunt, whose members are threatening strike action next week in a pensions dispute, says there needs to be a “fundamental look at university funding”.
“Too often recent reviews have simply resulted in finding new ways to saddle students with record levels of debt,” said Ms Hunt.

NHS

Despite the difficulties we all know in getting a GP appointment, it seems that the number of doctors is falling, says the Mail.

The number of GPs in England fell by 0.6% at the end of last year, with many leaving the profession as the ‘pressure has become too much’, their professional body has said.
The Royal College of GPs said the latest NHS Digital figures show the number of family doctors fell to 33,872 in December from 34,091 in September.
In September 2015 the number of full-time equivalent GPs was 34,592 – a drop of 3%.
RCGP chairwoman Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard said the workload in general practice has increased by at least 16% over the last seven years, but the number of GPs delivering care to patients has not risen in line with this.
She warned that patients suffer from there being fewer family doctors and measures need to be taken to attract new GPs as well as retain existing ones.

And yet the number of managers in the NHS is rising, says the Times.

NHS manager numbers have risen by a quarter in five years and are higher than before the implementation of reforms designed to cut bureaucracy.
The increase in administrative staff far outstrips that for doctors and nurses over the same period, provoking anger from health unions.
More than 6,000 managers have been hired since April 2013 when controversial reforms by Andrew Lansley, then health secretary, came into effect, abolishing more than 150 NHS organisations and making thousands redundant.
The Times has previously revealed that pay-offs for managers have cost £2 billion, with at least £92 million given to staff who were quickly rehired. They included a married pair of NHS managers who were given new jobs at the same hospital months after a redundancy settlement.

The scourge of mixed-sex wards has not gone away, reports the Mail.

Almost 2,000 patients were forced to endure the indignity of mixed-sex wards last month, official figures reveal.
The number is at its highest level since 2010, when the Government imposed a crackdown on the practice.
A total of 1,908 patients were placed in mixed-sex wards in January, almost twice as many as the same time last year.
Last month hospitals were temporarily allowed to put patients on the wards to help ease winter overcrowding.
Many of the wards have shared bathrooms and toilets which many patients find extremely humiliating. Labour accused ministers of leaving patients ’embarrassed and denigrated’ and called for urgent action to reverse the trend.

The Guardian reports a warning that a delay in the Brexit transition deal could harm patients.

A delay in agreeing a Brexit transition deal could harm NHS patients, a senior MP has warned.
In a letter to the health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, the chair of the Commons health committee, Sarah Wollaston, said that any holdups could put patient care at risk.
Wollaston said it would mean more health businesses diverting money towards contingency planning for a “disorderly” withdrawal from the European Union.
“Patient care, both in the UK and Europe, is at risk of being compromised in the event of a disorderly Brexit. Businesses and services – like government – need to plan for all outcomes to avoid any disruption to the supply of medical products,” she said.
The MP added that the health service and businesses, including those manufacturing and distributing medicines, “remain in the dark” about Britain’s exit from the EU. Many are planning for a worst-case scenario because “time is running out” for a transition deal to follow the UK’s formal exit in March 2019.

UKIP

Today’s meeting of the party is covered by many of the media, with some of them quoting our current leader. The Independent says:

Ukip‘s beleaguered leader has compared scrutiny of his private life to that faced by Princess Diana.
Henry Bolton‘s fate will be decided at a crisis meeting on Saturday after the party’s ruling national executive committee (NEC) backed a motion of no confidence in his leadership.
The 54-year-old has been clinging on to the leadership amid a revolt by several senior Ukip figures over his relationship with model Jo Marney, who sent racist messages about Prince Harry’s fiance Meghan Markle.
Hitting out at media interest in his private life, he said: “The only people that are truly affected by that are my wife and children, and I feel deeply, deeply sad for what pain and hurt I’ve caused them but it’s a private matter and it needs to be dealt with privately.
“I understand the scrutiny and public interest but it’s been going on for six weeks.
“There’s probably been nothing like that since the Profumo affair or Diana and Dodi [Fayed].”

The Guardian reports:

Embattled Ukip leader Henry Bolton has compared the scrutiny of his relationships to that faced by Diana, Princess of Wales, before she died.
On Saturday an extraordinary general meeting will be held which could result in a vote of no confidence in Bolton, who is under fire after his partner apparently sent racist messages about Prince Harry’s fiancee, Meghan Markle.
Despite breaking up with Jo Marney over the messages, Bolton has been clinging on to the leadership after 15 senior figures in the party resigned in protest in January over the fact that he had remained in post.
In the run-up to the vote, Bolton has hit out at the media interest in his private life following the breakdown of his marriage to Tatiana Smurova, which he said was on par with the Profumo affair and Diana’s relationship with Dodi Fayed.

And the Mirror also has the story.

Embattled Ukip leader Henry Bolton has compared the scrutiny of his private life to that faced by Princess Diana.
Ukip members will decide his fate on Saturday at a crisis meeting after the party’s ruling national executive committee (NEC) backed a motion of no confidence in his leadership.
Mr Bolton is clinging on to the leadership despite a revolt by several senior figures in the party in protest at his relationship with model Jo Marney.
Mr Bolton has admitted he still has “strong affections” for his former girlfriend who sent racist messages about Meghan Markle.
Mr Bolton hit out at the media interest in his private life following the breakdown of his marriage to Tatiana Smurova and his new relationship with Ms Marney.

ITV News reports:

Ukip members will decide whether Henry Bolton has a future as leader of the crisis-hit party.
More than 2,000 activists are expected to attend the emergency meeting to decide whether to endorse a motion of no confidence in his leadership passed by the party’s ruling national executive committee (NEC).
Mr Bolton is clinging on to the leadership despite a revolt by several senior figures in the party in protest at his relationship with model Jo Marney.
Mr Bolton has admitted he still has “strong affections” for his former girlfriend who sent racist messages about Meghan Markle, and compared the scrutiny of his private life to that faced by Diana, Princess of Wales.
Mr Bolton hit out at the media interest following the breakdown of his marriage to Tatiana Smurova and his new relationship with Ms Marney.

The Express reports a call for all of us to join the Conservative Party.

A FORMER senior member of Ukip has urged his ex-party colleagues to join him in defecting to the Conservative Party. Peter Harris, who was the candidate for one of Ukip’s top two target seats in last year’s election and the party’s regional organiser for London, last week became the most senior figure to quit and join the Tories.
As Ukip members today meet in a special conference to decide whether to ditch the beleaguered leader Henry Bolton, Mr Harris warns them that the party is “finished” and wants his former colleagues to help Jacob Rees Mogg and grassroots Tories win the fight over getting a proper Brexit.
The former Dagenham parliamentary candidate said: “The Tory grassroots members are absolutely 100 per cent behind a real Brexit.

The post Saturday media – 17 February 2018 appeared first on UKIP Daily | UKIP News | UKIP Debate.

Theresa May to EU: Put aside Brexit ‘ideology’ on security

LONDON — Theresa May will on Saturday urge European Union leaders to put “deep-seated ideology” to one side in order to forge a new security partnership with the U.K. after Brexit.

Speaking at the Munich Security Conference, the U.K. prime minister will call for a new security treaty with the EU once Britain leaves the bloc to safeguard existing anti-terror and police cooperation.

May will acknowledge that such a partnership with a non-EU country is unprecedented but will insist that with political will it is possible.

The intervention comes after the prime minister held talks with Angela Merkel in Berlin Friday in which the German chancellor suggested a new EU-U.K. deal could be struck in a way that does not infringe Brussels’ strict “no cherry-picking” rule.

May’s speech in Munich setting out the benefits of keeping Britain close to the EU after Brexit is designed to “grease the wheels” of a future EU-U.K. trade deal, according to reports over the weekend.

The speech strikes a different tone to her letter triggering Article 50 in March last year, which was widely interpreted as a veiled threat linking British cooperation on security to the generosity of any future trading relationship after Brexit.

In a section of the Munich speech released to reporters in advance, May insists the U.K. is “unconditionally” committed to the future security of Europe.

But she will warn that “real political will” is needed across EU institutions and member countries to “safeguard the practical cooperation we have developed and nurtured over decades.”

“Europe’s security is our security,” she will say, according to the extracts released Friday. “And that is why I have said that the United Kingdom is unconditionally committed to maintaining it.”

“The challenge for all of us today is finding the way to work together, through a deep and special partnership between the U.K. and the EU, to retain the cooperation that we have built and go further in meeting the evolving threats we face together.”

“This cannot be a time when any of us allow competition between partners, rigid institutional restrictions or deep-seated ideology to inhibit our cooperation and jeopardize the security of our citizens.”

The prime minister will argue Britain is one of the biggest contributors of data, intelligence and expertise to Europol, the EU’s agency for law enforcement cooperation.

“People across Europe are safer because of this cooperation and the unique arrangements we have developed between the U.K. and EU institutions in recent years,” the prime minister will say.

“I recognize there is no existing security agreement between the EU and a third country that captures the full depth and breadth of our existing relationship,” May will say. “But there is precedent for comprehensive, strategic relationships between the EU and third countries in other fields, such as trade. And there is no legal or operational reason why such an agreement could not be reached in the area of internal security.”

How a prime minister’s leadership style affects their parliament’s role in security decisions

Parliaments sometimes get to influence security policy, but not always. Juliet Kaarbo draws on Leadership Trait Analysis to argue that prime ministerial leadership style is a critical factor in determining the role of parliaments in foreign affairs. She demonstrates the plausibility of this argument by comparing how Turkish and UK prime ministers’ orientations towards parliament influenced key security policies.

The long-held view that parliaments are insignificant players in security policy is coming under considerable challenge by recent research demonstrating that parliaments can and have played a critical role in key security decisions. Parliaments, of course, are not always influential or even involved in security policy and contemporary scholarship identifies a number of factors that affect parliamentary influence, including the particular powers held by parliaments, intraparty divisions, and the context of the security mission. Missing from this laundry list is the prime minister, the most important political agent in parliamentary systems. In my research, I explore how differences in PMs’ leadership styles enhance or minimize parliamentary influence in security policy.

PMs’ orientations to parliaments’ role are important because parliamentary authority in security matters is often constitutionally and politically ambiguous. Even in the American system, in which the legislative role is constitutionally prescribed and further codified in the War Powers Resolution, presidents sometimes seek Congressional approval for troop deployment; at other times they do not.

The ambiguity of a legislative role in security is also present in many parliamentary systems and even when parliamentary approval is legally required, there is often disagreement about when and how parliamentary involvement is to be triggered. When there is no constitutional basis for such involvement, as in the UK tradition of the Royal Prerogative, there is considerable scope for PMs to decide if and when to involve parliament.

Parliamentary involvement in UK security policy may have become political convention, as James Strong and others have argued, but this convention is a product of successive decisions by PMs to allow the House of Commons to have a say. When parliaments are asked to (or themselves initiate) a debate and vote on a matter of foreign affairs, PMs also vary in the way they manage the parliamentary process. PMs, for example, may play a lead in disciplining their party, delegate discipline to others, or choose to remain above the political fray.

Prime ministers’ orientations to parliaments are undoubtedly influenced by many factors, including their personal leadership style. PMs, for example, may differ in their overall involvement with parliament and they may differ in how they react to intraparty politics. They may also vary in the extent to which they engage in denial of opposition or wishful thinking that the vote will be in their favour. These differences are affected by basic personality traits.

I argue that the seven personality traits captured in Margaret Hermann’s Leadership Trait Analysis framework – belief in ability to control events; conceptual complexity; need for power; distrust of others; in-group bias; self-confidence; and task orientation – affect PMs’ leadership styles and how they deal with parliament. Research has demonstrated that these seven traits systematically link to leaders’ propensity to challenge or respect constraints, their openness to information and advice, the structure of their advisory systems, the quality of decision-making processes, and the policies leaders choose for their country or organization. From this research, I derive expectations about PM orientations toward parliamentary influence in security policies.

These involve three questions. First, which PMs are most likely to fight against parliamentary involvement? I argue that PMs who have a high need for power, and high levels of distrust, are likely to challenge or circumscribe any parliamentary role.  Second, which PMs will actively engage in the management of the parliamentary process? Research suggests that PMs who have a strong belief in their ability to control events and high conceptual complexity will be more involved. Third, how effective are PMs in the management of that process? From work on leaders and policy mistakes, we would expect leaders who are low in complexity and high in self-confidence to blunder the process through mismanagement and underestimate the degree of opposition in parliament. This type of PM ineffectively opens the door for greater parliamentary influence.

Turkish politics provides one example of how different PM leadership styles influence PMs’ orientations to parliaments and their role in foreign and security policy. In my study with Çuhadar, Kesgin, and Özkeçeci-Taner, we argue that the surprise Turkish parliament vote in 2003 to decline the American request to use Turkey as a base for operations in the Iraq War was a result of the PM’s bungling the management of the vote. In stark contrast was the Turkish parliament’s approval of the deployment of troops in the 1991 Gulf War, which, we argue, came about from a very forceful leadership dictating its terms to parliament. The key differences in the personality traits for the leaders in these cases were their self-confidence and complexity.

Another example comes from the UK. In my article with Daniel Kenealy, we note that in the highly unusual House of Commons defeat of David Cameron’s preference to attack Syria in 2013, the PM was criticised for recalling Parliament in a haphazard manner, not doing enough to secure support from wavering backbenchers, being overconfident, and underestimating the opposition. Cameron’s call for parliamentary support can be contrasted with Blair’s reluctance to go to the House of Commons in the 2003 Iraq war; and Cameron’s mismanagement of the process can be contrasted with Blair effectively turning the Iraq vote into a confidence motion and passionately delivering an impressive rhetorical case.

Can the differences between these two PMs’ orientations toward parliament’s role in security policy be captured by Leadership Trait Analysis? Blair’s higher belief in his ability to control events and his higher need for power may explain his lower openness to parliamentary involvement and his higher level of active involvement. Cameron’s comparatively higher complexity may explain his greater openness to parliamentary involvement and his higher self-confidence may explain his ineffective management.

The examples of Turkish and UK security policy demonstrate plausibility for my argument that PMs’ orientations are part of the picture in parliamentary involvement in security affairs. If the role of parliaments in security policy is increasing in significance, and if the relationship between executives and legislatures is being recalibrated in modern parliamentary democracies, the executive, led by the PM, has considerable authority to interpret, manage, and even manipulate this relationship.

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Note: the above draws on the author’s published work in The British Journal of Politics and International Relations.

About the Author

Juliet Kaarbo is Professor in Politics & International Relations at the University of Edinburgh.

 

 

 

All articles posted on this blog give the views of the author(s), and not the position of LSE British Politics and Policy, nor of the London School of Economics and Political Science. Featured image credit: Pixabay/Public Domain.

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