Newslinks for Tuesday 25th August 2020


Boost for Johnson in effort to reopen schools

“Boris Johnson was given a boost on Monday in his efforts to reopen all schools in England next month after teaching unions lent their conditional support to the move and local authorities indicated they would not stand in the prime minister’s way. Previous efforts by ministers to get more English primary school pupils back in June, after the easing of the coronavirus lockdown, were derailed by safety warnings from teaching unions, scepticism from parents and instructions from some councils to keep them closed. Downing Street said it was confident all English schools would open their doors from next week. “We are in a very different position to June,” one government official said. “Once children are back, we are sure everyone will see it’s the right place for them to be.” – FT

  • Rota plan for schools in local lockdown – The Times
  • Headteachers launch stinging criticism of education secretary – The Guardian
  • Schoolkids could avoid detention because of safety rules – The Sun
  • Johnson under pressure to introduce face masks in schools – Daily Telegraph
  • Headteachers won’t fine parents, say unions – Daily Mail
  • Demand for home-schooling courses rises – The Times
Comment
  • Exams crisis could be Johnson’s Black Wednesday, Justine Greening – The Guardian
  • PM’s real school battle is with the parents, Lucy Denyer – Daily Telegraph
>Yesterday:
  • Video: WATCH: Johnson fronts the drive to get children back to school next week

Davis: We need airport testing to help economy take off

“As an MP I don’t only see the plight of British holidaymakers in France, Spain, Croatia, Austria . . . on the news. I hear directly from my constituents about the dire impact of the government’s quarantine decision. The frontline worker who won’t be able to go to work tomorrow morning. The small business owner who finds themselves without their colleagues. The grandparents who can’t help with childcare. My friend Grant Shapps understands personally the impact sudden quarantine changes have. What is clear is that he won’t have made this decision lightly and without listening to the scientific advice. But what is also clear is the advice the transport secretary is getting is wrong.” – The Times

  • MPs urge Boris Johnson to meet ‘forgotten victims’ of virus – The Guardian
  • Government to urge companies to roll out workplace tests – FT
  • Switzerland to join quarantine list – The Times
  • Madrid lockdown looms – The Times
  • Housebuilding algorithm unfair to towns and cities, Johnson told – The Times

Uproar as BBC bans words from Land of Hope and Glory & Rule, Britannia

“BBC luvvies sparked uproar on Monday by saying they will ditch the words from Land of Hope and Glory and Rule, Britannia! for Last Night of the Proms. Boris Johnson had slammed “woke” plans to axe the patriotic sing-along climax from next month’s bash altogether. Beeb bosses instead announced they would feature — but only as orchestral versions amid fears of a backlash from Black Lives Matter campaigners due to lyrical connotations about the British Empire. Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage told The Sun: “The BBC should stop apologising for our history and our heritage. People will be disgusted by this level of political correctness. The only thing that needs cancelling is the BBC itself.” – The Sun

  • Rule, Britannia lyrics ditched from Last Night of The Proms – The Times
  • And Rule, Britannia will not be sung at Proms – Daily Telegraph
  • Land of Woke and Glory – Daily Mail
Comment
  • Prommers should be left to enjoy their end-of-term jolly, Michael Henderson – The Times
>Today:
  • ToryDiary: The next BBC Chairman? Send for Charles Moore.
>Yesterday:
  • ToryDiary: If Hall really wants to defend the BBC, he should confirm the Proms’ traditional line-up

Defence chiefs face battle over plan to scrap tanks

“Military chiefs have drawn up plans to mothball all of Britain’s tanks under radical proposals to modernise the armed forces. The move would lead to other military assets being given priority over heavy armour, The Times understands. The government is examining the controversial idea as the cost of upgrading Britain’s ageing fleet of 227 Challenger 2 tanks, and the 388 Warrior armoured fighting vehicles that support them on the battlefield, has soared.” – The Times

  • Military chiefs draw up plans to get rid of all tanks – Daily Mail
  • Don’t eviscerate armed forces, warns ex-military chief – The Times
Comment
  • Military is latest institution in No 10’s sights, Rachel Sylvester – The Times
  • Tank trap, Editorial – The Times
  • Nobody should be sentimental about the weapons of war, Max Hastings – The Times
  • Tory bid to downsize Royal Navy is monstrous political error, Mark Almond – Daily Telegraph

Trump warns Republican convention of ‘rigged election’

“US President Donald Trump has warned his fellow Republicans their opponents may “steal” November’s election, as his party anointed him as their candidate. “They’re using Covid to defraud the American people,” Mr Trump told delegates on the first day of the party convention in North Carolina. Mr Trump repeated his much-disputed claims that mail-in ballots could lead to voter fraud. Opinion polls suggest he currently trails Democratic challenger Joe Biden. Addressing delegates in person at a party conference that has been dramatically scaled back by Covid-19, Mr Trump accused Democrats of “using Covid to steal an election”. – BBC News

Comment
  • It’s in UK’s national interest that Biden wins, William Hague – Daily Telegraph

Barnier throws out UK’s Brexit blueprint

“Michel Barnier has knocked back Britain’s new blueprint for a trade deal and urged EU capitals to remain “cold blooded” as the Brexit deadline looms. Brussels negotiators have told other EU states that the draft text for an free trade agreement tabled by the UK last week is “unrealistic” and not a basis for discussion. Mr Barnier’s team told diplomats the latest British plan only puts our “offensive interests” and doesn’t address the bloc’s core concerns. It covers trade in goods and services but doesn’t contain any proposals on the so-called Level Playing Field or how to settle disputes between Britain and the EU after we leave. They said the UK’s “clear strategy” will be to “trade off” fishing access for freedom from EU rules at the last minute.” – The Sun

  • And Barnier urges EU states to be “cold-blooded” – Daily Express
Comment
  • EU determined to see UK lose out, Editorial – The Sun
>Today:
  • Comment: Daniel Moylan: The decision to spurn York is a rebuff to Leave supporters and to the voters’ verdict – especially outside London

Patel approves Taser 7 ‘that is more painful’

“A new Taser gun said to be faster and more accurate but likely to inflict greater pain on suspects has been approved for use by the police. Priti Patel, the home secretary, said police in England and Wales could order the model, providing a safe way to tackle criminals. Her decision was criticised by campaign groups which have expressed concern over the use of Tasers against children and black, Asian and minority ethnic people.” – The Times

Scots Tory leader admits mistakes in fight for UK unity

“Opponents of Scottish independence made a mistake in failing to press the case for UK unity strongly enough after winning the 2014 referendum on this issue, according to the new leader of the Scottish Conservatives. Douglas Ross said he and other supporters of the union had been lulled by assurances by the pro-independence Scottish National party ahead of the 2014 referendum that the vote would be a “once in a generation” event. “Some of us on the No side thought in September 2014 . . . that was it, we had done our job,” Mr Ross said in an interview with the Financial Times.” – FT

Corbyn’s choice for Unison boss is threat to Starmer

“Jeremy Corbyn has endorsed a hard-left candidate to lead Britain’s largest union in a move that threatens to weaken Sir Keir Starmer. Yesterday Mr Corbyn backed Roger McKenzie, an early supporter of his campaign to be Labour leader in 2015, to be general secretary of Unison. Mr McKenzie is seen as an uncompromising Corbynite who would swing Unison, which has 1.3 million members, decisively to the left. He told The Times that if elected he would seek to broker “a new relationship with Labour” that could result in Unison withdrawing its funding of the party if Labour did not espouse sufficiently left-wing policies.” – The Times

  • Corbyn’s stance on Skripals was political poison at polls – The Times

And finally, putting PM out to stud

“Prime ministers have trouble enough with ambitious colleagues briefing against them without their chief adviser’s family telling strangers they are on the way out. On a visit to Chillingham Castle in Northumberland last week, Anna Silverman, a TMS reader, fell into conversation with its owner, Sir Humphry Wakefield, father-in-law of Dominic Cummings, who merrily informed her that Boris Johnson is still struggling badly with having had Covid-19 (as if being a new father and needing to babysit Gavin Williamson isn’t tiring enough) and will stand down in six months.” – The Times

News in Brief
  • What does the evidence say on re-opening schools? Ross Clark – The Spectator
  • Who do the English think they are? Razib Khan – UnHerd
  • Johnson’s chronically inept government is about to face its biggest test, Martin Fletcher – New Statesman
  • Corbyn election campaign chaos was even worse than it seemed at the time, Mutaz Ahmed – Reaction
  • Bailey’s drug testing plan will get him nowhere in London, John Macdonald – CapX



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