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Weblinks for Tuesday 23rd November 2010

6.45pm WATCH: Video of Alan Johnson calling Ed Miliband... Red!!

5pm Robin Simcox on CentreRight: "If you're a British soldier fighting against al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan, you can earn as little as £17,000 a year. If you train with the enemy and accuse the British state of torture without having to prove it, then you can become an overnight millionaire. This was precisely what happened last week when the government came to financial agreements with former detainees at Guantanamo Bay..."

Screen shot 2010-11-23 at 15.36.474.30pm Parliament: Theresa May confirms commitment to reduce net immigration from the hundreds of thousands to the tens of thousands

3.30pm WATCH: Peter Mandelson likens Gordon Brown to snow plough and wonders why the former PM can't wear a tie properly

1.45pm Alex Estorick on CentreRight proposes a "tax cap"; an idea whose time has come?

1.45pm Local government update: The LGA has just issued a press release which confirms that the LGA CEO will be taking a pay cut to under £100,000. A 66% cut must be about the largest so far in top public sector pay

HOWARDmichael-bigben12.15pm Gazette:

11.30am Local government: Council leaders demand LGA Chief Exec take a pay cut

CALLANAN MARTIN 10.15am ToryDiary: Martin Callanan elected to lead the Conservative MEPs

ToryDiary: Britain's crisis of competitiveness is as big as the deficit crisis

Mark Field MP on Platform: The true cost of the UK’s liabilities now presents the sternest of challenges for the Coalition

Nick Seaton: Please support the Katharine Birbalsigh Defence Fund

Clegg Deputy PM Nice line from Nick Clegg: Labour are becoming "the conservatives of British politics", Nick Clegg said as he launched a staunch defence of the coalition's public spending cuts - Express

Non-EU skilled migrant cap to be set at 43,000 next year - BBC

"After weeks of behind-the-scenes tension between the Lib Dem-run Business Department and the Tory-run Home Office, the coalition is about to produce its compromise. The Home Secretary will, I understand, cap the number of skilled migrants at around 43,000 next year - that's just 13% lower than 2009's figure and the highest figure recommended by the independent migration advisory committee last week. Staff transferred by their companies to the UK from another country will be exempt from the cap if their salary is over £40,000." - Nick Robinson for the BBC

Tim Montgomerie: As long as Cameron reduces net immigration to the tens of thousands the Coalition should be flexible on economic immigration

The Irish bailout

Euro "George Osborne moved to reassure Tory Eurosceptics today by insisting that a planned £7bn loan to Ireland would be on a bilateral basis and would not set a precedent for British help to other troubled eurozone countries." - Guardian

"The Coalition may dress up its willingness to help bail out Ireland as an altruistic helping hand to “a friend in need”, but in reality it is an act of hard-boiled self-interest. We are Ireland’s biggest creditor, and our banks have more than £100 billion of loans outstanding to the Irish banking sector. If that sector were to fail, British banks would have to be recapitalised once again by the British taxpayer. Advancing a bilateral loan to the Irish government as well as participating in the broader IMF and EU rescue packages, costing a total of £7 billion, may have been an unpalatable decision to take, but it was probably an unavoidable one. The alternative was too grim to contemplate." - Telegraph leader

  • Tories question Britain's role in bail-out - Telegraph
  • Redwood and Carswell are wrong about Ireland - Jeremy Warner in The Telegraph
  • The bail-out: bad for Ireland and Britain, good for Eurocrats and bankers - Dan Hannan on Telegraph blogs

LEA RUTH Predictions that the €uro might break up from Gideon Rachman in the pink corner and Ruth Lea in the blue corner...

  • "The odds that Greece, Ireland, Portugal and, perhaps, Spain will leave the eurozone within the next three years, or maybe sooner, are shortening by the day." - Ruth Lea in The Times (£)
  • "My current best guess is that the single currency will indeed eventually break up – and that the euro’s executioner will be Germany, the most powerful country and economy inside the European Union." - Gideon Rachman in the FT (£)
  • "It is looking grim for the single currency. One option would be for troubled countries to be booted out. Unfortunately, replacement currencies would lack credibility and slump instantly, making it impossible for countries to repay any euro-denominated debt. They would have to peg their new currencies to a commodity, such as gold, but that would require a credible economic policy." - Allister Heath in City AM

Screen shot 2010-11-23 at 07.59.04 The Guardian's graphic for the bailout is a must-see >

Yesterday's ConservativeHome coverage:

Coalition in brief:

  • Top pay transparency: "Rules forcing banks to reveal details of fat cat pay packages topping £1million are to be watered down, Chancellor George Osborne signalled yesterday." - Daily Mail
  • Housing: End of council houses for life 'will hurt needy' - Independent | Video
  • Schools: Michael Gove to end 21 "barmy" regulations - Sun
  • Philanthropy: "The incentives for the rich to give to charity must be increased and the planned graduate tax scrapped if efforts to stimulate the “Big Society” are to succeed, leading specialists are warning the government." - FT (£)
  • Homeland security: "Nick Clegg has been warned by the chief reviewer of antiterror laws that he will be “endangering the public” if he insists on scrapping control orders, which allow the security services to put terror suspects under virtual house arrest without trial." - FT (£)
  • Peerages: Cameron warned against creating larger Upper House with average cost of a peer running at more than £211,000 a year - Daily Mail

Screen shot 2010-11-23 at 08.06.30 The state of public opinion

  • UK Polling Report: YouGov have the Tories on 41% and 3% ahead but ICM for The Guardian has the party on 36% and 2% behind.
  • Guardian: "Asked whether they think the cuts are going too far, not far enough or are about right, 45% say too far, three points lower than last month. A further 35% think the scale of cuts is about right, down one point. The proportion of people who think the cuts do not go far enough has risen to 14%, up from 8% last month. Overall 49% agree with cuts or want more."

Ed Miliband looks to change Labour policies and democratic structures

Miliband Ed QT "A comprehensive policy review will produce interim positions on issues including crime, education and health by next autumn. However, it will seek to leave Mr Miliband as much room for manoeuvre as possible, particularly on economic policy, until much nearer polling day in 2015. Labour’s party conference in Liverpool next year will also vote on proposals to revamp the party machine, drawn up by Peter Hain, chairman of the national policy forum. The plans will include possible changes to the relationship with the unions, although union leaders will be reassured by the appointment of Mr Hain, who is a strong supporter of maintaining a link with them." - Times (£)

  • Alan Johnson defies Miliband over 50p tax - Sun
  • "At this time of radical government, a strong Opposition is essential. So far, all we have is a vacuum." - Daily Mail leader
  • Just as the Tories struggled to escape Lady Thatcher's shadow, Blair and his allies are going to make Labour's next few years difficult - Rachel Sylvester in The Times (£)

New leader of Britain's biggest union promises that there is 'no such thing as an irresponsible strike' - Telegraph

> Sunday's LeftWatch: BBC fails to tell licence feepayers about new union leader's militant ambition to take over Labour Party

GALLOWAY George George Galloway plots a return to politics... via Holyrood - Scotsman

Top mandarin gets £85,000 public sector job after retiring on similiar public sector pension - Times (£)

Other comment:

  • David Skelton on Platform10: The Government should think again about cuts to school sports partnerships
  • Alex Singleton on Telegraph blogs: Today Tory MEPs will elect another pro-EU leader

And finally... With the Tories back in power, maybe a Thatcher-themed nightclub was inevitable. Maybe. Just don't venture into the toilets...

Screen shot 2010-11-23 at 07.04.05 The Guardian's Patrick Kingsley ventures into Maggie's, a new Margaret Thatcher-themed nightclub: "Located on the border between Tory Chelsea and blue-blooded Fulham, it's hard not to imagine Maggie's as some kind of political statement. After all, the first thing you see when you enter the club is a wall of photos featuring Thatcher and Ronald Reagan. Hanging over the stairs is a picture of Thatcher flashing a two-fingered salute. And, as we now know all too well, toilet-goers are serenaded with the audiobook of Thatcher's diaries."

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