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31 Aug 2012 08:36:22

Newslinks for Friday 31st August 2012

7pm WATCH: Crispin Blunt MP: The laws around squatting will be made "crystal clear"

4.45pm ToryDiary: William Hague caps off his busy summer in unapologetic fashion

3.30pm Karen Bradley MP on Comment: 100 apprenticeships in 100 days — the challenge in Staffordshire Moorlands

1.45pm MPsETC: Graham Brady casts back to the grammar schools row

11.30am WATCH: Mitt Romney's speech to the Republican National Convention

11am ToryDiary: From Tuesday only people with a Facebook, Twitter, IntenseDebate or alternative registration will be able to leave comments on ConHome threads

AugustToryDiary: The three big consequences of August 2012: Boundary review gone, Boris rising, rebelliousness growing

Also on ToryDiary: The end of August survey: Should we build a third runway at Heathrow? Is Boris prime ministerial? How do we win in the North?

Columnist Bruce Anderson: The government cannot wait for something to come along — it must arrest the sense of drift by itself


Lord AshcroftInternational: Lord Ashcroft's Republican Convention diary day four: Thursday

Local Government: All council spending should be published - even when undertaken by "arms length" boards

The Deep End: China’s urban wasteland is a bad model for British growth

WATCH: Clint Eastwood's speech to the Republican National Convention

More universities could be stripped of their powers to authorise visas

Damian Green"Damian Green, the Immigration Minister, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: 'We have had other examples where other universities have had their right to sponsor foreign students suspended, but in each of those cases they were able quickly to put it right and so were able to get back on the register of sponsors. ... What we have found [in the case of London Metropolitan University] is a serious systemic failure where it appears the university doesn’t have the capacity to be a proper sponsor.' ... The BBC said an immigration judge believed 'several universities are being looked at' and that it is common for students to disappear soon after arriving at British airports." - Daily Telegraph

> From yesterday:

> Today's post by Julian Brazier MP on Comment: Student immigration has its advantages — but it must be controlled

And another curb on immigration to be announced, after ministers join a UK Border Agency raid against "beds in sheds"


"A clampdown on landlords who rent out 'beds in sheds' to illegal immigrants is to be announced by ministers today. Grant Shapps, the Housing Minister, and Damian Green, the Immigration Minister, will publish guidance prohibiting the practice of renting out garden sheds to create “suburban shanty towns”. ... On a visit to six suspected such properties with the UK Border Agency in Ealing, West London, the ministers discovered that 22 of 39 individual tenants were illegal immigrants." - The Times (£)

> See more exclusive photos of the raid here, on Grant Shapps' Flikr stream.

Squatting to be made a criminal offence

"...squatters will face up to six months in prison and lose their rights as squatting becomes a criminal offence from today. ... The offence, which carries a £5,000 fine or maximum six-month jail sentence, comes after a government consultation last summer." - The Times (£)

Two business groups warn on the economy

Downturn"The Confederation of British Industry (CBI), which has cut its growth forecast, told the coalition that it needs to display Churchillian resolve and deliver on overdue projects aimed at wresting the economy from recession. ... It predicted that the economy would shrink by 0.3 per cent this year, while the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) will this morning forecast an even deeper 0.4 per cent contraction. The bodies previously expected growth of 0.6 per cent and 0.1 per cent, respectively." - The Times (£)

  • Civil service memo suggests that George Osborne is preparing the Spending Review for next year, and it could include £10 billion of extra welfare cuts - Guardian

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Cameroon commentators start attacking the Tory "Right". Are they speaking for Numbers 10 and 11?

> Today:

Charity claims that low-income earners could "lose out" under the Universal Credit

IDS"The study, commissioned by the single parents’ charity Gingerbread, found that a loophole could result in low-paid workers losing hundreds of pounds they gained from the Government’s drive to cut their tax bills. ... It said that the poorest workers could lose as much as two thirds of the income they gained from increases in the amount they can earn without paying tax. ... A spokesman for the Department of Work and Pensions said that more money was being pumped into the Universal Credit to ensure that those in work benefited." - The Times (£)

Conservative Police Commissioner candidate stands down

Central office had been happy for John Pye, a former Air Commodore in the RAF, to run in Cambridgeshire without becoming a party member as part of its efforts to encourage non-politicians to enter the race. ... But constituency associations in the county, who are being asked to raise thousands of pounds for the campaign, wanted him to sign up. ... As a result Mr Pye announced on Thursday that he was standing down to avoid 'further disruption'." - Daily Telegraph

> From yesterday: WATCH: The Conservatives' video to explain the Police and Crime Commissioner elections

The Coalition's public service reforms could be frustrated by skills shortages among civil servants, suggests Institute for Government - Daily Telegraph

The examinations watchdog raised concerns about GSCE grading three years ago - Daily Telegraph

Government warned that inefficient use of offices could be wasting £800 million a year - Guardian

Boris says that the Olympic Games have "done for" Alex Salmond and his dreams of independence

"During a question and answer session on Twitter, the London Mayor was asked for his opinion on Scotland's 2014 independence referendum. ... Mr Johnson wrote: 'The Scots are never going to vote for independence...these games have done for Hoy.'" - Daily Telegraph

Greg Clark MP and Lord Heseltine: Other cities should emulate London's star turn

Greg Clark"London’s triumph should be a clarion call to the other great cities of our country. London must not be to the rest of Britain what Hong Kong was (and in some respects still is) to China – an exotic exception to the way things are done on the mainland. Rather, we should extend what has worked in London to the rest of the country. Our aim must be for us to be a nation of cities possessed of London’s confidence and élan. There is no reason why this should be beyond us." - Greg Clark MP and Lord Heseltine, Daily Telegraph

Fraser Nelson: Cameron and Obama could soon be drowning in debt

Fraser Nelson"But this time, Labour and the Republicans have more in common than either party would like to admit. Both have chosen relatively dull leaders, but are hoping to fight an election based on the failure of their rivals. And their opponents, David Cameron and Barack Obama, are using similar tactics: massively increasing the debt while promising (and failing) to halve the deficit within one term. They use cheery phrases ('we’re all in this together') but govern an angry nation. For Cameron and Obama, a simple rule applies. If their next election is fought on personality, they win. If it’s fought on economics, they lose." - Fraser Nelson, Daily Telegraph

Philip Stevens: Cameron’s English lesson for the French president

"Voters can sense the absence of grip. Occupying the office – even with a certain confident panache – is not enough. The result has been policy paralysis and undignified U-turns. So far the country has just about gone along with tax increases, spending cuts and falling living standards. But its patience has worn perilously thin." - Financial Times (£)

Julian Baggini: Dover's port and its famous backdrop should be saved for the nation

"A parish poll, paid for by Dover council last year, resulted in 5,244 votes against the private sale of the docks – and only 113 in favour. Those objecting are backed by a cross-party alliance of MPs and peers, including Dover and Deal’s Conservative MP Charlie Elphicke and Labour’s Lord Glasman. But this is a decision that has much more than local importance. It’s actually a stern test of the depth of David Cameron’s commitment to the Big Society and an opportunity to rein in the excesses of market capitalism." - Julian Baggini, Daily Telegraph

Vince Cable's ally Lord Oakeshott takes aim at Nick Clegg...

Lord Oakeshott"Lord Oakeshott, the party’s former Treasury spokesman, said: ‘We have lost over half our market share – if you like to put it that way, if we had been Sainsbury’s – since the election, and any business that had done that would be looking very hard now at both its strategy and its management to see how we get some of that back because otherwise we are going to lose a large number of seats at the next election.’ ... And in a clear shot at Mr Clegg, he said elections were ‘not just about the message, they are also about the messenger’." - Daily Mail Paddy Ashdown urges Lib Dems to get behind their leader...

"As it is for our country, so also for our party. When we all overwhelmingly supported Nick Clegg's decision to lead us into government, we knew it would be difficult. We also knew that we were embarked on a course that would change our party as well as our country. Nick challenged us to leave our comfort zone and make the change from a party of perpetual opposition to one capable of carrying the burdens of government. ... Without Nick, that decision would never have been made, and the historic opportunity to show who we really are would never have existed. It is the job of our leader to take us into government. I failed; Nick has succeeded." - Paddy Ashdown, Guardian

  • Labour must learn to forgive the Lib Dems - Polly Toynbee, Guardian
  • Lib Dems can’t just leap into bed with Labour - Roy Hattersley, The Times (£)

> Yesterday on ToryDiary: Why Tories shouldn’t be quick to pour scorn on Nick Clegg

...and Martin Sorrell backs Mr Clegg's proposal for a wealth tax - Daily Telegraph

> Yesterday's post by Philip Booth on Comment: There’s no case for a wealth tax

Labour on the attack against free schools

"The government has wasted at least £2.3m on free schools that have either not opened or lacked local support from parents, and the true figure could be far higher, according to Labour." - Guardian

  • Opposition to free schools is nonsensical - Philip Collins, The Times (£)

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority is looking at linking MPs' salaries to the average wage - Daily Mail

Mitt Romney's message to America: "My promise is to help you and your family"

The former Massachusetts governor pledged to the party gathering in Florida that he would 'restore the promise of America' by replacing Barack Obama's hollow message of 'hope and change' with job-creation and economic competence. ... 'President Obama promised to slow the rise of the oceans and to heal the planet,' Mr Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, said. 'My promise is to help you and your family'." - Daily Telegraph

> From yesterday: 

And finally... Clint Eastwood makes the Republican National Convention's day


"Appearing on stage earlier to pledge his support for Mr Romney, Hollywood star Clint Eastwood raised eyebrows with an off-the-cuff monologue to an imaginary Mr Obama in an empty chair. ... Referring to the president, the actor told a rapturous audience: 'When somebody does not do the job, you've got to let 'em go.'" - BBC

> From today: WATCH: Clint Eastwood's speech to the Republican National Convention


> Please use the thread below to provide links to news topics likely to be of interest to ConservativeHome readers and to comment on political topics that haven't been given their own blog. Read our comments policy here.

30 Aug 2012 08:30:36

Newslinks for Thursday 30th August 2012

6.30pm WATCH: The Conservatives' video to explain the Police and Crime Commissioner elections

5pm ToryDiary: Any questions for the end-August survey?

4.15pm WATCH: Keith Vaz attacks the UK Border Agency over how they have revoked London Metropolitan University's visa licence

3.45pm Philip Booth on Comment: There’s no case for a wealth tax

Clegg1.30pm ToryDiary: Why Tories shouldn’t be quick to pour scorn on Nick Clegg

12.30pm WATCH: Paul Ryan's speech to the Republican National Convention

11.45am Sir Andrew Green on Comment: There is little sign of progress towards the government’s migration pledge

ToryDiary: Cameroon commentators start attacking the Tory "Right". Are they speaking for Numbers 10 and 11?

Columnist Andrew Lilico: Europe is the real threat to American hegemony

Robert Leitch on Comment: Cameron deserves more loyalty from ego-chasing Tory MPs

International: Lord Ashcroft's Republican Convention diary day three: Wednesday

Local Government: Council leaseholders must be protected from excess charges

The Deep End: Robots won’t take over the world – just our jobs

George Osborne sounds cool on Nick Clegg's proposal for new wealth taxes

Osborne"The Deputy Prime Minister believes that the proposed tax, which would see an annual levy of about half a per cent on the value of a person’s total wealth, could raise billions of pounds to prevent deeper public spending cuts. ... George Osborne said it might 'drive away wealth creators'. The Chancellor said: “I am clear the wealthy should pay more which is why in the recent budget I increased the tax on very expensive property transactions. ... 'But we also have to be careful as a country we don’t drive away the wealth creators and the businesses that are going to lead our economic recovery.' - Daily Telegraph


  • "Nick Clegg's wealth taxes would inevitably create more hardship, unfairness and economic disruption than income taxes. Other European countries which have tried them have provoked significant capital flight, unfair treatment of different classes of assets, and, of course, a feast for the tax lawyers." - Bernard Jenkin, Guardian
  • "If such standard-issue Liberal buffoonery was taking place while still in opposition, it wouldn’t matter so much. But this man of towering political intelligence is now helping to run the country. With the UK in the middle of an economic emergency, it can ill afford its government to be conducted as if it were a plenary session at Lib Dem conference." - Iain Martin, Daily Telegraph
  • "A few sloppy soundbites directed at his core vote could hardly have been better calculated to dribble a bit more dampness on to the spirits of entrepreneurs and business people who are the only ones who can turn the economy around." - Camilla Cavendish, The Times (£)
  • "Lib Dems are ruthless – and the figures show Nick Clegg is a loser" - Martin Kettle, Guardian

> From yesterday: 

George Osborne sounds cool on Nick Clegg's proposal for a new state-run bank to boost lending

"Business groups are pushing the idea, claiming that banks have become too risk averse, but it is running into stiff resistance in the Treasury. Opponents within government say that it would struggle to gain approval from Europe, and could take years to set up. One senior Whitehall source added that the last thing the Government needed was to run another bank. 'We already own most of RBS and Lloyds as it is.'" - The Times (£)

But could the Chancellor give ground on a mansion tax?

"Lord Oakeshott, the former Lib Dem Treasury spokesman, will also lead a push to revive interest in the party's 'mansion tax' on properties worth more than £2m. Osborne is understood to have considered introducing this in the budget in exchange for cutting the top rate of tax to 40p. David Cameron vetoed the tax, prompting the Lib Dems to insist that the top rate of income tax could go no lower than 45p." - Guardian

  • "Knutsford Conservative Club, which shares premises with the Chancellor's local staff, is facing a problem all too familiar to Mr Osborne – it is in the midst of a cash crisis." - Independent

David Cameron: The Paralympics will make us prouder still

Cameron"Speaking before the [opening] ceremony, Prime Minister David Cameron said he believed the Games were 'going to to make the whole country incredibly proud'. ... He said: 'The Olympic Games made us proud but I think this will make us prouder still because you are going to see an extraordinary display of sport. ... 'We can be very proud that more Paralympians are taking part in more sports, in more stadia, watched by more people than at any time in the past. ... It's been a sell-out and that is, I think, a great story for our country and it will inspire a lot of people and change people's views about disability and that is absolutely crucial.'" - Daily Mail


  • "Trust me, these Paralympic Games will amaze and delight you" - Clare Balding , Daily Mail
  • "...most of those with disabilities can not and have not mutated into superhumans, able to gain strength from every rebuff and blow. For them, as for anyone else, life is about coping, doing their best, loving, being loved, grumbling, hoping and worrying. Often it’s about the grind." - David Aaronovitch, The Times (£)
  • "Britain will always be remembered for the brilliance and the flawlessness of the 2012 Games. ... Wouldn’t it be something if, in the next week and a half, we also changed for good the world’s perception of disabled people? ... That attitudes towards them changed everywhere? That facilities for them improved? That their lives became that bit easier? ... Wouldn’t that be the most amazing legacy of all from Britain’s incredible 2012?" - Sun editorial

Virgin Rail accuse Justine Greening of acting "unlawfully" over the West Coast rail contract

Greening"Virgin Rail’s legal challenge over the franchise bid focuses on three main alleged failings by Ms Greening, who it claims 'breached her obligations of equal treatment, transparency and her duties to act consistently and rationally'. ... A Department for Transport spokesman said: 'We will fight these claims robustly and show clearly that these allegations by Virgin and their business partners Stagecoach are ill-founded and misconceived. We expect to sign the contract soon.'" - Daily Telegraph

> Yesterday on MPsETC: Daniel Kawczynski MP writes to Sir Richard Branson urging him to drop his West Coast Rail protest

Sue Cameron: Ms Greening's position is safer after the latest Heathrow brouhaha

Ironically, Mr Yeo’s outburst has strengthened the position of Transport Secretary Justine Greening – popular with officials – who is against a third runway. To sack her now would indeed make Mr Cameron look like a mouse." - Sue Cameorn, Daily Telegraph

  • Zac Goldsmith warns that the government would face a "backlash" if it changes its mind over Heathrow - Financial Times (£)

William Hague has held talks with Ecuador's vice-president Lenin Moreno over the Julian Assange affair - Guardian 

One-in-five households contain no-one in work

Grayling"Nearly a fifth of British households have no one in work, figures show. ... There are 3.7 million in all — a 153,000 fall on last year. ... But there are still more than 5 million working-age adults in homes where no one has a job. .. Employment minister Chris Grayling said the fall in workless families was encouraging, but added: 'We can’t be complacent.'" - Sun

  • "The announcement by Chris Grayling, the employment minister, that young benefit recipients will be required to take part in full-time community work programmes in exchange for welfare payments is welcome." - Daily Telegraph editorial

Thousands more pupils could be dragged into the GCSE grading row

"The analysis – by David Blow, head of the Ashcombe School, Surrey – suggests that half of the 133,900 candidates who received a D in English may have gained Cs if pass marks had not been shifted. ... He warned that previous reports that around 10,000 pupils had been hit by the grade boundary change seriously underestimated the scale of the problem." - Daily Telegraph

The worst sex offenders could be made to take lie detector tests after leaving prison

"Ministers hope to push plans for the tests through Parliament and bring in the £4,000 polygraph machines by 2014. Offenders who refuse to take the tests will be in breach of their licence conditions and could be returned to prison. ... Justice Minister Crispin Blunt confirmed last night: 'We will be making the request to Parliament and in due course we will mandate it for the 750 most serious offenders.'" - Sun

The Government strips a university's right to adminster and sponsor foreign students — around 2,000 face deportation - Daily Mail

NHS faces £20 million of cuts to childbirth procedures - Sun

  • Patients make 3,100 written complaints against the NHS every week - Sun

> Yesterday on Comment: Chris Skidmore MP: Andrew Lansley's clinical commissioning groups are already improving health services by making them more localist

The Public Accounts Committee warns that Civil Service numbers could creep up again - The Times (£)

Rumours that the retired England cricket captain Andrew Strauss will step up to the crease in Corby

Strauss"But the Conservatives dismissed the rumour that Strauss could take advantage of the free time he now has to contest the seat for the Tories, with a Tory source stating: 'We are not aware of any truth in it.'" - Daily Mail

The Tory attacks on David Cameron continue — this time the papers report Brian Binley MP's comments

"David Cameron has received strong critique from one of his backbench MPs who called him a ‘chambermaid’ for the Liberal Democrats. ... Brian Binley accused the Prime Minister of going against the Conservative Party’s ‘instincts’ on Europe, on gay marriage and the Lords’ reform, in a blogpost on his website." - Daily Mail

> Today:

Michael Moore challenges Alex Salmond to reach agreement over the independence vote format

"In a speech to the National Business Convention in Edinburgh, the Scotland secretary will say the two sides need to reach agreement by the end of October to hit the the Scottish first minister’s ambition of holding a referendum in 2014." - Financial Times (£)

  • "The stakes are unbearably high for Salmond and Cameron" - Steve Richard, Independent 

The BBC's Editorial Standards Committee has criticised Diane Abbott's frequent, well-paid appearances on This Week - Daily Mail

Rafael Behr: For now, Ed Balls's ambitions are limited to becoming Chancellor - Rafael Behr, New Statesman

Lord Leveson's "diatribe" against the press

"Lord Justice Leveson has issued a 'diatribe' against the bad practices of the newspaper industry, which suggests that he may recommend sweeping reforms undermining press freedom, according to the Editor of The Independent. Chris Blackhurst told The Times that the chairman of the press standards inquiry had written a 116-page confidential letter to newspaper groups that worried him because it was 'completely one-sided'." - The Times (£)

The Army is to be kitted out with five new "super-boots" — including boots designed for women - Daily Mail

The number of male drug addicts who died after taking methadone rose by a third in 2011 - Sun

Paul Ryan fires up the Republican crowd — might Clint Eastwood do the same?

Clint"Paul Ryan was embraced by Republicans as the star of a new political generation in as he delivered an electrifying speech mocking Barack Obama’s presidency as ‘like  a ship trying to sail on yesterday’s wind’." - Daily Mail

"With so little left up to chance, the media has fixated on reports that a 'mystery speaker' will take the podium before Republican nominee Mitt Romney makes his speech. Sources have come forward claiming that actor/director Clint Eastwood will be the surprise guest, a decision that if true, may draw mixed reviews from the conservative crowd." - Huffington Post

  • Why is Romney courting the Tea Party? Because it’s more likeable than he is - Tim Stanley, The Spectator (£)

> From yesterday: 

> Today: 

And finally... the "doomsday ship" that could detonate Boris Island - Daily Mail


> Please use the thread below to provide links to news topics likely to be of interest to ConservativeHome readers and to comment on political topics that haven't been given their own blog. Read our comments policy here.

29 Aug 2012 08:33:48

Newslinks for Wednesday 29th August 2012

8pm WATCH: Simon Hughes: Clegg wealth tax would be a "fair contribution" from the rich "for some years, for a limited time"

4.15pm MPsETC: Daniel Kawczynski MP writes to Sir Richard Branson urging him to drop his West Coast Rail protest

3.30pm ToryDiary: Why regional public sector pay still won't happen

3.15pm WATCH: George Osborne: "We've got to be careful and not drive away the wealth creators of this country"

Berry Jake 21.30pm Jake Berry MP on Comment: Conservative Police and Crime Commissioners should end taxpayer funding for top officers' private healthcare

11.15am WATCH: Bernard Jenkin MP: Nick Clegg's new wealth tax idea is "an easy pre-conference clap line", but an impractical idea

ToryDiary: The key to the next election lies in the midlands and northern marginals - especially the north-west

Also on ToryDiary: Tories should support more property taxes if proceeds are used to cut other, more harmful taxes

SHAPPS GRANT-1Grant Shapps MP on Comment: Thousands of new homes unlocked with an historic deal that began by abolishing dozens of quangos

Also on Comment - Chris Skidmore MP: Andrew Lansley's clinical commissioning groups are already improving health services by making them more localist

International: Lord Ashcroft's Republican Convention diary day two: Tuesday

Local government: 

The Deep End: Cameron and Osborne: Standing on the shoulders of pygmies

WATCH: Mitt Romney officially receives the Republican Party nomination for 2012

Nick Clegg wants an "emergency tax" on the wealthiest

Clegg on Marr"Britain's wealthiest people should face an emergency tax to avoid a breakdown in social cohesion as the country fights an "economic war" caused by a longer than expected recession, Nick Clegg has said. ... "If we are going to ask people for more sacrifices over a longer period of time, a longer period of belt tightening as a country, then we just have to make sure that people see it is being done as fairly and as progressively as possible," Clegg said." - Guardian

  • The Lib Dem leader says he is determined to stand up to David Cameron, Ed Miliband and anyone else threatening to derail his plans to restore his party's fortunes - Guardian

> From yesterday: 

Cameron urged to ditch Justine Greening and expand Heathrow...

Greening Justine BBC"David Cameron is under mounting pressure to perform a dramatic U-turn by allowing a major expansion at Heathrow Airport. Senior Conservatives are urging him to move Justine Greening, who strongly opposes a proposed third runway at Heathrow, from her post as Transport Secretary in a Cabinet reshuffle expected next Monday. They say that would allow the Government to expand Heathrow as the centrepiece of a new "go-for-growth" strategy." - Independent

  • Clegg backs Greening on Heathrow - FT (£)
  • A third runway won’t satisfy the airport lobby - Chris Mullin for the Times (£)

> From yesterday:

...but he will not drop opposition to Heathrow third runway until at least 2015

"David Cameron will not drop his opposition to a third runway at Heathrow until at least 2015 despite warnings from business leaders that the delay is damaging the economy. The Prime Minister is prepared to consider the case for a new airport to the east of London, but has ruled out expanding Heathrow until after the next election." - Daily Telegraph

> From yesterday - WATCH: Tim Montgomerie: David Cameron made a specific pledge against a third runway - it would let down too many people for him to u-turn now

Paul Goodman: The next election will not be won because of Heathrow - blue-collar workers in the North and Midlands hold the key to a Conservative victory

GOODMAN PAUL CONINTELL"But on social matters, the think tank’s polling was more encouraging for the Prime Minister. Northern voters showed even more support than southern ones for controlling immigration and for tougher court sentences; they were also more likely to agree with the claim that “so-called green policies are mostly a waste of money”. Wary about public service cuts (though dissatisfied with much of what the public sector delivers), opposed to immigration, tough on crime, suspicious of claims of human rights… through the fog of polling, the outline of a Tory idea begins to appear: Northern Conservatism, less economically liberal and a bit more socially conservative than its southern sibling, but unmistakably similar." - Paul Goodman for the Daily Telegraph

  • The third runway appeals to paranoid machismo, not reason. A recession is no excuse for pushing through dumb projects - Sir Simon Jenkins for the Guardian

> Today on ToryDiary: The key to the next election lies in the midlands and northern marginals - especially the north-west

> Yesterday on Majority Conservatism: Thou shalt not be a Left or Right-wing Conservative Party but as broad in your concerns as the British people

Daniel Finkelstein: Cameron was elected as a leader for the good times. He needs to be a "cold-weather" leader now. 

FINKELSTEIN DANNY HANDS"Tory modernisation was developed in response to Mr Blair’s political success. It was warm-weather modernisation. Mr Cameron’s promise to share the proceeds of growth between tax cuts and increased public spending was a brilliant formula, but one that doesn’t work when there is no growth. What the Tories need is a cold-weather modernisation. The party should be as unorthodox and pragmatic in its search for growth as it was, for instance, on the environment in a different era." - Daniel Finkelstein for the Times (£)

> From yesterday - Johnny Munkhammar on CommentExtra government spending doesn't bring growth

Blow for Gove as free schools get off to a faltering start

Gove IDCC"More than a dozen free schools due to open next week have been delayed or beset by planning problems in a blow to the credibility of Michael Gove’s programme. Almost half of the schools — the Education Secretary’s brainchild — that are opening next week will be in mobile classrooms or in temporary premises such as town halls and conference centres" - Times (£)

MPs warn Cameron against honouring 2012 Olympians and (civil servants) simply for doing their job

Cameron Euro summit"The speed at which sports stars and celebrities are given honours is damaging public trust in the system, MPs warn today. David Cameron is under intense pressure to sanction honours for Team GB’s top Olympic medallists in recognition of their stunning performances this summer. But a report by the Commons public administration select committee warns many sports stars are being given honours too early in their careers." - Daily Mail

Olympic border operation to cope with foreign students

"The emergency Olympics border regime is to stay in place until at least November as the Government attempts to prevent the embarrassment of long queues at airports in coming weeks. Retired immigration officers and staff from Whitehall are to work at the border as hundreds of thousands of overseas students arrive in September and October." - Times (£)

Grant Shapps gives go-ahead to 22,000 new homes

"Plans for about 22,600 new homes in Kent with the creation of up to 60,000 jobs has been given the go-ahead. ... Grant Shapps, the housing minister, said: "The Kent Thameside development - offering the opportunity for tens of thousands of new homes - has been stuck on the drawing board for a whole decade."" - BBC | FT (£)

> Today - Grant Shapps MP on CommentThousands of new homes unlocked with an historic deal that began by abolishing dozens of quangos

Boris Johnson launches unpaid work scheme for young Londoners

Johnson Boris Late Show"Young Londoners joining the dole queue will be forced to work unpaid for three months or lose their benefits under a new scheme announced by mayor of London Boris Johnson and the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP)." - Guardian

> Yesterday on ToryDiary: Chris Grayling announces London-wide scheme to end something-for-nothing benefits culture

Councillors give themselves 'completely unjustifiable' 28% pay rise

"Hundreds of councillors awarded themselves inflation-busting rises in allowances last year. Figures show that a dozen town halls did so despite the pay freeze for many local government workers. ... The hikes ... have been condemned by local government minister Bob Neill as ‘completely unjustifiable’." - Daily Mail

  • The public sector pay freeze that wasn't: Thousands of civil servants and NHS workers given rises despite Osborne's pledge - Daily Mail

> Today on Local government: New TaxPayers' Alliance survey reveals big differences in size of councillor allowances

Harman Harriet March 2011Stop ignoring older women, says Harman as she hits out at ageism on TV and in public life - Daily Mail

Calls for reform as cost of free personal care for elderly rises by 150% in 7 years - Scotsman

MPs demand action on lost alcohol taxation - BBC

RomneyMittMitt Romney becomes Republican presidential nominee - BBC

> Yesterday on International: Lord Ashcroft begins a diary from the Republican Convention in Florida

> Today: 

Syria’s rebels are not yet worthy of our trust - Con Coughlin for the Daily Telegraph

And finally... Chief Mouser to the Cabinet: Larry the Downing Street cat finally earns his stripes by catching his first rodent at No 10 - Daily Mail


> Please use the thread below to provide links to news topics likely to be of interest to ConservativeHome readers and to comment on political topics that haven't been given their own blog. Read our comments policy here.

28 Aug 2012 08:29:13

Newslinks for Tuesday 28th August 2012

7.45pm WATCH: Justine Greening: A third Heathrow runway is "likely to be full within years of opening, if not instantly"

5.15pm WATCH: Nick Clegg: "We're not going to give a go-ahead to a third runway at Heathrow"

4pm Matthew Barrett on Comment: Time to end the "War on Drugs"? I'm still waiting for it to start.

Montgomerie Tim Sky News3.30pm WATCH: Tim Montgomerie: David Cameron made a specific pledge against a third runway - it would let down too many people for him to u-turn now

2.30pm Richard Royal on Comment: Why we launched Conservative Friends of Russia

12.45pm ToryDiary: Chris Grayling announces London-wide scheme to end something-for-nothing benefits culture

11am WATCH: Tim Yeo MP: "This is the moment to set out on a new mission to say this is a new era for the Cameron Government"

YEO TIMToryDiary: A warning for David Cameron - Tim Yeo dismisses him as a footling Old Etonian over Heathrow

Columnist Peter Hoskin: The joy (and politics) of working from home

Johnny Munkhammar on Comment: Extra government spending doesn't bring growth

Majority Conservatism: Thou shalt not be a Left or Right-wing Conservative Party but as broad in your concerns as the British people

International: Lord Ashcroft begins a diary from the Republican Convention in Florida

Local government: Will the turnout for the Police Commissioner elections be derisory?

The Deep End: Don’t make the rich pay – stop paying the rich

Heathrow expansion: Cameron must decide "whether he is man or mouse" - says Tim Yeo MP

Heathrow"Tim Yeo, a former environment minister... says the “environmental objections” to the expansion of Heathrow are “disappearing”. ... in an article for The Daily Telegraph he says Mr Cameron must “find his sense of mission” and push ahead with the controversial project. “The Prime Minister must ask himself whether he is man or mouse,” he writes. “Does he want to be another Harold Macmillan, presiding over a dignified slide towards insignificance?" - Daily Telegraph | Guardian

  • I backed Cameron on Heathrow to save the environment – but the facts have changed - Tim Yeo MP for the Daily Telegraph
  • The economic case for a third runway at Heathrow is overwhelming - Daily Telegraph editorial

> Today on ToryDiaryA warning for David Cameron - Tim Yeo dismisses him as a footling Old Etonian over Heathrow

Backbenchers demand answers from Cameron on how the next election can be won

"David Cameron will face demands from his MPs next week to explain how he can win the next general election, as he enters a two-month period that could be the busiest of his premiership. MPs will use William Hague’s appearance before the 1922 Committee and Mr Cameron’s dinner with parliamentary colleagues shortly afterwards to demand to know whether he has a plan for victory in the next election, after the Lib Dems announced opposition to the review on constituency boundaries." - Times (£)

> Yesterday on ToryDiaryWill the real David Cameron please stand up?

"George Osborne is liability to Tories, poll reveals"

Osborne NewX"Senior Tory figures, who are calling in private for Osborne to swap with the foreign secretary William Hague, are likely to seize on the poll which shows the chancellor is seen as one of the weaker members of the cabinet. Nearly half (48%) of voters say he should lose his job in the reshuffle. This rises to 52% among the over 65s and 53% among those aged between 35 and 64 – the age groups that are most likely to vote." - Guardian

  • CON 34, LAB 39, LDEM 15 - UK Polling Report
  • Voters put pressure on David Cameron to remove George Osborne - Guardian
  • Which cabinet ministers should be sacked? More poll results from the Guardian
  • A full government reshuffle is on for early September but who will be the winners and losers? - Daily Telegraph

Janan Ganesh: Osborne has cut the top rate of tax and imposed the longest period of austerity since WW2, yet the Tory right consider him too cautious

Ganesh Janan"The chancellor is beleaguered by all sides but only one side can claim any coherence... he regards the right’s anger as confused and self-contradictory. He is correct but his mistake was to expect anything else. Unlike prime minister David Cameron... Mr Osborne witnessed at close quarters Mr Major’s evisceration by his own right flank. ...That should have taught Mr Osborne a lesson he is now learning the hard way. The Tory right are many things: fizzing with ideas; more diverse in social background than the blue-blooded modernisers; often shrewd in their big judgment calls, namely the folly of the single currency. But they are not biddable. They do not reward concessions to their demands; they pocket them and ask for more. Nothing is ever enough." - Janan Ganesh for the FT (£)

> From yesterday - Neil Carmichael MP on CommentIt's not enough to cut the deficit, we need to strengthen the 'real' economy too

Ryan Bourne: What George Osborne can learn from Paul Ryan

BourneRyan2"One of the admirable things about Paul Ryan, the Republican Party's pick for vice president, is the regularity and clarity with which he sets out America's long-term debt problem. Sure, not everyone agrees with the medicine he advocates, and there is plenty of debate to be had on his proposed entitlement reforms. But there is clarity about what he is trying to achieve. Anyone who has watched his "Path to Prosperity" videos online is left in little doubt as to his intentions." - Ryan Bourne for the Wall Street Journal

> Today - Johnny Munkhammar on CommentExtra government spending doesn't bring growth

> Yesterday on ThinkTankCentralNew Centre for Policy Studies report shows widespread public misunderstanding of economic issues faced by Britain

Lord Tebbit: Damian Green said some sensible things – but I'd rather he got back to his job and regulated immigration - Lord Tebbit for Telegraph Blogs

> Today on Majority Conservatism: Thou shalt not be a Left or Right-wing Conservative Party but as broad in your concerns as the British people

Eric Pickles: Fraud and mistakes have cost councils £1billion

PICKLES ERIC 2009"More than £1billion of council tax benefit payments have been lost in six years because of fraud or mistakes, the Government will claim today. Eric Pickles... has now challenged councils to get a grip of the problem as they prepare to take responsibility for handing out the benefit from April. Councils have complained that a shake-up of the system will see them having to pay out the cash instead of it coming from central government." - Daily Express

Gove pulls plug on free school days before start of term

Gove pointing"Funding for a new free school has been pulled by Michael Gove’s department, just days before it was due to open, because it had not recruited enough pupils. The One In A Million Free School, in Bradford, was expected to open its doors for the first time next week. ... The families of those children will now have just days to find them a place at a different school before the start of term. It raises questions about whether other free schools due to open next week could also have their funding withdrawn at the 11th hour." - Times (£)

Ken Clarke’s weekend court plans in tatters as lawyers object - Daily Telegraph

"The two Tory blondes locked in a bitter war of words"

Express 28th Aug 2012

"In Westminster’s male-dominated corridors of power you might assume that women would stick together out of solidarity – especially if they are in the same party. Think again. The traditional serenity of a summer at Parliament was shattered yesterday when one female politician turned on another. It was Prince Harry who started it though, with the women taking opposing sides over whether pictures of him partying should have appeared in the British press. Outspoken Nadine Dorries rode to the defence of the third in line to the throne against her colleague Louise Mensch." - Daily Express | Daily Telegraph

> Read it all here, from yesterday's ConHome - Columnist Nadine Dorries MP: Louise Mensch was wrong to back The Sun against Prince Harry

Polly Toynbee: People want to see their deep anger reflected by opposition politicians - Polly Toynbee from the Guardian

> Yesterday on LeftWatchTensions growing between Balls and Miliband over Labour's direction

East coast mainline should remain in public hands, says Labour frontbencher

Train station"Britain's east coast mainline, which runs trains from London to Edinburgh, should remain in public hands, the shadow transport secretary, Maria Eagle, has said. In a contribution to Ed Miliband's debate on forging a more responsible economy, Eagle said Britain's mainly privatised rail network would benefit from a "public sector comparator"." - Guardian

  • Virgin plans legal fight for West Coast train line - Independent
  • FirstGroup warns against rail franchise delay in Branson row - Guardian

> From yesterday - WATCH: Maria Eagle MP: Justine Greening's lack of transparency over West Coast Mainline decision is "outrageous

Tories failing to build social homes for poorest people, Labour says

"Conservative councils will build on average 20 social homes for the poorest people in society by the end of the parliament – and in the housing minister's own back yard, just one house a year will be built until 2015, according to a survey. Freedom of information requests by the Labour party to 324 local councils showed that Tory local authorities were building fewer than half as many social homes as Liberal Democrat councils and fewer than a fifth of those in Labour authorities" - Guardian

GALLOWAY GeorgeGeorge Galloway criticised for 'window licker' tweet - Guardian

European court may force Britain to lift ban on political TV ads

"Britain may be forced to lift its ban on political advertising on television before the next election, leading to a profound change in campaigning. The European Court of Human Rights will announce within weeks whether it thinks political adverts should be permitted on TV. The ban... is being challenged because opponents say it breaches the guarantee to freedom of expression under the European Convention on Human Rights." - Times (£)

Pay rises for public sector workers despite 'pay freeze' - Daily Telegraph

Foreigners grab lion’s share of UK takeovers - FT (£)

NHS scorecards to keep doctors up to the mark - Times (£)

Cannabis more damaging to under-18s, study suggests - Guardian

Six out of ten prisons too crowded, with 7,000 more inmates than they're meant to hold - Daily Mail


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