Newslinks for Thursday 17th January 2013
9pm ToryDiary: David Cameron goes softly, softly on child benefit
6pm Neil Carmichael MP on Comment: Reporting back from Antarctica
4.45pm John Stevens on Comment: What pro-Europeans of the Right want to hear from the Prime Minister
4.15pm Andrew Lilico on Comment: How much longer will Labour's pro-EU stance survive?
3.30pm Dr Lee Rotherham on Comment: 12 principles to guide David Cameron tomorrow
12.30pm Henry Hill's Red, White and Blue column: Why Scotland ought to matter for the Conservatives in 2015
11am Peter Cuthbertson on Comment: Last year saw 91,000 cases of serious, repeat offenders avoiding prison
Dr Liam Fox MP on Comment: The Prime Minister's speech must end the concept of "ever closer union"
Local Government: EU directive hampers councils regulating sex shops
That Business for Britain campaign? It's stirring in today's Telegraph...
"The pro-European lobby, apparently speaking on behalf of British business as a whole, has argued in generalities. We believe that members of the public should be given specific figures, not platitudes, so they can make an informed decision about whether Britain should remain in the EU." - from a letter by nine City figures, including Lord Flight, to the Daily Telegraph
...but Vince Cable bites back...
"Vince Cable, the Liberal Democrat business secretary, plans to say in a speech on Thursday that it is 'a terrible time to have the diversion and uncertainty which build-up to a referendum would entail'. ... Mr Cable says the debate is creating uncertainty for inward investors, citing surveys showing that half see Britain’s unfettered access to the single market as a core reason for investing in the UK." - Financial Times (£)
...as Daniel Hannan writes "the speech that David Cameron should give tomorrow"...
"I have set out my bottom line. We can be good friends and good customers. But we won’t compromise our democracy or bargain with our independence. If necessary, we will stand alone in Europe. It wouldn’t be the first time." - Daniel Hannan, Daily Mail
- "Mr Cameron’s precarious attempt to balance his dual role as European statesman and party manager is a familiar one to Tory prime ministers and one which ultimately defeated both Lady Thatcher and Mr Major." - George Parker, Financial Times (£)
- "PM prepares to talk tough but say little" - Robert Shrimsley, Financial Times (£)
- "For a passionate European there is now a strong case for Britain to leave the EU." - Simon May, Financial Times (£)
- "David Cameron should have given his big Europe speech a year ago." - James Forsyth, The Spectator
- "Cameron's 'historic' speech proves he's the latest leader to lose control of his party over Europe" - Steve Richards, Independent
- Cameron playing difficult game, says veteran of 1975 - Guardian
- "He must set out a credible direction of travel whose goal is a healthier, more benign relationship with the EU – which can then be put to the British people for their endorsement." - Daily Telegraph leader
> Today, by Dr Liam Fox MP on Comment: The Prime Minister's speech must end the concept of "ever closer union"
...another poll suggests that Tory voters are switching to Ukip...
"One in ten voters who backed the Conservatives at the last election have switched their support to the UK Independence Party, a poll has shown." - Daily Telegraph
...and Ed Miliband has his say, too
"In an interview with the Financial Times, Mr Miliband was in buoyant mood after pinning Mr Cameron down in the Commons over what he claims are the 'bad politics and bad economics' of the prime minister’s approach to Europe. ... The Labour leader’s choice of words is telling. He does not completely rule out offering the public a say on Europe at the next election, only that he thinks it is not a good idea to create uncertainty on the issue now." - Financial Times (£)
- "Mr Miliband was doing what Mr Kinnock used to do 23 years ago. He was describing disagreements in the Tory party about Europe." - Quentin Letts, Daily Mail
- ToryDiary: PMQs - Miliband paints Cameron as a weak leader. The merits of the argument weren't on his side. But the politics was.
- WATCH: Miliband to Cameron - You've lost control of your party on Europe, and your problems are just beginning
Mr Cameron versus Coca Cola
"Speaking in the House of Commons, the Prime Minister said he was trying to stop 'excessive' amounts of Coca-Cola being consumed in the Cameron household amid calls for a 'war on sugar'. ... Mr Cameron said the government was putting pressure on the food industry to cut the amount of sugar in food and drinks, branding it one of the biggest public health challenges facing in the country." - Daily Mail
Tim Loughton versus Michael Gove
"Giving evidence to the Commons Education Committee, Mr Loughton painted a devastating picture of the Department for Education (DfE) as inefficient and bureaucratic with an ‘upstairs downstairs mentality’. ... ‘Most officials have never met the Secretary of State other than when he will troop out a few chosen people for the new year party, Mr Grace-like from Grace Brothers, and tell us we've all done terribly well and then disappear,’ he said. ... ‘That is no way to run an important department. It is terribly anachronistic, terribly bureaucratic, terribly formal.’" - Daily Mail
Downing Street, via the Telegraph's Sue Cameron, downplays the "Whitehall wars"
"If the reactions of other denizens of Downing Street are anything to go by, this week’s slew of revelations about the wars within Whitehall will have left the Prime Minister bemused. As one senior figure said in puzzled tones: 'But we don’t have a massive crisis. We don’t have government paralysis. This whole thing has been massively overblown .We’re not having meetings about it. We’re not even talking about it.'" - Sue Cameron, Daily Telegraph
> Yesterday, by David Davis MP on Comment: Why are civil servants running rings round the Coalition? Because it doesn't know its own mind
John Hayes goes drilling for shale
"John Hayes, an energy minister, said the Government has not ruled out setting up a fund to allow future generations to benefit from the expected boom in shale gas. ... He said shale gas could have a 'profound economic effect' on the UK, when money is raised from the sale of licences to drill shale gas and extra tax income." - Daily Telegraph
> Today on the Deep End: The real reason why gas is so expensive in Europe compared to America
IDS pushes for new measures to help the long-term sick back into work
"Employers may get tax relief to help them coax staff on long-term sick back to work. ... The Treasury is looking at a scheme to encourage bosses to fork out for special chairs, extra counselling or physio sessions. ... The money could be claimed back during firms’ annual tax returns. ... Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith wants the move included in the Budget in March." - The Sun
The Government's "universities access tsar" urges unis to woo primary school children
"In his first guidance since taking office, Professor Les Ebdon, director of the Office for Fair Access (OFFA) is urging all universities to consider drawing up plans for working with primary school children to raise their aspirations and ambitions towards higher education." - Independent
Boris Johnson announces a safety review, after yesterday's deadly helicopter crash
"Speaking on a visit to emergency services working at the site of the crash this afternoon, Mr Johnson said the review was 'inevitable'. ... 'It's a bit too early to draw conclusions from this accident about this or that tall building. ... 'What is inevitable is that we'll want to review all our policies, we'll want to look at the way we illuminate tall buildings, the way cranes are illuminated, to make sure nothing went wrong in this case and make sure nothing goes wrong in the future,' Mr Johnson said." - Daily Mail
- "David Cameron said the rules on helicopter flights over London would be re-examined..." - Financial Times (£)
"Mayor of London planning trips this year to China, the Gulf and South America to 'sell' London as a place to do business" - Independent
Are the Lib Dems gearing up for another tuition fees pledge?
"The Liberal Democrats are considering whether to promise to reduce the £9,000 cap on university tuition fees in their manifesto at the next general election. ... Senior Liberal Democrats sources told The Independent that the idea is among options being looked at by a working party on higher education policy." - Independent
"'One nation' means 'no ideas'" - Dan Hodges, New Statesman
"Blairism now seems a spent force – the new battle is between Blue and Brown Labour" - Rafael Behr, New Statesman
- "Tony Blair’s record in the Middle East is a sorry one – it’s time he quit" - Peter Oborne, Daily Telegraph
European migrants should be barred from claiming Child Benefit for children who live overseas, says David Blunkett - The Times (£)
The PCS union is agitating for another round of industrial action
"The Public and Commercial Services union is balloting 250,000 of its members paving the way for walkouts across England, Wales and Scotland. ... PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said the lives of civil and public servants were being made more difficult by cuts and will urged other unions to join the industrial action." - Daily Mail
The outgoing head of the Arts Council attacks — yes — the cuts
"‘Don’t cut the arts budget,’ she told guests including culture minister Ed Vaizey at the £8,130 reception in the British Museum on Tuesday evening. ... An Arts Council spokesman denied the event was a ‘leaving do’, saying it was a ‘thought leadership piece which will help stimulate debate’, and that costs were ‘kept to a minimum’." - Daily Mail
"More than 100,000 disabled people will lose basic home support under government reforms of social care, leading disability groups are warning." - The Times (£)
Migration Watch UK estimates that 250,000 Romanians and Bulgarians could come to Britain over the next five years - Daily Mail
- "Ion Jinga, the Romanian Ambassador to London for the past five years, said that Britons need not fear a 'tsunami' or a second Eastern European 'invasion' when the current limits are lifted on December 31." - Daily Telegraph
- "Are ministers too scared to say what they know about the next wave of migrants?" - Stephen Glover, Daily Mail
- "There is no sign the Government has the slightest idea how already overwhelmed public services will cope with even half that number." - Sun leader
Alex Salmond wants to give Scottish people a constitutional right to housing and free higher education
"An independent Scotland would enshrine rights to housing and free higher education in a written constitution, Alex Salmond announced last night, in a move that could mean taxpayers north of the Border signing a blank cheque. The First Minister revealed that he wanted to protect controversial Nationalist policies in a Bill of rights but his aides were later unable to detail what the cost would be." - The Times (£)
- "One of the strongest unionist voices in the House of Lords has claimed that there is a 'creeping complacency' in Alistair Darling’s anti-independence campaign." - The Times (£)
Briton killed during attack on a BP gas field in Algeria
"Downing Street said that it was 'too early to speculate' on the motive for the attack, or whether it was linked to French support - backed by the UK - for Mali's government in its fight against Islamist forces which have occupied the north of the country." - Daily Mail
- "Are we walking into another Afghanistan?" - Daily Mail leader
Camilla Cavendish: Our welfare bill has run wildly out of control
"If the shrill language of 'shirkers versus strivers' has had one useful effect, it is in revealing that far more working people get their income topped up by benefits than most of us ever imagined." - Camilla Cavendish, The Times (£)
One-in-three people cannot afford to take an annual holiday or pay an unexpected bill - Daily Mail
Indebted Mid Staffordshire hospital trust faces break-up - Guardian
- GPs encouraged not to prescribe painkillers and sleeping pills, after addiction concerns - Daily Mail
The Great Burger Scandal continues: 10 million beefburgers are to be recalled - Daily Mail
- "It’s a ‘frozen value burger’. What did you think was in it?" - Giles Coren, The Times (£)
Barack Obama announces gun reform package - The Sun
And finally... David Cameron's tantric approach to Europe, animated
"David Cameron's claim to be taking a 'tantric' approach to making policy on Europe has made him the star of an hilarious cartoon ridiculing his long-awaited Big Speech. ... The infamous team of Taiwanese animators from NMA.tv show the Prime Minister in bed working on his much-hyped address, before portraying as unable to hold back a mob of Europeans at the gates of Buckingham Palace. ... He is also shown with his finger in a dike trying to plug leaks of his speech, being clobbered with an oar by Margaret Thatcher and sitting with a crying Nick Clegg on his lap." - Daily Mail
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