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30 Nov 2010 08:46:48

Weblinks for Tuesday 30th November 2010

Screen-shot-2010-11-30-at-1 6.15pm ToryDiary: Captions please...

5.30pm ToryDiary update: It's worth paying close attention to what the Coalition Agreement said about the LibDems abstaining on tution fees...

Lansley.ashx4.45pm Parliament: Andrew Lansley sets out strategy to improve public health and reduce health inequalities

3pm Local government:

2.45pm ToryDiary: Should we care if Cable and Clegg abstain on tuition fees?

Field Mark on BBCNoon Comment: Mark Field MP: The next financial crisis is now upon us

Noon LISTEN: Andrew Lansley on Today: "Every time someone smokes a cigarette they do themselves some harm."

ToryDiary: The latest ConservativeHome survey is LIVE

ToryDiary: Memo to Vince; Even Lib Dem voters love the immigration cap

75000 John Hayes MP on Comment: This Government will create more apprenticeships than modern Britain has ever seen

Martin Parsons concludes his series on Sharia: The new Government needs to take urgent steps to counter sharia-based radicalisation

Local government:

WATCH: George Osborne says Britain is on course to deliver growth and deficit reduction

"Chancellor George Osborne has said the economic recovery is "on track" despite challenging global conditions. The independent Office for Budget Responsibility' s (OBR) upgraded its 2010 growth forecast on Monday but lowered those for 2011 and 2012. While it cut its forecast for public sector job losses over the next four years from 490,000 to 330,000, it said it expected total unemployment to rise to a peak of just over 8% in 2011 - in line with previous forecasts - before falling to just over 6% by 2015." - BBC

Ageing population putting Britain under 'unsustainable' pressure, OBR warns - Telegraph

FT gives thumbs up to Osborne's deficit decisions

FT  "Mr Osborne looks wise to have taken out the additional insurance of a tighter fiscal stance given the scale of the crisis now engulfing the eurozone. By acting early and decisively, his plans have secured the confidence of markets in a way that those put forward by some of the eurozone periphery have not. Ten-year gilt yields have fallen since June and now stand at 3.31 per cent." - FT leader (£)

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Is George Osborne really more influential than Cameron?

...But is Osborne being bold enough?

  • Benefit cuts save 160,000 state jobs as Osborne sparks Tory fury by scaling down assault on public sector - Daily Mail
  • The Mail leader-writers are concerned: "Presenting the OBR’s report to the Commons, Mr Osborne seemed to suggest it was self-evidently good news that the public sector is to lose 160,000 fewer jobs than previously predicted. But is it? One of the great lessons of the past decade is surely that Labour allowed the state to become far too bloated for our economic health, draining the resources of productive businesses and strangling them in red tape."
  • The long view says the cuts are not deep enough - Hamish McRae in The Independent

IDS wants Treasury to allow more "spend-to-save" initiatives, like welfare reform

IDS TO CSJ "Mr Duncan Smith is working on proposals, which he wants to implement through the Social Justice Cabinet Committee, for government spending to be measured differently. His aim is introduce a way of auditing the social return on investment so that savings can be counted over a longer period. This would, he believes, make it easier to persuade the Treasury that getting somebody off drugs, making work pay, or spending money on rehabilitating prisoners, is as valid a way of saving money as capping housing benefit. “It’s not just the pound value cost of each policy, but the positive impact on society of each pound invested,” an aide explains. Although the Treasury is officially open-minded, there is a degree of scepticism about what one senior figure calls “spending departments bringing us spend-to-save measures as an excuse to get more money”." - Rachel Sylvester in The Times (£)

Nick Clegg warns that student protests might deter poor from university - Express

"Nick Clegg has urged students to reflect on the "true picture" about government plans to raise tuition fees. Ahead of further expected protests on Tuesday, the deputy prime minister said graduates in England on lower incomes would be better off than they are now. It was "crucial" people realised there will be no upfront fees and repayments will begin at £21,000, he told the National Union of Students." - BBC

Borrowing a ConservativeHome phrase, the FT profiles "the breakneck coalition"

"The government has also set out plans to transform welfare, reorganise the health service, impose a highly contentious increase in university fees, empty the jails of petty criminals and put control of the police in the hands of locally accountable commissioners. All of this is to be undertaken as civil service administration budgets are cut by about one-third and as the government – at least in the short term – has taken the knife to the use of management consultants who might be able to help implement it." - FT (£)

Almost 40,000 violent offenders a year are being handed soft punishments because they are not taken to court

"John Thornhill, chairman of the Magistrates' Association, said the criminals are given a "simple caution" despite the fact they would have been jailed or handed a community order had their case been dealt with in court. It is the equivalent of one in seven of all cautions handed out and Mr Thornhill said it was denying their victims the chance to "see justice done" or to be given compensation." - Telegraph

"It is alarming that the prison pledge is apparently being diluted." - The Sun Says

Cameron misses Climate talks for football summit...


  • "Cameron refuses to attend UN climate change talks. PM turns down Mexico's invite to summit where backroom deals show how progress can be made despite low expectations." - Guardian
  • David Cameron one-on-ones could be a winner for England's 2018 World Cup bid - Daily Mail

The candid diplomatic information revealed by WikiLeaks is embarrassing, but it could also cause real harm

"It all comes down to trust in government. This was, very sadly, deeply corroded in both the United States and in Britain by the controversies surrounding the Iraq war and the failure to find any weapons of mass destruction. That trust must be rebuilt. Presidents and prime ministers of democratic nations must be allowed private and secure dialogue as they try to resolve some of the most difficult problems the world has known. If they are not allowed this freedom, the likelihood is that we will all suffer." - Sir Malcolm Rifkind in The Telegraph

Politics in brief:

Screen shot 2010-11-30 at 06.18.19

  • Two opinion polls overnight from ComRes/ YouGov: Lab 40%/40%, Con 36%/40%, LD 12%/10%
  • Security fears for David Cameron after Andrew Feldman's house is "ransacked" - Daily Mail
  • Philip Johnston in The Telegraph: A return to darker mornings would result in an outburst of anger

Unions threaten new year chaos with fresh BA and Tube strikes - Times (£) | Metro

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29 Nov 2010 08:56:44

Weblinks for Monday 29th November 2010

7.30pm ToryDiary: Any questions for the end-November survey?

5.30pm International: People can't afford left-wing governments in hard times

4pm WATCH:

OSBORNE GEORGE BLUE2pm ToryDiary: Is George Osborne really more influential than Cameron?

1.15pm John Glen MP on Comment: Employment outcomes from tuition fees policy should measure success

11.45am Jim McConalogue on Comment: Why the Prime Minister’s ‘Happiness Index’ is a European plot

AmericaInTheWorld: The failure to protect the confidentiality of American diplomats' cables is an extraordinary act of incompetence


DORRIES NADINE On Comment today:

Eamonn Butler on ThinkTankCentral notes that UK national debt won't be paid off until 2041 if we devote all post-2015 growth to repaying our borrowings

On Local government Mark Wallace targets the leader of Lambeth council and suggests the things he should cut before frightening people about their essential services.

Cameron will cut limit for terrorism suspects to be held before charge to 14 days — against the advice of senior lawyers - Telegraph

Alex Carlile recommends a three-tiered replacement to Control Orders - Telegraph

Ken Clarke may u-turn on promise to jail thugs

Knife20attack "Ministers will risk a public backlash by going back on a Tory election promise to jail knife thugs. Leaked papers reveal the criminals will escape with community punishment. The plan has been drawn up by Ken Clarke in the face of protests from Cabinet members. They fear that the Coalition – which has already said it will cut prisoner numbers by 3,000 – will be seen as ‘soft on crime’." - Daily Mail

"A spell in prison may not cure a knife criminal of violent tendencies, but at least it puts him under lock and key for a while, giving him a chance to reflect on the consequences of his actions and society a rest from his activities. This is not the first manifesto pledge broken by the Conservatives since they went into coalition. Their failure to abolish the Human Rights Act, which means we are unable to deport even the worst foreign criminals at the end of their sentences, is another egregious example. Both U-turns are said to have been to please the Liberal-Democrats – who prefer to portray criminals as victims of society rather than dangers to it." - Mail leader

Meanwhile from the Scottish press: "Prisoners will soon be able to enjoy more than 100 digital TV channels in their cells, including soft-core porn, because of European regulations."

Liam Fox u-turns on UK membership of European Defence Agency

FOX-LIAM-C&N "Liam Fox, defence secretary, has dropped his pre-election promise to pull Britain out of the European Defence Agency, the Brussels-based body that aims to co-ordinate military procurement across the EU. But Mr Fox has written to Lady Ashton, head of the agency, warning that Britain will block proposals for a 3.9 per cent rise in its budget next year, claiming it was “impossible to justify” at a time of austerity." - FT (£)

George Osborne blocks UK participation in permanent EU bailout mechanism

"Mr Osborne blocked attempts to make Britain take part in a permanent EU bailout scheme to be put in place when a temporary facility, agreed by his Labour predecessor Alistair Darling, expires in 2013." - Daily Mail

  • Allister Heath: Irish bailout won't stop contagion - City AM
  • "Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams said the interest rate [5.8%] was ‘unaffordable’, adding: ‘The costs of this deal to ordinary people will be deep and will result in hugely damaging cuts to public services, social welfare and wages.’" - Metro

Bank of England Governor Mervyn King warned US Ambassador about George Osborne's lack of depth - Express

The Wikileaks also reveal that America was interested in Alan Duncan's relationship with William Hague - Telegraph

Boris Johnson hopes that tonight’s Panorama about Fifa will not prejudice our World Cup bid - Telegraph

Sun attacks Coalition's clampdown on cigarettes and drinking

Sun "Mr Lansley is faced with a horrific report on 19 NHS hospital trusts with "alarmingly high" death rates, 30,500 patients with "avoidable blood clots" as well as other failings - like 150 "foreign objects" left in patients after operations. Yet what is he concentrating on? Micro-managing our lives this week with plans to cover fag packets in plain paper, banning low cost supermarket booze and urging hard-pressed firms to provide facilities for mums to store their breast milk. They are the sort of measures you would expect from big-government Old Labour." - Sun Says

> Over the weekend there were ToryDiaries on Lansley's overall health plan and on alcohol pricing.

HAMMOND-PHILIP-BIG-BEN Coalition in brief:

  • Drink driving: Philip Hammond accused after drink drive ad budget cut from £3.4m to £0.55m - Independent
  • Obesity: Health minister Simon Burns says people have 'responsibility to exercise' - Independent
  • Welfare: Housing benefit reforms may be delayed by eight months - BBC - producing a welcome from Simon Hughes and other LibDems - Express
  • Financial sector: Cable threatens banks with tax on bonuses - Independent
  • Devolution: New Scottish powers 'not enough' say business chiefs and academics - Scotsman

One hundred Liberal Democrat candidates call on Clegg to oppose tuition fees - BBC

"Downing Street and Conservative ministers are demanding Liberal Democrat ministers back the plans to treble tuition fees in the Commons, but the idea is being opposed by the Lib Dem deputy leader, Simon Hughes. It is understood Hughes has been pressing for a collective abstention by Liberal Democrat MPs when they vote on the issue before Christmas." - Guardian

Melanie Phillips blasts David Cameron's Happiness Index

PHILLIPS-MELANIE "Britain is groaning under monumental debts. Thousands of people are losing their jobs. Criminals are being let out of prison to continue attacking and burgling people. Immigration and the ‘human rights’ culture are out of control. Britain’s defences are now so ramshackle that it has mothballed the iconic HMS Ark Royal and is now having to share its aircraft carriers with the French. But don’t worry, everybody — the Prime Minister has his priorities straight. For he has now told us that he’s got a policy for manufacturing happiness and helping people develop ‘the good life’. HMS Ark Royal will be replaced, it seems, by General Wellbeing. Well, I’m sure we all feel a lot happier as a result." - Melanie Phillips in the Daily Mail

Liam Byrne defines squeezed middle as £16,000 to £50,000

"Labour... moved to define its principal target group, the "squeezed middle", by that saying such voters are people on an income of between £16,000 and £40,000-£50,000. The definition was given by Liam Byrne, charged with overseeing the party's policy process by Ed Miliband." - Guardian

Three Labour MPs defy Miliband on 50p tax

JOHNSON-ALAN-PINK-TIE "Ed Miliband’s attempts to assert his authority over the Labour Party ran aground after three shadow ministers openly defied him on tax policy. Alan Johnson, the Shadow Chancellor, Douglas Alexander, the Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, and Liam Byrne, the Shadow Cabinet Office Minister, suggested that they saw the 50 pence tax rate for the highest earners as a temporary measure." - Times (£)

  • Alan Johnson has said his "priority" would be to cut taxes for low earners - BBC

Ed Miliband urged to disown MP who appeared to green light rioting

Left-winger John McDonnell, MP for Hayes and Harlington and a member of the Socialist Campaign Group, told a rally in London: “We’re here to plan a programme of resistance. Inciting riots? Maybe.” - Express

Better Off Out?

"By leaving the European Union we could ditch the failed ideas of the 20th century and embrace the 21st with hope and confidence. We are a trading nation, ready to take our place in the competitive trading world. This should not faze us, it should enthuse us. We have the ingenuity, the people and, if we had our freedom, we would have success." - Nigel Farage MEP in The Express

And finally... David Cameron 'did not swear' in his Spectator speech - Telegraph

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28 Nov 2010 08:55:42

Weblinks for Sunday 28th November 2010

4pm Gazette: David Cameron about to become member of MCC after 25 year wait

10am WATCH: Ann Widdecombe dances to the Titantic theme

9.45am ToryDiary: Andrew Lansley promises (1) transparency, (2) greater trust of NHS professionals and (3) payment-by-results

LeftWatch: Sunday newspapers attack "Milibland", the well-meaning waffler

Screen shot 2010-11-28 at 08.30.25 In a wider piece on human rights legislation Dominic Raab MP writes this: "On prisoner voting, Parliament should debate three options: the current blanket ban, votes for all prisoners and a middle option. If, as I suspect, Parliament voted to retain the current ban, Britain would have met the challenge of the Strasbourg Court, which complained the blanket ban lacked democratic legitimacy. What would we have to fear? Who is seriously suggesting that Britain would be kicked out of the Council of Europe, whilst France deports Roma en masse and the Strasbourg Court is backed up with serious human rights violations committed by the Russian, Bulgarian and Romanian governments?" Read his full piece.

Also on Comment Martin Parsons begins a three part series on countering radical Islam: Stopping the spread of sharia is central to countering radicalisation

Local government: Reducing bureaucracy for building new homes

Coalition seeks to re-establish climate change credentials

Green-image The Independent on Sunday fears Cameron has abandoned greenery:

"Until a sense of green purpose is rediscovered at prime ministerial level, the Government will play no more than the role of a well-informed facilitator in international talks. For that, we need to look to Mr Cameron and his deputy, Nick Clegg, another politician who talked a green game in opposition, but whose interest in the issue in office has not been easily discernible by the naked eye."

In two articles for two left-leaning Sunday newspapers, the Coalition tries to re-establish credentials on global warming. David Cameron in The Observer even calls for unilateral action while global mechanisms falter. In the Independent on Sunday Chris Huhne says we most not give up on global fora like the Cancun summit. Look at GATT, he writes... it only took 45 years to deliver!

A preview of George Osborne's growth agenda - James Forsyth in the Mail on Sunday

Andrew Lansley says workplaces must help mothers who want to breastfeed

"Workplaces should offer mothers private rooms where they can breastfeed their babies or express milk for them, ministers will urge this week. Andrew Lansley, the health secretary, wants employers to do more to help women with babies as part of a drive to increase the UK's low rates of breastfeeding and boost children's health." - Observer

The Observer profiles Michael Gove

Gove Union Flag "This is a man who once characterised progressive politics as the art of seeking out "unmerited hierarchies, establishments that block progress, cartels and producer interests"" - Gaby Hinsliff in The Observer

In The Sunday Express Michael Gove sets out how he plans to rescue Britain's schools.

Celebrate Christian Christmas, council 'Grinches' told by Eric Pickles - BBC

> This BBC story was taken from Eric Pickles' OpEd on ConservativeHome yesterday; This Government wants faith groups to play a leading part in the Big Society

Coalition in brief:

Politics in brief:

  • Conservatives and Labour both at 40% in Sunday Times/ YouGov poll with net approval down to minus 14%
  • Lady Thatcher is to be honoured with an official ceremonial funeral - just one step down from a full state funeral - News of the World (£)
  • Tory MPs Mark Pritchard and Andrew Rosindell accused of too many foreign junkets - Sunday Times (£)
  • Howard Flight and Lord Young shouldn't have been hounded for telling the truth - Julia Hartley-Brewer in The Sunday Express | Also John Rentoul in the IoS

Why don't we love Cameron?

Daley-Janet-black-backgroun "There is something missing in the tone and the form of words, which people sense: it is not that he actually appears insincere, but that his convictions seem not to be connected with real experience. His arguments, even for what he professes to believe wholeheartedly, come across as abstract, theoretical and impersonal. Oddly, he is rather like Barack Obama in his detachment, his failure to connect psychologically with ordinary people, to relate to the everyday reality of their lives." - Janet Daley in The Sunday Telegraph

How to save some money on PFI - Jesse Norman MP in the Mail on Sunday

Members of the public may become a fourth component of Labour's electoral college

"Ordinary voters will be able to cast ballots in the contest to choose Ed Miliband's successors even if they are not Labour Party members or belong to a trade union." - The Sunday Telegraph

Labour's graduate tax will encourage brain drain

"Today's young people will have to clear up the Baby Boomers' environmental mess, finance their pensions and repay debts that mushroomed in the Brown years. The danger is that the most talented will emigrate to lower-taxed nations. Miliband's graduate tax could encourage that, as they would not be liable for it if they worked abroad." - Tim Montgomerie in The Sunday Telegraph

Screen shot 2010-11-28 at 08.39.48 "Students bring out a violent streak in me. When I see NUS spokespeople on TV talking simplistically about tuition fees, even though I basically agree with the sentiments they express so unattractively, I want to punch them. But I also like watching them chuck stuff at the police, smash windows and jump up and down on vans. I'm not so keen on the fire extinguisher hurling – I lose my appetite for the scuffle if I think someone might get killed – but a bit of a ruck with some bobbies dressed as X-wing pilots seems entirely appropriate." - David Mitchell in The Observer

Andrew Rawnsley attacks the political dinosaurs leading NO2AV

"Most of the faces of the NO2AV campaign have next to nothing in common except their constitutional conservatism. And their age. John Prescott is 72. His fellow "big beasts" are also long in the sabre tooth: Ken Clarke (70), Margaret Beckett (67), David Blunkett (63) and John Reid (also 63). Only in this company could Charlie Falconer (just turned 59) feel young. William Hague (49) is the only heavy hitter associated with the no lobby who has not reached his half century. I draw this to your attention not to be ageist, but because it tells us that they are coming from another age." - Andrew Rawnsley in The Observer

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27 Nov 2010 08:59:26

Weblinks for Saturday 27th November 2010

10pm ToryDiary: Government poised to ban shops from selling cheap alcohol as a "loss leader"

7pm WATCH: Tony Blair defends the role of religion in global affairs in a debate with atheist columnist Christopher Hitchens

5pm Parliament: Claire Perry calls for action to restrict children's access to internet pornography

Picture 23pm WATCH: Ed Miliband talks in platitudinous terms about "renewing" the Labour Party

1.15pm WATCH: Ann Widdecombe: I've left the world of politics behind

12.30pm Comment: John Glen MP on the vacuum at the heart of Labour's policy review

11.15am LeftWatch: Weimar Ireland would endanger Britain - and could happen.Picture 1
ToryDiary: Introducing the A.N.T.I. voter (or, as I prefer to call them, the pound-stretchers)

In Comment:

Eric Pickles cheerful Eric Pickles MP in Local Government: Why this Government wants faith groups to play a leading part in the Big Society

Also in Local Government: Conservative leader of East Riding Council deselected

Seats and Candidates: Join the Action Day in Oldham East and Saddleworth on Wednesday 8th December


Sir John Major: Let's keep the Coalition after the next election

MAJOR john "The coalition between the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats should continue after the next election and could lead to a permanent merger, according to Sir John Major. The former Conservative prime minister said the Coalition could represent a “realignment” of politics and the two parties should “prolong” their co-operation beyond this parliament." - Daily Telegraph

Other coverage of the story by the Telegraph:

  • Ben Brogan blogs: "Keep in mind that Sir John some time ago put himself at David Cameron’s disposal to intervene in politics whenever the leader wanted a point made or an argument advanced. There is nothing to suggest that he speaks for Mr Cameron, but after the Nick Boles proposal for an election deal, Sir John’s comments will add weight to that cause."
  • Sir John Major's speech in full

> Last night's ToryDiary: Sir John Major expresses support for longer term Tory-Lib Dem co-operation

Tory Right warns David Cameron against gagging them

"David Cameron is being urged by the Tory Right not to ‘over-react’ to outspoken remarks by members of his party in the wake of rows over Lord Young and Howard Flight. There is concern that Downing Street moved too quickly to slap down Mr Flight, who was attacked by Labour this week for suggesting there were too many incentives for the less well-off to have children." - Daily Mail

  • Max Hastings: Whatever happened to freedom of speech? - Daily Mail

Ken Clarke’s prison reforms put on hold amid fear of ‘soft justice’

Ken Clarke "A radical overhaul of sentencing that will see thousands of offenders avoiding jail has been delayed amid fresh concerns that the Government will be accused of “going soft on crime”. The keenly awaited Green Paper — expected to be a major assault by Kenneth Clarke on the traditional Conservative policy of “prison works” — was due out next week. But the Ministry of Justice yesterday confirmed that the paper had been put back with no expected publication date. A Whitehall source said: “Number 10 is not happy about it.”  The Times (£)

  • Ken Clarke plans tough changes to community service – run privately - The Guardian

David Cameron ready to fight for 2018 World Cup

"England is facing a "real fight" in its bid to host the 2018 World Cup, David Cameron has warned. The Prime Minister said that the bid is in "great shape" ahead of next week's crucial vote by the game's governing body, Fifa, in Zurich." - Press Association

  • David Cameron hits out at BBC's World Cup investigation - The Guardian

Andrew Lansley: Menus should contain calorie counts

"Restaurants, work canteens, sandwich bars and fast food outlets will all display how many calories are in the meals on their menus in future, Andrew Lansley, the Health Secretary, has said... As part of the Government’s new “responsibility deal,” ministers believe that rather than being told how to eat, individuals should be empowered to take their own decisions about becoming healthier." - Daily Telegraph 

Baroness Warsi: The Coalition has made a promising start

Baroness Warsi 2010 "While we’ve got a lot more work to do, I think we’ve made a promising start: We’ve brought Britain back from the brink by dealing with the deficit; We’re creating a new economic dynamism and bringing a pro-enterprise attitude to Government; We’re making tough but fair welfare reforms, meaning it will always pay to work. We’re ending the absurd situation where some people can claim over £100,000 a year to live in large houses in expensive areas; And we’re protecting the most vulnerable in our society. We’re ensuring real terms rise in health and 5-16 schools spending and we’re introducing a new £7.2 billion fairness premium to support the least well off." - Baroness Warsi on the Blue Blog at

> WATCH: Baroness Warsi reflects on the Government's achievements in its first six months in office as she tours the country

Blaming Annabel Goldie for Tory woes in Scotland is nonsense, says peer

Scottish Conservative logo "The man behind a hard-hitting report into the future of the Scottish Tories insists leader Annabel Goldie is not to blame for the blunt verdict delivered on the party's fortunes. Lord Sanderson also revealed that Prime Minister David Cameron "likes" the report which hit out at the party's "weak" and confused" leadership." - The Scotsman

> Iain Anderson on Comment yesterday: The Sanderson Report opens up the possibility of radical change for the Scottish Party

Latest on tuition fees:

  • Tuition fees could cost universities millions - The Times (£)
  • Dame Suzi Leather warns institutions over charitable status - Daily Mail
  • Police under fire for charging at anti-fees demonstrators - The Guardian
  • Nick Clegg refuses to say if he will abstain on tuition fees - BBC

Other Coalition news:

  • Economy: The new independent budget watchdog is set to endorse George Osborne’s deficit reduction programme as credible on Monday when it presents its first autumn forecast. - FT (£)
  • Middle East: Hague insists Israel policy will not change - Jewish Chronicle
  • Boundary changes: Cameron defends plans for new 'Devonwall' seat - ThisisDevon
  • Climate Change: 'Hypocrisy' of Huhne at the eco summit with personal Jacuzzi in each £240-a-night suite - Daily Mail
  • Parliament Square protest: New laws will let police chief clear peace camp in time for royal wedding - The Times (£)

Socialism not a dirty word, Miliband says as he sets out vision

Ed Miliband on Marr "Ed Miliband has declared himself proud to be a socialist, and plans to hold a “million conversations” to help him settle the direction of Labour. The leader of the party will today set out his vision for its renewal, “Beyond new Labour”, to party members and trade unions in Gillingham in Kent. He wants to persuade the public that socialism “is not a dirty word”. - The Times (£)

  • Miliband to give rank and file power on policy - The Independent
  • Miliband pledges to stand up for Britain's 'squeezed middle' - The Guardian
  • Red Ed facing ridicule over Toy Story slogan - The Sun
  • Miliband has nothing to fill his blank page - Daily Mail editorial
  • Simon Heffer: Ed Miliband's 'relaunch' will only get Labour so far - Daily Telegraph

Charles Moore: Michael Gove’s sense of the nobility of education offers hope to us all

Michael Gove 2010 "I do not know his private religious opinions, but he seems to have an exceptionally strong Protestant sense of the nobility of education. He sees it as the way by which everyone, regardless of wealth and background, can learn what matters, developing the informed freedom of conscience that is the mark of human dignity." - Daily Telegraph

Other comment:

  • Andrew Grice: Why Cameron can afford to relax as his rivals vie for the fairness vote - The Independent
  • Daniel Hannan: David Cameron and the pursuit of happiness - Telegraph blog

The Independent (unsurprisingly) backs AV

"While we would have favoured more radical change, AV would be progress in the right direction. But convincing voters to forsake the status quo, however cautious the change might be, is never easy. The burden will be on the "Yes" campaign to make its case. It is time for the arguments to be heard." - Independent editorial

  • Margaret Beckett: Why I'm backing the NO2AV campaign - The Guardian

> Yesterday's Gazette: Full list of the latest appointments at the NO2AV Campaign

Wikileaks: US warns allies on potential diplomatic leak - BBC

Sinn Fein wins by landslide in Donegal South-West by-election - Belfast Telegraph

And finally... Peter Stringfellow wants to return his winter fuel payments

Peter Stringfellow "Peter Stringfellow has written to ministers to ask to repay his winter fuel allowance, saying the money is "totally unnecessary" to him. The millionaire night club owner said he did not feel entitled to receive the money, paid to all those over 60, given the UK's current "financial hardships". He said people who did not need the payment ought to be able to opt out... Mr Stringfellow said he had written to Work and Pensions Secretary Ian Duncan-Smith to raise concerns that he had received the allowance - paid automatically to those eligible - for 10 years." - BBC

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