For Natural Born Citizens

This just might make your day a little brighter!

You, who worry about democrats versus republicans – relax, here  is our real problem.

In a Purdue University classroom, they were discussing the qualifications to be President of the United States.

It was pretty simple. The candidate must be a natural born citizen of at least 35 years of age.

However, one girl in the class immediately started in on how unfair was the requirement to be a natural born citizen. In short, her opinion was that this requirement prevented many capable individuals from becoming president.

The class was taking it in and letting her rant, and not many jaws hit the floor when she wrapped up her argument by stating, “What makes a natural born citizen any more qualified to lead this country than one born by C-section?”

 (Yep, these are the same 18-year-olds that are now voting in our elections!)

Ken Livingstone is right: it’s him or Boris Johnson. That’s why I’m voting Boris

Ken Livingstone is right. When Jonathan Freedland announced he could no longer endorse Labour’s mayoral candidate because of his assertion that the Jewish community would not support him because of their wealth, Livingstone responded in a characteristically graceless but frank way. “Well, the simple, brutal fact that Jonathan’s got to face is Boris and myself are the two front runners. It’s no good saying you don’t want Boris, you don’t want me. Like everybody else he’s just got to make a choice.”

While most political candidates try and attract voters, Ken Livingstone has, throughout this campaign, tried to bully potential supporters to the polling station. “Vote for me or else”, has been his unofficial campaign slogan. But, distasteful though this tactic may, there is no defying the logic. Next Friday one of two men will be elected mayor of London, and it will be either Boris Johnson or Ken Livingstone.

That’s why on Thursday I’ll be casting my vote for Boris Johnson. I’ll be supporting my local Labour GLA candidate Len Duvall, and voting Labour in the top-up. But I’ll also be voting against Labour’s mayoral candidate, and I hope he loses.

Read more….

North Korea nuclear test ‘could take place this week’

The assessment of Pyongyang’s intention to detonate a nuclear device dovetails with South Korean intelligence reports and the announcement by Moscow that it has put its military forces in the Russian Far East at a heightened state of alert.

A report in the South Korean JoongAng Ilbo newspaper on Monday also said the test will be of a highly enriched uranium device. The two previous tests by North Korea, in October 2006 and May 2009, were of plutonium weapons.

Satellite reconnaissance images of the Punggye-ri nuclear test site indicate that work on a new underground shaft has been completed and that more than 280,000 cubic feet of rubble has been excavated.

Analysts say a successful nuclear test would go some way to rebuilding the international “face” that the regime lost on April 13, when a rocket that North Korea claimed was carrying a satellite crashed just moments after launch. The United Nations Security Council condemned the launch, which most member states agreed was a test of a ballistic missile.

On Wednesday, a senior official in the North Korean warned that the regime has developed “powerful modern weapons” and that it does not fear the “imperialists” in the United States.

Read more….

Heathrow at ‘breaking’ point as Border Force struggles to cope, leaked memos warn

Heathrow approached “breaking” point last week, with passengers left so frustrated by delays that they resorted to storming past officials without showing their documents and slow handclapping staff in immigration halls.

Several times last week delays were reported in Terminal Five of up to two hours.

On Saturday BAA, the owner of Heathrow, tried to defuse tensions with a leaflet apologising to passengers for the “very long delays” and saying people entering the country “deserved a warmer welcome”.

The leaflet suggested that passengers should complain to the Home Office.

However, Marc Owen, the director of UK Border Agency operations at Heathrow, told BAA the leaflet was “inappropriate”.

Read more….

Al-Qaeda ‘will free British hostage’ if Abu Qatada can go where he wants

AQIM also threatened that Britain would “open the door of evil” unto its country and people should it send the imam back to his native Jordan where he faces jail, the report said.

The group which is Al-Qaeda’s North African franchise – has been holding Stephen Malcolm and two other western men hostage since abducting them last November in the northern Mali desert city of Timbuktu.

Britain has been trying to deport Abu Qatada for more than six years, arguing he is a threat to national security, to Jordan, where the cleric was convicted in 1998 in absentia of involvement in terror attacks.

But his removal has in the past been blocked by the European Court of Human Rights, which cited the risk that evidence obtained from torture would be used against him on his return to Jordan.

The court is now considering the latest appeal by the cleric.

Read more….

Hunt should face ‘immediate’ inquiry, says former Whitehall standards adviser

Sir John Bourn, the former independent adviser on the Ministerial Code, said there was no need for David Cameron to wait for the Leveson Inquiry to examine the Culture Secretary before beginning his own investigation.

Mr Cameron said yesterday he was prepared to order a Whitehall investigation into Mr Hunt’s overseeing of the Murdoch bid for BSkyB, but only after Mr Hunt gives evidence to Lord Justice Leveson next month.

The Prime Minister also set the stage for questions about his own actions when he admitted discussing the bid for BSkyB with James Murdoch while his Government was deciding whether to let the takeover go ahead.

Lord Butler of Brockwell, a former cabinet secretary, told BBC Radio Five Live there was “no doubt that the letter of the Ministerial Code has been breached” in Mr Hunt’s case.

However, he described the breach as “a technical sin” that was “not enough for a man’s career to be ruined”.

Read more….

The Hunt Goes On

MORNING BRIEFING – By Benedict Brogan (Daily Telegraph)

Another week and the Hunt goes on. David Cameron has awoken to calls from Labour that he should appear before the Commons today to explain why he is blocking an immediate inquiry by Sir Alex Allan – the adviser on the ministerial code – into any breaches of the code by Jeremy Hunt.

Yesterday, the PM was fighting back on Marr. He said: “As things stand, I do not believe he broke the ministerial code.” He argued that the Culture Secretary will appear in front of the Leveson Inquiry under oath, and that will be scrutiny enough.

According to Dave, Sir Jeremy Heywood agrees with him, but others, and not just Labour types, aren’t so sure – the former independent adviser on the Ministerial Code, Sir John Bourn, reckons that this is one for Sir Alex – read our report here.

It’s worth acknowledging that Mr Cameron had a decent outing on Marr though. He was energetic, and I suspect anyone from outside the village who tuned in will have found him credible and will want to give him the Benefit Of The Doubt.

And that’s vital, because it’s BOTD that’s got Downing Street deeply worried. They fear, with justification, that Dave is no longer getting the BOTD, either at Westminster or beyond. I’ve blogged more extensively about this here.


On Marr, Dave denied the ‘grand deal’ charge, and in a comparative viewing Mr Cameron beats Rupert Murdoch on credibility. I suspect that when he gets there he will give a good account of himself to Lord Justice Leveson, certainly better than Mr Murdoch.

By his account, his canoodling with News International stemmed from nothing else than his desire to persuade media groups to support him (remember, scarcely any did in the 2005 leadership campaign); he didn’t change his views to suit proprietors, ‘that’s not the way I work’ (in other words, he didn’t need Mr Murdoch to persuade him to deregulate broadcasting or nobble the BBC). He said:

“Personally, I would be quite happy if I didn’t see quite as many journalists as I do.”

You could hear cries of “the feeling’s mutual” echoing down Fleet Street.


They say dancing cheers the soul – a good idea for Mr Hunt who has been revealed as a master of lambada by Michael Gove. The Education Secretary told BBC Radio 4 on Sunday:

“[Jeremy Hunt] has a sprung dance floor in his house in London to enable him to practise, and if you ever want anyone to liven up your party by cutting the rug with dash and distinction, … then Jeremy is the man to invite.”


Latest YouGov/Sunday Times poll: Conservatives 29%, Labour 40%, Lib Dems 11%, Ukip 10% .
Overall government approval rating: -42%

Thursday’s elections have the potential to make Mr Cameron’s life much worse. The Tories could start to panic if the omnishambles sinks Boris and delivers a vote-share in the locals that matches yesterday’s 29pc from YouGov. The panic could bring on some sort of knee-jerk response – a reshuffle or maybe even policy U-turns.

In our leader column, we argue that: “voters will reward honesty and competence,” suggesting that “the traditional pursuit of lower taxes and a smaller state still has a resonance among voters if they can translate it into policies that bring obvious benefits to the majority of hard-working people and their families.”

It looks like the Coalition is preparing for the worst – but how much is for show. As happened last year, James Kirkup reports that Dave and Nick are planning another Rose Garden renewal of the vows, to tells voters how well the Coalition is acting in the national interest.

Local Lib Dems don’t seem to think it’ll be that bad though. The Times (£) has a story on how Lib Dem councillors hope to capitalise on the Tories’ difficulties. The party is briefing that they expected to lose half of the 600 or so seats they are defending, but a Tory slump could reduce that figure to 100-200.

In London, however, the fight is still between Boris and Ken. Ken told the FT (£) that he’s confident of a win because last week’s poor GDP figures were an unexpected gift.

Mary Ann Sieghart in Independent laments the fact that the odds are always against independent candidates thanks to broadcasting rules. She says: “The idea was that we might have a Richard Branson or a Michael Bloomberg as Mayor of London.”

Finally, in The Telegraph, Daniel Knowles takes a look at the referendum for an elected mayor in Birmingham, where Liam Byrne, Sion Simon and Gisela Stuart hope to fight it out for the Labour candidacy.


We’ve splashed on the Home Office’s attempt to hush up the full extent of delays at Heathrow. In leaked letters obtained by the Telegraph, Marc Owen, the director of UK Border Agency operations at Heathrow, told BAA the leaflet was “inappropriate” and threatened to “escalate” the matter with ministers who were likely to take a “very dim view”.

Our leader column says the Home Office needs to resolve the problem now – even if it means manning the desks themselves.

Pressure will be mounting on Damian Green who will appear in front of the Home Affairs Select Committee next week.

NEW 1922?

The Guardian has a story about a group of Tory MPs from the 2010 intake who hope to oust the current Right-wing anti-Cameron members of the 1922 committee. The driving force behind the move comes from the new 301 Group ( more details on them here from Conservative Home).

The slate of candidates the group is putting forward will include a mix of old and new MPs with the aim of clearing out the old guard. They are targeting Christopher Chope, Peter Bone, Brian Binley and Philip Davies.

Finally some good news for the PM.


Grant Shapps is one for making catchy headlines: today’s is his crackdown on “beds in sheds.” He’s launching a task force to tackle criminal landlords and remove illegal immigrants.


Dave isn’t the only politician out doing a media blitz ahead of the elections. Labour’s Eds were out in force in yesterday’s papers.

Mr Balls gave an interview to the Observer about the economy, while Mr Miliband gave an one to the People over a pint and a game of pool at Askern Miners Welfare Club in Doncaster. Surely, that’s one for the Awkward Ed Miliband Moments’ tumblr.


His party’s poll ratings might be dreadful, but at least Chris Heaton-Harris is still cracking jokes:

“@chhcalling: A local school has become an academy; it’s sponsored by IKEA. I’m told exam results are massively improved, but morning assembly takes ages.”


In The Telegraph

Daniel Knowles: Election? What election?

James Dyson: Engineering can save us from drought

Leader: Voters will reward honesty and competence

Leader: Bordering on farce

Best of the rest

Neil O’Brien in the Guardian: Cameron’s still-to-do list

Paul Goodman in the Financial Times (£): Cameron must take the correct lesson from Ukip’s ri se

Vernon Bogdanor in the Times (£): Ukip is giving Englishness the voice it craves

Mary Ann Sieghart in the Independent: We need more independents to break the stranglehold


Today: Sunday Trading (London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games) Bill – all stages.

Today: Ken Clarke and Justine Greening announce measures to make it easier for insurers to defend spurious or exaggerated motor insurance claims

10am: Ed Miliband and Ed Balls questions and answers session on economic policy and the UK’s return to recession. Coin Street neighbourhood centre, 108 Stamford Street, SE1 9NH

12.30pm: Frank Field MP speech to Policy Exchange on child poverty targets. 10 Storey’s Gate, SW1P 3AY

2.30pm: Communities and Local Government questions.

4.30pm William Hague appears before the National Security Strategy Select Committee. Committee Room 3, Palace of Westminster

6pm: The parliamentary Labour Party’s weekly meeting. Committee Room 14, House of Commons