Morning Briefing – The Telegraph

Good morning. Ukip have their first elected MP in Clacton and they’ve given Labour one hell of a fright in Heywood & Middleton. The numbers are:

Clacton: Ukip 21,113 (60%), Conservatives 8,709 (25%), Labour (11%)

Heywood & Middleton: Labour 11,633 (41%), Ukip 11,016 (39%) Conservatives 3, 496 (12.3%)

It’s a thumping defeat for the Conservatives – but a shattering victory for Labour. A percentage point increase on their 2010 showing in Heywood & Middleton, and in a seat that is only the 148th most Ukip-friendly. The question on Labour minds is: how will Ukip do in Great Grimsby, or Rotherham, both seats that Nigel Farage’s party could take from them in May?

The Tory focus is now on Rochester & Strood, the 271st most Ukip-inclined seat as opposed to Clacton at N0. 1. If CCHQ can defeat Mark Reckless then they may be able to breathe a little easier – but there’s a growing acceptance that a parliamentary presence for Ukip will be a fact of life, not just for the next eight months but for the forseeable future.

Both sides are out in force with their lines to take. “It underlines the scale of the challenge facing Labour,” Douglas Alexander told the Today programme. “That’s just put Ed Miliband closer to Downing Street,” Grant Shapps said on the same programme later.

These soundbites feel awfully…familiar. Didn’t their damp performance in the European elections “underline the scale of the challenge facing Labour”? Is there any reason to suspect the new variation on “Vote Ukip, Get Labour” will be any more effective than the last one? I wrote after the Scottish referendum that neither David Cameron or Ed Miliband seemed to have any real idea how to tackle one populist politician in the shape of Alex Salmond. They still don’t seem to be any closer to working out how to contain Nigel Farage.


“If western boots were on the ground,” General David, now Lord Richards tells Mehdi Hasan, “Isil could be defeated “in six months”. The former Chief of the Defence Staff sat down with the Huffington Post (read it here). The PM shares something of the same attitude as his predecessor-but-one, Tony Blair, says Lord Richards. “There are bad things happening in the world and they would like, with others, to do something about it. I think they do enjoy being influential, feeling that together with others they are making a difference. It’s quite a drug. What I have been saying is that if you want to do that, for goodness sake, please do it properly, full-bloodiedly. Don’t play at it.”


Michael Gove considered replacing Sir Michael Wilshaw as the head of Ofsted, Richard Adams reveals in the Guardian. A DfE memo, written by Mr Gove’s then-adviser Dominic Cummings, has been passed to the Guardian – the full text is here. “Ofsted has huge problems and Wilshaw does not have the necessary skills,” Mr Cummings says.


Enhanced screening for Ebola will be introduced at Heathrow and Gatwick, despite advice from Public Health England and the World Health Organisation that such measures are ineffective and unhelpful, following a change in advice from the Chief Medical Officer, Dame Sally Davies – read Sarah Knapton’s story here. “The single most reliable way for Britons now to avoid a gruesome early death remains to take up jogging and lay off the booze, not to close down Heathrow,” argues Gaby Hinsliff in the Guardian.


Ukip donors are able to buy their way into top positions, party members allege. “If you’ve got a big enough chequebook, anyone listens to you. It’s not right,” Caven Vines, a Ukip councillor in Rotherham, tells the Times.


Tony Blair filled Downing Street with “very beautiful girls” while Gordon Brown’s mob were “a gang of big boys, rather overweight big boys with florid faces”, Andrew Marr tells the Cheltenham Literature Festival. Read his comments on the inner workings of the courts of Thatcher, Major and Cameron here.

Our cartoon is the work of Christian Adams; you can see his work on Instagram. You can get in touch with me by hitting “reply”, and via Twitter.


Better regulation, new aircraft technologies, increasing competition and innovation are reshaping aviation. Low cost carriers now account for more than 50% of the UK short haul market and they are expanding intothe business sector and medium and long haul markets. New ‘hub-buster’ aircraft such as Boeing’s 787 are able to fly people further and at less cost than ever before, reducing the need to transfer between flights.


@JohnMannMP: Ed Miliband does a lot of listening. Now he needs to do a bit more hearing.

Vladimir Putin’s short speech

No wonder he was selected by Forbes as the most powerful person in the world!

This is one time our elected leaders should pay attention to the advice of Vladimir Putin. I would suggest that not only our leaders but every citizen of Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, the UK & the USA should pay attention to this advice. In addition all of Europe should listen as well.

How scary is that? It is a sad day when a Communist makes more sense than OUR LEADERS but here it is!

Vladimir Putin’s speech


On August 04, 2013, Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, addressed the Duma, (Russian Parliament), and gave a speech about the tensions with minorities in Russia:

“In Russia, live like Russians. Any minority, from anywhere, if it wants to live in Russia, to work and eat in Russia, it should speak Russian, and should respect the Russian laws.

If they prefer Sharia Law, and live the life of Muslim’s then we advise them to go to those places where that’s the state law.

Russia does not need Muslim minorities. Minorities need Russia, and we will not grant them special privileges, or try to change our laws to fit their desires, no matter how loud they yell ‘discrimination’.

We will not tolerate disrespect of our Russian culture. We had better learn from the suicides of America, England, Holland and France, if we are to survive as a nation.

The Muslims are taking over those countries and they will not take over Russia. The Russian customs and traditions are not compatible with the lack of culture or the primitive ways of Sharia Law and Muslims.

When this honourable legislative body thinks of creating new laws, it should have in mind the Russian national interest first, observing that the Muslims Minorities Are Not Russians.”

The politicians in the Duma gave Putin a five-minute standing ovation.

(If you keep this to yourself, you are part of the problem!)

Ukip wins Clacton: the purple revolution goes mainstream

Douglas Carswell has won a hotly contested battle to replace Douglas Carswell as MP for Clacton. That was expected. What was less expected was Ukip also coming within 600 votes of beating Labour in Heywood and Middleton. On Thursday night, Ukip humiliated both the Conservatives and Labour. With a new member of Parliament, elected with a massive 60 per cent of the vote, it has finally entered the mainstream of our political life and can no longer be laughed off as a parody of Middle England neuroses. They are a serious threat to what the denizens of Westminster hold most dear – their jobs.


No sign of missing Kim Jong-Un on party anniversary

Kim Jong-un has failed to attend a key political anniversary for the first time since he became North Korea’s leader and has now not been seen in public for 37 days.

Until this year, Kim has marked the anniversary of the founding of the ruling Korean Workers’ Party KWP by making an early morning visit to the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun in Pyongyang.

On Friday, however, he was absent for the 69th anniversary, according to the Korean Central News Agency, the official North Korean news wire, which did not list his name at the event.


Coneflower Abstract

Laura Macky Photography

Sometimes I feel like a mad scientist in photoshop.  BWHAHAHA!

This image was created from a photo of a coneflower.  It’s amazing how one can create things digitally to look like they’ve been painted.  Trust me, I am terrible with a paint brush but with the magic of photoshop I feel like I can paint!   I’m no Cezanne or Monet but hey, it’s still fun.  🙂

Coneflower Abstract Coneflower Abstract

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Picture of the Day: Hong Kong Rooftopping at Night



Rooftopping duo Vadim Makhorov and Vitaliy Raskalov (On The Roofs) made the most of their recent trip to Hong Kong. Not only did they take a heap of incredible images that show what Hong Kong looks like from the roofs of buildings, but they managed to hack a billboard that sits atop a building in the heart of Hong Kong.

The two are currently in Tokyo, Japan as they complete their tour of Asia, scaling structures and buildings, and giving us a glimpse of the world few of us will see in person. For more, check out On The Roofs.

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