Penny Mordaunt MP
Another slow news day for the Referendum Campaign. The papers are dominated by two convictions and sentences. Radovan Karadzic found guilty of genocide and sentenced to forty years, and a footballer called Adam Johnson sentenced to six years for sexual offences against an under-age girl. The Sun carries perhaps more graphic detail on this one than you might wish to know.
There is however some coverage of developments in the Brussels terror attacks and related matters. Belgian police have made six arrests in Brussels after a series of house-to-house raids which uncovered some bomb-making materials. So far it seems they have not arrested “the man in the white coat”.
Meantime in a development which at least so far appears unrelated either to the Brussels attack or to earlier attacks in Paris, French police claim to have made an important arrest in Paris which, they say, has foiled a major terrorist plot. Very few details so far. There seems little doubt that Jihadists are active and that the pace of police activity is not letting up. But there is one new development:
The terrorists want a “dirty bomb”….
The Times headlines “Brussels cell was plotting radioactive bomb attack”. This seems to be more than mere hearsay. The Belgian authorities have withdrawn security clearance from a dozen operatives at a nuclear facility, who may be suspected of seeking to obtain radioactive material.
…and Britain was not told about it
The Telegraph headlines “UK was not told about bomb fears”. This, I think, is genuinely shocking, and it gives the lie to all those quiet, plausible voices – like Home Secretary Theresa May, and Secretary of State for Defence Michael Fallon, who keep insisting that EU membership is essential to Britain’s security. They are clearly and evidently wrong.
I prefer to agree with Defence Minister Penny Mordaunt, who said that Britain would be safer outside of the EU, because membership stops the UK being able to form alliances and “share the intelligence we need to keep us safe”. Compare and contrast the ideological, knee-jerk support for EU membership from May and Fallon with the practical political common sense of Penny Mordaunt.
The EU/Turkey deal and migrant numbers
It seems that the EU/Turkey migrant deal is having at least some effect. Reportedly no migrants crossed from Turkey to the Greek Islands in the last 24 hour period. On the other hand there seem to be little or no progress in terms of organisation and administration on the ground, or deportations to Turkey, so far. But NGOs are continuing their litany of complaints that the system (what there is of it) is inhumane, that the reception centres are in effect detention camps, and that the scheme is possibly illegal.
News from across the pond
Trump calls the Referendum for Brexit
I’m not sure that Donald Trump is necessarily the best endorsement we could hope for, but whether or not, we seem to have his endorsement. The Donald says that Britain will vote to leave, and the key reason he gives is “the EU’s crazy immigration policy”. There at least, he’s not wrong.
And Obama gets tied up in knots
Several papers carry excruciating photos of President Obama in Cuba apparently getting tango lessons – or at least wrapped up in a nubile dancer. Not sure it’s quite what his Press Office would have ordered.