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Newslinks for Wednesday 26th January 2011

10pm Melanchthon on Comment: The Government couldn’t abolish control orders

Screen shot 2011-01-26 at 22.05.10 6.30pm On Australia Day, Matthew Elliott explains on Comment: Why the Australian experience shows AV to be an unfair electoral system promoted by politicians rather than the people

6pm WATCH:

4.15pm Two reactions on Comment to the Counter-Terrorism Review:

3.30pm Seats and Candidates update: Gerry Adams is formally appointed to an office of profit under the Crown, disqualifying him from the Commons

2.15pm Local government: London Assembly Lib Dems and Greens cosy up to Red Ken

2pm Parliament: Theresa May unveils the conclusions of the Counter-Terrorism review, signalling a restoration of civil liberties while ensuring people's safety and security

Picture 17
12.45pm ToryDiary: At PMQs David Cameron lays the blame for the deficit at the feet of "Gordon Brown's two henchmen at the Treasury"

10.45am From ConHomeUSA: Summary of reaction to President Obama's State of the Union speech

Picture 810.30am Graeme Archer on Comment: "The wretched case over a B&B in Cornwall; Baroness Warsi's view of dinner party conversations about Islam; football commentators being caught discussing the sporting and aesthetic merits of a female linesman. Religion vs sexuality; Muslim vs non-Muslim; men vs women: three cases that highlight the outcome of an adherence to the Left's politics of identity. In no case has the application of a law increased human happiness. Identity politics, indeed, lead not to greater understanding of common problems, but to greater distance between the groups 'protected' by the laws."

George Osborne on Marr 2ToryDiary: A six-point plan for George Osborne, who should stay in post for this Parliament

Matthew Sinclair on Comment: To create the conditions for growth, get rid of avoidable burdens on families and businesses

Also on Comment: Ed McRandal asks Could ruling against Murdoch lead to less, not more, media plurality?

Parliament: Tony Baldry calls for a reduction in the regulatory burden on the owners of Historic Houses open to the public

Local Government: Council snooping powers curbed

WATCH:

Mervyn King warns of economic trouble ahead...

Picture 7 "In a speech in Newcastle, the Governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King, gave warning that inflation would rise to "uncomfortably high" levels this year – peaking at "between 4 per cent and 5 per cent" before "falling back" next year. Mr King also said that unless there was pay restraint, interest rates would quickly be raised." - The Independent

...as ministers insist there is no Plan B after drop in GDP

"George Osborne and Vince Cable insisted there was ‘no Plan B’ last night despite shocking figures suggesting Britain is on the brink of the first double dip recession since the 1970s. The Coalition partners joined forces to echo Margaret Thatcher’s famous economic mantra, ‘There is no alternative’, as they refused to reconsider massive public spending cuts. David Cameron rammed the message home, telling Cabinet colleagues that cutting the unprecedented budget deficit left behind by Labour was a ‘prerequisite for growth’." - Daily Mail

"George Osborne, the Chancellor, said that the December snow was chiefly to blame for the surprise 0.5 per cent fall in GDP in the last three months of 2010. The City had been expecting a rise of up to 0.7 per cent. The Office for National Statistics said that even without the cold weather growth would have ground to a halt." - The Times (£)

Inflation, stagflation and interest rate rises lie in wait over the year ahead - The Guardian

Reaction to the economic figures from the commentariat

Allister Heath "Yesterday’s data was even more preliminary than usual. The ONS admitted that much of it was really guesswork. I have long thought that it would be better to wait a bit longer before providing the markets (and journalists) with absurd, incomplete figures which are always revised upwards, generally by about 0.2 percentage points... The government should stick to its austerity plans, which did not cause yesterday’s supposed slump and which are the only way to prevent a sovereign crisis. It is not (yet) time to panic or predict a new recession." - Allister Heath in City AM

"A harsh winter did disrupt travel and depress retail sales, and the GDP number is as yet a preliminary estimate. But even if you strip out the effect of the snows, the economy showed no growth in the last quarter, and there is scant cause for encouragement anywhere in the data." - Times (£) editorial

Danny Finkelstein 2011 "The current plan of the Government appears to be to cut the deficit and to come out the other side having completed that task and hoping to be congratulated by the electorate. But the first rule of strategy reveals this to be an error. If the Government’s task is deficit reduction and it has been completed, then Britain is at its final destination, not “on the right track” and, since it has arrived, it can’t really “turn back”. Labour wouldn’t be risky change." - Daniel Finkelstein in The Times (£)

"The truth is that excessive state spending, of which Mr Balls was the chief architect, was one of the principal causes of our dire plight. The cure can lie only in a revival of the private sector, where there are encouraging signs that manufacturing and exports are continuing to improve. Yes, Mr Osborne must do much more to help businesses. But on the cuts, he must keep his nerve." - Daily Mail editorial

"With the return of the spectre of a double-dip recession, Labour's historic disagreements on the deficit shrink into irrelevance. A Conservative Chancellor has embarked on the most severe fiscal consolidations in 30 years, explicitly rejecting any thought of a "Plan B". That suddenly looks less like bravery and more like supreme recklessness." - Independent editorial

John Redwood "On any analysis the figures are disappointing. There may be a  bounce in January as last January saw very bad weather. All surely can agree, however, that we need more growth for the private sector led recovery which is central to the government’s economic policy. The government needs to listen carefully to those who say we need a deregulatory and tax package that promotes enterprise and job creation, and a banking system that can deliver more credit for worthwhile projects including the  construction of new power stations, roads, homes and factory capacity. We also need to work out how to snow proof more of our economy, just in case we are in for more bad weather." - John Redwood on his blog

> Yesterday's coverage on ConHome:

Theresa May to announce details of counter-terrorism review this afternoon

Theresa May Home Secretary "MI5 is to be given £20m to cope with the extra surveillance required to keep watch on control order suspects when the scheme is scrapped. Theresa May, the home secretary, will announce the extra resources as she lays out plans for less stringent restrictions later today, sources told the Daily Telegraph. Curfews will be abandoned and replaced with “overnight residence orders” that will only require suspects to stay at a designated address over night." - Daily Telegraph

"Security chiefs have won their battle to slap draconian restrictions on the UK's most dangerous terror suspects, The Sun can reveal... security sources said there will also be powers to impose much tougher restrictions on highest-risk suspects. These could include longer curfews, tighter restrictions on movements and intensive surveillance. The decision is seen as a blow for Deputy PM Nick Clegg who had vowed to abolish the control order system altogether." - The Sun

"The Government's review of counter-terrorism powers should be about keeping people safe in their homes, "not keeping Nick Clegg safe in his job", according to shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper." - Press Association

Labour extends lead over Tories in latest Guardian/ICM poll

"Labour has extended its lead over the Conservatives but voters have yet to warm to Ed Miliband as a potential prime minister, according to a Guardian/ICM poll. Carried out before yesterday's poor GDP figures were published, but after the resignations of Andy Coulson and Alan Johnson, the poll confirms that Labour's overall position has strengthened since the autumn. The party is on 39%, unchanged from the last ICM poll of 2010 and up 10 points since Britain voted last May. The Conservatives are on 35%, down two to their joint-worst ICM score since the general election. The Liberal Democrats are on 15%, up two." - The Guardian

Ex-Tory peer faces prospect of jail over expenses scandal

Lord Taylor of Warwick 2011 "Once feted in Westminster as the first black Conservative peer, Lord Taylor of Warwick was last night facing a substantial jail sentence after being found guilty of abusing his expenses. The 58-year-old former practising barrister became the first parliamentarian to be tried and found guilty by a jury after the expenses scandal... The jury found that Lord Taylor had falsely told the House of Lords members' expenses office that his main residence was in Oxford, when he lived in west London... The property in Oxford was where his half-nephew Robert Taylor lived with his partner Tristram Wyatt, who owned the house. Lord Taylor never stayed there and had no legal or financial interest in it." - The Independent

  • Profile of Lord Taylor of Warwick - BBC
  • Lazy, inept, dishonest... a disgrace to his party - Andrew Pierce in the Daily Mail

> Yesterday in Parliament: Ex-Tory peer Lord Taylor of Warwick found guilty of making false expense claims

Labour peers warned they risk extinction as they hold up plans for electoral reform

"Labour peers holding up the Coalition’s electoral reform plans are being warned they risk being swept away as the House of Lords is abolished. Cabinet ministers say their enthusiasm for rapid reform of the second chamber has been hugely increased in recent weeks by the antics of opposition peers who have been trying to block flagship legislation." - Daily Mail

Doubts cast on coalition's 'Big Society' and nudging tactics

"Most councils have not started introducing the government's "Big Society" agenda and do not understand what it is, a study reveals today. A report by the consultancy firm Deloitte reveals that 80% of councils have not made any progress on the localism agenda. Many claim they are faced with Whitehall "intransigence" and resistance to the plans and that there is "no common understanding" across government about what the big society actually is." - The Guardian

Simon Heffer: David Cameron now has no chance of understanding ordinary people

SImon Heffer "Almost the only thing I do not hold against Mr Cameron is that he is an Old Etonian, since at least I know he had one of the best educations money can buy; he may yet use it to the good of our country. But he and his Chancellor, Mr Osborne, have never needed to work for a living. It is not that they are cut off so much by experience from the rest of the people that they purport to govern; it is that they are cut off by culture." - Simon Heffer in the Daily Telegraph

  • Dominic Sandbrook: Why today's politicians are too posh (and I don't just mean the Tories) - Daily Mail

Other political news in brief

  • Jeremy Hunt gives Murdoch more time before BSkyB bid goes to Competition Commission - Daily Mail
  • BBC takes axe to jobs at World Service - The Times (£)
  • Millions pay price as taxman "loses" £1.2bn - Daily Mail
  • "75% on sick are skiving" - Daily Express
  • £70m bill for schools that had to close - Daily Telegraph

Blair kept Cabinet in dark over Iraq, says former Cabinet Secretary

"Tony Blair never showed key documents on Iraq to his cabinet colleagues and left ministers “imprisoned” in a position of choosing between his downfall or that of Saddam Hussein, according to his former cabinet secretary. In highly critical testimony to the Iraq inquiry, Lord Turnbull, the former head of the civil service, contradicted Mr Blair and said the cabinet never “knew the score” in 2002 on the likelihood of military action against Iraq." - FT (£)

Ed and David Miliband shake hands on plan for 'army' of 10,000 activists

David and Ed Miliband "David and Ed Miliband are combining to create a 10,000-strong "army" of community organisers in the first formal rapprochement for the pair since Ed beat David to the Labour party leadership. The Movement for Change, set up by David during his leadership campaign, is to be relaunched in March and expanded, initially under the wing of the Labour party. The brothers want to increase tenfold the 1,000 activists trained through that campaign to organise people, such as patients, parents and tenants, to resist change imposed by state or the private sector in their neighbourhoods." - The Guardian

Labour news in brief

  • Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls backs extension to 50p tax rate - Daily Mail
  • Ed Miliband's rallying call to lost Liberal Democrats - The Independent
  • Alan Johnson breaks silence to tell how he "couldn't cope" with work and personal turmoil - Daily Mirror

Former Tory MP Phil Gallie dies aged 71

"Variously described as a “lovable right-wing loony”, “rent-a-mouth Gallie”, the “Scottish Tories’ unguided missile system” and “a frothing, anachronistic throwback”, the pugilistic and effervescent Gallie was famous for his ability to provide quotes on almost every subject imaginable... When he announced that he would be spending his holidays taking the message of capitalism to Romania to help the country’s fledgling Conservatives fight a general election, the Scottish National Party’s business manager, Mike Russell, observed: “After two weeks of Phil Gallie, they’ll be bitterly regretting that they got rid of Ceausescu.” - Daily Telegraph obituary

> Yesterday's Gazette: Former Conservative MP and MSP Phil Gallie has died

And finally... ex-GP Liam Fox comes to aid of fellow passenger on flight from Turkey

Liam Fox on Politics Show "Dr Liam Fox came to the aid of a pregnant mother in difficulty during a flight, it has emerged. The defence secretary, who was a GP before entering politics, answered a call from the pilot for anyone with medical assistance to come forward. He assisted the woman on the flight from Istanbul to London until she was met by paramedics at the airport. A spokesman for Dr Fox said it was the third time in four years he had been called into action in such a way." - BBC

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