Newslinks for Wednesday 14th October 2020

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Newslinks for Wednesday 5th August 2020


Labour calls for ‘circuit-breaker’ full coronavirus lockdown…

“Opposition leader Keir Starmer has long emphasized his party’s role as a “constructive opposition” but the gloves are coming off. The Labour leader on Tuesday called for a two- to three-week national lockdown in England and accused Prime Minister Boris Johnson of  ignoring his own government’s scientific advice, as the U.K. recorded 143 COVID-19 deaths, the highest daily increase since June. Starmer said the prime minister should heed a recommendation from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) to bring in a so-called “circuit-breaker” lockdown to slow a steep rise in cases. “The government has not got a credible plan to slow infections. It has lost control of the virus and it is no longer following scientific advice,” Starmer said in his most combative attack on the government’s handling of the pandemic to date.” – Politico

  • Manchester and Lancashire could be forced into strictest Tier 3 as Burnham attacks Government – Daily Mail
  • Khan piles pressure on Johnson to put London on Tier 2 lockdown – The Sun
  • Welsh leader Drakeford threatens to close border to the English – The Times
  • Northern Ireland will be first UK region to have circuit-breaker second lockdown – Daily Mail

Comment:

  • Why Johnson should hug Starmer close – Daniel Finkelstein, The Times

Editorial:

  • The emergence of England’s regional mayors as a political force is a welcome development – The Times

>Today:

…as scientists claim it could save ‘thousands of lives’…

“A half-term “circuit breaker” lockdown would save thousands of lives by the end of the year, government scientific advisers have calculated as pressure grows for a two-week shutdown. Sir Keir Starmer, the Labour leader, called on Boris Johnson last night to implement such a “reset”, warning that without it Britain would “sleepwalk into a long and bleak winter”. Mr Johnson hardened his stance against it during a call with Tory MPs organised by the 1922 Committee of backbenchers, saying that it would not be right to impose the restrictions on areas where cases were still low. However, a paper by members of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), obtained by The Times and due to be published today, challenges his position. It shows that a two-week full lockdown, with stay-at-home orders and school closures, from October 24 could reduce deaths for the rest of the year from about 19,900 to 12,100. Hospital admissions could be reduced from 132,400 to 66,500.” – The Times

  • Prime Minister ‘overruled experts who called for ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown’ – The Sun
  • Jenkin calls for ‘short, sharp shock’ to curb Covid surge – The Guardian
  • Hospitals in Liverpool about to run out of intensive care beds – The Times
  • Vaccine expert warns facemasks and social distancing will be needed until next summer – Daily Mail

Comment:

  • The missing item on the UK government’s new menu of Covid rules is trust – Rafael Behr, The Guardian
  • He has defied the gloomsters, now Johnson must hold his nerve – Simon Walter, Daily Mail

>Today: Damian Green in Comment: Is it time to choose between Sage and Sweden?

>Yesterday:

…and Johnson concedes it ‘may be necessary’ if tier system fails

“Boris Johnson will consider a “circuit breaker” lockdown if his tier system fails to work after Sir Keir Starmer increased the pressure on him by calling for new national restrictions. Government sources said the Prime Minister could order a two-week closure of pubs, restaurants and some other businesses if measures brought in on Wednesday in Covid hotspots do not reverse the spread of the virus. A decision will be taken toward the end of next week, ahead of the half-term holiday for state schools which begins on Oct 26 and would mark the start of any temporary lockdown. One option under consideration is for regional circuit breakers, which might be preferred by the Prime Minister after he likened a second national lockdown to a “nuclear deterrent”. One senior source said the chances of a circuit breaker were “at least 80 per cent”.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Prime Minister gambles by splitting from his scientists – FT
  • How Sunak battled scientists, Gove and Hancock in bid to see off circuit breaker lockdown – Daily Telegraph
  • Doubts over UK’s Covid test ambitions after trial scaled back – The Guardian
  • Virus experts savage Hancock for claiming herd immunity is ‘a flawed goal’ – Daily Mail

Rebellion:

  • Prime Minister hit with Commons revolt, as 42 MPs vote against curfew – Daily Telegraph
  • Thousands will die without new coronavirus curbs, Health Secretary tells rebel MPs – The Times
  • Green resigns from government claiming attempted Covid-19 cure is ‘worse than the disease’ – Daily Mail
  • Tory curfew rebellion shows scale of discontent on Covid rules – FT

Comment:

  • Is Johnson finally ready to challenge Sage’s coronavirus ‘group think’? – Camilla Tominey, Daily Telegraph
  • He has ignored the science and blown our chance to stop a second wave – Stephen Reicher, The Guardian

Editorial:

  • Johnson must take time to the make right call after refusing to ­surrender control – The Sun

>Today: MPs Etc.: The forty-two Conservative MPs who voted against the Government on the 10pm curfew

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: The Government is losing what control over the politics of the virus it has left

Johnson faces Beijing backlash as rebel Tories back China trade restrictions

“Boris Johnson faces a major blow up with Beijing as rebel Tories spring restrictions on trade with China on the Government. Tory grandee Iain Duncan Smith says he has rebel backing to overhaul the Trade Bill so that high court judges can rule what counts as a genocide. It would mean UK law would trump the UN – where China has a veto. An amendment was added to the Trade Bill in the House of Lords on Monday which would “nullify trade arrangements” if a high court judge determined a genocide had taken place. China has been accused of exterminating and persecuting the Uyghur Muslim population in Xinjiang province – but governments across the globe have stopped short of branding their actions as genocide.” – The Sun

Merkel warns EU to get ready for no deal…

“Angela Merkel warned the EU must get ready for UK trade negotiations to fail as Boris Johnson told ministers the UK should have “no fear” over a no deal Brexit if his October 15 deadline is missed on Thursday. The Prime Minister told his Cabinet he believed a deal could still be done by Thursday’s European Council summit in two days’ time but that was ruled out by Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator. Mr Johnson will speak to Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, on Wednesday after being briefed on whether a free trade agreement is in sight by David Frost, his chief negotiator. Mrs Merkel said the EU wanted to secure the trade deal and appeared to urge other member states to compromise in a speech to a Brussels-based EU institution.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Barnier mocks Johnson’s ‘third deadline’ on talks – The Guardian
  • Brussels ‘must be more realistic in accepting Britain’s negotiating position’ – The Times
  • MPs reject attempts to strengthen post-Brexit fishing protections – The Guardian

Comment:

  • Tories are squandering our greener future – Alice Thomson, The Times

>Today: Ryan Bourne’s column: Johnson’s green jobs. Subsidy-reliant, expensive, price-raising. And a job loser elsewhere.

…as Sunak warns the Cabinet’s ‘war committee’ a No Deal means a tough winter for the UK

“Rishi Sunak gave the Cabinet Brexit war committee a “reality check” on the “bumpy” winter coming if there is No Deal with the country already suffering because of coronavirus. The Chancellor said if trade talks collapse “in the short term things will be a bit bumpy and we should be eyes wide open to that, but we’ll get through it.” But he cautioned without a deal, the chemicals, manufacturing and the car industries already ravaged by the Covid crisis would need significant bailouts from the taxpayer. However he insisted Britain would flourish regardless of a deal with the EU – in a message echoed by Boris Johnson at the full Cabinet on Tuesday morning. The PM told ministers that failing to reach a post-Brexit trade deal with Brussels should hold “no fear” for the UK.” – The Sun

  • Business rejects UK minister’s claim it has ‘head in sand’ over Brexit – FT

>Yesterday: Neil Record in Comment: Lessons from the recent past for the Chancellor as he seeks to salvage the economy

Sajid Javid: Let’s pay the jobless to start the firms of the future

“An astonishing one in five Britons became kitchen-table entrepreneurs during lockdown. Between April and June, Companies House registered 162,479 new businesses – more than three times the average number for the same period over the past decade. Better still, these firms are taking advantage of the situation we’re in. As the Chancellor has made clear, the Government cannot save every job. But it can help to foster new ones. That doesn’t mean crushing the dreams of our most creative young people, as a clumsy advert implied this week, but preparing them for the economy of the future. The most popular industry among these new firms was IT and web design. This suggests that rather than fixating on the pre-Covid economy, this new wave of entrepreneurs are looking for opportunities created by changing patterns of consumption.” – Daily Telegraph

White working-class pupils suffering due to ‘status deficit’, MPs told

“MPs investigating underachievement among disadvantaged white pupils in England have been told that the communities they come from are suffering “a status deficit” and the use of terms like “white privilege” could create further problems. Prof Matthew Goodwin, who has written on populism, immigration and Euroscepticism, was giving evidence to a virtual hearing of the Commons cross-party education committee. He told MPs the national conversation in the last 10 years had become “much more consumed with other groups” and disadvantaged white families felt they were not afforded the same recognition, respect and esteem as others… Goodwin, who is professor of politics and international relations at the University of Kent, said terms like “white privilege” and “toxic masculinity” signalled to poorer white communities that they were the problem.” – The Guardian

  • Forcing them to ‘apologise’ would make them fall even further behind – The Times

>Yesterday: James Frayne’s column: Coastal towns – next for the Conservatives after the Red Wall seats. And essential for a shore-to-shore majority.

Scouts attack SNP over party broadcast showing supporter in uniform backing Scottish independence

“The Scouts are embroiled in a bitter fight with the SNP over a “dishonest” party political broadcast featuring a woman dressed in their uniform backing Scottish independence. Scouts Scotland hit out at the SNP over the broadcast, which featured a cross-section of voters who claimed to have changed their minds since the 2014 referendum and would now back separation from the UK. They included a woman, named as Helene from Kirkhill, who was in a Scout’s uniform. She told viewers: “For my children, I feel that an independent Scotland is going to offer them the opportunity to be part of something bigger.” But the youth charity has strict rules on political neutrality, including forbidding people wearing its uniform taking part in party political activities.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Forsyth calls on businesses to challenge SNP in court – Daily Express

News in Brief:

  • Divided, dysfunctional United Kingdom needs a ‘Meiji Restoration’ – Henry Hill, CapX
  • Can Britain learn from Germany’s Covid success? – Tom Chivers, UnHerd
  • The Prime Minister is right not to be ruled by SAGE – Alastair Benn, Reaction
  • Inside Johnson’s Zoom call with Tory MPs – Katy Balls, The Spectator
  • The BBC is a liar. But is it noble? – Bruce Newsome, The Critic





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