Newslinks for Wednesday 21st November 2012
8.45pm WATCH: David Cameron's message for World AIDS Day 2012
4.45pm WATCH: This week's PMQs in full
11.30am Patrick Nolan on Comment: The pension system needs reform, but "raiding" funds is not the way to build a culture of savings
10am ToryDiary: The vision of terrorists stalking MPs is "merely comic"Five big doubts that voters have about Labour...
Lord Ashcroft on Comment: Will Ed Miliband tell voters that the days of lavish spending are over?
Columnist Jill Kirby: Equality Impact Assessments ride off into the sunset. We won't miss them.
MajorityConservatism: Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan didn’t tame the state
On Thinkers' Corner, Roger Scruton discusses Free speech
Local Government: The million missing home owners in the "aspiratation nation"
The Deep End: Eric Hobsbawm: The reddest stain on Red Ed’s record
Britain "will pay Brussels more" even if Cameron wins deal
"David Cameron is resigned to paying more into Brussels’s coffers even as a deal on freezing overall spending... appeared tantalisingly within reach. The European Council talked yesterday of preparing a “landing zone” in which all 27 EU leaders could reach a budget deal... However, even if overall commitments from EU countries remain below the €993.6 billion of the current seven-year budget, the arithmetic surrounding the British rebate means that UK net contributions are bound to rise." - Times (£) |Guardian
- Commissioners set to slash UK's EU rebate by €1 billion - Independent
Osborne prepares to raid higher earners' retirement contributions
"Higher earners have been urged to top up their pension pots before December 5 after signs that the Treasury is preparing to look to retirement contributions to balance the books. Whitehall officials admitted that increased taxes on the wealthy could partially offset the £10 billion in welfare savings needed by 2016-17. George Osborne is considering cutting the maximum annual pension contribution exempt from tax from £50,000 to £30,000 to raise nearly £2 billion." - Times (£)
- Pensioners must pay for their own retirement, says Reform - Daily Telegraph
Paul Goodman: Osborne has to choose between core Conservatives and strivers
"But the chancellor has to square not only voters (not to mention the City) but also Conservative MPs. All of them will have decried Gordon Brown’s 1997 “raid on pension funds”... The pensions industry’s staple argument is that savers want certainty, and that the chancellor should not tinker with the system. It will have a sympathetic audience in true blue seats and on the Tory backbenches. Reports of a further cut may not materialise. But the general point holds. Core vote constituencies or midlands marginals? For the rich or for strivers? Mr Osborne will have to choose." - Paul Goodman for the FT (£)
- "[S]ince when has it been Tory policy to punish those who use their money responsibly, investing for a self-reliant retirement instead of living for the day?" - Daily Mail editorial
- Cameron is right. Mansion taxes won’t work - Alice Thomson for the Times (£)
Poll finds voters fear Labour's future spending plans
"Labour's strong poll lead is softer than it appears, because of swing voters' concerns for the country's finances if Ed Miliband became prime minister, according to new polling conducted by Lord Ashcroft... Four in 10 of the voters who have switched to Labour since 2010 fear that another Labour government could "spend and borrow more than the country could afford", according to the poll. And 43% of these agree Labour has failed to made clear what it would do to improve things. Those who would consider Labour but have not yet switched are more likely than others to think the party has failed to learn its lessons, especially on spending and borrowing." - Guardian | Daily Mail
- Swing voters doubt Labour economic policy, Ashcroft poll suggests - Guardian
- Gay marriage is losing Tories votes: poll contradicts Cameron and Osborne - Daily Mail
> Coverage today:
- ToryDiary: Labour 9% ahead of the Conservatives. Cameron 8% ahead of Miliband. Lord Ashcroft's new mega poll of 8,000 voters.
- LeftWatch: Five big doubts that voters have about Labour...
- Lord Ashcroft on Comment: Will Ed Miliband tell voters that the days of lavish spending are over?
Lord Ashcroft tells controversial new Tory strategist Lynton Crosby to 'stay out of the limelight'
"Lord Ashcroft has urged the party’s newly-appointed strategy guru to “stay out of the limelight” after he became embroiled in controversy before even starting the job. ... He wrote: “I know you understand as much as anyone that it’s never a good thing when the adviser is the story. That being the case, I’m sure you’ll get on with the job and stay out of the limelight.”" - Daily Telegraph
- Lord Ashcroft attacks appointment of Boris Johnson's former strategist as Tories' new election guru - Daily Mail
- Ashcroft tells Labour how to regain power and picks row with Tory campaign chief - Times (£)
- Ever since 1997, the Conservative Party has put strategy above principle, with disastrous results - George Bridges for the Daily Telegraph
> From yesterday:
- Lord Ashcroft on Comment: A seven point campaign memo for Lynton Crosby
- WATCH: On the Daily Politics, Tim Montgomerie discusses the Lynton Crosby appointment
Cameron supports jailed SAS soldier Sgt Danny Nightingale
"David Cameron has thrown his weight behind an SAS sergeant jailed for possessing an illegal firearm, hours after the Government said it could not intervene in the case. After Dominic Grieve, the Attorney General, said on Tuesday that he could not get involved in the case of Sgt Danny Nightingale, No 10 said the Prime Minister had “sympathy” for the soldier." - Daily Telegraph
- "MPs have described a decision not to review the case of an SAS soldier jailed for possessing a "war gift" pistol as a "miscarriage of justice"." - BBC
- Dominic Grieve: the French speaking cuckoo in the nest who refuses to play to the Tory right - Andy McSmith for the Independent
> Yesterday on MPsETC: Here comes (more) trouble for Dominic Grieve
Chris Grayling to ban prisoners from watching Sky television
"Almost 3,000 prisoners in privately run jails have access to subscription Sky TV services, according to figures released two months ago. Jeremy Wright, the prisons minister, said yesterday: “Not for much longer. We’re reviewing it”. He added that he would be “looking very closely at the provision of paid-for TV channels for prisoners, including Sky TV”." - Times (£)
- Prisoners to get post-jail rehabilitation - FT (£)
Daily Telegraph accuses Stephen Dorrell MP of secret expenses deal with care home provider
"A senior Conservative MP investigating Britain’s social care system secretly arranged for the owners of a chain of nursing homes to buy his London flat – which he now rents back at taxpayers’ expense... Stephen Dorrell, the former health secretary who now chairs the House of Commons health committee, made a £70,000 profit from the controversial deal which has not previously been publicly declared." - Daily Telegraph
- Speaker John Bercow’s over-zealous attempts to 'protect' MPs have had the opposite effect - Daily Telegraph editorial
Daniel Finkelstein: This system is a farce. Pay MPs a flat rate
"We should give eligible MPs, those whose constituencies are far enough away from Westminster, a flat rate allowance for a second home and leave them to get on with it. No details needed, no discussion, no suspicion, much lower administrative costs and no possibility of fraud. The public attacks on MPs have become as grotesque and distorted as the system that originally inspired the criticism. These people work for me. I want to treat them properly." - Daniel Finkelstein for the Times (£)
Northern Ireland’s open for business, says Cameron (as he trumpets G8 talks at golf course that went bust last year with debts of £26m) - Independent
Whitehall business-style reforms ‘failing’ - FT (£)
Ed Davey’s plan for simpler fuel bills "means everyone pays over the odds"
"Energy bills will not get cheaper and householders will still have to shop around for the best deals despite government pledges to shake up gas and electricity charges. That was the claim from the energy industry and consumers last night after Ed Davey, the Energy Secretary, announced plans to deliver on the Prime Minister’s commitment to get tough on high prices and confusing bills." - Times (£)
- Energy Secretary "can't guarantee" all families will save under revised energy tariffs - Independent
- Negotiations over the forthcoming Energy Bill have stirred up poisonous political divisions - Mary Riddell for the Daily Telegraph
Vince Cable to make it more difficult for school leavers to go straight onto benefits - Guardian
Labour refuses to make guarantee to reverse coalition defence cuts
"The Labour party will warn on Wednesday that it can offer no guarantees that it will be able to reverse any of the coalition's defence cuts in light of Britain's tight public finances. In what is described as a gear shift in Labour's approach to defence, which may encourage other members of the shadow cabinet to follow suit, the party's defence spokesman Jim Murphy will say he even agrees with some of the government's cuts." - Guardian
Pro-Union campaigners cry foul over American fundraising for independence
"Yes Scotland... has set a limit on overseas donations of £500. However, a group called Americans for an Independent Scotland has launched a fundraising drive in the United States that allows supporters to give funding of between $5 and $500 (£3 to £300), then $1,314 and $2,014 — figures corresponding with the years of the Battle of Bannockburn and the forthcoming independence vote." - Times (£)
- 90% fall in summer donations to SNP this year compared to 2011 - Scotsman
- Scottish independence isn’t good for business, warns Aggreko boss - Scotsman
- Five wind farm applications a day under the SNP - Daily Telegraph
- One person was responsible for 13.5% of all FoI requests to the Scottish Government - Scotsman
Lord McAlpine to demand charity donations for false Twitter allegations - Guardian
Church of England general synod votes against women bishops - BBC
- Justin Welby says vote against means a "very grim day" - BBC
- The Church of England votes for civil war - Damian Thompson for TelegraphBlogs
- Women bishops debate was a long and boring suicide note - Guardian
Anger as sex abuse report "turns blind eye to Asian gangs" despite admitting that they account for a quarter of all cases - Daily Mail
- Being politically correct is no way to tackle child abuse - Tim Loughton MP for the Times (£)
- Why as a Muslim and a mother I believe it's so damaging to hide from the truth about Asian sex gangs - Yasmin Alibhai-Brown for the Daily Mail
The 41,000 tax dodge schemes that HMRC can’t crack - Daily Telegraph
Study shows 80% who hold key positions in British society received privileged education - Daily Mail
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