1) The poll trend is dead against them. As we’ve said time and time again, snapshot polls are relatively uninformative – the trend of all polls over time is the really telling thing. It’s no use saying “polls go up and down” when in reality …

Ed Balls, the shadow chancellor, is being investigated by police after he crashed into a parked car and then drove off without informing the owner. The Labour MP for Morley and Outwood has admitted that he found himself in a “tight spot” and realised that …

In 2008 a report regarding Muslim Faith Schools in Britain written by Denis Maceoin & Dominic Wightman was published by the think tank Civitas. It can be found here:  http://www.civitas.org.uk/pdf/MusicChessAndOtherSins.pdf Six years on from the publication of the report there have been found to be …

From the Evening Standard “Londoner” Section, Harriet Harman showing why she can see beyond a pair of tits: The Londoner was surprised to learn, from a spy in Murdoch Towers, that Harriet Harman recently dropped by The Sun for a spot of “work experience”. We …

Quickfire goals from Jack Wilshere and Olivier Giroud sent Arsenal back to the top of the Premier League with a 2-1 win at Aston Villa. Wilshere put Arsenal ahead in the 34th minute at Villa Park and then provided the pass for Giroud to double …

David Cameron has launched an inquiry into trade union tactics after the dispute which almost led to the closure of the Grangemouth oil refinery.

The review, headed by Bruce Carr QC, will examine whether the law needs to be tightened up to prevent “intimidation” and “harassment”.

It follows claims the Unite union sent a “mob” to the home of a refinery manager during the recent dispute.

Unite said it would not co-operate with the inquiry as it was a “Tory stunt”.

The union has defended its use of so-called leverage tactics, where managers are directly targeted as part of a protest, and argued that bad employers should have “nowhere to hide”.

Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude said such tactics had no place in industrial relations – but denied that the inquiry was politically-motivated.

Francis Maude: “We need to know, is the law is sufficient as it stands at the moment?”

“It’s not about politics, this is about the national interest,”

He said “protest is fine” but it should not be allowed to move over “into intimidation and clearly inappropriate activity,” with the management being treated as “the enemy”.

I was Ralph Miliband’s research assistant, and this is what he was like, writes Ann Carlton in the Spectator.

‘You can work as research assistant to Ralph Miliband.’ Thus my tutor at the London School of Economics gave me the news that he had found a way for me to finance my first year of study for an intended PhD on the Labour party’s housing policy between the world wars.

The idea was that for twelve months between 1964 and 1965 I would help analyse the changing occupational structure of the British workforce by comparing statistics contained in the 1851 census with those in the 1951 census. As a first step, my new boss took me for a drink in the coffee bar next door to the main entrance of the LSE.

Injuries and a break from the relentless cycle of cricket leave England and Australia below full strength for the sides’ 12th to 13th contest of the 26 games scheduled for the two over the 8 months between June and February. For Australia, it’s a chance to avenge an Ashes scoreline that they will feel flattered their opponents. For many of England’s players it’s a final bid for a ticket with the first team this winter. Speculation is rife around the world.

England will be justified in thinking their batting is still strong. Pietersen’s return to one day cricket for the first time in a red England shirt, despite niggles over his fitness through the Test series, should make England confident. Together he, the ever reliable Trott, Root, Morgan and Bopara will be expected to do the bulk of the scoring. All have fantastic records and recent form suggests they won’t not disappoint.

The GMB union is to cut the affiliation funds it gives Labour from £1.2m to £150,000 in the wake of a row over reforms, it has announced.

The union said there would also be cuts in spending on Labour campaigns.

The changes will take effect from the start of next year.

It comes ahead of Ed Miliband’s move to reform union funding so individual union members have to opt in to support the party, rather than being automatically affiliated.

Currently unions are easily Labour’s biggest donors. Of the £3.14m the party received in the three months from April to June, the GMB gave £486,000.

Letting Assad of Syria attack his own people with chemicals is not viable. But attacking Assad with a full-on assault risks British security at home.

There was an article in the Times (below) back in February which clarifies this threat – of Assad’s ally Hezbollah loooking to take revenge in the only way it knows how. In short, attack Assad and risk switching on hundreds of Hezbollah cells across the West.

A precise removal of Assad’s chemical capabilities seems possible but difficult.

When the House of Commons debates an attack on Syria on Thursday it should think first of Britons and only second about the Middle East, which, frankly, seems set for many more generations of violent struggle which is best kept secluded there; drawing unsavoury Islamist elements from the UK towards it rather than kept busy here.

There will be some kind of attack this week. Frankly it centres more around a war of PR and not around saving lives. Both Assad and Obama will claim their own victories whatever happens.

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