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Newslinks for Thursday 30th August 2012

6.30pm WATCH: The Conservatives' video to explain the Police and Crime Commissioner elections

5pm ToryDiary: Any questions for the end-August survey?

4.15pm WATCH: Keith Vaz attacks the UK Border Agency over how they have revoked London Metropolitan University's visa licence

3.45pm Philip Booth on Comment: There’s no case for a wealth tax

Clegg1.30pm ToryDiary: Why Tories shouldn’t be quick to pour scorn on Nick Clegg

12.30pm WATCH: Paul Ryan's speech to the Republican National Convention

11.45am Sir Andrew Green on Comment: There is little sign of progress towards the government’s migration pledge

ToryDiary: Cameroon commentators start attacking the Tory "Right". Are they speaking for Numbers 10 and 11?

Columnist Andrew Lilico: Europe is the real threat to American hegemony

Robert Leitch on Comment: Cameron deserves more loyalty from ego-chasing Tory MPs

International: Lord Ashcroft's Republican Convention diary day three: Wednesday

Local Government: Council leaseholders must be protected from excess charges

The Deep End: Robots won’t take over the world – just our jobs

George Osborne sounds cool on Nick Clegg's proposal for new wealth taxes

Osborne"The Deputy Prime Minister believes that the proposed tax, which would see an annual levy of about half a per cent on the value of a person’s total wealth, could raise billions of pounds to prevent deeper public spending cuts. ... George Osborne said it might 'drive away wealth creators'. The Chancellor said: “I am clear the wealthy should pay more which is why in the recent budget I increased the tax on very expensive property transactions. ... 'But we also have to be careful as a country we don’t drive away the wealth creators and the businesses that are going to lead our economic recovery.' - Daily Telegraph


  • "Nick Clegg's wealth taxes would inevitably create more hardship, unfairness and economic disruption than income taxes. Other European countries which have tried them have provoked significant capital flight, unfair treatment of different classes of assets, and, of course, a feast for the tax lawyers." - Bernard Jenkin, Guardian
  • "If such standard-issue Liberal buffoonery was taking place while still in opposition, it wouldn’t matter so much. But this man of towering political intelligence is now helping to run the country. With the UK in the middle of an economic emergency, it can ill afford its government to be conducted as if it were a plenary session at Lib Dem conference." - Iain Martin, Daily Telegraph
  • "A few sloppy soundbites directed at his core vote could hardly have been better calculated to dribble a bit more dampness on to the spirits of entrepreneurs and business people who are the only ones who can turn the economy around." - Camilla Cavendish, The Times (£)
  • "Lib Dems are ruthless – and the figures show Nick Clegg is a loser" - Martin Kettle, Guardian

> From yesterday: 

George Osborne sounds cool on Nick Clegg's proposal for a new state-run bank to boost lending

"Business groups are pushing the idea, claiming that banks have become too risk averse, but it is running into stiff resistance in the Treasury. Opponents within government say that it would struggle to gain approval from Europe, and could take years to set up. One senior Whitehall source added that the last thing the Government needed was to run another bank. 'We already own most of RBS and Lloyds as it is.'" - The Times (£)

But could the Chancellor give ground on a mansion tax?

"Lord Oakeshott, the former Lib Dem Treasury spokesman, will also lead a push to revive interest in the party's 'mansion tax' on properties worth more than £2m. Osborne is understood to have considered introducing this in the budget in exchange for cutting the top rate of tax to 40p. David Cameron vetoed the tax, prompting the Lib Dems to insist that the top rate of income tax could go no lower than 45p." - Guardian

  • "Knutsford Conservative Club, which shares premises with the Chancellor's local staff, is facing a problem all too familiar to Mr Osborne – it is in the midst of a cash crisis." - Independent

David Cameron: The Paralympics will make us prouder still

Cameron"Speaking before the [opening] ceremony, Prime Minister David Cameron said he believed the Games were 'going to to make the whole country incredibly proud'. ... He said: 'The Olympic Games made us proud but I think this will make us prouder still because you are going to see an extraordinary display of sport. ... 'We can be very proud that more Paralympians are taking part in more sports, in more stadia, watched by more people than at any time in the past. ... It's been a sell-out and that is, I think, a great story for our country and it will inspire a lot of people and change people's views about disability and that is absolutely crucial.'" - Daily Mail


  • "Trust me, these Paralympic Games will amaze and delight you" - Clare Balding , Daily Mail
  • "...most of those with disabilities can not and have not mutated into superhumans, able to gain strength from every rebuff and blow. For them, as for anyone else, life is about coping, doing their best, loving, being loved, grumbling, hoping and worrying. Often it’s about the grind." - David Aaronovitch, The Times (£)
  • "Britain will always be remembered for the brilliance and the flawlessness of the 2012 Games. ... Wouldn’t it be something if, in the next week and a half, we also changed for good the world’s perception of disabled people? ... That attitudes towards them changed everywhere? That facilities for them improved? That their lives became that bit easier? ... Wouldn’t that be the most amazing legacy of all from Britain’s incredible 2012?" - Sun editorial

Virgin Rail accuse Justine Greening of acting "unlawfully" over the West Coast rail contract

Greening"Virgin Rail’s legal challenge over the franchise bid focuses on three main alleged failings by Ms Greening, who it claims 'breached her obligations of equal treatment, transparency and her duties to act consistently and rationally'. ... A Department for Transport spokesman said: 'We will fight these claims robustly and show clearly that these allegations by Virgin and their business partners Stagecoach are ill-founded and misconceived. We expect to sign the contract soon.'" - Daily Telegraph

> Yesterday on MPsETC: Daniel Kawczynski MP writes to Sir Richard Branson urging him to drop his West Coast Rail protest

Sue Cameron: Ms Greening's position is safer after the latest Heathrow brouhaha

Ironically, Mr Yeo’s outburst has strengthened the position of Transport Secretary Justine Greening – popular with officials – who is against a third runway. To sack her now would indeed make Mr Cameron look like a mouse." - Sue Cameorn, Daily Telegraph

  • Zac Goldsmith warns that the government would face a "backlash" if it changes its mind over Heathrow - Financial Times (£)

William Hague has held talks with Ecuador's vice-president Lenin Moreno over the Julian Assange affair - Guardian 

One-in-five households contain no-one in work

Grayling"Nearly a fifth of British households have no one in work, figures show. ... There are 3.7 million in all — a 153,000 fall on last year. ... But there are still more than 5 million working-age adults in homes where no one has a job. .. Employment minister Chris Grayling said the fall in workless families was encouraging, but added: 'We can’t be complacent.'" - Sun

  • "The announcement by Chris Grayling, the employment minister, that young benefit recipients will be required to take part in full-time community work programmes in exchange for welfare payments is welcome." - Daily Telegraph editorial

Thousands more pupils could be dragged into the GCSE grading row

"The analysis – by David Blow, head of the Ashcombe School, Surrey – suggests that half of the 133,900 candidates who received a D in English may have gained Cs if pass marks had not been shifted. ... He warned that previous reports that around 10,000 pupils had been hit by the grade boundary change seriously underestimated the scale of the problem." - Daily Telegraph

The worst sex offenders could be made to take lie detector tests after leaving prison

"Ministers hope to push plans for the tests through Parliament and bring in the £4,000 polygraph machines by 2014. Offenders who refuse to take the tests will be in breach of their licence conditions and could be returned to prison. ... Justice Minister Crispin Blunt confirmed last night: 'We will be making the request to Parliament and in due course we will mandate it for the 750 most serious offenders.'" - Sun

The Government strips a university's right to adminster and sponsor foreign students — around 2,000 face deportation - Daily Mail

NHS faces £20 million of cuts to childbirth procedures - Sun

  • Patients make 3,100 written complaints against the NHS every week - Sun

> Yesterday on Comment: Chris Skidmore MP: Andrew Lansley's clinical commissioning groups are already improving health services by making them more localist

The Public Accounts Committee warns that Civil Service numbers could creep up again - The Times (£)

Rumours that the retired England cricket captain Andrew Strauss will step up to the crease in Corby

Strauss"But the Conservatives dismissed the rumour that Strauss could take advantage of the free time he now has to contest the seat for the Tories, with a Tory source stating: 'We are not aware of any truth in it.'" - Daily Mail

The Tory attacks on David Cameron continue — this time the papers report Brian Binley MP's comments

"David Cameron has received strong critique from one of his backbench MPs who called him a ‘chambermaid’ for the Liberal Democrats. ... Brian Binley accused the Prime Minister of going against the Conservative Party’s ‘instincts’ on Europe, on gay marriage and the Lords’ reform, in a blogpost on his website." - Daily Mail

> Today:

Michael Moore challenges Alex Salmond to reach agreement over the independence vote format

"In a speech to the National Business Convention in Edinburgh, the Scotland secretary will say the two sides need to reach agreement by the end of October to hit the the Scottish first minister’s ambition of holding a referendum in 2014." - Financial Times (£)

  • "The stakes are unbearably high for Salmond and Cameron" - Steve Richard, Independent 

The BBC's Editorial Standards Committee has criticised Diane Abbott's frequent, well-paid appearances on This Week - Daily Mail

Rafael Behr: For now, Ed Balls's ambitions are limited to becoming Chancellor - Rafael Behr, New Statesman

Lord Leveson's "diatribe" against the press

"Lord Justice Leveson has issued a 'diatribe' against the bad practices of the newspaper industry, which suggests that he may recommend sweeping reforms undermining press freedom, according to the Editor of The Independent. Chris Blackhurst told The Times that the chairman of the press standards inquiry had written a 116-page confidential letter to newspaper groups that worried him because it was 'completely one-sided'." - The Times (£)

The Army is to be kitted out with five new "super-boots" — including boots designed for women - Daily Mail

The number of male drug addicts who died after taking methadone rose by a third in 2011 - Sun

Paul Ryan fires up the Republican crowd — might Clint Eastwood do the same?

Clint"Paul Ryan was embraced by Republicans as the star of a new political generation in as he delivered an electrifying speech mocking Barack Obama’s presidency as ‘like  a ship trying to sail on yesterday’s wind’." - Daily Mail

"With so little left up to chance, the media has fixated on reports that a 'mystery speaker' will take the podium before Republican nominee Mitt Romney makes his speech. Sources have come forward claiming that actor/director Clint Eastwood will be the surprise guest, a decision that if true, may draw mixed reviews from the conservative crowd." - Huffington Post

  • Why is Romney courting the Tea Party? Because it’s more likeable than he is - Tim Stanley, The Spectator (£)

> From yesterday: 

> Today: 

And finally... the "doomsday ship" that could detonate Boris Island - Daily Mail


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