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Newslinks for Tuesday 25th September 2012

7pm WATCH: Gordon Brown rings the bell to open trading at the New York Stock Exchange (although it starts ringing before he does anything)

Lib Dems5.15pm LeftWatch update: Ed Davey continues to lead the attacks against the "Tea Party Tories"

3.45pm WATCH: A Lib Dem party conference double-bill:

3.30pm ToryDiary: Boris weighs in on the Mitchell story

12.45pm WATCH: The Daily Politics asks Lib Dems which party they'd prefer to be in Coalition with after the next election. Guess who they pick...

11.15 Local government: Lib Dem councillor attacks Wealth Tax

Twitter9.15am ToryDiary: David Cameron is joining Twitter

ToryDiary: Forget the party conferences. Think instead about will what happen here if Israel bombs Iran

Columnist Peter Hoskin: The lesson of recent years is that there are few fiscal certainties

Shane Stone on Comment: Obsessed with Andrew Mitchell, the British media is neglecting the police story that really matters

John Bald on Local Government: Shifting from coursework to a final exam will not increase stress

The Deep End: UK shale gas deposits trigger massive eruption ... of irony

And the Andrew Mitchell story keeps on running, as the police log is published

Andrew Mitchell"Andrew Mitchell was under pressure to issue a third apology over his foul-mouthed rant last night – after his attempt to ‘draw a line’ under the affair enraged police. ... Senior Tory colleagues voiced alarm at the ‘lack of contrition’ displayed by the beleaguered Chief Whip yesterday when he made a brief televised statement to address toxic claims that he hurled abuse at police officers." - Daily Mail

"David Cameron defied calls for an official investigation into the incident after Sir Jeremy Heywood, the Cabinet Secretary, discussed the matter with Bernard Hogan-Howe, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner. ... But Downing Street struggled to draw a line under the scandal and aides admitted that the Prime Minister had not read the official police record." - Daily Telegraph

"A Sun YouGov poll today reveals 69 per cent of people believe Mr Mitchell probably did call police plebs. Just 8 per cent say he probably did not." - Sun

  • "This pleb jibe exposes the Tories' Flashman thinking" - Polly Toynbee, Guardian

> Today, by Shane Stone on Comment: Obsessed with Andrew Mitchell, the British media is neglecting the police story that really matters

> Yesterday on ToryDiary: Full text of Andrew Mitchell's to-camera apology

Nick Clegg's idea to tax the "top 10 per cent"? George Osborne doesn't sound keen...

Curse of Clegg"The Chancellor crushed the Deputy Prime Minister’s suggestion that the ‘top 10 per cent’ – around three million earning £50,500 or more – must brace themselves for new levies. ... ‘We all want the consolidation to be fair, but that doesn’t mean coming after Middle England with higher taxes,’ said a source close to Mr Osborne." - Daily Mail

Comment on Clegg's proposal:

  • "Like the third-rate student politician he is, Clegg has fallen back on knee-jerk ‘soak the rich’ rhetoric in a nakedly cynical effort to shore up his dwindling base and improve his standing in the polls." - Richard Littlejohn, Daily Mail
  • "Does he really believe these people are seriously wealthy? If so, it just shows how cut off he is from the economic realities of raising a family in modern Britain, with nothing to rely on but hard work." - Daily Mail editorial

From the Lib Dem conference 1): Vince Cable sets himself up as a Lib-Lab man

Vince CableFrom the Daily Mail's report:

  • "Vince Cable launched a withering attack on the Tories yesterday as he talked up the prospects of a possible Lib-Lab Pact after the next election. ... The Business Secretary insisted that any future government should ‘have Liberal Democrats at its heart’ and boasted of his recent flirtations with Labour."
  • "Mr Cable said: ‘Most of our MPs will face Conservatives at the next General Election. They face the enticing prospect of a Tory split. ... 'I don’t know what Boris and Dave got up to in Eton. Perhaps a pillow fight got out of control in the dormitories.’"
  • "He then stirred up the controversy surrounding Tory Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell’s rant at a policeman: ‘I have been told that jokes about social class are not good for the unity of the Coalition. But as a mere pleb, I couldn’t resist it.’"
  • "Mr Cable boasted of blocking Tories who wanted to deregulate the workplace, saying: ‘We have seen off the head bangers who want a hire and fire culture and seem to find sacking people an aphrodisiac.’ ... And he vowed to press ahead with plans to introduce ‘the proper taxation of wealth and land’. ‘It horrifies the Tory backwoodsmen but it is popular and right,’ he said."

Fom the Financial Times (£): Mr Cable calls for a "demand stimulus" to boost the economy, particularly around house-building

And, in the Times (£), Rachel Sylvester advises the Lib Dems to "grow up and stop chasing the protest vote"

> Yesterday:

From the Lib Dem conference 2): Danny Alexander to focus on tax dodgers

"'Fair taxes in tough times means everyone playing by the same rule book, and everyone paying their fair share,' he is expected to say. ... 'We have this message to the small minority of wealthy people who don’t play by the rules: we are coming to get you and you will pay your fair share.'" - Daily Telegraph

From the Lib Dem conference 3): Ed Davey talks about looking after his disabled son

"Mr Davey said when he tried to get NHS treatment when John was a baby, he was offered occupational therapy, speech therapy and physiotherapy, all of which had 12 months waiting lists. ... ‘We said thanks, but no thanks,’ Mr Davey said." - Daily Mail 

  • Mr Davey acted to prevent John Hayes taking formal responsibility for renewable energy strategy - Daily Telegraph

From the Lib Dem conference 4): Pass the parcel, Trident edition

Pass the parcel"Nick Harvey’s removal as the Liberal Democrat minister in the Ministry of Defence meant the review into less expensive alternatives to a like-for-like replacement of the Trident nuclear weapons system was passed to David Laws. ... Amid concerns the new education minister had too much on his plate, the review was passed from Mr Laws to Danny Alexander, the Treasury chief secretary. But the Financial Times has learned that Nick Clegg, the party leader, originally said he would take on the task himself, meaning there have now been four people leading the review in as many weeks." - Financial Times (£)

Benedict Brogan says that Mr Osborne is gearing up for further cuts — but is David Cameron opposed?

"Among Mr Osborne’s allies, all sorts of ideas are being thrown into the mix, including more measures to allow off-balance-sheet borrowing for infrastructure spending, a year’s National Insurance holiday for companies with fewer than 25 employees, and even using the now underemployed Ken Clarke as a cuts enforcer across Whitehall, a role that would make full use of his experience as a negotiator. ... But I also detect some uncertainty over how Mr Cameron will play the decisions to come. Senior figures involved in the internal debates claim that the argument will be just as much between Mr Cameron and Mr Osborne as between the Lib Dems and Tories." - Benedict Brogan, Daily Telegraph

> Today, from our columnist Peter Hoskin: The lesson of recent years is that there are few fiscal certainties

> Yesterday on ToryDiary: Lamont warns of British economic decline if we don't match other nations' deficit reduction efforts

The Chancellor is giving PFI a "makeover"

"Nearly 12 months after the chancellor said he would find a “new delivery model” to replace PFI, the scheme is expected to be given a new breath of life in a remodelled version that includes only minor changes. ... The expected revival comes even though Mr Osborne called PFI 'discredited' and Nick Clegg, now deputy prime minister, branded it 'a bit of dodgy accounting' before the 2010 election." - Financial Times (£)

The Telegraph's Philip Johnston describes the Coalition's plan for workforce pensions as a "revolution"

"This is a far-reaching measure, on a par with the introduction of the state pension by David Lloyd George in 1909. It is, indeed, the first attempt to force people to save since the National Insurance Fund was established after the Second World War." - Philip Johnston, Daily Telegraph

Janan Ganesh: Tax on wealth is true to Tory principles

JG"Focus groups find that voters regard [the Tories] as the party of privilege and entrenched wealth rather than enterprise and hard-earned income. They are also seen in much of the country as a lobby group for the south-east. There is an enormous electoral prize awaiting the Conservatives in the long run if they can turn this round. This means championing lower income tax and national insurance, paid for by levies on property or land value." - Jana Ganesh, Financial Times (£)

  • The Lib Dems are pushing for a tax hike on properties worth over £1 million - Independent

Abu Hamza is finally on his way out of Britain after losing his final appeal against extradition

"Delighted Home Secretary Theresa May wants Hamza – viewed as one of the world’s most dangerous preachers of hate – to now be put on a plane to America ‘as soon as possible’ ... In previous cases, suspects have been booted out within two weeks of losing their last appeal." - Daily Mail

Tory strategists have met with US campaigners for gay marriage, as they attempt to win over hesitant backbenchers - Daily Telegraph

MPs express disgust at new child-sex scandal revelations

"Tim Loughton, the former Children’s Minister, blamed 'the insidious and misguided hand of political correctness' for allowing sensitivities about the 'cultural background' of the perpetrators to hinder a full investigation into 'this cancerous abuse of vulnerable children'. His successor, Edward Timpson, said such cases raised 'tough questions about the profile and attitude of the abusers towards their victims'." - The Times (£)

The Daily Mail continues its serialisation of Jack Straw's memoir

Straw"The intelligence failure over Iraq has, to say the least, been painful to all of us involved in it. But our real mistake was to go down that route and release these nuggets of classified intelligence at all. ... The irony — indeed, the fundamental flaw — is that we didn’t need dossiers to bolster our position. ... The substance of the case for war was all to be found in incontrovertible, open sources — in UN Security Council resolutions, in the reports of the weapons inspectors, and so on. ... These made it clear what Saddam was up to and why it was time to rein him in, by force if necessary." - Jack Straw, Daily Mail

Interviewed in the Daily Telegraph, the Duke of Wesminster suggests that British employers are discriminating against army reservists - Daily Telegraph

Alex Salmond spent £370,000 on "entertaining" during his first term in office - Daily Telegraph

And finally... David Cameron is to appear on America's David Letterman chat show

"Mr Cameron will follow in the footsteps of Tony Blair, who has made two appearances on the Letterman show, but only after leaving office. ... Downing Street sources last night said Mr Cameron hoped to use his appearance to promote British business in the wake of the Olympics." - Daily Mail

  • Cameron faces fury from his own backbenchers, as he reaffirms his commitment to international aid during New York trip - Sun


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