The case for a special Democratic climate debate | Kate Aronoff

Housing, immigration, health – there’s no policy area that won’t be touched by the climate crisis. The Democratic candidates should embrace the challenge

Twenty candidates – ten candidates per night – will take the stage during this week’s two-part Democratic primary debates. Each debate will last two hours, and, excluding introductions and interruptions, each candidate will have roughly 12 minutes of total speaking time. How much of that can we reasonably expect to be devoted to the climate crisis?

If past debates are any indication, not much. There were no direct questions about climate change posed in either the 2012 or 2016 debates. In refusing grassroots calls for a debate focused on climate change, Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez has promised this time would be different. In a Medium post composed after backlash to his decision, Perez wrote that he considers climate a top issue, and “made clear to our media partners that the issue of climate change must be featured prominently in our debates”. Given that network news spent more time covering the Royal Baby in one week than they’d spent in a year on climate change, that’s not exactly a convincing sell. If the DNC really did care about climate as much as Perez claims, it’d see the debate stage as a chance to offer a valuable counter-weight to the relative silence across television news about the climate crisis.

Continue reading...

Dear Damian Hinds, you must be dying to correct Jeremy Hunt’s nonsense about children’s reading | Michael Rosen

His claim in the leadership debate that 25% of primary school leavers can’t read is completely untrue

It was interesting to see in last week’s Tory leadership voting that both you and your schools minister Nick Gibb had backed Michael Gove to be prime minister.

On TV and radio Gove seemed very proud of his record as education secretary. One of his favourite words at the time was “rigour”. I thought there was “rigour” missing in how Gove was treated during his interviews: I didn’t hear anyone ask him why he was sacked as education secretary (it was because he was considered a “toxic liability”).

Continue reading...

Britain is now a remain nation. We can halt this rush to Brexit | Polly Toynbee

The Tory party’s hardcore membership would head us off a cliff. We need to rebel against this democratic outrage

The frontrunner’s domestic squall on Thursday night has acted as a lightning-flash illumination of the democratic fraud unfolding before our eyes. Had this tiff happened on Love Island, at least every citizen would get to vote. If a despairing lethargy hung over the prime ministerial contest, this fracas has electrified the preposterous nature of the non-choice, and our total exclusion from it. Pinch yourself: is this really be happening in a democracy? This is now a remainer nation, held hostage by extreme no-dealers.

Remember, this has never happened before. It was bad enough when MPs chose the sitting prime minister – John Major, Theresa May, Gordon Brown – but for the first time the Tory party’s misbegotten 1998 rules see our fate fixed by the votes of a tiny self-selecting oligarchy. This novel experiment in non-democracy couldn’t come at a worse time, with the ruling party seized by no-deal Brexit mania, forcing all candidates to abandon truth to woo the membership’s worst delusions. Only one, Sam Gyimah, represented anything approaching the British remain majority, but he couldn’t scrape eight nominations to get into the contest: that’s the nature of the Tory beast.

Continue reading...

Can anything stop Boris Johnson? – podcast

The Tory leadership hopeful has spent the past three days avoiding questions on why the police were called to his home after an altercation with his partner. But will questions about Johnson’s previous behaviour and character damage his chances of becoming prime minister?

Hours after Boris Johnson confirmed his place in the final runoff for the Conservative party leadership, police were called to the flat he shares with his partner, Carrie Symonds, after neighbours heard a loud altercation involving screaming, shouting and banging.

The police later issued a statement saying they had attended and spoken to all occupants of the address, who were all safe and well. “There were no offences or concerns apparent to the officers and there was no cause for police action.”

Continue reading...

Jeremy Hunt pushes for defence spending to rise by a quarter

Tory leadership hopeful’s plan would use up more than half of £27bn fiscal headroom set aside by chancellor

Jeremy Hunt will promise to increase spending on defence by a quarter during the next five years, as he seeks to woo the grassroots Tories who will select Britain’s next prime minister.

The foreign secretary is the underdog in the race to succeed Theresa May, with Boris Johnson the clear favourite, but the defence pledge is the latest of a series of policy announcements aimed at enthusing the Tory grassroots – and highlighting the lack of clear policies in Johnson’s leadership platform.

Continue reading...

No transition period without EU agreement, Boris Johnson admits

Candidate breaks cover with BBC interview but vows never to disclose what led to row with Carrie Symonds

Boris Johnson broke cover on Monday night in an interview for the BBC in which he was forced to admit there would be no transition period without the EU’s agreement in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

In the interview with the corporation’s political editor, Laura Kuenssberg, his first of the Conservative leadership campaign, Johnson also vowed he would never disclose what led to the loud row with his partner Carrie Symonds, which led neighbours to call police.

Continue reading...

Boris Johnson plans media blitz as Jeremy Hunt calls him a ‘bottler’

Johnson expected to make appearances after criticism he’s dodged public scrutiny in Tory leadership race

Boris Johnson’s Tory leadership campaign will be forced into the open on Tuesday with a slew of stage-managed appearances, amid mounting criticism that the frontrunner has been dodging public scrutiny by avoiding TV debates and questions on his private life.

Sources close to Johnson said he was preparing a “media blitz” in the coming days, beginning with five closely controlled events on Tuesday, in an attempt to show their candidate is not in hiding following a late-night altercation with his partner that prompted neighbours to call the police.

Continue reading...

‘Why take risks?’: Boris Johnson’s team keep candidate on tight leash

Frontrunner has kept out of spotlight so far as Jeremy Hunt has gone for maximum exposure

The Boris Johnson submarine is about to surface, according to his campaign team, after weeks beneath the radar dodging debates and refusing television interviews.

They claim a “media blitz” is about to start that will see Johnson become much more visible with four weeks to go until he potentially enters No 10 as prime minister.

Continue reading...

Boris Johnson’s chaotic private life parallels his public pronouncements | Suzanne Moore

The separation between private and public is dubious – when it comes to our politicians, what should be off-limits?

They sit in a field, no drinks on the table, loved up as never before – or so we are to believe. We are expected to call them Boris and Carrie, as though they are people we might know or even like. How much can we be played? All that plays in my head is Grace Jones snarling Chrissie Hynde’s superb lines: “Your sentimental gestures only bore me to death / You’ve made a desperate appeal now save your breath / Attachment to obligation through guilt and regret / Shit that’s so wet. Your private life drama, baby leave me out.”

When it comes to our politicians, what should be public and what off-limits? This time the snoopers seem to have been invited in. The last lot of snoopers, who alerted the police to a late-night row, were obviously part of the provisional wing of the Camberwell bourgeoisie. Are people who worry about their neighbours dangerous – even if it turns out their fears are unfounded? Who would intervene if they suspected a potential “domestic”? Well me, for one.

Continue reading...

The Guardian view on Tory leadership: politics may not survive Brexit | Editorial

The Brexit virus that is running through the Conservatives may end up shutting down both the party and the electoral system that supports it

The threat by a Conservative minister to bring down the government of the next party leader if he attempts to leave the European Union without a deal shows how the Brexit virus, having hijacked the Tory machine, could end up shutting it down. It would be wrong to regard such warnings as a bluff. When push comes to shove, such MPs are likely to be in no mood for compromise. This attitude will have been hardened if Boris Johnson becomes party leader despite his obvious flaws – especially since Brexit has radicalised Conservative members so much that they would rather break up the United Kingdom than not leave the EU. Depressingly the no-deal option is openly flirted with by both leadership candidates, shamelessly proffered to Tory members in exchange for their votes.

It is important to remember that even with the DUP’s support, a few Tory rebels can bring down a wayward government by leaving it. What also seems clear is that the new Conservative leader will not have a majority for either his central policy or for his government. That means Theresa May will in all probability have to assess which party leader will command a majority in the Commons. If it is not the Tory leader then it will be Jeremy Corbyn. If neither can put together the votes then Britain will be heading for a general election. Where Tory rebels would go from there is a tantalising question. Some have argued that the shape of the civil war in the party resembles the infighting that was a prelude to Robert Peel’s 1846 repeal of the Corn Laws, which protected British grain against cheaper imports. Peelites such as William Gladstone, who split the Tories by defecting to what ended up as the Liberal party, could justifiably claim to be on the side of the future rather than the past. That is still a seductive argument that could be used by their would-be heirs today.

Continue reading...

Labour MPs asked by party if they will stand again at next general election

Contentious new rules means MPs must navigate trigger-ballot process

Labour MPs have been given a fortnight to decide whether they want to stand again for parliament, as the party gears up for an early general election, by kicking off what some MPs fear could turn into a wave of deselections.

Under contentious new rules agreed at last year’s party conference, those MPs who want to continue to represent their constituency in future must first navigate the trigger-ballot process. That means commanding the support of two-thirds of local branches, and two-thirds of affiliated trade union branches.

Continue reading...

Tories warn of government collapse if Boris Johnson pursues no-deal Brexit

Former minister says more MPs would vote no confidence in government than may admit it

Conservatives stepped up warnings on Monday that a Boris Johnson premiership could lead to the collapse of the government if the leadership frontrunner attempts to pursue no deal.

One former Tory minister said he believed there were many more Tory MPs who would be prepared to take that step than those who would publicly admit it. “I do think at least 10 would vote to bring down the government if the government was taking us into no deal,” the MP said.

Continue reading...

Javid suggests post-Brexit migration salary rules could vary by region

Home secretary seeks review of system that would end EU citizens’ free movement

Migrants coming to the UK could face varying minimum salary thresholds depending on where they live under proposals put out for review by the home secretary, Sajid Javid.

The white paper on post-Brexit immigration policy, published in December, included a to-be-determined minimum salary threshold for high-skilled workers. The current minimum salary for most experienced workers coming from non-EU countries is £30,000.

Continue reading...

I was Boris Johnson’s boss: he is utterly unfit to be prime minister | Max Hastings

The Tory party is about to foist a tasteless joke upon the British people. He cares for nothing but his own fame and gratification

Six years ago, the Cambridge historian Christopher Clark published a study of the outbreak of the first world war, titled The Sleepwalkers. Though Clark is a fine scholar, I was unconvinced by his title, which suggested that the great powers stumbled mindlessly to disaster. On the contrary, the maddest aspect of 1914 was that each belligerent government convinced itself that it was acting rationally.

It would be fanciful to liken the ascent of Boris Johnson to the outbreak of global war, but similar forces are in play. There is room for debate about whether he is a scoundrel or mere rogue, but not much about his moral bankruptcy, rooted in a contempt for truth. Nonetheless, even before the Conservative national membership cheers him in as our prime minister – denied the option of Nigel Farage, whom some polls suggest they would prefer – Tory MPs have thronged to do just that.

Continue reading...

Does Bradford festival’s counter-extremism funding warrant a boycott? | Suhaiymah Manzoor-Khan and Saima Mir

Suhaiymah Manzoor-Khan and Saima Mir go head to head on the question of whether government support undermines the cultural event

Three days ago I shared a public statement explaining my withdrawal from the Bradford literature festival 2019. By the morning of 24 June, 11 others scheduled to speak had also withdrawn (Lola Olufemi, Waithera Sebatindira, Malia Bouattia, Sahar Al-Faifi, Dilly Hussain, Hussein Kesvani, Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff, Paula Akpan, Lauren Booth and Madiha Raza). We did not do so because we oppose the festival itself. I have previously performed poetry there and believe the BLF has done invaluable work for the local community through years of grassroots engagement centred on BME people. However, I chose not to participate this year when I found out the festival was a beneficiary of a fund called Building a Stronger Britain Together (BSBT). This fund comes from the government’s Counter-Extremism Strategy (CES) and it is this strategy, this fund, and this connection that I and others oppose.

Continue reading...

Boris Johnson is clearly hiding from scrutiny – even diehard fans may start to have doubts | Simon Jenkins

How long can party members dazzled by the would-be Tory leader’s glamour ignore the evidence before them?

Cowardly, untrustworthy, disrespectful, unmanly, slinking into office through the back door. Thus did Tory leadership candidate Jeremy Hunt describe his rival Boris Johnson. And that, as the historian Edward Gibbon said of a dodgy pope, was Hunt declining to mention “the most scandalous charges”.

A nocturnal spat, supposedly over a wine stain, between Johnson and his girlfriend, Carrie Symonds, in a Camberwell flat, is of no public concern, merely public fascination. Downing Street has no nosy neighbours. But as Michael Gove discovered over cocaine, when standing for public office you cannot pick and choose what interests the public. Unfairness is part of the game. It is for others to judge whether Johnson’s screaming fits with his partner in love augur well or ill for his partners in office.

Continue reading...

Boris Johnson refuses to appear on Sky Tory leadership debate

Sky News cancels debate with Jeremy Hunt as frontrunner continues to evade scrutiny

Boris Johnson’s refusal to face public scrutiny as he runs for the Conservative party leadership has prompted Sky News to cancel a televised debate this week.

The broadcaster said that unless Johnson agreed to take part in the debate on Tuesday it would not go ahead. Instead it offered an alternative date of 1 July in an effort to get him and his fellow contender, Jeremy Hunt, to appear.

Continue reading...

What has the ‘northern powerhouse’ actually done for the people of the north? | Chi Onwurah

George Osborne’s grandiose talk counts for nothing if regional investment is stifled by the political ideology behind austerity

• Chi Onwurah is the Labour MP for Newcastle upon Tyne Central

A hundred yards from Newcastle station, restored but not particularly well signposted, stands the shed where George Stephenson built the world’s first commercial train engine, Locomotion No 1, in 1825. From the trains that revolutionised transport to the steel that mechanised production to the coal that fed the fires, the north literally powered the first industrial revolution and the wealth it generated. Two centuries on, and the “northern powerhouse” has just turned five. Not the north as a powerhouse but George Osborne’s 2014 “ambition” for the north.

In its birthday assessment, IPPR North concludes that the northern powerhouse has been held back by austerity. As a northern MP and shadow minister for industrial strategy, my assessment would be more critical – austerity was the pre-eminent political ideology of the Cameron-Osborne-Clegg government, regional renaissance was not, and the northern powerhouse proves that.

Continue reading...

Boris Johnson ‘could face Tory coup’ over no-deal Brexit stance

Tobias Ellwood says MPs would vote against government as Jeremy Hunt accuses rival of cowardice

Jeremy Hunt has stepped up his criticism of Boris Johnson for avoiding media scrutiny in the Tory leadership campaign, calling it “disrespectful”, as another minister said Johnson could be brought down by his own MPs if he pushed for a no-deal Brexit.

Tobias Ellwood, the junior defence minister, said it was possible that the decision by Johnson actively to seek no deal could push some Conservatives to support a no-confidence motion against his government.

Continue reading...