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Newslinks for Friday 25th January 2013

6pm Catherine Marcus on Comment: "The last ten years has seen an explosion in mobile technology that means school kids can access porn at the touch of a button, young girls report the need to shave ‘down there’ in order to conform to the pornographic ideal of feminity, and doctors are reporting an unprecedented rise in the number of young girls seeking counselling due to raised anxiety and depression." No, Zoe Williams - it is not anti-feminist to be concerned about the effects of pornography on young teenagers

Screen shot 2013-01-25 at 18.06.103pm Lord Risby on Comment: Never, ever again must Tory differences on Europe pave a way for Labour

2.15pm Local Government: Cllr Philippa Roe on The EU's hidden cost to Council Taxpayers

1.30pm Local Government: Council byelection results from yesterday

12.30pm ToryDiary: Warsi - under a quarter of Britons think Muslims are compatible with the British way of life

10.30pm ToryDiary UPDATED: GDP shrank by 0.3 per cent in the last quarter of 2012

9.30am ToryDiary: GDP shrank by 0.3 per cent in the last quarter of 2012

9.30am As the world goes bonkers about the brilliance of Clare Foges, David Cameron's speechwriter, ConservativeHome republishes her Comment article on the death of political rhetoric: Antiseptic oratory

ToryDiary: Ruth Davidson moves to distance Scotland's Conservatives from England's

Screen shot 2013-01-25 at 08.33.39On ConservativeHome's culture column, Paul Goodman peers at Pinter's adolescent views and mature art as he reviews the playwright's Old Times

Andrew Lilico on Comment: What would we need to renegotiate in order to stay in the EU?

Also on Comment: Peter Luff MP - Training more engineers should become a national priority

John Bald on Local Government: Elizabeth Truss is right about maths - why do some teachers disagree?

The Deep End: Heresy of the week: The Big Society leaves no room for the little platoons

WATCH: Osborne - not for turning on the economy

Today 1) Growth figures to be released.  And Osborne's not for turning as he snubs IMF plea to ease austerity...

Osborne as Thatcher"The Chancellor insisted he will plough ahead with spending cuts until 2017. The IMF’s chief economist Olivier Blanchard had called for the UK to slow down its austerity programme. But speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Mr Osborne said: “I don’t think it is right to abandon a credible deficit plan.”… “We do have to carry on with the cuts,” he said. “We’re not about to bring that programme to an end. It will go on until 2017. We are walking a difficult road but we are going in the right direction.” - Daily Express

...But the Curse of Clegg strikes again as LibDem leader agonises over Coalition policy in haplessly-timed House Magazine interview

"Mistakes have been made over the economy by the Coalition, Deputy PM Nick Clegg dramatically said last night. He risked a huge row with Chancellor George Osborne by admitting the Government should have spent MORE on big building projects to boost jobs. The Lib Dem leader’s startling honesty is terrible timing for the Treasury as it braces itself for a fresh dose of grim tidings today" - The Sun

  • Screen shot 2013-01-25 at 07.48.45Full Clegg interview: woe, woe and thrice woe - PoliticsHome
  • "LibDem Ministers are demanding action on growth" (So who would they be, Vince?) - The Independent
  • Cable wants business rates revaluation decision to be revisited - Financial Times (£)
  • Clegg’s confession on the economy is startling and troubling - Sun Editorial
  • Petrol prices to rise by 4p a litre - Daily Telegraph
  • Labour refers Prime Minister to statistics watchdog over debt 'error' - The Guardian

> Yesterday: ToryDiary - Fraser Nelson is right – the Tories should stop saying that they’re paying down Britain’s debts

Today 2) Same-sex marriage bill to be published.  "The most divisive vote of Cameron's leadership."

Gay Tory logo"The issue threatens to shatter the Tory unity that Mr Cameron engendered with his Europe speech this week. MPs have warned party whips that the issue of gay marriage is by far the most toxic for them among grassroots party members. The Times has spoken this week to MPs from all parts of the country, all of whom have reported that local association members are deserting the party over the issue. Opposition to gay marriage had dominated their postbags and was driving members to UKIP, the MPs said." - The Times (£)

Today 3) Ruth Davidson to distance Scottish Tories from English party

Ruth Davidson"She will say the Conservatives are unfairly characterised as controlled by Westminster, and they need to prove to voters “beyond all reasonable doubt” they put Scotland first. Although many people north of the Border continue to share Tory values, she will argue the party’s hostile attitude to devolution has meant they are perceived as “a brake on the aspirations of Scotland and not a torch bearer”. Senior sources close to Ms Davidson said she had not yet decided to cross the constitutional “line in the sand” she promised to draw during her successful leadership campaign in 2011." - Daily Telegraph

  • Salmond in appeal to UK over Scots EU membership - Scotsman
  • Most wind farms in Scotland after SNP 'overrules' councils - Daily Telegraph

> Today: ToryDiary - Ruth Davidson moves to distance Scotland's Conservatives from England's

No early poll bounce for Cameron's EU speech

"The first YouGov poll since the Prime Minister's speech, the fieldwork for which was conducted between 5pm on Tuesday and 5pm yesterday, shows no sign of an early boost for the Tories. Instead, support for Labour has risen by two points to 43 per cent, while the Tories are unchanged on 31 per cent. We will, of course, need to wait until the weekend polls for a clear picture of what effect, if any, Cameron's speech has had on the Conservatives' standing." - The New Statesman

  • Populus poll finds that Britons would vote to quit the EU. "The poll also shows that the Prime Minister’s landmark speech on Tuesday did little to improve his chances of an outright Tory victory at the next election in 2015" - The Times (£)

The Prime Minister meets Merkel in Davos.  She doesn't mention his speech during hers...

Cameron and merkel
"Cameron held a 20-minute meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel to discuss his plan to negotiate a new deal for Britain. She had indicated a “fair compromise” could be possible to allow the UK to loosen ties. He also met other EU premiers including Italy’s Mario Monti and Enda Kenny of Ireland. Mr Cameron made a passionate defence of his referendum plan in a speech to the Forum. He said: “This is not about turning our backs on Europe – quite the opposite." - Daily Express

...But Clegg suggests EU referendum wouldn't hold up a second Coalition...

"Nick Clegg, Britain’s deputy prime minister, said Mr Cameron’s proposals for a renegotiation were “vague” and it was “wholly implausible” that a future Conservative government could rewrite the rules to the sole advantage of the UK. However the pro-European Liberal Democrat leader did not rule out the possibility that he would back Mr Cameron’s call for an in-out referendum, if the 2015 general election propels his party back into a second coalition with Mr Cameron’s Tories." - Financial Times (£)

  • Clegg: I won't stop my wife if she wants to send our eldest son to a private school - Daily Mail

...Though Boris concedes it could split the Conservatives...

Boris Johnson smiling"Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, put a question mark over whether he would support continued EU membership in the referendum. “I can’t say now,” he told an interviewer at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. “But my overwhelming instinct would be that we can get sufficient changes, reforms and improvements to the treaty to make it sensible, for most people in my country to vote to stay in the single market.” - The Times (£)

  • More than 100 Conservative MPs could vote for Out, including Michael Gove, Iain Duncan Smith, Owen Paterson and Chris Grayling -  Daily Telegraph

...And meanwhile, Miliband has EU troubles of his own

"Labour’s rifts on Europe deepened yesterday when ex-minister Kate Hoey said party leader Ed Miliband had “got it wrong” by declaring his opposition to a nationwide poll. Mr Miliband insisted he was acting “in the national interest”. He said: “It’s clear what the priorities of the British people are — growth and jobs.” - The Sun

  • Labour’s referendum position is inconsistent, wrong and a political error - The Times (£)
  • Under Miliband's leadership, the Opposition has become the party that will do anything for the working class: except trust them - Fraser Nelson, Daily Telegraph

David Jones: Let's debate the EU in Wales

David Jones"The Welsh Government should not shut down a “vitally important” debate about the future of Britain’s relationship with the EU, Secretary of State for Wales David Jones warned yesterday. The Conservative Clwyd West MP met with leading Welsh industrialists yesterday as the impact of the Prime Minister’s pledge to hold an in/out referendum on EU membership continued to reverberate through Wales and beyond." - Wales Online

UK may be fined over failure to honour single market agreement - The Independent

Over half of young people in Spain are out of work - Daily Mail

"Dear Britons, please stay!  You are so gloriously crazy!": European reaction to the speech - Daily Mail

The Daily Mail profiles Clare Foges, the woman who wrote the speech

Screen shot 2013-01-25 at 08.05.26"Clare is on the same traditionalist wing of the party as Mr Duncan Smith, with her beliefs forged as a young girl when she watched her mother, a foster parent, care for children in their family home. She has said: ‘I used to think about what happened to the children when they left care, and how the State works in terms of welfare…A few years ago, she set out her beliefs about what was important in political speeches. In an article  for ConservativeHome  website, she lamented the death of rousing political speech making." - Daily Mail

Read Clare Foges's original ConservativeHome article here

Paul Goodman: Cameron's speech was a gamble to get the Euro-sceptic monkey off his back

"So why has this cautious politician, naturally restrained in temperament and outlook, taken such an extraordinary gamble, risking the very unity and future of his party? There is no great mystery about the answer. It is the only way he can think of to get the eurosceptic monkey off his back. Almost half his backbenchers voted for an EU referendum last year. The rightwing newspapers have clamoured for one. In some opinion polls, the UK Independence party has overtaken the Lib Dems as the third party of British politics." - Financial Times (£)

  • Now for the real hard work, Mr Cameron - Daily Mail Editorial
  • Cameron's speech told Europe's emperors to get dressed - Simon Jenkins, The Guardian
  • Does the speech herald the end of Tory modernisation? - Benedict Brogan, Daily Telegraph
  • David Cameron has appeased Tory backbenchers for now - but may have fatally wounded his party - Amol Rajan, The Independent

Andrew Lilico> Today: Andrew Lilico on Comment - What would we need to renegotiate in order to stay in the EU?

> Yesterday:

Cameron planning major speech to woo ethnic minority voters...

Screen shot 2013-01-25 at 08.12.57
"Senior government sources say that David Cameron is so concerned that the issue of race is damaging support for the Tories that he is planning to address it head-on with a speech in the next two months. The Prime Minister chaired a Cabinet meeting last week at which ministers were shown evidence that the single biggest factor in voters not backing the Tories is race – far outweighing wealth, class or where someone lives." - Daily Mail

...And in Davos, he calls for worldwide tax avoidance clampdown

"He said that firms have a moral duty to pay tax - in comments which angered global business leaders meeting in Davos, Switzerland. Mr Cameron is to spearhead an international tax "transparency" drive this year which is expected to lead to firms being forced to publish details of where and how much tax they pay…The Daily Telegraph today publishes the responses of more than 50 FTSE companies. The letters show that 32 of the 52 members of the FTSE-100 who have responded warn against publishing more details of their tax affairs." - Daily Telegraph

General Houghton tipped to lead military - Financial Times (£)

Women on march towards frontline combat - The Times (£)

It's not sensible to predict Romanian and Bulgarian numbers, says Mark Harper

Harper Mark"Mark Harper, the immigration minister, has said it would not be “sensible” to try and predict how many Romanians and Bulgarians are expected come into the country after getting the right to live and work in the UK. He insisted that the Government is not doing any research on their likely impact because “there are so many variables”…n an interview with BBC Radio 5 Live Mr Harper said the Government is “not going to start speculating about numbers." - Daily Telegraph

Ministers consider clampdown on 'industrial users' of Freedom of Information - BBC

Crime plunges, but Iphone and Ipad thefts soar as the figures are questioned - The Sun

Truss prepares to issue childcare vouchers and slash childminder rules

"Working families are to be given an extra boost to help pay for childcare as the coalition tries to ease the burden on parents struggling to meet the soaring cost of nursery fees and encourage more mothers back to work. The coalition is working on a package worth up to £1.5bn involving a new voucher scheme for families with young children as part of a wider overhaul of childcare. Each family is expected on average to receive at least £1,000 per year in extra support." - Financial Times (£)

> Today: John Bald on Local Government - Elizabeth Truss is right about maths - why do some teachers disagree?

First-time buyers will need a £60,000 deposit by end of decade - Daily Mail

Soubry latest: "It's disgusting eating lunch over a keyboard"

Screen shot 2013-01-25 at 08.36.07"Health minister Anna Soubry said busy workers should not eat over their computer keyboards, but should take a proper lunch break to give them time to 'enjoy' their food. But research has shown that 60 per cent of workers eat their lunch at their desk every day, with many admitting they would feel 'guilty' if they left the office for an hour. Ms Soubry's comments came after she sparked controversy by suggesting that poor people were more likely to be obese." - Daily Mail

Ministers and MPs who oppose hospital changes risk 'perpetuating mediocrity', says NHS Chief - The Guardian

Persistently high death rates at eight hospitals - Daily Telegraph

Looking back at the reshuffle, Heywood says sacked Ministers were harshly treated

GIBB NICK"He disclosed that members of the Government are left in the dark to such an extent that they can be sacked following a year of “silence” from their superiors. “It would be quite good to think about how we can continue to give feedback to ministers between reshuffles because it’s a pretty brutal system,” Sir Jeremy said. “Most ministers don’t really get much feedback about their performance until the moment they are reshuffled and they are either promoted or sacked or kept in place. That feels a bit binary.” - Daily Telegraph

Britons urged to flee Benghazi in terror alert - Daily Express

Bashar al-Assad's mother has fled Syria, US ambassador claims - Daily Telegraph

Free schools: Pickles helps Gove out

"Free schools will be able to open in offices, hotels and warehouses without planning permission under changes to be announced by ministers today. Eric Pickles, the Communities and Local Government Secretary, will announce new rules that will allow proposed free schools to speed through red tape. This will include rewriting planning laws to allow schools to open before they have received council permission to occupy their new buildings. They will have 12 months’ grace before requiring change-of-use approval." - The Times (£)

GCSE results set to accelerate drive to turn schools into academies - The Guardian

Inmates eat rats in the secret North Korean prison camps made public by Google Earth - Daily Mail

Hogan-Howe calls in outside force to police Plebgate response - The Times (£)

In the bleak mid-winter: more snow on the way - Daily Express


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