POLITICS

Mehdi's Morning Memo: Poland Is Peeved

08/01/2014 08:38 GMT | Updated 23/01/2014 13:17 GMT
ASSOCIATED PRESS
Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron, left, listens to Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk in 10 Downing Street, London, on Monday April 18, 2011. AP Photo/Adrian Dennis, Pool)

Here are the five things you need to know on Wednesday 8 January 2013...

1) POLAND IS PRETTY PISSED OFF

Poland is not happy. On Sunday David Cameron said it was "wrong" that child benefit should be paid to support workers' families who remained in Poland and outlined plans to push for a change in the EU treaties to end the practice. On Monday the Polish foreign minister Radoslaw Sikorski used Twitter to attack the prime minister for his comments. Yesterday Poland's ambassador to the United Kingdom expanded on the criticism of Cameron. He told The Huffington Post UK that "there is no need to single out, to stigmatise Poles" who come to Britain "to work hard, not to abuse the system or grab the benefits".

The Polish prime minister has also expressed unhappiness with Cameron. Reuters reports that at a news conference, Donald Tusk said it was not acceptable to single out Poles. Tusk has a telephone conversation scheduled with Cameron today - in which the British PM will be asked to explain himself.

Today's Memo is edited by Ned Simons as Mehdi Hasan is canvassing support to become the next deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats. Sources tell HuffPost his campaign is not going well.

2) MINIMUM WAGE FIGHT

The Lib Dems are accusing the Conservatives of stealing their ideas on low pay, according to The Guardian. The paper reports that Vince Cable is annoyed that the Tories appear to be about to muscle in on his hopes of raising in the minimum wage. The Conservatives have historically been opposed to such a move, but it has been reported that an alliance of senior MPs, including Iain Duncan Smith and skills minister Matt Hancock, tare pressing for a dramatic rise.

The divisions within the Conservatives were supposed to be laid bare on Newsnight last night when the programme put pro-minimum wage Robert Halfon up against Mark Reckless. Unfortunately for the programme Reckless agreed with Halfon. Paxman was left moderating a debate where both sides agreed - while Lib Dems and Labour MPs yelled at their TVs and vented on Twitter and the unfairness of it all.

3) INSIDE STORY OF LIZ CHENEY'S TONE-DEAF CANDIDACY

When Liz Cheney, daughter of former vice-president Dick Cheney, moved to Wyoming, in 2012, her path to the US Senate seemed clear enough. But as The Huffington Post reports, Monday, it was Cheney who left the race, citing family reasons. (An insider describes the issue as something non-life threatening involving one of her daughters.) But there were political considerations, too. Cheney was trailing badly in early polls and having trouble finding a Washington firm to set up a super PAC. Which all added to the aborted campaign’s central mystery: Why did this well-prepared, well-connected, well-known political figure put on such an amateurish performance when she finally ran for office on her own?

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4) LORELY FOR THE LIB DEMS

The Lib Dem deputy leadership race is hotting up. And by hotting up. We mean. Essentially a done deal. Solihull MP Lorely Burt has already secured the backing of 24 MPs. She needs 29 to get the nomination. The position became vacant after Simon Hughes decided to step down in order to become a minister. The job almost certainly has to go to a woman, as it is pretty awkward for the party how few female MPs it has in senior positions.

5) OBAMA'S APPROACH TO WAR CRITICISED

In a new memoir, former US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates claims that President Barack Obama had doubts about his own strategy in the war in Afghanistan.

According to reports on the book by the New York Times and the Washington Post, Gates writes that the president began to question his own decisions, leading the then-defense secretary to doubt Obama's "support for [the troops'] mission."

140 CHARACTERS OR LESS

@steve_hawkes David Cameron's MBE crimper @hairbylino answers the big question.. The PM does NOT have a bald spot, "he's got great hair"

@tnewtondunn Interesting fact from @jameskirkup: it's been 203 days since @David_Cameron last gave a full press conference in the UK. Promised monthly.

900 WORDS OR MORE

Mary Riddell in the Daily Telegraph: Britain cannot afford to be the friendless pariah of Europe

Simon Jenkins in The Guardian: George Osborne talks tough but acts like a Labour chancellor

Alice Thompson in The Times: Don’t gamble with the poorest in society

Got something you want to share? Please send any stories/tips/quotes/pix/plugs/gossip to Mehdi Hasan (mehdi.hasan@huffingtonpost.com) or Ned Simons (ned.simons@huffingtonpost.com). You can also follow us on Twitter: @mehdirhasan, @nedsimons and @huffpostukpol