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December 2012 newslinks

31 Dec 2012 08:46:17

Newslinks for New Year's Eve 2012

ConservativeHome wishes all readers a very Happy 2013. May it be peaceful and prosperous. Normal service will resume tomorrow morning but don't expect newslinks at 9am. They won't appear until mid-morning but we have a powerful piece from Lord Lexden on Ted Heath and Britain's forty year old membership of the EU that you won't want to miss! We'll also be naming the Conservative Minister of 2012.

5pm ToryDiary: The rise of UKIP was the event of the year

3.30pm ToryDiary: The benefits cap is your policy of the year

Obama Merkel Miliband2

11.30am Tim Montgomerie on Majority Conservatism: There is nothing inevitable about Ed Miliband becoming Prime Minister

ToryDiary: Eight pieces of New Year advice for David Cameron

Peter Cuthbertson on Comment: The new Police Commissioners must get police back on the beat

VIDEO: People were wrong to be pessimistic about the Olympics and they're wrong to be pessimistic about 2013. Boris Johnson's New Year message...

Iain Duncan Smith: Labour created a system of tax credits for the lower-paid that is “wide open to abuse”

Screen Shot 2012-12-31 at 08.02.03"Mr Duncan Smith describes a “story of dependency, wasted taxpayers’ money and fraud”. He says the system, which largely benefits those in work, is out of control and unfair for “hard-working taxpayers”. Today’s article continues: “In the years between 2003 and 2010, Labour spent a staggering £171 billion on tax credits, contributing to a 60 per cent rise in the welfare bill. “Far too much of that money was wasted, with fraud and error under Labour costing over £10 billion.”" - Telegraph

IDS in The Telegraph: "The question every taxpayer should ask Ed Miliband is this: what is fair about making taxpayers who, in a time of growth, paid for Labour’s extravagant welfare system, now pay for further rises to benefits? The answer Mr Miliband, is nothing."

"The number of benefit fiddlers being jailed has HALVED despite a big Government crackdown"

"Official figures show 430 cheats were caged by judges or deported in the past 12 months — compared with 957 last year and 893 in 2010. Fewer than one in four handout fraud cases now leads to a court conviction and only one in 50 ends in a prison term. The failings come despite a massive push to root out benefits cheats, who cost taxpayers more than £1billion a year." - The Sun

  • The Sun Says: "Benefit fraud shouldn’t be seen as a soft crime. Those who callously cheat the system should feel the full force of justice."

Universal credit plan 'is a disaster in the making', says Minister just months ahead of launch - Daily Mail

Duncan Smith September 2011Tim Montgomerie identifies an evaluation of the Universal Credit as one of eight top tasks for David Cameron in 2013: "The coalition’s reputation for competence may not survive if vulnerable people don’t receive money that they depend upon in a timely way. The Treasury is close to panic about the workability of Iain Duncan Smith’s flagship benefits reform while the Department of Work and Pensions insists that it will be all right on the night. Mr Cameron cannot waste any time in establishing the robustness of this reform."

> Read Tim's full list of advice for David Cameron in The Times (£), or summarised on ToryDiary.

By 2015 Osborne will have borrowed £212bn MORE than he predicted in 2010

"George Osborne is on course to miss Alistair Darling's deficit reduction plan, which was set down in law by the last government, and panned by the Tories at the time for failing to tackle the problem with sufficient rigour." - Guardian

John Redwood is also unimpressed: "So far the Coalition has cut the deficit, which means they have cut the rate at which the debts increase, by around one quarter. Recent figures imply some backsliding even on this modest improvement. If all goes according to plan  this Parliament they will add around £600 billion to our state debt, or almost £10,000 extra borrowing for every man woman and child in the UK. The increase in the debt this Parliament will be more than the total official state debt ten years ago."

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  • The Independent notes that GPs are being asked to prescribe cheaper drugs to save money for the NHS.
Councils pleading poverty have put £16billion in the bank (up 15.5%) despite railing against 'Dickensian' cuts - Daily Mail

PICKLES ERIC 2009"“It is unacceptable that some councils are stashing away billions, turning town halls into Fort Knox, whilst at the same time threatening to cut frontline services,” Mr Pickles told The Daily Telegraph. “Given the steady rise in reserves over the past two years, it is irresponsible that certain sections of local government have chosen to needlessly scare the public with unfounded and baseless accusations."

The PM's projection of himself as calm, kindly and above all pragmatic is strained by the record of a government that increasingly appears shrill, ungenerous and doctrinaire - Guardian leader

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Cameron uses his new year message to note progress on borrowing, education and jobs

More stringent measures will be needed if the Coalition is to cut immigration to tens of thousands by 2015 - Express

Cameron may wish to arm Syria's rebels but his party and the country are much less keen - Independent leader

Maude Francis November 11Francis Maude warns that the Conservative Party will face "electoral oblivion" if it doesn't continue to modernise - Telegraph

The Bright Blue Group launches Modernisation 2.0 to revive attempts to broaden the Tory message - Guardian

"It was never within the Prime Minister's power to overcome all these obstacles, but one thing is obvious. His "modernising" policies are part of the problem, not the solution. Concentrating on the green agenda or same-sex marriage or reform of the voting system does plenty to alienate some natural Tories (the ones flocking to UKIP). But I can't see that it increases the party's appeal to ethnic minority voters or gays or environmentalists or anyone else since, being people, they are chiefly interested in what all other people are interested in at the moment: how on earth we'll ever get out of this mess." - Andrew McKie in The Herald

  • Are the Conservatives getting through to 'blue collar' voters? - Chris Mason for the BBC

Daily Mail: Latest crime figures prove you can cut budgets AND cut crime

"For months, the Police Federation has been giving dire warnings that budget cuts and reforms to working practices would mean a ‘Christmas for criminals’. Yet instead of the predicted crimewave, new figures show the opposite – recorded crime has fallen by around 10 per cent. The fall is a huge tribute to the skill and dedication of police officers but also explodes the myth that maintaining effectiveness is simply a matter of spending ever more taxpayers’ money." - Daily Mail leader

  • The public is losing faith in the police because of a “dangerous cocktail” of controversies, a senior MP, Keith Vaz, declared yesterday - The Sun

Election debates could be held much earlier in electoral cycle - Telegraph

A group of senior politicians in Brussels is to propose “second-class” EU status for Britain in a dramatic shift in thinking by the strongest supporters of a united Europe

"They are to suggest that the UK should become an “associate member” under plans which would result in it staying in the EU’s single market but being stripped of its commissioner in Brussels, MEPs, and its right of veto in the European Council. The Times has discovered that the Union of European Federalists will publish its own version of the next EU treaty in the spring, as debate hots up in Brussels over what to do about “the British problem”." - Times (£)

UKIPLabour's Jon Cruddas believes UKIP will enjoy a breakthrough in 2013 and become established as the fourth party of British politics - The Sun

  • In his Monday column Trevor Kavanagh predicts a flood of Tory voters to UKIP if Cameron does not offer an in-out referendum - The Sun
  • "Private polling by Lord Ashcroft, Tory peer, suggests Europe is by no means the biggest factor driving support for Mr Farage’s party. Only 7 per cent considering Ukip said Europe was their top issue; many are just generally disillusioned with the way the country has changed." - FT (£)

The Labour Party has pocketed more than £20million from trade unions since Ed Miliband became leader - Express

The failure of successive governments to protect patients from cosmetics industry capable is baffling and inexcusable - Denis Campbell for The Guardian

Senate negotiators yet to reach ‘fiscal cliff’ deal as clock winds down - Washington Post

Screen Shot 2012-12-31 at 08.12.38

Republicans have no political incentive to make deal with Obama: Of the 234 Republicans elected to the House on Nov. 6, just 15 (!) sit in congressional districts that Obama also won that day - The Fix

Birrell IanForeign aid providers have achieved depressingly little for Haiti since its 2009 earthquake - Ian Birrell in The Guardian

Most failed marriages are the result of unsuitable matches. Pre-marriage guidance could help to reduce the number of divorces - Letter to The Times (£)

"The spirit of William Rees-Mogg lived within The Times long after he ceased to be its Editor in 1981... For more than 30 years until his death on Saturday he represented essential qualities for our trade: certainty and confidence, scholarship and showmanship, elegance and endurance, virtues that, as they weakened elsewhere, made his own possession of them more potent." - Peter Stothard in The Times (£)

> Yesterday's MPsETC: A great, gentle and Christian man - Jacob Rees-Mogg MP pays tribute to his late father

Tory MP who blamed the fans for Hillsborough in notorious Sun front page dies aged 83 - Daily Mail | BBC

And finally... In this new year, raise your glass to a Buy British Wine campaign - Boris Johnson in The Telegraph

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30 Dec 2012 08:48:46

Newslinks for Sunday 30th December 2012

6.15pm David T Breaker on Comment: Britain's cult-like worship of the NHS must end

Screen Shot 2012-12-30 at 17.41.03

5.30pm ToryDiary: Owen Paterson is ConHome readers' One To Watch in 2013

2pm Majority Conservatism: Paul Goodman suggests four (perhaps five) reasons why Cameron cannot win a majority in 2015

6a00d83451b31c69e2017c35213c37970b-200wiNoon Paul Goodman has been playing a new version of Monopoly over Christmas: "The top hat, dog, thimble and iron have disappeared from the set of tokens.  All that is available are flash motorcycles, fast cars, speed boats and a (clearly private) jet..."

10.30am VIDEO: Nigel Farage's New Year message

ToryDiary: Cameron uses his new year message to note progress on borrowing, education and jobs

Guy Opperman MP on Comment: Teach Prisoners to read and write in custody – that is a sentence that will achieve something

MPsETC: A great, gentle and Christian man - Jacob Rees-Mogg MP pays tribute to his late father

Labour 39%, Conservatives 29%, UKIP 15%, LibDems 8% - Opinium survey for The Observer

Screen Shot 2012-12-30 at 08.42.36But Labour's underlying economic weakness should worry Ed Miliband, argues Andrew Rawnsley in The Observer: "The headline poll numbers are often a less reliable indicator of the true position of the parties than how voters respond to the question: who do you most trust with the economy? As the budget fell apart and the economy dipped back into recession, Labour narrowed the Tory lead on this crucial measure. But the credibility gap has opened up again since the autumn financial statement. Labour is now behind by 11 points according to the latest ICM poll for the Guardian."

But, warns Matthew d'Ancona in The Sunday Telegraph, the cuts are going to start hurting: "it is political naivety of the highest order to expect anything other than a furious backlash from and on behalf of those who lose out – not least the millions whose benefits will be cut in real terms. Vested interests will fight dirty. Heart-rending case studies will flicker on our screens. Let me repeat: this is necessary work. But it will be warm work indeed."

Lib Dem HQ tells party spokespeople to attack Tories as the party of the super rich "at every opportunity"

6a00d83451b31c69e20162fed60e4b970d-250wi"The Liberal Democrats are to attack their Conservative coalition partners in the new year by telling voters they can't be trusted to look after the interests of normal people and are focused only protecting the very rich. A leaked script of party lines to take in the media urges MPs, candidates and councillors to say that only the Lib Dems are committed to building a fair society. It was distributed by the Lib Dem director of communications, Tim Snowball, who appealed for recipients to "communicate from this script at every opportunity"." - PA/Guardian

> Yesterday evening's ToryDiary: It's time to threaten the Lib Dems with Mutually Assured Destruction

(1) The Tory plight amongst ethnic voters... (2) The rise of UKIP... (3) The unity of the Left... (4) Electoral geography...

Goodman Paul PSIn The Sunday Telegraph Paul Goodman lists the four reasons why the Tories are very unlikely to win the next election: "Losing older voters on the one side, failing to win ethnic minority ones on the other, and all at sea in Scotland and in parts of the North, Conservatism has been living through a crisis for the past 20 years – one which opposition after 2015 may not relieve."

Peter Hitchens suggests Mr Cameron is on a suicide mission: "why is Mr Cameron deliberately riling his own supporters by rushing through same-sex marriage, while forgetting his support for hunting and old-style marriage? My guess is that he knows he cannot possibly win the next Election (he’s right about that). So he is deliberately creating rows with traditional Tories, so that he can blame them for his defeat and general utter failure. You read it here first." - Mail on Sunday

In The Sunday Times (£) Melissa Kite writes "Cameron does not seem to understand what drives his members into the arms of UKIP."

  • "A snowflake in Hell at noon on Midsummer’s Day has a better prospect of survival than the Conservative Party at the next election" - Gerald Warner for Scotland on Sunday
  • Tories "are fast running out of time to prevent Ed Miliband strolling into No10 by default" - The Sun Says
  • The nation needs "iron will" from Cameron in 2013 - Sunday Express leader
  • 43% say they expect their personal finances to get worse over the next 12 months, while only 20% predict they would get better - Observer

Whatever happened to Tory modernisation?

The Sunday Telegraph publishes extracts from an essay by Matthew d'Ancona in which he claims Cameron has stopped modernising the party: "The shelving of the modernisation campaign was the worst strategic error made by the Conservative Party since the poll tax. It undid the work of many years and has left the party seriously vulnerable at the next election. The rise of Ukip adds to the gravitational pull in precisely the wrong direction: towards cacophonous irrelevance."

> On ConHome yesterday Gavin Barwell MP outlined a Tory strategy to increase Tory support among minority voters.

Top Tory donors tell Cameron to ditch his Eton chums and build stronger Number 10 operation - Anne McElvoy in the Mail on Sunday

Cameron is likely to miss his pledge of reducing net immigration to fewer than 100,000 a year, according to IPPR study - Sunday Telegraph

  • 3 in 4 of doctors who have been struck off in the past five years were trained abroad - Sunday Telegraph

John Rentoul names six Tories to watch in 2013: Sam Gyimah, 36; Matthew Hancock, 34; Jo Johnson, 40; Kwasi Kwarteng, 37; Dan Poulter, 34; and Anna Soubry, 56 - Independent on Sunday

Police“This is a defining moment for policing in the UK” - The Chairman of the Commons Homer Affairs Select Committee calls for the PM to talk to the police to reflect on a year in which Hillsborough, Leveson and the Andrew Mitchell controversies rocked public confidence in the police - Sunday Express | BBC

  • "Police spend just EIGHT MINUTES in every hour on frontline duties — despite a Government pledge to cut paperwork. New research shows they are out on patrol for only 11.8 per cent of their working day." - The Sun
  • "The government has reignited its war of words with the Police Federation by releasing new figures showing crime has fallen steeply in the past two years despite sharp reductions in police budgets. Recorded crime fell by at least 10% in 19 out of 43 force areas in England and Wales while budgets were cut by an average of just under 10%." - The Sunday Times (£)
  • More than 23,000 police officers and staff are moonlighting in their spare time - Mail on Sunday

Screen Shot 2012-12-30 at 08.39.55Leaders of Liverpool, Newcastle and Sheffield councils say deeper cuts will spark civil unrest...

"Alarming predictions of social unrest and the break-up of civil society have been delivered by the leaders of three of England's biggest cities, amid new evidence that government policies are widening – rather than narrowing – the economic divide between north and south." - Observer

> Yesterday's Local government blog: David Blunkett wonders why the Coalition's local government cuts aren't being met by "revolutionary fervour". Perhaps because he is misrepresenting them...?

...But The Sunday Telegraph reports that rural Tory councils are complaining that the latest cuts are most unfair to sparsely populated areas...

"A coalition of more than 120 rural councils, the vast majority of them Conservative-controlled, is calling on David Cameron and Eric Pickles, the Communities Secretary, to perform a u-turn. The grouping is considering bringing a judicial review against Mr Pickles’s spending settlement, which they say hits rural areas far harder than urban ones, and is therefore “grossly unfair”." - The Sunday Telegraph

Michael Gove restores traditional history to curriculum

Gove on Marr"Some of the greatest figures in Britain’s past are to be restored to their rightful place in history, thanks to an overhaul of the school curriculum. The likes of Oliver Cromwell, Lord Nelson and Winston Churchill had been dropped from history lessons under the last Labour Government in a move critics said was driven by ‘political correctness’. But under a new ‘back-to-basics’ shake-up, pupils will again have  to study these traditional historic  figures – and not social reformers such as Jamaican-born nurse Mary Seacole and former black slave Olaudah Equiano, who were introduced into the 2007 curriculum." - Mail on Sunday

Daft public inquiries cost millions and solve nothing - Toby Young in The Sun

Ken Livingstone turned down CBE for Olympics role - The Sunday Telegraph

The SNP could disband if Scotland leaves the Union - Scotland on Sunday

Margaret Thatcher leaves hospital after operation to remove growth from her bladder - Sunday Express
  • Surgery was 'minimally invasive' and former PM said to be in good spirits - Mail on Sunday

Revolt by Commons staff scuppers John Bercow's plan to crackdown on MPs' 'booze culture' - Mail on Sunday

And finally... the New Jeers Honours List of 2012 - David Wooding of The Sun nominates a not-so-serious list of end-of-year political awards.

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29 Dec 2012 07:19:08

Newslinks for Saturday 29th December 2012

Midnight ToryDiary: Cameron uses his new year message to note progress on borrowing, education and jobs

MADsquare6.30pm ToryDiary: It's time to threaten the Lib Dems with Mutually Assured Destruction

Noon Gavin Barwell MP on Comment: What can Conservatives do to increase our support among black and minority ethnic communities?

ToryDiary: Will EU leaders renegotiate? If not it's Out. Out to what Jacques Delors is calling a "privileged" partnership.

ToryDiary: The Conservative achievement of 2012 was the re-election of Boris Johnson

Margot James MP on Comment: My colleague Daniel Kawczinski is wrong, wrong, wrong about UK Trade and Investment

BlunkettLocal government: David Blunkett wonders why the Coalition's cuts aren't being met by "revolutionary fervour". Perhaps because he is misrepresenting them...?

MPsETC: Tory MPs Richard Shepherd and Angela Watkinson join Margaret Beckett and Cherie Blair in receiving New Year honours

VIDEO: Channel 4 News looks at what declassified papers tell us about the Falklands campaign and about Mrs Thatcher

Britain should stay “a privileged partner” outside of the EU... says Jacques Delors - The Times (£)

Jacques Delors concedes it might be time for Britain to leave: "“If the British cannot support the trend towards more integration in Europe, we can nevertheless remain friends, but on a different basis. I could imagine a form such as a European economic area or a free trade agreement.” - The Sun

Cameron told that EU leaders won't agree to renegotiation and he might therefore leave EU 'by accident'

Screen Shot 2012-12-29 at 07.12.17

"Lord Kerr of Kinlochard – who was at the heart of Britain's team during the Maastricht treaty negotiations in 1991 – fears the UK is facing "bust-up time" with the other 26 EU countries. He is one of a group of pro-Europeans, including Lords Heseltine, Mandelson and Brittan, expressing their concerns that Cameron is miscalculating Europe's determination to keep the current EU project intact, without the UK if necessary." - Guardian

  • David Cameron plan to opt out of EU policing laws 'will allow criminals to run free', says EU Justice Commissioner - Telegraph
  • The SNP has accused the Conservative Party of infighting that is jeopardising Scotland's place in the EU - The Herald

Cameron defended Britain’s "colossal" £11billion foreign aid bill yesterday as he came under renewed pressure to curb government spending on international development - Express

AID UK"Only 6 per cent of people in the Ipsos-Mori poll strongly disagreed with the idea that foreign aid is wasted. A further 20 per cent tended to disagree with the statement. Together the total of 26 per cent is little more than a quarter of the public. But 61 per cent said that development money is being wasted." - Daily Mail

The Sun attacks Cameron on aid: "David Cameron’s justification for defiantly increasing our overseas aid budget in these grim times is arrogant and disingenuous. He rightly talks up Brits as an “incredibly generous” people whose track record of giving to charity appeals is second to none. But he appears to think this entitles him to dole out billions more he has compulsorily seized from us in tax."

> Yesterday's Audio: Interviewed by Melinda Gates, David Cameron insists he'll keep his promises to the world's poorest

State school quotas for universities face axe following protests - Telegraph

Prince Charles meets Michael Gove and eleven other ministers in 2012

Screen Shot 2012-12-29 at 07.15.18"Prince Charles has held private meetings with eight government ministers in the last 12 months, including Michael Gove, the education secretary, and Danny Alexander, chief secretary to the Treasury. Palace records show he also met with ministers with responsibility for defence, culture and further education, as well as top civil servants involved in British defence interests in the Middle East and the UK economy." - Guardian

"Why has the Coalition done absolutely nothing to support the institution of marriage?"

Angry Daily Mail leader: "Strong families are potent bulwarks against totalitarian and over-mighty states. Strong families provide their own welfare, education and personal care systems. That is why the Mail urges Mr Cameron to make his New Year’s resolution to  stop worrying about gay marriage and  do everything he can to support the family – which is under attack as never before in Britain."

British children are less likely to live with both parents than in any other major Western nation - Daily Mail

This Chancellor is no thrift-crazed axeman - Jeff Randall urges George Osborne to cut faster - Telegraph

Former Energy Minister Charles Hendry says UK won't follow US in exploiting shale gas on similar scale, for environmental and commercial reasons - Times (£)

Tory-controlled Peterborough Council wants to erect 500,000 panels and nine giant wind turbines on 900 acres of prime agricultural land - Daily Mail

Damian McBride, Gordon Brown's former spin-doctor, targets the lack of a Number 10 Comms operation

"The deeper concern would be if – Grant Shapps aside – any ministers and advisers are genuinely feeling that weary or deflated just two and a half years into their term in office. Because, as the Labour Party found – albeit much later on – the real danger comes once the attitude that says you can’t be bothered to mount a Boxing Day media operation seeps into your approach to late-night calls on a Friday or Revenue attempts to tax turkeys. It’s what makes you careless about whether the PM’s still got his microphone live in the back of the car, or whether that email you’re about to send is very wise." - Damian McBride in The Independent

Lord Dobbs: 1982's Cabinet papers reveal Margaret Thatcher's steel

Thatcher-1"As prime minister you loved her or hated her, and sometimes I managed both. She was energy, action and outrage, a woman who stood up to her enemies and sometimes even throttled her friends. And as the official papers just released under the 30-year rule reveal, 1982 was her year of destiny. It was a year in which she fought the Argentines, kicked the French, intimidated the Americans and made mincemeat of the Dean of St Paul’s. She also cried a lot." - Michael Dobbs in The Express

Liberal Democrats made 'unrealistic promises' to voters, admits Jeremy Browne - Telegraph

So, Mr Farage, why does UKIP's leader have a German wife? ...and did she make you kip in the spare room over that 'seven-times-a night fling' with a Latvian?

Farage Commons 470

The Daily Mail publishes an extended profile/ interview with the UKIP leader, Nigel Farage...

  • "David Cameron? 'Agghh, so shallow - the bland leading the bland. I have no respect for him.'
  • Ed Miliband? 'Soooo boring and geeky - he's spent his whole life sitting around the kitchen table talking ­politics!'
  • Nick Clegg? 'Nice enough, but what's the point? You have to admit, there's a bit of a gap in the ­market right now, isn't there?"

Has inequality become too extended in Britain? - Matthew Parris in The Times (£)

Rightwing politicians like to capitalise on economic and political chaos – seeing it as a chance to roll back the state - Neal Lawson in The Guardian

Jimmy Carr, Starbucks and the rest reminded us you can be filthy rich yet morally bankrupt - Tim Dowling in The Guardian

2012 was the year that the divide between the people and the powerful became dangerously wide - Dominic Sandbrook in the Daily Mail

Barack Obama says he is "modestly optimistic" that a deal to avoid the "fiscal cliff" is possible, after a last-ditch White House meeting - BBC | Independent

The Times (£) pays tribute to America's role in the world: "America is a fallible actor in global affairs. But it remains, in the words of Madeleine Albright, the indispensable nation. In an anarchic world order lacking a central sovereign authority, it is the guarantor of global public goods, such as collective security and the world’s reserve currency. Those who decry US influence should be wary of what they wish for. Many more problems result from America’s absence than from its interventions."

Silvio Berlusconi has agreed to pay 36m euros (£30m) a year to his ex-wife Veronica Lario - BBC

And finally... Simon Heffer's tongue-in-cheek predictions for 2013 (at least we think they're tongue-in-cheek)...

"The eating of burgers in public places in banned for health reasons, with leading doctors expressing their concern about ‘passive eating’. Scores of heroes return home from Afghanistan to receive redundancy notices, while African dictators go on another Mercedes-buying binge with their latest Treasury overseas aid cheques." - More in the Daily Mail.

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28 Dec 2012 09:01:10

Newslinks for Friday 28th December 2012

6a00d83451b31c69e201538ea21dd1970b-500wi-14.30pm ToryDiary: Nick Clegg is the 'Yellow B**tard of 2012'

3.30pm WATCH: Nick Clegg promises to "anchor" Coalition "in centre ground" in his New Year video message

2pm WATCH: The Iron Lady rejects suggestions that she should abandon the recapture of the Falkland Islands

Noon VIDEO: Ed Miliband's New Year message begins with stories of Britain's food banks and features NINE references to "one nation".

D80db928df1a759cc390e92f6fd5905211.30am Gavin Barwell MP on Comment: Four reasons why the Conservative Party must win more of Britain's growing ethnic vote

11am AUDIO: Interviewed by Melinda Gates, David Cameron insists he'll keep his promises to the world's poorest

ToryDiary: 55% of Tory members would vote against gay marriage if they were in parliament

Chris Skidmore MP on Comment: Overcoming the dementia challenge

Screen Shot 2012-12-28 at 08.58.57MPsETC: Sarah Wollaston MP makes case for gun control in USA

Clegg and Miliband set out their new year messages

  • "Whatever 2013 throws at us, the Liberal Democrats will continue to anchor this coalition in the centre ground and we will hold firm to our key purpose in this government" - Clegg reported by the BBC
  • "Parents have been promised that they will be given more help with the cost of childcare next year, despite a stand-off within the coalition. Nick Clegg used his New Year message to Liberal Democrat supporters to guarantee that help was on the way." - Times (£)
  • Mr Miliband pledged to use 2013 to set out in detail his vision for a "One Nation Britain" with "concrete" policies on business, welfare and education - BBC
  • Ed Miliband uses "one nation" phrase NINE times in message - The Sun

David Blunkett launches attack on unfairness of local government cuts

09may08blunkett"The 50 councils worst affected by government cuts will face a reduction of £160 per head on average, despite the fact that about a third of their children already live in poverty.... The prime minister's local authority of West Oxfordshire, one of the least deprived in the country, is losing £34 per head, while Hackney – the most deprived borough – is facing a massive cut of £266 per head." - David Blunkett in The Guardian

Britain leaving EU would amount to entering a desert, claims Van Rompuy - ITV

"David Cameron will not be allowed to ‘cherry pick’ powers to claw back from Brussels, the EU president has warned. In a major blow to the Prime Minister’s strategy, Herman Van Rompuy said the European Union would fall apart quickly if countries were allowed to pick and choose which powers they wanted to keep. Mr Van Rompuy said he wanted Britain to stay in the EU, adding that the UK’s departure would ‘see a friend walk off into the desert’ - Daily Mail

EU EXIT

"Cameron must promise an "in-out" referendum on Britain's European Union membership or face defections to the anti-EU UKIP and a challenge to his Conservative leadership, senior party sources have warned." - The Herald

Clegg fuelled the Coalition row over the EU by saying Cameron should not waste time on renegotiating the terms of UK membership but focus on €uro firestorm - Express

The Daily Mail is contemptuous of Mr Clegg's views: "Despite the fact the euro has been a major factor in the financial tumult causing such pain in Greece, Italy and Spain. And despite its risible lack of democracy and accountability, Mr Clegg said Britain needs to become more – not less – engaged with a political project that still teeters on the brink of collapse."

The Express affirms its view that "we must be free to make our way in the world once more".

The Sun responds to yesterday's ConHome poll on Tory election prospects

The Sun Says: "A poll by the influential Conservative Home website says fewer than one in eight Tory Party members expects David Cameron to secure a majority. Most think Labour will end up in office. The lessons are clear. Voters are fed up with the Tories banging on about fringe issues like gay marriage. They are fed up with appeasing Nick Clegg. They are fed up with the snail’s pace of recovery and the sense that it’s all stick and no carrot for overtaxed workers under Mr Cameron. If the Tories don’t buck up, they’ll hand the election to Ed Miliband on a plate."

Also see Telegraph report.

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Only 12% of Tory members expect Cameron to win a majority at next election

The Independent reports Tory grassroots views on equal marriage

GAY same-sex-wedding-cake"The poll, carried out by the ConservativeHome website, found that seven out of 10 Tory members (71 per cent) believe that same-sex marriage is splitting the party and that three out of four (78 per cent) believe the Prime Minister has underestimated the strength of feeling." - Independent

> Today's ToryDiary: 55% of Tory members would vote against gay marriage if they were in parliament

"Church leaders and Conservative critics claim that David Cameron is flouting democracy by pushing gay marriage, yet  he has been unequivocal on this issue from the time he took over the Tories. I remember well the nerves in his inner circle over the line in his first party conference speech saying he supported marriage “whether you’re a man and a woman, a woman and a woman or a man and another man”. Equally, I recall the applause from party activists." - Ian Birrell in The Independent

Anger as big firms pay less tax – and small ones have to fork out more - Scotsman | Daily Mail

An apprenticeship will soon match all a degree has to offer - Matt Hancock MP in The Telegraph

A Coalition scheme to attract 1,000 world-class scientists and artists a year to Britain has let in just 50 top academics - Telegraph

The FT leader (£): "The government talks about making the UK competitive in the “global race”, but is clamping down on immigration (a Conservative policy) and only fitfully cutting regulation (thanks to Lib Dem resistance), both to the frustration of business. Perhaps a deal could be struck in which Mr Cameron loosens his immigration cap in return for Mr Clegg assenting to labour market reforms. It would make for an invigorating announcement in the March Budget. It would also confirm that the coalition has life in it yet."

Until David Cameron learns to explain himself, voters will not trust him - Bruce Anderson in The Telegraph

Coalition 'could preside over lowest level of house building since 1920s' - Guardian

  • Can planning minister Nick Boles deliver less centralisation? - John Redwood

Why won’t our PM stand up for the hunting lobby? - Melissa Kite for The Spectator

Can Cameron win ethnic minority votes with candidates alone? - Henry Manson for Political Betting

Theresa May is a role model for women in politics - Cathy Newman for The Telegraph

Mensch Louise May 2012Cathy Newman on Louise Mensch: "By upping sticks to be with her family, she risks deterring Tory traditionalists from picking other women for plum seats. But there’s no denying that Mrs Mensch has enlivened politics, and given us all something to talk about."

...and on Nadine Dorries: "“Mad Nad” can give up all hope of getting taken seriously now, but how she stands out in Parliament – a tropical bird in amongst all that dull, grey, plumage on the Commons benches. She might have had to eat ostrich anus, but at least she has the balls to say boo to a goose back in Westminster."

Was 2012 the Tories turned against climate change?

Paterson Owen II"The appointments of Owen Paterson and John Hayes, straight out of Tory Pantomime Villain central casting to environment secretary and energy minister, the election of oil man and climate sceptic Peter Lilley to the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee, and most importantly Chancellor George Osborne's decision to develop a rival carbon-intensive energy strategy to that proposed by DECC, all made it clear influential Conservatives want to ditch the coalition's green agenda." - Business Green

  • Coalition's energy policy blamed for insulation job losses - Guardian

Mary Ann Sieghart warns Cameron against attacks on the unemployed

"Most unemployed people have been out of work for less than six months. Typically, they have been in insecure jobs, and they move in and out of employment according to the state of the economy. They are strivers, not skivers, who have suffered bad luck." - Mary Ann Sieghart in The Independent

Records reveal US urged Thatcher to halt Falklands War - Yorkshire Post

ThatcherOnTank

"Ronald Reagan issued a last-ditch appeal to Margaret Thatcher to abandon the campaign to retake the Falklands and hand over the islands to international peacekeepers, according to official documents made public today." - Yorkshire Post

Margaret Thatcher warned that Britain’s relationship with France would suffer a “devastating” blow if the latter allowed Exocet missiles to be smuggled to Argentina during the Falklands War - Telegraph

Margaret Thatcher ordered that an army of spies be deployed across southern Spain to safeguard Gibraltar against a Falklands-style surprise attack - Telegraph

"Concern that children’s television would corrupt the nation’s youth ran so high in the government in 1982 that the head of the prime minister’s policy unit proposed establishing a state-funded “Children’s Broadcasting Service”." - FT (£)

Jimmy Savile tells Thatcher he 'loves' her in 1982 letter - ITV

Labour MPs told to use more southern anecdotes

Screen Shot 2012-12-28 at 08.46.44

"Ed Miliband and the Shadow Cabinet have been told to stop talking about the “North-South divide” after the party discovered that it was alienating voters in the South of England. Senior Labour figures are also under instructions to use more anecdotes about the struggles of southern voters in their speeches, as part of the party’s attempt to win back support beyond its northern heartlands." - Times (£)

Friends of Alistair Darling have dismissed speculation that the former Chancellor is set to quit as an MP - Express

Iraq inquiry may not report until *2014* - Daily Mail

A new study claims that the living wage would result in an annual windfall of more than £2bn for the Treasury because of extra tax revenues, lower benefit bills and higher productivity - Independent

"Joint research by the Resolution Foundation and the Institute for Public Policy Research found gross earnings would rise by £6.5bn if employees were paid a living wage – an estimate, above the statutory minimum hourly rate, of what workers must earn to meet basic needs." - FT (£)

Obama to host fiscal cliff talks at White House

"Republicans and Democrats have only four days to reach an agreement before hundreds of billions of dollars of tax rises and spending cuts take effect - BBC

Cliff

Will USA drag us over fiscal cliff? - John Redwood in The Sun

> Yesterday evening's International: The Republicans likely to be hurt most if America falls off its "fiscal cliff"

And finally... It's official -- Cameron IS a wet Tory

"The Prime Minister proves he is a Tory Wet — by running through a stream during a cross-country race yesterday. David Cameron suffered a cut to his shin during the one-mile charity race in his Witney constituency in Oxfordshire." - Pictures in The Sun

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