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19 Aug 2011 08:59:54

Newslinks for Friday 19th August 2011

6.30pm LISTEN: David Cameron: "I was on the phone to Obama the other day..." - The Prime Minister tells Test Match Special how he boasted to Barack Obama about England's number one Test cricket ranking

4.30pm Local Government: Council by-election result from yesterday - Updated with the rest of the by-elections from yesterday

3.15pm WATCH: Boris Johnson gets styling advice from 89-year-old Tottenham hairdresser

CashFiscalUnion2.45pm Bill Cash MP on Comment: Fiscal union WILL affect Britain – and we must now have a referendum

Cameron IV on green 1.15pm WATCH: David Cameron: Kabul attack was "a particularly vicious and cowardly attack"

1pm Local Government: Council by-election result from yesterday

Noon ConHomeUSA: Today's top Republican and American political news

11.45am ToryDiary: New borrowing figures, and companies creation statistics - two bits of good news for George Osborne

10am LISTEN: Andrew Tyrie MP: PFI means the taxpayer is "getting ripped off"

ToryDiary: Sally Bercow's not the only one in the family who could be evicted

Screen shot 2011-08-19 at 07.42.47
James Clappison MP on Comment: The withdrawal of benefits might help deter future rioters

Local Government: York Council plan to scrap vital car park

Alexandra Crossley on Think Tank Central: Alexandra Crossley: Disrupting the gangs that feed the conveyor belt to crime

Also on Think Tank Central: Ruth Porter - It’s time for a sea change - only radical change stands any chance of delivering the thriving economy we need

WATCH: 20,000 people attend the funeral of Tahir Jahan's son and two other young men in Birmingham

Conservative MPs demand tougher punishment as eight out of ten voters back riot sentences...

DAVIES Philip "Tory MP Priti Patel told The Sun: "I totally welcome everything the PM has said on exemplary tough sentences. "He can use his authority on this to ensure tougher punishment to deter ALL criminal acts." Mr Clarke is on holiday amid a liberal backlash over the sentences for rioters. Conservative MP Philip Davies said: "The Prime Minister should take advantage of Ken Clarke's holidaying to get as many robust justice policies through as possible. When Ken gets back, the chances of that will be remote." - The Sun

...And every jail centre cell could be filled within weeks

"The number behind bars has shot up by nearly 700 in seven days, prompting a warning that the pressures on the justice system are at their highest since the miner’s strike. Inmate numbers now stand at a record high of more than 86,600 across England and Wales, thanks to recently jailed rioters and looters.That leaves fewer than 1,500 places before prisons hit their operating capacity and emergency measures are needed." - Daily Mail

The Guardian peers at the figures

"According to the data collected so far, 66% of those who have appeared in court are aged under 25 – with 17% aged between 11 and 17. Only a very small number in our data were aged over 30. More than 90% are male. More than two-thirds…were remanded in prison, with 39% being passed to crown courts for trial or sentencing.  Less than 10% of cases collated by the Guardian were given a sentence after their first appearance and there have only been a handful of cases where bail has been granted." - The Guardian

> Yesterday:

Deaths as terrorists rampage through British Council in Kabul

"A suicide squad stormed the offices of the British Council in Kabul this morning killing at least eight people, setting off a wave of explosions and triggering a gun battle inside the building that is still ongoing. British forces are among those battling to take control of the situation, which began at approximately 5.45am local time (0115 GMT), amid reports one of the gunmen is still at large. A spokesman for the Afghan Interior Ministry who was at the scene, said: “Eight people, mostly police, are killed and 10 others injured." - The Times (£)

The Taliban fears governance, not garrisons - Bill Harris, Financial Times (£)

Cameron, Sarkozy and Merkel join Obama in demanding that Assad resign

Screen shot 2011-08-19 at 09.04.51 "Cameron issued a joint statement with Sarkozy and Merkel that noted Assad had ignored appeals from other Middle East states, the Arab League and the United Nations security council to end the violent crackdown: "Our three countries believe that President Assad, who is resorting to brutal military force against his own people and who is responsible for the situation, has lost all legitimacy and can no longer claim to lead the country." - The Guardian

Nearly 10 per cent of Syria's banking deposits disappeared in the first four months of 2011 - Robert Fisk, The Independent

> Yesterday in ToryDiary: Will Syria's Assad "step aside" now the world's leaders have told him to?

At least seven killed in terror attack on Israel and six in reprisal raid on Gaza

"In the first attack, a bus carrying both civilians and soldiers from Beersheba to the tourist resort of Eilat came under heavy gunfire as it travelled along Highway 12, close to the Egyptian border. Then, three terrorists disguised as members of the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) opened fire on a second bus, using rifles and rocket propelled grenades. Last night, the Israeli military responded with bombing raids on the Hamas-run Palestinian enclave of Gaza, from where it said the attacks originated." - Daily Telegraph

With Gaddafi on his last legs, we must prepare for what comes next in Libya - Con Coughlin, Daily Telegraph

> Yesterday: Gazette - Conservative Friends of Israel statement on terrorist attacks in southern Israel

90,000 applicants won't get to University

Screen shot 2011-08-19 at 06.02.22 "Universities closed their doors within hours of A-level results being published yesterday as two in three people seeking a place through clearing were predicted to fail. The head of the University and College Admissions Service (Ucas) said that 136,500 people were chasing just 46,000 places in the fiercest competition in clearing yet. Mary Curnock Cook added that there were about 84,500 more candidates looking for spare places this year as competition was driven by the urgency of beating tuition fee rises in 2012." - The Times (£)

> Yesterday:

British bank shares fall to lowest levels in more than two years

"The fall in bank shares came as more than £62bn was wiped off the value of the UK's leading companies in the most savage one-day stockmarket crash since the height of the financial crisis in 2008. Shares in Barclays, Lloyds Banking Group, HSBC and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) led the collapse, falling to levels last seen in early 2009. The falls mean the combined market value of Britain's four major banks is just £154bn, only £16bn more than the market capitalisation of China's largest bank, ICBC, which is valued at £138bn." - Daily Telegraph

Centre for Policy Studies report says basic rate taxpayers stump up as much as 40p in the pound

"Headline rates of income tax are hiding the real amount that hard-working Britons hand over to the Chancellor, it claims. When National Insurance contributions are added in, the top rate of tax paid by basic rate payers is 40.2 per cent – double the rate of 20p in the pound. Those who pay the higher rate of income tax, levied at 40p in the pound, actually lose 49 per cent." - Daily Mail

Taxpayers forced to pick up Labour's PFI bill

"Labour’s private finance initiative provides extremely poor value for money and needs substantial reform, MPs warn today. A damning report by the Treasury Select Committee said the cost of the badly negotiated deals had rocketed, leaving taxpayers to pick up the bill. The MPs found that the annual interest rate on capital for a typical PFI project has hit eight per cent – double the rate of other government borrowing methods." - Daily Mail

> Yesterday: Sam Bowman on ThinkTankCentral: A Tobin tax would be an economic disaster

Public Accounts Committee says that frontline troops could run out of kit in 30 days - Daily Express

Cameron contests claims of favour for South

Screen shot 2011-08-19 at 06.03.18 "The Prime Minister, speaking exclusively to the Yorkshire Post in response to our Fair Deal for Yorkshire campaign, said the Government was working to rebalance the economy and that the region had done well out of policies such as enterprise zones and transport funding. Mr Cameron has come under fire from business leaders, transport groups and local authorities who have argued more affluent areas of the South are enjoying preferential treatment." - Yorkshire Post

Samantha Cameron's father nets £350,000 a year from subsidised wind farm - Daily Mail

Labour alarm at Livingstone's Boris Hitler jibe

"Senior Labour frontbenchers responded by urging party leader Ed Miliband to replace the Left-wing firebrand with a more credible figure. Tory MPs and friends of Mr Johnson said Mr Livingstone's comments were crass and in 'incredibly poor taste'. A spokesman for Mr Livingstone, who lost the mayorship to Mr Johnson three years ago, insisted he had spoken in jest." - Daily Mail

David Miliband to head youth unemployment task force - The Times (£)

> Yesterday: LeftWatch - Livingstone says that Boris is like Hitler. Vote for him and go to hell - where "your skin will be flayed for all eternity"

Can British political parties be saved from extinction?

"Most people don't use politics for socialising in the way they might have done in the fifties and sixties, when you had a realistic chance of meeting your future husband or wife at a party dinner or dance. "There may be the odd exception, but that really isn't the case any more," says Jonathan Isaby, former co-editor of Conservative Home, a popular website for Tory supporters." - BBC

Phillip Hammond £5000 furniture bill - The Independent

Sally Bercow says that she wants to "put two fingers up to the establishment"

Screen shot 2011-08-19 at 08.46.51
"The 41-year-old wife of the House of Commons Speaker, John Bercow, said her husband did not learn until two days ago that she was entering the house. 'He does know now, he's not exactly chuffed about it,' she said. 'He wasn't very pleased at the time, but he does know what I'm like, we've been married almost nine years and I do my own thing." - Daily Mail

Sally Bercow's sexy big brother secret - Daily Express

Use overseas aid money at home, say Tories - Financial Times (£)

Syrian sufi sheikh leads 20,000-strong funeral for Tariq Jahan's son in Birmingham - Daily Mail

John Major wanted two-party alliance to take on Rupert Murdoch - The Guardian

Equality Commission backs Christians wanting to wear crosses at work (though not those refusing to conduct civil partnership ceremonies) - Daily Mail

Conservative councillor who called rioters jungle bunnies on Facebook is suspended - Daily Mail

News and Comment in Brief

  • Liam Fox's friend set up crucial legal meeting - The Guardian
  • Mulcaire to sue News International - Press Association
  • Labour launches campaign against Government badger cull - Politics Home (£)
  • A three-way division could cure Europe’s ills - William Rees-Mogg, The Times (£)
  • US voters are not mad. Our stereotype of them is patronising and wrong - Martin Kettle, The Guardian
  • Can the Church work with David Cameron? - Paul Goodman, Catholic Herald
  • Researchers at Nasa and Pennsylvania State University claim that aliens observing global warming could launch a pre-emptive attack against us to protect themselves and other civilisations - Daily Mail


> Please use the thread below to provide links to news topics likely to be of interest to ConservativeHome readers and to comment on political topics that haven't been given their own blog. This thread is moderated but during working hours (that's 6am to 10pm for ConHome) comments will usually be delayed no longer than sixty minutes. Read our comments policy here.

18 Aug 2011 09:00:24

Newslinks for Thursday 18th August 2011

7.45pm ToryDiary: Will Syria's Assad "step aside" now the world's leaders have told him to?

6.30pm WATCH: David Cameron congratulates A-Level students on results day

4pm Alex Deane on Comment: Tower Bridge, redux

3.30pm Sam Bowman on ThinkTankCentral: A Tobin tax would be an economic disaster

3pm ToryDiary: Theresa May, the OSCT, extremism - and attacks on British troops

2.30pm Gazette: Conservative Friends of Israel statement on terrorist attacks in southern Israel

2pm Cllr Geoffrey Theobald on Local Government: Green-run Brighton & Hove Council plan Council Tax hike and traveller camps on nature reserves

1.15pm WATCH: Andrew Mitchell on a 'risky' visit to Somalia pledges £29 million in aid

12.30pm ToryDiary: Nick Gibb welcomes record A-Level high

Noon ConHomeUSA:

Screen shot 2011-08-18 at 10.26.06

Today's American political news headlined by a collapse in approval of Obama's economic performance and ConHomeUSA readers back presidential bid by Paul Ryan

Paul Ryan urged to run for President by ConservativeHome readers, only 26% approve of Obama's handling of the economy and Republicans want more Americans to pay some taxes

10am LeftWatch: Livingstone says that Boris is like Hitler. Vote for him and go to hell - where "your skin will be flayed for all eternity"

ToryDiary: If you think we have trouble now, just wait until last week's looters are having their own kids

Matthew Sinclair on Comment: The political price the Conservatives are paying for embracing the green rip-off

Screen shot 2011-08-18 at 08.35.05
Eric Pickles MP on Local Government: How we're helping to rebuild communities hit by the riots

Blair Gibbs on ThinkTankCentral: The role of community policing in fighting crime

WATCH: ‪200,000 applicants to miss out on university‬

On the day A-level results are released, Willetts says that dance, photography and media studies are “not core academic subjects”, and should carry fewer Ucas points

Screen shot 2011-08-18 at 05.27.58 "He said a tariff system operated by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service sent out a “very bad message to young people” because it currently ranked all A-levels as the same. In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, he suggested that the “classic A-levels” traditionally valued by top universities should be given higher ratings by Ucas and in school-by-school league tables published by the Government every year." - Daily Telegraph 

Pressure on students intensifies with over one in three young people unemployed

As unemployment hits almost 8 per cent, rate for under-25s is 36.7 per cent
"The pressure on students receiving their A-level results on Thursday intensified as unemployment data released on Wednesday show 950,000 under-25s are looking for work – a rise of 15,000 in three months. The unemployment rate for 16 to 18-year-olds seeking work is 36.7 per cent – compared with a rate of 7.9 per cent for the population as a whole. Among 18 to 24-year-olds it is 18 per cent" - Financial Times (£)

Financial Times: The Government's higher education policy is beginning to work

"Despite concerns that all universities would charge the maximum fee, the average course in 2012/13 will cost £7,793. This suggests that parts of the sector are indeed competing on price. Moreover, new providers, such as Kaplan and Pearson, which owns the Financial Times, are entering the market. Encouragingly, providers are innovating, offering accelerated two-year degrees, for example. New channels for learning are likely to be the best way to get disadvantaged people into higher education." - Financial Times Editorial (£)

IDS warns over migrant jobs boom...

"The number of British people of working age with jobs has plummeted by nearly 100,000 since David  Cameron took office – but nearly 300,000 foreigners have found work. Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith yesterday warned that the Government is in ‘the last chance saloon’ if it wants to get British people off benefits and into the workplace." - Daily Mail

  • All nine members of the Bank's Monetary Policy Committee agreed interest rate freeze - The Sun
  • Retail sales up in July - Press Association
  • Osborne must heed the misery index - Allister Heath, City A.M
  • Scots families are becoming happier and more content - Scotsman

...And tells the Spectator that the riots will transform Cameron as 9/11 transformed Blair

Screen shot 2011-08-18 at 07.52.06 "The abstract pictures he inherited from his predecessor, Yvette Cooper, have been replaced with scenes of the Duke of Malborough’s victories. When a group of officials came to visit him just after he changed the decor, they told him it felt like the Ministry of Defence. "That’s right," he replied. "I want you to know that from now on, this is the war room."

> Yesterday on ConservativeHome

Cameron Coulson apology (sort of)...

"Following Tuesday’s explosive new claims about phone hacking, the Prime Minister struck a contrite tone by saying ‘sorry’, admitting he would now have ‘taken different decisions’. Asked if it was time for him to apologise, the Prime Minister responded: ‘Well, I did actually say sorry in the House of Commons, very clearly. I said I was sorry for the trouble this had caused because of what had happened.’ " - Daily Mail

  • Coulson Commons evidence misleading on law firm investigation - Daily Telegraph
  • Hacking inquiry clears police chief as Met candidates named - The Times (£)


...And the Prime Minister fights back against lawyers and Liberal Democrats over tough riot sentences

CAMERON SPEAKING "The Prime Minister dismissed claims from civil liberties campaigners and lawyers that swift moves to lock up offenders had been excessive. But, adding to Coalition discomfort, Lib Dems, including former leader Sir Menzies Campbell, questioned whether politicians should be “cheering” such punishments. Ministry of Justice figures showed that two out of three people charged after the riots were remanded in custody, while some who pleaded guilty had already been sentenced to up to four years in jail." - Daily Express

Riot comment:

  • Draconian sentences, weak-kneed liberals and why thugs need to fear the law - Stephen Glover, Daily Mail
  • On social justice, the coalition is reasonableness personified - Tim Montgomerie, The Guardian
  • Theresa May is an obstacle to reform - Stephen Pollard, Daily Telegraph
  • Moral panic: here we go again - Bagehot, The Economist
  • "What these smug, complacent do-gooders forget is that it is working people on run-down estates who bear the brunt of yob crime every day, not smoked salmon socialists safe in their trendy million quid terraces" - Sun Editorial

> Yesterday on ConservativeHome

Merkel and Sarkozy want Britain to pay to save the Euro

Screen shot 2011-08-18 at 08.22.55
"German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy said they wanted to slap a financial transactions tax on all 27 countries in the European Union – in order to prop up the 17 nations in the single currency. The ‘Tobin tax’ would disproportionately hit the City of London, which accounts for about 70 per cent of the financial services industry in Europe." - Daily Mail

Mitchell warns that 400,000 children could starve in Somalia

“If we don’t act now there are 400,000 children at risk of starving to death in Somalia,” Andrew Mitchell told The Times. “People are going to die. The question is how many?” Almost 30,000 children are already believed to have died and, with cholera and measles spreading through a malnourished population, many more are expected to succumb. “We are on the cusp of a disaster that we have the power to prevent,” Mr Mitchell added." - The Times (£)

Huhne speeding claim still stuck in slow lane

"Essex police handed an evidence file to the Crown Prosecution Service last month after Vicky Pryce claimed her former husband asked her to accept penalty points on his behalf. But the CPS said the dossier did not contain enough information for them to reach a decision on whether to prosecute the Lib Dem MP or not. A spokesman said: “We have asked Essex Police to carry out further inquiries. Our review will continue when those inquiries have been completed.” - Daily Express

Helmand drive criticised for lack of planning - Financial Times (£)

A year on from the bonfire of the quangos, three in four survive - Daily Mail

Big Brother's Sally Bercow to hire Max Clifford…and she wants to meet Simon Cowell - Daily Mail

Other Political News and Comment in Brief

  • Treasury Select Committee to probe role of new city watchdog - The Independent
  • "Let best NHS trusts form hospital chains" - The Times (£)
  • Fighting In Key City As Gaddafi Clings On - Sky News
  • Gorbachov says Russia needs free elections to stop it sinking back into communism - Daily Mail
  • Political climate turns against "big six" utilities - Financial Times (£)
  • Syrian security forces adopt shoot-on-sight policy - Daily Telegraph
  • 100 years on, the Lords is doing fine as it is - Vernon Bogdanor, The Times (£)

And finally...Owen Paterson follows Genghis Khan in completing a thousand kilometre horse ride across Mongolia

"Mr Paterson, 54, and wife Rose endured temperatures fluctuating from freezing to 35C, unforgiving terrain and hostile wildlife as they rode 14 hours each day on the charity trek across the Mongolian wilderness. "Good businessman that he is, the Chancellor promised me a cheque, but only on completion," Mr Paterson revealed as he recovered from his adventure in Ulaanbaatar." - Belfast Telegraph


> Please use the thread below to provide links to news topics likely to be of interest to ConservativeHome readers and to comment on political topics that haven't been given their own blog. This thread is moderated but during working hours (that's 6am to 10pm for ConHome) comments will usually be delayed no longer than sixty minutes. Read our comments policy here.

17 Aug 2011 08:51:53

Newslinks for Wednesday 17th August 2011

5.30pm Laura Sandys MP on Comment: What can you do for your Enterprise Zone? I am off to Sweden!

4.15pm WATCH:

4pm Alex Deane on Comment: In the Lilico v Dorries debate, an interesting rebuttal comes to mind

3pm Comment: "What is rapidly becoming clear is that this Conservative-led administration is determined to continue with the sorts of policies that have been employed by politicians in this country for decades. But it is the failure of those policies that we are seeing in tragic episodes such as the rioting, the shootings in Norway, and the financial turmoil that Europe currently finds itself in." - Donna Edmunds writes: In Praise of Capitalism

1.45pm ToryDiary: Tory MPs unite to support the tough sentences given to Facebook riot inciters

12.30pm ThinkTankCentral: Matthew Sinclair's new book "Let them eat carbon" exposes the crippling cost of climate change policy

11.45am ConHomeUSA: Obama blames the Tea Party for putting "party before country", Rick Perry's critics only serve to make his economic record look good, and the rest of today's Republican and American political news

ToryDiary: Osborne and Cameron announce new Enterprise Zones

JakeBerryJake Berry MP on Comment: Booting out looters, muggers and arsonists is the social contract in action

Local Government: Only 1.4% of excluded children get five or more good GCSEs

Jill Kirby on ThinkTankCentral: Better parenting is the best way of preventing crime

WATCH: China prepares for US trade talks

ConHomeUSA WATCH: An onlooker films the full extent of Barack Obama's convoy of buses, police cars, secret service support vehicles and ambulances

George Osborne announces new Enterprise Zones

OSBORNE GEORGE BLUE"David Cameron and George Osborne will unveil plans on Wednesday to create 30,000 jobs in hi-tech industries by doubling the number of enterprise zones." - Daily Mail

  • The Sun wishes there was faster progress on the enterprise zones, saying "The zones are welcome, if they ever get going. Mr Osborne says 30,000 jobs should be created - but not until 2015. That should have the Chinese worried." - The Sun Says

Public agencies to carry out review following David Cameron's comments that the Human Rights Act should not be used to undermine personal responsibility - Guardian

Theresa May considers giving police new powers to impose curfews

May Theresa Home Office"New powers allowing police to clear the streets and create "no-go" areas for the public are being considered, the home secretary, Theresa May, has said. May said it was time to consider whether the police needed a power "to impose a general curfew in a particular area" in the aftermath of last week's riots. The home secretary said the government was also contemplating tougher powers to impose curfews on individual teenagers under the age of 16." - Guardian 

  • Facebook riot inciters in Cheshire among those to get the toughest jailterms yet - Daily Telegraph
  • "Theresa May said police were right not to use rubber or plastic bullets to stop rioters, putting the Home Secretary at odds with the Prime Minister, David Cameron, who had sanctioned their use in a speech to Parliament last week." - The Independent
  • "Applications to lead London's force must be in by midday. The BBC understands Strathclyde chief Stephen House, Acting Met Commissioner Tim Godwin, ex-Northern Ireland head Sir Hugh Orde and former Merseyside head Bernard Hogan-Howe all applied." - BBC

> From yesterday's ConservativeHome:

Tories' reaction to riots is 'bonkers', say Liberal Democrat MPs

Libdem_bird.148121242"Liberal Democrat politicians indicated on Tuesday that they have deep concerns over David Cameron's uncompromising post-riots law-and-order agenda, with the party's home affairs spokeswoman in the Lords telling the Guardian there should be "zero tolerance with zero tolerance". Lady Hamwee, who led the Lords revolt against Tory plans for elected police commissioners earlier this year, said the pledge by the prime minister of zero tolerance on criminality was taking matters too far. Her comment suggests Cameron will meet stiff resistance when parliament returns in September. ... David Ward, MP for Bradford East, described plans to withdraw offenders' benefits as "nuts", and Tessa Munt, the MP for Wells, said the plans were "bonkers, bonkers, bonkers". She said: "Frankly, this all smacks of headline grabbing by Conservatives, not calm, rational policy-making."" - Guardian 

  • Ken Livingstone attacks police cuts, and says that the government did "too little too late" to stop the riots - the Telegraph

UK rioters will be forced to pay in a deal to reduce reoffending

CLEGG NICK"All prisoners are to be forced to join a government jobs programme the moment they are released in a drive to end the “dismal cycle” of repeat offending, Nick Clegg has disclosed." - The Times (£)

> From yesterday - WATCH: Nick Clegg announces riot victims' panel: "We need to ensure the treadmill of crime is stopped"

Paul Goodman: It’s hard to believe Cameron’s words will match his actions

"How, then, could his speech this week possibly have been sincere? We must look in two places for the solution. He will have comforted himself with the thought that – as he said about Libya – one shouldn’t do nothing because one can’t do everything (and in this he is correct). Iain Duncan Smith’s ideas could help to curb the criminal gangs. Michael Gove’s drive for academies is starting to bear fruit. Parenting programmes supported by the Centre for Social Justice, where Duncan Smith laboured in Opposition, may turn round some of the 120,000 problem families of which the Prime Minister spoke." - Paul Goodman, in the Daily Telegraph

Daniel Finkelstein: Who says Bill Bratton has nothing to teach us?

FINKELSTEIN DANNY HANDS"When Mr Bratton became head of New York’s subway police, he put this theory into practice. His force cracked down on fare evasion, a crime that it had previously regarded as too minor to police. The result was the arrest of many serious wanted criminals, the prevention of crime before it happened (those intending to mug people on the train tended not to pay their fare first) and the transmission of a general message that the subway was for the law-abiding. The theory worked. And as commissioner, Mr Bratton applied it more widely and crime plummeted." - Daniel Finkelstein, in the Times (£)

  • Our myopic faith in British police supremacy must end - Ian Birrell, in the Guardian

Nick Clegg: 50p tax rate to stay - unless a "mansion tax" is introduced

"In a blow for Tory demands to slash the highest income tax band, the Deputy Prime Minister said he would not sanction a cut for the rich unless the limit at which people beginning to pay income tax is raised to £10,000. But Mr Clegg did suggest he would accept the abolition of the 50p rate in exchange for a so-called 'mansion tax' on those with expensive properties and fresh moves to crackdown on tax avoidance." - Daily Mail

  • "Nick Clegg insisted yesterday that if the 50p tax rate for the highest paid is to be scrapped, there will have to be some other way of making sure that people at the top of the income scale pay their fair share." - The Independent

Merkel and Sarkozy announce "economic government for the eurozone" 

Euro"The leaders of France and Germany last night set out a vision of an "economic government for the eurozone" as they vowed to defend the single currency and put an end to the sovereign debt crisis that has plagued the bloc. The French President Nicolas Sarkozy and the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, said more economicintegration of the eurozone's members was the only way to restore confidence in the euro following the bail-outs of debt-ridden countries" - Independent

  • Germany and France looked to have failed again to calm feverish financial markets despite unveiling a raft of economic agreements at a summit in Paris. - Daily Telegraph
  • "Slowdown undermines Germany’s role as the eurozone saviour" - The Times (£)
  • "It was almost a case of goodbye Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy; welcome Merkozy, the new Franco-German super-politician. Yesterday’s summit was classic Euro-fudge: radical and possibly disastrous proposals camouflaged by the fact that some other, equally disastrous proposals, were rejected."- Allister Heath, in City AM
  • How to save the euro – kick out Germany - Anatole Kaletsky, in the Times (£)

Simon Heffer: Rise of the Fourth Reich, how Germany is using the financial crisis to conquer Europe

Heffer Talking"Frau Merkel called for a ‘stronger coordination of policy’ and ‘a new quality of cooperation’ within the Eurozone. Although she will not yet admit it, this all suggests the first step has been taken towards a fiscal union that  will leave Germany dictating the financial terms for the rest of Europe. ... Where Hitler failed by military means to conquer Europe, modern Germans are succeeding through trade and financial discipline. Welcome to the Fourth Reich." - Simon Heffer, in the Daily Mail

> Yesterday on ToryDiary: The Heffersaurus becomes hi-tech

John Whittingdale: James Murdoch likely to be recalled by MPs over phone hacking

WHITTINGDALE JOHN"John Whittingdale, the Conservative MP who chairs the committee, said James Murdoch is likely to be recalled, possibly in October, to explain why the evidence he gave last month has been "contradicted by evidence which we've had from others". Whittingdale added: "James Murdoch is there to respond on behalf of the company and I suspect we will want to put all that to him."" - Guardian

  • "News International was accused last night of orchestrating a four-year cover-up over phone hacking after the release of a damning letter from the News of the World’s former royal editor" - Daily Telegraph
  • PM hit by cover-up bombshell: Sensational letter claims that Cameron's former press chief Andy Coulson condoned hacking - Daily Mail

> From yesterday - WATCH: Tom Watson MP: Colin Myler, Tom Chrone and James Murdoch all likely to face MPs again over hacking

An average of an 8 per cent increase on rail fares

"Transport campaigners on Tuesday demanded the government back down from plans to shift more of the burden of paying for rail travel towards passengers, after it became clear government-controlled fares would rise by an average of 8 per cent in January." - The FT (£)

> Yesterday on ToryDiary: Villiers: 8% rail fare rise "essential"

Your £1bn a year bill for migrants’ homes Daily Express

SNP backs away from slashing business tax to 12.5% - The Times (£)

And finally... Ann Widdecombe on David Cameron's inability to re-introduce fox hunting: "you can hear the foxes laughing. Tally, ho, ho, ho, ho!"

WiddecombeAnn5mins"I admit to hooting with mirth when I read in the weekend press that David Cameron now faces difficulties reversing the hunting ban because the new breed of MPs whom he brought in through the A list and at the expense of the old guard whom he despises are actually anti-hunting. Poetic justice was never more pleasing. From the earths of a thousand woods you can hear the foxes laughing. Tally, ho, ho, ho, ho!" - Daily Express


> Please use the thread below to provide links to news topics likely to be of interest to ConservativeHome readers and to comment on political topics that haven't been given their own blog. This thread is moderated but during working hours (that's 6am to 10pm for ConHome) comments will usually be delayed no longer than sixty minutes. Read our comments policy here.

16 Aug 2011 08:59:44

Newslinks for Tuesday 16th August 2011

5.30pm ToryDiary: At a time of punishment, don't forget rehabilitation

4.30pm WATCH: Tom Watson MP: Colin Myler, Tom Chrone and James Murdoch all likely to face MPs again over hacking

4.15pm WATCH: Ed Miliband: Government should 'rethink' police cuts

3.30pm WATCH: Nick Clegg announces riot victims' panel: "We need to ensure the treadmill of crime is stopped"

3pm ToryDiary: Today's Theresa May post-riots speech in full (plus video)

VILLIERS THERESA NW 2pm ToryDiary: Villiers: 8% rail fare rise "essential"

Noon Nadine Dorries MP on Comment: We should shut down social media networking sites during a public disturbance

Noon ConHomeUSA: Romney looks like a winner, Super committee readies for congressional challenges, and The Washington Post issues a challenge to Obama and all 2012 hopefuls: Show us your debt plan

10.45am LISTEN: Nick Clegg gets tetchy when radio presenter reminds him of the time he burnt plants in a greenhouse

ToryDiary: An open letter to David Cameron about his speech on the riots

Also on Tory Diary: The Heffersaurus becomes hi-tech

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David Davis MP on Comment: Our police chiefs should have the humility to listen

Local Government: The number of Special Constables in London has more than doubled under Boris

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Samantha Callan on ThinkTankCentral: Early intervention is key to stopping young people turning to crime

WATCH: Obama pressed by bystanders as a band plays upbeat music 

Tough riot punishments.  May to announce more training for police.  Clegg to spike Miliband's guns with probe.  The fightback continues: but will it work?

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1) Punishments - Magistrates ordered to send rioters to jail

"Courts are being advised that the scale of last week’s civil disobedience means that offences committed during the riots should be dealt with more harshly. The memo, sent late last week by the capital’s most senior justice clerks, led one magistrate to warn that any offenders involved in the “anarchy” can expect a prison sentence. Magistrates appear to have heeded the message, as figures… disclosed that two in three people charged in connection with the riots and looting have been remanded in custody." - Daily Telegraph

2) Riot training - May to make announcement

"As part of the "security fightback" section of the government's response, the home secretary, Theresa May, wrote to…HM's chief inspector of constabulary, asking for clearer guidance for forces on their preparations to tackle riots. Senior officers said that they did not have sufficient number of officers trained in riot control to respond immediately to last week's events, but Home Office sources confirmed on Monday night that they now expected a big expansion in riot training for the police as a result of May's request." - The Guardian

3) Benefits - IDS wants to bar rioters from claiming them

Screen shot 2011-08-16 at 05.40.26 "Convicted rioters are set to be stripped of their welfare benefits even if they are not jailed, a Cabinet minister warned yesterday. Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith said the Government was investigating changing entitlement rules in order to block handouts to claimants identified as looters and thugs. Under existing rules, only jailed lawbreakers can be stripped of welfare handouts. But Mr Duncan Smith said attempts were being made to overhaul the rules." - Daily Express

4) "Boris-tal" - Downing Street mulls Mayor's borstal idea

"Boris Johnson's idea of sending under-age rioters to corrective schools could become law. The PM's spokesman said the London Mayor's Borstal-style proposal was being studied. He added: "We are considering it. We will look at all the ideas people come up with." The Justice Ministry said…we will consider this proposal for their future use." Mr Johnson also wants thugs under 18 who are convicted of rioting to have their free travel passes taken away." - The Sun

5) Child offenders - Cameron wants them named and shamed

"Families of benefit claimants will be subjected to background checks, and child offenders will be “named and shamed” by the courts after the Government announced its biggest crackdown yet after last week’s rioting and looting.  Calling for an across-the-board review of all government policy, David Cameron said yesterday that Britain should “fight back against the attitudes and assumptions that have brought parts of our society to this shocking state”. - The Times (£)

6) Blunt to launch payment-by-results project

"Rehabilitation providers across the public, private and voluntary sectors are being encouraged to design their own payment-by-results projects under a scheme to reward contractors with about £2.5m in “success payments” each year if they show clear reductions in re-offending. The programme – which forms part of the Ministry of Justice’s “rehabilitation revolution” – will focus on cutting reoffending among criminals on short-term sentences, those recently released from prison and those serving community orders." - Financial Times (£)

Dorries, Pritchard urge married couples tax breaks soon

"Conservative MPs told Mr Cameron to turn his rhetoric on the importance of strong families to tackle the moral malaise into concrete action. They want to see a timetable to reward marriage in the tax system – currently scheduled for “before 2015”.  Their demands came as Mr Cameron flashed his Tory credentials with a speech that attacked the “risk-free ground of moral neutrality” and called on a return to core Conservative values of marriage, commitment, discipline and duty to fix a “broken” Britain." - Financial Times (£)

Front runners for Met job: House and Hogan Howe

Two veteran officers with a proven track record of taking on gangs have emerged as frontrunners for the most senior job in British policing. Stephen House, a straight talking Glaswegian and the Chief Constable of Strathclyde Police, is believed to have been asked by the Home Office to apply for the role of Metropolitan Police Commissioner. Bernard Hogan Howe, the former Chief Constable who was recently drafted into the Met to restore order, will also put himself forward before applications close tomorrow." - The Times (£)

Matthew Hancock: "It’s not left-wing to link bankers and the mob"

"The dynamics of human behaviour that caused both the riots and the financial crisis certainly followed the same familiar pattern…That is not to say that the banking crisis, or indeed the MPs expenses scandal, caused the riots. Emphatically they did not. And the scale of criminality among rioters was in another league. Nonetheless, it is not left-wing to criticise the moral vacuum at the top as well as the bottom of society." - Matthew Hancock MP, The Times (£)

Bailouts are bad but didn’t cause riots - Allister Heath, City A.M

More riots news and comment

  • Moral collapse claim "clashes with data", Policy Exchange calls for greater police efficiency - Financial Times (£)
  • Lieutenant Daniel Clack, killed in Afghanistan, represents the spirit of Britain.  The feral rioters do not. - The Sun
  • If racism is the problem, why are poor Chinese doing better at school than poor blacks and poor whites? - Dominic Lawson, The Independent
  • Cameron's speech was unhappily reminiscent of Tony Blair - Daily Telegraph Editorial
  • Mr Cameron must dismantle the Human Rights Act - Stephen Glover, Daily Mail
  • Riots: what is the Liberal Democrats' view? - Guardian Editorial
  • The west’s crisis of honest leaders - Max Hastings, Financial Times (£)

Yesterday's riot coverage on ConservativeHome:

As Merkel and Sarkozy meet today, Soros calls on Portugal and Greece to pull out of euro

Screen shot 2011-08-16 at 08.37.01 "The former currency speculator turned billionaire philanthropist also backed the idea of a euro bond, where debt is issued jointly by member states. He said: ‘Countries sharing the currency must be able to refinance a large part of their debt under the same conditions.’ Such a bond would allow Europe’s poorer countries to raise money cheaply, because French and German financial muscle would act as a guarantee." - Daily Mail

ECB reveals €22bn cost of bond rescue - The Guardian

Downing Street hails Libya "progress"

"Britain today hailed key advances by rebels in Libya - and insisted there would be no let up in the campaign against Muammar Gaddafi. Downing Street said assaults on two strategically-important towns near Tripoli demonstrated that "progress" was being made. Fierce fighting has been reported in Zawiya, just 30 miles west of the capital, and Gharyan, 50 miles to the south. If the towns fall to the rebels, they could effectively block land access to the dictator's stronghold, while Nato controls sea routes." - The Independent

Other news and comment in brief

  • Free schools setback as ministers publish planning rules - The Guardian
  • Assad rejects Spain's asylum offer - The Times (£)
  • Google snaps up Motorola Mobility - Financial Times (£)
  • More than £12m paid out in legal costs and compensation to immigrants and asylum seekers in just a year - Daily Mail
  • The race is on to challenge Obama - The Sun
  • Rail travellers to face fare misery - Press Association

And finally...No Mandy for Strictly Come Dancing? Send for Edwina Currie! (Remember her?)

"She will follow in the footsteps of former Tory politician Ann Widdecombe and BBC’s ex-political editor John Sargeant when she lines up on the popular BBC1 series next month. The 64-year-old is now in advanced discussions with BBC executives after they failed to persuade former Labour business secretary Peter Mandelson to take part in the competition." - Daily Mail


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