Telegraph Morning Briefing: Holes in the Net, 27/02/2015

Fri 27 v2









This political briefing was sent as an email to Telegraph readers, February 27, 2015


Good morning. Unsurprisingly the story dominating today’s news agenda is the revelation of Jihadi John’s real identity. The security service and the police do not come out of it well. Our splash is “MI5 blunders that allowed Jihadi John to slip the net”.

Similarly, the Guardian has “Isis murderer is Londoner on MI5’s radar since 2009” on its front page. The Times leads with “Isis butcher had been MI5 terror suspect for six years”. The Daily Mirror focuses on the daughter of one of his victims, David Haines. “Please avenge my dad” is the headline. The Mail and the Sun both have a picture of a young Jihadi John on their front pages. “Jihadi Junior” is the Sun’s take, while “Angelic schoolboy who turned into a reviled executioner” is the Mail’s lead.

It all raises serious questions for the security services. Both MI5 and the police came into contact with Jihadi John at least a dozen of times. A botched attempt was made to “turn” Mohammed Emwazi after he was first intercepted six years ago, when they feared he was trying to join a Somali terrorist group. Despite this, he was able to slip out of the country and join Isis in Syria. It is likely that MI5 will face an Intelligence and Security Committee inquiry into its dealings with Emwazi and whether more should have been done. Presumably someone other than Sir Malcolm Rifkind will chair it.

Politically, we may well see yet another revival of the debate about security laws. Did weakened control orders help Emwazi leave the UK? Would the Snoopers’ Charter (or something more far-reaching) prevent a repeat of this sorry tale?

Meanwhile, the campaign group Cage has tried to put the blame for Emwazi’s radicalisation with MI5. Cage’s warped logic is the British security service was trying to prevent Emwazi from becoming a fully-fledged jihadist. In frustration at his treatment, Emwazi became a jihadist fighter. Ergo, the security services are responsible for Jihadi John. The sheer chutzpah of this argument is bewildering. There is, however, an audience for this warped logic. It has long been a popular narrative in the West to blame Islamist terrorism on Western foreign policy. The logic is that if Blair and Bush hadn’t invaded Iraq, then these nice boys from west London wouldn’t be chopping-off heads now. It is intellectually lazy and dishonest. Bin Laden’s al-Qaeda, for instance, emerged originally from reactionary wars in central and eastern Asia, such as the battle for a separate Muslim state in the Philippines, the fighting in Kashmir, as well as the Uighur territories in China, and Afghanistan. In Nigeria, moreover, al-Qaeda off-shoot Boko Haram is fomenting civil war without mentioning Blair and Bush as their guiding inspiration. In short, we mustn’t humour the line of argument that the West is to blame for Emwazi.

As our leader points out today, King’s College London’s International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation have stated: “Radicalisation… is not something driven by poverty or social deprivation. Ideology clearly plays a big role in motivating some men to participate in jihadist causes.” The sooner we understand and appreciate the fact that many are simply attracted to jihadism because it gives them purpose, fulfillment and the promise of heavenly glory, the easier it will be to deal with the issue.

There was much embarrassment yesterday for David Cameron after his pledge to reduce immigration was shown to be a complete failure, reports Matthew Holehouse. He promised “no ifs, no buts” to cut migration to under 100,000 in the Conservative manifesto. However, the net inflow of people last year was 298,000. Nigel Farage may have been in Washington yesterday (odd choice, that) but he was still quick to seize the opportunity. “Cameron had a contract with the British people. He said, ‘if I fail on this you can judge me.’ Well, judgement day has come,” the Ukip leader said. With the Ukip conference this weekend in Margate, this “judgement day” couldn’t have come at a better time for the kippers after a woeful week with declining poll ratings and an embarrassing TV documentary.

George Osborne’s claim that he “halved” a surprise £1.7 billion EU budget surcharge presented to Britain by Brussels last year has been dismissed by senior MPs, reports George Parker in the FT. The chancellor has launched a damage limitation exercise and has travelled to Brussels for emergency talks with the European Commission. Both Labour and Ukip have mocked his claim, arguing that he just secured the usual British rebate that applies to all contributions to the EU budget.

Ed Miliband’s plans to lower tuition fees will be done by using a tax raid on savers, report Christopher Hope and Steven Swinford. The Labour leader is finally unveiling the plans today at an event in Leeds. It is thought he will say that if elected he will cut fees from £9,000 to £6,000. This would be paid for by lowering the £40,000 ceiling on the amount savers can put aside each year tax-free or cutting the lifetime tax-free limit of £1.25million per pension. Taking from the old to give to the young: welcome to the first intergenerational election.

Ed Balls refused to rule out a power-sharing agreement with the SNP yesterday, putting the notion of a Labour-SNP government deal back on the cards, Lindsay McIntosh reports in the Times. The shadow chancellor did, however, attack terms the Scottish first minister has set for such a deal including £180 billion more public spending and the scrapping of Trident.

The Daily Express and the Guardian say that Farage is on course to win South Thanet in May. The Ukip leader will welcome the news, especially after that misjudged trip to Washington. Also, there is a great profile of Farage in the Telegraph today

Britain will never have enough entrepreneurs if children do not know how money is made and “how to turn a profit”, Cameron said during an interview with the Institute of Directors monthly magazine. Schools must do more to help create the future “Richard Branson’s and Karren Brady’s”. The prime minister added he wanted CEOs to get involved with their local schools to teach kids these things.

@steve_hawkes: Shadow Minister Rachel Reeves wrote a book ‘Why vote Labour’.. David Dimbleby asks “Did you reach a conclusion?” #bbcqt


From The Telegraph
The Daily Telegraph – We must assert our superior Western values
Fraser Nelson- Putin has changed the rules of war and is building an empire

From elsewhere
Maajid Nawaz – Like Mohammed Emwazi, I was radicalised. So I know how extremists exploit grievances
Philip Collins – Labour’s dumbest idea is cutting tuition fees

1200: Cameron is to give a speech at the Welsh Conservative Party Spring Conference
Ed Miliband will deliver a speech where he is expected to restate his pledge to cut tuition fees to £6,000 a year
Ukip’s Spring Conference opens in Margate
Lloyds Banking Group is to publish its preliminary full-year results. The government owns almost a quarter of the bank
The German Parliament is to vote on a four-month extension to bailout arrangements for Greece

Main Chamber – 0930:
Legislation: Health Service Commissioner for England (Complaint Handling) Bill – Report stage – Mr David Davis
Legislation: House of Lords (Expulsion and Suspension) Bill [HL] – Report stage – Sir George Young
Legislation: Office for Budget Responsibility (Political Party Policy Costings) Bill – Second reading – Thomas Docherty
Legislation: Armed Forces (Prevention of Discrimination) Bill – Second reading – Thomas Docherty
Legislation: Jobs Guarantee Scheme (Research) Bill – Second reading – Thomas Docherty
Legislation: Terms and Conditions (Migrant Workers) Bill – Second reading – Thomas Docherty
Legislation: Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (Betting Shops) Bill – Second reading – Thomas Docherty
Legislation: High Cost Credit Services (Retail Premises) Bill – Second reading – Thomas Docherty
Legislation: Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Act 2014 (Repeal) Bill – Second reading – Thomas Docherty
Legislation: Letting Agents (Fees) Bill – Second reading – Thomas Docherty
Legislation: Firearm and Shotgun Licensing (Domestic Violence) Bill – Second reading – Thomas Docherty
Legislation: Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education (Statutory Requirement) Bill – Second reading – Caroline Lucas
Legislation: Tyres (Buses and Coaches) Bill – Second reading – Steve Rotheram
Legislation: Public Services (Ownership and User Involvement) Bill – Second reading – Caroline Lucas
Legislation: Armed Forces (Prevention of Discrimination) (No. 2) Bill – Second reading – Thomas Docherty
Legislation: National Defence Medal Bill – Second reading – Stephen Gilbert
Legislation: Electronic Cigarettes (Advertising and Legal Age of Purchase) Bill – Second reading – Geraint Davies
Legislation: Railways Bill – Second reading – Caroline Lucas
Legislation: Low Pay Commission (National Minimum Wage) Bill – Second reading – Dan Jarvis
Legislation: Housing (Affordability, Supply and Tenant Protection) Bill – Second reading – Caroline Lucas
Legislation: Off-Road Vehicles (Registration) Bill – Second reading – Mr David Ward
Legislation: Working Time Directive (Limitation) Bill – Second reading (Day 2) – Mr Christopher Chope
Legislation: Zero Hours Contracts Bill – Second reading (Day 2) – Ian Mearns
Legislation: Funeral Services Bill – Second reading – Mrs Emma Lewell-Buck
Legislation: Bat Habitats Regulation Bill – Second reading (Day 2) – Mr Christopher Chope
Legislation: Energy (Buildings and Reduction of Fuel Use) Bill – Second reading – Dr Alan Whitehead
Legislation: Houses in Multiple Occupation (Energy Performance Certificates and Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards) Bill – Second reading – Dr Alan Whitehead
Legislation: Sugar in Food and Drinks (Targets, Labelling and Advertising) Bill – Second reading – Geraint Davies
Legislation: Defence Expenditure (NATO Target) Bill – Second reading (Day 2) – Mr Christopher Chope
Legislation: Convicted Prisoners Voting Bill – Second reading (Day 2) – Mr Christopher Chope
Legislation: Benefit Entitlement (Restriction) Bill – Second reading – Mr Christopher Chope
Legislation: Road Traffic Regulation (Temporary Closure for Filming) Bill – Second reading (Day 2) – Iain Stewart
Legislation: Illegal Immigrants (Criminal Sanctions) Bill – Second reading (Day 2) – Mr Christopher Chope
Legislation: House of Lords (Maximum Membership) Bill – Second reading – Mr Christopher Chope
Legislation: EU Membership (Audit of Costs and Benefits) Bill – Second reading – Mr Christopher Chope
Legislation: Wild Animals in Circuses Bill – Second reading – Jim Fitzpatrick MP
Adjournment: Investigation of deaths in mental health settings – Mr Charles Walker

Main Chamber – 1000 :
Legislation: International Development (Official Development Assistance Target) Bill – Report stage – Lord Purvis of Tweed
Legislation: Control of Horses Bill – Second reading
Legislation: Local Government (Religious etc. Observances) Bill – Second reading
Legislation: Local Government (Review of Decisions) Bill – Second reading



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