1. Private Eye (above), part of the media conspiracy against Ed Miliband. Paranoia is setting in around the Labour leader. Andrew Grice, our political editor, has advance news of today's speech by the leader of the opposition:
“He will blame the recent turmoil in his party on ‘powerful interests’ – including the Conservatives and their newspaper allies, the banks, hedge funds and energy companies – who do not want Labour to win next May’s general election.”
Andy Burnham, one of the contenders to succeed him, repeated this rubbish on the Today programme this morning.
Once the party starts to blame the media for its leader's unpopularity, we are back in the days of Michael Foot and Neil Kinnock. As yesterday's Ipsos MORI poll confirmed (see item 5 below).
"Had a boss who wrote PROBLEM, underlined it, drew an arrow to SOLUTION, underlined that. That was it."
3. "Did Arafat convert to Christianity before he died?" Terrific QTWTAIN (Question To Which The Answer Is No) in the Catholic Herald. Thanks to top colleague John Carlin.
4. "I didn’t know whether to laugh or quail": this is excellent by another top colleague, Memphis Barker, on returning jihadists. A "soft" welcome might be the least bad option.
5. Polling news: Worse Than Foot. The Ipsos MORI poll for the Evening Standard yesterday was bad for Ed Miliband. It gave the Conservatives a three-point lead, the highest in any poll since January 2012, although YouGov today gives Labour a three-point lead. But Ipsos MORI commented:
"Dissatisfaction with Mr Miliband among Labour supporters is at 58%, the highest level of dissatisfaction we have ever recorded for any leader of any major party among their own supporters in the 20 years we have recorded this data."
Matt Chorley of Mail Online compiled a useful chart of the net satisfaction ratings of Labour and Tory leaders six months before the most recent nine elections:
6. And finally, thanks to Moose Allain:
"Had a chat at the office about the use of pigment in early 18th century French painting. It was a 'Watteau couleur' moment."