The compromise verdict reached by judge Thokozile Masipa in the Oscar Pistorius case is wrong. It should be reversed on appeal.The judge found reasonable doubt that Pistorius intended to kill his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, and concluded that the evidence supports his belief that armed intruders may have broken into his home through the bathroom window. If that is the case then he had a perfect right to defend himself, his girlfriend and his home from a home invasion by armed intruders. There would be nothing criminally culpable about a disabled man shooting through the bathroom door if he honestly believed his life was in danger.
And hes gone. Alex Salmond has just resigned, although not before his people had banned various newspapers they do not like from his press conference in Edinburgh. This exclusion is a stark reminder of the nature of the narrow brush with disaster that Scotland has just endured. If Yes had prevailed, Scotland would not have been a free society. Dissent would have been squashed, journalists would have been intimidated and Salmond, with his majority in the referendum and a majority at Holyrood, would have been rampant as he constructed a constitution and led negotiations with London.
The political truce that saved the Union collapsed on Friday as David Cameron’s plans for English “home rule” were condemned by Labour.
Following Scotland’s No vote, the Prime Minister immediately set out plans to ensure that there are “English votes for English laws”. Those plans could result in England having its own first minister and would herald one of the biggest reforms of Britain’s tax system.
But they could prevent Scottish MPs voting on English-only issues in the wake of the independence referendum.
Excluding Scottish MPs from votes concerning only England would represent a disaster for the Labour Party.
WASHINGTON JTA — Saying a nuclear Iran would be a “thousand times” greater threat to the world than the Islamic State, Israel’s ambassador to the United States warned against including Iran in any coalition to derail the jihadist group.
Ron Dermer, speaking Wednesday to guests at a pre-Rosh Hashanah reception at his residence in suburban Maryland, also cautioned the US against accommodating Iran during the current effort to degrade IS.
His urgent tone was the latest sign of a split between the Obama and Netanyahu governments over how to deal with Iran’s role in stopping IS, which is seizing swaths of Iraq and Syria.
Dermer noted the presence of Obama administration officials at the event and praised the American president for leading a coalition to defeat the terror group. He said, however, that Iran must not be a partner in this effort.
CommentThe Yazidi in Iraq and the Christian Copts in Egypt are not “occupiers” or “settlers;” neither are the Jews in Israel. They are both victims of a common enemy that seems to want a Middle East free of non-Muslims.
Good morning. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland – preserved!
The final number is N0 55%, Yes 45% – which, after the last few weeks, feels like a bigger win than it is. Separatism is defeated but not dead. The PM and his opposite number, meanwhile, have are left with much to ponder.
Just a few months after being humbled by one populist politician – Nigel Farage- in the European elections, David Cameron and Ed Miliband came perilously close to being permanently undone by another in the shape of Alex Salmond. Nor can they say with any honesty that they’ve worked out how to tackle the underlying problem; that is, a lack of faith in London’s politicians to get anything done. Instead, they had to dig a politician from another era out of the freezer.
The Conservatives have been reminded that the PM’s tendency to govern by essay crisis will, sooner or later, be his undoing. The mood on the backbenches – and the frontbenches for that matter – is pretty unhappy. They feel that the PM sold the constitution down the river off the back of some bad polls. Who knows what effect a Ukip gain in Clacton – remember that? – will have on Tory morale.
As for Labour? We now know for sure that Labour’s wafer-thin lead is good for nothing this far out from the election. For all the cross-party sheen to Better Together, behind the scenes, it was a Labour operation from start to finish. The question they must be asking themselves is this: what happens when the British public start paying attention in the last weeks of April 2015? And who do they have who can have the same stabilising effect that Gordon Brown had?
All of these, however, are questions for another time. Yes, it’s some way from the thumping defeat for nationalism that Downing Street dreamed of, but as Winston Churchill said: one is enough. There are questions ahead about the Barnett formula and the West Lothian question, but for now: Scotland is still part of the United Kingdom. Forget the questions about how we got here and what happens next for a moment. Just congratulate our forces and rejoice at that news.
LET ENGLAND SHAKE
This morning the PM spoke of “a balanced settlement”, with “a bigger say” for the voters of England, Wales and Northern Ireland as well. In addition to the constitutional arguments, it’s important for Mr Cameron’s position that he is seen to be taking the English question seriously. Later today, Tory whips will meet to discuss how to maintain party discipline over the coming weeks. The evidence is that they have a job of work ahead of them. Claire Perry, the rail minister, has warned against giving out “financial party bags” to Scotland which have to be paid for “by us south of the border”. Meanwhile, Conservative backbencher James Gray has savaged the PM’s pledge to maintain the Barnett formula in perpetuity: “Talk about feeding an addiction. The more you give them, the more they want.”. Mr Gray’s put to words what many of his colleagues are saying privately. It’s not just the Conservatives who are calling for greater powers for England, either: John Denham was sounding the call on Newsnight yesterday, while Jim Murphy this morning conceded that the constitutional anomaly of Scottish MPs voting on English laws will have to change.
LABOUR PAYS THE PRICE FOR MANSION TAX
Labour fears that their planned mansion tax could hit their voters in marginal London seats, Laura Pitel reports in the Times. A quarter of the seats that would hit by the tax are currently in Labour hands.
YVETTE COOPER TALKS SENSE (1)
Restrictions on travel, similar to those that can be deployed to prevent forced marriage, must be introduced to protect women and girls at risk of female genital mutilation, Yvette Cooper tells the House Magazine. Holly Watt has the story.
YVETTE COOPER TALKS SENSE (2)
Doctor Who is “too unhappy” and Peter Capaldi’s performance has “no joy”, Yvette Cooper tells The House magazine. “I really like Peter Capaldi but I’m worried that he’s really unhappy. It’s not just that he’s darker, it’s like there’s no joy at the moment.” You can read the full interview here.
OUR FRIENDS IN THE NORTH
What have you done for me lately? That’s the joint call from local newspapers in Manchester, Newcastle, Yorkshire and Middlesborough today, while David Sparks, Chair of the Local Government Association, has called for further powers for local areas in England and Wales.
TO THE WORKER HIS DUE
The chief executives of Kingfisher and Nomura are among the signatories to a letter from business leaders calling for the minimum wage to rise faster now that growth has returned to the economy.
And so to Manchester for Labour Party Conference. You can liven up the Conference season by playing Demos’ Fantasy Politics – collect points for front-pages, buzzwords and so forth. Speaking of Demos, I’ll be in the chair for their panel on self-employment on Sunday, details are here.
The Morning Briefing is written by Stephen Bush, who tweets as @stephenkb. Our cartoon is the work of Christian Adams; you can see his cartoons on Instagram.
POLL OF POLLS
Conservatives 33% Labour 36% Liberal Democrats 8% Ukip 15% Others 9%