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July 2012 newslinks

27 Jun 2013 08:36:56

Newslinks for Thursday 27th June 2013

7.45pm ToryDiary: On balance, May is right to bar Spencer and Geller. But what about Abu Qatada?

Screen shot 2013-06-27 at 17.14.285.30pm Councillor Martin Tett, leader of Bucks County Council, responds to Patrick McLoughlin's case for HS2. No, Secretary of State, we can't afford to build HS2

2.30pm WATCH: It's official! There was no double-dip recession. Repeat after me.  There was no double-dip recession. There was no double-dip recession. There was no double-dip recession...

12.30pm Graham Stuart, Chairman of the Education Select Committee, says that teachers are being manoevred by the NUT and NASUWT leadership lnto fighting for political ideology rather than teachers' interests: All that a teachers' strike will achieve is cancelled lessons and closed schools

ToryDiary: George Osborne, the best political strategist we've got. (Indeed, the only one we've got.)

McLoughlin large bw
The day after he confirms higher costs for the scheme, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin MP writes on Comment that We can't afford not to build HS2

Adrian Hilton looks forward to this year's Proms in this week's Culture Column: The world's greatest musician...and a first for the Ring Cycle

John Bald on Local Government: Putting the stiletto into Professor Grayling

The Deep End: Modern architecture is out of date

Infrastructure 1) As today's announcements loom, the Transport Secretary tells the Commons that he's increasing the budget for HS2

Screen shot 2013-06-27 at 08.39.02"But [George Osborne] had barely sat down before Patrick McLoughlin, transport secretary, told MPs he was increasing the budget for HS2 – a high-speed link connecting London to the north of England – by over a fifth from £34.5bn to £42.6bn. The admission prompted John Cridland, head of the CBI employers organisation to call for a rethink on the high-speed rail scheme. “It is good that the government is upfront about extra funding, but the case for judging this absolutely has to be value for money,” he said. “At what point does it cease to be value for money?” - Financial Times

> Today: Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin MP on Comment: We can't afford not to build HS2

Infrastructure 2) More houses and wind farms (offshore, in the latter case). But will there be progress on nuclear?

"Today, the Government will try to shift the focus away from cuts, announcing new roads, homes, flood defences and power projects worth £100 billion. Danny Alexander, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, will detail infrastructure spending as ministers insist that Britain can build for the future even as austerity lasts at least until 2018. Mr Alexander is expected to announce a new social house-building programme, as well as offshore wind farms and progress on nuclear power stations." - The Times (£)

The Spending Review: Osborne squares the LibDems, swings at Balls - and targets welfare

Osborne Penknife"Savaging the ‘vested interests’ that have opposed his spending cuts so far, the Chancellor slashed a further £11.5billion from the benefits budget. He announced a new cap on the overall welfare bill, a requirement for foreign benefit claimants to learn English and a seven-day wait before the jobless can sign on. The pain for millions of workers in the public sector will continue as they lose automatic pay rises awarded for time served. Another 144,000 jobs will be axed." - Daily Mail

Spending Review welfare reform details include a seven-day wait before signing on

"However, the Liberal Democrats appear to have capitulated on allowing further cuts to welfare. In a major move, Mr Osborne said he would cap overall spending on housing benefit, tax credits, disability benefits and payments to pensioners. The Chancellor also outlined measures to make people prove they are looking for work before actually getting any benefits. There will be a new seven day wait before people can claim benefit, in which the unemployed must seek work before signing on." - Daily Telegraph

Three winners 1) Free Schools

Gove pointing"He also announced that schools spending will be allocated in a “fairer way” so that the lowest funded local authorities will receive an increase in their per pupil funding through a new national funding formula. The pupil premium, introduced “to make sure we are fair to children from low income backgrounds”, will be protected in real terms “so every poor child will have more cash spent on their future than ever before”. He also announced funding for an unprecedented increase in the number of free schools — 180 in 2015-16." - The Times (£)

Three winners 2) Defence

"Defence Secretary Philip Hammond won a crucial battle as his budget was frozen at £23.9billion in the review — a cut of just 1.9 per cent in real terms. The Chancellor vowed there will be no more job losses for “soldiers, sailors or airmen” — but civilian workers will be axed. The defence equipment budget will rise by 1 per cent in 2015-16. And Mr Osborne announced that extra cash raised from fining banks over the Libor scandal will go towards helping veterans and families who have lost loved ones in the Forces. The other big winners were the spies in MI5, MI6 and GCHQ who will see their £2billion collective budget rise by 3.4 per cent." - The Sun

Three winners 3) Offshore Wind...

Screen shot 2013-06-27 at 08.42.21"Last night Whitehall sources said that the Treasury had agreed to pay a substantial premium for green energy projects which, they claimed, would unlock billions of pounds worth of private investment in new wind, wave and tidal generation projects. But at the same time the Conservative Energy Minister Michael Fallon will release details on the latest projections for shale gas in the UK from the British Geological Survey. This is expected to show larger than expected potential shale gas reserves that will benefit from new Government support." - The Independent

...And a loser: Local Government

"The biggest loser in 2015-16 in financial terms from the previous year is local government, which is taking a £2.6bn cut. Vince Cable's business department will be required to make £800m of resource savings, the Ministry of Justice £700m, the Home Office £600m, Defence and Education both £500m…Overall local government spending has already been cut by 27%, with at least another two years of even more severe cuts to come in Britain's town halls in the years to 2017-18." - The Guardian

Osborne: We are moving from recovery to rescue

Screen shot 2013-06-27 at 08.43.17
"The Chancellor told MPs that he remains committed to his cuts strategy to pay down Britain's massive debts as the country moves from "rescue to recovery". "While the British economy is leaving intensive care; now we need to secure that recovery," he said. "We're saving money on welfare and waste to invest in the roads and railways, schooling and science our economy needs to succeed in the future. I know that times are still not easy for families. But we have a clear economic plan. We've stuck to it. It is working. And I'm determined to go on delivering it." - Daily Express

Balls: "The slowest recovery in 100 years"

"For Ed Balls, shadow chancellor, the statement was an admission of failure. These were cuts Mr Osborne had never intended to make, but were forced upon him by a flatlining economy and “the slowest recovery for over 100 years”. Mr Balls pointed out there was no new money for infrastructure – indeed capital spending falls in real terms in election year – and he sidestepped the welfare traps laid by Mr Osborne." - Financial Times

In the Chamber

  • Screen shot 2013-06-27 at 08.47.06"George Osborne was as pale as a stick of Wrigley’s spearmint. He looked so unhealthy he was almost green – close to Dulux pistachio" - Quentin Letts, Daily Mail
  • "More than once during his Spending Review statement, George Osborne boasted of having brought the economy “out of intensive care”…I mean no disrespect to the Chancellor when I say that I’m glad he isn’t my doctor." - Michael Deacon, Daily Telegraph

The Guardian's spending settlement summary:

  • Environment: -10%. Justice: -10%. Treasury: -10%. Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland: -10%. Transport: -9%. Energy: -8%.  Foreign Office: -8%. Home Office: -6%. BIZ -6%. Arts -5%. Defence: -3%. Education: -1%. Health: +0.1%. Aid: Budget protected

The F.T's winners and losers summary:

  • Winners: Spooks, Transport, Aid, Science, elite atheletes
  • Heseltine April 2012Losers: Jobseekers, expat retirees, benefit recipients, public sector workers, Lord Heseltine

More:

  • SNP says Scots to keep pay rises - Scotsman
  • 'New data will demolish one of the great canards of our time — that the British economy was in ‘double dip’, with a second recession at the start of 2012, and in danger of going into a ‘triple dip’, with a third recession at the start of this year." - Alex Brummer, Daily Mail
  • Millions face debt crisis if interest rates start to rise - Daily Mail
  • Risk of 1937 relapse as Fed gives up fight against deflation - Daily Telegraph - Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Daily Telegraph
  • Osborne ate a posh burger - The Sun

Editorials:

  • "All in all, however – given the constraints of Coalition with spendthrift Lib Dems – the Chancellor deserves a pat on the back. He has a sound strategy (which is  more than can be said for the floundering Ed Balls) and he’s sticking to it." - Daily Mail Editorial
  • "One cut after another. A few hundred million here, a few hundred million there. Yet still they will barely make the tiniest dent in Britain’s mountain of debt." - Sun Editorial
  • "Perhaps the most important thing that we have learnt over the past three years is that cuts do not necessarily mean worse public services." - Times Editorial (£)
  • Benefit cuts are right but protect those who paid in - Daily Express Editorial

Chris Giles: The spending review in 2015 will be the moment that the British Government faces the hard reality of the post-crisis world.

Screen shot 2013-06-27 at 08.50.12"The chancellor started to look at one important question for the next Parliament in setting out a cap on non-cyclical social security spending…But other, even bigger questions also need to be raised. Should financial support for the elderly continue to rise as a share of social security spending and relative to earnings of the working population? Should Britain accept a higher level of taxation than the normal level of a little under 40 per cent of national income? Can protection of health, schools and overseas aid survive in a world where other government departments have taken hugely disproportionate pain?" - Financial Times

Benedict Brogan: Osborne has changed the terms of debate

"A few years ago, the idea of a Tory chancellor announcing cuts of up to 10 per cent to Whitehall’s major departments, a cap on welfare spending and restrictions on public sector pay would have been dismissed as political suicide. But what became apparent today is that Mr Osborne has successfully changed the terms of the debate. Reducing the size of the state is now accepted as the agenda for all parties. By endorsing the Chancellor’s spending plans, Ed Balls has ceded the advantage. The next two years will be fought on Tory ground." - Benedict Brogan, Daily Telegraph

Other Comment:

  • "By far the biggest winner from yesterday’s spending review was George Osborne…There is serious talk, once again, that he could succeed David Cameron as leader." - Peter Oborne, Daily Telegraph
  • "The Chancellor is setting the terms of the national debate. Five years ago he set out to make spending control the central issue in politics and today it is." - Tim Montgomerie, The Times (£)
  • No fireworks but George Osborne has done a remarkable job - Leo McKinstry, Daily Express
  • Balls appeals to the few, Osborne to the many - Martin Kettle, The Guardian
  • The Chancellor has underestimated Labour - Steve Richards, The Independent
  • Aspirin to treat an economic cancer - Simon Heffer, Daily Mail

>Today: ToryDiary - George Osborne, the best political strategist we've got. (Indeed, the only one we've got.)

> Yesterday:

David Cameron: There could be a judge-led inquiry into the Stephen Lawrence allegations

Screen shot 2013-06-27 at 08.51.37"The PM told MPs “nothing is off the table” after revelations an undercover cop was asked to dig up dirt on the murdered teenager’s relatives and pals. Home Secretary Theresa May will meet Stephen’s mother Doreen today to discuss the shocking revelations. Earlier this week, she said the scandal would be probed by two existing inquiries, one into police corruption and the other on undercover policing." - The Sun

Alistair Burt: The Commons will vote on whether or not to send arms to Syria

"His words seemed to contradict the message from David Cameron, who said last week it was important that the government retain the right to act “swiftly” on the issue. But the prime minister has also made previous promises there would be a vote. Mr Burt said: “The prime minister and foreign secretary have made it very clear that they would be looking for the House of Commons to take a view . . . should the UK take a decision to supply arms.” - Financial Times (£)

News in Brief

  • European Union reaches deal on failed banks - Financial Times (£)
  • Dawn Primarolo "vanity portrait" storm - The Sun
  • Supreme court strikes down Doma on historic day for gay rights in America - The Guardian
  • Racists daub swastika on new mosque - Daily Express
  • Nigella agony - Daily Mail
  • Federer agony - BBC 
  • Gillard agony. Rudd sworn in. Abbott waits in wings. Markets unmoved. Not many dead - Reuters

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26 June 2013 in June 2013 newslinks | Permalink | Comments (33)

31 Jul 2012 08:30:24

Newslinks for Tuesday 31st July 2012

Cameron7pm WATCH: David Cameron struggles at table tennis during his visit to Glasgow

6.40pm ToryDiary: Another sign of Boris’s growing self-confidence

5pm Ryan Shorthouse on Comment: We need a second wave of modernisation

4.20pm WATCH: Mitt Romney: "...in Russia, once-promising advances toward a free and open society have faltered"

Milton Friedman1.30pm Ryan Bourne on Comment: We need a modern-day Milton Friedman

11.30am ThinkTankCentral: The IEA publishes its LIBOR Reader

ToryDiary: Will welfare be one of the Conservative talking points ahead of 2015?

Columnist Peter Hoskin: The lesson of the Olympic opening ceremony? Inspire the young

Jonathan James on Comment: The pragmatic case for keeping Sunday trading rules

Local Government: Small firms demand a fair chance on council procurement

WATCH: David Cameron takes the Tube to the Olympic Village

David Cameron gets into the Olympic spirit...

Cameron on Tube

"Downing St published a photograph of the Prime Minister chatting to fellow travellers on the Underground as he travelled to east London yesterday afternoon. ... Mr Cameron has been keen to stress how he wanted to use public transport during the Games rather than the special 'Zil lanes' reserved for VIPs travelling to venues by car." - Daily Telegraph

  • Cameron has "probably had a peek" at the beach volleyball - Daily Telegraph
  • Spectators are flocking to the Olympic's free sporting events - Daily Telegraph
  • Graeme Archer: The Games are teaching us who we are — and to be proud of it - Graeme Archer, Daily Telegraph
  • The Games have put London on the road to transport reform - Christian Wolmar, The Times (£)

> Yesterday's video: Cameron: "I've just come on the tube myself..."

...but attracts backbench ire for criticising Aidan Burley

Aidan Burley"Mr Cameron’s intervention drew criticism from other Tory backbenchers. ... Nadine Dorries tweeted: ‘If DC can keep quiet when his public school pals have expenses spotlight shone on them, should do the same when new backbencher messes up.’ ... Stewart Jackson said: ‘Surely PM should have risen above criticising his own MP re: Olympics opening ceremony? He may disagree with Aidan Burley MP but why say so?’" - Daily Mail

  • Did Tom Daley fall victim to the 'curse of Cameron?' - Daily Telegraph
  • Soldier demands to see Cameron's papers - The Sun
  • Olympic tickets to go back on sale to avoid the embarrassment of empty seats - Daily Telegraph
  • Four members of the IOC have failed to turn up for the Olympics - The Times (£)
  • Surrey Police are on the hint for cyclist Lizzie Armitstead's lucky glasses - Daily Telegraph

> Yesterday:

Economists fear an Olympics slump

"UK Trade and Investment has predicted a potential £13bn fillip to the economy over four years. But senior ministers have played down the short-term tourism boost and instead emphasised – in the words last week of Nick Clegg, deputy prime minister – the UK’s 'growth potential'. ... To many Londoners, however, the city is looking and feeling emptier than usual. Tony Travers, a London expert at the London School of Economics, said: 'If it turns out to be the case there is a big drop-off in business because of exaggerated claims on transport, then that would be unfortunate to say the least.'" - Financial Times (£)

Boris calls for more British medals success

Boris"Mr Johnson voiced his fears about Britain's medals as he tried to play down a row over thousands of empty seats during the first few days of the games. ... He promised that empty areas reserved for Olympic 'bureaucrats' who failed to turn up would be re-allocated to the public. ... The thing is going to be to reduce this space,' he said. 'There will be more tickets available.' ... 'The only thing I'm worried about is we need to step up the medal count a bit.'" - Daily Telegraph

> Yesterday:

Steve Richards: Here's why Boris won't lead the Conservatives

"The return is the problem, the obstacle that is much harder to overcome than it seems. The sole reason Boris will never be leader of his party is that he is not in the House of Commons now and if he were to serve a full term as full-time Mayor, would not be an MP after the next election." - Steve Richards, Independent

A headache for Theresa May? Abu Qatada tries to end his detention while awaiting deportation

" Lawyers for the firebrand will attempt to use the ancient legal procedure of habeas corpus at the High Court to argue that his detention while awaiting deportation is unlawful. ... If they succeed it could mean senior judges ordering the release of the man once dubbed Osama bin Laden’s right hand man in Europe within days." - Daily Telegraph

The Treasury moves on offshore tax avoidance - Financial Times (£)

Tory donors' firm had stake in work programme contractor - Daily Telegraph

  • "Nonsense" welfare payments can't be cut too far or fast - Daily Mail editorial

The NHS regulator proposes relaxing its restrictions on private companies - Guardian

Peers suggest switching all TV to the Internet - Guardian

Lib Dems are warning Nick Clegg to avoid agreeing on new spending cuts

Curse of Clegg"Nick Clegg is being threatened with a revolt by the grassroots of his party if he shows any sign of agreeing more spending cuts with David Cameron. ... In a move that risks scuppering the next public spending review, which is expected in 2014, influential Liberal Democrats have made clear that their party must decide its own spending plans. The Conservatives are hoping to cut welfare spending but pressure is growing on Mr Clegg to opt for new taxes on the rich." - The Times (£)

  • Lib Dems plot revolt over Tory plans for more welfare cuts - Independent

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: When should the Coalition end?

Alistair Darling attacks Alex Salmond — and calls for compromise too

Darling"Alex Salmond 'does not speak for Scotland' when it comes to dictating terms for his independence referendum, according to Alistair Darling. In an interview with The Times, the former Chancellor accused Mr Salmond of 'playing fast and loose' with the Scottish people by delaying the date of a referendum and by appearing to favour having a second question rather than just a straight 'yes or no' on independence. ... Mr Darling also warned David Cameron not to intervene by bringing forward his own referendum. 'I think it would be much better to have a constructive discussion and negotiation and let’s get the matter concluded,' Mr Darling said." - The Times (£)

  • Alex Salmond is spending £25,000 of taxpayers’ money a day to hire out a London club for the duration of the Olympic Games - Daily Telegraph

Richard Littlejohn: Harriet Harman's Equality Act was a bridge too far - Richard Littlejohn, Daily Mail

HMRC has paid out over £1million, over the past four years, in rewards for "tax snitches" - The Sun

Bankers could face jail over rate rigging - Daily Telegraph

Over 150 libraries have been closed or put into the hands of volunteers in the past year - Independent

Poll finds that a most Germans want to return to the Deutschmark - Daily Mail

  • Dissent grows among the voters of Europe - Daily Telegraph editorial

Republicans defend Mitt Romney's visit to Israel - Daily Mail

  • Mr Romney, speaking via Craig Brown, answers all your holiday problems... - Daily Mail
  • Is Romney a hawk, or just a tactless weirdo? - Hugo Rifkind, The Times (£)

> Yesterday's video: Romney takes aim at Iran on visit to Israel‬

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30 Jul 2012 08:32:00

Newslinks for Monday 30th July 2012

9pm ToryDiary: When should the Coalition end?

Screen shot 2012-07-30 at 17.56.57
6pm WATCH: Olympics - Boris: "We're pleased with the way transport is working so far."  Jacques Rogge himself today took the DLR, I'm proud to say, and was conveyed in stately style and comfort, as you'd expect"

Screen shot 2012-07-30 at 17.56.18
6pm WATCH: Olympics - Cameron: "I've just come on the tube myself to see what the traffic situation's like, not too bad, the Bakerloo line's going alright"

5.15pm LeftWatch: "Pure nostalgia"..."According to Danny Boyle there were no black people in the UK!"..."Post-colonial" BBC rhetoric. Another attack on the Olympics opening ceremony. But this time, it's from the left

2.30pm Local Government: Why are the sexual preferences of Islington's residents any of its council's business?

Noon Philip Booth on Comment: The truly international, communitarian Olympics opening we could have had - but didn't

ToryDiary: Boris Johnson emerges as grassroots' early favourite to be next Tory leader

Columnist Bruce Anderson: We Conservatives are lucky to be governing in Coalition

Neil Carmichael MP on Comment: How to merge the Climate Change Department and improve government at the same time

Local Government: Change of use rules to be eased to reduce number of empty buildings

Screen shot 2012-07-30 at 07.54.57MPsETC: Helping the underdog: Dom Raab MP advocates ten policies to help the little guy

The Deep End:

WATCH: Romney takes aim at Iran on visit to Israel‬ 

Cameron eyes possible Olympics bounce...

"David Cameron has played down the prospect of a big political bounce from the London Olympics, telling colleagues: “People are too sensible to confuse a sporting event with their day-to-day lives.” Nevertheless the prime minister will not overlook the political opportunities afforded by the games to project what he claims is not just Britain’s illustrious past but its “exciting future”….George Osborne is also expecting an economic lift from the games when the third quarter gross domestic product figures are assembled." - Financial Times (£)

  • Police in charge of keeping the Olympics safe have lost the keys to Wembley Stadium - Daily Mail
  • Fiasco of the 12,000 empty seats - Daily Telegraph
  • Soldiers "drafted in to fill gaps" - Daily Express

...As the row over Danny Boyle's opening ceremony rumbles on: Gove was unhappy when he saw a preview and Hunt had concerns

GOVE MICHAEL NW"In one account of the meeting Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, was said to have scored the ceremony just four out 10, a claim his spokesman denied last night. Mr Gove was also said to have objected to the absence of Winston Churchill from the ceremony. According to this version, Jeremy Hunt, the Culture Secretary, was also sceptical about some of the scenes, while Theresa May, the Home Secretary, was said to have intervened to defend Boyle and to have told her colleagues it was unfair to judge the ceremony in such a crude way." - Daily Telegraph

  • 15% thought show "too political", 12% thought NHS tribute inappropriate - Survation
  • Opening ceremony was a Trojan horse for socialist values, says Labour MP Paul Flynn - The Guardian

The Mail remains pro-Boyle.  Melanie Phillips: he showed modern Britain as it is

"Danny Boyle has given them Caliban’s dream — a Utopian vision of Britain. He gave them the brilliance and wit of his spectacle. He also gave them something else: the fantasy of an inclusive, generous, warm-hearted, joyful image of themselves. Boyle’s genius was to create this fantasy of goodness, this triumph of hope over experience, of heart over head. This was patriotism as a feelgood movie. Oscars all round." - Daily Mail

  • Boyle’s Olympic Opening Ceremony exemplified a creative, tolerant and cultured nation - The Times Editorial (£)
  • Danny Boyle's story of Britain was a celebration of freedom - Shami Chakrabati, The Guardian
  • How Bond should die - Peter Hoskin, The Times (£)

As, unsurprisingly, does Boris: How, he asks, can anyone call the Eton Boating Song left-wing propaganda?

Screen shot 2012-07-30 at 07.38.38
"Right-wing critics should be reassured that the meaning of the Mary Poppins-Dementors clash has been widely misunderstood. I am told by one figure close to proceedings that the bellicose nanny figure was intended by Danny Boyle to stand for Mrs Thatcher in her struggles with the NUM and other militant trade unionists. So that’s all right, then, eh!…James Bond and the Monarchy – not to mention The Eton Boating Song… How can anyone call that Lefty propaganda?" - Boris Johnson, Daily Telegraph 

The London Mayor tops ConHome poll of candidates to succeed Cameron

"The Mayor of London, who is enjoying a high profile during the Olympics, is favoured by 32 per cent of party members, according to the poll of 1,419 activists conducted by the ConservativeHome website. His nearest rivals are William Hague, the Foreign Secretary and a former party leader, who is backed by 24 per cent, and Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, on 19 per cent. George Osborne, who was widely seen as Mr Johnson's main rival in the future leadership stakes, is supported by a derisory 2 per cent" - The Independent

Tim Montgomerie: Be upbeat, hug modern Britain and embrace the state - that's what all Tories should learn from London's Mayor

"Whatever the next few years might hold for Boris personally, his compelling world view should be at the heart of tomorrow’s Conservatism. Making peace with the NHS, the welfare state and the State’s role in delivering big projects does not equal surrender. It simply gives Conservatives the freedom to meet necessary challenges such as restarting social mobility and strengthening the family. The things we need the courage to change." - The Times (£)

Party membership "could soon fall below six figures"

Screen shot 2012-07-30 at 07.43.45"Three-quarters of local Conservative associations are losing activists as the party suffers a recruitment crisis which has seen membership halve since David Cameron became leader. The latest estimates put Conservative membership at between 130,000 and 170,000, compared with almost 300,000 shortly after Mr Cameron succeeded Michael Howard. There are fears within the party that on current trends it could soon fall below 100,000." - The Independent 

Man due in court after Stewart Jackson bus shelter assault - Daily Express 

Business groups call for interest rates to be slashed to zero...

"The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) urged the Bank of England to take immediate action to slash the cost of borrowing to homeowners and business, following shock growth figures last week showing the economic downturn is accelerating. Economists at the Ernst & Young Item Club also backed the call, saying an interest rate cut was ‘not the only answer, but it would help’." - Daily Mail

…But Trevor Kavanagh asks: Is it really so bad for the economy after all?

Screen shot 2012-07-30 at 07.49.03"First, few people believe the notoriously erratic statistics showing a big 0.7 per cent fall in national output. They do not tally with a robust 800,000 new jobs and a surprise surge in tax revenues… Second, Mr Osborne won rare applause for the debt-busting programme so bitterly opposed in yesterday’s Sun by Labour’s Ed Balls. Indeed, OECD chief Angel Gurria warned the greatest risk of a slump would be if Mr Osborne changed course and followed Ed. The Chancellor’s third boost came from one of those “weakness-seeking missiles” — the credit ratings agency Standard & Poor’s." - Trevor Kavanagh, The Sun

Spain "drives coach and horses" through EU movement of peoples, Clappison and Carswell urge Cameron to follow suit

Screen shot 2012-07-30 at 07.53.28"Ministers were last night under pressure to tighten border controls for EU citizens after Spain demanded ‘proof of income’ from expats  hoping to live in the country. The move – taken in response to the country’s economic crisis – was said by one Tory MP to have ‘driven a coach and horses’ through the EU’s cherished principle of the free movement of peoples, and immediately triggered calls for David Cameron to adopt tougher measures." - Daily Mail

Romney "would not stop Israel attacking Iran" - The Sun

Medvedev: We’ve seen the preview, now world must prevent a civil war in Syria - The Times (£)

Grayling: New figures show scale of welfare problem

Grayling470
"Britain's benefits system faces a fresh blitz after figures today reveal nearly 900,000 people have claimed sickness handouts for more than a decade. Taxpayers shelled out around £4billion last year alone to long-term benefit claimants for a vast number of ailments, the new statistics show.  Employment Minister Chris Grayling said the statistics underlined why drastic action is needed to make sure funds only go to those who have genuine health reasons for not working. The sick pay system has been blamed for keeping millions of families mired in benefit dependency." - Daily Express

  • Scandal of 10 years' disability handouts for acne - The Sun
  • Disability tests "sending sick and disabled back to work - Daily Telegraph
  • A million jobless may face six months' unpaid work or have benefits stopped - The Guardian
  • Tory donors win welfare to work contracts - The Independent
  • Sickie culture - Sun Editorial

Yes Scotland wins support from Labour rebel group - Herald Scotland

Academics claims that another referendum on tax-raising powers for Wales would damage devolution - Wales Online

Plain English campaign slams "diet of waffle" from Stormont politicians - Belfast Telegraph

British Islamists fighting with Syrian resistance - Daily Express

Private groups to help guard Trident - Financial Times (£)

More than half of the rioters jailed after last summer’s violence, arson and looting are back on the streets - Daily Mail

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29 Jul 2012 08:55:00

Newslinks for Sunday 29th July 2012

5.45pm WATCH: Former Tory minister Lord Moynihan welcomes UK's first London 2012 medal

Noon Ben Rogers on Comment: Our country must face up to the challenges of radical Islamism and social breakdown

ToryDiary: Cabinet league table for end-July

Columnist Nadine Dorries MP: Feminism has advanced equality for women but it has also created unrealistic expectations

Alex Deane on Comment: An end to Sunday trading laws, now!

Local government: Abolish the HSE and bring in localism for health and safety

Screen Shot 2012-07-29 at 07.37.34

WATCH: Aidan Burley MP talks to the BBC about his views on multiculturalism

Aidan Burley, whose Twitter attack on 'leftie' opening ceremony was widely condemned, says he disliked triteness - Observer

Screen Shot 2012-07-29 at 08.24.56Boris Johnson has dismissed suggestions the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games was left-wing as "nonsense" - BBC ...and Andrew Gilligan claims the Olympics has suckered The Left

In the Mail on Sunday (scroll down link), Peter Hitchens was unamused: "It was a social worker’s history of Britain – a nation of simple peasants crushed and besmirched by evil top-hatted capitalists, but rescued in the end by the NHS, immigration, the suffragettes,  and the egalitarian strains of  pop music. I half-expected the giant Voldemort to transform itself into a menacing Thatcher figure, trampling, slashing and cutting every nice nurse in sight, and tossing bedsteads out of the stadium with a callous sneer."

> Yesterday's ConHome: Next time round, can we have Aidan Burley as part of the show, please? and All Tory MPs pour praise on opening ceremony (well nearly all)

Unionists claim ceremony will have hurt SNP

Fraser Murdo Aug 2011Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser is quoted in Scotland on Sunday: “There is always a danger of reading too much into these things, but I think we have seen a reclamation of British identity over the last year with the Queen’s Jubilee and the passage of the Olympic torch. The ceremony wasn’t just about London or about England, it was about the whole of the UK. No matter where they lived, I think people will have associated themselves with a lot of what they saw.”

  • Cameron was one of few people who knew secret design of Olympic cauldron - Evening Standard

What should Osborne do next?

Forsyth JamesJames Forsyth reports that Osborne, increasingly sceptical of green groups, is considering further changes to planning laws - Mail on Sunday

  • Osborne right on austerity but must do more on growth and infrastructure - James Dyson in the Mail on Sunday
  • We’ve had a lot of doomy talk of austerity and precious little of the actual thing - Janet Daley in The Sunday Telegraph
  • Slash interest rates to 0 per cent, Bank of England told - Sunday Telegraph
  • Osborne could raise £18 billion if he legalised and taxed drugs - Nigel Nelson in The People

"“Cameron firing Osborne now is for the birds,” said a Tory backbencher. “But it becomes perfectly possible if there is a major economic disaster, such as if Britain loses its AAA credit rating or the euro comes apart and we don’t react well.”" - Iain Martin in The Sunday Telegraph

In The Sunday Times (£), Martin Ivens urges Osborne to give us the big picture: "You can’t live hand to mouth in politics. A narrative that makes sense of what you are doing day to day is vital. Osborne must tell us where the country is headed, and his prime minister has to help him join up the dots."

  • YouGov: Cameron/Osborne lead over Miliband/Balls down to 3% on economic trust
  • Cable has always been an “anti-Business Secretary” and is the wrong choice for Chancellor - Kirsty Buchanan in the Sunday Express

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Matthew Parris speaks for Team Osborne --- Why are Tory MPs so "unbelievably lily-livered and flaky"?

John Redwood backs George Osborne in his determination to cut energy subsidies

Redwood John Oct 2011"I am all in favour of more effort being put into fuel efficiency , insulation, smart industrial solutions and the rest. What seems stupid is for the EU to make it too dear and too dificult for higher energy using industries to prosper in the west, exporting them to the east. The Treasury needs to push back not just on the UK Energy department over subsidy levels, but also tackle the EU elephant in the energy room. We need cheaper energy all round. We need to save more on the subsidies." - John Redwood

  • Politicians are finally admitting that our 'carbon' targets and our energy needs are incompatible - Christopher Booker in The Sunday Telegraph

William Hague disappointed by the failure of negotiations to secure a United Nations arms trade - BBC

Party donors want Chris Grayling and other traditional Tories promoted - Mail on Sunday

Johnson Boris SmilingBoris fever continues...

  • "Boris is warm and spontaneous, whereas the Prime Minister seems a bit wooden when trying to convey his enthusiasm for the Olympics, as if reading from a script. The mayor has a connection with the public that Dave can only dream about." - In his Sun column Toby Young backs Boris for PM
  • "The Mayor had 60,000 people chanting his first name. How many Tories have been capable of eliciting this sort of popular response – I mean how many, ever? Peel, Disraeli after the Congress of Berlin, Churchill, perhaps Thatcher in her Falklands heyday? At any rate, it is not a long list." - Matthew d'Ancona in The Sunday Telegraph

Boris' campaign guru Lynton Crosby offered to advise Syrian rebels - The Sunday Times (£)

Tory MP Dom Raab has a 10-point plan to help the underdog, focusing on work and education to revive social mobility - The Sunday Times (£)

Change is coming - local people will soon decide local police priorities - Douglas Carswell MP

Jackson stewartTory MP Stewart Jackson injured after trying to stop a man smashing up a bus shelter - Mail on Sunday

Margaret Thatcher had a weakness for pretty faces like John Moore and Cecil Parkinson, claims Lord Waddington - Mail on Sunday

John Bercow twice as likely to force Coalition Ministers to answer Urgent questions as he was with Labour Ministers in Gordon Brown’s Government - Mail on Sunday

Cameron, Clegg and Miliband all choose abroad for summer holiday - Observer

President Hollande is an inspiration to the Labour leader. But he may also turn out to be a cautionary tale - Andrew Rawnsley in The Observer

Half of young people want to shop for longer on Sunday - The Sun

Churches and other religious groups are facing a threat to their charitable status unless they admit non-believers to their services, in what critics have branded an attack on religious freedom - The Sunday Times (£)

And finally... John Prescott's "Thai brides" gaffe

Prescott socks"John Prescott has become caught up in a bizarre Twitter row after accusing Tory Minister Grant Shapps of advertising ‘Thai brides’ on his website. The former Deputy Prime Minister made the astonishing claim when he told his followers on Friday: ‘NEW – Tory minister advertises Thai brides on his website... another @grantshapps internet fail.’ But when Lord Prescott’s followers clicked on the site belonging to the Housing Minister, they were left baffled as there was no evidence of women being advertised. Mr Shapps then heaped embarrassment on Lord Prescott by pointing out that the pictures he had seen had been generated by advertising software that had tracked previous internet searches on the peer’s computer. Mr Shapps messaged back: ‘Ads are rendered based on previous browser use – found a bride yet John? Wouldn’t mention to your Mrs.’" - Mail on Sunday

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