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28 Sep 2011 08:17:50

Newslinks for Wednesday 28th September 2011

3.30pm WATCH: Yvette Cooper says that "Blair was right, tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime"

3pm Tobias Ellwood MP on Comment: Project Maja – Social Action in Bangladesh

2.45pm Local government: Conservatives should stand candidates for the police commissioner elections

2pm MPsETC: Jesse Norman produces an accountable and comprehensive report of his first year as an MP

12.30pm LeftWatch: Ken Livingstone responds to rumours about the Labour party wishing to ditch him as the London Mayoral candidate 

Mstr Noon: Mel Stride MP on Comment: Why I'm opposed to capital punishment

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

9.30am WATCH: Ed Miliband defends the attacks he made on bad business practices in his conference speech

ToryDiary: What are the stepping stones to a Conservative majority?

Anthony Browne on the Columnists page: Politicians are keen to blame the banks for the economic crisis but the politicians who borrowed too much and the politicians who created the €uro also bear responsibility

Matthew Hancock MP on Comment: Ed Balls and Ed Miliband are still going backwards

Local Government: Labour would restore top down housing targets

WATCH: Michael Crick goes to find out whether Ed Miliband is electable

Boos for Tony Blair appear to confirm Ed Miliband's leftwards lurch 

Screen shot 2011-09-28 at 07.18.47 “The task of leadership in this generation is no ordinary task,” he said. “It is to chart a new course and strike a new bargain in our country.” His speech in Liverpool appeared to mark a notable shift to the Left, which was seen as a gamble that voters were prepared to move from the centre ground at the next election. There were boos as Mr Miliband mentioned Tony Blair, the man who led the party to three consecutive victories. “I’m not Tony Blair. I’m not Gordon Brown either. I’m my own man,” he said" - Telegraph

>Yesterday's ConservativeHome

Benedict Brogan argues that Miliband's shift to the left may be "bold", but is a gift to the Tories 

Brogan "Mr Miliband has persuaded himself that public uncertainty about the economy, accelerated by anger with bankers, journalists and politicians, shows that the system itself is bust. Voters, he believes, are giving up on capitalism and looking to the state to intervene. Yesterday, in keeping with the risk-taking that he boasted was one of his qualities, he bet everything on red and shifted Labour to the Left, certain that the centre-ground of politics has gone that way." - Telegraph

  • Guardian editorial suggest the speech was in an ethical socialist tradition with deep roots in British labour history - Guardian
  • Janet Daley says that Ed Miliband's socialism goes back to "something a lot older than Neil Kinnock or even Michael Foot" - Telegraph
  • Labour cannot rely on Tory failures to get back into power - Guardian
  • Milband's speech suffers from a power glitch - the Sun's cartoon suggest David was responsible - Sun
  • John Kay: 'Dickens, Mrs Duffy and a big dilemma for the left' - FT (£)

Danny Finkelstein makes comparisons with Hague, and suggests that Milband has two fatal flaws - people don't see Ed Miliband as a PM, and that he's too left wing 

Fink "Instant reaction to Ed Miliband may not be fair (I don’t think it is) but it is very powerful. Shown clips of the Labour leader, focus groups members start shaking their heads and saying “no”. When asked what they think about having him as prime minister, they often laugh. They attach qualities to him such as “weak” and “not up to the job” that are related to his demeanour rather than his actions. The reaction is even stronger than it was with Mr Hague" - Times (£)

Jonathan Freedland says that Miliband may suffer from the same fate as Gordon Brown - "Brown taught us that policy nuances count for little if the public don't warm to you"

"Put simply, my fear is that you can make all the speeches and policy statements you like – carefully devising a strategy on this and crafting a narrative on that – but what matters more are shallow considerations of looks, demeanour, speech patterns and biography. That, in short, it is personality, not policy, that counts" - Guardian

  • Andrew Pierce says that Miliband "spoke with all the authority of a wet lettcue" - Daily Mail
  • Matthew Norman: 'It really doesn't matter what Ed said' - Independent

> Yesterday's LeftWatch: Labour may, finally, have some better tunes but Ed Miliband is singing them

John Rentoul decodes Ed Miliband's speech - what he said, and what he really means Independent

The Daily Mail Comment welcomed Miliband's speech as "a ball-and-chain demolition of New Labour"

"His words amounted to a ball-and-chain demolition of New Labour and the abuses that flourished under it. True, Mr Miliband himself - and many who applauded him - were right at the heart of the Blair/Brown Project that did such grievous harm to the social and economic fabric of our country. But the great truth he now acknowledges is that under his predecessors, the link between honest effort and reward was severed, giving way to the ‘something for nothing of celebrity culture" - Daily Mail

  • Alex Smith of LabourList describes it as a "coming of age" speech - Huffington Post

Miliband's crusade against "bad busness" is accused of hypocrisy with Labour currently negotiating the payment of a £1m donation from a former tax exile

"Last month the Labour leader also said he wanted to tackle “tax avoidance”, which is legal. Mr Rosenfeld, a property tycoon, only recently returned to the UK after five years in Geneva. In 2005 the tycoon was criticised during the collapse of Allders after refusing to accept responsibility for its £68m pension deficit despite his large financial stake in the retail chain. Mr Rosenfeld, a generous philanthropist, was also caught up in the Labour “cash for honours” affair in 2006 and briefly switched allegiance to the Tories. He was not accused of any wrongdoing" - FT (£)

  • Deputy Chairman of the Tory Party Michael Fallon, says private equity was “out of control” under Labour City A.M

Yvette Cooper is set to announce that former Met Commissioner Lord Stevens is to head a Labour party review on policing 

Stevens_john "She [Yvette Cooper] says the inquiry would work with the police and take evidence from experts at home and abroad and look at how policing needs to change to respond to the crime challenges of the 21st century. "It will be led by someone who started as a beat officer in Tottenham and rose to be commissioner of the Metropolitan police. I am grateful to the much respected Lord John Stevens for agreeing to chair this important independent review" - Guardian

  • Met Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe says that victims should determine whether or not an offence is investigated - Telegraph
  • '24 hour police stations close as cash cuts bite' - Express

Shadow Culture Secretary Ivan Lewis comes under fire for his comments on monitoring journalism, with the Labour party leadership refusing to endorse his comments - Times (£) I Guardian

The child star of the Labour conference and the truth behind his 'life of poverty'

"At just 16, Rory Weal was being feted yesterday as the ‘hero’ of the Labour conference for an impassioned speech telling how the welfare state saved his family from ruin... it turns out he is the privileged son of a millionaire property developer who sent Rory to a private school until his business went bust." - Daily Mail

Michael Gove argues that "the crude social engineering of A-levels insults any child who wants to succeed on merit" 

Gove_michael_7 "Deciding that jobs, or positions of influence, should be allocated on the basis of where you come from, not what you can do, is the sort of thinking we should leave to defenders of the feudal system and discredited Marxists. But, sadly, the deluded notion that background matters more than ability is still alive, well and undermining excellence in the cloistered seminar rooms of the Left-wing education establishment. How else to explain the bizarre idea which has emanated from one of our examination boards that students with weaker A-levels, if they’ve attended a poor school, should be able to automatically leapfrog students who possess stronger A-levels in the race for university places?" - Daily Mail

  • Labour to propose a UCAS style system for apprenticeships - Times (£)

> Yesterday on Columnists: Anthony Browne sends the AQA to the bottom of the class: "The master of Magdalen College, Oxford has pointed out the unfairness of marking down a poor pupil who receives a bursary to an independent school while marking up a student who goes to a "leafy comprehensive".

NHS chief, Sir David Nicholson challenges Andrew Lansley on his plan to to block failing foundation hospitals from returning to direct NHS control 

Lansley "In evidence to the public inquiry into failings at the Mid-Staffordshire NHS Trust, Nicholson called on the government to retain the renationalisation of a failing trust in its "armoury". Nicholson is understood to have voiced, in private, reservations about the Lansley plan, which was introduced as an amendments to the bill after the government's "listening exercise" on the NHS reforms" - Guardian

Bill Cash MP asks why are MPs are silent over the planning reforms?

Cash "Silence is not always golden. Many MPs are increasingly disturbed by the Government’s planning reforms – but, as yet, they have remained relatively mute. Having signed up for plans they were told would stimulate growth, they now face increasing protests from their core supporters. Part of the problem is that MPs were not given the complete picture at the right time. The planning framework was not even available for inspection until after the localism Bill had passed the House of Commons – Sir Humphrey would be proud, but many MPs feel justifiably aggrieved" - Telegraph

  • The Planning Officers' Society tells ministers that the planning reforms will reduce house prices - Telegraph

Conservative MEPs slam the EU's proposal to enforce 20mph speed limits in residential areas Daily Mail

Coroner rules that heart disease killed West Oxfordshire Conservative association chairman, Christopher Shale Scotsman

The MoD's commander in Saudi Arabia (responsible for key arms sales) returns home unexpectedley - Times (£)

Ken Livingstone responds to rumours that he could be replaced as candiadate for London's mayor by Alan JohnsonIndependent

Rangers fans lead protest at Ibrox last night, against SNP plans for anti-sectarian legislation Scotsman


> 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.

27 Sep 2011 16:59:28

Teatime newslinks for Tuesday 27th September 2011

6.30pm WATCH: Hear the boos as Miliband says: "I'm not Tony Blair."

Screen shot 2011-09-27 at 18.36.24
5.45pm ToryDiary: Tory Conference slogan: Leadership For A Better Future

5.30pm Nick Pickles on Comment: It's time to stop civilians using police powers


  • Paul Goodman's take on LeftWatch: "Ed Miliband's standing with the voters was summed up by a passage of his speech.  "My message to the public is simple," he cried - and, as he did so, the live BBC coverage I was watching died.  The moment was apt. ... This wasn't a heartfelt speech.  This was a deeply cynical speech - down to the detail of Bombardier, whose closure Miliband condemned, but which was planned under Labour."
  • Also on LeftWatch: Labour may, finally, have some better tunes but Ed Miliband is singing them
  • VIDEO: Miliband jeered - when he mentions Tony Blair - BBC
  • Miliband vows a "new bargain" for Britain - BBC 
  • Archbishop Cranmer didn't like this "bargain" turn of phrase. His Grace said: "Labour’s lightweight leader talked incessantly about a ‘new bargain’ with Britain, imposing the ‘right values’, that nothing will come of nothing, and alien versus predator or something like that."
  • The Daily Mail's Tim Shipman: "In his own terms, Mr Miliband failed. He aimed for a tectonic shift in politics and came up with a blancmange that went round in ever decreasing circles, repeating the most banal phrases.And what of his claim to be shattering the 'closed circles' of establishment privilege? Do these conservative and mysterious forces include the trade unions, who hold his party in a death grip still? We have no idea. In all the hour-long agony there was no mention of the unions or their plans for nationwide strikes."
  • The unions approved of the speech - according to Paul Waugh, Paul Kenny of the GMB says "we've seen a boy become a man".
  • The Guardian's Julian Glover tweets: "Just asked former Blair aide what TB response to speech would be. Answer: "head in hands depression""
  • Compared to other newspapers, the Evening Standard's editorial this evening was kind (but still negative about Labour's current state): "On the basis of this conference, the party still has its work cut out."
  • The BBC and Sky both lost the television feed for Miliband's speech due to "power failure" - Daily Mirror
  • A Miliband speech word-cloud from - Guido Fawkes
  • And, the speech in full - Daily Telegraph
27 Sep 2011 08:28:19

Newslinks for Tuesday 27th September 2011

4.30pm LeftWatch: It wasn't a heartfelt speech.  It was a cynical speech.  Which is why it won't work.

1.45pm Columnists: Anthony Browne sends the AQA to the bottom of the class: "The master of Magdalen College, Oxford has pointed out the unfairness of marking down a poor pupil who receives a bursary to an independent school while marking up a student who goes to a "leafy comprehensive".

1.30pm WATCH: Tom Watson tells Labour's Conference that News International is "sick from top to bottom"

Screen shot 2011-09-27 at 13.29.41 12.30pm ToryDiary: Final opportunity to advertise in ConservativeHome's Party Conference newspaper

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

10.30am Ben Howlett on Comment: Miliband has nothing credible to offer students

ToryDiary: Where is the wave of protest over the arts spending scaleback?

LeftWatch: Labour may, finally, have some better tunes but Ed Miliband is singing them

Stephan Shakespeare on our columnists' page: Our society can't move forward if we don't become more productive

Guy Hordern on Comment: How committed is the Government to religious education?

Local Government:

WATCH: A cut-out guide to Miliband's year 

Morning, Ed! Seen ComRes? On your big day, the Conservatives have edged ahead of Labour for the first time in a year

Screen shot 2011-09-27 at 05.44.17
"Ed Miliband suffered a double setback last night as the Conservatives edged ahead of Labour in a poll for The Independent which also shows that only one in four voters regards him as a credible Prime Minister-in-waiting. As the Labour leader prepared for his crucial speech to his party's conference in Liverpool today, the Tories enjoy a lead for the first time since October last year, just before Chancellor George Osborne outlined the Coalition's spending cuts, the research by ComRes shows." - The Independent

"Today the Labour leader makes the most important speech of his life. Voters are becoming turned off by him. On the eve of his conference address, the Tories have gone ahead in an opinion poll for the first time in a year." - Sun Editorial

And it's a Blue Labour speech: the Labour leader will attack bankers, scroungers

Screen shot 2011-09-27 at 05.44.33 "Ed Miliband will target asset strippers and antisocial tenants on Tuesday as he vows to rebuild society so that the values of the decent majority are heard, ending a morally inverted system that rewards vested interests with the wrong values. In his major speech to the Labour party conference, he will also attack suggestions that company executives are the only ones that create prosperity, saying "the true wealth creators are not just an elite, but every man and woman who goes out to work"." - The Guardian

"Mr Miliband will also use his speech to Labour’s conference in Liverpool to try to reverse the party’s image as being soft on benefit cheats – promising to create a ‘something for something’ principle in welfare.  He will say council houses should no longer be allocated just on the basis of need, but also on contribution to society – whether applicants are working, have looked after previous homes or are good neighbours." - Daily Mail

  • Miliband is to offer vision of a "good society" to Argos Britain - Mary Riddell, Daily Telegraph
  • Ed Miliband should learn from the Tory opposition experience - Tim Montgomerie, The Guardian

Glasman returns with call to control European immigration - The Guardian

Glasman returns with call to halve the number of universities - The Times (£)

Balls's big apologetic non-apology apology

Screen shot 2011-09-27 at 05.44.55 "Mr Balls told the conference that there was much to be proud of, but being told about the great things that Labour did in government "doesn't pay the bills, secure the job, it doesn't secure the pension." "When they say we made mistakes in government, they're right. We have to admit them and show we've learned," he added. The shadow chancellor went on to reel-off a list of mistakes he admitted his party had made." - Daily Telegraph

"The star speaker… finished to a roar of astounded, delighted applause and a spontaneous standing ovation. The trouble is that the speaker wasn't Ed Balls. The great, churning, ecstatic outpouring of admiration was for a 16-year-old, Rory Weal, the son of a single mother from Maidstone." - Simon Hoggart, The Guardian

(Panic in Cumbria and Kabul: The Independent describes Weal as "Rory Stewart")

Screen shot 2011-09-27 at 08.30.15
Balls Comment:

  • Balls has no regret over UK’s vast debt - Tom Newton-Dunn, The Sun
  • Would you buy a used economy from this man? - Simon Heffer, Daily Mail
  • Look back to Black Wednesday in 1992 to understand Ed Balls - Wintour and Watt, The Guardian

More Labour Conference news:

  • Screen shot 2011-09-27 at 05.45.03 Blair: I should have saved the royal yacht - Daily Mail
  • Labour must stand side by side with women - Yvette Cooper, The Guardian
  • CentreForum claims Labour's tuition fees cap would benefit richest graduates, thinktank claims - The Guardian

Conference comment:

> Yesterday's ConHome Labour Conference coverage:

Callanan and Cameron clash over Strasbourg sitting

CALLANAN MARTIN "Senior Tories are furious the Prime Minister has gone back on his support for a campaign by MEPs to reduce the number of European Parliament meetings held in the French city of Strasbourg, which is 220 miles from its main seat in ­Brussels. Last week the deadline passed for Britain to declare its support for the MEPs.…Martin Callanan, Tory leader in the European Parliament, said: “This was a genuine opportunity to pursue serious reform in Europe.”  - Daily Express

Fox claims "black hole" of defence costs eliminated

"A £38bn debt weighing on the Ministry of Defence has been almost eliminated with tough financial management, Liam Fox will claim next week, as he seeks to highlight a turnround in the fortunes of Whitehall’s most “traumatised” department...the defence secretary will tell the Tory conference in Manchester next week that MoD finances are now stable, thanks to removing the debt he inherited from Labour. At £38bn, this was bigger than the department’s annual budget." - Financial Times (£)

  • RUSI warns of multi-billion black hole risk for MoD - Daily Mail
  • MOD cutbacks could cost 30,000 jobs - Daily Express
  • British arm will never again be among superpowers - The Guardian

Libyan campaign "could cost UK £1.75billion"

"The cost of Britain’s military mission in Libya could hit £1.75billion – seven times what the Government predicted it would spend. The sum, calculated by one of the UK’s leading defence specialists, is an embarrassing blow to Liam Fox who said in June the operation to stop Colonel Gaddafi attacking civilians would cost £260million. Originally the Treasury believed the cost would be no more than ‘tens of millions’ of pounds." - Daily Mail

Screen shot 2011-09-27 at 06.10.51 Exam board proposes to discriminate against pupils from private schools - The Independent 

Prisoners forced to give 40% of pay to victims under new Clarke law‎

"Prisoners are set to have money taken from their wages and given to support victims of crime, ministers said today. The scheme is part of Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke's rehabilitation revolution and will raise £1 million a year. The move will affect 500 inmates who work outside prisons, which will see their take-home pay cut by up to 40 per cent and used to help support victims, the Ministry of Justice said." - Daily Mail 

Desmond Swayne tells constituent that this Government will not leave the EU shocker - Daily Mail

Sir Malcolm Rifkind backs Murdo Fraser

"The stark message from Sir Malcolm Rifkind, the former Foreign, Defence and Scottish Secretary, comes in a personal endorsement for Mr Fraser made available to The Times. Sir Malcolm says that Mr Fraser’s plan for the Scottish Tories to be replaced by a new centre-right party is “a bold and brave move of the sort that is needed if we are to be successful once again in Scotland and ensure that the Union is saved”." - The Times (£)

David Gauke to criticise Swinney over slow tax reform progress - Herald Scotland

Market jitters at Euro bailout plan - Daily Express

Other Political News and Comment in Brief

  • Obama goes cap in hand to woo A-listers - The Times (£)
  • Study says NHS reform cost may exceed savings - Financial Times (£)
  • Seven MEPs' £100k seafood holiday in Seychelles - The Sun
  • Riots sentence appeals due - BBC
  • These terrorists should all be wearing orange jumpsuits, not jumping on a red London bus - Richard Littlejohn, Daily Mail
  • Sinn Fein's most obnoxious rhetorical strategy is that of whitewashing McGuinness by smearing Mandela - Fintan O'Toole, Irish Times
  • How far can the press go in the public interest? - Harold Evans and Others, The Times (£)


> 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.

26 Sep 2011 16:57:29

Teatime newslinks for Monday 26th September 2011

6.15pm WATCH: 16 year old Labour activist Rory Weal wows the party conference


  • A news round-up of Ed Balls' Labour party conference speech - LeftWatch
  • 'Labour made mistakes in Government' - Telegraph
  • 'Balls outlines plans to bolster economy' - FT
  • Ed Balls: 'Osborne wants the unions to strike' - Independent
  • Guardian panel verdict on Balls' speech - Guardian
  • John Denham: 'Time for a radical Labour vision on the economy' - Guardian
  • Sajid Javid MP: 'Come on then Ed, back my National Debt Cap Bill now - Platform
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