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The Times and Sunday Times
with Matt Chorley
Wednesday October 5 2016
Good morning from Birmingham,

There will be one or two sore heads this morning as even the most abstemious ministers joined us to drink Red Box cocktails at The Times party last night before demolishing the tables of champagne on offer at The Spectator bash.

While the Tory cat is away from No 10, the civil service mice can play. Or learn how to deal with their anxiety.

All of the political advisers have joined Theresa May in Birmingham but the officials are forced to stay at home and while away the day.

I'm told that just as the PM makes her big speech, staff left behind in Downing Street will be settling in for a session on mindfulness, which the NHS recommends to deal with depression and stress.

May’s first big speech as party leader has been bumped down the TV and radio headlines by someone who has been in their job for even less time than she has.

Diane James has quit as Ukip leader after just 18 days. Nigel Farage has been on pub crawls which have lasted longer.
In today’s briefing
  • This is Mayism
  • Firms to list foreign staff
  • Eating foreign muck
  • Ukip leader quits ... after 18 days
  • Trump stumbles, Clinton pounces
 
Top News
Conservative conference
This is Mayism
Theresa May doesn't like the word, but today we find out what Mayism is all about.

It's pitched to the left of her predecessors as Tory leader, aimed at a "new centre ground" that has opened up since the near-demise of the Lib Dems and Labour's decision to walk off into the hard-left sunset.

"Government can and should be a force for good."

In a single sentence, May seeks to challenge the obsession of the Conservative Party's "libertarian right" with small state politics.

After throwing the rightwingers great chunks of red meat in Sunday's hardcore Brexit speech, today the prime minister will seek to smother them in the warm embrace of the state.

"It’s time to remember the good that government can do," she will say. "The state exists to provide what individual people, communities and markets cannot; and that we should employ the power of government for the good of the people."

Despite the eerie performances at PMQs, no one will be claiming that this speech reminds them of Thatcher. Compare and contrast with the Iron Lady's insistence to the Woman's Own in 1987 that "there's no such thing as society ... no government can do anything except through people, and people must look after themselves first".

So there is the promise of an aggressive move to increase housebuilding, a crackdown on executive pay and plans for more workers on boards as evidence of how this new era of interventionalism will work.

May will also expand on her belief that the Brexit vote was not just about Europe, or immigration or patriotism. The prime minister thinks it is also a reflection of the detachment between the ruling classes and those they seek to serve.

When leading politicians line up with business leaders and luvvies to tell the public what is good for them, and the public ignore them, as they did in the EU referendum, there is something wrong.

"Just listen to the way a lot of politicians and commentators talk about the public. They find their patriotism distasteful, their concerns about immigration parochial, their views about crime illiberal, their attachment to their job security inconvenient.

"They find the fact that more than 17 million people voted to leave the European Union simply bewildering."

But May, will say, a change has got to come. And she will seek to put her government at the head of that change, in part because no other party is in a position to.

The Daily Mail splashes on how "May savages the liberal elite". The Sun calls it "May of sunshine" and mocks her up wearing a Union flag. The Daily Telegraph says: “May: it is wrong to sneer at patriotism.” The Guardian front page focuses on May's "call to May Tories to seize centre ground".

These are serious times, but I'm told there is "at least one decent joke" planned for the speech. It is aimed squarely at Boris Johnson.

The PM will be introduced by Ruth Davidson, the Tories’ leader in Scotland, as a true feminist who has “done more for women than all the pink election buses Labour can launch”.

After a strange week in Birmingham, where eye-catching, headline-making moves like exempting soldiers on the frontline from prosecution were the exception, the speech is designed to set the new tone of the government for the coming weeks and months.

So do not expect any shock policy announcements. "There will be no rabbits out of hats," Downing Street insists. "She is the prime minister, not a magician."

 
Comment
Can May match Roosevelt’s radical legacy?
In seeking out disaffected Cameron modernisers, irritated by unnecessary slights, we may be looking in the wrong place. Mrs May might end up facing more opposition from traditional conservatives puzzled by her unorthodox agenda.
Read the full article
 
Future of Ukip
Ukip leader quits after 18 days
Hahahahahahahahaha.

Diane James has quit as Ukip leader after just 18 days in the job. A top scoop by Lucy Fisher and Bruno Waterfield in The Times.

Apparently she has realised she does not "have sufficient authority nor the full support of all my MEP colleagues and party officers to implement changes I believe necessary and upon which I based my campaign".

She apparently felt shaken after being spat at on a train on her way to Cardiff last week. It's too soon for Nigel Farage to unresign, again. Asked if he would consider returning as leader, Farage said: “Not for $10 million.” Asked if he would take $20 million, he said: “No I’m not coming back, I’m retired.” He's having too much fun as Donald Trump's warm-up man.

"I wouldn't call it a farce," Paul Oakden, the party chairman, told the Today programme. "It's an unfortunate situation." He hasn't even spoken to James about why she's quit, although he spoke to Farage this morning.

Times front page
Name and shame companies with foreign staff
The Times splashes on the news that companies will be forced to reveal how many foreign workers they employ as part of government plans to shame bosses who fail to take on British staff.

There are plenty of people at the conference in Birmingham who wonder how comfortable Amber Rudd is with this sort of thing.

She also promised to target students from outside the EU with tougher visa rules as she set out her strategy to reduce net migration from 327,000 a year to less than 100,000. It all feels a bit like she is overcompensating for her Remain stance and her personal view that "immigration is a good thing".

Cartoon
Today’s cartoon from Peter Brookes
Cartoon
As the main party conference season draws to a close, YouGov's Matthew Smith has been getting nostalgic and looked back over the location of every political gathering since 1900. Blackpool comes out on top, with more than 60 visits, although none since 2007 when David Cameron delivered his "messy but me" sketch. There is a full piece on the Red Box website, including a map.
 
The Sketch
Finally, a breakfast gag that works for everyone
The Conservative press team were handing out free mugs in the media centre yesterday afternoon. It would have been better if they had come filled with weapons-grade Arabica to offset the aural anaesthesia being dispensed in the conference hall, but a kind gesture nonetheless. Yet there is no such thing as a free mug in politics: these were pieces of plastic propaganda.
Read the full sketch
 
SW1
Who is Philip May?
The joke is that Philip Hammond, the chancellor, is only the second most powerful Phil in the cabinet.

The first is Mr May. Henry Zeffman has a terrific profile of the prime minister's husband in The Times today, having trawled through the records of the Oxford Union, of which he was president.

It includes the detail that Mr May’s farewell debate, about the professionalisation of sport, had four speakers: Mr and Mrs May, the former England footballer Sir Bobby Charlton and an Australian Rhodes Scholar named Malcolm Turnbull, who is now the prime minister of Australia. Well worth a read.

Conference diary
Looking for love
Being the only Tory MP in Scotland, David Mundell is used to feeling lonely. Now the Scottish secretary, who came out as gay this year, wants a partner. “Of course I’d like to find someone,” he told ITV Border. “So if you’ve got a dating show that I can go on, I’m happy to do that.” Can someone bring back Blind Date?

Get in the mood
The Brexiteers are still trying to find their role. David Davis, the Brexit secretary, told a fringe event that it was Boris Johnson’s job as foreign secretary to “create a mood”. Which presumably means lighting some candles and putting Barry White on the record player when it’s his turn to use Chevening.

Turning heads, and stomachs
The end of the conference cannot come soon enough. A colleague spotted a young chap being terribly sick against a wall on Monday night. “Are you OK?” they asked. “Not really,” he said and then, by way of explanation, added: “I’ve just heard a speech by Daniel Hannan.”
SW1
Maggie, mugs & memorabilia: Shopping at Tory party conference
Tory party conference is a chance for activists and MPs to booze, schmooze and rub shoulders with their political idols - as well as watching the odd speech. But no amount of political stargazing would be complete without having been there and got the T-shirt - or the Margaret Thatcher tote bag.

This year conference stands excelled themselves, offering up a range of conference keepsakes to delight the True Blue in your life. Red Box went for a wander and compiled a catalogue of the top tat. Here are some of our favourites...
 
Red Box Podcast

What have we learnt about Theresa May's government? Matt Chorley is joined in Birmingham by the Times columnist Matthew Parris, the Sunday Times political editor Tim Shipman and Jo Tanner, a former Tory media adviser. Right arrow
 
Brexit Britain
Eating foreign muck
Nothing will stop Anna Soubry. The former minister seems to have taken it upon herself to be the most outspoken Tory about Brexit. The Bill Cash of the left.

In her latest intervention she has claimed people who complain about migrants are being hypocritical if they also enjoy foreign food. “Some of these people are the ones who say ‘I don’t like all that foreign muck, what are we having for tea tonight? Chicken tikka masala?' — and then go off for an Italian but then say: ‘We don’t want all these foreigners’.” Read the story
Brexit was just the start
Brexit may be the start of a growing revolt against globalisation and technological advance in the developed world that threatens to depress living standards, the International Monetary Fund has warned. Read the story

The pound plummets
The pound plummeted to a 31-year low yesterday amid growing concern that Britain is heading for a “hard” Brexit. Read the story

Even this news was seized on as a positive development for British exports. One pro-EU former minister tells Bloomberg that party members are like a group of people high on amphetamines who will at some point come down.

Ganging up on Britain
Brexit negotiations will be similar to bailout talks last year when EU governments ganged up to impose punitive conditions on Greece, according to the prime minister of Malta. Read the story
 
Comment
Hard Brexit is not about the evidence – it’s immigration first, economic interests second
The government could have tried to preserve the UK’s place in the single market, even outside the EU. But despite Theresa May slapping down her secretary of state for Brexit last month for suggesting single market membership was unlikely, she now seems to be following his lead. The hard Brexiteers look to be winning the internal argument. The chancellor, head of an enfeebled Treasury, did point out in his speech that people did not vote to be poorer, but Mrs May’s argument is leaning away from him. This post-referendum positioning is a huge decision – by far the most important the prime minister has taken since she assumed office a few months ago. Read the full article
 
Race for the White House
Trump stumbles, Clinton pounces
Hillary Clinton has seized the lead in a swathe of battleground states as the race for the White House heads into its final month.

Polls show that the Democrat has rebounded in key states such as Florida and extended her grip on others such as Pennsylvania after Donald Trump’s erratic performance in the first presidential debate. They also suggested that he was losing support among men. Read the story
Briefs
CANCER CARE Patients in Leicester, Newham and Redbridge receive the worst NHS cancer care in the country, according to new treatment league tables.
Read the story
IRAQ ABUSE Investigators examining thousands of claims of abuse by British soldiers in Iraq look set to take a “few dozen” seriously, the defence secretary indicated yesterday.
Read the story
CORBYN ALLY SACKED Momentum has sacked the left-wing activist Jackie Walker from her post as vice-chairwoman after a row over comments she made about antisemitism last week.
Read the story
TOUGH SCHOOLS Almost one in six children in parts of England have been excluded from school as head teachers take a tougher approach to enforcing discipline.
Read the story
 
TMS
From the diary

Slaughtering question
Andy Slaughter, the Labour MP for Hammersmith, has broadened his interests since resigning as a shadow justice minister. Some of his odder recent written questions have been to ask the environment secretary how many dogs there are in the UK (“We don’t know,” she woofed back) and to ask the defence secretary about the number of unidentified flying objects seen over Britain. That drew the reply that the MoD’s UFO desk was closed in 2009. I suppose that in the age of austerity ET will just have to pay for his own phone call home.
 
Top 5
Wednesday's best comment

1. A new kind of feminism takes over No 10
- Alice Thomson, The Times

2. You can’t trust the people with democracy
- Roger Boyes, The Times

3. Help, I’m being tortured by Boris’s family
- Matthew Parris, The Times

4. Hammond is right to cast off a tattered fiscal straitjacket
- Chris Giles, Financial Times

5. We should be ashamed of what we’re doing to Britain’s children
- Owen Jones, The Guardian
What The Papers Said

The Times
"The ECHR need not limit British soldiers’ ability to fight and win battles, but it can help to ensure that they uphold international norms in their treatment of prisoners. Britain should be championing such norms, not eroding them."
Read more

Daily Mail
"Yes, many foreign doctors are first class. But others fall short of British teaching hospitals’ rigorous standards – while far too many speak inadequate English. This is why the Mail applauds the Health Secretary’s pledge to train 25 per cent more medical students, making the NHS self-sufficient in doctors by 2025."
Read more

The Sun
"Theresa May’s war on our complacent metropolitan elite on behalf of working people has been a long time coming. Too many in Westminster sneer at their own voters’ views, lives and patriotism as offensive, parochial and backward. Yet they are there to represent us." Read more

The Guardian
"Of the great humanitarian crisis engulfing millions of refugees, or the slow progress on uniting unaccompanied children with their British-based families, Ms Rudd said not a word. And every time a minister announces a crackdown on illegal migration, they add to the impression of an ill-defined, uncontrolled threat. Ms Rudd was a banker. She should know the value of robust evidence and reliable statistics. That is the only basis for policy." Read more
Agenda
Today
  • New junior doctors contract comes into effect
  • Members of the Welsh Assembly's constitutional and legislative affairs committee hold media briefing to discuss the findings of their inquiry into the Wales Bill.
  • 6.30pm: Dwight D. Eisenhower Professor of Economics and International Affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs delivers annual Institute for Fiscal Studies lecture. Lecture is titled "Can the government make you happy? Should it try?"
  • 6.30pm: Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, attends opening of new clothing store in Spitalfields, east London.
  • 7.30pm: Vince Cable, the former business secretary, and Caroline Lucas, leader of the Green Party, speak at a Compass think tank event on progressive alliance building.
  • 10.40pm: Carwyn Jones, the Welsh first minister, appears on The Wales Report, BBC One.
Conservative Party conference
  • 10.30am Baroness Evans of Bowes Park, leader of the House of Lords, Ruth Davidson, leader of the Scottish Conservatives, and Theresa May, address conference
On the fringe
  • 8.00am David Davis, the Brexit secretary, attends British Influence and Ipsos Mori event on Britain's new place in the world. Birmingham ICC: Hall 8a.
  • 8.30am Jane Ellison, financial secretary to the Treasury, and Caroline Spelman, MP, invited to Core Cities Group/London Councils group on cities and devolution. Hyatt Regency Birmingham: Scherzo.
  • 8.00am: David Jones MP, minister of state for exiting the EU, invited to The Law Society event on a competitive Britain post-Brexit. Vista suite 2.
 
 
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