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31 Jul 2013 12:50:04

Newslinks for Wednesday 31st July 2013

8pm WATCH: Peter Cruddas after his libel victory: "No-one in the Conservative Party wanted to listen to my side of the story"

Football3.30pm MPsETC: AFC Bluebirds soar in double victory

1.45pm MPsETC: Selection results published for European election regional candidate lists

1pm On ToryDiary, Cameron, Osborne and May soar up our Cabinet league table"Compared to the last Cabinet league table we published, the latest is notable for its buoyancy. Of the 30 ministers (and one London mayor) rated by ConservativeHome readers, 17 have seen their numbers improve, 9 have remained more or less flat, and only 4 have declined in any significant way. Even Nick Clegg has seen his net satisfaction rating increase."

11.30am Lord Ashcroft on Comment: As Peter Cruddas wins a resounding High Court victory against The Sunday Times, the Party needs to learn major lessons from this debacle

10am ToryDiary: Shapps admits that Labour has policies, but warns that they’d be terrible for the country

ToryDiary: Over half of Conservative members support Cameron's anti-porn net plans

Henry Hill's latest Red, White and Blue column: Scottish ‘militant separatist’ extradited to UK to face terror charges


On LeftWatch, Mark Wallace draws attention to Labour's Posh Boys (and Girls)"I was lucky enough to go to RGS Newcastle. But the fact that my fellow old boys include Labour Peer Lord (formerly Sir Jeremy) Beecham and Ian Lucas, Labour MP for Wrexham, should suggest that Labour is being quite hypocritical in trying to cast it as a negative – and a Tory negative at that."

A teacher writes under the pseudonym Joe Baron on Comment: "F**k off, you c**t!" "Your mum sucks c**k!" A morning in the life of a teacher

Local Government: Lib Dems attack 20 mph speed limit

The Deep End: Banks would behave better if more of their own money was at risk

Cameron keeps pressing underperforming hospitals to do better

Cameron"David Cameron is demanding action at 36 NHS wards where patients said they would advise loved ones to avoid treatment. ... He spoke as a Trip Advisor-style NHS website released its first monthly poll results. One A&E — at Chase Farm, North London — got a minus rating. ... The PM, on holiday in Portugal, said: 'I expect action to be taken where patients and staff say standards are not good.'" - The Sun

"Patient groups have condemned one of the Prime Minister’s key health initiatives as a £150 million waste of money that made it impossible to compare hospitals." - The Times (£)

  • "Are you listening, Andy Burnham? NHS patients have been given a voice" - Chris Skidmore, Daily Telgraph
  • "The only option is to bring in the private sector, they suggest: the NHS pound will go further, and state-provided services will be reinvigorated by competition. But where is the evidence?" - Guardian editorial
  • "The vital thing is not to abandon attempts at reform, but to think of ways to do it better." - Daily Telegraph editorial

Frack attack! Lord Howell under fire for advocating fracking in the "desolate" North East

Fracking"A Tory peer provoked a storm of criticism yesterday by suggesting fracking should be concentrated in the North East of England because it is ‘desolate’. ... Lord Howell, the father-in-law of Chancellor George Osborne, said ‘beautiful rural areas’ further south should be spared the disruption caused by the controversial method of shale gas extraction. ... The peer later apologised for ‘any offence caused’ but his comments are embarrassing for the Conservatives, who must gain seats in the North to have any hope of winning the 2015 election." - Daily Mail

"Downing Street immediately sought to distance itself from the comments, which threaten to further alienate voters in the North." - Daily Telegraph

  • "He is just plain wrong. I was born and raised in the North East, I know it is one of the most beautiful, varied and geographically dramatic parts of the country." - David Skelton, Daily Telegraph
  • "The 'desolate' North might actually be the best place to introduce fracking, since it would bring about a return to prosperity" - Daily Telegraph editorial
  • "A Nimby? No, I'm fighting to save the Britain I love" - Griff Rhys Jones, Daily Mail
  • "The fracking debate is more about power than energy" - Hamish McRae, The Independent

> Yesterday on ToryDiary: Tory Peer comes under fire for recommending fracking in the "desolate" North East

The Government's new task force to promote HS2

HS2"Ministers will on Wednesday launch a counter-attack in the row over the £50bn High Speed 2 rail project, arguing that the line will boost jobs, skills and housing across Britain. ... Lord Deighton, the former Olympics chief charged with giving momentum and focus to the sprawling national infrastructure plan, will convene a task force charged with 'maxing out the benefits' from Britain’s biggest public project." - Financial Times

  • "He admits the government has been 'policy heavy, delivery light'" - Infrastructure Minister Lord Deighton is interviewed in the Financial Times
  • "Britons are venturing outside their homes less, government figures have revealed." - The Independent

Ministers urged to considering new benefit curbs for migrants

"David Cameron is being urged to stop EU migrants claiming benefits during their first two years in Britain in a radical move to tighten Brussels labour laws. ... The option is one of several presented to a government review by a left-wing think-tank. Others include capping the numbers of foreign jobseekers, reserving more jobs for British workers and excluding the poorest EU nations altogether." - The Times (£)

High Court dismisses legal challenge against the "spare room subsidy"

Gavel"Ten families dealing with disability have lost their attempt to overturn the government's 'bedroom tax' on the basis that it was highly discriminatory and contrary to article 14 of the European convention on human rights. ... Two high court judges ruled that courts should not 'micro-manage' policy decisions and that £30m in discretionary housing payments granted local authorities enough flexibility to deal with shortfalls." - The Guardian

  • Disability benefits in Scotland account for a fifth more spending than in England - Daily Mail

> Yesterday on Local Government: Cutting the spare room subsidy will help the disabled in overcrowded housing

IDS versus the BBC (again)

IDS"The BBC was accused of ‘blatant Left-wing bias’ after bosses attacked one of their most respected journalists for a programme exposing the truth about the bloated welfare state. ... Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith reacted angrily to the ruling, telling the Daily Mail last night that the programme had been ‘thoughtful’ and ‘intelligent’." - Daily Mail

  • "Far from ensuring balance, the committee is effectively saying that opposition to welfare cuts should be compulsory for all BBC presenters." - Daily Mail editorial
  • "Any review of the media cannot ignore BBC dominance, and any review of the BBC’s charter cannot ignore online publishing" - Times editorial (£)

Shapps versus Labour and Miliband (as always)

"Labour will today be accused of ‘loving to talk Britain down’ by Conservative Party chairman Grant Shapps. ... Setting out his party’s lines of attack before the next general election, he will say that leader Ed Miliband and shadow chancellor Ed Balls are ‘on the wrong side of every argument’. ... Mr Shapps will also claim that a Labour government would quickly increase Britain’s budget deficit and raise mortgage rates." - Daily Mail

The Sun admits that the Tories are on a good run, as it sets out its values ahead of a new paywalled service

The Sun

"The Tories are trying hard to dig us out of the economic mire. ... But that didn’t stop us giving them a kicking when they tried to tax working people’s pasties. ... At the moment they’re on a good run — an improving economy, reductions in immigration, crime and unemployment and the expulsion of Abu Qatada. ... But it could all change." - The Sun 

Rapists could benefit from a loophole created by Coalition policies

"Thousands of rapists could escape conviction after a loophole in Home Office legislation left police powerless to hold on to the DNA of potential suspects. ... Genetic material from people arrested but later released for serious sexual and violent crimes is automatically being destroyed because safeguards promised by the Prime Minister will not come in law for another four months." - The Times (£)

"The Big Society lives on in Welby’s Wonga plan," says Daniel Finkelstein

DF"The Left's campaign on payday loans is precisely to use legislation to put Wonga out of business, probably by capping interest rates in a way that makes its business model impossible. Competing with Wonga is a free-market alternative to such regulation. It is a Big Society idea." - Daniel Finkelstein, The Times (£)

  • "Why I support Justin Welby's battle with Wonga" - Jacob Rees-Mogg, Daily Telegraph

Cable hails the Office of Fair Trading's crackdown on payday lenders

"Fifteen top payday lenders have quit rather than prove they do not rip off hard-up families, it emerged yesterday. ... Business Secretary Vince Cable said: 'It shows tough enforcement is having a real effect. I look to the remaining 35 lenders to fix the problems in their practices or face further sanctions.'" - The Sun

Clegg criticises the Home Office's "Go Home" vans

Clegg"The Deputy Prime Minister challenged the Immigration minister Mark Harper's scheme, and said the controversial billboards in north London were not a 'clever way of dealing with this issue'." - The Independent

Labour accuses Gove of overspending on consultants

"Michael Gove’s department is breaking its own agreed spending deals with the Treasury by going £114m over budget through its use of private-sector consultants and contractors, Labour claims. ... The Department for Education (DfE) last night insisted the overspend was “essential” and approved by the Cabinet Office." - The Independent

  • "If free schools and academies open abroad, our children will suffer" - Fiona Millar, The Guardian

Select Committee Report 1) The decline in physical education

"The education select committee questioned more than 300 primary and secondary school teachers, less than half of whom claimed that their pupils have two hour of sports education each week. ... Just 43 per cent said that their students enjoyed two hours of physical work a week, compared to 90 per cent in the academic year 2007 - 2008, when the sports survey was carried out under Labour's government." - Daily Mail

Select Committee Report 2) Concern for accident victims

Accident ahead"The Ministry of Justice is consulting on proposals that would increase the number of disputed compensation cases heard by small claims courts – where claimants have to pay their own legal fees even if they win. ... However, in a report published on Wednesday the parliamentary transport committee cautions that 'access to justice is likely to be impaired' if the changes go through." - Financial Times

Lords Committee Report: Fix our corporate tax system

"The House of Lords committee on economic affairs issued a report on Wednesday that called for more transparency, greater oversight and a review of tax rules, including the 'generous' relief on interest payments that it said could lead to British businesses taking on excessive debt." - Financial Times

Three-quarters of business leaders want an EU referendum... but most want to stay in

Flags"A survey of nearly 4,000 company bosses in the UK shows more than three-quarters back giving the public a say on membership of the European Union. ... It also reveals that British business is becoming more Eurosceptic with growing support for quitting the EU altogether or withdrawing and securing new trade agreements. ... However, the majority - or 61.4 per cent of those asked in the British Chambers of Commerce poll - wants Britain to remain in the EU with powers transferred from Brussels to Westminster." - Daily Mail

> Yesterday on ToryDiary: The PM shames Labour's referendum filibusterers - but lets their Lib Dem allies off the hook

Gus O'Donnell accused of "cashing in" after landing a new job

"Former Cabinet Secretary Gus O’Donnell has been accused of ‘cashing in’ on his Government connections by accepting a top role with a private consultancy. ... Critics say there is a conflict of interest in his new job as chairman of Frontier Economics, which has been working on Heathrow Airport’s third runway bid." - Daily Mail

News in brief 

  • Almost a quarter of boys in state schools are classed as having special educational needs - Daily Mail
  • A fifth of graduates are unemployed or in unsalaried or low-paid posts six months after leaving university - Daily Mail
  • BritanniaOne in four British adults do not recognise Britannia, the face of the country - Daily Mail
  • Vicky Pryce stripped of official honour after jail sentence - Daily Mail
  • Barclays has £2billion wiped from its value, after it reveals emegency plans to plug a gap in its finances - Daily Mail
  • American court rules: Bradley Manning isn't a traitor, but he is a spy - Daily Mail
  • 22 law firms are among the clients of private detectives jailed for hacking - The Sun
  • A third soldier has died after Territorial Army SAS selection tests - The Sun
  • Report questions the SNP’s pension guarantees - Financial Times
  • The Bank of England helped sell looted Nazi gold - Financial Times
  • Poll suggests voters are tiring of coalition - The Independent
  • Another polls suggests the public doesn't trust newspapers to reglate themselves - The Independent
  • Buyers of second homes in Wales could pay higher stamp duty - The Times (£)

And finally...John Prescott, traffic cop

"He may not look like your conventional hero. But when a huge traffic jam sent tempers fraying in the weekend heat, it was John Prescott to the rescue. ... The former deputy prime minister surprised fellow motorists when he jumped from his car and stood in the middle of the road to direct the traffic." - 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.

30 Jul 2013 08:24:21

Newslinks for Tuesday 30th July 2013

6pm ToryDiary: "Shale gas stands to bring cheap energy, revitalised manufacturing and thousands of new engineering jobs. As a proud Geordie, I'd be delighted to see all of those benefits come to my home. If Lord Howell had made a better argument in more wisely chosen words, we could be winning votes in the North East by explaining them." Tory Peer comes under fire for recommending fracking in the "desolate" North East

1pm ToryDiary: The PM shames Labour's referendum filibusterers - but lets their Lib Dem allies off the hook

Noon ToryDiary: "Some of work of a budget and finance facility would be carried over from the Cabinet Office.  Its remit would be to hunt for more savings in departments and find taxpayer value for money - with the authority that only the Treasury can carry." How Maude believes government could save more taxpayers' money

ToryDiary: A majority of Party members now say that the Coalition is good for Britain

Screen shot 2013-07-30 at 06.53.13Stephen Tall's Other Half Column: We LibDems haven't chosen our strategy. The voters have chosen it for us.

Garvan Walshe's Foreign Affairs Column: Narendra Modi - India’s Barry Goldwater?

On LeftWatch, Andrew Gimson continues our series on what Labour should do next, as he writes The fighting speech Miliband should have made when Cameron denounced McCluskey

Nicholas Tyrone on Comment: Our voting system for the European elections is undemocratic – and anti-Tory. It's time to change it.

Local Government: Cutting the spare room subsidy will help the disabled in overcrowded housing

The Deep End: What will we do when robots take our jobs? Let’s remember what happened last time

Latest ConservativeHome survey finds that majority of Tory members now back the Coalition

Screen shot 2013-07-30 at 07.16.43
"A survey carried out by the ConservativeHome website found that a majority of respondents — 59 per cent — believe the coalition is “overall a good thing for the nation”, up from 47 per cent at the start of May. Paul Goodman, editor of ConservativeHome, said: “These results reflect the fact Abu Qatada has gone, an EU referendum Bill is here, the benefits cap is in place, the economy is gradually recovering. David Cameron is handling his parliamentary party better, and Ed Miliband is on the back foot over welfare and Unite.” - The Times (£)

  • Tory optimism marks a change in strategy - Benedict Brogan, Daily Telegraph

> Today: ToryDiary - A majority of Party members now say that the Coalition is good for Britain

> Yesterday: ToryDiary - Almost two-thirds of Tory members now believe Cameron will be Prime Minister after 2015 - up from about half

Paul Goodman: But would the Liberal Democrats really join Cameron for a second Coalition after 2015?

"The Business Secretary has a significance beyond his own ambitions. His toings-and-froings between loyalty and dissent are a symbol of the Liberal Democrats’ wider uncertainties. It’s likely that in his heart of hearts Mr Cameron would prefer a second coalition with them, which would give him a reliable Commons majority, to governing with a small majority, which would leave him at the mercy of the 20 or so Tory MPs who want rid of him. The rest of them would probably accept such a coalition in the event of a hung Parliament. But it’s far from clear that the Lib Dems would do the same." - Daily Telegraph

  • Clegg under pressure from Lib Dem activists over 50p top rate of income tax - The Independent
  • Deputy Prime Minister snapped commuting to work with wife on riverbus - Daily Telegraph

> Today: Stephen Tall's Other Half Column - We LibDems haven't chosen our strategy. The voters have chosen it for us.

Home Office Minister Mark Harper fights back: It isn't racist to ask people who are here illegally to leave Britain, he says...

Harper Mark"Let me clear this up once and for all – it is not racist to ask people who are here illegally to leave Britain. It is merely telling them to comply with the law. Our campaign targets illegal immigrants without any discrimination at all between them. By no stretch of the rational imagination can it be described as ‘racist’. Furthermore, the campaign is not meant to, and does not, discourage legal immigrants who have earned the right to live or settle in Britain." - Daily Mail

> Yesterday:

…As Pickles and Baker lock horns over parking on double yellow lines in another Coalition clash

"Eric Pickles, the Communities Secretary, is keen on allowing motorists to park on double yellow lines for a “grace period” of 15 minutes as a way of boosting trade on Britain’s high streets. It would allow drivers to pop in to a shop without facing a fine. The idea was attacked almost immediately by Norman Baker, the Liberal Democrat Transport Minister, who said he had been warned that it would be unsafe and reward illegal parking." - The Times (£)

...Meanwhile, Grayling says that cars will be seized to pay legal aid bills

Grayling Chris Yellow"New Motor Vehicle Orders will be imposed on criminals who unfairly use legal aid to fund their defence. Mr Grayling said: “Convicted criminals have cheated innocent taxpayers for too long by dodging requirements to contribute to the legal costs of their defence. “With £34million owed to taxpayers from the last three years alone, it’s time to get tough. I am clear – you can’t avoid paying your legal aid bill and expect to keep a fancy car on the driveway.” - Daily Express

CLG guidance warns councils not to impose wind farm blanket ban

"Eric Pickles, the Local Government Secretary, promised to “give local communities a greater say” on where wind farms are built, but new guidance from his department warns councils not to create “inflexible” turbine-free zones. The planning document, released after Parliament broke up for the summer, says the distance of a wind farm from housing does not “necessarily determine whether the impact of a proposal is unacceptable”." - Daily Telegraph

Rachel Sylvester: Maude, geeks and dress-down civil servants plan Whitehall technology revolution

Screen shot 2013-07-30 at 08.16.52"Mr Maude talks scathingly of an “oligopoly” of large IT contractors whose time is up — until recently 70 per cent of the money went to only seven large contractors. Indeed, the Office of Fair Trading has launched an investigation into whether there is a lack of competition in the supply of technology to the public sector, with the biggest companies earning about £10.4 billion from the State. The Government is now actively seeking to renegotiate more than 100 contracts and the aim is to get out of as many as possible altogether." - The Times (£)

  • Website shows taxpayers where the money is spent - Financial Times
  • Taxpayers’ £35,000 funds website to identify waste - The Times (£)
  • Inside Whitehall: £200m windfall that could be well spent saving bad apples - The Independent

Crisis for 111 helpline as NHS Direct pulls out

"NHS Direct runs the non-emergency phone line in nine English regions – but it now says it is “seeking to withdraw” from its contracts. While officials said patients would continue to get a good service, the BMA said that some parts of the service were “in chaos”. A spokeswoman for NHS Direct said the contracts had become “financially unsustainable”. The NHS 111 line has been dogged by problems since it was launched on April 1 after patients complained of unanswered calls and poor advice." - Daily Express

  • ‘Arms race’ over £5bn in NHS work - Financial Times
  • Nurses ‘too busy’ to provide basic care for their patients - The Times (£)
  • Surgeons reveal full extent of heart ops crisis in Wales - Wales Online
  • Cure for the 111 crisis lies in doctors' hands - Daily Mail Editorial
  • Withdrawal of a major supplier of the NHS 111 phoneline results from a failure in the contract negotiations - Times Editorial (£)
  • Out-of-hours GPs are the answer, not NHS helplines - Ross Clark, Daily Express
  • Those who can should unburden the health service, so it can act as the good, basic provider that Beveridge intended - Melissa Kite, The Guardian

The way we live now: women MPs receive death and rape threats via Twitter

Perry Claire"Stella Creasy was told on Twitter she would be tracked down and raped, with the terrifying threat: ‘Shall we meet near your house?’ The second MP, Claire Perry, received death threats relating to her fight against pornography on the internet. A senior police chief said Twitter had not done enough to tackle trolls. More than 64,000 people called for the networking service to act against abuse." - Daily Mail

  • Biggest sponsor of the Scottish Open says he won't agree to it being held at any golf club that discriminates against women - Scotsman
  • Maria Miller plans crackdown on nuisance calls and texts - Daily Mail
  • Nick the trolls - Sun Editorial

Select Committee Report 1) Home Affairs Committee raps net providers over child abuse and terror sites

"The report said: “It is still too easy for people to access inappropriate online content, particularly indecent images of children, terrorism incitement and sites informing people how to commit online crime.” The warning comes days after David Cameron urged internet companies to do more to stop child pornography. The prime minister did not pledge any more money to help tackle the problem. They called on the UK to support an increase in funding to the European cybercrime centre, something likely to prove controversial among eurosceptic MPs." - Financial Times

Select Committee Report 2) Lords Committee says that MPs should quiz the taxman

Screen shot 2013-07-30 at 08.18.49"HM Revenue & Customs should be scrutinised behind closed doors — like spy chiefs, the Lords Economic Affairs Committee will say. Currently, tax bosses can dodge giving evidence to Parliament due to “confidentiality” reasons. But amid growing outrage over tax avoidance by corporate giants, peers want a new joint body with MPs — similar to the Intelligence and Security Committee, which probes the work of spooks. The new tax committee would not publish any secret details but would say whether deals have been bad for taxpayers." - The Sun

Select Committee Report 3) Climate Change Committee blasts "toothless" OFGEM

"Energy watchdog OFGEM is toothless and does not do enough to help hard-up Brits understand their bills, MPs blasted yesterday. And the power giants in turn file complex accounts to make it difficult to calculate the extent of their profits, the committee said. The MPs hit out just weeks after Ofgem chief exec Andrew Wright — on £200,000 a year — was slammed for not holding energy firms to account." - The Sun

  • Former Minister Charles Hendry takes job with energy interest party donor - The Guardian

Spain defies Hague over Gibraltar

Screen shot 2013-07-30 at 08.20.31"The Foreign Secretary phoned his Spanish counterpart after Civil Guards caused eight-hour traffic jams by stopping every car and motorbike trying to leave the British colony. But his call for a speedy resolution to the border problems fell on deaf ears as Madrid bragged it would continue with its controversial policy. Spanish Foreign Secretary Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo allowed diplomats to brief journalists they would continue to carry out 'exhaustive checks' whenever they deemed it necessary." - Daily Mail

Janan Ganesh: Politicians should stop ganging up on London

"London has not flourished because of favourable treatment by the national political class. If anything, it has been short-changed by successive administrations. The government’s alacrity in commissioning the high-speed rail extension makes its procrastination over London’s airport capacity look even more complacent. Between 1986 and 2000, London was not even allowed to have a citywide government of its own, and its current mayoralty is weak compared with similar offices abroad." - Financial Times

News in Brief

  • Celebrity campaigners accused of hijacking Sussex fracking protest - The Times (£)
  • Police double value of diamonds stolen in Cannes Pink Panther heist to £88 million - Daily Mail
  • Man with petrol bomb restrained by patrons at Belfast bar - Belfast Telegraph
  • Sunshine lures UK shoppers back to stores - Financial Times
  • Mortgage rates slashed again - Daily Express
  • Savers hammered by interest rates - Daily Telegraph
  • Inflation has killed the minimum wage, says chief architect - The Independent
  • The apocalyptic ruins of Homs as Syrian army retakes city - The Sun
  • Pope Francis signals openness towards gay priests - The Guardian


> 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 Jul 2013 08:30:11

Newslinks for Monday 29th July 2013

5.15pm WATCH: Daniel Hannan MEP - ‪How the EU pays to keep Africa in poverty‬

Screen shot 2013-07-29 at Sir Andrew Green on Comment: "This is the first government in many decades to take a serious approach to controlling immigration and certainly the first to make any significant impact on it. It is unfortunate that the waters should have been mudded in this way." Immigration and control. The Public Administration Committee criticism of the Government is unfair.

12.30pm Local Government: Tory councillors attack ad van message for illegal immigrants

10.30am ToryDiary: "May was projecting the message that having Type 1 diabetes doesn't necessarily stop one from reaching the top - in sport or in politics.  One can have it, and still be an effective Home Secretary...or even Prime Minister." Bad news but tabloid praise for Thesea May. The lady in the leopard print heels is now a Big Beast

On ToryDiary, we report that Almost two-thirds of Tory members now believe Cameron will be Prime Minister after 2015 - up from about half...

Screen shot 2013-07-29 at 08.04.44...And on LeftWatch, we open a weekly series asking what Labour must now do to revive. Christian Guy says that The Right represents change. The Left, the status quo. Miliband must turn this round if he's to win

Columnist Priti Patel: "In the build up to the next general election and the formation of our manifesto, as a Party we should not be afraid to continue to debate Europe." The Conservative Party needs to go much, much further than the EU Balance of Competences review

Lord Flight on Comment: Why help to buy will end in tears

Patryk Malinski on Local Government: How can Conservatives reach out to those in the £15,000-£40,000 income bracket? Cut their Council Tax

The Deep End: The twisted roots of ‘care in the community’

Cable denounces the Tories for “obsessing” about immigration

“Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, described a government campaign telling illegal immigrants to ‘go home or face arrest’ as ‘stupid and offensive’. He spoke out about his wider concerns over Conservative immigration policy ahead of the launch of his new initiative to attract tens of thousands more foreign students to this country…He claimed that the Conservatives were ‘obsessing’ about the total level of immigration, which was leading them to make poor policy decisions” – Daily Telegraph

  • Home Office plans to clamp down on private investigators who hack - The Independent

Immigration comment 1) Unplug Cable

Screen shot 2013-07-29 at 08.12.55“Vince Cable does a fantastic job – at proving how out of touch he is with voters. Opinion polls show immigration is second only to the economy among issues the public rates as important. Yet the Lib Dem Cabinet Minister mocks his Tory Coalition partners for being ‘obsessed’ with the subject. What arrogant nonsense. This Government’s problem is it took far too long to wake up and start addressing people’s concerns on immigration — for fear of upsetting the touchy-feely Lib Dems” – The Sun Says

Immigration comment 2) The Government must try to enforce the law

“One way or another illegals need to regularise their position, and preferably to pay taxes like everyone else. This poster campaign is unlikely, in itself, to solve the problem that expanded so massively under the last Labour government. But you surely can’t blame the Coalition for trying to enforce the law” – Boris Johnson, Daily Telegraph

Immigration comment 3) Tories as desperate as Labour to hide the real truth about numbers

Screen shot 2013-07-29 at 08.14.46“Fear of being labelled ‘racist’ has paralysed the entire political class — leaving the way clear for Labour ideologues to use mass immigration to remake British identity, all but collapsing public services under the weight of numbers and driving down wages to undercut British workers…whereas Labour concealed what it was doing to dupe its core vote, the Tories have concealed what they are not doing in order to dupe their core vote” – Melanie Phillips, Daily Mail

Immigration comment 4) Mass influx is plunging our nation into crisis

“The remorseless influx of foreigners, officially running at more than 500,000 new arrivals every year, is weakening our economy, wrecking our social cohesion and obliterating our national identity.
Yet the architects of this revolution still refuse to recognise the scale of the damage they have inflicted on Britain. Fixated by the fashionable ideology of multi-cultural diversity, they try to bully and brainwash the public into accepting their suicidal policy” – Leo McKinstry, Daily Express

Immigration comment 5) Boris treads a fine line between loyalty and independence

Boris_7801"For most hard-working and otherwise law-abiding illegal immigrants there is virtually no chance that they will be deported — and yet they cannot pay tax, cannot take part in the legal economy, and certainly cannot run for their country...This poster campaign is unlikely, in itself, to solve the problem that expanded so massively under the last Labour government. But you surely can’t blame the Coalition for trying to enforce the law." - Daily Telegraph

Help to Buy risks new house price “bubble”, warns Cable

“Vince Cable said that the help-to-buy scheme unveiled in the Budget earlier this year could simply ‘inflate’ the housing market as occurred in the last decade…The £130 billion scheme has been heralded as a flagship measure…However, some economists and business leaders have voiced warnings about the scheme and Mr Cable – who previously warned about the dangerous levels of debt before the financial crisis - has now indicated he shares their concerns. ‘I am worried about the dangers of getting into another house price bubble,’ the senior Liberal Democrat said” – Daily Telegraph

Iain Duncan-Smith: I’m proud of our welfare reforms

Duncan Smith Marr
“Our reforms will put an end to people being left on sickness benefits year after year; they will eradicate the trap that has left so many better off on benefits than in work; and they will ensure the benefits bill is sustainable over the longer term…I am proud of this record. But my main concern about the delivery of our reforms is that we bring them in safely” - Guardian

Tories rally round Theresa May after she reveals diabetes

“Senior Tories rallied round Theresa May last night after she revealed she has been diagnosed with a form of diabetes that will require daily injections for the rest of her life...Tory colleagues praised her courage for speaking out on the issue, and said it would make no difference to her work – or her rumoured ambition to stand for the Tory leadership one day. Former Tory treasurer Lord Ashcroft said the illness ‘will not hold her back’ and revealed that he is also a sufferer” – Daily Mail

Hague turns up heat on Spain over Gibraltar border jams

HagueSquare"The foreign secretary telephoned his Spanish counterpart, José García-Margallo, to raise "serious concerns" after a weekend of heightened tensions when officials carried out intensive vehicle searches in searing heat causing long hold-ups. Thousands of cars leaving the British territory were stopped for checks causing six-hour traffic jams." - The Guardian

Grayling's "clampdown on right to oppose new legislation"

“Ministers are planning a new assault on what they condemn as the ‘growth industry’ of time-wasting judicial reviews in the courts. They say that pressure groups, campaigners and lobbyists are abusing the procedure for public relations purposes, clogging up the courts and delaying the implementation of policy. The Ministry of Justice plans to tighten the test that needs to be passed before a judicial review can be brought to challenge decisions by the Government and public bodies” – The Times (£)

Run the NHS like PC World, says top doctor

Screen shot 2013-07-29 at 08.37.09“The NHS must adopt the ‘more-for-less’ mentality of businesses such as PC World or Dixons if it is to survive in its current form, Britain’s top doctor has warned. Speaking to The Independent, Sir Bruce Keogh said that the ‘inbuilt mindset that better quality costs more’ had to change as the health service enters a new era of austerity. The Medical Director of the NHS said hospital bosses must learn from retailers that manage to drive prices down while offering ever-more sophisticated products” - Independent

  • NHS 111 helpline is unsafe, say managers – Daily Mail
  • Stafford's A&E set for closure as anger grows at 'crucifixion of a good hospital' - The Guardian
  • Almost everyone who gets testicular cancer now survives – Daily Mail

Tim Montgomerie proposes five ways to widen the Tory appeal and win

“This pledge list communicates a Toryism that’s different from the right-wing narrowness of, say, the 2001 and 2005 campaigns but is also much earthier than the campaign of 2010. It communicates some key Tory messages on tax, consumer bills, pensions, welfare, home ownership, earnings, and trusting people. Most importantly — in an age when voters worry about the believability of politicians’ promises — it’s deliverable” – The Times (£)

Farage: UKIP will follow in LibDems local footsteps

Farage Nigel March 2012"In a Guardian interview, the Ukip leader said people would vote for the "real thing" on Europe and immigration rather than support David Cameron who is occupying "our turf" under the influence of the Tory strategist Lynton Crosby...But the Ukip leader has ambitions that go way beyond England's town halls as he said he hopes to follow in the footsteps of Ashdown, who steadily built up the Lib Dem parliamentary presence after grassroots success in local elections." - The Guardian

Take winter fuel payment from rich and give to poor, MPs say

“Winter fuel payments should be taken from rich pensioners and the cash used to tackle fuel poverty, MPs say. A report by the Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee criticises ministers for failing to do enough to help millions struggling with soaring energy bills and reopens the debate on benefits for wealthy older people. Members call on the Government to explore the possibility of means-testing pensioners and to reinvest any savings into insulation and other measures to help the poor to bring down the cost of heating their homes” – The Times (£)

Left shamed by Lady Thatcher’s one million pound funeral bill

THATCHER“Lady Thatcher’s funeral cost just £1,205,809 – a tenth of the amount claimed by Lefties. It works out at 1.9p per person when divided by the UK’s total population of 62 million. Critics of our first female PM — including Labour MPs — insisted it would cost around £10million. One of the former Tory leader’s close friends, MP Conor Burns, said: ‘Lady T would have been delighted that, even in death, she has proved the Left wrong’” - Sun

Minister condemns pressure on Duchess of Cambridge to lose weight

“Jo Swinson, minister for women and equalities, said yesterday that observers were expecting Kate to meet ‘impossible standards’ to reduce her weight…The Liberal Democrat minister said it was wrong to believe that Kate and other women who have just given birth were ‘failing’ if they did not work instantly to regain their pre-pregnancy figure. ‘Publications like OK! Magazine need to get some perspective,’ she said. ‘Fitting back into pre-pregnancy jeans is not the priority after childbirth’” – Daily Mail

News in brief

  • Three million celebrate Pope’s farewell mass on Copacabana beach – The Times (£)
  • Middle East peace talks resume in Washington – Financial Times
  • At least 37 dead in Italian coach crash – Daily Mail
  • Spanish train driver charged with negligent homicide – Daily Mail
  • Lib Dem donor denied peerage after care home neglect claims – Daily Telegraph
  • Twitter rape threat deluge leads to arrest – The Times (£)
  • World’s first stem-cell burger will be eaten in London – Daily Telegraph


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28 Jul 2013 08:54:16

Newslinks for Sunday 28th July 2013

Cameron fence5.15pm ToryDiary: Saying "Better Off Out" was once enough to kill a career, but now the taboo is shattered

11.45am Stephen Goss on Comment: Marching season still brings rioting to Northern Ireland; how can we resolve the issue?

ToryDiary: "The Government's pledge to reduce net migration is a key plank of the next election campaign - CCHQ regularly issues infographics and updates reminding everyone that the Coalition's record starkly contrasts with Labour's incompetence in border control. If real doubt can be cast on those claims then it would be politically disastrous." Dodgy migration statistics prove doubters right - and pose a serious threat at the next election

LeftWatch: Republicanism has collapsed in Britain - and the anti-monarchists have only themselves to blame

Immigration statistics are little better than guesswork 

"Bernard Jenkin, the Tory chairman of the committee, said: “Most people would be utterly astonished to learn that there is no attempt to count people as they enter and leave the UK. They are amazed when they are told the government merely estimates that there are half a million immigrants coming to the UK each year. This is based on random interviews of around 800,000 people interviewed at ports and airports each year. Only around 5,000 of those are actual migrants, many of whom may be reticent to give full and frank answers, to say the least,” he said." - Sunday Times (£) 

>Today: ToryDiary - Dodgy migration statistics prove doubters right - and pose a serious threat at the next election

>Yesterday: ToryDiary - How can Theresa May persuade voters that net immigration really has been cut by a third?

CCHQ bets on a 2010 intake poll bounce to destroy Labour's lead

Labour Rose Wilting"Private polling for the Conservative party suggests that a tendency among voters to back their sitting MP, particularly if the MP has served only one term, could wipe out Labour’s five to six point lead in national opinion polls. The phenomenon known as “incumbency advantage” would particularly benefit the Conservatives, who had 148 new MPs in 2010, compared with Labour’s 67. Polling for the Tories suggests that incumbency advantage is worth up to five points, in effect wiping out Labour’s lead." - Sunday Times (£) 

Theresa May reveals Type 1 diabetes diagnosis

"Mrs May, 56, said: ‘It was a real shock and, yes, it took me a while  to come to terms with it.’ But she is determined to soldier on in her gruelling routine as Home Secretary, working up to 18 hours  a day.  The diabetes doesn’t affect how I do the job or what I do. It’s just part of life... so it’s a case of head down and getting on with it.’" - Mail on Sunday 

Good times for Osborne, but he mustn't relax

"For the chancellor, who has taken huge criticism during his time at 11 Downing Street, the turnaround is cheering. A year ago Mr Osborne was the chump presiding over a flatlining economy with a budget unravelling faster than a pound shop cardigan. Now, although he has some way to go, he is in danger of looking more like a champ." - Sunday Times (£)  

Disraeli was a great PM despite being "an unprincipled adventurer of dubious sexual tastes", says Boris

"The Victorian Prime Minister was a bed-hopping chancer who deployed his flamboyant wit to charm his way out of trouble and exert a hypnotic hold over the Tories. Now London Mayor Mr Johnson has fuelled the debate – by ruggedly defending the flawed leader. His remarks come in a review of the book that first drew the comparison between him and Disraeli.  In his article Mr Johnson brushes aside the statesman’s personal failings, insisting they do nothing to diminish his ‘phenomenal’ achievements." - Mail on Sunday 

  • Ban packed lunches, says London Mayor - Sunday Times (£) 

Hammond sends troops back to Sangin

"Britain has sent troops back into Sangin, scene of the deadliest combat of the Afghan war, on a secret mission to suppress the Taliban. Philip Hammond, the defence secretary, personally authorised the return to the isolated area where 106 British lives were lost in fierce fighting between 2006 and 2010." - Sunday Times (£) 

  • Junior officers being forced out of the Army - Sunday Times (£) 

EU Exit
Helena Morrissey: The EU does not fit us - we'd be better off out

"I am not afraid that all will be lost. Indeed, I am confident we have much more to gain from the outward-looking, entrepreneurial spirit that has long defined us, than if we stay bickering, fighting and losing within a passé political structure that is wholly unnatural to us." - Helena Morrissey, Sunday Telegraph 

Confidence in monarchy reaches an all-time high 

"More than half (53 per cent) of those questioned today think that Britain would be worse off without the Royal family while only 14 per cent believe we would be better off without them. The poll suggests that republicans doubt that the abolition of the monarchy will happen this century." - Sunday Telegraph 

>Today: LeftWatch - Republicanism has collapsed in Britain - and the anti-monarchists have only themselves to blame

Civil service go-slow attempt to undermine Pickles' drive to open up Whitehall

Eric Pickles"He’s determined that every vacancy in his department should be publicly advertised. Pickles hopes that will bring much-needed real-world experience into the department and  stop it from succumbing to the idea that the man in Whitehall knows best about everything…But Pickles is having to contend with every delaying tactic known to Sir Humphrey – and there are more than a few of those. I’m told that the Government ‘machine is going as slowly as possible’ on Pickles’s request." - James Forsyth, Mail on Sunday  

Large NHS maternity units have "potentially unsafe" consultant cover

"EVERY large NHS maternity unit has a potentially unsafe level of consultant cover, new figures from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) reveal. Since 2010, having a consultant obstetrician on the labour wards 24 hours a day has been recommended for the 57 maternity units across the country that handle more than 5,000 births a year. However, not one has reached that staffing level, with the majority providing cover for only between 60 and 98 hours a week." - Sunday Times (£) 

News in brief


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