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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"

Screen shot 2010-10-15 at 15.16.59
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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