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30 Nov 2011 08:30:42

Newslinks for Wednesday 30th November 2011

5pm Local government: Large majority of free schools stayed open today

5pm Teatime newslinks - PMQs, the Eurozone and public sector strikes

3.30pm Columnist Andrew Lilico: Has the 2011 Autumn statement destroyed the argument that spending cuts can help the economy grow?

PMQs 30th nov 112.45pm WATCH: David Cameron calls Ed Miliband "irresponsible, left-wing and weak" 

2.30pm Priti Patel MP on Comment: The support trade union leaders have from the people they claim to stand up for is at an all time low

12.45pm ToryDiary: Cameron attacks Ed Miliband as "weak, irresponsible and left-wing" during fiery PMQs

11.45am ConHomeUSA: Today's top Republican and American political news

11am Alistair Thompson on Comment: To end the pension apartheid, the PM must not give an inch

Maude Francis interview10.45am WATCH: Francis Maude: "Even in the week that this completely indefensible strike is happening, there are detailed, good, solid negotiations going on"

ToryDiary: Where was Osborne's break with Brown's childcare legacy?

Also on ToryDiary: George Osborne would have been more radical if it hadn't been for the Liberal Democrats. Do you agree?

Columnist Anthony Browne: George Osborne is a good Chancellor in the worst of times

Ed Holmes of Policy Exchange: Time for a more mature debate on public sector pay and pensions

Local government: DCLG to review collecting union subs

6a00d83451b31c69e2014e892bf270970d-250wiPublic sector strike set to be largest for a generation - BBC

Chancellor's public sector pay announcements seen as provocative by unions - Independent | Metro

  • Striking teachers are part of a culture that is quick to whinge and slow to find solutions - Headteacher Greg Wallace in The Telegraph
  • "It is simply unfair for public sector workers to expect to receive unchanged pensions largely funded by workers whose own retirement provision is not nearly as generous." - Express leader
  • "There are only two types of people on strike today: those who will accept no personal sacrifice, however limited, and those who are too intimidated to defy their co-workers. In other words they are the selfish and the weak. We should be blackmailed by neither." - Ann Widdecombe

Neil O'Brien on the selfish unions: "Unless George Osborne finds a magic money tree, he must choose between restraining pay and sacking tens of thousands more people in the public sector. But militancy has not only been self-defeating. Preventing change for those on the inside who have good jobs has hurt the chances of those on the outside finding work. Jackpot pensions for older public sector workers make it harder for my fellow thirtysomethings to get work." - Times (£)

The cuts will be bigger in future years. They will last for seven years, not four.


  • "George Osborne stunned MPs by announcing two more years of public spending cuts after the end of this Parliament.  This is to meet his target of eradicating Britain’s structural deficit – meaning Britain will endure austerity measures for six straight years. He will now cut £8billion from public spending in 2015-16 and another £7billion in 2016-17. The percentage cuts of 3.5 per cent and 2.7 per cent in those years, are far deeper than the Coalition’s current austerity measures, which average 2.3 per cent over the lifetime of this Parliament." - Daily Mail
  • "The OBR says that total borrowing 2010-2015 will now be £563 billion, compared to their forecast of £451 billion in June 2010 and £485 billion in March 2011." - John Redwood
  • "Despite the Chancellor’s deficit-reduction efforts, public debt will now peak at 78% of gross domestic product, or nearly £1.4 trillion. That is far above the 69% of GDP debt level, or £1.36 trillion predicted only eight months ago." - Times (£)

> Andrew Lilico on ConHome yesterday: Osborne's Autumn Statement is a message that he is going to miss his deficit reduction target

Grim and reforming times for the public sector
  • "On the eve of tomorrow's planned strike action over pensions, the chancellor imposed a fresh public-sector pay freeze and cut financial help to the lowest paid workers in order to pay for extra spending on schools, youth unemployment, house building and infrastructure spending." - Guardian
  • The number of public sector job losses will be 310,000 higher than the 400,000 redundancies forecast for this Parliament by the OBR eight months ago - Telegraph
  • "The Institute for Fiscal Studies has found that, in some parts of the country, public sector employees were paid more than 10 per cent more than their peers in private companies for doing similar work, the Treasury said. Unions claimed the proposal represented a move towards regional pay rates that would lead to a cut in wages for many workers, which they would be certain to oppose." - Telegraph
BUT pensioners and benefit claimants enjoy much bigger income increases than those in work

Screen shot 2011-11-30 at 08.10.53
  • Record rise in state pension as 'triple lock’ pledge is honoured - Express | Telegraph
  • "The Chancellor confirmed that most handouts such as unemployment benefit and disability living allowance will rise in line with September’s 5.2 per cent inflation figure. And OAPs were given the biggest cash increase in the state pension since it was introduced more than 100 years ago." - Daily Mail
  • Retirement on hold for 8m expecting to retire at 66 - Times (£)
  • Lib Dems insist they stopped benefits trim - Times (£)
Other Autumn Spending decisions
  • Osborne's £250 million relief for carbon intensive industry is attacked as "polluters' charter" - Telegraph
  • "£1.2bn will be taken from the Department for International Development. The UK will still hit its target to spend 0.7 per cent of national income on aid by 2013, however, because national income is now forecast to be lower." - FT (£)
  • Social housing tenants will be offered a 50 per cent discount on the value of their homes, with the money spent on new houses for social rent - FT (£)
  • Despite overall cuts in science spending George Osborne has delivered targeted help - BBC

New, new new - Osborne used "new" forty times in Autumn Statement - FT (£)

Tory MPs in show of unity for Chancellor despite concerns about micromanagement - FT (£)

Balls Ed WoodReacting to the Chancellor's Autumn Statement, Ed Balls said growth was "flatlining", unemployment rising and borrowing £158bn higher than planned - BBC

The politics of the Autumn Statement

  • "The Chancellor wants to say at the election: “Britain is on the right track, don’t turn back.” He hoped to “prove” that witha generous Budget at the outset of the campaign. Now he will have to rely purely on argument and, a little, on stronger growth. This is weaker ground." - Daniel Finkelstein in The Times (£)
  • Danny Alexander commits the Liberal Democrats to the same borrowing policy as the Conservatives for beyond the election - Alex Massie at The Spectator
  • George Osborne has as good as guaranteed his party victory at the next election - Dan Hodges at Telegraph blogs

Leader columns assess the Autumn Statement

  • "HE was not so much the Iron Chancellor as the Tin Man... Fortune favours the brave. Until the Tories find some courage, Britain's prospects are grim indeed." - Sun Says
  • "If the Mail’s fears are right, only a radical rebalancing of the economy can save Britain now. This will mean sweeping away employment taxes and red tape, immediately ending national pay bargaining, suspending the minimum wage, capping immigration (while more than 1million 16-24 year-old Britons are neither in work nor employment) – and reducing the size of the state, which is still hugely bigger than when Labour came to power." - Mail leader 
  • The Chancellor plays a difficult hand with skill - Telegraph leader
  • "This is a Government, and especially a Prime Minister, that exudes more determination than imagination." - Times leader (£)
  • The fact that Mr Osborne’s targets will now be reached later is not a disaster - FT leader (£)
  • Mr Osborne's message to his hard-pressed fellow citizens boiled down to little more than the stoical injunction to keep calm and carry on - Independent leader
  • "The forecast of austerity almost as far as the eye can see will probably come to be the central political fact of yesterday's statement. It means that the coalition parties cannot go to the polls claiming to have balanced the books." - Guardian leader

Commentators assess the Autumn Statement

Screen shot 2011-11-30 at 08.10.38

  • "The Coalition's pathetically timid push-me-pull-you muddling on compromises is beginning to look equally weak. The nation was screaming out for radical action yesterday, if not for now then for our dark future. Instead of bravery, Osborne was only able to offer up limited business help and gimmicky tinkering. No wonder one stalwart said: "We needed Osborne to be Thatcher today but he was Brown." - Tom Newton-Dunn in The Sun
  • "The bitter truth is that the Coalition has abjectly failed to cut public spending sufficiently - Simon Heffer in the Daily Mail
  • Margaret Thatcher conveyed clear purpose in a way that George Osborne doesn't - Nick Wood for the Daily Mail
  • "It was a disappointment that the Chancellor didn’t go further with supply side reform." - Jeremy Warner in The Telegraph
  • The gravity of the economic situation should be the catalyst for profound, structural reforms - Andrew Haldenby in The Telegraph
  • We are seeing almost Gordon Brown’s levels of “initiative-itis”. Yet the ideas also seem to be fairly small beer - Martin Wolf in the FT (£)
  • "Yesterday’s Budget from Osborne was thus a weird mix of neo-Brownite obfuscation, a shameless shifting of the fiscal goal-posts, tinkering, over-spun, not especially relevant projects, robust free-market rhetoric (unmatched by game-changing reforms), lots of silly corporatism, a few good but minor polices to incentivise new firms and (rightly) far more spending cuts – but only after the next election." - Allister Heath in City AM
  • "[Osborne] is no Thatcherite. He has no faith in monetarism, demand stimulus or free markets to serve recovery unaided. He has turned instead to classic statist intervention." - Simon Jenkins in The Guardian
  • Polly Toynbee calls it "The Bullingdon budget"; writing "the Chancellor has declared class war: a Tory assault on the public sector and the poor" - Guardian

Osborne Thatcher combo2

> Yesterday's ToryDiary verdict: We needed Osborne to be Thatcher, but he was Brown

George Osborne prepares for run on banks in troubled eurozone countries - Guardian

Screen shot 2011-11-29 at 18.12.13Storming of British Embassy compound in Iran

"David Cameron led worldwide condemnation of the attacks, calling them “outrageous and indefensible” and warning of “serious consequences” as relations between the two countries plunged to a new low." - Times (£)

  • Melanie Phillips: Hague's "puny" response - Daily Mail

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Reacting to storming of British Embassy in Iran, William Hague promises "consequences"

And finally... Boris Johnson attempted to beckon the Chancellor over to edge of a large hole on a visit to a building site in Battersea, south London - Telegraph


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29 Nov 2011 08:29:25

Newslinks for Tuesday 29th November 2011

9pm Columnist Andrew Lilico: The key table from the Autumn Statement

8.45pm WATCH: William Hague: We hold the Iranian Government responsible for failing to protect our embassy

8pm Nadine Dorries MP on Comment: More tax breaks for carers are needed to help improve childcare provision

George_freeman_portrait6.30pm George Freeman MP on Comment: We need new models of funding for infrastructure to unlock new sources of finance and for growth

6.15pm ToryDiary: Reacting to storming of British Embassy in Iran, William Hague promises "consequences"

5pm: Today's teatime newslinks - George Osborne's Autumn Statement

3.45pm ThinkTankCentral: Reactions to Autumn Statement from ASI, IEA, TPA and Reform

3pm Columnist Andrew Lilico: Osborne's Autumn Statement is a message that he is going to miss his deficit reduction target

Osthatcher2.45pm ToryDiary: We needed Osborne to be Thatcher today, but he was Brown

2.15pm Michael Robb on Comment: Autumn Statement plays to the electoral base

2pm WATCH: 

1.30pm WATCH: George Osborne opens his Autumn Statement: "Whatever it takes" will be done to protect Britain, as Europe heads towards recession

12.30pm ToryDiary: George Osborne's Autumn Statement announcements

Noon ToryDiary: Why this afternoon's autumn statement scarcely matters

Elephant shieldNoon ConHomeUSA: Today's top Republican and American political news

11.45 WATCH:

11am Local government: Labour councillors pledge to join picket lines

10am Margot James MP on Comment: What room does the UK have for improving the quality of public services in the present economic outlook?

10am WATCH: Cameron: "World AIDS Day is about reflection, action, and hope"

ToryDiary: Can you think of any measures in Osborne's Autumn Statement that Gordon Brown couldn't have announced?

DavisDavid Davis MP on Comment: The Government must go for growth: If it doesn’t take bold action, the economy will flounder

MPsETC: "Without a healthy environment we don't have an economy, we don't have a future" says Zac Goldsmith MP

Local Government: Ending the "obsession with demoliton" of Prescott's Pathfinders

WATCH: Michael Gove calls on teachers to rethink strike plans

Osborne will announce more than 250,000 free nursery places in the Autumn Statement

Mail"At present, all three and four-year-olds are entitled to 15 hours of nursery education for 38 weeks of the year. The new scheme, which is designed to appeal to women voters who may have felt neglected by the Coalition, will extend the entitlement to about 260,000 two year-olds. As well as helping mothers to return to work at least part-time, the move is aimed at narrowing Britain’s growing social divide" - Telegraph

The Chancellor will use the Autumn Statement today to declare that he is still on course to eliminate the deficit 

"Osborne will move to reassure the markets that he remains in control of the British economy when he declares that he is still on course to eliminate the structural budget deficit after a projected £21.5bn fall in Britain's borrowing costs. He will hail the lower borrowing costs as a sign of how he has protected Britain from the global sovereign debt storm that is currently focused on the eurozone" - Guardian

  • Simon Heffer offers George Osborne a ten-point plan to help boost growth - Daily Mail
  • Will Osborne pull any rabbits out of the hat? - Telegraph
  • 'In dip trouble' - The Sun
  • The Daily Mail list some of the other measures expected today - Daily Mail
  • Rachel Sylvester: "As usual with the master strategist [Osborne], this will be a deeply political statement, designed to neutralise Labour’s attempt to win over the “squeezed middle” - Times (£)

Osborne> Yesterday

Osborne's statement comes at a time when the OECD announces that weak growth has caused a £50billion black hole in the deficit reduction programme

"The collapse in growth will trigger a fresh surge in unemployment next year, now forecast to peak at 9.1pc in 2013 – far above the current 8.3pc and putting another 400,000 workers out of a job, on top of the 2.62m already unemployed. The bleak outlook threatens to overshadow the package of measures to help lift the economy George Osborne will unveil" - Telegraph

"The chancellor will have to confirm that the economy is well off course - that growth will be much lower and borrowing much higher than he planned. It won't matter that the forecasters and the pundits have long predicted this. The sight and sound of George Osborne reading out figures - described as "shocking" by some who've seen them - and the reaction of the House of Commons, will drive home to many people the sheer scale of the economic challenge the country now faces." - Nick Robinson

A £300million plus package of tax breaks will be announced by Osborne to stimulate investment in small businessesGuardian

Proposals for an airport in the Thames Estuary will be among 40 new projects spelt out by the Chancellor today

Boris"George Osborne will raise hopes of a new multi-runway airport in the Thames Estuary today when he commits the Government to a global hub in the South East. The proposal, championed by Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, and the architect Lord Foster of Thames Bank, will receive full consideration next year, the Chancellor will say, as he vows to lay the foundations for Britain’s future beyond the eurozone crisis" - Times (£)

  • Steve Richards: "Osborne's focus on infrastructure projects is the right one, but its success will depend on scale and speed. However he chooses to present his contortion, in reality Osborne risks being too Scrooge rather than another Santa Claus breaking free of his chains" - Independent
  • British Airways boss, Willie Walsh, attacks Cameron for having "no policy for aviation" and over taxing the industry - Guardian

Danny Alexander cancels plans to develop carbon capture technology in Scotland, diverting £1bn set aside to other projectsTimes (£)

£50million is being offered by the Chancellor to save sleeper trains from London to ScotlandGuardian

Maria Miller MP will announce that the Government will reverse its decision to scrap the transport allowance for 80,000 people in residential homesTimes (£)

The state of polling on the economy

  • ComRes poll in the Independent suggests the public, and even Tory voters, want Osborne to boost the economy with a Plan B - Independent
  • YouGov's Peter Kellner suggests that even in this economic climate, public support for the Government isn't as low as it could be: "One might have expected a marked rise in public disenchantment with the government. It hasn't happened ... the Conservatives continue to win the argument that they are cleaning up a mess they inherited" - Huffington Post

Research by Nicholas Watt suggests Osborne is viewed with suspicion by many Tory MPs, and admiration by othersGuardian

The real George Osborne - Andy Beckett's extended profile in The Guardian

What are Labour saying on the economy? What should they be saying?

  • Mary Riddell: 'While George Osborne triggers Plan S for Splurge, Ed Miliband must beware Plan D for Dither' - Telegraph
  • John Harris: Britain's economy needs a big push but the Tories can only nudge - Guardian
  • "If you try to cut spending and raise taxes too far and too fast, you risk making things worse, not better", says Ed Balls - Mirror

The €urozone crisis has cost Britain up to £15billion, says Bank of England Governor, Mervyn King

Kingmervyn"Sir Mervyn said: "Growth has been revised down by over one percentage point. The bulk of that can be attributed directly or indirectly to the changing in perception of the circumstances in the euro area – directly through exports from the UK to the eurozone, indirectly through lower asset prices and lower wealth and funding costs to our banks" - Telegraph

Andrew Tyrie, chairman of the TSC:  King's comments "made clear that the bulk of loss of economic growth is attributable to eurozone instability. This reinforces the need to re-orientate exports away from a weak European market to stronger demand in emerging markets"- Telegraph

  • OECD warns that Britain will be back in recession this winter - Guardian

> Yesterday Columnist Anthony Browne: The financial transaction tax will be a tipping point for many British people

The underdogs in the pension debate are actually those who work in the private sector, says Dominic Lawson

"In fact, if there is a class divide within the employment market, the underdogs are definitely not the public sector. As the most recent official figures from the Office of National Statistics show, the median gross weekly pay in the private sector was £465, compared with £539 in the public sector. That growing gulf is a reflection of the fact that defined benefit pension plans are all but extinct in the private sector, but still available across the board in the public sector" - Independent

  • Gove blames strike action on "militants itching for a fight" - Guardian

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: No Goldilocks moment as Government veers from appeasement to confrontation with unions

After a poll boost for Boris Johnson, Peter McKay says "Boris has the skills when it comes to sniffing out voter sentiment"Daily Mail

Head of the Public Accounts Committee, Margaret Hodge, warns that the taxpayer will not save any money from the decision to scrap Britain's aircraft carriersTimes (£) I Guardian

Consumerism and police failures to blame for the Summer riotsTelegraph

  • 'How police abandoned streets to riot mobs: Officers 'gave impression of surrender' - Daily Mail

Former Northern Ireland Secretary, Peter Hain, has been warned by Police that his computer may have been hacked by private detectivesGuardian

John Bercow unveils his new coat of arms - including a ladder to represent his journey upwards, and pink triangles to promote the cause of gay rightsGuardian

Screen shot 2011-11-29 at 08.32.24

Full picture of the arms.


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28 Nov 2011 08:32:59

Newslinks for Monday 28th November 2011

7.15pm Columnist Anthony Browne: The financial transaction tax will be a tipping point for many British people

6.30pm ToryDiary: 10/10 Tests for the Autumn Statement: Will Osborne recognise and capture the nation's mood?

Mandelson Peter 25.30pm ToryDiary: 9/10 Tests for the Autumn Statement: Will Osborne advance a Mandelsonian industrial policy?

5pm: Today's teatime newslinks - including the OECD's warning of a double-dip recession, the build up to Osborne's Autumn Statement, public sector pension strikes, and a poll boost for Boris

4.30pm ToryDiary: 8/10 Tests for the Autumn Statement: Will Osborne address family policy?

4pm ToryDiary: 7/10 Tests for the Autumn Statement: Will Osborne address the €uro issue?

3pm ToryDiary: 6/10 Tests for the Autumn Statement: Will Osborne address the 40p issue?

Screen shot 2011-11-28 at MPsETC: Registration for hairdressers would be compulsory, under a law introduced by David Morris MP

2pm ToryDiary: 5/10 Tests for the Autumn Statement: Will Osborne bring economic sense to environmental policies?

1.30pm WATCH: Zac Goldsmith MP: Many people in the Treasury still see environmental policy as a "burden"

1.15pm Local government: Boris poll lead steady at 8%

1pm ToryDiary: 4/10 Tests for the Autumn Statement: Will "Osbrowne" simplify or complicate the economy?

Gove on Marr12.30pm ToryDiary: No Goldilocks moment as Government veers from appeasement to confrontation with unions

Noon ToryDiary: 3/10 Tests for the Autumn Statement: Will Osborne act on growth?

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

11am Richard Harrington MP on Comment: UK manufacturing: is there hope for small and medium businesses?

10am ToryDiary: 2/10 Tests for the Autumn Statement: Will Osborne fight for the fairness agenda?

9.30am TheRightList: According to GQ, Cameron's chief pollster is more important than George Osborne

ToryDiary: 1/10 Tests for the Autumn Statement: Will Osborne stand firm on deficit reduction?

Columnist Bruce Anderson: George Osborne will do well tomorrow. His ratings, high already, will climb further

Screen shot 2011-11-28 at 08.20.22

LeftWatch: Chloe Smith MP warns that average family's mortgage bill could be £5,000 higher under Labour

Marc Glendening on Comment: Only an EU referendum can bring about real re-negotiation

Local government: Councils funding the equalities industry

WATCH: Francis Maude explains Government's position on public sector pensions

IMF drawing up £517bn package to save Italy, Spain and the euro - Telegraph

"Britain is drawing up emergency plans for the collapse of the ‘creaking’ Eurozone amid warnings debt-stricken Italy will need a £500 billion bailout involving billions of pounds of UK taxpayers’ money." - Daily Mail

16118879Centrepiece of Autumn Statement will be a £30 billion National Infrastructure Plan

500 infrastructure projects to be funded by £5 billion squeeze on other spending and investments from pension funds - Guardian

"The Chancellor will redirect money made from savings in the welfare budget, and other areas, to start work on 40 “priority” schemes, including expanding schools to provide another 40,000 places for pupils." - Telegraph

China’s $410bn sovereign wealth fund announces plans for new investment in the UK - FT (£)

  • "The Chancellor will publish an updated version of its £200 billion, five-year infrastructure plan that will prioritise key projects and give the private sector a clearer idea of when particular schemes are scheduled, to allow it to plan ahead." - David Wighton in The Times (£)
  • "[Osborne] has made it clear that the extra dollops of cash for housing, unemployment and infrastructure projects will have to be matched by savings elsewhere. If that proves to be correct, there will be no net increase in demand, merely a shifting of resources from one part of the economy to another." - Larry Elliott in The Guardian

The Government is to set out plans for up to a dozen new specialist schools aimed at providing the "highest quality maths teaching in the world - Telegraph

Osborne-HeadshotOsborne's VERY flexible fiscal mandate

"Osborne showed that he is a supreme political operator by making [his fiscal mandate] much more elastic than commentators have appreciated. The plan has two goals. First, to ensure that the structural current deficit is in balance by 2015-16, which is, crucially, after the next general election. This excludes capital investment and is a "rolling five-year judgment" which means there will be no fixed point when a definitive judgment can be made. The second goal, to ensure that debt is falling as share of GDP by 2015-16, is a fixed target. But it simply means that debt in 2015-16 must be lower than the previous year, however high the figure in 2014-15." - Nick Watt in The Guardian

Jackie Ashley: Osborne's economic strategy owes a great deal to Labour and the Lib Dems - Guardian

"Tim Montgomerie, editor of the ConservativeHome activists’ website, believes the opposition’s failure to restore its reputation for economic competence after the crash of 2008-09 is “one of the most important factors in British politics”, and has led the chancellor to conclude the Conservatives can win the next election even if the economy is still in the doldrums." - FT (£)

> Yesterday's LeftWatch: Labour wonks call for fiscal conservatism

Chris Grayling aims to halve health and safety red tape

Grayling Chris Newsnight"Ministers aim to cut the amount of health and safety red tape by half, Chris Grayling will announce on Monday. Publishing the findings of a government review into health and safety measures, the employment minister on Monday will promise a “significant simplification of the rules”, adding that employees need to take as much responsibility for their own health in the workplace as the businesses that employ them." - FT (£) | Sun

  • But City AM's Allister Heath will believe it when it happens: "Chris Grayling’s bid to reduce health and safety red tape is equally welcome, assuming that it is more than mere rhetoric or trivial (as ever, I will believe it when I see it). The same is true of the reforms to employment law launched by Vince Cable – though, once again, change is taking a long time and various measures have been reannounced several times already, which is worrying."

Appeals by welfare claimants are delaying budget savings - Times (£)

Maude Francis November 11Maude's ultimatum to public sector: Accept pension deal or lose it at end of year - Independent

  • 67% of women and 55% of men have sympathy for public sector strikers - BBC | More at ComRes (PDF)
  • Two thirds of schools to shut, airports set for chaos, Army on standby - but unions won't discuss a last-minute peace deal - Daily Mail
  • Labour should tell the teachers and other public sector workers to call off this strike - Boris Johnson in The Telegraph
  • Strikes could wreck only chance of recovery - Trevor Kavanagh for The Sun
  • "According to the independ- ent Office of National Statistics the average salary for a full- time state employee is £28,802, compared to just £25,000 in the private sector. In addition those on the public payroll generally enjoy far better job security, shorter hours, longer holidays and more workplace rights. Yet they now have the nerve to drag the country to a standstill in their selfish, puerile dispute over pensions." - Leo McKinstry in The Express
  • The SNP's john Swinney: "UK Ministers, from the Prime Minister downwards, actually appear to be relishing the prospect of strike action and confrontation with the trade unions" - Quoted by PA

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Army could secure Britain's borders if planned strikes go ahead

Cameron has called in senior ministers to Downing Street to explain why their departments missed key performance targets – which they themselves had set - Independent

MITCHELL ANDREW DFID OFFICEAndrew Mitchell: Coalition will stick by 0.7% aid commitment - FT (£)

  • As UK faces economic meltdown, ministers hand over £330m to tackle climate change in Africa - Daily Mail
  • "UKIP MEP Godfrey Bloom said: It is inconceivable that the Government feels able to spend money on climate change in Africa when its austerity measures at home are causing such pain. If we have the money then we should spend it here.” - Express
  • Climategate 2.0; A new batch of leaked emails again shows some leading scientists trying to smear opponents - James Delingpole for the Wall Street Journal

Patients admitted to NHS hospitals for emergency treatment at weekends are almost 10 per cent more likely to die than during the rest of the week - Telegraph

People who think Cameron is a failure are simply being foolish - Lib Dem blogger Mark Thompson for Dale&Co

Another pollster shows UKIP gaining on the LibDems; Lab 42%, Con 33%, LD 8%, UKIP 7% - Angus Reid

Britain must end its supine indulgence of the globalised wealthy - John Kampfner for The Independent

Time to end the taboo and have an industrial policy again - Diane Coyle and Paola Subacchi in the FT (£)

Blogger 'Guido Fawkes' summoned by Leveson inquiry - BBC

And finally... Boris Johnson beats Cameron to be GQ's most influential man

"Boris Johnson has triumphed over David Cameron to be named the most influential man in Britain. The Mayor of London, who left the Prime Minister lagging behind for the second year running, led the political agenda this year, forcing Mr Cameron to react to his decisions, according to GQ magazine's 100 Most Influential Men in Britain 2012 list..." Osborne is down to number 8, Clegg to 34 - Press Association


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27 Nov 2011 09:01:55

Newslinks for Sunday 27th November 2011

Widdecombe_ann_new7pm MPsETC: "Neither Mrs Thatcher or I, would have any time for the sisterhood approach" says Ann Widdecombe

6pm WATCH:

2.30pm ToryDiary: It is likely that the army could secure Britain's borders if planned strikes go ahead, says Francis Maude

2pm MPsETC: Welsh Conservative Leader Andrew RT Davies pays tribute to Wales football manager Gary Speed

2pm ConHomeUSA: Today's top Republican and American political news


11am LeftWatch: We've had Blue Labour, Purple Labour and soon there'll be "In The Black" Labour

10.30am ToryDiary: Osborne promises to "whatever it takes" to hit his deficit targets

Columnist Ruth Lea: Trim the aid budget and cut taxes

Robert Leitch on Comment: If you don't need your Winter Fuel Payment please give it away

George Hollingbery MP on Local government: The Government is taking the right steps to turn empty houses into much-needed homes

Also on Local government: Cllr David Burbage: Local people know what they like

UK taxpayers are set to pour up to £1 billion into helping African countries fight climate change - The Sunday Telegraph

Inflation is voters' top economic concern - The Sunday Telegraph

> Yesterday evening's ToryDiary on Lord Ashcroft's latest mega poll: 57% don't expect Government to make much difference to economy

Autumn Statement Leak 1: George Osborne will underwrite £20 billion of loans to business

Osborne on AM

"A Treasury source described the scheme, which is thought to be similar to the Labour government's credit guarantee scheme of 2008, as a "game changer". It would mean that a firm currently taking out a £5m loan at a typical interest rate of 5% would instead be able to borrow at 4%, saving £50,000 a year in interest payments." - BBC

Autumn Statement Leak 2: Mr Osborne is also expected to confirm there will either be a freeze or delay in a 3p rise in fuel duty - The Sunday Telegraph

Autumn Statement Leak 3: £300 million of help for rail commuters

Greening Justine BBC"Transport secretary Justine Greening has won an agreement from the Treasury to cap the increase in regulated rail fares, due to be implemented in 2012, at 1% above inflation, instead of the 3% planned rise — though that will still mean prices go up by more than 6%. This temporary measure will cost £300m, and covers season tickets and peak travel on key commuter routes." - Observer

  • A group of 10 backbenchers led by Andrea Leadsom says the government should develop a new "comprehensive" transport strategy instead of HS2 which concentrates on better connections between road, rail and air - Sunday Telegraph

Autumn Statement Leak 4: Faster capital spending

"The chancellor will announce 40 infrastructure projects on Tuesday which the government will intervene in to speed up, though without spending new money. He will bring forward some capital spending and shift cash from day-to-day spending to similar projects." - Observer

"Osborne is to sign a deal with global pension funds to pour tens of billions of pounds into major infrastructure projects across the UK in an attempt to boost the economy." - Scotland on Sunday

Osborne will warn this week that the country will suffer six more years of cuts in public spending to eliminate the bulk of the deficit - The Sunday Times (£)

Too much micro-management from Osborne - Janet Daley in The Sunday Telegraph

Clegg claims credit for Friday's Youth Employment Scheme

Clegg Nick July 2011"Whether it's on youth unemployment, whether it's on youngsters, whether it's on getting behind advanced manufacturing and not putting all our eggs into the City of London basket, I don't think that would have happened without the coalition." - Observer

"A planned 5.2 per cent increase in benefits will go ahead, one of several decisions that Lib Dems are expected to claim as victories for the less well-off. Nick Clegg has secured £1bn over three years to stop the million unemployed young people in Britain from becoming a lost generation. Lib Dems will also be cheered by news that the levy on banks' balance sheets is to be increased to ensure it raises the planned £2.5bn." - Independent on Sunday

100,000 Britons rely on food parcels because they can’t afford to eat - Sunday Express

A post-eurozone Britain could end up less fixated on Europe, and more engaged with the increasingly prosperous outside world - Iain Martin in The Sunday Telegraph

Steve Hilton reveals his doubts about climate change 


The PM's guru has become a big fan of former Chancellor Nigel Lawson, a vocal critic of the global warming lobby - Mail on Sunday

  • Also in the Mail on Sunday, James Forsyth says Hilton has become increasingly disillusioned with the government, "Steve and all those guys who came in hoping to be seriously radical are very frustrated."

Investors need to get a grip on their companies to curtail the exorbitant executive pay that is at the root of the anti-capitalist protests - Tory MPs Dominic Raab and Matthew Hancock in The Sunday Times (£)

Heseltine backs Boris’s Thames Estuary airport - The Sunday Times (£)

Union leader Len McCluskey targets Francis Maude

"It defies belief that Francis Maude can expect a pension of £43,000 a year while a nurse, caring for the sick and dying, will be expected to stump up £65 extra a month to help George Osborne pay for the mess caused by his friends. So much for David Cameron’s claim: “We are all in this together.”" - Unite's leader in The Sunday Mirror

Balls Ed July 2011Ed Balls expresses "huge sympathy" for public sector unions planning mass strike action - Independent on Sunday

  • Danny Alexander, the Chief Secretary of the Treasury, warned the unions that an improved offer on public sector pensions could be swept off the table if an agreement is not reached - Scotland on Sunday
  • The unions are helping to ensure the economic pain will last even longer - Sunday Times leader (£)
  • The one-day strike is a coward’s weapon. It hurts many innocent bystanders and costs the country a great deal of money - Mail on Sunday leader

Osborne is "the best politician in the Conservative Party at the moment"... says Ed Balls to Jane Merrick in the Independent on Sunday

Labour opens up 9% lead in latest YouGov/ Sunday Times poll - YouGov

UKIP at 11% and LibDems at 12% in Survation/ Star on Sunday poll in which respondents are given specific option of backing Nigel Farage's party.

  • UK Polling Report's Anthony Wells explains the difference between Survation's 11% tally for UKIP and YouGov's overnight 5%. 

The Liberal Democrats are to "rebrand" their party in an effort to be perceived in the same way as Oxfam, the Third World Charity - Mail on Sunday | The Sunday Telegraph

Martin Ivens: Britain's very moderate government

"The economic right urges exciting supply-side reform. If employment protections were scrapped and taxes were lowered, businesses would prosper. That’s too exciting for No 10. In the autumn statement on Tuesday, Osborne will try to stimulate growth over the long term through credit easing, infrastruture and housing investment. But the coalition is run — in the words of Robin Harris, author of a waspish new history, The Conservatives, and a former boss of Cameron at its research department — by “mild and muddled paternalists"... The country has the moderate government it half-heartedly wants and probably deserves." - Martin Ivens in The Sunday Times (£)

If people knew how much the equalities industry costs the country, they would question whether we can afford it and whether it does any good - Minette Marrin in The Sunday Times (£)

Clegg has installed rowing machine in his office to battle the bulge - The Sunday Times (£)

Sally Bercow eyes Brighton area in her bid to become a Labour MP - Independent on Sunday

Is Cameron's West London vicar the inspiration for BBCtv's "Rev" - Mail on Sunday

THATCHERAnd finally... The Lady's not for watching... Margaret Thatcher has said she will not see her movie debut - Conor Burns MP talks to the Mail on Sunday

Heseltine "is disgusted by the thought of The Iron Lady, in which Meryl Streep portrays her as a confused old woman. “Picking on that aspect of a significant historic figure towards the end of their life is distasteful,” he says." - The Sunday Times (£)

The Sunday Express says "the story is set over two days in the present, with extensive flashbacks, as Thatcher battles senility."

  • No one should want to go back to the 80s – not even the Tories, because it did lasting damage to them, too - Andrew Rawnsley in The Observer


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