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31 Dec 2010 09:10:03

Newslinks for New Year's Eve 2010

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2.15pm Paul Goodman on Comment: Update - Dominic Grieve's "concerns" about Yeates murder inquiry media coverage

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2.45pm WATCH: Boris Johnson's New Year message for 2011 - "We've got the royal wedding - unfortunately, not taking place here in City Hall: a cutprice location, I thought, but never mind, they're going somewhere else."

12.45pm Paul Goodman on Comment: According to the media, the posh, solitary, oddball loner only child who's never married, pronounces words idiosyncratically, loves poetry, shows no interest in cars or sports, and has campaigned for a gun range and the prayer book "obviously did it"

10.00am WATCH: ‪David Cameron: 2011 will be a difficult year‬

ToryDiary: Newcomer of 2010

George Turner on Comment: Teenagers must be better educated about alcohol and the problems it can cause

Local Government:

Gazette: Peter Bottomley knighted in New Year Honours

WATCH: Lansley defends flu advert timing

Health Secretary accused of U-turn as he orders £1m flu adverts

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"The Health Secretary was accused of making a dramatic U-turn on flu yesterday as he ordered a national advertising campaign after 12 more people died from swine flu over Christmas.  As the severity of this year’s outbreak continues to worsen, the Chief Medical Officer, Professor Dame Sally Davies, asked experts to assess the current vaccination programme…There are now 738 people in critical care beds with flu, almost double last week’s figure of 460, itself more than double that of the previous week." - The Times (£)

...And a Conservative MP warns that he should change course on NHS reform

"It is one thing to attempt such a root-and-branch reform in a time of plenty, it is another when you are also trying to save over £15bn just to keep pace with demographic changes, new treatments and rising expectations on a near flatline budget.  Andrew Lansley…should not be afraid to listen to patients and professionals and review further aspects of his proposals. Changing the plan from central to local commissioning of maternity services was welcomed rather than derided as a handbrake turn." - Sarah Wollaston MP, The Guardian

Speed of NHS reform means Andrew Lansley has faced a bumpy ride - The Guardian

Paterson makes systems and tanker offer over Ulster water crisis

"Owen Paterson has pledged the coalition's support but the issue of domestic water charging, opposed by most of the local parties, could be revisited.  Mr Paterson told Sky News he had "made it quite clear" to Northern Ireland ministers that "the British Government is ready to help in any way it can". As well as supplying extra tankers, he said the British Government could also help with information systems… and Defra has experience in crisis management." - Belfast Telegraph

"Owen Paterson said Northern Ireland's infrastructure had suffered over the years and that changes were now needed.  "What will be looked at here is the difference in the way that water is paid for in the rest of the UK and the way it is paid for in Northern Ireland, where it is just an element of the rates," he said.  "I think what is clear is that the events of the last week or so will bring this to a head. It is a major issue that has to be resolved." - BBC

The BBC should be more critical of Northern Ireland's nationalised water provision - John Redwood's Blog

Hague condemns Khodorkovsky sentence

William Hague serious square Mr Hague, the foreign secretary, said: “I am deeply concerned by the implications of this case concerning Mikhail Khodorkovsky for confidence in how the law is applied in Russia.  The UK calls on Russia to respect the principles of justice and apply the rule of law in a non-discriminatory and proportional way. In the absence of this the UK and much of the international community will regard such a trial as a retrograde step”." - Daily Telegraph

Quotas not the way to get more women in the boardroom, says Mervyn Davies

"The question of quotas is one that I will be considering carefully before making my recommendations this February. Quotas have proved successful in some countries, but many of the women I have spoken with are against these. I have not ruled them out as a recommendation, but at the moment I am not convinced that they are the right method to encourage progress.  Female executives need to be recognised for the talent and skills that they possess." - Lord Davies, The Guardian

Shapps warns on mortgage regulation

"New rules to clamp down on irresponsible mortgage lending must not be drawn so tight as to shut thousands of buyers out of the market and deepen the house price recession, the housing minister is to tell the City watchdog.  Grant Shapps will use a meeting next week with Hector Sants, head of the Financial Services Authority, to urge that its review of lending practices not be so severe as to exacerbate an already difficult situation for would-be homebuyers." - Financial Times

UK's foreign aid strategy puts focus on safe abortion and contraception

"The coalition government will put contraception and safe abortion at the heart of its efforts to help save women's lives in poor countries, it says today.  Two documents set out plans for international development, which has a ringfenced budget. One focuses on the fight against malaria to which the chancellor, George Osborne, is personally committed. The other envisages increasing efforts to save the lives of women in childbirth and their babies." - The Guardian

Coalition and Political News in Brief

  • Diesel to hit £1.32 a litre, say the AA - The Sun
  • Newly-knighted CBI head warns of new year political crisis - The Times (£)
  • London commuters to face "staggering" new year fare rises - BBC
  • Eurozone "has 80% chance of losing the single currency in next decade," claims CEBR - Daily Mail
  • Faith groups will not fill gaps left by spending cuts, warns Anglican bishop - The Guardian

The Prime Minister's new year message: 2011 will be a year of "heavy lifting"

CAMERON-PENSIVE"The government's spending cuts are necessary and not driven by ideological zeal, Prime Minister David Cameron has insisted in his new year message.  He said the economy was now out of the danger zone but warned of much "heavy lifting ahead" in 2011.  Ministers accepted the planned spending cuts were tough, but indecision and delay would be unacceptable, he added.  Mr Cameron said: "We have a credible plan for restoring confidence in our economy, but we have to see it through."  - BBC

"[The Prime Minister] also suggests that Britain faces fundamental questions about why young Muslims continue to be drawn into violent extremism. The Islamic community must help address how their minds are "poisoned", he says. Mr Cameron's stark message comes amid a prolonged row between Coalition ministers over anti-terrorism laws, with the Liberal Democrats pressing for some of Labour's contentious security measures to be watered down." - Daily Telegraph

Scots face a generation of London's cuts, claims Salmond - The Times (£)

Cameron faced with the most rebellious Commons since 1945

"Government MPs are rebelling against their parties' policies on a scale not seen since 1945, new research for The Independent has revealed. During the Coalition's first seven months, dozens of Conservative and Liberal Democrat MPs – including many elected for the first time in May – have repeatedly defied House of Commons whips to vote against the Government.  The research, conducted by Professor Philip Cowley and Mark Stuart of Nottingham University, found Government MPs rebelled in 84 of the 160 Commons votes between May and 20 December when Parliament rose for the three-week Christmas break. They say the 53 per cent rebellion rate is "without parallel in the post-war era". - The Independent

"Big Society" theme to New Year Honours

"The Cabinet Office yesterday tried to portray the list as a boost for the Big Society, with numerous awards going to philanthropists and volunteers…A Cabinet Office spokesman said that 74 per cent of the awards had been given to “local heroes” involved in charity, volunteering or philanthropy…The spokesman disclosed that the Prime Minister had made a strategic decision to honour philanthropists and told Sir Gus O’Donnell, the Cabinet Secretary, to make that clear." - The Times (£)

"Roger Carr, who as chairman of Cadbury failed to prevent its takeover by US food group Kraft a year ago, will on Friday be knighted in the New Year’s honours list.  Sir Roger’s knighthood is likely to court controversy given that he is also the generously paid chairman of Centrica, parent company of British Gas, which is under perennial public pressure over high utility prices. He was widely criticised for the sale of Cadbury…despite having led a vigorous fight to keep the business listed on the London Stock Exchange." - Financial Times (£)

Online viewers prosecuted for not paying TV licence

"According to TV Licensing, a licence is required to watch television “as it’s being broadcast” – even if the viewer is using a computer, laptop or mobile phone.  However no licence is required for viewers who are only using “catch-up” services online to watch programmes that have already been broadcast…[But] in response to questions from the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport committee, BBC management has now said that prosecutions for online viewing have already started." - Daily Telegraph

Why the Middle East is about to split the Coalition wide open

Screen shot 2010-12-31 at 09.06.42 "A much tougher and more practical set of measures was set out three weeks ago in an open letter to the European Commission from a group of former EU bigwigs, including Chris Patten…Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems would be very happy indeed to back strong measures like these, and it will not be long before they start to call for them openly. It may not be on many people’s radar, but Middle East policy has the potential to split the Coalition wide open." - Peter Oborne, Daily Telegraph

Lieberman's war with Netanyahu - Donald Macintyre, The Independent

Other Comment

  • Coalition's in for a rough ride over higher fuel prices - Ross Clark, Daily Express
  • What Harold Macmillan could teach David Cameron - Martin Kettle, The Guardian
  • Here we go again, another day of shame - Richard Littlejohn, Daily Mail
  • Sweep away the bonuses? It's not that simple - Philip Collins, The Times

Chris Mullin's advice to Miliband: stop navel-gazing

"Which brings me to my next point. I am getting a little concerned with all this talk of blank sheets and fresh ideas. We can’t afford to spend too much time apologising and navel-gazing...and talking of fatuous slogans, can you please stop going about the squeezed middle? I wince every time I hear the words fall from your lips." - The Times (£)

And finally...Peter Mandelson is banned from lobbying for two years

"Peter Mandelson has been barred from lobbying ministers and civil servants for two years – amid fears he could exploit his former government contacts for private gain.  The former Labour business secretary has been told he must not attempt to influence decision-makers in Whitehall on behalf of the foreign billionaires and wealthy corporations expected to employ the services of his new ‘global consultancy’." - Daily Mail


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30 Dec 2010 09:05:19

Newslinks for Thursday 30th December 2010

4.30pm WATCH: The Thatcher files released

11.45am ToryDiary: Liberal Democrat of the Year

9.45am On the day the 1980 National Archives are released, we glance back at Margaret Thatcher's conference speech of that year -

WATCH: "The Lady's not for turning"

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In ToryDiary -

Comment: Alp Mehmet: In 2011 more of our politicians must become better informed about the impact on us all of unchecked immigration

Local Government: South East councillors invited on £350 scrutiny training

WATCH: Health warning as Northern Ireland water crisis escalates

Nick Clegg to showcase Lords reforms in move to shore him up

Screen shot 2010-12-03 at 15.42.21 "Nick Clegg will next year outline plans for the most far-reaching changes to the House of Lords since landmark reforms 100 years ago by a Liberal government ended the upper house's ability to block Britain's annual budget.  In a move to shore up the position of the beleaguered Liberal Democrats, the cabinet will endorse the deputy prime minister's plans for the upper chamber to be overwhelmingly composed of elected members. It is expected that the cabinet will agree that 80% of the new house should be elected." - The Guardian

Brown's goats desert Lords for pastures new - The Times (£)

Labour attack Hughes "hypocrisy"

"David Cameron and Nick Clegg were accused tonight of "total hypocrisy" in appointing Simon Hughes as a champion of access to higher education after Labour claimed funds designed to encourage disadvantaged pupils had been cut from £360m a year to £150m.  Pat McFadden, business minister in the former government, accused Downing Street of piling "dishonesty upon betrayal" after cutting the funding." - The Guardian

LibDem MPs back Coalition poll shocker - Sky News

Ofcom to demand further inquiry of Rupert Murdoch's BSkyB buyout

"The media regulator Ofcom is this week expected to recommend that Rupert Murdoch's £8bn controversial buyout of BSkyB should be subject to a further six-month long inquiry – and in so doing hand culture secretary Jeremy Hunt the toughest political decision in his time in office…while the document will initially remain confidential most expect the regulator to demand a further investigation by the Competition Commission." - The Guardian

Half a million Hungarians could come to Britain

"PM David Cameron vowed to cap net immigration - currently 200,000 a year - at "tens of thousands".  But the influential Institute for Public Policy Research says that does not take account of the flow from European countries.  About 500,000 ethnic Hungarians living in non-EU countries could head to Britain…A Sun investigation has found that 300,000 living in Serbia and 160,000 in the Ukraine are among those who could seek to come here on Hungarian passports." - The Sun

Philip Davies and Redwood maul Maude charity plan

Screen shot 2010-12-30 at 09.09.26 "Philip Davies, Conservative MP for Shipley in West Yorkshire, said ministers should lower taxes before asking consumers to dip into their pockets.  He told the Mail: ‘This is less Big Society and more Big Brother or Big State. It is not the Government’s place to tell people how to spend their money, particularly when they are the ones who take and waste so much of it for us." - Daily Mail

Other Coalition and Political News in Brief

  • Gavin Barwell discovers that benefits cost each family £3000 - Daily Express
  • Unions plot strike at time of royal wedding - The Times (£)
  • Police demand new powers to stop and search terror suspects - The Guardian
  • Europe to ban hundreds of herbal remedies - The Independent
  • Public back kettling and water cannon for students - Guido Fawkes
  • Charity chief says cuts could destroy David Cameron's 'big society' - The Guardian

Memories of Margaret Thatcher (and Denis) as the archives open...

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“No!” scribbled Margaret Thatcher in the margins of a 1980 memo on European fisheries negotiations. “No. No. No.” Then, just in case her officials had missed the point, at the end she wrote, in large capital letters with a black felt-tip pen: “NO.” - The Times (£)

"The former Prime Minister…criticised Chancellor Geoffrey Howe for consistently failing to get his sums right with public borrowing...Mrs Thatcher's Cabinet quietly drew up proposals for further capital-raising measures, including charging for visits to GPs and cutting old-age pensions. The plans were dropped after ministers decided they might end in riots." - The Independent

"Again and again her furious handwritten notes in the margins of the files reveal her impatience at the cautious approach of Whitehall and some of the "wets" in her own cabinet. "This will not do" makes regular appearances, as does "too small" whenever public spending cuts are being discussed. She just as often responded with her blue felt-tip pen with the single word "no", heavily underlined." - The Guardian

"The U.S. backing of the muha-jideen warriors was portrayed in the 2008 film Charlie Wilson’s War, after the congressman who spearheaded it. But it was not previously known that Britain was party to the decision to support the resistance fighters and discussed providing them with light guns and communications equipment." - Daily Mail

"Lady Thatcher went on a high-protein diet of up to 28 eggs a week for the 1979 election campaign, her private papers revealed yesterday.  The future PM was determined to look her best and went on the diet in a bid to lose 20lbs in just two weeks. Every day started with a breakfast of grapefruit and eggs, with another two eggs for each weekday lunch, and two more for dinner twice a week." - The Sun

"In November 1979 Lady Thatcher's diary secretary...wrote to inform [Denis Thatcher] of "another dreaded state banquet I'm afraid", telling [him] that she had already replied to the invitation to attend a reception in honour of the Queen hosted by the President of Indonesia at Claridge's. He wrote back: "J.C. [Jesus Christ] What I do for the Party! The same evening I was going to attend probably the best Rugby Football Dinner this year, namely the centenary of the Middlesex RFU. All my chums will be there!" - Daily Telegraph

...While the man who challenged her is brought back to advise the Government

Screen shot 2010-12-30 at 08.55.47 "Here's where Hezzer comes in. He has emerged in retirement as a defender of centre-right economic orthodoxies, without the illiberal liabilities of ur-Thatcherites like Lord Tebbit. Shoring up faith in the financial services is a message many Tories think has been insufficiently clear from the coalition. Clegg tuts about "imbalance" towards the City, Osborne emphasises no return to big bonuses. Only Boris Johnson unashamedly woos the Square Mile." - Ann McElvoy, The Guardian

Hughes a riskier appointment than Heseltine - Alastair Campbell's blog

Other Comment

Miliband's new year message

"Ed Miliband is warning Britons to be braced for the pain of deep spending cuts – and accuses Coalition ministers of being callous in how they wield the axe.  In his New Year message, the Labour leader denounces the "irresponsible pace and scale" of austerity measures which he says will be felt "by hard-working families".  "…The political forces in Whitehall which have made these choices appear forbidding and unheeding," he says." - The Independent

Hopelessly divided over AV - Labour List

"A blank sheet of paper" - John Rentoul, The Independent


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29 Dec 2010 09:00:55

Newslinks for Wednesday 29th December 2010

ToryDiary: The Minister of 2010

Simon Horner on Comment: How the State can help foster economic growth through benign industrial activism

6a00d83451b31c69e20147e117992b970b Andrew Bridgen MP on Seats and candidates: All Conservatives should come and help Kashif Ali in Oldham East and Saddleworth - not least to help crush talk of Coaliton candidates in future elections

Local government: Lib Dems won most council wards in Oldham East and Saddleworth constituency

LeftWatch: Cameron and Clegg appoint Simon Hughes to sell university policy


David Cameron congratulates England's victorious Ashes team

"Congratulations to the England team and Captain Andrew Strauss on a brilliant performance Down Under. Retaining The Ashes for the first time in almost a quarter of a century marks a very special end to the year for sports fans and a great late Christmas present for the country. I look forward to welcoming them to Downing Street when they return."

Nick Clegg's New Year message asks for perseverance

"Just eight months ago we were campaigning on our four big manifesto priorities - fairer taxes; extra money for disadvantaged children in schools; a green, rebalanced economy; a new, open politics. And now we are delivering on every single one, and more... I don't want to pretend it has all been easy. These are testing times for the country and for our party too. Action to tackle the deficit, and the need to reform higher education, have forced us to take some incredibly difficult decisions." - BBC

Some verdicts on Clegg's partnership with Cameron:

  • An FT (£) leader welcomes the Coalition's first seven months and warns: "It is in neither party’s interests to collapse the coalition, triggering an early election. The Lib Dems in particular would risk losing seats and their raison d’être: that of a trusted coalition partner in a three-party system."
  • "The tensions within the Coalition may make it hard to address any of these serious issues with the force that is required" - Simon Heffer in The Telegraph
  • The Daily Mail, meanwhile, worries about the Coalition's broken promises and ridicules yesterday's petitions idea.

Andrew Alexander: Three dangerous ministers

"Three frontbenchers promise pain and grief. Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke has his doomed-to-fail soft approach to crime. Health Secretary Andrew Lansley’s radical reforms for the NHS suggest ­trouble. Turning doctors into part-time bureaucrats is an odd way of improving patient care. And then there is Chris Huhne, Secretary for Energy and Climate Change. He believes in global warming and its human causes with religious fervour even while we shiver. His Soviet-style planning for power supplies threatens huge household bills. He needs curbing." - Andrew Alexander in the Mail

Maude Green Francis Maude publishes Green Paper to encourage charitable giving

  • "Cashpoint users will be encouraged to donate to charity every time they withdraw money, under Government plans to encourage a more ‘giving’ society." - Daily Mail
  • "It recommends a national "round-up-the-pound" scheme which would allow people to give donate "change" when paying by debit or credit card." - BBC
  • "Other ideas aired in the innovative green paper include a thank-you letter from ministers for giving large sums, a national day to celebrate donors, and a televised weekly thank-you to national lottery winners who have donated." - Guardian
  • "It is hard to overestimate the benefits to Britain of a renewal of a voluntary spirit" - Telegraph leader
  • "If the government wants instead the extra charitable giving to be on top of the higher taxes and expanded public sector it will find that difficult to achieve at a time of squeezed living standards." - John Redwood

Britain’s big gamble puts the citizens at the wheel - Writing for the FT (£) Ian Birrell argues that the Big Society could become more defining for the Coalition than spending cuts

Michael Gove responds to Britain's appalling education performance

Article-1336410-0C642004000005DC-898_634x630  Graphic from the Daily Mail. Click on it to enlarge.

Why we must raise education standards so children can compete with rest of the world - Michael Gove in The Telegraph

Children of service personnel killed in action are to get £8,200 a year to put them through university - Sun

Against the VAT rise

"The tax rise - which will cost the average household £425 a year - will rob the economy of vital spending power at a time of fiscal retrenchment. A report by the Centre for Retail Research found that the drop in consumer spending could cost 47,000 jobs. Mr Osborne's recent admission that the VAT rise will be permanent confirms the coalition's plan to tilt Britain's tax system in a regressive direction. Yet, despite his arrogant dismissal of calls for a "plan B", the Chancellor may find cause to think again." - New Statesman leader

Screen shot 2010-12-29 at 08.27.53 Unemployment predicted to rise by 200,000 to 2.7m by the end of 2011 - Independent | Guardian

"Making just one council worker redundant costs thousands of pounds in lost taxes and revenue, and in benefits payments, according to a new report. The study by public sector union Unison describes the cost of job cuts as "shocking"... The union calculated a council worker earning £20,000 a year paid almost £5,000 in taxes and national insurance but would cost more than £11,000 in benefits, such as Jobseeker's Allowance and child tax credit, and lost revenue." - Scotsman

Class war from Kevin Maguire in The Mirror: "The plummy-voiced Old Etonian son of an Old Etonian stockbroker is largely insulated from the suffering he’ll inflict on others." 

114 Labour MPs want to keep First Past The Post - Independent

Screen shot 2010-12-29 at 08.50.27 'Footballers make adultery seem normal to boys' says Coalition adviser on sexualisation of young - Telegraph

The environmental impact of immigration - Express

And finally... People with right wing views have a larger area of the brain associated with fear

"Scientists have found that people with conservative views have brains with larger amygdalas, almond shaped areas in the centre of the brain often associated with anxiety and emotions. On the otherhand, they have a smaller anterior cingulate, an area at the front of the brain associated with courage and looking on the bright side of life." - Telegraph


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28 Dec 2010 08:43:23

Newslinks for Tuesday 28th December 2010

6pm Gazette: Lord Forsyth begins his fundraising climb of Antarctica's highest peak

2pm Parliament: What would you and 99,999 friends like MPs to debate?

ToryDiary: Backbencher of 2010

Amber Rudd MP on Comment: A new approach to welfare also requires a new approach to engaging with young people

Local government: Red Ken and his union paymasters

Last night's LeftWatch: Five reasons why David Miliband is the wrong choice to be Britain's US Ambassador

Cameron to kick off new year with help for new businesses

"David Cameron and George Osborne will launch a push in January to kickstart economic growth and create thousands of jobs. The Prime Minister and Chancellor will unveil tax breaks for business start-ups and a cull of the red tape that is holding back small businesses. Mr Cameron will throw his weight behind plans to make it easier to set up high-tech businesses." - Daily Mail

Public to propose policies as coalition gets the X Factor

Screen shot 2010-12-28 at 08.22.51 "In an attempt to reduce what is seen as a disconnection between the public and parliament, ministers will ensure that the most popular petition on the government website will be drafted as a bill. It is also planning to guarantee that petitions which reach a fixed level of support – most likely 100,000 signatures – will be guaranteed a Commons debate." - Guardian

John Redwood's warning: "I suggest the public does not get too full of expectations..."

Francis Maude: The nudge is no policy fudge

MAUDE FRANCIS NW "Despite the false choice often presented by commentators, there are many options between bans and doing nothing. We can offer, or require, information to be shared with citizens, such as on financial products or food labelling, so individuals can make more informed decisions. We can encourage behaviour through price, such as when leaded petrol was taxed at a higher rate. And we can change the default options individuals are given in areas like pension schemes, so that citizens are given the choice to opt out rather than opt in." - Francis Maude in The Guardian

Chris Grayling reveals that 1.5 million people have spent more than five years claiming incapacity benefits - Telegraph

Boris Johnson was on alleged Christmas bomb plotters' target list - The Sun

  • £550,000 has gone to Muslim groups in Luton but police haven't received one terror tip-off - Sun Says
  • David Cameron must face the challenge of Islamisation - Telegraph leader

Christian assemblies in schools face axe over claims they infringe Human Rights Act - Daily Mail

"David Cameron [went] to the country on a promise to repeal [the Human Rights Act] and replace it with a UK Bill of Rights. Yet under the Coalition agreement, all we’re given is the promise of a Commission into a possible new law that would ‘build on all our obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights.’ In short, it’s a plan for no change. Just what must Britain do to reclaim the right to decide how we are governed?" - Daily Mail leader

Atheist Clegg wants Church of England out of reformed House of Lords

Lords_Chamber "Anglican bishops have lodged an official protest at the Deputy Prime Minister’s plans to reform the House of Lords. They have urged Mr Clegg to allow them to retain their seats in the Upper House, even as he draws up proposals to cut its size by half and make its members stand for election. Refusing the 26 bishops any seat in a new, Senate-style chamber would risk a constitutional row involving the Queen because it would, in effect, disestablish the Church of England." - Times (£)

  • Lord Sugar has only voted three times in House of Lords in the last 12 months - Daily Mail
  • James Landale reviews Nick Clegg's rollercoaster year: "From "Which Nick?" to "Saint Nick" to "Nasty Nick" in 12 months: truly a political rollercoaster." - BBC

Danny Alexander: The Coalition’s £81 billion cuts programme is “common sense”, “unavoidable”, “progressive” and “civilised” - Scotsman

Bagehot examines ConservativeHome's Mainstream Conservatism project - Economist

Ed Miliband considering £500 limit on political donations

Miliband Ed QT "Ed Miliband is to distance Labour from its trade union paymasters by diluting the party's financial dependence on them and reducing their role in electing the party leader. Labour has proposed introducing a ceiling on donations to any political party which could be as low as £500, The Independent has learnt. The move could break the long-running deadlock between the parties on agreeing a new system of financing politics."

Britons give to charity but don't want to volunteer in the public services

"According to the polling – carried out in the UK, France, Italy, Spain, Germany and the US – 77% of Britons said they had given to charity in the past 12 months. This was far higher than the other European countries and above the 71% in the US. However, only a quarter of Britons agreed they should be “encouraged to give up some of their time to help support public services, including healthcare education and policing”. This was far lower than in the other countries, and well below the 42% of US people who thought it their duty to participate." - FT (£)

In brief:

  • A million UK children 'lack access to computers' - BBC
  • APCO seeks national database of men suspected of attacking sex workers - BBC
  • Half of all Germans want to ditch the euro and bring back their deutschmark - Express

Successive governments have allowed Britain's privatised, liberalised utility companies to get away with murder - George Monbiot in The Guardian

And finally... Sally Bercow gets her revenge on Andrew Pierce

"Proof that Commons Speaker John Bercow’s wife Sally wears the trousers in that household. She had my name struck off the guest list from a reception at Speaker’s House for her husband’s deputy Nigel Evans. My crime, according to her latest load of drivel on Twitter, was to ‘gratuitously’ insult her. For the life of me, I can’t see what’s ‘gratuitous’ about calling Silly Sally ‘stupid’." - Andrew Pierce in the Daily Mail


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