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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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