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31 Dec 2011 09:01:23

Newslinks for New Year's Eve 2011

Newslinks for New Year's Day will appear at noon. Have a great one!


6pm MPsETC: It's not quite Guy Fawkes but Tory MP Mark Lancaster plans pyrotechnics over Big Ben tonight

4.30pm The break up of the €uro. An easy re-election for Obama. More riots in Britain. Civil war in Syria. Andrew Lilico's 2012 predictions...

4.30pm WATCH: Andrew Lansley explains why he is establishing an expert inquiry into safety of breast implants

Screen shot 2011-12-31 at 09.09.13

ToryDiary: Michael Gove is ConservativeHome's Conservative of the Year

ToryDiary: New leader of Scotland's Tories, Ruth Davidson, says Alex Salmond is the "Agitator in Chief"

Local government: Westminster Council says Council Tax Benefit should be linked to behaviour

Ben Howlett on Comment: A New Year Message from Conservative Future

WATCH: Tears run down Newt Gingrich's face as he remembers his mother's love

London 2012 Olympics will NOT be 'austerity Olympics', says Jeremy Hunt

"Jeremy Hunt believes that hosting the Games is an “incredible stroke of luck” during the global economic crisis as it will provide a “huge plus sign” for the struggling British economy. He also says demonstrators will be tolerated as long as their protests are legitimate and lawful." - Telegraph

Cameron claims Big Society dimension to New Year Honours but controversy attaches to awards to Tory donors - Guardian

Screen shot 2011-12-31 at 07.39.42"Ex-convict Gerald Ronson – the great survivor of the Guinness share-trading scandal – is made a CBE. And there is a knighthood for Tory donor Paul Ruddock, who has given more than £500,000 to party coffers since 2003. His firm, Lansdowne Partners, made a staggering £100million from the financial crash by betting that the price of Northern Rock shares would fall and also made millions in a matter of days by predicting the likely slide of other banking shares." - Daily Mail

Ex-drug dealer gets OBE for becoming Crimestoppers activist - Express

Roger_gale_1Peter Bottomley last year and this year... Tory MP Roger Gale is knighted - BBC

"Roger Gale MP has been nominated to receive a knighthood in the New Year's honours. Elected to the Margate, Herne Bay and The Villages (now Thanet North) constituency in 1983, Sir Roger lives in Preston, near Canterbury, with wife Suzy, who is his office manager. They have three children. A backbencher for the Conservative Party, Mr Gale is passionate about animal welfare. He has held positions including vice chairman of the Conservative Party. His name was mooted as Speaker of the House of Commons but John Bercow MP was elected instead. Before entering politics he worked for the BBC as a producer and was a DJ on the pirate radio ship Radio Caroline." - ThisIsKent

The Independent notes that Bob Russell MP, Nick Clegg's most active parliamentary critic has also been knighted.

From CND activist to Dame for Joan Ruddock - Telegraph

  • Nick Watt has noticed the revival of political honours by Cameron - Guardian

Lord Howe denies that he wanted a “managed decline” of Liverpool after the 1981 riots - Express

  • In The Times (£) Tony Travers says "managed decline" is sometimes necessary: "How rational is it to spend public money on regeneration while at the same time public policy attempts to curb the expansion of successful towns and cities? Places such as Cambridge would probably grow into new Manchester-scale cities if they were not constrained by planning and green belt policies."
  • "Guardian critic Xan Brooks writes that the biopic The Iron Lady, with Meryl Streep, gives us 'Thatcher without Thatcherism' – glossing over what a controversial and divisive political figure she was." - Guardian

> Videos of Heseltine and Howe remembering the 1981 debate on Liverpool

Dorrell-Stephen-newStephen Dorrell urges more focus on ”unsexy“ areas such as mental illness, dementia and diabetes

"Mr Dorrell told The Independent that claims for and against the controversial health reforms had been “grossly overstated” and had taken away from more urgent issues facing the health service."

David Davis joins up with Frank Field to recommend right-to-buy be extended to one million families living in housing association properties

"Under the Field-Davis plan any money raised from the sale of housing association homes would go into building new social housing. Mr Field and Mr Davis said that the Government’s policy was an insufficient response to a housing “crisis” that could lead to fewer than two in three Britons owning their own home by 2020, according to some estimates." - Times (£)

> On MPsETC yesterday we noted that David Davis was the most visible Tory backbencher in 2011

John Redwood wants conviction politicians in 2012

"All too often politicians duck the issue because the solution polls so badly. Many of the successful Thatcher reforms polled badly when undertaken, but have not been reversed as the country and the Opposition came to see the sense of them." - John Redwood

  • "If thrift really does produce civilisation, then welfare will tend to degrade it. Are our leaders brave enough to tackle that problem?" - Charles Moore in The Telegraph

NORMAN JESSEAn influential Conservative backbencher, Jesse Norman, calls Goldman Sachs employees “greedy” and the CBI “lamentable”

In a pamphlet Mr Norman urges colleagues to find a Tory response to Ed Miliband’s warnings of “predator capitalism” - Times (£)

  • Obama advisor urges Miliband to stick with predator capitalism argument. It could be transformational, he tells the FT (£).

Research by Rob Wilson MP finds the Speaker has intervened 60 times against the Prime Minister, compared to 15 times for Mr Miliband - Daily Mail

Graeme Archer is not happy that one of his relatives in England gets no long-term care but another in Scotland does, paid for by the English - Telegraph

Cheap drink blamed for teen pregnancies and STDs - Times (£)

Fighting for jobs and health care - and against second-home council tax perks - Tim Farron MP for The Guardian's Northerner blog

A video of Alex Salmond's new year message - Scotsman

TOYNBEE-POLLY"In my political lifetime there has been no more callous or inept crew in charge – nor a government more skilful at disguising its nature." - Polly Toynbee in The Guardian

The number saving for a private pension plunges to lowest level for over a decade - Sun

Ignored by her children again: Mark was in Barbados, Carol was skiing. Only the intervention of her housekeeper saved Thatcher from spending Christmas alone - Andrew Pierce in the Daily Mail

And finally... some good news... for 2050

"Long-term forecasts by investment bank Goldman Sachs suggest the UK will fare better than its neighbours over the next four decades. Britain is the third biggest economy in Europe behind Germany and France, but by 2050 it will have leapfrogged both countries. The UK will also jump from being the sixth wealthiest country in the world to third, based on national income per head." - Daily Mail


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30 Dec 2011 08:52:43

Newslinks for Friday 30th December 2011

8.15pm WATCH: The Thatcher government transformed Liverpool, claim Lords Heseltine and Howe

2pm MPsETC: Analysis of newspaper mentions finds Chris Grayling, Damian Green and Grant Shapps are most visible ministers outside of Cabinet, while David Davis, John Whittingdale and Nadine Dorries are most visible backbenchers. Read all about it.

Noon ConHomeUSA newslinks: Romney and Santorum strengthening in Iowa campaign's last days

10.45am ToryDiary: Please "Report" objectionable comments

ToryDiary: How Liberal Democrats can gain ownership of the Coalition - while Conservatives get on with boosting growth

THATCHER STATUEToryDiary: Thatcher's determination to buy Trident and defeat economic wets revealed in 1981 Cabinet papers

Columnist Andrew Lilico: In praise of speculators

Andrew Murrison MP: 2014 will present the opportunity for a uniquely British commemoration of the events leading on from the Great War

Local government: Councils hike care charges while hoarding reserves

Patients will be able to choose GP near work or school under trial scheme

LANSLEY ANDREW NW"Commuters in busy urban areas who would prefer to consult a GP close to work will be able to register with a practice there under a pilot scheme. Andrew Lansley, the health secretary, has said he wants people to have more choice over which GP to consult and where, without the current restrictions of practice boundaries." - Guardian

  • Letting hospitals earn more revenue is good for the NHS - Mark Britnell in The Times (£)

> Andrew Lansley was ranked 17th in the end-December Cabinet league table, published on ToryDiary yesterday.

Fifty people a day suffer a violent or sexual attack by a convict spared jail in the ‘soft’ justice system - Daily Mail

FORSYTH FreddieDavid Cameron must do more to scrap rat-infested barracks - Frederick Forsyth in the Express

'I was shot five times by the Taliban ... then ended up in hostel where thieves stole my medals'

"Thousands of Britain's war heroes are living on the streets after being shamefully abandoned by the country they served, a Sun investigation has revealed. Shockingly, we found an army of homeless men — including soldiers just back from Afghanistan — now reduced to living in sheds, by railway lines and even using their survival skills in woods." - The Sun

The Sun Says challenges Cameron to make "the lost army" a priority.

"Britain has been accused of padding its aid budget with "made up money" so it can claim to have met its millennium promise of increasing the amount it donates to the world's poorest people." - Independent

Nuttall David"The Government has suffered a revolt in 43 per cent of Commons divisions between the general election in May 2010 and Christmas 2011, by far the highest rate in modern times."

The Independent reports that five new rebels include David Nuttall, Andrew Percy, Mark Reckless, Zac Goldsmith and Steve Baker.

Whitehall departments may start charging public sector trade unions for the cost of processing their members' monthly subscriptions - The Sun

Scottish Secretary warns Alex Salmond to set out plan for independence referendum within months... or else - The Times (£)

"Scotland's first minister is so dominant that by sheer force of personality he may realise his most cherished political dream" - Jonathan Freedland in The Guardian

Coalition faces court fight over refusal to ban circus animals - The Independent

Westminster council considers benefit cuts for work shy

"Persistent offenders or jobless people who fail to look for work could lose the right to council tax benefit under radical plans being considered by a flagship London council. Westminster is exploring the idea following the government’s decision from 2013 to devolve responsibility for administering the benefit to individual councils, which will set their own criteria for eligibility." - FT (£)

The Express blasts higher taxes on air travel

16139398"The global economy and our own is dependent on the free movement of people whether for holiday or business. It would be a tragedy to return to a time when air travel was the prerogative of the very rich." - The Express

Europe may kick off a trade war with its new scheme to tax airlines on carbon emissions - WSJ leader

  • "Travelling in London is nearly three and a half times more expensive than Paris and 10 times dearer than in Rome, according to research by the Campaign for Better Transport." - Telegraph

Divorce isn’t an option for David Cameron and Nick Clegg - Paul Goodman in The Telegraph

Damian Collins MP keeps the pressure on corruption in FIFA

COLLINS-DAMIAN"In the last year 11 of the 24 members of FIFA's ruling executive committee have faced allegations of corruption; no real progress towards reform has been made within FIFA, and there has never been an independent investigation into all of the bribery allegations made against them. One man is ultimately responsible for this; Sepp Blatter." - Damian Collins MP at the Huffington Post

Some end-of-year questions for Ed Miliband from John Redwood

  • "How does borrowing more get you out of a crisis brought on by borrowing too much?
  • How much more would you like the state to borrow, given that the Coalition is planning to borrow an extra £563 billion over five years (Public sector net borrowing)?
  • Why should we have things today and make our children pay for them tomorrow when they have to pay back the borrowing?"

Read them all on Mr Redwood's blog.

  • CBI chief uses new year message to back George Osborne's spending cuts - Express
  • Miliband’s nightmare: the worse the economy, the better for Cameron - Nick Wood for RightMinds

"Blue Labour thinker Lord Glasman says Oxbridge background of leaders mean it struggles to connect with working class" - Guardian

The Times (£) reviews Mr Miliband's new year message: "Mr Miliband thus ends the year with a rallying cry to his party and to the country. In times of trouble, he says, we should “not lower our sights but raise them”. There is, to be sure, little by way of detail to Mr Miliband’s message. But he is right that it is time to set Labour on a new course. And he is right too that the British people will soon tire of the Lib-Con coalition’s call for fortitude in adversity."

Meryl Streep gets glowing reviews as Margaret Thatcher

""Virtuoso," "translucent," and "compelling" were among the words used by U.S. movie critics this week to describe Streep's turn as Britain's polarizing, and only female, prime minister. "Is there anything that Meryl Streep can't do as an actress? One can only marvel at her virtuoso performance as Margaret Thatcher," said Rolling Stone reviewer Peter Travers." - Reuters


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29 Dec 2011 09:01:21

Newslinks for Thursday 29th December 2012

1.45pm ToryDiary: Owen Paterson joins Cabinet top ten after Eurosceptic intervention (while support for Clegg plunges)

1pm WATCH: The BBC's Ian Watson analyses Ed Miliband's new year message

1pm ConHomeUSA: Ron Paul favourite to win Iowa caucus but Rick Santorum now surging

ToryDiary: The Spice Girls aren't number 1. Richard and Judy don't dominate daytime TV. And Conservatives no longer need to be bashful about our core beliefs.

GILLAN-CHERYLCheryl Gillan MP on Comment: Labour wants a "slate curtain" between Wales and the rest of the UK

LeftWatch: The 1% support Ed Miliband. The 99% do not.

Local government: Cllr Stephen Greenhalgh is the TaxPayers Alliance's pin up of the month

Also on Local government: Halton Labour councillors oppose free school

Builders say Osborne’s infrastructure plan will make “no discernible difference” in the short term - FT (£)

Cameron is expected to overrule Cabinet colleagues in an attempt to push through plans setting a minimum price for alcohol - Yorkshire Post

Screen shot 2011-12-29 at 08.27.45

  • "The issue is set to trigger a Cabinet split with Health Secretary Andrew Lansley, who is deeply opposed to the measures. Attorney General Dominic Grieve is also understood to have warned that moves to introduce minimum pricing would be illegal under EU competition laws." - Daily Mail
  • "Two thirds of Conservatives MPs voted against the smoking ban in 2006, claiming it encroached on personal freedoms. Conservative critics today claimed Mr Cameron's plans to raise the price of alcohol were another example of a "Big Brother" policy that would penalise moderate, middle-class drinkers." - Telegraph
  • The FT (£) reports that Vince Cable agrees with Lansley that minimum price might be illegal under EU law.
  • The Mail (middle leader) urges Cameron to scrap 24 hour drinking instead.

CLARKE-KEN-dark-shirtThe Sun continues its campaign against Ken Clarke by pointing out that one-quarter of those on community sentences break orders - The Sun

"In opposing tax breaks for marriage, therefore, Mr Clegg ignores volumes of evidence. For the sake of children’s well-being and our country’s future, David Cameron has a duty to overrule him." - Mail leader

  • Single-parent Britain: One in five children lives with just mum or dad - more than in most of Europe - Daily Mail

Aid charities accuse Andrew Mitchell of fiddling aid targets

"The UK government will meet its much heralded international aid target by cancelling the debts of some of the poorest countries, triggering accusations that ministers are fiddling the books to reach their stated goals." - FT (£)

  • Britain is STILL giving aid to Brazil - even though it's richer than we are - Daily Mail

Public sector unions say concessions from Coalition on pensions vindicate taking tough line on redundancies and pay


- Times (£) | Independent

NORMAN-JESSE"The Conservative party has built up a formidable recent record in addressing the causes and effects of crony capitalism, from work on poverty and debt to the bank levy and the Vickers reforms. Now is the time to turn up the volume." - Jesse Norman MP in the FT (£)

The Conservatives could hijack Labour's agenda on crony capitalism, claims Patrick Wintour

"Jesse Norman's latest attack on crony capitalism shows there is a thirst for action amongst influential thinkers on the Tory benches. He says of the two distinguishing features of crony capitalism: "Business action loses any relation to the wider public interest and business reward is separated from business merit."... Conservatives in this camp believe Cameron can pull off an intellectual heist by presenting himself as the man to rescue Britain from the predatory crony capitalism that Labour had allowed to develop. Under this argument, issues such as corporate governance, tackling short-termism among investors, rethinking competition law and building strong regions around new democratic institutions such as city mayors will come to the fore." - Patrick Wintour in The Guardian

Ed Miliband uses New Year message to accuse PM of Depression-era 'despair' - Guardian

The BBC has key quotes from the message: "When so many are sceptical about politics the easy route for politicians is to join in and accept the cynicism. To say simply that in hard times nothing can be done. But that's not why I came into politics and it's not what the Labour Party stands for."

  • Labour has failed to spell out its  deficit plans, admits Miliband - Daily Mail
Labour's pensions spokesman warns Ed Miliband not to be defined by public spending

McClymont"In a stark reminder of the challenge facing the Labour leader, who trails David Cameron on economic competence, Miliband is told he will face the same fate as Michael Foot and Neil Kinnock unless he avoids the "tax and spend" trap. Gregg McClymont, the shadow pensions minister who is a former Oxford history don, writes in a new pamphlet that Labour will avoid the Tory trap only if it resists the temptation to appeal to its core supporters in the public services." - Guardian

Miliband's party should focus on growth and improving living standards for the majority, and not get caught up in the cuts - Gregg McClymont and Ben Jackson in The Guardian

Labour historians say prime minister resembles Tories' most electorally successful leader of the modern era, Stanley Baldwin


- Nick Watt at The Guardian

Councils are hoarding billions of pounds of taxpayers money, equivalent to £430 for every British family, despite making cuts to public services - Telegraph

Is there any level of spending that wouldn't trigger 'Tory cuts' headlines? - Dan Hannan in The Telegraph

The future belongs to leaders unashamedly shaped by personal beliefs and convictions - Peter Oborne in The Telegraph

Britain's future lies with America, not Europe - Iain Murray and James Bennett in the Wall Street Journal

And finally... Tracey Emin has said that she feels an "outsider" in the art fraternity after admitting she voted for the Conservatives in the last general election - Independent


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28 Dec 2011 09:02:30

Newslinks for Wednesday 28th December 2011

HagueSquare3pm ToryDiary: Is Hague doing enough to stop the Arab Spring becoming a Winter for Christians?

12.45pm Roger Helmer MEP on Comment: Camborne are wrong about the single currency. Our recovery begins when the €uro breaks up.

12.30pm ConHomeUSA's digest: (1) Romney close to Iowa victory (2) Gingrich says he wouldn't support Ron Paul if he became nominee


Mark Lancaster MP on Comment: We should promote credit unions to high risk borrowers

Screen shot 2011-12-28 at 07.30.08

Harry Phibbs reviews Boris Johnson's Life of London

On Local government: Free school proposed for Barnes

WATCH: Nick Clegg uses New Year message to say Coalition is making Britain fairer, greener and more liberal

Britain's borders will be closed to continental Europeans if the euro collapses

"Chancellor George Osborne has confirmed extensive contingency plans are being drawn up to safeguard Britain. The Treasury will not reveal specifics. But there will be limits on how much money can be deposited in British banks in any European stampede to "safe havens" like the City of London." - The Sun

  • The €uro is accelerating the West's state-led decline - John Redwood

David Cameron plans minimum price for alcohol in England

Screen shot 2011-12-28 at 07.13.36

"Ministers could copy Scottish proposals, which would ban the sale of alcohol below 45p a unit, or bring in a more sophisticated system of taxes based on the number of alcohol units contained in the drink. Both options would cost drinkers an estimated extra £700 million a year, with any extra tax revenue potentially going to the NHS. The Daily Telegraph understands that the Prime Minister personally ordered the radical “big bang” approach, which will be included in the Government’s forthcoming alcohol strategy." - Telegraph

Telegraph View: The Prime Minister's decision to inflict the political equivalent of new year gym membership on the nation is unwise, and smacks of nanny-statism.

Tory MP Andrew Griffiths tweets: "Minimum price for alcohol must be a floor price and not a tax. I support banning cheap booze but not hitting brewers."

  • Meanwhile supermarkets are reminded that they must remove tobacco displays within 100 days - BBC

Despite NHS spending pledge four out of five doctors say patient care is being cut

Screen shot 2011-12-28 at 07.15.40

"Doctors cite hospital bed closures, pressure to give patients cheaper, slower-acting drugs, cuts to occupational health support, and reductions in community health services as examples of recent cost-cutting measures." - Guardian

  • "Hospitals are allowed to receive an average of 1.5 per cent of their income from private sources, but the new measure, inserted into the bill last week, would see that cap increase to 49 per cent." - FT (£)
  • The Mail backs more private income for the NHS: "Isn’t it common sense to allow cash-strapped trusts to tap the income  available from the private sector?"

Screen shot 2011-12-28 at 07.14.31One in three people claiming unemployment benefit is a convicted criminal - Daily Mail

  • "Experts warned taxpayers risk “bank- rolling career criminals” as statistics revealed 1.23million people on unemployment handouts have been cautioned or convicted of offences in the last five years." - Express
  • Chris Grayling comments in The Sun: "This is the first time any Government has done detailed analysis of the link between offending and the welfare state — and it paints a truly alarming picture. It underlines why we have said Britain needs a rehabilitation revolution — particularly to help former offenders into sustained employment."

Prison officers warn Crispin Blunt of riots as system nears capacity - Daily Mail

Blunt Crispin"The number being held in jails in England and Wales has increased by almost 4,000 in the past year to 87,393 this week – the highest ever total at Christmas. This is just 2,084 short of the usable operational capacity. The figure is expected to continue to rise next year, potentially requiring some prisoners to be held in police cells. The surge – partly fuelled by convictions following the summer riots – comes as the Ministry of Justice faces a spending squeeze of 28 per cent over the next three years." - Independent

  • In her Express column Ann Widdecombe calls for clampdown on drugs in prisons.

Incoming Ofsted chief wants army of troubleshooters to run failing schools

"A network of local commissioners should be created to dismiss incompetent head teachers and strip failing institutions of academy status, according to England’s new chief education inspector... He called on ministers to appoint dozens of local commissioners to decide whether to close or merge academies or replace head teachers or governing bodies where standards were unacceptably low." - Times (£)

Politics in Brief:

  • David Cameron claims Queen's visit to Ireland was a "game-changer" in Anglo-Irish relations - Metro
  • £30 million could be lent to people who vuild their own homes - Telegraph
  • Big Society projects get £3.1m from old bank accounts - BBC
  • Shameless MPs have blown £83,000 surveying THEMSELVES on what they think of House of Commons' facilities - The Sun
  • Britain is still world's third biggest defence spender, after dominant USA and also China - Economist

"The PM can sometimes sound like the vicar jollying along a church outing. Without inducing suicidal gloom, there needs to be a more sombre note... David Cameron needs to reach into his political soul and find the right language for these austere times" - Bruce Anderson in The Telegraph

Cameron's position has strengthened after he has acted in recognisably conservative ways - Tim Montgomerie in The Independent

In new year message Clegg says Coalition's decisions are "the right ones for the long-term good" - BBC

Clegg with LD birdAnd Kevin Maquire's prediction for Clegg (and other politicians) in 2012: "Nick Clegg may chuck his toys out but the Lib Dems aren’t going to climb out of the Government pram. Having survived the last few weeks, these yellow birds aren’t turkeys voting for another Christmas." Read them all in The Mirror.

Nine out of ten Scots support ‘devo-plus’ - Scotsman

  • Scottish Conservatives have urged Alex Salmond to release the medical evidence on which it based its decision to free the Lockerbie bomber - Scotsman
  • New leaders of the Scottish Labour and Tory parties face a daunting challenge in the coming year - Scotsman

Wind farm operators are on course to earn up to £10 million this year for turning OFF their turbines - Telegraph

  • Polly Higgins wants to find a Wilberforce-style capitalist to fight for the environment - Guardian

"Capitalism will endure, by changing" - The FT (£) looks at how capitalism has evolved and will evolve

Mohamed Bouazizi, the Tunisian fruit seller who burnt himself to death and sparked revolt across the Arab world... is The Times' Person of The Year (£)

And finally... Cameron gets Whitehall app for his iPad

Cameron@Davos2"The Times has learnt that programmers inside the Cabinet Office are working on a new app for the Prime Minister that will bring together the latest information from across government with his favourite news sources. Mr Cameron will be able to see at a glance the latest NHS waiting-list figures, crime statistics, unemployment numbers and myriad other data which, in the short term, could provide quite grim reading." - Times (£)


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