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Newslinks for Monday 22nd July 2013

Midnight Lord Ashcroft on Comment: Len is right – Unite members are not queuing up to join Labour

9.30pm WATCH: The Royal baby announcement is made


Tweet6.45pm WATCH: Cameron on the Royal baby – "The whole country is excited"

Screen shot 2013-07-22 at MPsETC:  Brian Binley MP to leave the Commons at the next election

3.45pm LeftWatch: "Britain’s recovery may not be evenly spread nor particularly fast-paced, but it’s still a recovery. The Chancellor, in this case, might take solace from the fact that Balls has refined his attack." Balls adapts for a growing economy

1.15pm Andrew Selous MP on Comment: We should do more to tackle the biggest-killing cancer among the under 40s – brain tumours

11.45am LeftWatch: "The difference between Left and Right is like the response of a village whose stream regularly floods. Owen Jones thinks that water is the problem, and will divert all our energies to trying to abolish it...Conservatives would rather build a dam, and a watermill which will power the village." We're not evil, just wicked - Owen Jones' generosity (and logic) falls a bit short

10.15am Local Government:

ToryDiary: Cameron's anti-porn plans: problematic in practice, but right in principle. Conservatives aren't libertarians.

JNColumnist Jesse Norman MP writes about Milton Friedman, Adam Smith and... Tim Worstall: "Tim’s standard operating procedure is (a) read something he doesn’t like, (b) reach for his shotgun, and (c) blow the end of his own foot off."

Joe Armitage on Comment: There's nothing much wrong with the current system of funding political parties

Cllr Duncan McGinty on Local Government: Community benefit for nuclear power is localism in action

The Deep End: High risk and low reward, we shouldn’t pretend that banking can ever be safe

More details about Cameron's speech today, including a nationwide block on internet pornography

No"David Cameron will announce the move today among a series of measures cracking down on against the tide of web sleaze. ... By the end of next year, all 19 million UK homes currently connected to the net will be contacted by service providers and told they must say whether family-friendly filters that block all porn sites should be switched on or off. ... From the end of this year, all new customers setting up a broadband account or switching provider will have the filters automatically switched on unless they opt to disable them to allow sites with ‘adult content’." - Daily Mail

"Google and Microsoft have promised to co-operate with the British government’s crackdown on online pornography, after David Cameron threatened to introduce a new law if they failed to act before the autumn." - Financial Times

  • "...Mr Cameron’s sincerity in wanting to tackle online porn shouldn’t be doubted and these proposals are an excellent start. But there is much more to do." - Daily Mail editorial
  • "It’s hard not to suspect a degree of political opportunism in the Prime Minister’s decision to turn up the heat on internet companies over images of child abuse." - Independent editorial
  • " is startling to find a Prime Minister acting so decisively like this against a presumed liberal consensus and in defence of orderly family values." - Melanie Phillips, Daily Mail
  • "Why David Cameron's war on internet porn doesn't make sense" - Tom Meltzer, The Guardian

> Today on ToryDiary: Cameron's anti-porn plans: problematic in practice, but right in principle. Conservatives aren't libertarians.

And coverage of his Marr interview yesterday, featuring Samantha Cameron...

SC"Mr Cameron said his wife had been ‘very moved’ by her visit to Lebanon in March, where half a million Syrians have fled. ... But he insisted it was a ‘total urban myth’ that UK policy was affected by her experiences there on a humanitarian mission with the Save The Children charity." - Daily Mail cuts and the shelf-life of the Coalition...

"David Cameron said yesterday that he aimed to cut taxes for ordinary families further – but admitted he could not give blanket promises on the issue. ... The Prime Minister said he looked forward to being ‘liberated’ in a Conservative-only government after 2015 which would want to ‘give people back some of their hard-earned money’." - Daily Mail

  • "...let’s not have theoretical discussions about what might happen after 2015. Let’s have some real action now." - Sun editorial
  • "Yesterday, David Cameron unwittingly demonstrated the political perils of an equivocal answer." - Daily Telegraph editorial

> Yesterday on MPsETC: Brady and Jenkin urge Cameron to ditch the Lib Dems next year

...and the Prime Minister's denials about Lynton Crosby

LC"In an interview with the BBC’s Andrew Marr yesterday, Mr Cameron was asked three times if he had spoken to Mr Crosby about the issue [of cigarette packaging], but dodged the question. ... He said: ‘He [Crosby] has not intervened in any way on this or indeed on other issues.’" - Daily Mail

> Yesterday:

But Crosby comes under further attack, this time over the NHS

"The lobbying firm founded by the Tories' chief election strategist, Lynton Crosby, advised private healthcare providers on how to exploit perceived 'failings' in the NHS, according to a leaked document obtained by the Guardian. ... The existence of the presentation by Crosby Textor to the H5 Private Healthcare Alliance will add to pressure on David Cameron." - The Guardian

  • "Receptionists, porters and cleaners are being recruited to feed the elderly in hospital because there are not enough nurses." - Daily Mail
  • "Private medical insurers have been accused of using the NHS as a 'dumping ground' for the seriously ill by offering cash payments to customers who agree to be treated free of charge at public hospitals." - The Times (£)

What will Hague's audit discover about the EU's effect on our health service?


"The burden of EU regulation  on the NHS and businesses will be laid bare today in the first official audit of the costs of Britain’s membership. ... It comes amid alarming evidence that patient care is being put at risk by strict EU rules on working hours." - Daily Mail

"The first stage of the report – which looks at the internal market, tax and foreign policy – has been kept deliberately low key to avoid inflaming Conservative backbenchers’ passions on Europe at a time when the party is relatively at peace on the issue." - Financial Times

Hague invites companies into the Foreign Office to learn anti-terror tactics

"Mr Hague’s officials are planning to run joint exercises where companies who might be involved in disaster response play out a terrorist incident, whether a drawn-out hostage situation or a shorter attack. ... The project comes after the In Amenas attack on a BP plant in Algeria in which 39 foreign hostages and an Algerian security guard were killed." - Financial Times

Senior Tories start waxing optimistic about the economy

MH"Two senior figures in the Tory Party said they believe Britain's woes are finally lifting - almost five years after the financial crash crippled the economy. ... In a sign of increasing confidence, Lord Heseltine, a former Cabinet minister, said the 'mood has changed' in the economy and Michael Fallon, a business minister, said it is 'clear' Britain is starting to recover." - Daily Telegraph

Gove's roadshow to charm head teachers

"Michael Gove is planning a charm offensive aimed at head teachers as he seeks to overcome professional hostility towards his school reforms. ... He has discussed plans for a series of roadshows starting in the autumn in which he would travel to towns and cities around the country to debate his policies with groups of head teachers." - The Times (£)

Intra-Coalition split over plastic bags

PLastic bag"A fresh coalition row has broken out, with the Liberal Democrats accusing Tory Treasury ministers of seeking to crush a drive for supermarkets in England to charge for the seven billion plastic bags used in their stores every year." - Financial Times

  • "Britain’s dirtiest coal power stations are to be allowed to bid for hundreds of millions of pounds’ worth of subsidies that could allow them to stay open well into the 2020s." - The Independent

As Tim Montgomerie says green polices haven't delivered

"I am not one of those people who deny that the climate might be changing. I don't feel qualified to question the majority of scientists who insist that warming is both real and man-made. My objection to global warming policies is more practical. They aren't succeeding in cutting emissions and they aren't going to succeed until so-called clean energy is similar in cost to conentional energy." - Tim Montgomerie, The Times (£)

David Davis and John McFall advovate more diverse sources of lending for SMEs

DD"Diversifying the financing of small and medium-sized enterprises is not just a job for experienced venture capitalists. The first and most obvious opportunity to do so lies in the £750bn of deposits idling on the balance sheets of big UK businesses.  ... If these companies took even a fraction of this money and invested it in partnerships with SMEs and start-ups, the benefits for both sides – and the economy – could be huge." - David Davis and John McFall, Financial Times

Let's copy Germany, says Boris

"How is it that respectable men and women can think it right to take their clothes off in the equivalent of Hyde Park? Why do they clap like Italians when their planes land? Why are they so good at making cars and machine tools? We have a great deal to admire and to copy, not least their treatment of cyclists." - Boris Johnson, Daily Telegraph

Nick de Bois called in the police after receiving death threats - The Sun

The Tories aren't actually evil, says... Owen Jones

OJ"Cruel? Certainly. Unforgivable? Beyond doubt. Evil? No. 'Evil' is a comforting, but worrying concept. Its connotations are so extreme that, by applying it to someone, you at a stroke strip them of their humanity; you cease in any way to be able to imagine their rationales or thought processes; they simply become a cartoon villain, for whom the ultimate thrill is the inflicting of misery." - Owen Jones, The Independent

Tory MPs keep pressing and probing Labour's union links

"The Unite general secretary’s ex-lover Jennie Formby was last month given a £75,000-a-year post as the powerful union’s political director. ... She is also a member of Labour’s National Executive Committee ... Tory MP Stewart Jackson said yesterday that ‘serious questions must now be asked about whether Mr McCluskey had a conflict of interest’ in appointing Mrs Formby." - Daily Mail

  • "Labour clings on to council gravy train" - Andrew Pierce, Daily Mail

While Labour bites back over disability benefits

LB"The Government’s crackdown on disability benefit payments has cost the taxpayer more than £66m in appeals, it emerged on Sunday. ... The shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, Liam Byrne, said the Department of Work and Pensions needed to 'get a grip' and laid some of the blame at the door of Atos, the company controversially contracted to run work capability assessments on behalf of the DWP." - The Independent

Miliband's plans for a living wage could harm small businesses, warns the CBI

"Labour’s proposals to increase salaries will hurt small business, according to one of the country’s main business lobbying groups. ... John Cridland, Director-General of the CBI, said that Labour's idea to mkake the pay floor a condition of public procurement contracts was a 'poor idea', pointing out that contracts often went to small businesses that would not be able to afford such measures." - The Times (£)

Balls is teaming up with his old Harvard tutor to design plans for growth

Ed Balls

"Ed Balls is to join forces with the former US treasury secretary, Larry Summers, to draw up transatlantic plans to target economic growth at lower and middle income families amid warnings in Labour ranks that the recovery is only benefiting higher income groups. ... Balls, who studied under Summers at Harvard more than 20 years ago, is to travel to Washington this week for meetings with Ben Bernanke and Gene Sperling." - The Guardian

  • "Britain's modest recovery is weak, and benefits the richest most. We need a One Nation economic plan" - Ed Balls, The Guardian
  • "A recovery may be coming, but the coalition's big gamble – that by cutting public spending there would be a resurgence in private enterprise – has flopped." - Guardian editorial

Schools should offer alternatives to competitive sports, say MPs

Lines"Competitive sports put some children off exercise for life and primary schools should be told to offer less taxing alternatives, MPs have warned. ... Safeguarding Britain’s Olympic legacy is about allowing as many children as possible to enjoy the health benefits of sport through non-competitive activities, they say in a report out today." - Daily Mail

"Britain’s flagship schools sport strategy risks being little more than a 'gimmick' without long-term funding, MPs will warn today." - The Sun

News in brief

  • BBC boss says he would sanction big pay deals to Jeremy Clarkson and others again - Daily Telegraph
  • Elderly people in the countryside "are facing poverty and isolation", warns Age UK report - Daily Mail
  • Three million adults agedt 20 to 34 currently live with their parents – that could increased by 700,000 in the next seven years - Daily Mail
  • England's ceremonial mayors eschew fur to support animal rights - The Guardian
  • Recession has made children insecure, unhappy and isolated, warns report - The Independent
  • Family court judgments will in future be published unless there are “compelling reasons” not to - The Times (£)

And finally 1)... Michael Gove, rapper

EMinem"[TV presenter Kirstie Allsopp] said: 'I find Michael Gove very entertaining. The most fun I had recently at a dinner party was watching him get up and start gentleman rapping.' ... Gentleman rappers mimic famous American and British rappers but they sing about English pursuits such as cricket and afternoon tea." -The Sun

And finally 2)... Quentin Letts tests out Osborne's health gizmo

"We political sketchwriters were fighting the usual battle against boredom during the dusty Commons Treasury Select Committee when we first spotted the device on George Osborne’s wrist. Black and rubbery, it resembled a length of electrical tubing. One of my colleagues quipped that his wife Frances must have had him tagged." - Daily Mail


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