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26 Nov 2011 08:59:00

Newslinks for Saturday 26th November 2011

9.30pm ToryDiary: 57% don't think Government can make much difference to economy

5pm WATCH: Nick Gibb - "We can't afford to put generous offers on the table if we're going to have this kind of expensive and disruptive action in the months ahead."

2.45pm Dr David Green on Platform: "Tight control of fiscal policy of the kind currently in favour cannot be counted on to spark automatic economic growth in the private sector. Large scale investment, especially in new manufacturing capacity, is needed; and in the immediate future some of it will have to come from the public sector." You can overdo austerity

Noon ToryDiary: Michael Gove is Paul Dacre's new pin-up

11.15am International: Another nation holds a general election and it's ANOTHER victory for the Right

Screen shot 2011-11-26 at 10.01.3710am Amber Rudd MP continues our housing series on Loca Goverment: "Buy now, Pay later" is a way of effectively adding liquidity to a market that seized up under the last government

ToryDiary: When I said Danny Alexander was wrong about fuel duty, what I meant to say was that he was right

Andrew Lilico on our Columnists Page:  Europe’s political order may deserve to collapse - but what replaces it may be worse

Lord Ashcroft on Comment: The bizarre story of how I came to be accused of “invading” an overseas territory’s airspace

Local Government:

LISTEN: David Cameron - "Comparing John Maynard Keynes to Jesus Christ shows in my view why Richard Dawkins doesn't really get it."

Clegg pushes for a tax raid on the super-rich (Is this another Quad leak?)

Clegg Thumbs Up"George Osborne is preparing a fresh raid on the financial sector to help fund a scheme to help the young and jobless, senior Government sources say. Nick Clegg, whose party has been pushing for measures to tax the rich, signalled yesterday that they will be included in a growth review, due on Tuesday. ‘Over the last year and a half we’ve increased capital gains tax, we’ve slapped on a big bank levy, we’ve made sure that the loopholes that the wealthy enjoy are closed." - Daily Mail

  • Long-standing LibDem call for fuel duty cut in remote rural areas to be heeded in the autumn statement - The Sun
  • Rich face paying for motorists’ fuel duty cuts - Financial Times (£)
  • Osborne to announce data revolution - The Independent

> Yesterday:

OECD Britain says that Britain is heading back towards recession - Daily Telegraph

Danny Alexander says that strike could scupper pensions deal...

"Union leaders risk losing out on a deal on public sector pensions for their members by "marching them up the hill" in a mass walkout next Wednesday, the minister leading negotiations has warned. In an interview with the Guardian, Danny Alexander, the chief secretary to the Treasury, urged trade union leaders to "show leadership" by persuading their members that the offer on the table is a "good and generous one"." - The Guardian

...But TUC General-Secretary Brendan Barber says that next week's strikes may be just the start

"It is clear, though, that the walkout could be followed by more co-ordinated national strikes. “This could be the beginning rather than the end. We will have to see what happens next week and after next week. “We are open to negotiations but we can’t say this is a one-off strike.” The spectre of a Winter of Discontent looms. “I don’t want this turned into a long battle but they need to heed our warning.” He would be horrified if ministers tried to push through tougher union laws." - Rachel Sylvester and Alice Thomson, The Times (£)

  • Ministers threaten tougher ballot laws as they warn unions they are "playing with fire" - Daily Mail
  • Glasgow and Edinburgh airports warn of strike effects - Herald Scotland
  • Never before has every main teaching union withdrawn its labour at the same time - Financial Times (£)
  • No 10 staff urged to help with strike border duty - The Times (£)
  • Walkout woe - Sun Editorial

Yesterday on Comment: Jonathan Isaby - The subsidy from the taxpayer to the unions is at least £113 million. This has to stop.

Jamie Oliver says Gove is wrong on academy school food

GOVE MICHAEL NW"Jamie Oliver yesterday slammed Education Secretary Michael Gove for "eroding" his crusade for healthy kids' meals. He said Mr Gove was letting new academies — with more independence than ordinary secondary schools — side-step tough rules on dishing up too much fat, sugar and salt. TV chef Jamie, who has won victories for better nutrition, called for the 1,400 academies to be brought in line. He said: "It's essentially the future of our country." - The Sun

  • Education Secretary to send copy of authorised version of the Bible to every school - Daily Mail
  • Osborne and Gove in £600m drive to set up elite maths schools - Daily Mail
  • Can Michael Gove save Britain's schools? - Simon Heffer, Daily Mail


Anne Widdecombe hurt over Cameron Lords snub

"The Daily Express columnist also criticised David Cameron for allowing the Lib Dems too much power in the coalition. Ms Widdecombe, 64, said he needed to exert more authority. “They are not there in their own right. They need reminding of that from time to time,” she said in a BBC interview. The former Tory minister renewed her complaint that he deliberately snubbed her for a seat in the Lords despite her being “an obvious candidate”. She said it had “stabbed” a little bit. “But I am a great one for saying ‘It’s no good looking back’.” - Daily Express 

Lord Deben, a.k.a John Gummer, attacks planning reform

Gummer-John"The Tory peer, who as John Gummer was Margaret Thatcher’s Agriculture Secretary and John Major’s Environment Secretary, said that ministers were right to want a swifter planning regime with a bias towards approving projects rather than blocking them. But he warned that the current draft, which fails to distinguish between greenfield and brownfield sites, had got the balance wrong. “You have to have a presumption that you don’t build on greenfield sites,” he said. - The Times (£)

"We shouldn't be encouraging other EU countries to enter a fiscal union"

"All seem to think that what the eurozone countries do is any business of ours. All appear to think Her Majesty’s Government has a leading role in helping to push Germany, France and other eurozone members into a fiscal union….British Eurosceptics — which is most of us — need to grow up. We must accept that you can be part of an economic union, or you can stand aside; and if you stand aside you forfeit the right to interfere, still less to veto." - Matthew Parris, The Times (£)

Perverse for Osborne to will the Euro's survival - Michael Portillo, Financial Times (£)

  • UK faces a £5bn bill to bail out Spain as ministers plan for euro collapse - Daily Mail
  • Lord Pearson's EU enquiry bill gains second reading - Daily Express
  • Only Merkel can save the eurozone now - Daily Mail Editorial
  • Margaret Thatcher knew that capitalism must deliver for the masses - Charles Moore, Daily Telegraph

SHAPPS GRANTShapps defiant after Humphreys spat - The Independent

Train operators surprised by late coalition bid to cut rail-fare increases - The Guardian

Glyn Davies MP says that ban on Welsh MPs voting on English NHS would be "bad news" - Wales Online

Kate Hoey MP says that Britons should have their own queues at airports - Daily Express

Peter Robinson to address annual DUP conference today - Irish Times

Could Cameron become the Earl of Witney? - Wintour and Watt, The Guardian

Other Political News and Comment in brief

And finally: Toby Young, Alistair Campbell, Jemima Khan, Nigel Farage and others have their very own PMQs

"Lord Lamont: "If there were no coalition and you were governing as a Conservative prime minister alone, what three things would you most like to have done that you have not been able to do in coalition?"

David Cameron:  "Further action on welfare reform. Perhaps the control of immigration." - The Guardian"


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25 Nov 2011 08:29:56

Newslinks for Friday 25th November 2011

6.30pm Columnist Anthony Browne: An employers' NI holiday would be simpler and more effective than handouts for companies hiring the jobless

5.30pm Dominique Lazanski on Comment: Ofcom's new guidelines are common-sense, light-touch regulation

5pm Teatime newslinks including the Coalition's youth unemployment scheme and the latest in the €urozone.

3pm ToryDiary: Michael Gove's praise for elitism

6a00d83451b31c69e2015435971252970c-500wi2.30pm ToryDiary: Lib Dem insider tells Guardian that getting Tories to help jobless is "like getting a vegetarian to go and buy a kebab"

2pm Local government: Council byelection results from yesterday

1pm TalkingPoints: Lord Lawson and Lord Turnbull respond to Chris Huhne's pro-global warming assertions

Noon Robert Halfon MP on Comment: The BBC cannot continue as a kleptocracy. We need to put licence-fee payers in charge

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

Picture 511am Sam Gyimah MP on Comment: The Chancellor should use credit easing to change the lending landscape for British business

10.30am LISTEN: Grant Shapps - I didn't pull out of a Today interview, and we will build more homes

10am Adrian Hilton on MPsETC: Cameron’s continuing quest for female candidates

ToryDiary: The Coalition risks looking a lot smaller than the challenges it faces

Bruce Anderson on our Columnists Page: We have to address the systemic educational failures which create the criminal underclass

RIFKIND NEWSir Malcolm Rifkind on Comment: A nuclear Iran would trigger nuclearisation of the entire Middle East and it must be prevented

Also on Comment: Jonathan Isaby - The subsidy from the taxpayer to the unions is at least £113 million. This has to stop.

LeftWatch: Why the Eurozone crisis is a bigger problem for Balls than Osborne

Sarah Newton MP on Local Government continues our housing series: Community Land Trusts will help councils implement local solutions to social housing problems

Also on Local Government: Cllr Geoffrey Theobald - First council tax, now parking charges hiked up by Brighton & Hove Greens

WATCH: Daniel Hannan - The true cost of climate change

OBR to downgrade growth figures for Osborne's autumn statement

OSBORNE BLUE TIE"Ministers expect the independent Office for Budget Responsibility to downgrade its previous prediction that public sector job cuts will be outweighed by a significant expansion in the private sector. "The figures will be grim," one minister said. In March, the OBR forecast that total employment would increase by about 900,000 by 2015, with 1.3 million extra jobs in private companies more than compensating for 400,000 lost public sector jobs." - The Independent

Economy news and comment:

  • Osborne rated B- on March budget growth initiatives - Financial Times (£)
  • Families are spending £40 a week less than before the credit crunch - Daily Mail
  • Rachel Reeves seizes on Ruffley borrowing remarks - Financial Times (£)
  • The Chancellor must help to wake up the hibernating private sector - Lord Forsyth, Daily Telegraph
  • He'll deny it, but Osborne is backing away from Plan A - Steve Richards, The Independent
  • Why cutting fiscal deficits is an assault on profits - Martin Wolf, Financial Times (£)

> Yesterday:

Fewer people leave Britain - threatening to torpedo Cameron's pledge to reduce net immigration

Screen shot 2011-11-25 at 05.31.20
"The Prime Minister – who has promised to reduce the figure to the ‘tens of thousands’ – now faces a bigger challenge than when the Tories came to power. In 2009, Labour’s last full year in office, net migration – the difference between the number of people entering the UK and the number leaving – was just under 200,000. Mr Cameron, who conceded that hitting his pledge may now take ‘some time’, has once again been hit by the global economic downturn." - Daily Mail

Battle to protect emergency cover as next week's strike threatens chaos

"NHS managers have been locked in frantic talks with unions to ensure that emergency cover is provided next Wednesday when up to 2.6 million public sector workers strike over pension changes. Tens of thousands of operations and outpatient appointments will be cancelled, while more than three quarters of schools are likely to close or send children home in the biggest national walkout since the 1926 General Strike." - The Times (£)

Strikes news and comment:

> Yesterday: WATCH - Danny Alexander: Planned strikes are "going to have a significant impact on our economy", costing £500m

Gove's rallying cry for elitism in schools

Screen shot 2011-11-25 at 05.11.36"In an extraordinary speech, the Education Secretary vowed to allow the next generation to ‘transcend the circumstances of their birth’ by turning free schools and academies into the latter-day equivalent of grammars. He said parents were yearning for their children to learn ‘rigorous’ intellectual subjects, for ordered classrooms with strict discipline, and for teachers who are ‘guardians of knowledge and figures of authority’." - Daily Mail

> Yesterday: Nick Gibb MP on Comment - The Education Act will help free teachers from bureaucracy and restore discipline to classrooms

"Lib Dems win fight for £1bn to tackle youth unemployment"

"Hundreds of thousands of young people without jobs are to be helped into the workplace with a £1 billion fund announced by Nick Clegg today. The Youth Contract, aimed at 18 to 24-year-olds, will subsidise wages for six months, expand opportunities for work experience placements and increase the number of apprenticeships. Those out of work who fail to engage with the Youth Contract will be forced to attend compulsory work training with Jobcentre workers. Those who drop out risk losing their benefits." - The Times (£)

Row brews over tax credit job funding - Financial Times (£)

More LibDem news:

Dominic Raab calls for U.S extradition reform

Dominic Raab"Tory MPs last night demanded a government rethink over  a ‘whitewash’ review into the lopsided extradition treaty that is being used to send Gary McKinnon to America…The MP for Esher and Walton, told a debate in Parliament that the current arrangements make it too easy for authorities in the US and in EU countries to demand British citizens are extradited to face trial." - Daily Mail 

"It's not too late for the Conservative party to join the worldwide trend but, at the moment, the British Conservatives are the least successful of their kind."

"I believe that Britain wants a party with rightwing policies but it wants a rightwing party that demonstrates a deep concern for the ordinary voter. In other words, we are talking about a party that occupies the common ground rather than some milk-and-water centre ground…Cameron should have aimed to turn the Conservatives into a rightwing party with a heart; instead he turned it into a leftwing party with cuts." - Tim Montgomerie, The Guardian

Yvette Cooper: does she still insist she won't be Labour leader? - Jane Martinson, The Guardian

Merkel, Sarkozy and Monti push for fiscal crackdown - Financial Times (£)

IPSA floats lump sum payments for MPs' expenses - Daily Mail

Julie Morgan: My phone was hacked while my husband Rhodri Morgan was First Minister - Wales Online

English Defence League to enter electoral politics after signing pact with British Freedom Party - The Independent

Other Political News and Comment in Brief

  • One in five young people are now NEETS - Daily Mail
  • Rail firm to be prosecuted over deaths - The Times (£)
  • Egypt to vote next week - Daily Express
  • Families may "move from England to avoid tuition fee hike" - Daily Telegraph
  • Business chief attacks SNP "ridicule" of critics - Scotsman
  • UK cyber strategy due to be unveiled - BBC
  • It is wrong to shout down David Willitts - The Times Editorial (£)
  • Politicians are in danger of ignoring the lessons of the summer riots - Fraser Nelson, Daily Telegraph
  • The five men who kept Britain out of the Euro - Wintour and Watt, The Guardian
  • Welch Assembly: Cameron in folk singer audience - The Sun


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24 Nov 2011 08:32:49

Newslinks for Thursday 24th November 2011

9.15pm MPsETC: Mark Bowen selected as the Conservative candidate for Feltham and Heston by-election

7pm WATCH: David Cameron: "Young people are at a particular disadvantage today because of the economic slowdown"

6pm MPsETC: Parliamentary authorities clamping down on "political" material in the Palace of Westminster? Updated with new details of the material authorities objected to

Keen Alan5pm MPsETC: Feltham and Heston by-election to replace Labour MP Alan Keen set for 15th December

5pm Teatime newslinks featuring the Eurozone crisis, unemployment, public sector strikes and more

4pm Columnist Anthony Browne: The government needs a powerful message that it is giving help to the unemployed: an employers' NI holiday would fit the bill

3.45pm Local government: Will there really be any Conservative councils putting up Council Tax next year?

2.30pm WATCH: Danny Alexander: Planned strikes are "going to have a significant impact on our economy", costing £500m

2pm ConHomeUSA: Today's top American news for Thanksgiving Day 2011

LILICO ANDREW1pm Columnist Andrew Lilico: The €uro: A remarkably sustained exercise in Really Not Getting It

Noon Nick Gibb MP on Comment: The Education Act will help free teachers from bureaucracy and restore discipline to classrooms

10.45am ToryDiary: New sign of backbench unhappiness at Osborne with call for MORE borrowing to fund tax relief

9.30am MPsETC: Parliamentary authorities clamping down on "political" material in the Palace of Westminster?

ToryDiary: Osborne is warned that Britain will lose its high earners if he doesn't abolish 50p tax band

Kirby-JillColumnist Jill Kirby: The agencies handling confidential information are still failing to take privacy seriously

Mats Persson of Open Europe: Cameron’s alleged deal on treaty change for working time changes would be a strategic mistake

Oliver Colvile MP on Local government: There needs to be a robust, cohesive and transparent campaign to ensure that abuses of the housing system are eradicated

Local government: Greens plan Council Tax hike in Brighton & Hove and How the New Homes Bonus is making a difference in Walsall

VIDEO: Cameron buys £140,000 plot of land from neighbour, who happens to be a lobbyist

David Cameron: A sicknote culture in the workplace is acting as a ‘conveyor belt to a life on benefits’

"The Prime Minister, speaking to the Daily Mail, said he would press ahead with recommendations from an expert report to strip family doctors of the power to sign people off work long-term."

Government mobilises non-striking civil servants to protect UK borders - BBC

  • David Cameron goads Ed Miliband as shadow cabinet avoids backing strikes - Guardian
  • So that's why you won't condemn the strikes Ed! Cameron attacks Labour as it emerges almost 90% of its funding comes from unions - Daily Mail
  • Public sector workers earn £4,000 a year pay premium compared to private staff - Daily Mail
  • "The time has come for the public sector to leave the parallel universe it inhabited under Labour and join the rest of us in the real world." - Express leader

Vince Cable to work with Lord Heseltine to block attempts to relax employment laws

Cable & Red Box II

  • The Guardian notes that the Business Secretary has only agreed to a consultation, under pressure from Number 10
  • "It was notable that, perhaps as a result of wrangling within the Coalition, there were few immediate proposals in Mr Cable’s speech. Instead, we had a laundry list of consultations and “calls for evidence” that may, in several years, result in action. It is hardly the bold and sweeping programme that will get the economy moving." - Telegraph leader
  • The Independent describes employment law shake-up as a "return to Victorian values"
  • Plan to ease sacking rules ‘will hit women’, top lawyer warns - Times (£)
  • Overhaul of workers’ rights is a charter for bullies, claim unions - Scotsman

Britain told to choose EU or City

"José Manuel Barroso, the President of the European Commission, told the Prime Minister to choose between protecting the City of London and retaining Britain’s clout before a key EU summit next month. Pushing for special opt-outs while also seeking to be a powerbroker has left Mr Cameron looking inconsistent and risks weakening Britain’s position, Mr Barroso said." - Times (£)

  • Nigel Lawson has clashed with George Osborne by labelling plans to preserve the Eurozone as “mad” - City AM
  • EU costs Britain £50m a day, UKIP claims (a net contribution of £28 million) - Daily Mail | Telegraph

Despite newspaper speculation benefits WILL increase by 5.2% but tax credits will be squeezed - Telegraph

"A £1bn jobs fund that aims to get a grip on soaring youth unemployment is to be announced by Nick Clegg this week, partly funded by a squeeze on tax credits paid to poorer workers. The deal is a compromise thrashed out between Conservative and Liberal Democrat ministers." - FT (£)

LANSLEY ANDREW NWAndrew Lansley says that cancer care on NHS lags behind other developed countries because Labour wasted billions of pounds on PFI schemes and inflated salaries - Telegraph

The Health Secretary sets out his views in an article for The Telegraph.

  • Europe surges ahead of UK on life expectancy because of our poor survival rates on cancer and obesity - Express | Daily Mail
  • One in four NHS trusts withhold life-saving drugs to help cut costs - Metro

One-fifth of councils may reject council tax freeze, fearing they may have to raise it abruptly the following year - BBC

Screen shot 2011-11-24 at 07.57.01Cost of renewable and nuclear energy will add £280 to average energy bill within next decade, says official statistics - Telegraph

  • "The Government plans to spend £11billion installing smart meters in every property, saying that once  people see how much energy they use, they will make cutbacks.
    Ministers say energy use will also be reduced by the so-called Green Deal, which will allow people to install double-glazing and loft insulation at no upfront cost." - Daily Mail
  • Chris Huhne unveils 'green deal' under which 14m homes could be fitted with insulation and other energy-saving measures - Guardian

David Cameron should have declared land deal with party donor, says former watchdog - Telegraph

Ministers urge Osborne to reduce steep rail fare rises - Independent

Clegg-Nick-On-NewsnightNick Clegg launches inquiry into whether banks treat black customers fairly - Independent

"Nick Clegg has ordered a review of how British banks treat black and ethnic minority customers, in the light of evidence suggesting bank managers discriminate against them." - FT (£)

Allister Heath: Don't exaggerate Britain's economic strength

"George Osborne’s necessary austerity policies have so far prevented a run on the pound. But the main reason why UK gilt yields hit record lows yesterday is that the Bank of England is monetising the entirety of the government’s borrowing thanks to its latest £75bn QE programme. The UK economy isn’t a haven – and it isn’t safe." - Allister Heath in City AM

Eyeing parliamentary majority, Tories focus on ethnic minorities

"Andrew Cooper, Downing Street's political strategist, has identified 30 seats, largely urban, that have large ethnic minorities and that need to be won to gain victory in the next election." - Guardian

Stephan Shakespeare says Ed Miliband's squeezed middle phrase has resonated in a way that Cameron's words have not

Shakespeare Stephan"David Cameron, a strong and confident speaker, has nevertheless failed to find the language to pull the nation together. When he defined our moment in history as “the post-bureaucratic age”, he did not ignite the passions of the oppressed masses (even though it thrilled a few marginal techies like me). His next phrase, the Big Society, achieved a greater reaction, but has tended to fade. And in this moment of profound crisis, he has not been able to find a voice to calm our nerves." - Stephan Shakespeare in The Telegraph

Against apprenticeships; For the Government to throw millions of taxpayers’ money at large companies to train their own staff is absurd - Camilla Cavendish at The Times (£)

Countries that dominate high-value industries invest long-term. We must be one of them - Lord Mandelson in The Times (£)

SNP raised more money than Lib Dems in the last quarter - Scotsman

  • The Guardian finds political resistance, but public support for the 'devolution plus' option in Scotland's referendum

The British people were anti-Brown, not anti-state - Rafael Behr in the New Statesman

Miliband David QTDavid Miliband has ruled out a return to Labour's frontbench for as long as his brother Ed is leader - The Sun

The American political system has seldom, if ever, looked so inadequate to the challenges the country faces - Max Hastings in the Daily Mail

And finally... Who got a Christmas card from Cameron?

"Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin was snubbed from David Cameron’s 2010 Christmas card list last year. South African president Jacob Zuma did not receive a card, and no one from Iceland – which was refusing to bail out British savers of its collapsed banks – got one either." - Daily Mail


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23 Nov 2011 08:20:39

Newslinks for Wednesday 23rd November 2011

6.30pm WATCH: Sam Fox gets a promise from Jeremy Browne that he will press the Chinese about tiger welfare

Anne_milton5.30pm MPsETC: The Government is "committed to continuing" free milk for under-5s, says Anne Milton

5pm: Teatime newslinks - including today's PMQs dominated by strikes and the economy, and the reform of employment laws

3.30pm Matthew Sinclair on Comment: We can't judge Israel on standards few Western countries would match

2.30pm Local government: Hammersmith and Fulham publishes all spending - not just on procurement

2pm Columnist Anthony Browne: In the build-up to the Autumn Statement, the announcement of Osborne's growth strategy is growing in importance day by day

1.45pm WATCH:

Campmqs1.15pm ToryDiary: After wobbling a few months ago Cameron is king of PMQs again

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

11.45 Nadine Dorries MP on Comment: The social responsibility of care for the elderly should be a priority for governments

11am MPsETC: EU enlargement creates prosperity across Europe says David Lidington... but Tory MPs worry about more immigration

ToryDiary: Four British Bill of Rights Commission members call for Parliament to control our next ECHR appointment

StrikeAlso on ToryDiary: David Cameron challenges Red Ed to condemn next week's public sector strikes

Stephen Hammond MP writes the seventh and final part of the CPS/ ConHome turbocharging the UK economy series: A bonfire of the regulations

Richard Harrington MP on Local government: Housing Strategy and Planning Reform are both critical components of the growth agenda

Local government: Councils lose data on over 3,000 children and Should empty shops be allowed to become homes?

WATCH: Boris Johnson explains why London and Britain needs a new airport in the Thames estuary

Green Damian Home OfficeDamian Green, the immigration minister, told the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee, that parts of the UK Border Agency (UKBA) are "nothing like good enough" - Independent

The post of chief coroner will no longer be abolished following opposition from groups including the Royal British Legion - BBC

"Ken Clarke, the Justice Secretary, last night backed down and announced he would no longer go-ahead with plans to scrap the post of Chief Coroner. Fearing an embarrassing defeat in the House of Lords over the proposal the Government said it would keep the post which military campaigners say is essential for improving inquests into military deaths." - Independent

Ken Clarke has let criminals run up a bill of almost £2 billion in unpaid fines and confiscation orders

DAVIES Philip"Tory MP Philip Davies said: "These figures are an absolute disgrace. Ken Clarke needs to make sure people are paying their fines now. They show that under Ken Clarke, our justice system is a joke for thousands of criminals." Philip Hollobone added: "This is unacceptable. There is no point punishing criminals with fines if they are not going to cough up." - The Sun

Ministers plan the "most radical shake-up of employment law in decades" - BBC

  • "The Government is to curb workplace rights in an attempt to cut red tape for business and boost Britain's anaemic economic growth levels." - Independent
  • "Mr Cable will set out an overhaul of employment tribunals, a possible two-thirds cut in the consultation period for mass redundancies and plans to introduce “protected conversations”, which allow employers to discuss frankly with staff issues such as early retirement or poor performance." - FT (£)
  • "Tories questioned if the plans went far enough. Tim Montgomerie, editor of ConservativeHome said: “Another ‘consultation’? Another ‘call for evidence’? For many months small businesses have been dialing 999 for an emergency service. By the time Vince Cable sends an economic ambulance many of them will be dead businesses.”" - Times (£)

Osborne conservatives.comBritain remains on track to meet this year’s public borrowing targets - FT (£) | Express

  • "Public sector borrowing has fallen by more than expected, according to figures released today - but the good news may not last if the economy does not start growing again." - Daily Mail
  • Hamish McRae praises Coalition for sticking to deficit plan - Independent
  • The unions and the BBC wail over public spending cuts but, in fact, Britain's debt is increasing - Simon Heffer in the Daily Mail

> Yesterday evening's ToryDiary: Has George Osborne presided over one of the largest tax cuts in British history?

Only builders will profit from Cameron's sub-prime homes - Simon Jenkins in The Guardian saysuUsing public money to back mortgages sends out a toxic message

6a00d83451b31c69e20147e346e3f6970b-150wi"Osborne is displaying worrying traits of control freakery ahead of next week’s Autumn Statement. Three of the worst ideas for generating growth that have been trailed ahead of it are: so-called "credit easing", Government guiding and incentivising of private sector investment and Government-backed housing deposits. If there is one lesson we should have learnt from the financial crash it is that encouraging risky lending is not a good idea. This though is the common theme that connects all these proposals." - Ruth Porter in The Telegraph

David Cameron in £140,000 land deal with lobbying boss - Telegraph

George Osborne and London Mayor Boris Johnson are now competing to appear the most Eurosceptic - Patrick O'Flynn in The Express

  • Ann Widdecombe cannot understand why Lord Heseltine STILL thinks Britain should join the €uro - Express

Obama effigy burnt by St Andrews Conservative students - BBC

"Matthew Marshall, president of the St Andrews Conservative Association, admitted that it had been “stupid”. “President Obama is an important ally to the British government,” he said. “It was a stupid thing to do and we apologise for any offence caused.”" - Scotsman

I was a victim of News of the World sting led by Andy Coulson, says Steve Coogan - Daily Mail

Nick Clegg will attempt to restart talks on party funding reforms, after a rise in state funding was rejected - Guardian

  • "'I am a car worker in the West Midlands. Why should my taxes be used to pay for Dave's Old Etonian propaganda?'" - Nick Wood in the Daily Mail

> Priti Patel on ConHome yesterday: State funding of political parties cannot be morally justified to the public and to party members

Chris Huhne blasts Lord Lawson's climate sceptic thinktank

Huhne Blue B:B"The energy secretary, Chris Huhne, has attacked Lord Lawson's influential climate sceptic thinktank, the Global Warming Policy Foundation, as "misinformed", "wrong" and "perverse"." - Guardian

  • New limits could be placed on subsidies for households that install renewable energy - FT (£)

Huhne was embroiled in a lobbying row last night after it emerged that his partner touted access to Cabinet ministers in return for a job in the private sector - Times (£)

A President Romney's policy of stopping Iran getting nuclear weapons could produce Cameron/ Clegg tensions - Daniel Finkelstein in The Times (£)

Elderly people are routinely having their human rights breached because of “systematic failures” in the way care is provided at home - Times (£)

Personal data 'lost by 132 councils'

"Private data has been lost by or stolen from UK local councils more than 1,000 times since 2008, a report says. The data included details relating to children and vulnerable people in care, campaign group Big Brother Watch said." - BBC

Five ways of reforming boardroom pay so that good bosses are rewarded and bad bosses - Allister Heath in City AM

56% of Britons want direct election of House of Lords - Angus Reid

Lottery winners give £1m to Alex Salmond's campaign to break up Britain - Telegraph

  • Tom Harris MP promises to ridicule Alex Salmond if he becomes Scottish Labour leader - Scotsman

Screen shot 2011-11-23 at 07.11.44"Ed Balls has confessed that he's just a big softie — who CRIES at the Antiques Roadshow. The Labour bigwig also admits to blubbing through sugary movie The Sound Of Music." - The Sun

Alan Johnson's disgraced police bodyguard sacked following investigation into his 'affair with the former shadow chancellor's wife' - Daily Mail

And finally... Ed Milliband's 'squeezed middle' chosen as Oxford Dictionaries' Word of 2011

"Labour’s leader used the phrase to describe the people worst hit by government cuts and taxes. Experts in Britain and the US agreed for the first time to make it a global word of the year. Last year, David Cameron’s “Big Society” beat “double-dip” and “vuvuzela” to win." - Mirror


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