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Newslinks for Friday 27th July 2012

5pm Ben Howlett on Comment: Let’s use the Olympics to sell Britain PLC, as the Olympic flame sparks economic and social aspiration

2pm ToryDiary: George Osborne is here to stay — and so is austerity

1.15pm ThinkTankCentral: Matthew Sinclair becomes the new Chief Executive of the Taxpayers' Alliance

1pm Local Government: Pressure grows on Gove to go further on free schools

11.45am WATCH: Jeremy Hunt's bell end strikes group of women

11.30am Local Government By-election results from yesterday

Screen shot 2012-07-27 at 11.25.12
ToryDiary: Boris's Olympics speech - a vivid demonstration of his unquenchable appeal

Columnist Bruce Anderson: The hypothetical tabloid Editor who goes to work for a public service organisation - and is not unworthy of our sympathy

Lord Flight on Comment: The Conservatives can still win next time if they find a "silent majority" agenda

Also on Comment: Charles Lewington - Cameron may get an Olympic bounce. But there's little precedent for it, if any

Local Government: While Brent Council closes libraries, they spend £20,000 on a new sculpture

MPsETC: David Davies MP wants a debt clock on every taxpayer-funded website

Dr James D.Boys on ThinkTankCentral: The Government has made a good start, but there's a lot more to do

The Deep End: Too busy on the internet to spend any money

WATCH: ECB to do "whatever it takes" to save Euro

Fleet Street switches instantaneously from anger to exuberance as the Olympics get ready to begin

Screen shot 2012-07-27 at 08.32.11

"The mood was also helped by signs that some feared logistical problems had so far failed to fully materialise. What was expected to be the busiest day in Heathrow airport’s history passed off smoothly, as fewer passengers than forecast arrived and departed, aided through terminals by a small army of volunteers. Traffic in central London was not significantly affected by the introduction of designated lanes, as drivers again heeded warnings not to come into town." - Financial Times (£)

Will the Olympics lift the national mood?

"The unseen factor was how much the Olympics seem to be lifting spirits after the rain, the cold, the strikes, the queues and the traffic jams.  Mr Cameron described it as ‘a great moment for Britain to come together’, and promised parts of the opening ceremony would be ‘spine tingling’. All this, and still hours to go. Gold medals for Britain? From tonight, at last, that is solely in the hands of the Olympians." - Daily Mail

Fleet Street turns on Romney, as though it were saying: "They're OUR games, and criticism is our business, not an American politician's - let alone a Republican one"...

Screen shot 2012-07-27 at 08.14.45
"In a day dubbed the “Romneyshambles”, he let slip that he had a briefing with Sir John Sawers, the head of MI6, embarrassed Ed Miliband by calling him “Mr Leader”, and welcomed the view of the beach volleyball arena “out the backside of Downing Street”. This led to a spiky retort from David Cameron, who remarked how easy it is to host an Olympics “in the middle of nowhere” — widely seen as an allusion to the Salt Lake City Winter Games, which Mr Romney oversaw." - The Times (£)

> Yesterday: WATCH - Cameron meets Romney earlier today at 10 Downing Street

...And Boris puts the boot in

"Speaking in front of 60,000 assembled in Hyde Park at a concert to mark the end of the Olympic Torch relay, the London Mayor last night reaffirmed the city's zeal for the event. 'There are some people coming from around the world who don't yet know if we are ready,' the Mr Johnson roared. 'There's a guy called Mitt Romney who wants to know whether we are ready. Are we ready? Yes we are!'" - Daily Mail

  • Salmond hails "Scolympics" - Herald Scotland
  • Scottish female footballer stays silent for God Save The Queen - Daily Mail
  • I may not watch any stupid races, but I'd love to tell the world and his aunt what a magical city London is - Tom Utley, Daily Mail
  • Beneath the Olympic gloss we are a troubled nation - Polly Toynbee, The Guardian

David Beckham visits Downing Street in world hunger plea - Daily Express

Vindication for Sayeeda Warsi as she is cleared by the Standards Commissioner

WARSI SAYEEDA NEW"Paul Kernaghan, the House of Lords standards commissioner, said he had dismissed the allegation that she had wrongly claimed expenses for overnight accommodation. Her only minor breach had been a failure properly to register a property in the Lords’ register of interests. In a statement, Lady Warsi said she was “delighted’’ to draw a line under the matter. David Cameron said the verdict had cleared the way for her to lead the Tories’ summer campaign for the election of police and crime commissioners later this year." - Financial Times (£)

"Lady Warsi has been cleared of expenses irregularities by a Lords investigation but found in breach of its code of conduct over her failure to properly register a property with the Lords. The findings of the Lords standards commissioner, Paul Kernaghan, were confirmed after the Tories announced the key part of the findings – but made no mention of the breach. The party said later this was because Warsi had already publicly acknowledged the lapse." - The Guardian

> Yesterday: ToryDiary - Sayeeda Warsi "to be cleared" by Lords Commissioner on expenses. Cameron says she will lead a "big summer" campaign for this autumn's elections

Police numbers have fallen to their lowest level in a decade - Daily Express

British troops could withdraw from Afghanistan a year early

"Britain’s 9,500 combat troops posted in the southern province of Helmand will be brought home by the end of 2014 under the present plans. However, the Defence Secretary acknowledged for the first time that the British pull-out could come sooner if a swifter exit is favoured by the United States. He suggested that the end of next year was the earliest possible completion date for the British drawdown because of the logistical challenges of bringing £4 billion of military kit home." - The Times (£)

  • Plan to privatise equipment agency could endanger troops, report warns - The Guardian

Hard line on immigrants 'holds back the UK' - The Independent

Government machine moves to smooth over Osborne-Cable cracks

"Vince Cable, who prompted uproar on Wednesday night by agreeing he ‘probably would’ make a good replacement for Mr Osborne, yesterday denied pushing for the job. ‘We are part of a team, we have a collectively agreed policy, and I’m delivering on my bit of it, which centres particularly on the area of industrial strategy, and I’m not proposing a radically different approach,’ said the Liberal Democrat Business Secretary." - Daily Mail

> Yesterday: Columnist Andrew Lilico - Coalition isn't bad in general - only coalitions based on compromising on the uncompromisable

Chancellor: We must hold our course

Osborne Large"Mr Osborne told international business leaders: “You will hear those arguing that we should abandon our plan and spend and borrow our way out of debt. These are the siren voices luring Britain on to the rock: we won’t go there.” The chancellor said the coalition’s fiscal stance allowed the Bank of England to pursue an active monetary policy: privately government officials hope the BoE will soon embark on a new round of quantitative easing and make a further cut in interest rates from 0.5 per cent to 0.25 per cent." - Financial Times (£)

  • Daily Mail hunts for unidentified Osborne Bullingdon Generation members - Daily Mail

OECD backs Osborne...

"Angel Gurria, secretary general of the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development, said a U-turn could spark panic in the markets and send borrowing costs soaring. He said: “I would say to the Chancellor, ‘Stay the course’.” He warned that the cost of “wavering or looking like you are wavering” would be “very high”. He said Britain was sowing the seeds for recovery but “you have to have credible public finances” before moving on growth." - Daily Express

...But Lord Ryder is once again contemptuous of the Chancellor and Prime Minister

Screen shot 2012-07-27 at 08.20.09"In a demolition of the Government’s attempts to rekindle economic growth, Lord Ryder of Wensum, the former Conservative chief whip, said that neither Mr Osborne nor David Cameron had a strategy to steer the economy back on course. He said the pair were “obsessed” with the 24-hour news media, while the Government had no one capable of “building the big picture”.  “At the moment I think Mr Osborne’s eyes are as attracted to the management of news with Mr Cameron. They meet twice a day for that very purpose." - The Times (£)

> Yesterday: Alistair Thompson on Comment - Cameron and Osborne should ditch the trendy nonsense and concentrate on being Conservatives

Bruce Anderson: Cameron and Osborne won't be divided

“No friendships at the top,” Enoch Powell insisted. Enoch was never a man who found it easy to form friendships with political equals. David Cameron and George Osborne, who do, would disagree, as would William Hague: all three men are firm friends. So Mr Osborne’s critics will carp in vain. The only reply they will elicit from the Prime Minister is: “We are both in this together.” - Bruce Anderson, Daily Telegraph

  • The coming reshuffle kerfuffle: is David Cameron worried about a Michael Gove leadership bid? - Donata Huggins, Daily Telegraph

Peter Hoskin: Tory MPs now see Osborne as leader as "a hell of a long shot"

"So what chance now that the Chancellor will become Prime Minister, or just Conservative Party leader? “It’s one hell of a long shot,” says one Tory MP, and it is hard to disagree. But Mr Osborne still has some advantages. Those MPs who are loyal to him are very loyal to him, such that he has an identifiable Praetorian Guard composed of up-and-comers such as Claire Perry and Matthew Hancock. And, even amid the rising disgruntlement, he is still widely regarded as a warmer figure than David Cameron, more in touch with his party’s backbenchers." - Peter Hoskin, The Times (£)

> Yesterday:

Row over gay sex between David Cairns charity and Scottish churches goes on - Scotsman

ECB: We will do whatever it takes to preserve the Euro

"The European Central Bank’s mandate allows it to fight excessive borrowing costs for eurozone countries, Mario Draghi, its president, said on Thursday, sparking a market rally amid hopes the bank would intervene to buy sovereign bonds. The euro strengthened and the bond prices of debt issued by stressed eurozone countries rallied after Mr Draghi said the ECB was “ready to do whatever it takes” to preserve the single currency. “Believe me, it will be enough,” he told a conference in London." - Financial Times (£)

  • Greek PM in crunch bailout talks - BBC

Elite universities vow to admit significantly more state pupils and those from low-income families - Daily Mail

"Harriet Harman is wrong.  Tory feminists are rising"

Amber Rudd"2010 brought an influx of women — and even the occasional man — whom I would label Tory feminists.Just look at the all-party groups. The one on sex equality is now chaired by Amber Rudd (Tory); the one on women in Parliament by Mary Macleod (Tory); women, peace and security is run by Nicola Blackwood (Tory); and zero tolerance of female genital mutilation by Jane Ellison (Tory). And the group trying to improve the quality of maternity services has the Tory Dr Daniel Poulter in charge." - Anushka Asthana, The Times (£)

> Yesterday: Claire Perry MP on Comment: - Prison for girls is not the answer

Republican dissidents join forces to form a new IRA - The Guardian

Paterson accused of Northern Ireland block grant 'smash and grab' - Belfast Telegraph

Britain 'flew drones over Libya' - Daily Telegraph


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