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27 Aug 2010 08:59:32

Weblinks for Friday 27th August 2010

8pm Melanchthon on CentreRight: On reasons for believing

Screen shot 2010-08-27 at 18.52.08 6.45pm WATCH

4pm ToryDiary: Crispin Blunt decides "to come to terms with his homosexuality", and separates from his wife.

3pm Local Government: The Conservatives lost two seats in yesterday's local council by-elections

2.30pm Local Government update: Kent Police now say a Special Constable can be a councillor - but the councillor in question has already resigned and a by-election cannot be avoided

2pm Robin Simcox on CentreRight: Gordon Brown's immigration incompetence

12.45pm Charles Tannock MEP on CentreRight: The idea that EU diplomats have more say than William Hague on the Union's foreign policy is misguided 

Ed Balls tieless12.15pm LeftWatch: Wannabe shadow chancellor Ed Balls forecasts economic "hurricane"

11.30am Local Government: Tory councillor resigns just a fortnight after by-election victory

10.45am LISTEN: Michael Gove was the Tory on Today this morning, saying that that banding by ability "has a role to play" in schools

10.30am Local Government: Communities Secretary Eric Pickles writes his latest fortnightly column for ConHome: "I’m sure that taxpayers would much rather their money was being spent on fixing potholes or keeping council tax down rather than on signs to point out the blatantly obvious."

ToryDiary: Being Prime Minister means taking risks

Yes Prime Minister art ConHome Competition: Win a pair of tickets to see Yes, Prime Minister on stage in London!

Martin Sewell on Platform: Why is it so difficult to engage with the “Progressive Left” on the issue of poverty and social mobility, without provoking an angry response?

NIgel Huddleston in General Election Review: New survey confirms the Leaders' debates had a significant impact on voting intentions

Cllr Colin Barrow in Local Government concludes his series on Foundation Councils by looking at incentives for delivering good results

Also in Local Government: Eric Pickles slashes red tape to make it easier to hold a fete or street party

Q. Which non-Conservative politician do you most admire? A. President Jed Bartlett! - Nicky Morgan MP answers ConHome's Twenty Questions for the Class of 2010

WATCH: ABC News reports on the demands being made of the two potential Prime Ministers by the three Independent MPs who hold the balance of power in Australia

Net immigration poses problem for Cameron

David Cameron listening "A sharp rise in immigration into the UK is sure to add to the pressure on David Cameron, prime minister, to say how his proposed cap on annual immigration will work and at what level it will be set. The government has pledged to cut net immigration from the 150,000-plus each year added to the UK population back at least to below 100,000. And it has already capped work visas for non-European Union migrants, at 24,100 between June and next April – 1,300 fewer than last year." - FT (£)

"Under Labour, migration policy was a shambles. We look to the Coalition to get a grip." - Sun editorial

Immigration is more than an economic issue - Daily Telegraph editorial

"Vince Cable, business secretary, urged fellow ministers on Thursday night not to hobble Britain’s competitiveness with excessive extra border controls, after new data showed a jump in net migration of 20 per cent." - FT (£)

> WATCH: Immigration minister Damian Green says that the latest annual net migration figure of 196,000 demonstrates the extent of the challenge facing the Government

The papers further scrutinise party fundraising efforts

"David Cameron has been dragged into the Conservatives’ “cash for access” controversy with the disclosure that the party is offering meetings with the Prime Minister to supporters who pay £2,000. The Tory fund-raising operation is inviting financial backers to join Team 2000, a donors’ group whose members are promised “first-hand” insights into government policy from Mr Cameron." - Daily Telegraph

"It was also discovered this week that the Lib Dems are offering supporters the chance to discuss Government policy with their ministers at dinner - for as little as £250. Alternatively, wealthier donors can pay £800 to attend a ‘corporate day’ at the Lib Dem conference in Liverpool, including a ‘special forum’ with Business Secretary Vince Cable and Danny Alexander, Chief Secretary to the Treasury." - Daily Mail

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: The Party needs private money. But it should raise smaller donations from many more people

Neil O'Brien: Who decides what is fair, and what isn't?

O'BRIEN-NEIL "The kind of analysis the IFS used – which Gordon Brown used to adore – offers policy-makers the comforting illusion that they can accurately control social outcomes using the tax and benefits system, that social justice is just a mouse-click away. Every one of Gordon Brown's Budgets was designed to lead to a nice curve on the IFS's graphs, showing how the poor were set to gain more than the rich. But something must have gone wrong with the spreadsheet: despite all the lovely graphs, society became more unequal under Labour. Being "progressive" turned out to be a rather empty concept." - Neil O'Brien in the Daily Telegraph

Wednesday's ToryDiary: The Coalition cannot win on 'fairness' if the Left sets the terms of the debate

Could rebel MPs sink the AV referendum at the Bill's Second Reading?

"Their plan is to back an amendment to the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill – on its second reading that day – to delay the referendum ballot from May to September. Because there will be two late-night sittings in succession, whips are confident that, amid the post-vacation excitement, “tired and emotional” (drunk) MPs will fall back in line." - FT (£)

Support for the EU at nine-year low

EU-FLAG "Public support for the European Union has collapsed to a nine-year low in all of its 27 countries, a poll has revealed. The European Commission says fewer than half of voters across Europe are in favour of the union." - Daily Express

Bagehot: The coalition will struggle to agree on crudely populist policies

"Neither Mr Cameron nor Mr Clegg can easily announce policies that drip with the red blood of partisan conflict. By happy accident, the very things that Lib Dems might enjoy humbling (eg, people who live in big houses), or that make Tories fume (eg, Europe), are cherished by the other side. Tories hate higher taxes, Lib Dems anything that smacks of xenophobia. Their respective bases cancel each other out." - Bagehot in The Economist

Editorials disagree about Eric Pickles' "clear the clutter" campaign

Eric Pickles cheerful "The Government’s letter to local councils urging them to reduce street clutter is an excellent development. Eric Pickles is right that Britain is “overrun by scruffy signs, bossy bollards and railed-off roads”. Our urban environment is a tangle of steel, plastic, glass and tin. It not only looks hideous, it is probably counter-productive." - Times (£) editorial

"If some plain solution existed to the problems pinpointed by Eric Pickles, the clutter would already have been swept away." - Guardian editorial

> WATCH: Eric Pickles - scrap "silly barriers, silly signs"

Quentin Letts writes a memo to MPs unhappy with IPSA : If you don't like it, resign

"Farmers have for years done battle with the Rural Payments Agency, an arm of Whitehall so obtuse and abstruse that some smallholders have gone bankrupt and even committed suicide while awaiting their dues. MPs, with their expenses watchdog, have only been getting a taste of what modern British officialdom is like. You don’t like it, guys? You find it slow and unhelpful and overly bureaucratic? Join the club!" - Quentin Letts in the Daily Mail

We MPs are being turned into petty clerks - Labour MP Denis Macshane in The Times (£)

> Yesterday in Parliament: Senior Tory backbencher wants IPSA investigated by the Standards and Privileges Committee for breach of parliamentary privilege

Con Coughlin: If Britain wishes to remain a global power, it needs Trident - Daily Telegraph

Ed Balls warns of double-dip recession...

Ed Balls 2010 "Ed Balls will today launch the most aggressive attack since the election on the coalition's economic policies, fuelling speculation that he now has his eye on the second-most important position in opposition: shadow chancellor. Balls is to warn that the government is in danger of encouraging a "perfect storm" that could trigger a double-dip recession in Britain, and that the world faces a dangerous time as many governments embark on premature fiscal retrenchments." - The Guardian

...as Ed Miliband hits back at brother's criticism...

"Ed Miliband will today hit back strongly at his brother David's attempt to portray him as preaching to Labour's traditional supporters rather than reaching out to middle-class voters. As the brothers’ battle for the Labour leadership becomes increasingly bitter, the Shadow Climate Change Secretary will reject David Miliband’s suggestion that he would shift the party back towards Old Labour if he wins the contest." - The Independent

...and Andy Burnham proposes a land value tax

Andy Burnham Manchester "Today I am setting out a plan for a radical reform of the tax system. At its heart is a land value tax (LVT) – an idea so old-Labour it can be traced back to Thomas Paine. But it is also a plan that draws on the best instincts of New Labour. The LVT, an annual tax on the market rental value of land, would allow for the abolition of stamp duty – a tax on the aspirations of young people to put down roots and get on in life." - Andy Burnham in The Guardian

Cuts undermine David Cameron's 'big society', says Labour - The Guardian

Asil Nadir calls on Government to intervene in his case - Daily Telegraph

Warning of new terrorist risk from inmates ‘radicalised’ in jail

"Britain faces the greatest threat from home-grown terrorism in the Western world, with a potential wave of attacks by lone extremists, including hundreds of radicalised prisoners, inspired by al-Qaeda, a leading think-tank said today. The influential Royal United Services Institute the new risk was posed by highly motivated amateurs carrying out random attacks in public places rather than the more “professional” carnage orchestrated by Osama bin Laden and other terrorist leaders." - The Times (£)

David Cameron, Prince William and Becks will make final push in England 2018 bid

Picture 4 "England 2018 plan to build on their successful FIFA inspection visit by parading their 'three lions' at the World Cup vote in Zurich on December 2 - David Beckham, FA president Prince William and Prime Minister David Cameron. The closing statement from the FIFA team leader Harold Mayne-Nicholls described the line-up of celebrities his group had met during their four-day trip as 'world class'." - Daily Mail

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26 Aug 2010 09:00:08

Weblinks for Thursday 26th August 2010

6.30pm Parliament: Senior Tory backbencher wants IPSA investigated by the Standards and Privileges Committee for breach of parliamentary privilege

Picture 16pm ThinkTankCentral: Adam Smith Institute proposes restricting legal aid in civil compensation cases

4pm WATCH: Immigration minister Damian Green says that the latest annual net migration figure of 196,000 demonstrates the extent of the challenge facing the Government

2.15pm Paul Goodman on CentreRight: Conservative members attack Osborne budget...Labour ones support it

1.00pm WATCH: Eric Pickles - scrap "silly barriers, silly signs"

Brier, Jeremy 11.30am Jeremy Brier on CentreRight: AV in all its glory down under

ToryDiary: The Party needs private money. But it should raise smaller donations from many more people

David Alexander on Platform: Ending universal benefits may be the least worst option as the Government attempts to deal with the deficit

Local Government:

Margot james Commons“I’m a Conservative because… I believe in enterprise, reward for risk and hard work and the freedom of the individual." - Margot James MP answers ConHome's Twenty Questions for the Class of 2010

ThinkTankCentral: Bow Group authors hit back at Andy Burnham

International: Australia marked another electoral defeat for climate change

LISTEN: Listen again to Tories on Radio 4's Today programme

WATCH: David Miliband tries to explain what distinguishes him from his brother in the Labour leadership election

Nick Clegg defends Budget against unfairness claims

"Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has defended the coalition government's analysis of the Budget. Mr Clegg said a report by the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS), which said the Budget has hit poorest families the hardest, was "by definition partial". "It does not include the things we want to do to get people off benefits and into work," he said." - BBC

Nick Clegg confrence speech "Unfortunately, many people who have analysed the government’s decisions have adopted a purely numerical view of what fairness is about. The Institute for Fiscal Studies’ report on the emergency Budget, published on Wednesday, is a case in point. Its methodology ignores the impact of our increase in capital gains tax for those on high incomes, and makes impossible assumptions about the effect of reform to disability living allowance and tax credits. These are not technical quibbles. They matter." - Nick Clegg writing in the FT (£)

"The Mail hesitates to enter the battleground, except to point out that the effects on people in the same wealth bracket will vary widely according to the source of their income and how they choose to spend it. What’s clear is that it’s absurd to argue that ministers are setting out deliberately to target the poor (though this hasn’t stopped the BBC). On the contrary, by their approving use of the word ‘progressive’, they show they believe it’s self-evidently right that the harder people work and the more they earn, the more their share of the suffering should increase." - Daily Mail editorial

IFS director may replace Alan Budd at Office for Budget Responsibility - The Times (£)

> Yesterday's coverage on ConHome:

Ministers told to prove impact of budget cuts on poor was assessed

"Nick Clegg was last night facing renewed pressure over the budget when Britain's equalities watchdog warned of action if ministers failed to carry out a statutory assessment of the impact of spending cuts on vulnerable people." - The Guardian

"What we have done is every department has to by law look at the impact of their policies on individual groups and we've done that, we've met our legal obligations." - Treasury minister Mark Hoban on Newsnight quoted on PoliticsHome

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: The invidious nature of Labour's equality legislation becomes all the more apparent

Brussels to defy Cameron’s call for EU spending cuts

EU-FLAG "The European Union is defying David Cameron’s call for cuts to budgets in Brussels by planning an eight per cent increase in spending over the next three years. At a time of deep cuts to the British public sector, documents, seen by The Daily Telegraph, disclose controversial plans to snub the Prime Minister by raising the EU’s budget by more than £8.8 billion to £125 billion in 2013, a 7.6 per cent rise on this year’s spending levels. The increase will mean that the British contribution to the EU rises to £10.3 billion over the next three years." - Daily Telegraph

David and Samantha Cameron's daughter is named

"St Endellion! St Endellion! The name is like a ring of bells." Until now, the Cornish village was best known for this tribute by Sir John Betjeman in 1950. The calm was interrupted only by tourists and by the film crew for the ITV drama Doc Martin, filmed a mile down the road at Port Isaac. Yesterday brought a flurry of renewed interest when the two-day-old daughter of Samantha and David Cameron was named after the parish. The couple's latest addition, Florence Rose Endellion Cameron, surprised them by arriving just over two weeks early on Tuesday lunchtime, while they were holidaying in Cornwall." - The Independent

Should David Cameron take paternity leave now? - City AM

> Gazette: Florence Rose Endellion Cameron

> Nick Clegg congratulates the Camerons on Florence's birth

Big Eric Pickles may not be beautiful, but he's the Tories' action man

Eric Pickles 2 2010 "Eric Pickles, the Communities Secretary, is a piggy-eyed, balding, overweight Yorkshireman who makes his way along the corridors of Westminster with the stately waddle of an out-of-condition sumo wrestler. The product of a West Yorkshire council estate rather than the wine bars of West Kensington, he occasionally addresses his colleagues, in an accent previously unknown to most of them, as "my old chum", or in the case of Sayeeda Warsi, the party chairman, as (very occasionally) "chuck".- Paul Goodman profiles Eric Pickles in the Daily Telegraph

Harriet Sargeant: Why does David Willetts want to be a Stalinist social engineer?

"After only 100 days in power, the Tories’ David Willetts is sounding like a tired Labour minister bankrupt of ideas. Once again it is education and social mobility that is the issue. Mr Willetts, the Coalition’s higher education minister, is right to be concerned. But he is very wrong on who to blame and what to do about it. He wants universities to promote social mobility by accepting candidates from poor backgrounds - even if their A-levels are lower than those of middle-class applicants." - Harriet Sargeant in the Daily Mail

Andrew Mitchell soothes charities' fears over planned DfID cuts

"Development secretary Andrew Mitchell last night pledged to boost spending on a broad range of anti-poverty initiatives as he sought to allay fears expressed by charities about the government's root-and-branch study of its aid commitments. Responding to a letter signed by five leading UK agencies warning that they might consider withdrawing backing for the government's development strategy, Mitchell promised full consultation before any final decisions were made on the future of individual programmes." - The Guardian

Cutting immigrants will not damage ties with India, says Damian Green

Damian Green 2010 "Plans to cut the number of immigrants entering Britain will not damage David Cameron’s hopes of a new 'special’ economic relationship with India, Britain’s immigration minister has claimed. Damian Green said Britain’s new immigration quotas were not “about erecting barriers and closing doors.” - Daily Telegraph

Former Plaid Assembly Member who joined Tories may be de-selected - Western Mail

MPs ‘intimidated and abused’ expenses staff

"Some MPs tried swearing, others shouted, while one attempted to get his way by making a veiled death threat. The lengths to which MPs have gone to cover the cost of their train ticket have been revealed in a new report that detailed their intimidating and foul-mouthed behaviour towards the staff who administer the new parliamentary expenses system." - The Times (£)

Swearing MPs describe expenses system as 'abortion' and call staff 'monkeys' - Daily Mail

New Statesman endorses Ed Miliband for Labour leader...

Picture 2 "It is Ed Miliband who has been most prepared to challenge New Labour orthodoxies, to use a different kind of language. He advocates a Labour agenda that is confident, forceful and empowering, committed to greater freedom, social justice and, above all else, reducing inequality." - New Statesman editorial

...as Jon Cruddas backs David Miliband...

"David is not just going down a checklist of policies; he seems to me to be echoing a more fundamental sentiment, in terms of what Labour needs to do. I'm much more interested in that, rather than in just reciting some policy options, because the scale of the defeat was so great. It's a much more fundamental question of identity that we need to return to." - Jon Cruddas quoted in the New Statesman

...and Ken Livingstone declares for Ed Balls

Ed Balls 2010 "Ken Livingstone weighed into the Labour leadership contest today by hailing Ed Balls as a “fighter” who had done most to boost London. In a letter sent to all Labour Party members, he said he had worked with all the candidates as Mayor and found Mr Balls the most effective." - Evening Standard

David Miliband says Labour should be inspired by Rab Butler - Daily Telegraph

Ed Miliband hits back at brother David in leadership spat - The Times (£)

Oona King is accused of using leaked lists as mayoral fight turns nasty - Evening Standard

Autumn tube strikes announced - Daily Mail

Arthur Scargill and allies stripped of full NUM membership

"Arthur Scargill yesterday lost his voting rights in the miners’ union he led for more than 20 years. The 72-year-old former NUM president, who headed the union during the bitter 1984-85 miners’ strike, was among a number of members to receive letters saying they were no longer qualified for full membership." - Daily Express

> Yesterday's LeftWatch: Arthur Scargill to be expelled from the National Union of Miners

Fugitive Asil Nadir returning to Britain today - The Times (£)

And finally... Cuba ends cut price cigarettes for the over-55s

Picture 4 "Cuba's elderly will no longer be entitled to state-subsidised cigarettes, the government has said. All Cubans 55 or older are allocated four packs of cigarettes a month for about 25% the normal price, but this privilege is being ended in September. The measure is President Raul Castro's latest attempt to cut the communist state's spending... A statement in the government-run Granma newspaper said the move was "part of the steps gradually being applied to eliminate subsidies". The health benefits were not mentioned." - BBC

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25 Aug 2010 08:59:50

Weblinks for Wednesday 25th August 2010

8.15pm WATCH

5.30pm LeftWatch: Arthur Scargill to be expelled from the National Union of Miners

Screen shot 2010-08-25 at 16.48.08 4.45pm Gazette: Florence Rose Endellion Cameron

3.45pm Matt Sinclair on CentreRight: We can't allow Government decisions to be dictated by IFS graphs

1.45pm ToryDiary: The Coalition cannot win on 'fairness' if the Left sets the terms of the debate

12.15pm WATCH: John McCain wins the Republican primary in Arizona to stand for a fifth term in the Senate

10.15am ToryDiary: The invidious nature of Labour's equality legislation becomes all the more apparent

ToryDiary: The target of the IFS's fairness report isn't George Osborne. It's Nick Clegg.

Tim Collins on Platform: Local coalitions will be the key to tackling our housing crisis

Cllr Colin Barrow in Local Government: How Foundation Councils could help defeat the dependency culture

LeftWatch: Labour leadership favourite, David Miliband, sets out four distinctive policies

Javid Sajid “I’m a Conservative because…  I'm a patriot that believes in liberty, free markets and helping the poor help themselves." - Sajid Javid MP answers ConHome's Twenty Questions for the Class of 2010

International: McCain saves Senate career with $20m negative campaign against Republican rival

Robin Simcox on CentreRight: Cousin marriage is an issue all politicians should want to tackle

WATCH: Independent MPs in Australia are courted by Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott as each attempts to form a minority government

Cameron's Big Society grows by one with birth of a daughter

Samantha and David Cameron "In one of the more surprising interruptions to a family holiday, David Cameron was at his wife's side in a Cornish hospital last night after she gave birth to the couple's fourth child yesterday. Samantha Cameron, who is 39, had contractions in the morning. She and the Prime Minister went to the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro, where their 6lb 1oz daughter was delivered by Caesarean section at midday. The baby had not been due for another fortnight and the Camerons decided to go ahead with their summer break even though they knew it could arrive at any time." - The Independent

"Mr Cameron is expected to extend his annual break from Downing Street by another week and may spend a period of paternity leave at his official Chequers country estate. He may also take occasional days of paternity leave during September. Nick Clegg, the deputy Prime Minister, will continue to "hold the fort". Speaking outside the hospital yesterday, Mr Cameron said: "We're absolutely thrilled. She is an unbelievably beautiful girl and I'm a very proud dad and both baby and mum seem to be doing really well, so it's really exciting." - Daily Telegraph

Which Cornish name to choose for Little Miss Cameron? - The Times (£)

> Yesterday's coverage of the news on ConHome:

Bruce Anderson: After shock and awe, Cameron needs a narrative

Bruce Anderson "David Cameron is in danger of turning into a Heathite. This is nothing to do with policies; it is about politics. One of Edward Heath’s favourite slogans was “action, not words”. The new prime minister also seems to think that actions will speak for themselves. If so, he is wrong. Words are to politics what oil is to a car engine. Without them, everything seizes up. Only through words can a politician maintain his momentum." - Bruce Anderson writing in the FT (£)

Civil servants in plea over jobs cull

"John Bercow, the Commons Speaker, is being urged to stop ministers from rushing through legislation that will slash redundancy terms for civil servants and clear the way for a cull of up to 100,000 jobs. Francis Maude, cabinet office minister, has asked Mr Bercow to approve a fast-track procedure for the bill to come into force by November, allowing ministers to embark on the redundancy plan this autumn. But civil service unions have written to Mr Bercow insisting that the procedure – in which the legislation is classified as a “money bill” that cannot be amended in the House of Lords – should not be approved." - FT (£)

Tube unions plan weekly strikes over threat to 800 jobs - The Guardian

Unison goes to court to block planned NHS shake-up - The Guardian

UK Film Council spends public money on fight against closure

"Jeremy Hunt, the Culture Secretary, has written to John Woodward, chief executive of the film council, demanding that he explain why it had hired Portland, the PR firm founded by Tim Allan, a former adviser to Tony Blair. Cabinet Office rules also stipulate that such bodies “should seek further advice from its sponsor department where the use of publicity and advertising might be regarded as novel or contentious, and in all cases before employing PR consultants”. - The Times (£)

Royal Navy may need to borrow US fighter jets

"The prospect of relying on allies for military hardware has emerged from talks about the extent of the defence cuts. Dr Liam Fox, the Defence Secretary, has said that, instead of "salami-slicing", where pain is shared equally across the department, the cuts must be allocated strategically." - Daily Telegraph

Alice Thomson: Parties must abandon the sordid dash for cash

Alice Thomson "No one gives money to a political party unless they expect something in return. Which is exactly what they get. This week the Electoral Commission confirmed that the last general election was the most expensive yet... All this has to stop: America, which spent $1 billion on the last presidential election, is not the role model. Our parties, as Sir Hayden Phillips proposed in 2007, need to spend far less rather than more... Another of Sir Hayden’s suggestions — abandoned after the parties failed to reach a consensus — is also worth considering. Donations, including those from unions, should be capped at £50,000 to prevent any donor having too much influence." - Alice Thomson in The Times (£)

Mystery of Tory donor's Swiss home - Daily Mail

Stephen Glover: Please, Mr Cameron, don't take the same sleazy path as Blair - Daily Mail

Call for apology over Claudy bombing "cover-up"

"A priest who played a leading role in an IRA massacre was saved by a cover-up by police, the Government and the Catholic Church, it was revealed yesterday. Father James Chesney was the terror group's quartermaster and director of operations in South Derry, Northern Ireland, when they bombed the town of Claudy in 1972." - The Sun

"A Northern Ireland MP on Tuesday called on David Cameron to apologise after a police ombudsman’s report found the authorities had colluded to protect a Catholic priest suspected of involvement in one of the worst bombings of the Troubles. Gregory Campbell’s constituency includes the village of Claudy where nine people, including three children, were killed by an IRA bomb in July 1972. The Democratic Unionist MP said the families of those killed deserved a full apology." - FT (£)

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Owen Paterson refuses to condemn Willie Whitelaw for deciding not to investigate Catholic priest who may have been IRA bomber

Tim Montgomerie: The Great Satan Bush did much saintly work

BUSH&FLAG "Mr Bush failed, of course, on many fronts. Most notably, he was complicit in economic boom and bust. But, as on the global front, his domestic policies were progressive. He faced down the isolationists in his own party who wanted a clampdown on immigrants. He introduced a $50 billion-a-year prescription drug benefit and ground- breaking school accountability measures. Most interestingly, he attempted the first draft of a post-Reagan-Thatcher understanding of conservatism. Mr Cameron’s compassionate conservatism owes much more to Mr Bush than he would readily admit. " - Tim Montgomerie in The Times (£)

Record GCSE Results For 23rd Year Running

"Teenagers have again scored record GCSE results with nearly seven in 10 entries awarded at least a C grade. But while the pass rate rose for the 23rd year in a row, there was another slump in the numbers of pupils taking French and German." - Sky News

Concern over the fall in number of pupils taking languages at GCSE - The Guardian

"The decline in modern languages in schools has reached calamitous proportions. For the first time since the examination's inception, the GCSE results announced yesterday contained no foreign languages among the top 10 most popular subjects. Only half as many pupils continue to learn French to GCSE level as was the case 10 years ago. This sorry state of affairs has arisen because the last government decided to allow students to drop languages at the age of 14." - Daily Telegraph editorial

> Melanchthon on CentreRight yesterday: We don't use GCSEs to measure absolute skills but to assess how some 16 year-olds are doing relative to others

We'll stand by Pakistan, vows Clegg - Press Association

Lib Dem rebel warns Nick Clegg to expect rough ride at party conference

Nick Clegg on Marr "Nick Clegg was warned tonight by a leading rebel Liberal Democrat MP that he faces a "sticky" party conference next month after the Institute for Fiscal Studies challenged his claim that fairness had been hardwired into the budget. Mike Hancock, a veteran Lib Dem MP who has a special status in the party as a founding member of the SDP, attacked the leadership after the institute concluded that the coalition government's June budget was clearly regressive." - The Guardian

"The rumours of senior Lib Dems sniffing at the Labour party are largely idle chatter. (If anything, the government has the stronger pull, as Alan Milburn’s decision to work as the coalition’s social mobility tsar illustrates.) That does not alter the fact that Mr Clegg is struggling to put a Lib Dem stamp on the coalition’s work." - FT (£) editorial

How Labour created 3,000 new "crimes"

"Labour established more than 3,000 new crimes to trap business people who should never have been treated as criminals, a scathing report said yesterday. Most of the new offences were slipped into law on the say-so of quangocrats without being debated in Parliament, it found." - Daily Mail

"This pointless criminalisation of mostly law-abiding people has cost the country a fortune. The previous government preferred to persecute the decent rather than pursue real criminals who were breaking the law in far more serious ways. The Law Commission is now calling for the scrapping of many of these daft pieces of legislation. And not before time." - Daily Express editorial

David Miliband now has backing for his leadership campaign of 100 Labour MPs - FT (£)

Gloves off as David Miliband rounds on his brother - The Times (£)

And finally... George Osborne practises what he preaches in cut-price holiday

George Osborne summer 2010 wide "Austerity chancellor George Osborne flew on no-frills airline easyJet for his holiday in Tuscany. The man whose emergency Budget last month was the toughest in a generation saved hundreds of pounds by using the low-cost carrier. The Chancellor, wife Frances and children Luke, nine, and Liberty Kate, seven, queued at Pisa airport to come home at the weekend — saving £60 by refusing to pay the supplement that allows some passengers to jump the queue for boarding." - Evening Standard

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24 Aug 2010 09:00:01

Weblinks for Tuesday 24th August 2010

7.15pm ToryDiary: Best name ideas (so far) for the new Cameron baby

6pm Nick de Bois MP on CentreRight: I'm a Conservative and I believe in Equality

4pm WATCH: David Cameron reacts to the birth of his fourth child, a daughter

3pm ToryDiary: Owen Paterson refuses to condemn Willie Whitelaw for deciding not to investigate Catholic priest who may have been IRA bomber

CAMERON MR&MRS2pm BREAKING NEWS: Samantha Cameron gives birth to baby girl

2pm Local government: When I worked in an office I bought my own pot plants

12.15pm LeftWatch: Ed Miliband hopes that Clegg-bashing might give him the edge over his brother

10am Melanchthon on CentreRight: We don't use GCSEs to measure absolute skills but to assess how some 16 year-olds are doing relative to others

ToryDiary: Downing Street ready to revisit Cameron's pledge to wealthier pensioners in order to fund welfare reform

Screen shot 2010-08-24 at 07.11.01 Jeremy Hunt MP on CentreRight: England hosting the World Cup would be a £3bn boost for the nation

Alistair Thompson on Platform reflects on the last government's decision to pay a young disabled man to visit a prostitute: Labour’s moral recession is worse than the economic one

Cllr Colin Barrow of Westminster City Council on Local government: The extra powers that would be handed down to the Foundation Councils idea that he introduced yesterday.

Gazette: "Magnificent" James McGrath credited with big role in Australian election result

Karl McCartney MP names Tony Benn as the non-Tory he most admires in ConHome's Twenty Questions: "Tony Benn - he speaks his mind as he sees it and believes exactly what he says.  I don't agree with him much politically, but respect his honesty and loyalty to his beliefs. He life and words inspire many I am sure."

Government holding confidence building talks with more moderate trade unions

"Tory sources said the party had been successfully "building bridges" with senior trade unionists in recent months and pointed out that several ministers, including Oliver Letwin, Philip Hammond and Francis Maude, have either met trade union leaders or addressed TUC events. They said they were "highly optimistic" that a meeting could be arranged between the Prime Minister and Mr Barber towards the end of the year." - Independent

"The headlines about an "autumn of discontent" over public spending cuts have already begun. For once, a season of industrial strife predicted by the media may really happen because deep and painful cuts are inevitable. However, behind the scenes, more moderate voices in the trade union movement are also being heard. The pragmatists are arguing that the unions have got to learn to live with the Coalition Government and that talking to it is more in their members' interests than screaming from the sidelines." - Andrew Grice in The Independent

Screen shot 2010-08-24 at 08.25.12 Criminals who confess in the police station will serve shorter sentences than those who wait until they appear in court, under cost-saving reforms - Times (£)

Renewed pressure on Health Secretary to increase availability of cancer drugs - Daily Mail | Express

Andrew Lansley launches non-emergency alternative to 999 - Daily Mail | Video of Mr Lansley explaining initiative

Record political donations in run up to election

"The Conservatives attracted the most during the three months from March to June, taking in £12.3m, the Electoral Commission reports. This was followed by Labour on £10.9m and the Liberal Democrats, who received £2m in donations. The overall figure beats the £20.6m given in the first quarter of 2005, just prior to the previous election." - BBC

Tories' take £500,000 from the City boss who calls himself 'Keyser Soze' after movie villain - Daily Mail

YouGov's tracker poll finds dissatisfaction with Coalition equals satisfaction for first time

Screen shot 2010-08-24 at 07.52.59 YouGov also finds the parties on Conservatives 41%, Labour 39%, Liberal Democrats 12%.

"The Liberal Democrats will be ‘hammered’ at the next local elections, Nick Clegg has admitted as the Government faces fresh criticism from his party. The Deputy Prime Minister conceded that he will be punished at the ballot box because he has signed up to the Tories’ plans for massive spending cuts." - Daily Mail

"As he prepares for his conference, Mr Clegg is in a lonely position. He does not deserve the opprobrium being hurled his way. But he needs to worry less about the role of deputy prime minister and more about finding issues that he and his party can proclaim as their own. He tried last week with a speech on social mobility but it could easily have come from Mr Cameron and, besides, it takes decades to measure the success of reforms in this area." - Ian Birrell in the FT (£)

"Clegg's agile positioning in the aftermath of the election is undermined almost fatally by his apparently enthusiastic support for the risky spending cuts that define the Coalition" - Steve Richards in The Independent

David Burrowes MP seeks special protection for war memorials

Graves2 "A senior Conservative MP has written to Cabinet ministers asking them to introduce new laws to protect the memorials following a series of high-profile court cases after sites were vandalised or desecrated... At the moment, war memorials receive no special protection and vandals can only be sentenced to less than six months in prison by a magistrate." - Telegraph

Coalition's abstinence plans to get drug addicts clean could fail because of the public's "extreme prejudice" towards them - Telegraph

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Coalition will cut drug substitutes bill in radical plan to encourage freedom from addiction

Andy Burnham wants taxes on homes, wealth and land - Express

"The U.K. opposition Labour party is engaged in a fresh battle over the issue which dominated the election campaign that saw the party turfed out of office after 13 years: how far and how fast to reduce the U.K.'s £155 billion ($241 billion) budget deficit. Amid a tight campaign to become the next Labour leader, the five candidates have split on the deficit issue, with some now opposing the pre-election Labour government's promise to halve the deficit over four years." - Wall Street Journal (£)

And finally... Jan Moir decides that politicians should never wear jeans

"Jeans can send out a powerful egalitarian message  -  but are far more likely to be a sartorial deathtrap for politicians. They are the one item of clothing that can reduce the high and mighty to the depths of style despair. Should politicians even be allowed to wear them in the first place?" - Jan Moir in the Daily Mail

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