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31 Jul 2012 08:30:24

Newslinks for Tuesday 31st July 2012

Cameron7pm WATCH: David Cameron struggles at table tennis during his visit to Glasgow

6.40pm ToryDiary: Another sign of Boris’s growing self-confidence

5pm Ryan Shorthouse on Comment: We need a second wave of modernisation

4.20pm WATCH: Mitt Romney: " Russia, once-promising advances toward a free and open society have faltered"

Milton Friedman1.30pm Ryan Bourne on Comment: We need a modern-day Milton Friedman

11.30am ThinkTankCentral: The IEA publishes its LIBOR Reader

ToryDiary: Will welfare be one of the Conservative talking points ahead of 2015?

Columnist Peter Hoskin: The lesson of the Olympic opening ceremony? Inspire the young

Jonathan James on Comment: The pragmatic case for keeping Sunday trading rules

Local Government: Small firms demand a fair chance on council procurement

WATCH: David Cameron takes the Tube to the Olympic Village

David Cameron gets into the Olympic spirit...

Cameron on Tube

"Downing St published a photograph of the Prime Minister chatting to fellow travellers on the Underground as he travelled to east London yesterday afternoon. ... Mr Cameron has been keen to stress how he wanted to use public transport during the Games rather than the special 'Zil lanes' reserved for VIPs travelling to venues by car." - Daily Telegraph

  • Cameron has "probably had a peek" at the beach volleyball - Daily Telegraph
  • Spectators are flocking to the Olympic's free sporting events - Daily Telegraph
  • Graeme Archer: The Games are teaching us who we are — and to be proud of it - Graeme Archer, Daily Telegraph
  • The Games have put London on the road to transport reform - Christian Wolmar, The Times (£)

> Yesterday's video: Cameron: "I've just come on the tube myself..."

...but attracts backbench ire for criticising Aidan Burley

Aidan Burley"Mr Cameron’s intervention drew criticism from other Tory backbenchers. ... Nadine Dorries tweeted: ‘If DC can keep quiet when his public school pals have expenses spotlight shone on them, should do the same when new backbencher messes up.’ ... Stewart Jackson said: ‘Surely PM should have risen above criticising his own MP re: Olympics opening ceremony? He may disagree with Aidan Burley MP but why say so?’" - Daily Mail

  • Did Tom Daley fall victim to the 'curse of Cameron?' - Daily Telegraph
  • Soldier demands to see Cameron's papers - The Sun
  • Olympic tickets to go back on sale to avoid the embarrassment of empty seats - Daily Telegraph
  • Four members of the IOC have failed to turn up for the Olympics - The Times (£)
  • Surrey Police are on the hint for cyclist Lizzie Armitstead's lucky glasses - Daily Telegraph

> Yesterday:

Economists fear an Olympics slump

"UK Trade and Investment has predicted a potential £13bn fillip to the economy over four years. But senior ministers have played down the short-term tourism boost and instead emphasised – in the words last week of Nick Clegg, deputy prime minister – the UK’s 'growth potential'. ... To many Londoners, however, the city is looking and feeling emptier than usual. Tony Travers, a London expert at the London School of Economics, said: 'If it turns out to be the case there is a big drop-off in business because of exaggerated claims on transport, then that would be unfortunate to say the least.'" - Financial Times (£)

Boris calls for more British medals success

Boris"Mr Johnson voiced his fears about Britain's medals as he tried to play down a row over thousands of empty seats during the first few days of the games. ... He promised that empty areas reserved for Olympic 'bureaucrats' who failed to turn up would be re-allocated to the public. ... The thing is going to be to reduce this space,' he said. 'There will be more tickets available.' ... 'The only thing I'm worried about is we need to step up the medal count a bit.'" - Daily Telegraph

> Yesterday:

Steve Richards: Here's why Boris won't lead the Conservatives

"The return is the problem, the obstacle that is much harder to overcome than it seems. The sole reason Boris will never be leader of his party is that he is not in the House of Commons now and if he were to serve a full term as full-time Mayor, would not be an MP after the next election." - Steve Richards, Independent

A headache for Theresa May? Abu Qatada tries to end his detention while awaiting deportation

" Lawyers for the firebrand will attempt to use the ancient legal procedure of habeas corpus at the High Court to argue that his detention while awaiting deportation is unlawful. ... If they succeed it could mean senior judges ordering the release of the man once dubbed Osama bin Laden’s right hand man in Europe within days." - Daily Telegraph

The Treasury moves on offshore tax avoidance - Financial Times (£)

Tory donors' firm had stake in work programme contractor - Daily Telegraph

  • "Nonsense" welfare payments can't be cut too far or fast - Daily Mail editorial

The NHS regulator proposes relaxing its restrictions on private companies - Guardian

Peers suggest switching all TV to the Internet - Guardian

Lib Dems are warning Nick Clegg to avoid agreeing on new spending cuts

Curse of Clegg"Nick Clegg is being threatened with a revolt by the grassroots of his party if he shows any sign of agreeing more spending cuts with David Cameron. ... In a move that risks scuppering the next public spending review, which is expected in 2014, influential Liberal Democrats have made clear that their party must decide its own spending plans. The Conservatives are hoping to cut welfare spending but pressure is growing on Mr Clegg to opt for new taxes on the rich." - The Times (£)

  • Lib Dems plot revolt over Tory plans for more welfare cuts - Independent

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: When should the Coalition end?

Alistair Darling attacks Alex Salmond — and calls for compromise too

Darling"Alex Salmond 'does not speak for Scotland' when it comes to dictating terms for his independence referendum, according to Alistair Darling. In an interview with The Times, the former Chancellor accused Mr Salmond of 'playing fast and loose' with the Scottish people by delaying the date of a referendum and by appearing to favour having a second question rather than just a straight 'yes or no' on independence. ... Mr Darling also warned David Cameron not to intervene by bringing forward his own referendum. 'I think it would be much better to have a constructive discussion and negotiation and let’s get the matter concluded,' Mr Darling said." - The Times (£)

  • Alex Salmond is spending £25,000 of taxpayers’ money a day to hire out a London club for the duration of the Olympic Games - Daily Telegraph

Richard Littlejohn: Harriet Harman's Equality Act was a bridge too far - Richard Littlejohn, Daily Mail

HMRC has paid out over £1million, over the past four years, in rewards for "tax snitches" - The Sun

Bankers could face jail over rate rigging - Daily Telegraph

Over 150 libraries have been closed or put into the hands of volunteers in the past year - Independent

Poll finds that a most Germans want to return to the Deutschmark - Daily Mail

  • Dissent grows among the voters of Europe - Daily Telegraph editorial

Republicans defend Mitt Romney's visit to Israel - Daily Mail

  • Mr Romney, speaking via Craig Brown, answers all your holiday problems... - Daily Mail
  • Is Romney a hawk, or just a tactless weirdo? - Hugo Rifkind, The Times (£)

> Yesterday's video: Romney takes aim at Iran on visit to Israel‬


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30 Jul 2012 08:32:00

Newslinks for Monday 30th July 2012

9pm ToryDiary: When should the Coalition end?

Screen shot 2012-07-30 at 17.56.57
6pm WATCH: Olympics - Boris: "We're pleased with the way transport is working so far."  Jacques Rogge himself today took the DLR, I'm proud to say, and was conveyed in stately style and comfort, as you'd expect"

Screen shot 2012-07-30 at 17.56.18
6pm WATCH: Olympics - Cameron: "I've just come on the tube myself to see what the traffic situation's like, not too bad, the Bakerloo line's going alright"

5.15pm LeftWatch: "Pure nostalgia"..."According to Danny Boyle there were no black people in the UK!"..."Post-colonial" BBC rhetoric. Another attack on the Olympics opening ceremony. But this time, it's from the left

2.30pm Local Government: Why are the sexual preferences of Islington's residents any of its council's business?

Noon Philip Booth on Comment: The truly international, communitarian Olympics opening we could have had - but didn't

ToryDiary: Boris Johnson emerges as grassroots' early favourite to be next Tory leader

Columnist Bruce Anderson: We Conservatives are lucky to be governing in Coalition

Neil Carmichael MP on Comment: How to merge the Climate Change Department and improve government at the same time

Local Government: Change of use rules to be eased to reduce number of empty buildings

Screen shot 2012-07-30 at 07.54.57MPsETC: Helping the underdog: Dom Raab MP advocates ten policies to help the little guy

The Deep End:

WATCH: Romney takes aim at Iran on visit to Israel‬ 

Cameron eyes possible Olympics bounce...

"David Cameron has played down the prospect of a big political bounce from the London Olympics, telling colleagues: “People are too sensible to confuse a sporting event with their day-to-day lives.” Nevertheless the prime minister will not overlook the political opportunities afforded by the games to project what he claims is not just Britain’s illustrious past but its “exciting future”….George Osborne is also expecting an economic lift from the games when the third quarter gross domestic product figures are assembled." - Financial Times (£)

  • Police in charge of keeping the Olympics safe have lost the keys to Wembley Stadium - Daily Mail
  • Fiasco of the 12,000 empty seats - Daily Telegraph
  • Soldiers "drafted in to fill gaps" - Daily Express

...As the row over Danny Boyle's opening ceremony rumbles on: Gove was unhappy when he saw a preview and Hunt had concerns

GOVE MICHAEL NW"In one account of the meeting Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, was said to have scored the ceremony just four out 10, a claim his spokesman denied last night. Mr Gove was also said to have objected to the absence of Winston Churchill from the ceremony. According to this version, Jeremy Hunt, the Culture Secretary, was also sceptical about some of the scenes, while Theresa May, the Home Secretary, was said to have intervened to defend Boyle and to have told her colleagues it was unfair to judge the ceremony in such a crude way." - Daily Telegraph

  • 15% thought show "too political", 12% thought NHS tribute inappropriate - Survation
  • Opening ceremony was a Trojan horse for socialist values, says Labour MP Paul Flynn - The Guardian

The Mail remains pro-Boyle.  Melanie Phillips: he showed modern Britain as it is

"Danny Boyle has given them Caliban’s dream — a Utopian vision of Britain. He gave them the brilliance and wit of his spectacle. He also gave them something else: the fantasy of an inclusive, generous, warm-hearted, joyful image of themselves. Boyle’s genius was to create this fantasy of goodness, this triumph of hope over experience, of heart over head. This was patriotism as a feelgood movie. Oscars all round." - Daily Mail

  • Boyle’s Olympic Opening Ceremony exemplified a creative, tolerant and cultured nation - The Times Editorial (£)
  • Danny Boyle's story of Britain was a celebration of freedom - Shami Chakrabati, The Guardian
  • How Bond should die - Peter Hoskin, The Times (£)

As, unsurprisingly, does Boris: How, he asks, can anyone call the Eton Boating Song left-wing propaganda?

Screen shot 2012-07-30 at 07.38.38
"Right-wing critics should be reassured that the meaning of the Mary Poppins-Dementors clash has been widely misunderstood. I am told by one figure close to proceedings that the bellicose nanny figure was intended by Danny Boyle to stand for Mrs Thatcher in her struggles with the NUM and other militant trade unionists. So that’s all right, then, eh!…James Bond and the Monarchy – not to mention The Eton Boating Song… How can anyone call that Lefty propaganda?" - Boris Johnson, Daily Telegraph 

The London Mayor tops ConHome poll of candidates to succeed Cameron

"The Mayor of London, who is enjoying a high profile during the Olympics, is favoured by 32 per cent of party members, according to the poll of 1,419 activists conducted by the ConservativeHome website. His nearest rivals are William Hague, the Foreign Secretary and a former party leader, who is backed by 24 per cent, and Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, on 19 per cent. George Osborne, who was widely seen as Mr Johnson's main rival in the future leadership stakes, is supported by a derisory 2 per cent" - The Independent

Tim Montgomerie: Be upbeat, hug modern Britain and embrace the state - that's what all Tories should learn from London's Mayor

"Whatever the next few years might hold for Boris personally, his compelling world view should be at the heart of tomorrow’s Conservatism. Making peace with the NHS, the welfare state and the State’s role in delivering big projects does not equal surrender. It simply gives Conservatives the freedom to meet necessary challenges such as restarting social mobility and strengthening the family. The things we need the courage to change." - The Times (£)

Party membership "could soon fall below six figures"

Screen shot 2012-07-30 at 07.43.45"Three-quarters of local Conservative associations are losing activists as the party suffers a recruitment crisis which has seen membership halve since David Cameron became leader. The latest estimates put Conservative membership at between 130,000 and 170,000, compared with almost 300,000 shortly after Mr Cameron succeeded Michael Howard. There are fears within the party that on current trends it could soon fall below 100,000." - The Independent 

Man due in court after Stewart Jackson bus shelter assault - Daily Express 

Business groups call for interest rates to be slashed to zero...

"The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) urged the Bank of England to take immediate action to slash the cost of borrowing to homeowners and business, following shock growth figures last week showing the economic downturn is accelerating. Economists at the Ernst & Young Item Club also backed the call, saying an interest rate cut was ‘not the only answer, but it would help’." - Daily Mail

…But Trevor Kavanagh asks: Is it really so bad for the economy after all?

Screen shot 2012-07-30 at 07.49.03"First, few people believe the notoriously erratic statistics showing a big 0.7 per cent fall in national output. They do not tally with a robust 800,000 new jobs and a surprise surge in tax revenues… Second, Mr Osborne won rare applause for the debt-busting programme so bitterly opposed in yesterday’s Sun by Labour’s Ed Balls. Indeed, OECD chief Angel Gurria warned the greatest risk of a slump would be if Mr Osborne changed course and followed Ed. The Chancellor’s third boost came from one of those “weakness-seeking missiles” — the credit ratings agency Standard & Poor’s." - Trevor Kavanagh, The Sun

Spain "drives coach and horses" through EU movement of peoples, Clappison and Carswell urge Cameron to follow suit

Screen shot 2012-07-30 at 07.53.28"Ministers were last night under pressure to tighten border controls for EU citizens after Spain demanded ‘proof of income’ from expats  hoping to live in the country. The move – taken in response to the country’s economic crisis – was said by one Tory MP to have ‘driven a coach and horses’ through the EU’s cherished principle of the free movement of peoples, and immediately triggered calls for David Cameron to adopt tougher measures." - Daily Mail

Romney "would not stop Israel attacking Iran" - The Sun

Medvedev: We’ve seen the preview, now world must prevent a civil war in Syria - The Times (£)

Grayling: New figures show scale of welfare problem

"Britain's benefits system faces a fresh blitz after figures today reveal nearly 900,000 people have claimed sickness handouts for more than a decade. Taxpayers shelled out around £4billion last year alone to long-term benefit claimants for a vast number of ailments, the new statistics show.  Employment Minister Chris Grayling said the statistics underlined why drastic action is needed to make sure funds only go to those who have genuine health reasons for not working. The sick pay system has been blamed for keeping millions of families mired in benefit dependency." - Daily Express

  • Scandal of 10 years' disability handouts for acne - The Sun
  • Disability tests "sending sick and disabled back to work - Daily Telegraph
  • A million jobless may face six months' unpaid work or have benefits stopped - The Guardian
  • Tory donors win welfare to work contracts - The Independent
  • Sickie culture - Sun Editorial

Yes Scotland wins support from Labour rebel group - Herald Scotland

Academics claims that another referendum on tax-raising powers for Wales would damage devolution - Wales Online

Plain English campaign slams "diet of waffle" from Stormont politicians - Belfast Telegraph

British Islamists fighting with Syrian resistance - Daily Express

Private groups to help guard Trident - Financial Times (£)

More than half of the rioters jailed after last summer’s violence, arson and looting are back on the streets - Daily Mail


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29 Jul 2012 08:55:00

Newslinks for Sunday 29th July 2012

5.45pm WATCH: Former Tory minister Lord Moynihan welcomes UK's first London 2012 medal

Noon Ben Rogers on Comment: Our country must face up to the challenges of radical Islamism and social breakdown

ToryDiary: Cabinet league table for end-July

Columnist Nadine Dorries MP: Feminism has advanced equality for women but it has also created unrealistic expectations

Alex Deane on Comment: An end to Sunday trading laws, now!

Local government: Abolish the HSE and bring in localism for health and safety

Screen Shot 2012-07-29 at 07.37.34

WATCH: Aidan Burley MP talks to the BBC about his views on multiculturalism

Aidan Burley, whose Twitter attack on 'leftie' opening ceremony was widely condemned, says he disliked triteness - Observer

Screen Shot 2012-07-29 at 08.24.56Boris Johnson has dismissed suggestions the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games was left-wing as "nonsense" - BBC ...and Andrew Gilligan claims the Olympics has suckered The Left

In the Mail on Sunday (scroll down link), Peter Hitchens was unamused: "It was a social worker’s history of Britain – a nation of simple peasants crushed and besmirched by evil top-hatted capitalists, but rescued in the end by the NHS, immigration, the suffragettes,  and the egalitarian strains of  pop music. I half-expected the giant Voldemort to transform itself into a menacing Thatcher figure, trampling, slashing and cutting every nice nurse in sight, and tossing bedsteads out of the stadium with a callous sneer."

> Yesterday's ConHome: Next time round, can we have Aidan Burley as part of the show, please? and All Tory MPs pour praise on opening ceremony (well nearly all)

Unionists claim ceremony will have hurt SNP

Fraser Murdo Aug 2011Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser is quoted in Scotland on Sunday: “There is always a danger of reading too much into these things, but I think we have seen a reclamation of British identity over the last year with the Queen’s Jubilee and the passage of the Olympic torch. The ceremony wasn’t just about London or about England, it was about the whole of the UK. No matter where they lived, I think people will have associated themselves with a lot of what they saw.”

  • Cameron was one of few people who knew secret design of Olympic cauldron - Evening Standard

What should Osborne do next?

Forsyth JamesJames Forsyth reports that Osborne, increasingly sceptical of green groups, is considering further changes to planning laws - Mail on Sunday

  • Osborne right on austerity but must do more on growth and infrastructure - James Dyson in the Mail on Sunday
  • We’ve had a lot of doomy talk of austerity and precious little of the actual thing - Janet Daley in The Sunday Telegraph
  • Slash interest rates to 0 per cent, Bank of England told - Sunday Telegraph
  • Osborne could raise £18 billion if he legalised and taxed drugs - Nigel Nelson in The People

"“Cameron firing Osborne now is for the birds,” said a Tory backbencher. “But it becomes perfectly possible if there is a major economic disaster, such as if Britain loses its AAA credit rating or the euro comes apart and we don’t react well.”" - Iain Martin in The Sunday Telegraph

In The Sunday Times (£), Martin Ivens urges Osborne to give us the big picture: "You can’t live hand to mouth in politics. A narrative that makes sense of what you are doing day to day is vital. Osborne must tell us where the country is headed, and his prime minister has to help him join up the dots."

  • YouGov: Cameron/Osborne lead over Miliband/Balls down to 3% on economic trust
  • Cable has always been an “anti-Business Secretary” and is the wrong choice for Chancellor - Kirsty Buchanan in the Sunday Express

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Matthew Parris speaks for Team Osborne --- Why are Tory MPs so "unbelievably lily-livered and flaky"?

John Redwood backs George Osborne in his determination to cut energy subsidies

Redwood John Oct 2011"I am all in favour of more effort being put into fuel efficiency , insulation, smart industrial solutions and the rest. What seems stupid is for the EU to make it too dear and too dificult for higher energy using industries to prosper in the west, exporting them to the east. The Treasury needs to push back not just on the UK Energy department over subsidy levels, but also tackle the EU elephant in the energy room. We need cheaper energy all round. We need to save more on the subsidies." - John Redwood

  • Politicians are finally admitting that our 'carbon' targets and our energy needs are incompatible - Christopher Booker in The Sunday Telegraph

William Hague disappointed by the failure of negotiations to secure a United Nations arms trade - BBC

Party donors want Chris Grayling and other traditional Tories promoted - Mail on Sunday

Johnson Boris SmilingBoris fever continues...

  • "Boris is warm and spontaneous, whereas the Prime Minister seems a bit wooden when trying to convey his enthusiasm for the Olympics, as if reading from a script. The mayor has a connection with the public that Dave can only dream about." - In his Sun column Toby Young backs Boris for PM
  • "The Mayor had 60,000 people chanting his first name. How many Tories have been capable of eliciting this sort of popular response – I mean how many, ever? Peel, Disraeli after the Congress of Berlin, Churchill, perhaps Thatcher in her Falklands heyday? At any rate, it is not a long list." - Matthew d'Ancona in The Sunday Telegraph

Boris' campaign guru Lynton Crosby offered to advise Syrian rebels - The Sunday Times (£)

Tory MP Dom Raab has a 10-point plan to help the underdog, focusing on work and education to revive social mobility - The Sunday Times (£)

Change is coming - local people will soon decide local police priorities - Douglas Carswell MP

Jackson stewartTory MP Stewart Jackson injured after trying to stop a man smashing up a bus shelter - Mail on Sunday

Margaret Thatcher had a weakness for pretty faces like John Moore and Cecil Parkinson, claims Lord Waddington - Mail on Sunday

John Bercow twice as likely to force Coalition Ministers to answer Urgent questions as he was with Labour Ministers in Gordon Brown’s Government - Mail on Sunday

Cameron, Clegg and Miliband all choose abroad for summer holiday - Observer

President Hollande is an inspiration to the Labour leader. But he may also turn out to be a cautionary tale - Andrew Rawnsley in The Observer

Half of young people want to shop for longer on Sunday - The Sun

Churches and other religious groups are facing a threat to their charitable status unless they admit non-believers to their services, in what critics have branded an attack on religious freedom - The Sunday Times (£)

And finally... John Prescott's "Thai brides" gaffe

Prescott socks"John Prescott has become caught up in a bizarre Twitter row after accusing Tory Minister Grant Shapps of advertising ‘Thai brides’ on his website. The former Deputy Prime Minister made the astonishing claim when he told his followers on Friday: ‘NEW – Tory minister advertises Thai brides on his website... another @grantshapps internet fail.’ But when Lord Prescott’s followers clicked on the site belonging to the Housing Minister, they were left baffled as there was no evidence of women being advertised. Mr Shapps then heaped embarrassment on Lord Prescott by pointing out that the pictures he had seen had been generated by advertising software that had tracked previous internet searches on the peer’s computer. Mr Shapps messaged back: ‘Ads are rendered based on previous browser use – found a bride yet John? Wouldn’t mention to your Mrs.’" - Mail on Sunday


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28 Jul 2012 09:04:30

Newslinks for Saturday 28th July 2012

5pm ToryDiary: David Willetts wants Conservatives to embrace the state (and he's right)

Johnson Boris Smiling3.30pm WATCH: Were they amused? Boris says Queen wanted to know if people found her Bond scene funny

1pm ToryDiary: Next time round, can we have Aidan Burley MP as part of the show, please?

11.30am ToryDiary: Matthew Parris speaks for Team Osborne --- Why are Tory MPs so "unbelievably lily-livered and flaky"?

9.45am ToryDiary: On the money --- Jeremy Hunt's decision to double ceremony budget was vindicated by last night's magical spectacle

ToryDiary: Grassroots think Lib Dems are three times as likely to form coalition with Labour than Tories

MPsETC: All Tory MPs pour praise on opening ceremony (well nearly all)

Henry Smith MP on Comment: The Government should not raise air passenger duty further

Local government: Councils expect to outsource a third of services by 2015 - but some Conservative councillors are blocking progress

United Kingdom 'AAA/A-1+' Ratings Affirmed; Outlook Remains Stable

"In our opinion, the U.K. government remains committed to implementing its fiscal program, and we believe it can respond rapidly to economic challenges." - Standard and Poor's

"Standard & Poor's on Friday stood by Britain’s triple A rating and gave it a stable outlook on Friday night in spite of fears for the top-notch seal of approval after poor GDP figures this week. The ratings agency restamped the country’s sovereign debt with its highest grade on expectations that the economy would gather steam toward the end of the year." - FT (£)

  • "A roaring success" - The FT (£) salutes Britain's comback car industry

...And Matthew Parris attacks Tory MPs for being "lily-livered" on austerity

PARRIS MATTHEW"I feel part of and curiously fond of the dear old Conservative Party. But, take it from me, Tory MPs are as a collective unbelievably lily-livered and flaky: not a bunch to go tiger shooting with. They’ll thump their tables and urge you forward, then, when danger threatens, funk it and urge your critics on with more table thumping... The backstabbing behaviour of some of them now towards George Osborne — a Chancellor who has embraced all the austerity they urged upon him (except with more restraint) and whom they now moan at for not “creating growth” or for utter trivialities such as upsetting pasty-sellers or static-caravan owners — is simply disgraceful." - Matthew Parris in The Times (£)

Under cover of Olympics, Syria escalates its killing of its own people

"Speaking at a news conference in London with United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, Mr Hague said it was "deeply frustrating" Russia and China had vetoed a UN Security Council resolution proposing further sanctions on Syria. "The Assad regime is not implementing any of the proposals the UN has asked it to do," he added. Referring to the Syrian regime, the foreign secretary said: "The more they do, the more we will increase the practical support we offer to opposition groups and the more we will ask other nations, including Arab nations, to isolate them."" - BBC

Verdicts on the Olympic Ceremony

Screen Shot 2012-07-28 at 08.04.16
- The PM's Twitter feed

"So after all of this, what is Britain? A country that can still put on a show, that has many identities, that is culturally rich, that has a battered landscape, that lost a lot when the factories were first built, that has patches of God still found lying about, that is intensely proud of what it got right (free healthcare, women’s votes), but not too comfortable about what it got wrong (empire was never mentioned). It is a mess. A jolly wonderful mess. We’re good at those." - Tim Stanley at The Telegraph

Screen Shot 2012-07-28 at 07.54.42

Sayeeda Warsi and Justine Greening at the Opening Ceremony

"Bouncing punks, geese, the mosh pit versus the posh pit, buzzing helicopters, dragonflies, a statue of Sir Winston Churchill coming to life, blazing gold rings of fire, cows, milkmaids plus David Beckham being unbelievably cool. Welcome to the barmiest Opening Ceremony in Olympic history, an explosion of nonsense and tremendous good fun that blazed for three hours." - Jan Moir in the Daily Mail

Olympics opening ceremony was 'multicultural crap' says Tory MP on Twitter

  • "David Cameron will face pressure to remove the Tory whip from the Conservative MP Aidan Burley after he tweeted that the Olympics opening ceremony was "multicultural crap". Burley, who was sacked as a ministerial aide last year after he took part in a Nazi-themed stag party in the French Alps, described Danny Boyle's work as "the most leftie opening ceremony I have ever seen"." - Guardian | Telegraph
  • Mr Burley says his Tweet was "misunderstood" - BBC

The press has gone from Olympo-scepticism to Olympo-exuberance - Express forecasts £17bn boost to UK economy.

Meanwhile... Boris under double attack from the Right

HEFFER SIMONSimon Heffer in the Daily Mail: "The Olympics may well provide him with a base upon which he can build a career in high, national office. But they will not convince people that Boris Johnson has the seriousness of mind, and the dedication to public service — rather than self-service — expected of a true leader."

"An official on the Mitt Romney presidential campaign in the United States branded the Mayor an 'eccentric, odd fellow' who was biased in favour of Barack Obama" - Daily Mail

  • ...But Mitt Romney makes Patrick O'Flynn yearn for an Obama victory - Express

Andrew Grice in The Independent: "Mr Cameron's relaxed and assured performance at the torch ceremony was trumped on Thursday night when Boris had 60,000 people in raptures as he addressed a pre-Games rally in Hyde Park. It was a remarkable event; no other UK politician would have got such an ecstatic response."

Michael Gove announces new employment freedoms for academies

"Academies will be allowed to employ people with no formal teaching qualifications in a move that could sideline both the unions and the established teacher training colleges. Education secretary Michael Gove has decided to bring academies into line with private schools and the government's flagship free schools, which can hire professionals such as scientists, engineers, musicians and linguists to teach even if they do not have not have qualified teaching status (QTS)." - Guardian

Direct Marketing Association (DMA) forces Caroline Spelman to delay crackdown on junk mail - BBC

UK Trade and Investment says immigration limits are hurting UK economy - The Sun

More than half RAF personnel are thinking of quitting over defence spending cuts - The Sun

Mensch Louise May 2012The British justice system has wasted precious time and money on the Twitter Joke Trial - Louise Mensch in The Guardian

We can learn lessons about flexibility and productivity from German enterprise - Dom Raab in The Telegraph

The Tories should be cutting taxes, Mr Gauke, not defending them - Graeme Archer in The Telegraph

What is the true cost of Britain's EU membership? - John Redwood reviews Lee Rotherham's book on the European Union

Patrick O'Flynn: Don't write off the Liberal Democrats

LIBERAL-DEMOCRATS"Look at the numbers. Clegg had a majority of more than 15,000 in 2010, with the Tories in second place. He was a towering 19,000 votes clear of the third placed Labour candidate. The Lib Dems have been holding council wards in the seat too. So he’ll very probably be back, albeit with a much-reduced majority. There will be fewer Lib Dem MPs next time round but they will probably still hold the balance of power and through Clegg and Cable they have both sides of the bet well covered." - Express

Cameron wants us to spend again. And borrow. Have we learned nothing? - Deborah Orr in The Guardian


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Conservative Intelligence