Terror Should Not Suppress Democracy

Guido agrees with Michael Crick, Mike Smithson and Iain Martin that the normal democratic processes should resume as soon as possible. This idea of suspending democracy out of respect is an ill thought out concept which politicians are reluctant to reject for fear of being seen as disrespectful. The terrorists deliberately attack during election campaigns precisely to get this kind of response and attention.

Talk of suspending campaigning until next week will give the enemies of democracy some satisfaction. We are of course all united against terror, party politics has been silenced for a day of reflection and a demonstration. Normal, peaceful, political hostilities should resume as soon as possible…

Shami Warns Corbynista Conspiracy Theorists

Twitter and Facebook are full of hundreds of crackers Corbynistas claiming the JTAC decision to raise the threat level is part of some conspiracy to hurt Jez’s election chances. Here is Sam Kriss, a prominent pro-Corbyn journalist for Vice:

As anyone other than the tin foil hatters knows, the decision was made by JTAC not CCHQ. Shami Chakrabarti was forced to shut the nutters down on Newsnight…

Rudd Condemns US Over Leaks

Home Secretary Amber Rudd has condemned the American authorities for leaking details of the Manchester attack to the US media, against the wishes of the British police. Asked if intelligence sharing is something she will be looking at, Rudd replied “yes”. 

First Picture of Manchester Bomber Salman Abedi

The Sun has the first picture of Salman Abedi. They report he may have received terror training on trips to Syria and that forensic police carried a “Know your chemicals” booklet out of his home yesterday. He recently grew a beard and was seen chanting in Arabic in the street in the last few weeks.

The Times reports Abedi travelled to Libya three weeks ago and returned in the last week, and that he may have attended a terrorist training camp in the country.

The Mirror says he was known to security services as an associate of Raphael Hostey, the British ISIS recruiter who was reportedly killed in a drone strike in Syria last year.

The Guardian reports Abedi used a crude, homemade device constructed in Britain and packed in a bag. The FT says he was not the subject of any current intelligence inquiries, had a history of gang membership and only recently turned to radical Islam.

The Telegraph says a bomb-maker could still be at large and the Mail reports fears an Islamist terror cell is on the loose. That is why the threat level was raised.

Threat Level Raised to Critical

Theresa May announces the threat level has been raised from “severe” to “critical“, meaning an attack “is expected imminently“. Armed military personnel are being deployed to assist the police. The army will replace the police at some key sites and events. First time since 2007 the threat level has been at critical…

PM statement:

“This morning, I said that the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre – the independent organisation responsible for setting the threat level on the basis of the intelligence available – was keeping the threat level under constant review.
 
It has now concluded, on the basis of today’s investigations, that the threat level should be increased, for the time being, from SEVERE to CRITICAL.  This means that their assessment is not only that an attack remains highly likely, but that a further attack may be imminent.

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US Officials Leak Name of Bomber Salman Abedi

Salman Abedi, 22, has been named by US officials as the bomber who carried out the Manchester Arena terror attack. The police had asked the media to hold off on publishing the name but several American news organisations including CBS and NBC ignored the request, citing anonymous US officials who leaked the details from their conversations with the British authorities. That is not going down well with the Brits…

Abedi is reportedly a British man of Libyan descent. Greater Manchester Police are expected to confirm shortly, after being beaten to it by their American colleagues…

Stroud Labour: Attack “Wonderful Timing” for May

The vice-chair of Stroud Labour Party has tweeted that the Manchester terror attack is “wonderful timing for Theresa May“. Debbie Hicks, who has stood as a candidate in Stroud Central, made the remark this morning as the full picture of the carnage continued to develop. Hicks appeared to double down on her insensitive comments, telling a local newspaper:

“The tragedy in Manchester is sickening and my heart goes out to all the young people involved and the families and friends. I am just concerned that with two weeks until an election, this will be used politically by the government to reinforce a ‘strong and stable’ message when it comes to national security, defence and surveillance and it is worrying.”

Grim…

UPDATE: David Drew, the Labour candidate for Stroud, says “Debbie Hicks has been suspended pending full investigation. Her views in no way represent my views or those of the Labour Party.” Quite.

Thornberry Makes Friends at the School Gates

Emily Thornberry was out on the campaign trail yesterday making friends with Labour Party members. In a series of exasperated tweets, author Christina Hopkinson described how a chance meeting at the school gates took a turn for the worse when Thornberry “snapped” at her to “resign” from the party. Christina had wanted to engage her on Article 50…

The famous Lady Nugee charm…

ISIS Claims Responsibility For Manchester Attack

ISIS has claimed responsibility in a statement on its Amaq Agency:

“With Allah’s grace and support, a soldier of the Khilafah managed to place explosive devices in the midst of the gatherings of the Crusaders in the British city of Manchester, in revenge for Allah‘s religion, in an endeavour to terrorise the mushrikin, and in response to their transgressions against the lands of the Muslims. The explosive devices were detonated in the shameless concert arena, resulting in 30 Crusaders being killed and 70 others being wounded. And what comes next will be more severe on the worshippers of the Cross and their allies, by Allah’s permission. And all praise is due to Allah, Lord of the creation.”

Worth noting their numbers are significantly inflated and their claim to responsibility is unconfirmed.

Labour and Greens ‘Lending’ Votes to LibDems

The Progressive Alliance has been spotted at work in Oxford: these two posters show Labour and Green supporters ‘lending’ their votes to the LibDems. They were spotted in Oxford West, where the Tory candidate Nicola Blackwood is facing concerted efforts from Corbynistas and Greens to help her LibDem opponent.

Even more cringe than those placards in Richmond

May Statement on Manchester Attack

I have just chaired a meeting of the government’s emergency committee COBR, where we discussed the details of – and the response to – the appalling events in Manchester last night.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, and the families and friends of all those affected.

It is now beyond doubt that the people of Manchester, and of this country, have fallen victim to a callous terrorist attack – an attack that targeted some of the youngest people in our society with cold calculation.

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Labour’s Pop in the Polls: Blip or Trend?

Labour have popped in the polls after Theresa May’s manifesto went down particularly badly over the so called “dementia tax”. Should you be betting on Labour to win more seats? Get some betting perspective over at Paddy Power.

Mosley Donates £300,000 to Labour Election War Chest

Political parties raised £9.3 million in the first quarter of 2017, with the Tories accepting £5.4 million in donations compared to Labour’s £2.6 million. Labour’s election fund is being helped by a £300,000 wedge from former blackshirt Max Mosley. What was it that first attracted him to Corbyn’s Labour?

Tories – £5,463,173
Labour – £2,648,315
LibDems – £603,155
Co-operative Party – £322,800
UKIP – £246,910

Healthy Tory election war chest…

Trump: They are Evil Losers

“So many young, beautiful, innocent people living and enjoying their lives, murdered by evil losers. I won’t call them monsters because they would like that term. They would think that’s a great name. I will call them, from now on, losers, because that’s what they are. They’re losers. We’ll have more of them, but they’re losers. Remember that.”

22 Dead in Manchester Terror Attack

At least 22 people have been killed in what police are calling a “terrorist incident” at an Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena.

1:10am: Greater Manchester Police statement:

“Just before 10:35pm on Monday 22 April 2017, police were called to reports of an explosion at Manchester Arena. So far 19 people have been confirmed dead, with around 50 others injured. This is currently being treated as a terrorist incident until police know otherwise.”

2:13am: Theresa May statement:

“We are working to establish the full details of what is being treated by the police as an appalling terrorist attack. All our thoughts are with the victims and the families of those who have been affected.”
5:50am: Campaigning suspended. Jeremy Corbyn statement:

“I am horrified by the horrendous events in Manchester last night. My thoughts are with families and friends of those who have died and  been injured. Today the whole country will grieve for the people who have lost their lives.  I have spoken with Andy Burnham, the mayor of Manchester, who has fully briefed me on the operational response in the city. I would like to pay tribute to the emergency services for their bravery and professionalism in dealing with last night’s appalling events. I have spoken with the Prime Minister and we have agreed that that all national campaigning in the general election will be suspended until further notice.”

7:30am: Update from Greater Manchester Police:

“Our thoughts are with those 22 victims that we now know have died, the 59 people who have been injured and their loved ones… We have been treating this as a terrorist incident and we believe, at this stage, the attack last night was conducted by one man. The priority is to establish if he was acting alone or as part of a network. The attacker died at the arena. We believe he was carrying an improvised explosive device which he detonated causing this atrocity.”

7:35am: Statement from the Home Secretary Amber Rudd:

“I know that some people will only just be waking up to the news of the horrific attacks in Manchester last night. This was a barbaric attack, deliberately targeting some of the most vulnerable in our society – young people and children out at a pop concert… Later on this morning, I will be attending COBRa, chaired by the Prime Minister, to collect more information – to find out more – about this particular attack, and I can’t comment any more on that at the moment. The public should remain alert but not alarmed. If they have anything to report, they should approach the police… The great city of Manchester has been affected by terrorism before. Its spirit was not bowed; its community continued. This time it has been a particular attack on the most vulnerable in our society – its intention was to sow fear – its intention is to divide. But it will not succeed.”

Developing…

Mail and Express Spare Theresa

Dacre and Desmond went all in with their praise for May’s manifesto and “social care revolution” last week, only to be made to look like chumps by the u-turn. The Mail and Express generously spare Theresa any front page blushes…

UPDATE: Though the Mail’s Stephen Glover tells Newsnight: “There’s no doubt the original policy was a cock-up and an own goal.”

Brillo Hammers May on Honesty

Via @liarpoliticians

The social care section of the Andrew Neil interview tonight was bruising for Theresa May. Brillo hammered her again and again on her lack of honesty. The strategy of u-turning and pretending “nothing has changed” isn’t working – it looks hugely dishonest and the Tories get no credit for ditching an unpopular policy. 

She didn’t fare much better on cash for the NHS, Brillo asked her three times where the new money is coming from and didn’t get an answer:

Pretty bad on immigration too:

May refused to give answers on what the social care cap will be, where the NHS money comes, whether she would rule out an NI rise, how many would lose their winter fuel allowance, what she thinks the consequences are of a no deal Brexit, and how long she plans to stay as PM. No positives for the Tories at all, except Corbyn has to face Brillo on Friday…

Campaign Report: 16 Days to Go

We are proposing the right funding model for social care and will ensure nobody has to sell their home to pay for care while alive, but we will consider introducing a cap.

The Tories offer nothing but uncertainty & fear for millions of older people with their dementia tax and social care u-turn.

So much for strong & stable: May’s dementia tax meltdown bodes badly for Brexit talks.

Theresa May is more ‘weak and wobbly’ than ‘strong and stable’ after her u-turn.

Our manifesto is the Green Guarantee: an economy for everyone, a protected environment, a ratification referendum on Brexit.

In this election the choice is stark: progress or just the same old Tories.

“Weak and wobbly” Theresa May u-turns on social care.

If you think Jeremy Corbyn is on a roll and going to be Prime Minister After the General Election it is 6/1.

CON: 47% (-1) LAB: 33% (+5) LDEM: 9% (-1) UKIP: 4% (-2) GRN: 2% (-1) (via ICMResearch / 19-21 May).

UKIP and Greens Struggling For Attention

Pic via @mrharrycole

UKIP’s press conferences this election have been very sparsely attended compared with previous campaigns. Last week their event on tax drew in a meagre crowd of four journalists, this morning’s presser on older people was attended by just three reporters. Only the most dedicated hacks have been in attendance as UKIP slides below the Greens in the polls…

Speaking of the Greens, this was their manifesto launch this morning. Safe to say it had a pretty low carbon footprint. The minor parties are fast losing appeal…

Another Lying LibDem Leaflet

What is it with the LibDems and telling straight lies on their leaflets? The above was delivered in Hornsey and Wood Green over the weekend, quoting an article in The Times as saying “Only the Lib Dems can stop a hard Brexit”[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Ed Miliband goes studs in on Theresa May:

“When PM says “nothing has changed” she is lying. If she lies about this what else?”

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