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Newslinks for Monday 17th September 2012

5pm Dr Ted Bromund on Comment: Why the US-UK Extradition Treaty is good law

2.15pm WATCH: Tory MP Karen Lumley dismissive of role of think tanks in Daily Politics film

12.45pm Local government: Lewisham Conservatives expel councillor

Noon Lord Bates on Comment: Ministers must talk up signs of recovery because the recovery is real and confidence will sustain it

11am Local government: Green Party councillor expelled for opposition to gay marriage

9.45am Local government: Council byelection results from Thursday

ToryDiary: The "Gove-Level" deal suggests there's still some life in the Coalition

Columnist Bruce Anderson: The ERM was an economic success but a political disaster

Dear Justine... The aid budget isn't working

Lord Ashcroft on Comment writes an open letter to Justine Greening: Overseas aid doesn't work and we can't afford it

Cutting Rose

Majority Conservatism: The Tories have identified three key weaknesses in Ed Miliband's Labour Party

John Bald on Local government: Despite short term rough justice the goal of a more rigorous exam system must be pursued

The Deep End: The next phase of the Eurozone crisis has started

Clegg Nick July 2011Nick Clegg hails coalition GCSE exam education changes - BBC

"GCSEs were introduced in 1986 and quickly became associated with an emphasis on coursework, modules (which could be endlessly resat to get a better result) and grade inflation... The restored O-level will be tougher and if candidates resit a subject they must do the entire exam, not just a module – a change that will certainly make students more likely to try to do well at the first attempt." - Express

The Guardian claims that Clegg has won two concessions from Michael Gove:

  1. "There will be no two-tier system and the new exams will be sat by most pupils. Gove originally proposed a system similar to the old two-tier system in which brighter students sat O-levels and less able ones sat CSE exams.
  2. Pupils will start to be taught for the new exams in autumn 2015, a year later than expected."

Probe launched by International Development Secretary Justine Greening into the "fat cats" of the aid budget - Daily Mail

Screen Shot 2012-09-17 at 06.41.39In a leader the Mail calls on Miss Greening to cut the aid budget: "Miss Greening, an accountant by trade, is sceptical about David Cameron’s politically-correct commitment to increase the aid budget by a further £3billion a year. Her challenge now is to persuade the Prime Minister to ditch this most posturing of Coalition policies. DfID has proved time and again that it cannot stop itself hosing taxpayer’s money down the drain. Turning off the tap is the only answer."

The Sun: "Ordinary workers getting by in recession-hit Britain struggle to understand why so much of their taxes are handed to nations like booming India, with its own space and nuclear programs. They will rightly be furious to learn that fatcat execs are getting rich on the back of their enforced generosity."

> On Comment today, Lord Ashcroft writes an open letter to the new Development Secretary, arguing that much aid is simply ineffective and sometimes actually damaging.

Owen Paterson to give green light to massive badger cull

PATERSON OWEN NW"The government is poised to give the go-ahead to the first full-scale cull of badgers in England, under a policy that could soon mean as many as 100,000 of the animals – a third of the national population – are shot dead by farmers in an attempt to protect cattle from bovine tuberculosis." - Guardian

Sir John Major yesterday warned Tory rebels not to commit ‘regicide’ by getting rid of David Cameron

"Former Army colonel Patrick Mercer was yesterday named as one of the rebels who have written to Graham Brady, chairman of the backbench 1922 Committee. A leadership contest would be triggered if more than 46 MPs followed his example. One MP said: ‘A lot of people feel we have reached the crucial tipping point. I think the plot is credible.’ But Sir John said: ‘I would have thought that if the Conservative Party has learned anything in the last 20 years, it’s that regicide is not a good idea." - Daily Mail

  • David Cameron comes 11th in a vote on best post-war Prime Ministers, beating only Eden and Douglas-Home - Telegraph
"Britain has passed the "darkest moment" in the economic downturn and is embarking on a "slow road to recovery", Sir John Major has said." - Guardian
  • Households will see a rise in real income levels next year for the first time since the onset of the financial crisis - BBC

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Five big messages from John Major's interview

StrikeBoris Johnson yesterday launched a hard-hitting attack on the power of trade unions in a move that revived suggestions that he is positioning himself to run for leadership of the Conservative party - City AM

"The London Mayor warned it was time to stop the ‘endless buggeration’ that disrupts public services amid fresh threats of a General Strike by union barons. His proposal raised eyebrows in Westminster – especially as he caved in to union demands for bonuses worth up to £35million to transport workers threatening to strike over the Olympics." - Daily Mail

> Yesterday's ToryDiary report on Boris Johnson's eight point strike plan

Maria Miller is a new entry at Number 25 in The Guardian's list of influential media players - Guardian

With Rupert Murdoch dogged by the phone-hacking crisis, the Daily Mail editor, Paul Dacre becomes the most influential player in print, according to The Guardian's 2012 media list.

Leadsom AndreaTory MP Andrea Leadsom has called for regulators to force banks to allow customers to keep their account number if they switch to a new bank - City AM

Whether it's foreigners' use of the NHS of European lorries on UK roads, people must pay for services provided by UK taxpayers - John Redwood

Private health firms can expect to win business worth around £20bn from the NHS in the next few years by taking over GP surgeries and setting up new community health clinics - Guardian

  • Jon Harris claims the cap on housing benefit means a wretched life in B&Bs - Guardian
  • "Iain Duncan Smith will defend his overhaul of the welfare system today amid further warnings that his reforms could backfire" - Times (£)
  • Welfare reform is not ready and should be delayed for a year, says Labour - Guardian

Fears over Trident may derail £31bn BAE deal: Ministers want to guard against foreign influence over defence - Daily Mail

'Unfair' Gary extradition law must be scrapped Ming tells Clegg following review - Daily Mail

Clegg has adopted a Blairite tendency of picking up an idea, giving it an outing, but then failing to pursue it - John Kampfner in The Guardian

  • Don't dismiss Tim Farron MP - he could be the next Lib Dem leader - Mike Smithson at PoliticalBetting

If David Cameron could design his dream opposition, it would look a lot like Ed Miliband’s Labour Party - Tim Montgomerie in The Times (£)

Scottish independence has failed to win the backing of more than a third of Scots, with support for leaving the UK lower than before the SNP won power - Scotsman

FAMILYGrowing up with married parents is as important as a good education to escaping poverty - Daily Mail

"America is splitting into two economic castes: In the top, children are raised by married couples with a college education. In the bottom, children are raised by single mothers with a high school diploma or less. Remember this the next time someone tries to portray poverty as a purely economic phenomenon that tax policy, education and job training can solve." - Robert Rector in the New York Daily News

Welcome to the New Normal: Pay can go down as well as up - Allister Heath in City AM

Ali Miraj launches The Contrarian Prize

Screen Shot 2012-09-17 at 06.35.34

"The Contrarian Prize will be awarded annually. To be eligible candidates must be active in British public life e.g. politicians, journalists, academics, activists. They will be assessed against four criteria. First, they should have introduced new ideas into the public realm and had an impact on the public debate. Second, they should have made a sacrifice by putting principle above personal advancement. Third, they must have demonstrated independence of thought and judgement. Fourth, they should have displayed courage and conviction in their actions. Any member of the public is invited to nominate an individual that they feel is worthy of this accolade." - Ali Miraj in The Independent

> The website of The Contrarian Prize.

And finally...

Attractive

"According to new British research, how good looking a candidate is can make all the difference when it comes to winning or losing a seat. The work by the University of Exeter and the University Iowa found that the "halo effect" of attractiveness was most prominent in hotly contested constituencies. Researchers found in those seats the most attractive candidate wins nearly three quarters of the time." - Telegraph

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