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30 Sep 2011 08:29:43

Newslinks for Friday 30th September 2011

4.45pm Anthony Browne on Columnists: Ministers are being refreshingly open about the problems being caused by the EU

12.30pm Stephen Booth: EU regulations on agency workers should be resisted at the 11th hour

10am Local government:

Grayling470ToryDiary: Grayling builds alliance to stop economically inactive EU residents flocking to Britain to claim benefits

ToryDiary: Rolling list of Tory Conference announcements begins with return of weekly bin collections and 80mph motorway limit

Eric Pickles MP on Local government: Every household has a right to have a weekly bin collection

Edward Leigh MP on Comment: A flat tax would revitalise the British economy

Screen shot 2011-09-30 at 07.29.27

"The Right List": Profile of David Cameron, Number 2 in ConHome's new 40,000 guide to the most influential people and groups on the Right

Grant Shapps MP on Accountability: Making housing easier to afford

78% of voters don't expect Cameron to keep immigration pledge but 50% still think he's doing a good job overall - The Sun

Cameron wants Osborne to revisit cuts in child benefit for higher earners - Times (£)

16079870 The Government has found £250 million to pay local authorities to restore weekly bin collections - BBC

  • "Town halls are to be shamed into bringing back weekly bin collections, it was revealed yesterday. In a victory for householders and the Daily Mail, ministers unveiled a £250million fund to restore them. Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles said councils will now have ‘no excuse’ to maintain hugely unpopular fortnightly schemes. ‘My view has always been that people expect a weekly collection,’ he said." - Daily Mail
  • "More than half of all councils have switched to fortnightly collections over the past few years, affecting more than 18 million people." - Telegraph

Philip Hammond looks to introduce 80mph speed limit

Hammond "The Department of Transport is to launch a consultation on increasing the speed limit on England and Wales' motorways from 70mph to 80mph. Transport Secretary Philip Hammond said the current limit, introduced in 1965, was out of date due to "huge advances in safety and motoring technology"." - BBC | Times (£)

"Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “There are good reasons for making 80 the new 70, and good reasons not to. Drivers travelling that 10mph quicker might reach their destination sooner, but will use about 20 per cent more fuel and emit 20 per cent more CO2.” - Express

The European Commission has threatened to take legal action against Britain if ministers do not water down rules limiting foreigners’ ability to claim benefits - Telegraph | Fraser Nelson at The Spectator

  • The Sun Says: "It's going from mad to worse. Our masters in Brussels say any jobless person in the EU is entitled to come to Britain and fill their boots with benefits, whether they are looking for work or not. The Government vows to fight this outrage. But have they the stomach for the battle? Britain is being pushed towards a confrontation with Brussels over who runs our country. For The Sun, that day cannot come soon enough."

Ministers are preparing for a massive expansion in electronic tagging of offenders, with private security companies being invited to bid for more than £1bn worth of contracts next month - Guardian

  • The National Trust is a more powerful opponent of the government than the unions - Economist

Fox MoD Liam Fox interview discusses how poor relations between MoD staff and military chiefs contributed to budgetary problems - Guardian

  • Relations between Liam Fox, the Defence Secretary, and military commanders plunged to a new low last night after he roundly blamed defence chiefs for government financial problems - Telegraph
  • Liam Fox's attempt to cut the MoD budget while maintaining commitments cannot work - Guardian leader

Ministers “know nothing” about planning and have to be “told the facts” by developers because they have “never been in the real world”, according to a Tory donor and property developer - Telegraph

Nick Boles warns Tories against 'hobby horse politics'...

BOLES-COLOUR "What we need now is to put away our favourite ideological hobby horses, ignore the political positioning of the other parties and dedicate ourselves to addressing the everyday ambitions of ordinary people – a steady job, childcare they can afford, a home of their own – and their most pressing concerns – rising fuel prices, excessive immigration, the care of elderly relatives." - Nicholas Boles MP in The Telegraph

...and in the FT backs a land tax

"Nick Boles, the Tory MP who is close to some of the party’s most prominent modernisers, believes the Conservatives should back Liberal Democrat calls for a land tax in a move likely to incense his rightwing backbench colleagues. Mr Boles, writing in the Financial Times, jokes he may be “committing career suicide” by backing the century-old Lib Dem cause, but says the tax could encourage more development on brownfield sites and in rundown inner cities." - FT (£)

The full text of Nick Boles' FT article: "Unless we persuade British businesses to invest and take on new people, we will never succeed in hauling ourselves up over the cliff edge and get to feel the sun on our faces once again. Using the proceeds of a targeted Land Value Tax to cut the national insurance tax on jobs might give the British economy the crucial leg-up it needs."

Stop vanity projects like HS2 and give tax breaks to business - Frederick Forsyth in The Express

The Coalition’s war on red tape is just hot air - Mark Littlewood on RightMinds

Javid Sajid "Either the euro, in its current form, or the afflicted countries can be saved. But not both." - Sajid Javid MP in The Times (£)

Finnish politician who believes that migrants are 'parasites' to be guest on fringe of Tory conference - Independent

On the final day of their Conference Labour ministers attack Tory support for women - Telegraph

  • Labour leader woos female voters with a vow to promote more women to shadow cabinet - Daily Mail
  • "Ed Miliband has identified working-class women as the key electoral battleground in an attempt to capitalise on falling support for the coalition among female voters. The Shadow Cabinet is examining a list of reforms on retraining, childcare costs, social housing, salary insurance and a new scheme to encourage saving in an attempt to draw up “a new welfare state for working people”." - Times (£)

Miliband's indisputable leftward shift has put Labour at ease with itself but risks making the party less relevant than ever - Martin Kettle in The Guardian

OBORNE "Ed Miliband’s vision of a fairer and better- balanced capitalism, however imperfectly sketched out, challenges Osborne to give a much fuller account of what he is doing. The Labour leader this week showed a clear grasp of our national predicament, and may have signalled the end of an unhealthy era of managed, technocratic discourse. He rose to the occasion, and he deserves our thanks." - Peter Oborne in The Telegraph

Schools will be judged on gay and gipsy pupils' progress - Mail


> Please use the thread below to provide links to news topics likely to be of interest to ConservativeHome readers and to comment on political topics that haven't been given their own blog. This thread is moderated but during working hours (that's 6am to 10pm for ConHome) comments will usually be delayed no longer than sixty minutes. Read our comments policy here.

29 Sep 2011 17:00:00

Teatime newslinks for Thursday 29th September 2011

8pm WATCH: Ed Miliband and the Labour party conference sing the Red Flag and Jerusalem

5.30pm Martin Parsons on Comment: Leaving Afghanistan without a shot being fired? British foreign policy since 2001


  • Benedict Brogan: 'David Cameron prepares for Manchester - Telegraph
  • The controversial Boris biography suggests London's Mayor might be more pro-EU than he lets on, and other things - PoliticsHome I Guido Fawkes
  • Theresa May sparks police search after losing her diary Guardian I BBC
  • Human Rights Watch accuses Andrew Mitchell of being "disingenuous" and "misleading" over Ethiopia aid claims - New Statesman
  • Whitehall official in charge of implementing planning reforms quits to join a property development consultancy - Times (£)
  • Which Tories is it ok to love? - New Statesman
  • Kent councillor will not be expelled from the party after his racial slur during the riots - BBC
29 Sep 2011 08:32:52

Newslinks for Thursday 29th September 2011

2.15pm WATCH: Ed Miliband cannot remember the name of the third candidate in the running for the leadership of the Scottish Labour party

1.30pm ToryDiary: Have your say in the end-September ConservativeHome survey

1pm Local government:

Willetts D DP 12.30pm ToryDiary: David Willetts gives permission for universities to accept lower income students with poorer grades

Noon Mohamed Amin on Comment: The state needs to exit the marriage business

Noon ConHomeUSA: Today's top Republican and American political news

10am WATCH: ECR President at the European Parliament, Jan Zahradil: "Only the ‘Euro at all costs’ mentality might destroy the Euro"

ToryDiary: What is Cameron's offer to the poor? What is Cameron's offer beyond deficit reduction?

Kirby-Jill On our Columnists' page, Jill Kirby asks: What are Conservatives for? A review of "Conservatism" by Kieron O'Hara... In O'Hara's words, “the conservative is humble in the face of uncertainty and complexity.”

Mark Pawsey MP on Comment: The government must not lose its nerve on planning reforms, and reject nimbyism

Local government: Only SIXTY babies adopted last year. "Not acceptable," says Harry Phibbs.

WATCH: Peter Oborne calls EU spokesman an "idiot" repeatedly, prompting him to walk off and upsets former FT editor, Richard Lambert

Osborne will reject £50bn Tobin Tax on banks unless there is global agreement - Scotsman

  • "The City is where 80 per cent of all big deals are agreed — so the UK would have to pay £40 billion. Furious City officials last night branded it "a tax on London"." - The Sun
  • A Tobin Tax is a disaster with or without global agreement - Allister Heath in City AM

William Hague has said the euro is "a burning building with no exits" for some of the countries which adopted the currency - BBC

Hague-Ready-For-Change The Foreign Secretary in The Spectator: "It clearly means that being in the Euro that Greeks, or Italians or Portuguese have to accept some very big changes in what happens in their country, even bigger than if they weren’t in the Euro and Germans will have to accept that they are going to subsidise those countries for a long time to come really, for the rest of their lifetimes.”

Clegg will warn of EU rupture if countries inside the eurozone do not consult those outside

"Britain’s most pro-European Cabinet member will fly to Warsaw with a warning for European colleagues wrangling over paying off the debt of Greece. As the crisis poses the sternest test for Angela Merkel in six years as German Chancellor, Mr Clegg will say that any attempt to water down the single market will be fiercely resisted. He will also make clear that introducing closer economic ties between eurozone countries must not weaken Britain’s influence in Europe" - Times (£)

  • More on Clegg's warning in the Guardian
  • Nick Clegg will give a radio address to the people of Belarus - Europe's last dictatorship - Independent
  • Nick Clegg: 'We should stand up to this tyranny on our doorstep' - Independent
  • Germans reconsider ties to Europe, Parliament votes on whether to increase bailout fund  - Wall Street Journal
  • John Redwood: 'Will enough Germans defend their democracy?' - John Redwood's Diary
  • Jeremy Warner: 'Eurozone's dangerous lurch towards protectionism' -Telegraph
  • Jeremy Warner: 'Europe must now grasp its chance to turn off the doomsday device"
  • Peter Oborne prompts EU spokesman to walk off after calling him an "idiot repeatedly and upsets former FT editor - Huffington Post

Mail Comment: Lack of leadership built into euro's consitution, greatness required

"The worst of it is that by putting the cart of the euro before the horse of political union, they set up a structure that leaves nobody in charge. Instead, with Greece on the brink of anarchy, we have 17 finance ministers and 17 central bankers (18, including the head of the powerless European Central Bank), squabbling away, hoping that somebody else will solve a problem for which no individual is responsible. Indeed, lack of leadership is built into the euro’s very constitution" - Daily Mail

> Yesterday on ConservativeHome:

Cameron threatens to introduce new law to force retailers to cut the number of plastic bags they use 

Express "I know that retailers want to do better too but if they don't I will be asking them to explain why not They also need to know that the Government has options at its disposal - including legislating as other countries have done. We will continue to look carefully at all options in order to make sure that we further reduce the use of single use plastic bags" - Express

Toby Young: 'Will Boris be the next Tory leader?'

"It all sounds wildly speculative – an inverted pyramid of piffle, as Boris might say – but the curious thing is that the mayor remains a potent threat. His candidacy is taken seriously – not just by him, but by Team Cameron as well" - Telegraph

> Yesterday's ConservativeHome:

Lord Forsyth warns that Murdo Fraser's plans to disband the Scottish Conservatives "risk gravest mistake since Bonnie Prince Charlie U-turn" Scotsman

  • Sir Gus O'Donnell is to hold talks in Edinburgh with the SNP at a time when the nationalists are accused of using civil servants to break up Britain - Telegraph

Con Coughlin writes about very able officers leaving the Armed Forces because of defence cuts "which make no sense" Telegraph

Miliband drops from 22% to 21% as favoured PM after his big speech - The Sun

Miliband faces backlash from big business, whilst spending the day after his speech insisting his isn't "anti-business"  

Miliband "The counter-attack was led by Lord Digby Jones, the former head of the CBI and a trade minister in Gordon Brown's government. Lord Jones said the conference speech decisively demonstrated the Labour leader was not pro-business, labelling his speech as a "kick in the teeth for the only sector that generates wealth, that pays the tax and creates the jobs this country needs". He added that Britain needed leaders rather than people "playing to a union gallery" - Independent

  • In a public Q&A, Miliband says he is targeting the centre-ground - Guardian
  • Steve Richards examines the competing visions of Cameron and Miliband - Independent
  • Miliband plans shadow cabinet reshuffle - Mirror
  • Reshuffle likely to see the return of Lord Falconer and other Blairites - Independent
  • Seamus Milne: 'Now Ed Miliband's challenge is to put his stamp on his Labour party' - Guardian
  • Ed Miliband: 'I'm not weird' - Sun

James Dyson criticises Miliband naive view of business determined by right and wrong

"I learnt the hard way that companies work to their own morals. Values are an inexhaustible list of words that don’t amount to much when decisions are based on profit. Vacuum cleaner companies were making $500 million a year from bags. I was naive to think they would give up that little earner quite so easily. Good manners and good ideas don’t always win in a fierce global market" - Times (£)

> Yesterday's WATCH: Ed Miliband defends the attacks he made on bad business practices in his conference speech

Yvette Cooper prompts speculation over her leadership ambitions after her conference speech, and topping an activist poll 

Screen shot 2011-09-29 at 07.00.36 "Last night she repeatedly refused to rule out running for the leadership – failing to deny on three occasions that she wants to be leader. Miss Cooper told a fringe meeting that Mr Balls had encouraged her to stand against the Miliband brothers for the leadership last year. But she decided that with three young children it was not the right time to run. She said she ‘didn’t think’ her husband would run again for the leadership but, while describing speculation as ‘mischievous’, refused to say the same of herself"- Daily Mail

  • Cooper leads attack on Coalition over police cuts - Independent
  • Quentin Letts: 'You could listen to Yvette Cooper and think she might even be human' - Daily Mail
  • Cameron has lost his way on crime - Paul McKeever of the Police Federation in the FT (£)
  • James Slack: 'This love-in between Labour and the Police Federation won't keep the public safe' - Daily Mail
  • Abhijit Pandya: 'Immigration apology lost as Cooper talks up cultural enrichment' - Daily Mail
  • Phillip Johnson: 'The Left is rewriting Britain's immigration history' - Telegraph

> Yesterday's 

Matthew Parris' week at the Labour party conference, including being kissed by Tessa Jowell -Times (£)

Andy Burnham criticises the EMA withdrawal and calls for a UCAS style apprenticeship system Telegraph I Guardian

> Yesterday's Local government: Burnham still fudging policy on free schools

Universities could do better to admit more poor students, warns watchdog - Times (£)

Healey Shadow Health Secretary Healey says Labour will not privatise NHS hospitals Guardian

Labour say they will block private companies with "narrow commercial interests" from taking over parts of the NHS

"In a speech at the conference Healey signalled the party would extend the idea that it would differentiate between good and bad companies – opening a new front with the coalition over which firms were fit to run public services" - Guardian

NHS Chief Executive admits taxpayers will have to bail out hospitals with debts from Private Finance Initiative schemes

"Sir David Nicholson said: “There may be in some circumstances need to subsidise them from the taxpayer to enable them to take forward their Foundation Trust application. This will be a very small number of organisations, but it may be necessary to in a sense fund them differently, possibly with more resource in order for them to be financially and clinically sustainable and locally accountable.” However he contradicted the Government’s claim that PFI debts were putting the hospitals at financial and clinical risk" - Telegraph

  • Senior midwives warn that NHS cuts could put women in danger - Independent

Adoption figures fall to a new low

Times "New figures reveal that 3,050 children were adopted in the year to March 2011, 5 per cent lower than the year before and now 20 per cent fewer than in 2005. Only 60 babies under the age of 1 were adopted, down from 150 in 2007. This is despite solid evidence that the younger a child is adopted, the better the outcome. There are currently 3,660 babies under a year old in the care system" - Times (£)

Tony Blair's job as Middle East envoy is in question, after the Palestinians accuses him of a bias towards IsraelTelegraph


Labour’s lack of respect for Tony Blair shows it is not a serious contender for power - Times leader (£)

Ian Cowie asks about the "squeezed middle" in the 50pc tax row  

Osborne_with_bberry "Relatively few people are paid more than £150,000 a year but hundreds of thousands of the poorest people in Britain suffer marginal rates of tax higher than 50pc because of unintentional poverty traps. A toxic combination of income tax, National Insurance Contributions (NICs) and means-tested tax credit withdrawals hits hard-working members of the squeezed middle and means other people living on less than national average earnings have a top marginal tax rate of 73pc" - Telegraph

And finally ... Virginia Blackburn asks if David and Samantha Cameron would break with tradition, and not kiss after his conference speech next week  - Express


> Please use the thread below to provide links to news topics likely to be of interest to ConservativeHome readers and to comment on political topics that haven't been given their own blog. This thread is moderated but during working hours (that's 6am to 10pm for ConHome) comments will usually be delayed no longer than sixty minutes. Read our comments policy here.

28 Sep 2011 16:59:46

Teatime newslinks for Wednesday 28th September 2011

6.45pm Local government:Burnham still fudging policy on free schools

6.30pm MPsETC: Bill Cash accuses European Commission president José Manuel Barroso of reiterating an "Alice in Wonderland fantasy idea of greater economic integration in the Eurozone"

5pm ToryDiary: Toby Young has bet £15,000 that Boris Johnson will be Tory leader by 2018


  • Full transcript of Yvette Cooper's speech - New Statesman
  • "Blair was right, tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime" - PlayPolitical
  • Cooper says plans for elected police commissioners should be scrapped, and money should be spent tackling the gang culture and saving police jobs - Guardian
  • Cooper announces Lord Stevens will head police review - Daily Mail
  • Outside of the conference arena, Cooper says the mining community is in a "state of shock", after a miner was killed at Kellingley Colliery in Yorkshire - Telegraph
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