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January 2012 newslinks

4 Jan 2013 08:31:36

Newslinks for Friday 4th January 2013

5pm Catherine Marcus on Comment: No, Laurie Penny, the head of Hastings Police knows what she’s talking about

DC3pm WATCH: David Cameron explains his "friends and family test" for the NHS

2pm ToryDiary: Osborne should say that the child benefit restriction is temporary

1.15pm LeftWatch: Three problems with Ed Balls’s new welfare proposal

10p11.30am Robert Halfon MP on Comment: Let’s bring back the 10p income tax band — in part, with cash from the top rate windfall

ToryDiary: David Cameron’s new, tougher love for the NHS

Alistair Burt MP on Comment: The prospects for Syria in 2013 

Local Government: Camden Council honours Lenin

Also on Local Government, Brandon Lewis MP says that there's no excuse for council tax rises: "In the next few years’, district councils could really see a rise in their income while their government grant falls. This must be the way forward; it means councils will be less reliant on government. It will be easier for them to be more responsive to the demands of local communities, because they will be less responsible to Whitehall."

The Deep End's Heresy of the week: An in/out referendum will not solve all of our problems

WATCH: David Cameron: "The future of the Falkland Islands should be determined by the Falkland Islanders themselves"

David Cameron says no, no, no to Kirchner...

Falklands"The renewed demand by President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner for the Falklands to be handed back to Argentina elicited a defiant response from the UK and Falkland governments , with David Cameron vowing to do everything he could to protect the islanders' desire to remain British." - Guardian

  • The Sun's letter to an Argentinian newspaper: "Hands off!" - The Sun
  • How Britain politely took over the Falklands - Ben Macintyre, The Times (£)

> Today's video to WATCH: David Cameron: "The future of the Falkland Islands should be determined by the Falkland Islanders themselves"

...rejects the latest calls for Winter Fuel Allowance to be cut for wealthy pensioners... - Independent

...and claims that egregious health and safety regulations are discouraging companies from offering work experience placements... - Daily Telegraph

..before turning his attention to the NHS

DCSome measures that Mr Cameron will announce today, taken from the Daily Mail's report:

  • "All nurses will have to do hourly rounds of their patients under new rules to be outlined by David Cameron today."
  • "The Prime Minister will also demand that every worker in the Health Service – from consultants to hospital  porters – receives specialist training in dealing with the one in four patients who suffer from dementia."
  • "The government will ensure that every NHS ward will have a ‘dementia champion’ and every NHS organisation a dementia nursing expert."
  • "Mr Cameron will also announce plans to extend patient and staff  satisfaction surveys across the NHS so every part of it has to pass the ‘friends and family test’, including GP surgeries."
  • "In addition, nurses and midwives at the beginning of their career will be given the opportunity to become ‘care makers’, a new initiative to use volunteer ambassadors in hospitals and homes to improve care."

On the comment pages:

  • Whoever loses out, Dilnot must be funded somehow - David Lipsey, The Times (£)
  • "The health secretary has made an intriguing start in a tough job, by styling himself a patients’ champion" - The Economist

> Today on ToryDiary: David Cameron’s new, tougher love for the NHS

The Mail suggests that Tory voters will be hardest hit by the child benefit cuts

Budget Box"Figures obtained by the Daily Mail reveal that the Conservative heartlands in the South East will be the biggest losers when the changes come into force on Monday. ... Yesterday, the Treasury admitted more than 300,000 taxpayers – out of an estimated 1.2million who are affected – have not yet been informed by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs that they are set to lose out." - Daily Mail 

  • "In his first budget, George Osborne quite rightly said any tax and benefits system needs to pass three tests: it must be simple; fair; and support work and those who do the right thing. ... We fear the Chancellor may come to bitterly regret how – with his child benefit policy – he has failed on every count." - Daily Mail leader

Doubt over William Hague's proposed war veto

WH"The Foreign Secretary committed the coalition to a new law that would force governments to go to the House of Commons before sending the Armed Forces into battle. But officials have struggled to draw up a Bill that would give ultimate authority to the Commons while allowing ministers leeway to respond to an emergency." - The Times (£)

Falling university applications prompt tuition fee fears

"The number of Britons applying to study at universities here has fallen for the second year in a row, according to new figures showing a drop of more than 6 per cent. ... They are likely to fuel concerns that school-leavers are being deterred by higher tuition fees, which trebled to £9,000 a year last autumn." - The Times (£)

Chris Grayling inclined to withhold legal aid from prisoners making "trivial claims"

"Mr Grayling has ordered officials to draw up plans to make sure it is only granted in the most serious cases — not when cons want softer mattresses or more access to the phone. ... And he wants minor complaints to be dealt with by the jail or the official prison ombudsman — rather than being dragged through the courts at huge extra cost." - The Sun

Planners shouldn't ignore local concerns over wind farms, says Nick Boles

Boles"In a letter to the department for Energy and Climate Change, Mr Boles warns that the spread of onshore windfarms is ‘bitterly resented’ by affected communities. ... He has very pointedly sided with energy minister John Hayes, who is campaigning to block the approval of future onshore wind farms, against Lib Dem energy secretary Ed Davey, who insists that they are a cornerstone of Britain’s renewable energy policy." - Daily Mail

The Government has extradited a terror suspect to America; he faces charges that he took part in an Al Qaeda plot to attack the New York subway system - Daily Mail

Small businesses aren't benefitting as much as their larger brethren from the Government's flagship lending scheme

"But the Bank’s latest ‘credit conditions’ survey, published yesterday, showed how lenders continue to have a separate rule book for small firms. ... It said: ‘Overall, credit availability to the corporate sector was reported to have increased significantly [between September and December], the first reported rise in availability for a year. ... ‘This was reflected in a significant increase in availability for medium-sized firms, an increase in availability for large firms and a slight increase for small firms.’" - Daily Mail

Ministers encouraged to cut employers' National Insurance contributions, so that more businesses can set-up pension schemes

Money jar"The stark survey by the Association of Consulting Actuaries (ACA) suggests most small firms can no longer afford to fund decent pensions, leaving millions of workers facing dependency on benefits in old age. ... The ACA says ministers should cut employers’ National Insurance contributions to give firms more scope to boost their workers’ pension pots." - Daily Mail

  • A quarter of over-65s are putting off retirement, suggests survey - Daily Mail

And encouraged, also, to tackle "profiteering" rail companies

"Fat-cat rail bosses were accused by MP watchdogs today of ‘profiteering’ as millions of train passengers are hit with inflation-busting fare rises. ... The charges came in a damning report by the House of Commons Transport Select committee which urged the Government to ‘shine a light on complacent management, waste, and profiteering.’" - Daily Mail

Lord Heseltine takes his devolutionary ideas to Birmingham

Heseltine"Lord Heseltine has backed a scheme that could lead to Greater Birmingham becoming the test bed for his plan to strip Whitehall of up to £58bn of business support funding and place it in local hands. ... The former Tory deputy prime minister visited Birmingham on Thursday to launch a three-month project to review how the city region would handle a big devolution of funding and powers to stimulate economic growth." - Financial Times (£)

Tory council floats idea of cutting benefits for overweight claimants who do not exercise enough

Fat benefits"Cutting benefits for the obese was suggested by Westminster council and the Local Government Information Unit, a council-funded think-tank. ... Philippa Roe, leader of the flagship Tory authority, said: ‘This report contains exactly the sort of bright, forward-thinking and radical ideas that need to be looked at.’ ... The document suggested that financial pressure on the jobless and unhealthy could begin this spring when control of state public health programmes shifts to town halls." - Daily Mail

  • Labour research suggests that Tory councils make more from parking charges than Labour ones - BBC

> Yesterday on Local Government: Westminster Council proposes docking benefits from the fat

"Two-thirds of local authorities in England are from April planning to demand council tax payments from working-age households which are currently exempt, according to new research." - Guardian

> Today, by Brandon Lewis MP on Local Government: There's no excuse for council tax rises

The Independent asks, "Who said the nasty party had gone away?"

Indy"It would be nonsensical to suggest the Government should rise above politics. But there are depths to which it is irresponsible to sink and the deliberate encouragement of erroneous social divisions is one of them. The attempt to carve society into those that work and those that live on their coat-tails is both simplistic and disingenuous; it is no strategy for a Government with a good case for reining in welfare." - Independent leader

  • TUC-commissioned poll suggests "public ignorance" about benefit levels - Independent

Philip Stephens: The parties of the right have forsaken centrist broad appeal

"Whatever happened to conservative pragmatism? Ideology used to belong to parties of the left. The right concerned itself with the exercise of power. On either side of the Atlantic politics has been turned on its head. The conservatives are now the utopian zealots forsaking centrist broad appeal for ideological absolutism. Liberals and social democrats are the new realists." - Philip Stevens, Financial Times (£)

"The logic of David Cameron's cry for optimism is: vote Labour" - Gaby Hinsliff, Guardian

Ed Balls announces a new jobs guarantee for the long-term unemployed

ED bALLS"When times are tough it cannot be right that we subsidise the pension contributions of the top 2 per cent of earners at more than double the rate of people on average incomes paying the basic rate of tax. £1 billion a year would fund a compulsory jobs guarantee initially for all those out of work for 24 months or more – which we would seek to reduce to 18 or 12 months over time." - Ed Balls, PoliticsHome

  • "Making welfare simple is fiendishly complex" - Daily Telegraph leader

> ToryDiary: IDS, today's Wilberforce. But the latter wasn't dependent on Government computers to help abolish slavery…

"Labour joined calls yesterday for an independent authority to tackle complaints about bullying, harassment and unfair treatment within the military." - The Times (£)

Diane Abbott outlines plan to curb fast food shops - Guardian

Dan Hodges: Ed Miliband's relatively successful 2012 may have laid the ground for a dismal 2013

"The third – and by far the most dangerous – problem facing Miliband surrounds Labour’s policy on the economy. It’s hard to find anyone in the party who believes it has a settled and credible economic offer. Miliband confidantes admit they don’t have a strategy if the economy begins to recover, and that they will have to shift position." - Dan Hodges, Daily Telegraph

Brits would be willing to give up their job for a £1 million lump sum... - Daily Mail it emerges that around 300,000 of us have homes worth over £1million, a 50,000 increase over the past year - Daily Mail

  • YouGov survey finds that more people are struggling to pay their housing costs - Financial Times (£)

JBThe Republicans' John Boehner has been re-elected as Speaker of the House, despite disgruntlement in his own party - Daily Mail

  • "Mr Boehner is being actively undermined by both wings of his party, but he remains an essential player in the horsetrading ahead." - Times leader (£)

> Yesterday on the The Deep End: How much longer can America afford to be the world’s policeman?

And finally... Brussels' self-congratulatory lessons for kids

"Brussels has been accused of 'brainwashing' kids by sending glossy brochures to schools claiming the euro has been a triumph. ... Despite three years of constant crisis, the pamphlet declares the single currency has led to a 'better-performing economy' and 'sounder public finances'." - The Sun

> Today, the Deep End's Heresy of the week: An in/out referendum will not solve all of our problems

> Yesterday on ToryDiary: If Cameron pledges an In/Out referendum, says Daniel Hannan, peace will proclaim olives of endless age


> 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.

31 Jan 2012 08:30:23

Newslinks for Tuesday 31st January 2012

Cameron EU statement7.45pm WATCH: David Cameron: "We are not signing it, we are not ratifying it, we are not part of it"

7.30pm Local government: TSSA donates another £10,000 to Livingstone's campaign

6.15pm MPsETC: Cameron today: Off the hook on the veto.  On it over more IMF money.

5pm Unease over Cameron's EU veto and Ed Miliband's Eurosceptic posing lead our teatime newslinks

3.30pm ToryDiary: New Northern Ireland Conservative Party formed in challenge to UUP

3.15pm Professor Philip Booth on Comment: Last week should be the last Davos

1.15pm WATCH: Theresa May gets her heel stuck outside Number 10 Downing Street

Miliband Ed Yes12.30pm LeftWatch: Now pandering Miliband poses as a Euro-sceptic

11.45am Latest ConHome survey: Has Cameron's veto been diluted? What do you think of Nick Clegg's tax plans? Should military force be used to stop Iran from becoming a nuclear power?

11.45am ConHomeUSA newslinks: Florida voters decide today

11.15am David T Breaker on Comment: At last, students are thinking before attending university

ToryDiary: Can Nick Boles and the new Tory generation help defeat the politics of envy?

Richard Harrington MP and Mark Garnier MP on Comment: The economy needs a new generation of new entrepreneurs to set up their own businesses

Local Government: 152 Councils have agreed to freeze or cut Council Tax so far

WATCH: David Cameron: "We are not signing this treaty, we are not ratifying this treaty"

25 EU states will sign up to new fiscal treaty.  The United Kingdom and Czech Republic will not.

EU and BRITAIN"Twenty-five of the European Union’s 27 countries have signed up to a German-inspired treaty enshrining tougher fiscal rules to help underpin the euro... David Cameron, the British prime minister who in December vetoed inclusion of the fiscal discipline measures in the EU treaties, said he would not block signatories from using EU-wide institutions. But he warned he would take legal action if the new treaty undermined British interests." - FT (£)

  • "The Czech Government said in advance of the summit that it was wary of ceding so much power to Brussels, with Petr Necas, the Prime Minister, keeping his “options open” on arrival in Brussels and Vaclav Klaus, the eurosceptic President, vowing to veto any treaty presented for his approval." - The Times (£)

> From yesterday - WATCH: David Cameron: "We need to get really serious about the growth agenda in Europe"

Cameron insists he is standing up for Britain...

"He... warned that any changes the others made under their alternative fiscal pact – excluding Britain – could not use EU institutions such as the Commission and EU court because they could only carry out policies applying to all 27. At the talks Mr Cameron did not try to push his case against using institutions, but warned: "We will only take action if our national interests are threatened – and I made clear today that we will be watching this closely."" - Daily Telegraph

  • "David Cameron has warned France that the UK could reap the benefit if it went ahead with a national levy on bank transactions to help pay for the economic crisis." - PA
  • The entente non-cordiale: Tension at EU summit as Sarkozy says Britain 'has no industry' - Daily Mail

> Yesterday on ToryDiary: A Teflon Prime Minister? His luck has held over RBS (so far). Will it also hold over Europe?

...but there is Euro-sceptic anger over Cameron change on fiscal union countries using EU institutions

DAVIES Philip"Mr Cameron faces criticism over his retreat when he makes a Commons statement about the summit today. Philip Davies, a Eurosceptic, warned the new stance would make the Prime Minister look more like John Major than Margaret Thatcher. "We saw in the opinion polls how popular he was in December. He would be equally unpopular if the British public thought he was going to backslide from that position," he said." - Independent

  • David Cameron accused of 'appeasing' Nick Clegg over EU veto as Conservative MPs start to plot - Daily Telegraph

> Coverage from yesterday:

Fallout from Hester bonus refusal: taxpayers lose £900m as RBS shares fall

Screen shot 2012-01-31 at 08.28.16"The share price of RBS dropped by 3.5 per cent yesterday, wiping £580 million off its value. Lloyds, where the chief executive has also turned down his bonus, saw its share price fall by 4.1 per cent, stripping £921 million off its value. With the taxpayer owning 83 per cent of RBS and 41 per cent of Lloyds, that equates to a fall of almost £900 million in holdings — equivalent to £36 for every British family." - Daily Telegraph

  • "David Cameron has urged the Royal Bank of Scotland to show restraint in its bonus packages for senior colleagues of chief executive Stephen Hester, echoing an earlier call by the business secretary, Vince Cable." - Guardian
  • "When it comes to the economic realities, shabby, short-sighted populism does the country no favours – what price now Mr Cameron’s proud boast that Britain is open for business?" - Daily Telegraph editorial
  • Ed Miliband has much bigger fish to fry than Stephen Hester - Mary Riddell for the Daily Telegraph
  • Steve Richards: We are in a new era, but bankers haven't noticed - Independent

> From yesterday:

Business tells Ministers to back off on bonuses

"Business leaders have accused politicians of harming the international reputation of the City of London by resorting to terms of populist abuse in the row over bankers’ bonuses. Sir Roger Carr, the president of the CBI, said that MPs were encouraging unfair and unbalanced hostility towards business." - The Times (£)

  • "If corporate Britain is to thrive and attract the most talented people in our society, politicians must make it clear that business is valued and respected for the standards it sets as well as the wealth it creates." - Sir Roger Carr for the Times (£)

More detail on Ken Clarke axing of some compensation payments for victims

CLARKE HAPPY"Victims of violent street attacks left with a dislocated jaw or broken hand will be denied compensation under new cuts. Burns victims with permanent scarring will also be refused payment as part of reforms announced yesterday by Justice Secretary Ken Clarke. Payouts for minor injuries will be scrapped, while those for some more serious injuries will be sharply reduced to focus funding on ‘support services’ and the victims of the worst crimes, he said." - Daily Mail

Motorists to be hit with £100 speeding fines as they bear the brunt of Ken Clarke's new victim surcharge - Daily Mail

Reform of public sector pensions will leave many workers better off than before

"Millions of lower-paid public sector workers will receive higher pensions as a result of a recent government deal, which led to widespread strikes, claims the economic forecaster. They will also continue to earn significantly higher salaries than their private sector counterparts throughout this Parliament — with wages up to a fifth higher in some parts of the country." - Daily Telegraph

  • "The reform of public-sector pensions will make "little or no difference" to the amount they cost the state, an analysis by the Institute for Fiscal Studies has concluded." - Independent

NHS reforms criticised by leading healthcare publications - Guardian

  • Plans for NHS in England an unholy mess, say journals - BBC

Michael Gove to remove thousands of vocational qualifications from league tables

"Thousands of vocational qualifications – including courses in fish husbandry and nail technology – are to be stripped out of school league tables... More than 3,000 qualifications regarded as equivalent to GCSEs in current league tables – and said to be used by some schools to improve their rankings – will be reduced to 125. Just 70 will count towards the main performance measure of five A* to C grades at GCSE." - Guardian

First the Falklands... now Spain demands talks over the future of Gibraltar

"David Cameron is braced for fresh demands from Spain to start talks over the sovereignty of Gibraltar... Mariano Rajoy, Spain’s new centre-right Prime Minister, meanwhile, is to demand talks over the future of the colony without the involvement of authorities in Gibraltar... Madrid was unimpressed after Mr Cameron told a meeting at the Council of Europe last week that the future of Gibraltar depended on the wishes of the colony’s 30,000 inhabitants." - The Times (£)

"Government behaviour tsar": Parents who neglected basic duties are accused of causing London riots - Daily Mail

Ed Miliband pledges to fight Salmond 'toe-to-toe' over referendum saying 'separation would not help people of Scotland'

Miliband Ed Open Mouth"Speaking in Glasgow, Mr Miliband said he wanted to set out a ‘positive vision’ for the Union. ‘I am not here to tell Scots that Scotland cannot survive outside the UK,’ he said. But he questioned whether independence was an ‘urgent priority’ for Scotland at a time of rising unemployment and steep inflation. It would ‘not help the working people of Scotland’." - Daily Mail

Liam Byrne: Labour 'must get tough on big business'

"Liam Byrne, the party’s policy strategist, says... Labour should back further assaults on the excesses of big business: “Business needs government to be more hands-on, not hands-off.” Banks must be made to provide credit to companies “and in return we ask for behaviour that does not resemble the worst excesses of robber barons”, he says." - Daily Telegraph

Days lost to strikes hit 20 year high - Daily Telegraph

Flood defences hit by government cuts, say MPs - Guardian

Plastic bag levy for Ulster piles pressure on Cameron to implement change in England - Daily Mail

Lobby reform chief faces inquiry into Twitter abuse for campaigners - Independent


> 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.

30 Jan 2012 08:30:19

Newslinks for Monday 30th January 2012

10.15pm ToryDiary: Cameron beats Miliband and Clegg in YouGov survey of leadership qualities

7.15pm WATCH: David Cameron: "We need to get really serious about the growth agenda in Europe"

Field Mark on BBC5pm Mark Field MP on Comment: The lynch mob's victory may be pyrrhic if RBS can't now attract the brightest and best

5pm David Cameron's Europe veto change and a new push for an in/out referendum lead our teatime newslinks

4.30pm MPsETC: The People's Pledge EU referendum campaign may not succeed, but it certainly deserves to do so

Screen shot 2012-01-30 at MPsETC: The veto "is no more", it "has ceased to be", it is "bereft of life", it "rests in peace"

3pm LISTEN: William Hague: "We have taken a lot of action on bonuses, they are now a fraction of what they were"

2.30pm Local government: Tory councillor quits over Council Tax rise

1.30pm Columnist Andrew Lilico: The Government has capitulated on the "veto" - so now what?

1pm WATCH: Ed Miliband: "We've got to have responsibility in the boardroom when... living standards are being squeezed"

Noon ConHomeUSA: Romney keeps pressure on Gingrich as he hopes for knockout Florida win

Hannan510.30am Daniel Hannan MEP on Comment: Is a referendum on EU membership right in principle?

ToryDiary: A Teflon Prime Minister? His luck has held over RBS (so far). Will it also hold over Europe?

Columnist Bruce Anderson: Cameron was in danger of sounding weak over the Hester bonus

Adrian Hilton on Comment: The Conservative leadership is destroying its membership

Local Government: Government averts threat of huge EU fines

Think Tank Central: Average family pays £656,000 tax over lifetime, calculates the TaxPayers' Alliance

WATCH: Besieged Hester rejects bonus

Pressure on Cameron over Europe from his Cabinet...

DUNCAN SMITH AITW"Iain Duncan Smith and Boris Johnson both told Mr Cameron yesterday not to allow the European Court of Justice to enforce the new rules on spending in the eurozone after No 10 revealed on Friday that the UK will not fight the plans. Tory MPs will today join the launch of a cross-party campaign to demand a referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU." - Daily Mail

...and the backbenches (not to mention the Mayor)

"Boris Johnson also delivered a warning to Mr Cameron, saying: “I’m anxious that the wrong approach may be taken on the eurozone.” Nadine Dorries, the Tory MP, tweeted: “Cameron is sleepwalking into the mother of all backbench rows if he thinks he can let FU [fiscal union] nations use the ECJ without recourse to Parliament.” - The Times (£)

  • The price of splitting up the euro may indeed be tremendous. But what is the long-term cost of keeping it together? - Boris Johnson, Daily Telegraph

Open Europe looks ahead to crime and policing repatriation decision

"Separately, Open Europe, a think-tank with strong links to Tory MPs, has published a report heralding the next big European row on the horizon: whether Britain should use a “one-off opportunity to unilaterally repatriate up to 130 EU laws on crime and policing”. - Financial Times (£)

  • Giving more power to Brussels over crime and policing won't strengthen co-operation. It would just lead to more bureaucracy and less democratic control. - Dominic Raab MP, The Sun

Charlie Kennedy warns that Liberal Democrats will not tolerate any repeat of the wielding of the British veto - The Guardian

Other EU news and comment:

  • We’re on the brink, warns Greece ahead of summit - Daily Telegraph
  • Now Sarkozy says that Britain has no industry any more - Daily Mail
  • Natascha Engel MP: Why I've joined the Peoples' Pledge to campaign for an EU referendum - The Guardian

Cameron: is he appealing to women? - Daily Telegraph

Hester gives up his bonus before Parliament takes it from him

Screen shot 2012-01-30 at 08.19.50"Stephen Hester bowed to pressure last night and gave up his controversial bonus. He told the state-owned bank’s board that he would not accept his 2011 award, worth almost £1million, saying he did not wish to become a pariah…His move was a direct response to Labour’s announcement yesterday evening that it would force a Commons debate on the payments at the bank, allowing MPs to vote on the bonus." - Daily Mail

Sources claim that the RBS Chief Executive won't quit...

"He was determined to remain at RBS, sources close to Mr Hester said, quashing speculation that he might quit and leave the Government having to find a new chief executive of the bank, which is 83 per cent owned by the taxpayer…George Osborne, the Chancellor, said last night: 'This is a sensible and welcome decision that enables Stephen Hester to focus on the very important job he has got to do, namely to get back billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money that was put into RBS.' " - The Times (£)

...Which will relieve Cameron

"Mr Hester’s decision will come as a huge relief to Mr Cameron, who waved through the bonus in the belief that the board might quit en masse; Iain Duncan Smith, work and pensions secretary, said that would have left the bank in a state of “chaos”." - Financial Times

  • An economic downturn is the worst time for politicians to rail against bankers’ pay - Times Editorial (£)
  • "The Government’s takeover of part of the banking industry in 2008 – combined with a stagnant economy and a flawed narrative about the real causes of the crisis – has triggered a cultural shift that will turn out to be disastrous for Western capitalism and prosperity." - Allister Heath, City AM
  • Mark Field: Hester is the victim of a 'lynch mob mentality' - Politics Home (£)

> Yesterday:

Osborne mulling over tax cuts

"Bigger-than-expected tax cuts for millions of workers are being considered in a bid to kick-start the economy…Last night one Government source said: “There is a growing recognition that putting more money in the pockets of low and middle income families would help stimulate the economy.’’ A second high-level source added: “George Osborne is desperate not to be seen to oppose tax cuts.” - Daily Express

> Yesterday: Columnist Ruth Lea - We are facing a national economic emergency. Where is the boldness?

Low-skilled migrants will be told to go home, says Damian Green

GREEN DAMIAN"Thousands of migrant workers will be asked to go home after a few years in Britain under policies to be made public this week. Immigrants from outside Europe who do not have valuable skills or high earnings will lose their right to live permanently in this country. Ministers indicated yesterday that a ‘transformation of immigration policy’ will leave room for only the ‘brightest and best’ to build new lives in Britain." - Daily Mail

Boris backs Lammy over smacking

"Boris Johnson has backed calls for parents to be allowed to smack their children to instil discipline. The Mayor of London spoke after a senior Labour MP blamed his party’s partial ban on smacking children for last August’s riots.  Former education minister David Lammy called for a return to Victorian laws on discipline, saying working-class parents needed to be able to use corporal punishment to deter unruly children from joining gangs and wielding knives." - Daily Mail

Charter to tackle noisy neighbours set out by Theresa May

"Communities will be allowed to "trigger" investigations into nuisance neighbours under plans to be announced by the Home Secretary today. In a speech on police reform in London, Teresa May will announce a "Community Trigger" scheme to be piloted this summer. Under the plans, authorities must take action to tackle nuisance behaviour if five people from different homes across across the same neighbourhood complain about the same problem." - The Independent

Mitchell: Millions of pounds must be pumped into strife-torn Somalia to avert catastrophe

Mitchell Thoughtful
"Mr Mitchell — talking to The Sun on a peril-packed trip to the nation's bandit country — explained why the Coalition's bitterly contested hike in aid spending is vital. He said: 'Somalia is on the same curve as Afghanistan was. There are more British passport holders engaged in terrorist training in Somalia than in any other country in the world. "If we ignore Somalia then it will continue on its spiral, destabilising the region and exporting terrorism, piracy, drugs, people and disease.' " - The Sun

Salmond on back foot over referendum question

"Alex Salmond has rejected suggestions that voters should be asked in the referendum on Scottish independence if they want to leave the United Kingdom. The Scottish First Minister said introducing the UK into the question would "confuse the issue" because the country would retain the Queen as head of state after breaking the political union…Mr Salmond responded to suggestions on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show that voters should be asked if they want to leave the UK instead." - The Independent

Screen shot 2012-01-30 at 08.23.50Defence cuts (1): Chief of general staff says cuts creating 'gaps' and leaving soldiers unsettled and frustrated - Daily Telegraph

Defence cuts (2): Former army head says that another war in the Falklands is "unwinnable" - Daily Mail

Clarke to ban crooks’ compo payouts - The Sun

Taxpayers Alliance finds that families' lifetime tax bill is £656,000 - Daily Mail

Miliband speech to encourage Scotland to remain part of the UK - The Guardian

Private company to run NHS general hospital for first time - Financial Times (£)


> 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.

29 Jan 2012 09:03:25

Newslinks for Sunday 29th January 2012

5pm MPsETC: There needs to be a collective approach to ensure cyber security, says Mark Field MP

12.30pm Megan Moore on Comment: The Archbishop of York doesn't deserve to be called a "bigot" by Twitter's intolerants

ToryDiary: Tory voters want a mansions tax. Mail and Sun oppose Hester's bonus. Is Cameron on the wrong side of the wealth issue?

LEA RUTHColumnist Ruth Lea: We are facing a national economic emergency. Where is the boldness?

Daniel Byles MP on Comment: Britain must find £200 billion to keep the lights on

Local government: The 10 local authorities with the highest percentage of failing schools

WATCH: Cameron must stop RBS Chief's bonus, says Ed Miliband

ConHomeUSA video: Herman Cain endorses Newt Gingrich at Palm Beach County event

Cameron facing the heat over Hester bonus

Screen shot 2012-01-29 at 07.40.10

- Ed Miliband's tweet last night

  • "The Prime Minister's reluctance to interfere with the bonus system of taxpayer-owned banks is a far cry from his pledges while in opposition" - Independent on Sunday
  • "Cameron is the man who took on Gaddafi, vetoed an EU treaty, imposed cuts across Whitehall, risked his MPs’ wrath over expenses and challenged his party to transform itself. Why, then, did he let a bunch of bankers face him down? The line between realism and powerlessness is thin, indeed." - Matthew d'Ancona in The Sunday Telegraph

16158698Size of Hester's future bonuses becomes issue

"The revelation that Hester could receive future bonuses worth almost eight times that figure will make it extremely difficult for No 10 and the Treasury to continue to resist calls to intervene. As a majority shareholder in the bank, the government could use its vote at the company’s annual general meeting to overrule all the payments, which are discretionary." - Sunday Times (£)

  • Now RBS boss to get ANOTHER £8m bonus as he racks up £35.5m (and counting) in earnings from the taxpayer in just three years - Mail on Sunday
  • "It has taken several days for the full obscene scale of Mr Hester's pay to be brought into the light of day" - Independent on Sunday leader
  • Pay fair tax and you can keep your bonus - Martin Ivens in The Sunday Times (£)

"Monstrous"; The People likens Stephen Hester to Addams Family’s Uncle Fester


- The People

  • Banker-bashing will hurt the UK economy, warns The Sunday Telegraph: "The British economy needs an efficient and effective financial sector – and it will not have one unless it can offer rates of pay that are competitive internationally. If not, the loss to the nation will greatly outweigh any proceeds from the present epidemic of banker-bashing."

> Yesterday's video: It is for Stephen Hester to decide whether he will accept his bonus from RBS, says Cameron

Leadsom AndreaConservative MPs Bernard Jenkin, Andrea Leadsom and John Redwood express concerns about EU veto developments - Sunday Times (£)

Tory MPs fear Cameron may be "backsliding" on his EU veto - Iain Martin in The Sunday Telegraph

In a leader The Sunday Telegraph regrets Cameron's decision to allow erosion of his veto.

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Has the veto died?

  • What Cameron should say at the EU summit - John Redwood
  • David Cameron must realise that the Strasbourg Court has no democratic right to overrule us - Alasdair Palmer in The Sunday Telegraph
  • "We could be on the brink of a new era of prosperity driven by China, India, Brazil and much of the rest of the emerging world..." says The Sunday Times (£) but the €uro must sort itself out.

Cameron rejects big increase in tax powers for Scotland - Scotland on Sunday

  • Alistair Darling, Annabel Goldie and Charles Kennedy are tipped by David Torrance to defend the Union - Scotland on Sunday
  • If the Union referendum were held south of the border, Alex Salmond would be more likely to get his way - Andrew Rawnsley in The Observer

Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai has thanked the British people for sacrificing "blood and treasure" for the future of his country - BBC

Government ambitions to dramatically expand the number of private colleges risk being defeated by an overzealous Home Office crackdown on immigration - Independent on Sunday

Battered Lansley certain of victory in NHS fight - Sunday Times (£)

  • Andrew Lansley forced into further concessions on planned health reforms - Observer

HERBERT CLOSE UPIn article for The Sunday Times, Home Office minister Nick Herbert looks forward to elected police chief

"On November 15 the public will elect police and crime commissioners for the 41 forces outside London in England and Wales. We have already given the mayor of London direct responsibility for the Metropolitan police. For the first time the public will have a say over policing priorities. Commissioners will set the policing plan and the budget. Chief constables will answer to their commissioners who, in turn, will answer to their electorate." - Nick Herbert in The Sunday Times (£)

Plans for a second Coalition agreement have been jettisoned as ministers struggle to sustain their existing reforms - Independent on Sunday

His government may be flaky on detail, but the Prime Minister has the people behind him on welfare reform and Europe - John Rentoul in the Independent on Sunday

Labour-run councils want the eight million people living alone to pay the same rate as couples or households with several working adults - Sunday Express

"What has possessed Labour council leaders to push for the abolition of the single person discount on council tax? By their very nature single-person households are highly likely to have a smaller income than one shared by a couple, on top of which this category includes widows, single parents and pensioners, the very people Labour is always making a song and dance about." - Sunday Express leader

Miliband David QTLabour in brief:

  • 30% of Labour voters back David Miliband for their leader; same as Ed - People
  • Ed and Yvette cook up 'lasagne-gate' dinner party plot to unseat Ed Miliband from Labour leadership - Mail on Sunday
  • Andy Burnham warns David Cameron against middle class aspirations like the happiness agenda when people are struggling - Observer
  • Ken Livingstone's campaign to be mayor of London hit by in-fighting - Sunday Telegraph
  • Smacking ban led to riots, says David Lammy MP, because parents fear children will be taken away if they discipline them - Mail on Sunday
  • Diane Abbott 'fell asleep in key Westminster debate on abortion laws' - Mail on Sunday
  • Frank Field wants lower welfare cap for single people and couples without children - Sunday Times (£)

The Political and Constitutional Reform Committee called on ministers to look again at reform of party political funding - BBC

Sir Richard Branson wanted us to join the €uro; he now wants to sell drugs in supermarkets - Peter Hitchens in the Mail on Sunday


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