Morning Briefing – The Telegraph

Good morning. Jose Manuel Barroso’s farewell tour is unlikely to have added many more names to his Christmas card list. “Despite being an unelected official, Mr Barroso feels no compunction in lecturing the UK and its leaders about what is best for the country,” Phil Johnston thunders. All Mr Barroso’s proved, spits Grant Shapps in City AM: “Europe’s bureaucrats are much too bossy, interfering and out of touch”, while Conservative MPs aren’t taking too kindly to being lectured by a man they see as a demob-happy Blair lackey.

The outgoing President’s interview with James Kirkup and Bruno Waterfield will do little to improve his standing. Margaret Thatcher would never have found herself in David Cameron’s position, Mr Barroso says. “It would be impossible to hear a Ukip speech coming from Margaret Thatcher, completely impossible,” he explains, before adding, helpfully: “She was for enlargement and for fighting protectionism. I don’t remember her defending labour market protectionism…she would not be surrendering to these arguments.”

In the FT, George Parker warns that the PM is “in danger of angering everyone while pleasing no one”, while that paper warns in its leader that the “government is fast losing friends and influence in the most important political and economic club to which it belongs”, a point that Rachel Sylvester makes in her column in today’s Times. Privately, it’s a point being made by pro-European Conservatives who are increasingly concerned that Britain is being gently inched towards the exit. Behind the scenes, some feel that these histrionics have proceeded each and every major victory for the PM. That’s true – but they also accompanied that chastening rebuff over Jean-Claude Juncker, and the stakes are getting higher.
ESCAPE TO OSWESTRY

Patients are so desperate to escape the Welsh NHS that they are crossing the border in their thousands for treatment or going private, Sam Marsden and James Chapman reveal in the Mail. The number of cancer patients travelling to England for treatment has quadrupled from 3,471 to 15,450 last year. “To suggest the NHS in Wales is somehow in every way in a more difficult state than in England is quite simply wrong,” Carwyn Jones, the First Minister, told reporters yesterday. But Kirsty Williams, the Liberal leader in Wales, describes the state of the devolved Health Service as “a national scandal”.

MILI’S MINI-SHUFFLE

Ed Miliband conducted a minor reshuffle of his Opposition frontbench, following the resignation of Rushanara Ali over the vote on air strikes against Iraq, Yvonne Fovargue replacing Ms Ali as Shadow Minister for Young People, Ian Lucas moving from Foreign Affairs to Defence, and Gareth Thomas moving to fill his role, with former Blair aide Pat McFadden brought in as Shadow Europe Minister from the backbenches.

HE’D LIKE TO TEACH THE WORLD TO SING

Alan Milburn, the government’s social mobility czar, has called for a national programme to improve parenting alongside a range of other measures to prevent Britain becoming a “permanently divided” society, James Lyons reports in the Mirror. “Effective parenting has a bigger influence on a child’s life than their wealth, their class or even their education,” Mr Milburn said.

“EVERY WHISTLE-BLOWER I HAVE KNOWN HAS ENDED UP ON THE DOLE”

“Sacking threat to prison whistleblowers” is the Guardian’s splash. Conservative MP Gavin Williamson warns that attempts to silence prison workers with concerns risked a scandal in prisons on a par with the Mid-Staffs affair in the NHS. Mr Williamson was approached by prison officers at HMP Featherstone, a prison in his own constituency of South Staffordshire, who are concerned about rising levels of violence at the prison and inadequate protection for prison staff.

BALLS MOVES TO CALM LABOUR WORRIES

In order to calm jitters over Labour’s proposals for a “mansion tax”, Ed Balls laid out the details in yesterday’s Evening Standard. The tax will cost around £250 a month for someone in a home worth between £2 and £3 million, and anyone on an income below £42,000 will be allowed to defer payment of the new tax until they die. Labour insiders insist that the number of people on anything close to that income affected by the tax is vanishingly small – it’s as much about reassuring jittery Labour London MPs/Mayoral hopefuls as anything else. On that score, Tessa Jowell welcomed the greater protections while David Lammy believes that a greater proportion of the tax’s revenues should be earmarked for Londoners.

FARAGE RIDES AGAIN

An MEP who Marine Le Pen, leader of the hard right French National Front, described as “contrary to our values” has come to the rescue of Nigel Farage’s European parliamentary group, the Times reports. Robert Iwaskiewicz, of the Polish New Right party, caused controversy during the European elections when he said that Hitler was “not aware of the extermination of the Jews”. “No doubt, pointing out UKIPs latest far-right alliance will be called a slur,” Jamie Reed, a Labour frontbencher, tweeted, “Sadly, it’s a fact.”

RUM SHOW, CHAPS

Mark Carney has launched an investigation into the unexpected collapse of the Clearing House Automated Payment System (CHAPS), delaying hundreds of billions worth of deals, both to homebuyers and from businesses, who also use the system to make payments. James Titcomb has the details.

EENY WEENY ITSY BITSY EUROSCEPTIC BIKINI

Mike Read, the former Radio 1 DJ and Ukip supporter, has released a song called “the Ukip Calypso”, celebrating the rise of Nigel Farage’s party and performed in a cod-Jamaican accent (you can listen to it, plus five of my favourite political ditties here). It’s been endorsed by Nigel Farage, who has encouraged party members and supporters to propel the song to No.1. The bookies give it odds of 50/1. Matt Holehouse has the story – and the lyrics!

Turkey’s Boomerang War in Syria

Bashar al-Assad’s departure from power would illustrate to all countries in the world that that a regime unwanted by Turkey would not survive.

Both of Prime Minister Davutoglu’s references to Muslim prayers seem to symbolize his strong, inner desire for “conquest:” the “conquest” of Jerusalem by the Palestinians, and the downfall of al-Assad and the establishment of a Sunni, pro-Turkey regime there.

The Turkish interior minister was right when he said that legitimate states have a right to use proportionate violence when they face violence. But he is wrong to think that this right can only be enjoyed by his own country.

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UK Votes Overwhelmingly for a Racist, Terrorist, Apartheid State

The House of Commons is filled with people who would like to flaunt their anti-racist credentials… and show they are tough on terrorists. Yet here they were trying to will into existence a state which in the words of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, speaking last year, “would not see the presence of a single Israeli — civilian or soldier — on our lands.” It is a pre-Mandela apartheid they are willing into existence.

“Our enterprise extends far beyond Palestine: Palestine in its entirety, the Arab Nation in its entirety, and the entire world.” — Mahmoud al-Zahar, speech, 2010. It is what the proxies and officials of al-Qaeda and Iran have said in European capitals for years and what they say every day.

All efforts to stop the mad rush to declare Palestine a state, without the Israel’s agreement as assured under international law, are dismissed as “Israeli propaganda.” The idea that sensible people can sensibly object is washed away.

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Willpower wont just stop you piling on the pounds itll make you more successful in life

Ever caved in and eaten a packet of biscuits on a Monday night, despite managing to stick to your diet all weekend? Or splashed out on that must-have pair of shoes, even though you promised yourself you wouldn’t overspend that month?

Then you’re certainly not alone. Despite our very best intentions, keeping control of our impulses, actions and emotions can sometimes feel impossible and demoralising.

So how on Earth do some people seemingly exercise an impossible amount of willpower, while others fail at sticking to even the most basic of tasks?

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Christian school ‘downgraded for failing to invite an imam to lead assembly’

A successful Christian school has been warned it is to be downgraded by inspectors and could even face closure after failing to invite a leader from another religion, such as an imam, to lead assemblies, it is claimed.

The small independent school in the Home Counties was told it is in breach of new rules intended to promote “British values” such as individual liberty and tolerance in the wake of the Trojan Horse scandal, involving infiltration by hard-line Muslim groups in Birmingham.

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Morning Briefing – The Telegraph

Good morning. Jose Manuel Barroso will call this morning for Britain’s political leaders to fight just as hard for Britain to say in the EU as they did to save the Union, and he’ll throw in a small warning, too: “Just as nearly 70 years ago peace could not be built by one country alone, today even the largest, proudest European nation cannot hope to shape globalisation,” Mr Barroso will say.

It’s intended to rouse the pro-Europeans into making some noise – “you need to start making the positive case well in advance, because if people read only negative and often false portrayals in their newspapers from Monday to Saturday you cannot expect them to nail the European flag on their front door on Sunday just because the political establishment tells them it is the right thing to do”, Mr Barroso will argue. (He’ll also pop into the Telegraph’s offices afterwards – you can put your questions to him using the #askbarroso hashtag on Twitter if you’re so inclined.)

But as far as winning friends and influencing people, Mr Barroso’s appearance on the Marr show – “like a puffed-up bullfrog” is Trevor Kavanagh’s verdict in the Sun – seems to have ruffled feathers rather than smoothed egos. His warning that the PM’s proposed changes on immigration contravene European law – “Migrants cap would be illegal, warns Euro chief” is our take – is hardly the best lift to David Cameron’s efforts to persuade Britain that the deal they want is possible, let alone his parliamentary party.

On that second front, Douglas Carswell’s interview in today’s G2 will be the cause of further discomfort, not least because it will reinforce the worst fears of many of his former colleagues. He explains why, despite his earlier statement that only a Conservative victory will guarantee an In-Out referendum, he chose to walk away: “It’s a smoke-and-mirrors referendum. His advisers told me the plan; it’s to work out from focus groups and pollsters what it would take to get the soft ‘outers’ and the undecideds to stay in, to offer them that, and once that hurdle is cleared to stick with the status quo.”

At the same time, Downing Street is all too aware of the truth behind Mr Barroso’s warning that the United Kingdom risks alienating its natural allies in the battle for EU reform in order to keep his party sweet before the election. A delicate balancing act continues.

MILBURNED

“Coalition’s ‘lamentable’ child poverty failure” is the Indy’s splash. The Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission will issue its second annual report today, and Alan Milburn, the organisation’s chief, has condemned all three parties for their approach to the problem in a column for the Times. It’s “not good enough”, Mr Milburn rages. In his sights: Ed Miliband’s proposal to raise the minimum wage to £8 an hour will be a 23p cut on the expected rise, an equivalent to an hour less a week and a £397 reduction a year for someone working full-time on minimum wage. He’s not sold on the threshold raise, either: “not the best use of scarce resources if the aim is to tackle working poverty” is the verdict.

NO GIVEAWAYS

Cabinet ministers have been warned by the Treasury that a shortfall of tax revenues and growing concern about the global economy mean that big pre-election giveaways are out of the question, George Parker and Chris Giles report in the FT. Far from splashing the cash, further spending controls may well have to be introduced in the Autumn Statement, Danny Alexander told Cabinet ministers. While the short-term prospects for growth in 2014 and 2015 remain rosy, there is growing concern that the slowdown will be difficult to stop.

STEP FORWARD FOR HEALTH BILL

Dying patients could be given access to untested medicines from early next year after the Government and senior doctors gave their backing to Lord Saatchi’s Medical Innovation Bill, Chris Hope reports. Significantly, the GMC, which had previously opposed any change in the law, has given its tentative backing to the Bill. Lord Saatchi began his campaign after the death of his wife, Josephine Hart, from ovarian cancer. Supporters say that the Bill will allow victims of rare forms of cancer to volunteer to be treated with untried drugs.

STRAWS IN THE WIND?

Two interesting polls over the weekend. ComRes’s regular poll for the Indy on Sunday and the Mirror tweaked their metholodgy for Ukip slightly. One sample was asked in the usual way to indicate support for “the Big Three” or one of the others, resulting in a bump for that party from 19% to 24%. (That’s not to say that treating Nigel Farage’s party in the same way is necessarily the correct way to gauge that party’s support, as Anthony Wells explains.) Meanwhile, YouGov re-ran its question about a Tory-Ukip pact for the Times, again finding that it results in a poll boost for Labour. Ukip voters seem to be more opposed to the pact than their Conservative counterparts. Kippers divide 57% to 30% against an alliance, while just 48% of Tories oppose a pact to 29% in favour..

BILLY GOAT GRAYLING

Internet trolls who post abusive messages online could face up to two years in prison after Chris Grayling announced plans to quadruple the maximum prison sentence, Nick Watt reports. Mary Beard, who was subjected to online abuse, says that she is “far from convinced that longer prison sentences are the answer”.

DON’T GET SICK IN THE VALLEYS

The BMA, Plaid Cymru, the Conservative Party and Labour MP Ann Clywd are all demanding an inquiry into the NHS in Wales, the Mail reports. A Mail investigation has revealed medical records that have been altered or gone missing, six nurses arrested on criminal charges with more expected and elderly patients denied food and water for long spells. “Labour’s NHS Shame Exposed” is their splash. A spokesperson for the Cardiff administration says: “The vast majority of people in Wales receive excellent care” and adds “if issues are identified, we will work quickly to put them right”. Wales is the biggest loser from the Barnett formula which decides how Treasury funds are divvied up between the United Kingdom.

THE SUPREMES

Supreme Court judges have backed moves to widen the selection to include legal academics and other legal professionals outside the judiciary to increase the diversity of the Court, Frances Gibb reports in the Times. Of the twelve judges, just one is a woman and none are from minority ethnic backgrounds. Lord Wilson of Culworth explains: “Here there is no witness box, the facts are sorted out one way or another, there ar epure points of laws and questions of legal argument…that is a job an academic could do without previous court experience.”

YOU’RE FIRED, FREUD?

Labour will force Lord Freud’s future to a vote in the House, Georgia Graham reports. The PM refused to dismiss the peer from his post at the DWP after he said that some disabled workers were “not worth” the full wage. It could lead to a Coalition row if Liberal Democrat MPs back the motion.

FIVE MORE YEARS?

The Fixed-Term Parliaments Act should be axed and replaced with a “gentleman’s agreement” among Coalition parties, Richard Drax, a backbench Conservative MP, has said. Mr Drax launches a bid to repeal the Act that will be debated on Thursday, Chris Hope writes.

OH SARAH

The Social Action, Responsibility and Heroism (or ‘Sarah’ if you like) Bill reaches its final stages in the House today. The Bill – which is intended to protect so-called “have a go heroes” from legal sanctions – is certainly pithy at just around the 100 word mark. Sir Edward Garnier, the PM’s first Solicitor General, has warned that the Bill will ultimately become “the subject of derision”.

Turkey: Jihad-Lite

Turkish and U.S. officials are now planning to push the “moderates” onto the battlefield. The “moderates” — Islamists featuring lighter shades of jihad — will be trained at a military base in Turkey to specialize in bombing, subversion and ambush, paid for by U.S. taxpayers, and expected to fight Islamists featuring darker shades of jihad.

The “moderates” are a potential threat to Western security interests. They are potential allies of Turkey’s Islamists.

If Turkey had not funded and armed ISIS in the hope that it would bring Assad’s downfall, none of this would have happened.

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