19/11/2012 04:31 GMT | Updated 19/11/2012 04:49 GMT

Mehdi's Morning Memo: No, Non, Nein

Some things you need to know on Monday 18th November...


Ed Miliband has likened himself to Margaret Thatcher, telling The Independent's Steve Richards that the former Tory leader was "a conviction politician and I think conviction really matters". His claim comes as he warns pro-Europeans to stop turning a "blind eye" to the failings of the EU and make the case for reform or the country will "sleepwalk" into an economy-wrecking exit.

And Maggie references appear to be in vogue this morning, as Boris Johnson tells David Cameron in the Daily Telegraph to think of the former PM when he heads to Brussels this week for Budget negotiations. "It is time for David Cameron to put on that pineapple-coloured wig and powder blue suit, whirl his handbag round his head and bring it crashing to the table with the words no, non, nein, neen, nee, ne, ei and ochi, until they get the message" the mayor writes.

Today's Memo is edited by Ned Simons as Mehdi Hasan is busy hectically reading every religious text he can lay his hands on in preparation to debate with Richard Dawkins.


David Davis will give a speech this morning outlining his plan for a double referendum on the EU. The first, he says, should be to approve a list of powers for the UK to seek to take back from Europe and the second should be an in/out poll.

The prime minister is said to be preparing to promise a public vote on the EU after the next election. But Davis is sceptical, telling he Andrew Marr programme yesterday: “Nobody believes it and why should they? The British public have been promised a referendum by the three major parties, and every single one has not delivered. “Now, they may have their reasons, but they haven’t delivered and so the public feel they’ve been lied to – they won’t believe any more promises on referenda actually.”


A crackdown on "time wasting" legal challenges to Government policies will be promised by David Cameron on Monday as part of efforts to boost economic recovery. And he will compare deficit-reduction efforts to the fight against Hitler, suggesting Whitehall rules should be "circumvented" as during wartime to speed up decision making.

"When this country was at war in the 40s, Whitehall underwent a revolution," he will say. "Normal rules were circumvented. Convention was thrown out. As one historian put it, everything was thrown at 'the overriding purpose' of beating Hitler." And with that the prime minister has invoked Godwin's Rule of Nazi Analogies and we are no longer to carry on discussing the topic.


Labour are keeping up the pressure on the prime minister over allegations his new elections chief, Lynton Crosby, told Boris Johnson not to bother seeking the support of “f****** Muslims”.

Shadow cabinet minister Michael Dugher said: “These are very serious allegations, which call into question the Prime Minister’s decision to appoint Lynton Crosby. These allegations must be investigated and if they are true, David Cameron must condemn them.”

Back in 2005 when Crosby worked for Michael Howard, one Nick Clegg accused the "rottweiler-in-chief from down under" of promoting the "low road of savage, populist politics". Of course things can change.

In the same 2005 Guardian article Clegg writes: "Rising stars such as David Cameron and George Osborne sound faintly pious and technocratic compared to their party leader. Measured, studiously pragmatic, averting any whiff of ideology or political belief, they epitomise the politics of managerial consensus. They bend over backwards to shed the legacy of Conservative "nastiness", and are especially wary of getting mired in traditional Conservative obsessions, such as Europe." That appears to be going well for them.


Peter Mandelson has been appointed chairman of the international arm of the investment bank Lazard

, the Financial Times reports. "The position reflects his existing senior role and the amount of travelling that he undertakes on behalf of the bank," the paper says. "Unlike the previous chairman, Lord Mandelson will not work full time at the bank."


The European Court of Human Rights should respect Britain's "sensible and proportionate" ban on prisoners voting, Labour has said as the government prepared to offer Parliament a fresh say on the issue. Justice Secretary Chris Grayling is to publish draft legislation on Thursday setting out three options, including a retention of the outright ban ruled illegal by the court in 2005.

Grayling insists Parliament can reject the ECHR's ruling - despite concerns raised by Attorney General Dominic Grieve that Britain is under an international legal obligation. But he admits there would be "consequences" for the UK.


Hacking collective Anonymous claim to have targeted the Israeli government and other finance websites, with more than 44 million hacking attempts made on websites since Wednesday, the day the country began its bombing of Gaza.

The group apparently posted a video message, saying the Israeli government had "ignored repeated warnings about the abuse of human rights" and warned "we intend to seize control of your cyberspace."

"Our hearts are with the women, children and families that are suffering at this very moment, as a direct result of the Israeli Governments misuse of its military.

"Cyber war has been declared on Israel cyber space and you will see exactly what we are capable of. Israel, the angel of death has been called to your cyberspace. We are Anonymous. We are legion. Expect us and Respect us."


Barack Obama is NOT impressed (PICTURE)


The three main political parties are refusing to reform the way they are funded leading to a poisoning the public life, Westminster's sleaze watchdog has warned.

"The system virtually requires [party officials] responsible for funding to offer access to all kinds of things which, even if not corrupt in practice, have the appearance of corruption," Sir Christopher Kelly told The Independent. "It adds to the tarnished nature of the political brand."


@benedictbrogan Lynton Crosby can recite the names of all the books in the Bible, according to @rolandwatson66. Should come in handy at CCHQ

@afneil Obama first president to head for SE Asia after election. This is America's first Pacific President


Tim Montgomerie writes in The Times: "Don’t get frothed into a right-wing bubble, ‘Political entertainment’ could be as harmful to the Conservative Party as it has been for the US Republicans."

Also in The Times Lord Mandelson says "Britain awaits an inevitable referendum".

In the Daily Telegraph William Hague defends the government's Justice Bill: "It is security, not secrecy, that we must ensure. A new Justice Bill will safeguard intelligence and protect its sources among our allies, writes William Hague."

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