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30 Sep 2012 09:00:34

Newslinks for Sunday 30th September 2012

6.30pm A trio of Labour conference videos:

BALLOT BOX 14.15pm MPsETC: The Coalition should not give in to votes for 16 year olds in a secret deal with Alex Salmond

2.30pm WATCH: Ed Miliband: "If I was in government tomorrow", I would put the top rate of tax back up to 50p

12.30pm WATCH: Ed Miliband insists union leaders are not pulling the Labour Party's strings

11.45am ToryDiary: Ruth Davidson attacks SNP for trying to "buy" independence with handouts - and announces Tory plans for a tax cut 

DUNCAN ALAN ON DPToryDiary: Tory backbenchers - and Alan Duncan - push for Cameron to claw back aid money from the European Union

Columnist Nadine Dorries MP: Ed Miliband is still a mystery opponent - to underestimate him would be foolish

Francis Davis on Comment: Gavin Barwell MP's mental health bill is a brilliant start. But the Conservative Party must now go further.

Local Government: 

WATCH: Ed Miliband holds pre-conference question and answer session

"Ed will crash and burn": David Miliband's feud with Ed revealed

MILIBAND DAVID RED"The elder Miliband is said to view members of ‘Team Ed’ with disdain and has been known to ‘blank them’ in the corridors of Westminster. ‘He thinks we’re all useless,’ says one of Ed’s most senior advisers. In July, David was invited to guest-edit the New Statesman, which backed his brother, not him, for the Labour leadership in 2010. Asked whether Ed would be contributing to his issue, David shrugged and said: ‘I’ll text the guy.’ ... ‘When David does this stuff,’ grumbles an aide to Ed, ‘I’m not sure how he thinks he’s “helping” us.’ Towards the end of last year, David was overheard telling a member of his inner circle: ‘Ed will crash and burn.’" - Mail on Sunday

Ed continues last year's pro-consumer messages, threatening to break up banks

Miliband E bankers"Miliband said that, if elected, he would cap the charges and fees of pension firms and force energy suppliers to pass on price cuts in an effort to ease household costs for families and the elderly. However, echoing shadow Chancellor Ed Balls, he told a public meeting in Manchester that an incoming Labour government in 2015 would not promise to reverse cuts made by the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition, saying “hard decisions” on spending would have to be made." - Scotland on Sunday

  • Pollwatch: Miliband still lagging behind his party - Sunday Times (£)
  • Ed Miliband tells British banks: change now or be broken up - Observer
  • Ed Miliband: tuition fees could be cut further under Labour - Sunday Telegraph
  • Miliband's big test is to make voters see him as prime minister - Observer
  • Labour must target rip-off Britain - Jon Cruddas MP for the Sun on Sunday
  • Ed's new film shows off 'tough' comp education of the self-confessed geek - Mail on Sunday

> From today - Columnist Nadine Dorries MP: Ed Miliband is still a mystery opponent - to underestimate him would be foolish

> Yesterday on LeftWatch: How to read the Labour Conference

Matthew d'Ancona: What’s the point of Labour when the coffers are empty?

D'ANCONA"New Labour offered “prudence” as proof of its readiness for power – and we know how that particular movie ended. A convincing poll lead, the declaration of a national emergency, the promise to be fiscally well-behaved… all these are necessary punctuation marks for a party on its way back. But the much bigger and crueller question that must be answered in Manchester is the one that Miliband asks himself in private. What is the point of a Left-of-centre Labour leader with an empty wallet? His response will determine the success of this conference – and much else besides." - Matthew d'Ancona for the Sunday Telegraph

  • Ed Miliband can't afford to rest on his party's poll lead - Iain Martin for the Sunday Telegraph
  • Ed's set to bare his soul... and his inner geek - James Forsyth for the Mail on Sunday
  • Stay vague, Ed — too red and you’re dead - Martin Ivens for the Sunday Times (£)
  • Wonkish? Yes, but Miliband could be PM in 2015 - John Rentoul for the Independent on Sunday
  • Miliband is right to threaten the banks - Obsever editorial

Oh no! Not wall-to-wall conference interviews (part 2)...

  • Ed Miliband on the banks, gurus, coalitions… and being human - Observer
  • Union leader Len McCluskey "vowed this weekend to purge remaining supporters of Tony Blair from the party." - Sunday Times (£)
  • Meet the woman who believes her party's best days lie ahead with a female leader - Rachel Reeves interview with the Independent on Sunday
  • "I didn't have a nervous breakdown, but I was close to one" - Jack Straw interview with the Observer
  • The British Obama? No, Labour high-flyer Chuka's the black Blair - Chuka Umunna interview with the Mail on Sunday
  • An assault on ‘inherited poverty’ will help poorer parents raise aspirational children - Jim Murphy interview with the Sunday Times (£)
We can work with Labour but Ed Balls must go say Lib Dems...

Balls Ed School small"Ed Balls's personality would be a serious obstacle to any future Lib-Lab coalition, according to senior members of the Liberal Democrats, who describe the prospect of working with him as intolerable. The shadow chancellor may have to accept a lesser role in any future coalition as a price for the Liberal Democrats partnering Labour after the next general election." - Observer

  • Ed Balls: Stamp duty holiday will kick-start economy - Sunday Telegraph
  • Labour must make its peace with enterprise - Sunday Telegraph editorial

.. as Lib Dems draw up plans to stay in coalition with Tories even if Labour win the election - Independent on Sunday

Claw back £4billion from the European Union, Tory MPs tell Cameron

Cameron Rajoy presser"Britain is contributing around £33billion to structural funds to cover the period from 2007 to 2013. The taxpayer-funded payments are entirely separate from the UK’s international aid budget. Conservative backbenchers are now urging the Prime Minister to be more aggressive and demand the “repatriation” around £4.2billion of structural funding for the period between 2014 and 2020 which could then be spent on poorer regions in Britain rather than in other EU countries." - Sunday Telegraph

  • Senior Tory accuses EU of "squandering" Britain's aid budget - Sunday Telegraph

> Today on ToryDiaryTory backbenchers - and Alan Duncan - push for Cameron to claw back aid money from the European Union

> From yesterday:

Steve Hilton is back, helping with Cameron's conference speech

Hilton Large "Tory aides are said to be nervous that Hilton’s involvement signifies a return to ideas and slogans that have failed to ignite public support. One source said advisers in Downing Street were worried that Hilton would spend his time “waffling on about the big society”." - Sunday Times (£)

  • 'Likeability’ is the bane of modern politics - Janet Daley for the Sunday Telegraph

George Osborne's CO2 tax will double UK electricity bills - Christopher Booker for the Sunday Telegraph

Boris annoyed at Strasbourg decision to open door for new militant strikes

Johnson Boris Pointing"The European Court of Human Rights has given its initial approval to a submission claiming that UK laws unfairly restrict the power of unions to take industrial action. The decision brought an angry response from Boris Johnson, the Conservative Mayor of London, who last night condemned the intervention by the Strasbourg court as “totally unacceptable”." - Sunday Telegraph

  • Boris is due to have lunch at Chequers today... - ITV News

Cabinet split over plan to raise council tax on big homes

Cameron Cabinet"Tories fear George Osborne is preparing to bow to Liberal Democrat demands by unveiling proposals for new council tax “bands” for homes worth £1million or more. ... The Sunday Telegraph understands [a group of Cabinet members who oppose the plans] includes Chris Grayling, the Justice Secretary, Grant Shapps, the Conservative Chairman, Eric Pickles, the Communities Secretary, and Philip Hammond, the Defence Secretary." - Sunday Telegraph

Mitchell Andrew Feb 2011No proof he said 'plebs': CCTV footage fails to show if Mitchell verbally abused police - Mail on Sunday

  • Plebs? No, but I wish they'd remember we are their bosses - Peter Hitchens for the Mail on Sunday
  • Freedom of Information to include ministers' private texts - BBC

Drivers who only make short journeys should pay less motoring tax than long-distance road users, says Andrea Leadsom MP - Mail on Sunday

Cameron in crony row over Brazil factory

"David Cameron was embroiled in a fresh party funding row last night after he opened a factory in Brazil belonging to one of the Conservatives' largest donors. The Prime Minister is to face questions in Parliament over the decision to put Sir Anthony Bamford's JCB factory in Sao Paulo at the centre of his trip to the South American country." - Independent on Sunday

Scottish Tories would cut handouts to deliver a 1p income tax cut

Davidson Ruth"Party leader Ruth Davidson today launches her own attack on free prescriptions, tuition fees, bus passes and the council tax freeze, 
accusing the SNP government of ring-fencing them to “buy support for independence”. If in government, Davidson says the Tories would aim to cut spending on such policies and use the savings to cut income tax to below levels in the rest of the UK." - Scotland on Sunday

  • Westminster agrees to allow 16- and 17-year-olds to vote in referendum on independence? - Independent on Sunday

ARMED FORCESNew year lay-offs: Army to fire 8,000 soldiers in 'fast-track' redundancies and sackings of over-45s (although the MoD deny plan) - Mail on Sunday

  • Former MI6 chief linked to 'dodgy dossier' has key role in controversial BAE deal - Mail on Sunday

Labour MP Malcolm Wicks dies aged 65 - Observer

  • Cross-party tributes to the former Minister - BBC

> From yesterday on MPsETC: Labour MP and former Minister Malcolm Wicks dies

30,000 join Belfast Ulster covenant march - Scotland on Sunday

> From yesterday - WATCH: Today's Ulster Covenant march and sectarian tensions

High speed rail link may be revised because of Heathrow - Sunday Times (£)

Hunt for next Archbishop reaches deadlock after 'snubbing' frontrunner Sentamu - Mail on Sunday

"Axing the British Antarctic Survey would mean the end of Scott's legacy" - Observer


29 Sep 2012 09:00:12

Newslinks for Saturday 29th September 2012

9pm MPsETC: Labour MP and former Minister Malcolm Wicks dies

Screen shot 2012-09-29 at 17.01.405pm WATCH: Today's Ulster Covenant march and sectarian tensions

2.30pm LeftWatch: How to read the Labour Conference

1pm Mohammed Amin on Comment: Blasphemy should remain decriminalised

Two EU referendum items lead ConHome this morning:

Also on Comment: Martin Sewell - Megan Stammers was abused, just as the Rochdale girls were abused. The age of consent is worth defending.

Local Government: Brandon Lewis MP, now a new CLG Minister, says that he wants to make himself obsolete

As Labour gathers for its conference, two out of three party voters want Ed Miliband replaced've guessed it...

David Miliband"Two out of three Labour voters want to ditch party leader Ed Miliband in favour of his brother David, a poll revealed last night. The news comes as Mr Miliband today tries to regain Labour’s economic credibility at the party’s annual conference after Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls vowed to review every item of public expenditure if Labour wins the next election." - Daily Mail

  • It's Sir Winston Miliband! He will call today for "the spirit of World War Two" - The Sun

...But the Labour leader is closing his poll disadvantage

"Labour have closed the gap with the Tories in areas such as welfare, crime and steering the economy through difficult times but, broadly, six out of ten voters still cannot see Ed Miliband as Prime Minister, according to a Populus poll for The Times. However, his rating has improved and he is more highly rated than at any time of his leadership…59 per cent of voters “find it difficult to imagine Ed Miliband running the country as Prime Minister”, down from 61 per cent in 2011. Asked to rate Mr Miliband out of 100 they gave him 42.2, up from 39.2 in April and behind Mr Cameron on 43.4, but ahead of Nick Clegg on 35.8." - The Times (£)

Rubbish policy rushed out to grab conference headlines 1) Labour "will cap pension charges"

"Labour would change the law to cap ‘rip-off’ pension charges, Ed Miliband pledges today. The Labour leader told the Daily Mail on the eve of his party’s annual conference that the move would be part of an ‘all out attack’ on vested corporate interests in favour of ordinary voters. The Manchester conference is on the theme of ‘Rebuilding Britain’ as Mr Miliband attempts to convince voters his party can be trusted with the economy." - Daily Mail

  • Food prices are one of the biggest issues in British politics - Daily Express

Rubbish policy rushed out to grab conference headlines 2) Labour "launches drive to cut electricity bills for thousands of families"

"The party to encourage consumers to club together to negotiate lower tariffs - and is promising to target poorer families that would otherwise be hard to reach. The Government has been promoting the concept of "collective switching", but Labour will become the first British political party to launch an initiative to enable people to bulk-purchase electricity. It aims to roll out the programme nationally next year." - The Independent

Rubbish policy rushed out to grab conference headlines 3) Labour turns to BBC stars ("Miriam O'Reilly, the former Countryfile presenter, and Arlene Phillips, the former Strictly Come Dancing judge") in new fight for rights of older women - The Independent 

Shadow Scottish Secretary says that Scottish Labour's benefits review is not a betrayal of the party's values - Herald Scotland 

Labour's Holyrood chief whip yesterday claimed that his party’s controversial review of universal services would “redistribute” money from the rich to the poor - Scotsman

Oh no! Not wall-to-wall conference interviews...

  • Screen shot 2012-09-29 at 08.20.34Yvette Cooper pitches for women's vote - Interview, The Guardian
  • Harriet Harman is unofficial leader of Labour's hardline tendency which does not want to play footsie with the third party - Interview, The Independent
  • Chuka Umunna says Labour will celebrate companies that pay loads and loads and loads of tax - Financial Times (£)
  • Yet another Guardian interview with a Labour front-bencher, this time Stephen Twigg, who "wants to get back to the old mantra of standards not structures" - Interview, The Guardian
  • Douglas Alexander says that ‘The challenge for Ed Miliband this week is not to pile on the policy’ - Interview, The Times (£)


  • Labour’s blank page needs filling - Financial Times Editorial (£)
  • Deluded Ed - Sun Editorial
  • Red Ed’s on a high, but he’s doomed if he doesn’t win over the striving classes - Simon Heffer, Daily Mail
  • Now's the time for Miliband to show what he's made of - Andrew Grice, The Independent
  • Labour is ahead in the polls but miles off power - Patrick O'Flynn, Daily Express
  • The speech Miliband should make - Jonathan Freedland, The Guardian
  • The party conferences this year ought to be dominated by the scale of the economic challenge facing Britain - Times Editorial (£)

Screen shot 2012-09-29 at 08.25.07Lord Owen says that Tony Blair is afflicted by what "could legitimately be deemed to constitute a medically recognised syndrome" - Daily Mail  

Blair could have halted war in Iraq, says Kofi Annan - The Times (£) 

Labour MP Gloria de Piero finds out why people hate politicians - The Sun

Labour talks up Boris threat - The Independent 

> Yesterday:


Boris claims Cameron knew what Magna Carta means, but doesn't know himself who scored 1966 World Cup Final hat-trick - Daily Mail

Will you, won't you, will you, won't you, will you join the dance? Cruddas hints at a Labour EU referendum pledge

"Ed Miliband’s policy director said the Opposition would consider “in depth” whether the public should be given a vote as the party drafts its next manifesto The intervention from Jon Cruddas, the influential MP chairing Labour’s policy review, will add to pressure on David Cameron who is already facing demands from Conservatives to give the public a say over Britain’s relationship with Europe." - Daily Telegraph

Will you, won't you, will you, won't you, will you join the dance? Cameron hints at a Conservative EU referendum pledge (yet again)...

Cameron Union Flag + EU

"The Prime Minister insisted voters will get a “new settlement” and a “fresh consent” if he wins the next election in 2015. His latest intervention fuels expectations that he plans to hold a referendum on new terms of EU membership and not the in‑or‑out vote being widely sought. He also said Britain would opt out of a series of European Union laws on crime and policing. Speaking on the final day of his trip to Brazil, where he has been promoting Britain’s business interests and visited a youth sport centre, Mr Cameron said: “In the next parliament I think there will be opportunities for a fresh settlement.” - Daily Express

  • David Cameron needs his own day of atonement for an EU referendum pledge that he knew would mislead - Graeme Archer, Daily Telegraph

…But Clegg wants to retain the European arrest warrant

"David Cameron and Nick Clegg were at odds over the EU on Friday night after the deputy prime minister warned of the dangers of abandoning British involvement in the European arrest warrant. Hours after the prime minister said Britain would opt out of a series of EU law and order measures, the deputy prime minister said the value of the warrant was highlighted by the arrest in France of the teacher Jeremy Forrest." - The Guardian 

France unveils 'harshest budget in 30 years' - The Guardian 

> Today

> Yesterday:

Political correctness mustn't halt the pursuit of child grooming, says Deputy Prime Minister - The Times (£)

> Today: Martin Sewell on Comment -  Megan Stammers was abused, just as the Rochdale girls were abused. The age of consent is worth defending.

Cameron-Clegg texts may be disclosed under FOI rules - Daily Telegraph 

Mitchell may have to skip Tory conference

Mitchell Andrew Feb 2011"Tory chiefs now fear that their party conference in Birmingham, beginning next weekend, is in danger of descending into a media bunfight should Mr Mitchell appear. No final decision has yet been taken and the Tory high command will assess matters while Labour holds its conference in Manchester, starting tomorrow. But unless the media appetite has died down, it is understood that Mr Mitchell will be advised to stay away or at least limit himself to a token appearance." - The Times (£)

  • Chief Whip tells his side of the story to his local paper:  “I hope my constituents will not recognise the hideous caricature that has been portrayed in some of the tabloid press." - Hold The Front Page
  • Latin lessons for latter-day plebs - Harry Mount, Financial Times (£)

Justine Greening expected to reverse Mitchell's decision and freeze aid to Rwanda - Daily Express 

Gove drops FoI Act challenge - Financial Times (£) 

Guardian reporting targets Jeremy Hunt over his views on abortion - The Guardian

Charles Moore savages J.K.Rowling's attack on the middle class

Screen shot 2012-09-29 at 08.41.48"JK Rowling, though very po-faced, is not artistically serious. Her plot is not well-grounded. Her morality tale has all the improbability of magic, but none of its allure.  This is sad, because it is in our provincial life that our great culture has flourished…Left-wing she may be, but what she is really saying to the poor old provincial England that made her is, like Harry Enfield’s famous creation, “I am considerably richer than yow!” - Daily Telegraph

  • We experts know nothing about politics - Matthew Parris, The Times (£)

Parties come together to celebrate Ulster covenant - Newsletter 

Economy 1) Could Britain finally be  witnessing a break in the storm clouds that first gathered over our economy in 2008? - Daily Mail Editorial 

Economy 2) Forget Silicon Roundabout – try Tech Margate for economic growth - Damian Collins MP, Daily Telegraph 

Economy 3) Britain now producing more cars than Germany: How the UK has become the car production capital of Europe - Daily Mail

"Father of disgraced David Laws says the Lib Dem deserves to be in jail over expenses* - Daily Mail (*He doesn't, actually: he says that Laws "was damn lucky that further action wasn’t taken against him")


28 Sep 2012 08:34:48

Newslinks for Friday 28th September 2012

S36 23425 CON Learning 48sht

10pm LeftWatch: Tories launch first anti-Labour poster of the 2015 general election campaign...

8.30pm ToryDiary: David Cameron's words on Europe should not be subject to exacting scrutiny. They are designed to leave all options open.

Screen Shot 2012-09-28 at 20.13.328pm WATCH: The Tories can be "bloody difficult people to like", says Janet Daley

2.45pm LeftWatch: Cameron seen as tougher, stronger and more competent than Miliband but Labour leader more 'in touch'

1.15pm Martin Callanan MEP: Europe and the USA have taken action against Argentina's economic intransigence - so should we

12.45pm Local government: Council byelection results from yesterday

ToryDiary: Can Cameron appeal simultaneously to Lib Dem and UKIP-minded voters? Yes he can.

LeftWatch: Overweight man promises to go on diet next year. Alcoholic says he'll just have one more beer. Ed Balls promises to take tough decisions AFTER the next election.

Columnist Bruce Anderson: Millions of voters still have no clear idea who Cameron is or what he believes... and that's his fault


Grant Shapps MP, Tory Chairman, begins a new, regular column for ConservativeHome: This year's party conference will be more focused on grassroots members

Lord Lexden on Comment: Remembering the Ulster Covenant, signed a century ago today

Local government: Institutional racism is keeping black children in care

The Deep End: Heresy of the week: Britain’s energy sector has been re-nationalised – by the French

CameronUKCameron won't address EU referendum issue until AFTER party conference...

  • The Telegraph has "EU referendum not a priority, says Cameron";
  • The Prime Minister is likely to placate Eurosceptics, reports The Guardian, by signalling he will make major speech about Britain's EU membership later in year;
  • Nick Robinson agrees: "Mr Cameron has decided not to use his party conference speech to respond to mounting pressure within his party for a tougher stance towards the EU and an in/out referendum."

...but there are also signs that when Cameron says something it may be significant...

  • "The Prime Minister will push for the repatriation of more than 100 powers over justice, crime and policing. He is also likely to veto the EU’s demands for a bigger budget and will give the clearest signal yet that the Tories will offer an EU referendum in the next Parliament" - Daily Mail
  • The Express reports "Let's go our own way in Europe, says David Cameron".

Cameron arrives in São Paulo, seeking to boost trade for UK arms firms in Brazil - Guardian

...But, says The Mail, the Brazilian media want to talk about Boris.

Cameron's plan for minimum alcohol prices left in tatters after EU legal threat - Daily Mail

Ministers have been condemned by a committee of MPs for failing to investigate properly allegations of fraud in the Government's flagship schemes to get the unemployed back to work - Independent

Unnamed Tory MPs plan to write to Graham Brady, chairman of the influential backbench 1922 Committee, to say they have lost confidence in Andrew Mitchell - The Sun

AshcroftLord Ashcroft: Tories must reach out to all voters, not pander to their own

"To govern alone, the Tories need to attract and hold people who did not vote for them last time and may never have done so before. The latest phase of Project Blueprint, my ongoing research on the prospects for an overall majority, found there are as many people who voted Lib Dem in 2010 who might be persuaded to vote Tory as there are Conservatives tempted to switch to Ukip. The Conservatives do not have the luxury of choosing between the two if they want to govern alone after 2015." - Lord Ashcroft in The Guardian

The British economy is coming out of recession, and is stronger than almost everyone believes - The Economist

Nelson Fraser Feb 2010Fraser Nelson: Wealth taxes simply don’t work

"The last German and Austrian wealth taxes were abolished in 1997; Finland’s and Iceland’s in 2006; Sweden tore up its wealth tax in 2007, hoping to persuade its rich to invest more money at home. All of these governments acted from a desire for more tax revenue, not less. And all realised that the notion of wealth tax had been defeated by one of the most persistent forces in human history: mankind’s ingenuity at avoiding taxes." - Fraser Nelson in The Telegraph

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Boris Johnson leads Conservative resistance against Clegg's mansion taxes

"Clegg has conducted himself with dignity. He has remained loyal to Cameron beyond the call of duty. He has held his ramshackle party together against the odds." - Simon Jenkins in The Guardian says Clegg deserves a bigger dollop of respect

Labour pledges 'ruthless' post-election spending review - BBC

Balls Ed 470 May 2012

"An incoming Labour government will introduce a root and branch budget review to examine every penny of public spending, Ed Balls the shadow chancellor tells the Guardian. The budget review, expected to report within a year after the next election should Labour find itself back in No 10, is designed to look at the purpose and value of all public spending against the backdrop of some of the toughest long term tax and spending challenges to face the postwar Labour party." - Guardian

"The move is designed to convince the public ahead of Labour’s annual party conference in Manchester that Labour MPs are not oblivious to the public spending dilemmas facing the UK" - FT (£)

The Times (£): "Ms Harman, the Labour deputy leader, said that the party would “not be signing up” to the Chancellor’s deficit reduction plans. But aides to Mr Balls, who is anxious to give himself maximum room for manoeuvre before the next election, said that no such decisions had been taken."

Gay couples should be allowed to marry in church, says Miliband as he backs Government proposals - Daily Mail

JOHNSON ALAN purple"Former Cabinet minister Alan Johnson said yesterday that Mr Miliband had not proved he is up to the job. The former Home Secretary said Mr Miliband “has to do more to demonstrate that he is a leader”." - Express

  • David Miliband to snub brother Ed's speech as feud goes on - The Sun

Labour might be better in partnership with the Lib Dems - There would have been no war in Iraq or attack on liberties, concludes Polly Toynbee in The Guardian

Gordon Brown's UN press conference cancelled after only one reporter turns up to hear him - Telegraph

Time for MPs to summon statisticians over endless revisions

"It is hard to know whether we should believe anything we are told by our statistical masters. Originally, we were informed that the economy shrank by 0.7 per cent in the second quarter; then that it fell by 0.5 per cent; yesterday this was revised down to 0.4 per cent." - Allister Heath for City AM

David Cameron promises to brush up on British history after Letterman test - Metro

> Yesterday's video choice of Cameron's Letterman performance

Cameron denies that he kept Obama on hold to finish game of tennis - Daily Mail

It's not just in Britain; all across Europe party membership is in decline - The Economist's Bagehot

VAIZEY EDAnd finally... 'I have a television so why can't I have a games console?’

"Ed Vaizey revealed he had been told not to have gaming equipment wired up to his office TV because it would look ‘frivolous’. But the Tory culture minister said he was going to ‘renew’ his campaign, arguing that it was connected with his day job." - Daily Mail

The Sun Says: "He has a TV in his office, he says, so why not a games console? Well, Government ministers can watch news on TV. We’ll allow that. Why should anyone pay for them to play Call Of Duty? The man needs his Ed tested."

Mr Vaizey also joined George Osborne and Michael Gove for six hour Wagner fest at Royal Opera House - 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. Read our comments policy here.

27 Sep 2012 08:31:51

Newslinks for Thursday 27th September 2012

8.30pm David T Breaker on Comment: Householders deserve the right to defend themselves and the means to do so

8.15pm WATCH: David Cameron: "I'm a history obsessive, so I'm sorry I didn't do better"

4.45pm LeftWatch: Nick Clegg thinks Eurosceptics are "insular", "chauvinistic" and "short-sighted". Why must he insult his opponents?

3.45pm Karl McCartney MP on Comment: The problem is not too many privately-educated Olympians - it's the lack of competitive sport in state schools

2.45pm ToryDiary: New Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin insists he is "open-minded" about third Heathrow runway

1.15pm WATCH: Ed Miliband announces support for gay marriage campaign

Cameron on Letterman11.30am WATCH: David Cameron struggles with British history quiz on the Late Show with David Letterman

11am ToryDiary: The Coalition is not doing enough to end the equalities industry - tackling it would be a social and economic good

ToryDiary: Boris Johnson leads Conservative resistance against Clegg's mansion taxes

Columnist Andrew Lilico: What would be the details of a Conservative-UKIP pact?

Wharton James MPJames Wharton MP on Comment: Conservatives should reject lazy left-wing generalisations about "the North East" being affected as one by government policies

Local Government: More Conservative councillors defect to UKIP

The Deep End: The case for staying in the EU basically comes down to blackmail

WATCH: David Cameron appears on the Late Show with David Letterman

Cameron in New York 1): "Blood on their hands": The Prime Minister blames Russia and China for torture and killing of Syrians under Assad's "terror reign"

Times_270912"The Prime Minister effectively blamed the countries for the torture and killing of children by Bashar al-Assad’s regime because they have refused to sanction any intervention by the United Nations  in the war-torn Middle East state. The failure to act had left a ‘terrible stain on the reputation of the UN’, he said at the UN General Assembly in New York... Although he did not name the countries, Mr Cameron’s aides confirmed his remarks were directed at them. The angry tone of his speech risks sparking a diplomatic row." - Daily Mail

> Coverage from yesterday:

Cameron in New York 2): Cameron stars on Late Show with David Letterman

Letterman"David Cameron was subjected to a bizarre quiz on British culture and history as he appeared on one of the US's most influential TV chat shows [last night]. The Prime Minister was welcomed on to the Late Show by host David Letterman to the tune of the house band playing Rule Britannia and dry ice pumping into the studio to replicate a London fog... Mr Cameron had said he would use the show to "bang the drum" for Britain, and raised applause from the audience when he hailed the successful hosting of the Olympics and Paralympics this summer." - ITV News

  • "You've found me out. I’ve ended my career on your show tonight!" Cameron caught out by US chat show king's quiz on British history - Daily Mail
  • PM fails his history test - James Kirkup for TelegraphBlogs

> From today - WATCH: David Cameron appears on the Late Show with David Letterman

We'll stop cut in 45p tax rate, says Clegg: Deputy PM's pledge puts him on collision course with Tory Right

CLEGG NICK"The top rate of tax will stay at 45p until the next election because Britain faces a descent into extremism if it diverts from its austerity drive, Nick Clegg said yesterday. Making his keynote address at the Liberal Democrat conference in Brighton, he said there could be ‘no question’ of further reducing the income tax charged on earnings over £150,000... His intervention will dismay the Tory Right" - Daily Mail

  • Public spending threatens tolerant society, says Nick Clegg - Daily Telegraph
  • A Tory speech from Nick Clegg has done him a power of good - Benedict Brogan for the Daily Telegraph
  • Nick Clegg attempts to rouse Lib Dem troops for general election battle - Guardian
  • Power has come at a colossal price that Clegg isn't ready to concede - Steve Richards for the Independent
  • Liberal Democrat conference: numbers shrink, cost doesn't - Guardian
  • Clegg paves the way for a war on wealth - Daily Telegraph editorial

> Coverage from yesterday:

Clegg's shots at party villains hit Labour the hardest

"Nick Clegg insisted that he could work with either party after the next election while repeatedly attacking Labour’s Ed Balls... Mr Clegg attempted to balance the attacks on Labour by targeting Liam Fox, the right-wing former Defence Secretary, and criticising Tory policy on the environment. However, by selecting a softer Tory target and criticising a policy portfolio which senior Conservatives such as George Osborne no longer regard as critical to the party’s future, Mr Clegg is opening himself to suggestions that he is not being equally scathing about rival parties." - Times (£)

  • For a future Lib-Lab coalition work needs to begin now - Guardian

Boris Johnson: Nick Clegg's mansion tax plans are crazy

BORIS JOHNSON YOUTUBE "Nick Clegg’s “crazy” plans for a mansion tax on homes worth more than £1million “are a non-starter [and] he knows it”, according to Boris Johnson... The Mayor of London’s comments came as it emerged that the plans could saddle more than a million middle-class home owners with higher council tax bills. Mr Johnson’s dramatic intervention will raise the stakes in the row over the tax plans, which are reportedly being worked up by the Treasury." - Daily Telegraph

  • Tories vulnerable to ‘grey vote’ anger - FT (£)
  • Douglas Alexander: “It’s time to take Boris seriously” - New Statesman

> Today on ToryDiary: Boris Johnson leads Conservative resistance against Clegg's mansion taxes

> From yesterday - Lord Flight on Comment: The Treasury needs to be more imaginative when it comes to tax

Andrew Mitchell under pressure to skip Tory party conference over 'pleb row'

Andrew Mitchell"Andrew Mitchell is under pressure to skip next month's Conservative party conference because of fears that the continuing row over whether he called police officers "f****** plebs" will overshadow the annual gathering. Friends of Mr Mitchell said “indeed he is” intending to go to the autumn conference in Birmingham, which begins a week on Sunday, and would attend for the “full stretch” of the five day conference." - Daily Telegraph

  • Police officers protest outside Andrew Mitchell's constituency office - Guardian
  • "He was not popular with officials in his previous job at [DfID]... it seems that his private office was “not a happy place”. Staff turnover there was brisk, Civil Service high-flyers did not want to work for him and if they couldn’t avoid it, they left as soon as decently possible... Apart from a propensity for swearing [he]... had a tendency to bark out instructions like: “Go and get us some tea.” When one official mildly pointed out that tea-making was not her job, he glared at her and repeated his order for tea." - Sue Cameron for the Daily Telegraph

> From yesterday - WATCH: David Cameron answers questions about Andrew Mitchell from New York

Hague to discuss Assange's future with Ecuador

Hague William Syria"Ecuador's foreign minister is to hold talks with the UK Government today to try to resolve the deadlock over the fate of the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, it was disclosed last night... An embassy official said Ecuador's foreign minister, Ricardo Patino, planned to meet his British counterpart, William Hague, at the United Nations in New York today." - Independent

BAE merger is a national security risk and should be avoided at all costs, says Bernard Jenkin

JENKIN BERNARD TWITTER"Bernard Jenkin, the chairman of the Public Administration Select Committee, warned that government support for merging BAE with Franco-German aviation firm EADS will undermine Britain’s status as a ‘major military power’ and waste taxpayers’ money. The former shadow defence secretary warned that giving the French and German governments, who own parts of EADS, access to our military secrets would undermine the UK’s vital intelligence sharing with the United States." - Daily Mail

'I was once made Minister for Trade – for about half an hour' - Ed Vaizey MP interview in the Independent

Tory grassroots 'despair' at £12bn foreign aid spree - Daily Mail

  • Warped priorities: £28bn cuts. Our Armed Forces slashed to the bone. So why is Cameron boasting to the UN about spending yet more billions on overseas aid? - Ian Birrell for the Daily Mail

After years of conflict, the phonics method is emerging as the best way to teach children - Nick Gibb MP for the Daily Telegraph

Allister Heath: Troubled Britain should not mock the Eurozone’s nightmare

EU and BRITAIN"[S]ome of the Eurozone countries that are nearly bankrupt could yet end up with budget deficits as a share of GDP that are lower than Britain’s. It shows just how hubristic the British have become: the only reason the UK is not facing Armageddon is because the Bank of England (one part of the British state) is buying all of the gilts issued by the Debt Management Office (another part of the state) to finance public spending. Coalition ministers should stop gloating – and opposition spokespeople should stop being so deluded." - Allister Heath for City AM

  • Our financial crisis is unique, and the route back to health will be painful, costly and long - Jeremy Warner for the Daily Telegraph

> From today:

Miliband needs to spell out welfare cuts, say party grandees

Miliband Ed Yes"Ed Miliband has to do more to demonstrate he is a leader and needs to use next week's Labour conference to set out more detailed thinking behind last year's conference speech, the former cabinet minister Alan Johnson warns in the Guardian... Labour is enjoying a 10-point lead going into its conference, but there have been a string of polls showing Miliband trailing David Cameron as the preferred prime minister." - Guardian

  • Ed Miliband, show us you have what it takes to be prime minister - Alan Johnson MP for the Guardian
  • Project “Ed’s Charisma” – the mission to help Miliband loosen up - New Statesman

Labour will back Leveson press curbs, says Harman - Daily Mail

Slippery Salmond is "trying to engineer second referendum question"

Salmond Alex iv"Fresh claims that Alex Salmond was attempting to “engineer” a second referendum question surfaced yesterday. Correspondence, uncovered by Freedom of Information legislation, revealed Mr Salmond wrote to Martin Sime, of Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, asking him to encourage people to have their say about the “format” of the referendum." - Scotsman

  • Alistair Darling: Yes Scotland chief is Alex Salmond underling - Daily Telegraph

Private school share of new Cambridge places plunges to 30-year low after drive to recruit state pupils - Daily Mail

NHS finance directors fear standards of care will worsen, study reveals - Guardian

Trident submarine missiles review to suggest 'stepping down nuclear ladder' - Guardian

  • Top military chiefs go cold on nuclear deterrent - Independent

And finally... Crisis? Do as Margaret Thatcher would have done, China tells its future leaders - Daily Telegraph


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