Mehdi's Morning Memo: To Strike Or Not To Strike?

Mehdi's Morning Memo: To Strike Or Not To Strike?

The five things you need to know on Thursday 10 July 2014...


Isn't it odd that the Tories say they support the right to strike but never support any actual strikes? From the Telegraph's splash:

"A million pupils face being turned away from classes on Thursday as teachers go on strike based on a poll of just a quarter of union members two years ago. The Prime Minister pledged to overhaul an archaic law that has allowed members of the National Union of Teachers to disrupt children’s education without any fresh ballots. The move would put an end to union powers to hold an unlimited number of 'rolling' strikes based on a single vote that has enabled the NUT to take action three times this academic year alone."

The papers tend not to be sympathetic to any strikes either so it's remarkable that the latest ComRes poll shows the public split on whether they think these current public sector strikes are justified. Maybe voters have noticed what Tory MPs refuse to: the biggest fall in living standards in more than 100 years.


The cabinet has been meeting this morning and David Cameron and Nick Clegg are expected to hold a joint press conference later today. Why? From the Daily Mail:

"Emergency legislation will today be announced at Westminster to allow Britain’s spies to access data about the public’s phone calls, texts and internet use. The laws will be rushed through Parliament amid mounting concern about the threat posed to the UK by jihadists returning from fighting in Syria... The law will force mobile phone and internet companies to store information relating to all recent telephone calls, emails and internet searches, so they can be accessed by security officials. There are long-standing Coalition tensions over the issue of communications data. But officials insist the legislation is not intended to give the security services and police any new powers."

The Sun's Tom Newton Dunn reports that the Tories have secured cross-party support for the new legislation.


From the Sun:

"A Tory last night announced he is quitting his safe seat — paving the way for Boris Johnson's return as an MP. Sir John Randall will stand down at next May's election, leaving a 11,216 majority. BoJo Continued on Page Two Continued from Page One is eyeing Sir John's seat in Uxbridge, West London — paving the way for a future Tory leadership bid. Its location would let BoJo, 50, serve as an MP — while keeping his promise to see out his full second term as London Mayor until May 2016. A friend revealed last night: 'Uxbridge is a terrific constituency. Who wouldn't be tempted to go for it? Boris is intrigued and will certainly make his thoughts known by September.'"


Check out this Vine of the rather awkward silence between Victoria Beckham and Samuel L. Jackson in the Wimbledon crowd a few years ago.


It isn't just the Home Office that seems to have a problem keeping hold of important files - from the Guardian front page:

"The government's problems with missing files deepened dramatically when the Foreign Office claimed documents on the UK's role in the CIA's global abduction operation had been destroyed accidentally when they became soaked with water. In a statement that human rights groups said 'smacked of a cover-up', the department maintained that records of post-9/11 flights in and out of Diego Garcia, the British territory in the Indian Ocean, were 'incomplete due to water damage'. The claim comes amid media reports in the US that a Senate report due to be published later this year identifies Diego Garcia as a location where the CIA established a secret prison as part of its extraordinary rendition programme."


How many innocent Palestinians in Gaza have to die to compensate for the three Israeli teenagers murdered in the West Bank? From the Guardian:

"Even this early in Israel's campaign against Hamas and other militant factions in Gaza the bodies of the civilian victims are beginning to pile up, children and an 80-year-old woman among the dead from the past two days... In all, 43 Palestinians are reported to have been killed by Israeli strikes on Gaza. Many, hospital officials claim, have been civilians. Among the total are 15 women and children, amid claims that in four air strikes only women and children were killed."


From today's Sun/YouGov poll:

Labour 36

Conservatives 32

Ukip 12

Lib Dems 10

That would give Labour a majority of 42.


Tim Montgomerie, writing in the Times, says: "UK minus Scotland: not the disaster you think."

Seumas Milne, writing in the Guardian, says: "The tide is turning against the scam that is privatisation."

Robert Fisk, writing in the Independent, says: "The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week."

Got something you want to share? Please send any stories/tips/quotes/pix/plugs/gossip to Mehdi Hasan (, Ned Simons ( or Asa Bennett ( You can also follow us on Twitter: @mehdirhasan, @nedsimons, @asabenn and @huffpostukpol


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