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Newslinks for Friday 9th August 2013

5.30pm WATCH: Pickles on travellers - "Illegal encampments can face an unlimited fine"

3.30pm Lucius Winslow on Comment: Polly Toynbee is right. A growing population is good for Britain.

JRM1.30pm MPsETC: "If we want more human characters in politics, and fewer hard-nosed automata who only ever do the strategicaly logical thing, then sometimes they will make honest mistakes. Jacob's was to think that, like him, anyone interested in a traditional Britain would reject something as ugly and inhumane as racism - evidently he was wrong." Jacob Rees-Mogg falls victim to his own unworldliness, and the ever-present threat of entryism

12.30pm On Comment, Benedict Rogers writes about faith, music and poetry in politics: we need a narrative – a story to tell

11.30am Local Government: Council by-election results from yesterday

10am Local Government: Faster action to remove illegal traveller sites

ToryDiary: Cameron’s everywhere – and that ain’t necessarily a bad thing

Also on ToryDiary, for the seventh and final day, we ask: Why can't we be told how many members the Conservative Party has?

IDIn Iain Dale's latest column, Miliband would be mad to ignore Alan Johnson ... and why I like Polly Toynbee: "Whenever I interview her, I think to myself 'right, this time I’m going to monster her', and then she completely disarms me, not just by being nice, but because sometimes, just sometimes, she does have a good argument."

Ed West on Comment: The van was nasty. But immigration control isn’t. A point I make in "The Diversity Illusion".

Cllr Jenny Whittle on Local Government: Kent's adoption parties mean more children have the chance of a loving home

The Deep End's Heresy of the Week: Let’s abolish the summer holidays

ConservativeHome keeps asking for Tory membership numbers. The Mail and the Independent report on our efforts and those of Douglas Carswell...

Downturn"Former Tory donor Lord Ashcroft tweeted: ‘We still have not received the membership numbers for the Conservative Party. ... 'Sadly I suspect it’s really bad.’ ... Meanwhile Paul Goodman, from the ConservativeHome activists website, said he believed membership was between 100,000 and 130,000." -Daily Mail

"Conservative headquarters has come under fire within the party for steadfastly refusing to disclose its latest membership numbers...Douglas Carswell, an MP pressing for fundamental overhaul of the party’s operation, said he would not be surprised if membership was now “south of 100,000”.." - The Independent

> Every day this week, on ToryDiary, we've asked: Why can't we be told how many members the Conservative Party has?

> Yesterday's video to WATCH: Paul Goodman, Douglas Carswell MP and Lord Glasman discuss falling party memberships on Newsnight John Bercow works to reconnect Parliament and the public

JB"The warnings came as the Commons Speaker, John Bercow, backed a fundamental overhaul of Parliament to help it to reconnect with voters. ... He suggested that centuries of 'arrogant' control by ministers needed to end and raised worries that the institution would become irrelevant to people’s lives unless it was able to respond quickly to mass communications." - The Independent

Cameron's show of strength: British warships sail towards Gibraltar

"The Ministry of Defence insisted that the mission is a long-planned exercise. ... But senior government sources conceded that the timing is convenient since it will reassure the people of Gibraltar after Spain imposed draconian border checks in a dispute over fishing. ... David Cameron broke the news that the task force was set to sail to his Spanish counterpart Mariano Rajoy in a tense phone call on Wednesday." - Daily Mail

As the Prime Minister speaks up for shale gas...

Fracking"David Cameron warned last night that Britain was ‘missing out big time’ on the benefits of fracking by not drilling at enough sites in the search for shale gas. ... In his most outspoken comments about the technology, the Prime Minister said it would be a ‘big mistake’ if the Government did not encourage fracking across Britain." - Daily Mail

  • "The Chancellor’s initiative to give tax breaks for shale gas exploration will provide vital investment. ... But it will count for nothing unless the PM’s speech yesterday becomes the first salvo in an aggressive PR offensive." - Sun editorial (£)
  • "...neither the Government nor the industry has done much to get the public on side." - Independent editorial

...calls on people to boycott social networks that don't tackle online abuse...

"Mr Cameron demanded that firms like, used by 60 million teens worldwide, 'step up to the plate' to stop hate messages. ... The PM, who has three children, added: 'If websites don’t clean up their act then we, as members of the public, have got to stop using these sites and boycott them.'" - The Sun (£)

...criticises UKIP's Godfrey Bloom...

UKIP"David Cameron yesterday weighed into the row over an MEP’s ‘Bongo Bongo land’ comments by describing them as ‘offensive’ and ‘wrong’. ... The Prime Minister criticised Mr Bloom by describing Britain as a ‘very open, international country’." - Daily Mail

  • "We strongly suspect that Mr Cameron’s lofty dismissal of critics of his policy of ring-fencing massive international aid as wanting to ‘stop the world’ will be seen by most Britons as coming from a man on another planet." - Daily Mail editorial
  • Britain's hypocrisy towards Nigeria - Ian Birrell, The Guardian

> Yesterday: Ben Jackson on Comment: Yes, aid charities must do better. But many are doing well. And the good they do is invaluable.

...and discusses his faith

Cross"David Cameron yesterday confessed he found it a ‘little difficult’ to follow Christ’s example and give all his possessions to the poor. ... Questioned about his religious beliefs, however, the Prime Minister described biblical teachings as ‘not a bad handbook’ for life." - Daily Mail

  • " recent weeks, if there has been any governing going on it has had to be squeezed inbetween David Cameron and Nick Clegg's appearances on various phone-ins, press conferences, morning breakfast shows and Cameron Directs." - Patrick Wintour, The Guardian

> Today: ToryDiary - Cameron’s everywhere – and that ain’t necessarily a bad thing

> Yesterday's video to WATCHCameron discusses his faith after being quizzed at a Cameron Direct event

Give Cameron his due, says Bruce Anderson, for unleashing Tory animal spirits

"Even though the Tories’ position is improving, a lot of them are reluctant to give their leader much credit. Mr Cameron finds it easier to dominate the political landscape than to win his own party’s affection. There might seem to be an analogy with Tony Blair; many Labour activists thought that he was never one of them. But they were right; their Tory equivalents are wrong..." - Bruce Anderon, Daily Telegraph

Pickles attacks councils for fleecing drivers...

Pickles"Councils were last night accused by ministers of ‘bending the law’ with their use of CCTV and overzealous parking wardens to catch out motorists and ‘fill their coffers’. ... Eric Pickles fired a broadside after a parking watchdog told MPs that councils are ignoring official guidance on enforcement." - Daily Mail

  • Arts groups face further cuts after £124 million reduction in councils' budgets - The Independent

...and questions the Home Office's illegal immigrant campaign...

"Eric Pickles, the Communities Secretary, has questioned the virtue of a Home Office scheme telling illegal immigrants to 'go home or face arrest'. ... 'I will be looking at that evidence — I need to see some very persuasive evidence that this should be passed out nationally,' he told LBC Radio. 'If something like this has to happen it needs to be evidence based.'" - The Times (£)

> Today: Ed West on Comment: The van was nasty. But immigration control isn’t. A point I make in "The Diversity Illusion". Mark Harper defends the Government against a critical immigration report

MH"The minister in charge of immigration claimed yesterday that border officials are simply too busy to take the fingerprints of people who try to sneak into the UK illegally. ... Mark Harper was responding to one of the key criticisms in a damning report by chief inspector of borders and immigration John Vine." - Daily Mail

  • "Human rights organisations have said the government's targeting of illegal immigrants over the past two weeks is creating a climate of fear and intolerance that threatens to put race relations back decades." - The Guardian

Hunt is following Gove's example, says Isabel Hardman

"Now Mr Hunt is deciding what will happen to those hospitals providing an unsatisfactory service. He is looking to the way Mr Gove and his New Labour predecessors turned around failing schools. An obvious way of emulating head boy Gove would be to copy the Education Secretary’s academy super-heads, where entrepreneurs put their skills from other sectors into transforming schools." - Isabel Hardman, Daily Telegraph

Edward Timpson announces more money for adoption agencies

"Adoption agencies are to get an extra £16 million over the next two years to help recruit 2,000 families willing to adopt children, ministers announced yesterday. ... Edward Timpson, Children and Families Minister, who has two adoptive brothers himself, said more than 700 extra people were needed each year to keep up with the growing numbers of children waiting to be adopted." - The Times (£)

> Today: Cllr Jenny Whittle on Local Government: - Kent's adoption parties mean more children have the chance of a loving home

Jacob Rees-Mogg distances himself from the Traditional Britain Group after remarks about Doreen Lawrence

"A Tory MP has 'dissociated' himself from the rightwing Traditional Britain Group after it suggested Doreen Lawrence and other black people should be 'requested to return to their natural homelands'. ... Jacob Rees-Mogg, who was guest of honour at the group's annual dinner, expressed shock at the comments, which were posted on its Facebook site when the mother of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence was made a peer." - The Guardian

"Motorists who hit cyclists will be deemed to be at fault unless it can be proved otherwise, under proposals from the Liberal Democrats" - The Times (£)

Labour proposes new curbs on payday lenders...

PAY RISE"Payday loan companies would pay a levy towards rival credit unions under Labour proposals to support attempts by the archbishop of Canterbury to undermine the controversial lenders. ... Other ideas being discussed by Labour include requirements on councils, housing associations, rail and bus companies to promote credit unions, a type of membership-owned lender." - Financial Times

...and goes on the attack over energy prices

"Britain’s big six energy companies have enjoyed a £3.3billion windfall in profits since the election - while consumers’ bills have soared by £300 a year. ... Labour said the figures show that David Cameron has not done enough to crack down on profiteering by gas and electric firms." - Daily Mail

  • "By some measures, the economy is moving from 'rescue to recovery' ... Yet the wallets of many, particularly those on lower and middle incomes, bear little evidence of it." - The Economist

Ed Miliband can't remain a Medium-Sized Beast, warns Rafael Behr

EDM"The talk was all of 'Blairites' wanting to dilute union influence and a 'Brownite' machine in cahoots with an 'old Left'. It all gave the impression of Mr Miliband as piggy-in-the-middle, trying to grab his party’s identity while the playground bullies passed it around over his head." - Rafael Behr, The Times (£)

  • "Rachel Reeves and Owen Smith are being considered by Ed Miliband's supporters as possible surprise campaign co-ordinators for the 2015 election" - The Guardian

> Today:  Iain Dale's column: - Miliband would be mad to ignore Johnson ... and why I like Polly Toynbee

Mark Carney versus reckless bankers

"Bank of England boss Mark Carney yesterday blasted reckless bankers as 'socially useless'. ... And he said they should be 'snuffed out' from the City. Mr Carney also said banks need to be more caring and should think about how their actions could affect jobs and the economy." - The Sun (£)

Universities set £9,000-a-year fees so they don't look cheap, warns academic

Fes"The maximum that universities can charge full-time degree students was controversially trebled to £9,000 last year. ... Since then there has been a stampede among all institutions – not just the very best – to impose this sum, or close to it. ... But according to Jurgen Enders, professor of higher education at Southampton University, this is purely being fuelled by fears they will look ‘cheap’." - Daily Mail

> Yesterday: ToryDiary - The unassuming significance of David Willetts’ statement on profit-making universities

Thanks to high birth rates and immigration, the population of Britain is rising fast

"The population in Britain is rising more steeply than anywhere else in Europe, according to official estimates yesterday. ... The Office for National Statistics says around four in ten of the additional people are immigrants. Six out of ten are the result of rising birth rates, which brought a 40-year high in the number of babies born last year." - Daily Mail

  • "Britain's booming population is a blessing, not a curse" - Polly Toynbee, The Guardian

Samuel Brittan: Why the eurozone will come apart

Euro"It is hardly surprising that Germany has a current account surplus of 6 per cent of gross domestic product, while Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain have a bare balance. Estimates need to be taken with a very large pinch of salt but their general message is all too plausible. No so-called banking union or fiscal harmonisation will suffice while these imbalances remain." - Samuel Brittan, Financial Times

> Yesterday on Comment

News In Brief

  • HMRC has added ten more suspected tax dodgers to its "most wanted" list - Daily Mail
  • The BBC was warned about its executive pay four year ago - Daily Mail
  • Politeness lessons for the police - Daily Mail

And finally... Cameron's jokes at the Lib Dems' expense


"David Cameron delighted local business delegates at Stockport’s Bredbury Hall Hotel during his visit to the North West on Wednesday ... His best received gag: ‘If you’re at the top of Blackpool Tower and you have the chance to push either a Labourite or a Lib Dem off the top, who do you pick? Labour – business before pleasure.’" - Ephraim Hardcastle column, Daily Mail

  • "Yesterday, David Cameron admitted that 'The Boss' remains his 'guilty pleasure', but only when his wife is out." - The Times (£)


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