Newslinks for Wednesday 27th April 2011
6pm Paul Goodman on Comment: The dream that Syria's al-Assad could be lured away from Iran was always an illusion
- Osborne welcomes "good news" of economic growth despite "choppy" global conditions
- David Cameron accused of sexism after saying "calm down dear" to Angela Eagle
2pm Mark Field MP on Comment: Banking reform - never a cost-free revolution
1pm Local government:
- What Eric did in the Easter holidays
- The battle for Cheshire East
- The battle for Harlow
- Will the Green Party split the socialist vote?
9.30am ToryDiary: Economy grew by 0.5% in last quarter
Andrew Bridgen MP on Comment: Bailing out Portugal would be throwing good money after bad and urgently needs to be debated in Parliament
Baroness Stowell on Parliament writes about her first few months in the House of Lords
Local government: The battle for Telford & Wrekin and Tory council leaders reply to Rod Liddle's Non-Jobs charge
David Cameron brands Lord Ashdown ‘sanctimonious’ over AV - Metro
The Express records Cameron's latest attack on AV; 'A life support machine for dead governments'
The FT (£) records Tory unhappiness at recent Lib Dem attacks on them: "Another well-connected Tory MP said: “What the Lib Dems have done has made Lords reform less likely. Tory backbenchers don’t like all this mucking around with the constitution. “What the Lib Dems have been doing is pathetic and childish. It makes it much less likely we will do anything to help them after May 5.” Conservative MPs are particularly scornful of Mr Huhne, whom they suspect of whipping up anti-Tory sentiment to establish his leadership credentials, should Mr Clegg be forced out of office. “He’s on manoeuvres,” said one Tory minister."
Meanwhile the Scottish Lib Dem leader Tavish Scott has warned that David Cameron would have "burned Scotland at the stake" if he hadn't been restrained by Nick Clegg in Coalition - Scotsman
Farron, Huhne and Cable are the leading contenders to succeed Clegg - The Guardian
Hours before GDP figures, Osborne warns that Britain is still not out of the economic woods
"George Osborne, the Chancellor, has warned his Cabinet colleagues that the country continues to face “difficult” economic conditions, on the eve of critical growth figures. Official figures today will reveal how Britain fared in the first three months of 2011 after suffering a deep drop in output in the final quarter of 2010, blamed on freezing weather. But economists are warning that the royal wedding bank holiday may have a dampening impact on growth figures for the second quarter of 2011, due later this year, further contributing to the “choppiness” of the recovery deep into the year." - Times (£)
Middle class students will pay at least £2,700 more in university tuition fees to subsidise those from low income families – even if they go on to earn much less in later life - Telegraph
Public Accounts Committee warns that NHS reforms may distract from hunt for £20 billion of efficiency savings - BBC
PM 'won't rule out' arming Libya rebels amid fears of drawn-out war - Daily Mail
The Sun calls for the "rules" of the Libyan conflict to be changed so that Gadaffi can be targeted and eliminated.
William Hague has said he "utterly condemns" the violence being used by Syrian forces against pro-democracy demonstrators - BBC
Anatole Kaletsky notes how the Coalition is taking money from the young and giving it to the old
"Spending has been cut on most programmes that benefit future generations but do little for the bulk of today’s voters — school buildings, universities, scientific research, energy innovation and long-term infrastructure investment. Child benefit has been cut for higher-earning families and education maintenance allowances have been abolished. Meanwhile, government spending on elderly voters continues to grow, sucking the lifeblood out of public services that would benefit children and build the nation’s future. State pensions have been gold-plated with David Cameron’s unprecedented “triple-lock” guarantee, which promises annual escalation in line with the highest of three inflation factors: consumer prices, average earnings or 2.5 per cent. Free bus passes and television licences, winter fuel payments and age allowances have all been left untouched." - Anatole Kaletsky in The Times (£)
In Scotland, Annabel Goldie stands by orthodox Conservative policy on prisons
"Community-based alternatives to prison sentences have "severe flaws", Scottish Tory leader Annabel Goldie has claimed. Miss Goldie, campaigning outside Barlinnie Prison with Glasgow list candidate Ruth Davidson, wants short jail sentences for convicted criminals to be brought back. The Scottish Conservatives have pledged to restore custodial sentences of three months or less as an option for the courts." - Scotsman
Ed Balls attacks Alex Salmond's "barmy" economics
"Mr Balls said it was “baffling” that someone who has made such inaccurate pronouncements about the economy over the last four years could be trusted to be in charge of Scotland. Reeling off a list of examples during a Holyrood election campaign stop, he called the notion of fiscal autonomy for Scotland “barmy” and Mr Salmond’s support for adopting the euro “totally crackers”." - Telegraph
A Labour candidate for the Welsh Assembly has apologised after saying he hopes Margaret Thatcher will die soon - BBC
Stephen Glover (no fan of Tony Blair) attacks Royal family's decision to exclude the two former Labour PMs from Friday's wedding
- "t is highly regrettable — indeed, I would say constitutionally irregular — that the two most recent prime ministers of this country, who happen to be Labour, have not been invited to Friday's Royal Wedding.
Neither Tony Blair nor Gordon Brown is among the guest list of 1,900 that includes — let's be frank — some pretty unsavoury foreign leaders, as well as some rackety private individuals." - Stephen Glover in the Daily Mail
- Daily Mail leader: "This paper never held a torch for Tony Blair. But the fact is that he and Gordon Brown were the Prime Ministers of this country for 13 years. As such, they were the people’s representatives, the figureheads of our democracy and the Queen’s first ministers. Excluding them from the guest list for the royal wedding, while inviting Lady Thatcher and Sir John Major, breaks every constitutional convention."
> On Sunday on LeftWatch Tim Montgomerie reached the same conclusion.
The Prime Minister's cuts to the Health and Safety Executive will cost more lives - Johann Hari in The Independent
Dan Hannan enjoys watching France and Italy square up to each other over control of their borders
"The French government is demanding less European integration. President Sarkozy, furious at the sight of Tunisian migrants being waved through by Italian carabinieri, and uncomfortably aware that opinion polls put him behind the Front Nationale’s Marine Le Pen, is demanding that the Schengen Treaty be revised to allow countries to reimpose frontier controls." - Dan Hannan in The Telegraph