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Newslinks for Saturday 21st September 2013

7.45pm WATCH: Miliband - Blair isn't a war criminal

Screen shot 2013-09-21 at 13.26.486pm Peter Walker on Comment: The consequences of the defenestration of Godfrey Bloom

1pm Mohammed Amin on Comment: "I was phoning homes in West London. From both peoples’ names and from their accents, I could tell that many of the people I was telephoning were from an ethnic minority background. When, in accordance with the canvassing script, I asked them to itemise issues that they felt strongly about, almost all named immigration as their first or second choice without any prompting from me." Immigration is not a racial issue today

ToryDiary: Politics is about more than maths - Conservatives must make the moral case for welfare reform

Nick Wood on Comment: Will Miliband's panda party ever give birth?

Also on Comment: Rory Meakin says We must acknowledge that our planning rules stop homes being built

The ConservativeHome Interview: Andrew Gimson asks Boris Johnson about Costa Concordia, UKIP, tax cuts, Plebgate and how to beat Labour

MailedEd Miliband implicated in smearing opponents...

"Ed Miliband sent potentially damaging emails to a party official plotting to smear opponents, Gordon Brown’s former spin doctor claims in an explosive new book. The allegation from Damian McBride is the latest to link the Labour leader to a toxic culture of spin inside government. The memoir suggests Mr Miliband might ‘have problems’ if his exchanges with Labour insider Derek Draper are revealed." - Daily Mail

  • "Miliband's office said he denied the allegations and had raised concerns over the activities of McBride with Brown in October 2008. A Labour spokesman said: "Ed Miliband was not involved in any plan to smear or spread lies about opponents. Any suggestion he was is totally untrue. He has no recollection about any emails setting up this website or any similar attempt to smear opponents." - The Guardian
  • "Labour leader Ed Miliband knew about the activities of disgraced former spin doctor Damian McBride, Dame Tessa Jowell has claimed. The former Cabinet minister, who served in government under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, has expressed concern that the “awful, evil influence” of Gordon Brown’s former communications chief will now overshadow Labour’s time in government...Dame Tessa described the extracts from the Power Trip book about the "malign and awful" briefings against senior Labour figures as "truly shocking". She insisted that while she was "sure" Mr Miliband, who was a close ally of Mr Brown, was aware of the activities of the then prime minister's special adviser, it would not damage his position now." - Daily Telegraph
  • "Of course Ed Miliband knew all about the dirty tricks carried out by Gordon Brown’s bag carriers against Tony Blair’s people. It doesn’t much matter now. Brown’s regime is just a bad memory. And if we needed evidence of Miliband’s own ruthless self-interest we need only ask his brother. But has Labour moved on? The root cause of their colossal under-achievement during 13 years in office was the energy wasted knifing each other in the back. Yet few personnel have changed. And they could be back in office in 2015." - The Sun Says(£)
  • We tried to knife Cherie but she knifed us - Damian McBride Daily Mail
  • The challenge for Miliband's speech writer - Daily Telegraph


Timesbrown...while Balls admits he was part of Brown's macho cabal

"Ed Balls has admitted to being part of a damaging “macho” cabal around Gordon Brown but denies having known that rival ministers were being smeared. In an interview with The Times, published today, the Shadow Chancellor distances himself from the former Prime Minister and Damian McBride, his spin doctor, who has confessed to a series of political assassinations on behalf of Mr Brown. Mr Balls insists that he had no knowledge of “three hideous smears” against John Reid, Charles Clarke and Ivan Lewis and claims that he resisted attempts by Mr Brown to undermine Alistair Darling, then Chancellor." - The Times(£)

IndependentbedLabour Policy shock 1:Labour pledge to reinstate spare room subsidy

"Ed Miliband pledged to abolish the Coalition’s “vicious and iniquitous bedroom tax” if Labour is returned to power at the next election. In a keynote announcement at the start of his party’s Brighton conference, Mr Miliband said the next manifesto would include a commitment to scrap the benefit cut – which has been condemned for plunging thousands of  council tenants into rent arrears. Mr Miliband said Labour would make up for the £470m the spare room subsidy is meant to save by reversing some of the Government’s tax cuts for businesses and George Osborne’s “shares for rights” scheme. The pledge opens up a clear policy divide between Labour and its Conservative and Liberal Democrat opponents and is likely to be a major issue at the next election." - The Independent

  • Archbishop of Canterbury says delivering welfare changes "challenging" - The Times(£)
>Today: Nick Wood on Comment: Will Miliband's panda party ever give birth?

TelegraphrichLabour policy shock 2: "Boring, snoring" Rachel Reeves make interesting comment: Those earning under £60,000 are "not rich" and won't be taxed more

"People earning as much as £60,000 a year are not “rich” and would not face tax increases under a Labour government, a shadow treasury minister has said. Instead, the “privileged few” on salaries of more than £150,000 should be expected to contribute more, according to Rachel Reeves, the shadow chief secretary to the Treasury. Miss Reeves, who is deputy to Ed Balls, the shadow chancellor, said Labour had no intention of increasing taxes on anyone apart from those “right at the top” of the income scale. “I think the focus should be on those privileged few right at the top, and that’s not people earning £50,000 or £60,000 a year,” Miss Reeves said in an interview with The Telegraph. “We don’t have any plans or desire to increase taxes amongst people in that band of income.” - Daily Telegraph

GuardianchilddLabour policy shock 3: Child care would be provided for primary school children 8am to 6pm

"Yvette Cooper, the shadow home secretary, made clear that the party would focus on the future with concrete policy announcements. Cooper, who is also shadow minister for women and equalities, told the Guardian in an interview: "Childcare is a top priority for the next election. It's about supporting families, the economy and equality. It's a really important issue for us and we want to go further than we have before." She said childcare should be seen as just as important as other infrastructure investments such as transport, and that Labour would be announcing "a guarantee to every parent that they will be able to get wraparound childcare from 8 to 6 every day." - The Guardian

Godfrey Bloom MEP uses UKIP whip after "sluts comment

"A UKIP politician has had the party whip removed after joking that a group of female activists were "sluts". MEP Godfrey Bloom made the comments while addressing a "women in politics" event at UKIP's annual conference. Challenged afterwards, he said it had been a joke. The remark prompted laughter from some of those present. But UKIP leader Nigel Farage said he believed disciplinary action should be taken, since the row had overshadowed his earlier conference speech." - BBC

  • "Mr Farage accused Mr Bloom of “destroying” the conference. He told delegates: “There is no media coverage of this conference. It’s gone. It’s dead. It’s all about Godfrey hitting a journalist and using an unpleasant word. It’s gone. And we can’t put up with it.” Only hours earlier, Mr Farage had said that he often disagreed with Mr Bloom and other UKIP figures, but that his party should continue to champion free speech. “If the choice is between our being browbeaten through political correctness to stay within the current received wisdoms or to be a party of free debate then be in no doubt we must be the party of radical alternatives and free speech,” he said." - The Times(£)
>Yesterday:ToryDiary: Introducing...UKIP's White Company

Nigel Farage says UKIP could hold balance of power after next election

"At his party’s annual conference in London, the Ukip leader claimed support was growing at such a rate that he had serious hopes of getting a string of MPs elected at the next general election due in 2015. He said that holding the balance of power in a hung Commons was the best way to guarantee an in-or-out referendum on the EU. “I promise you when the next general election comes Labour, the Conservatives and Lib Dems will promise a referendum,” said Mr Farage. “The only way you will get a referendum is to make sure there are enough Ukip MPs in Westminster in 2015 holding the balance of power. There will be a referendum then.” - Daily Express

  • "The conference included addresses on energy policy, the economy and foreign affairs included appearances from Digby Jones, the former head of the CBI, Mark Littlewood, the head of the Institute for Economic Affairs, and Michael Nazir-Ali, the former Bishop of Rochester. Mr Farage is trying to find a balance between encouraging candidates to speak their minds, which he believes voters find attractive, while presenting an increasingly professional face." - Daily Telegraph
  • Police probe into conference assault stalled - Daily Telegraph
OsborneRecovery leads to lower Government borrowing

"After a run of disappointing government borrowing figures the Treasury can take a little comfort from the latest data for August. The deficit in the month, excluding special factors like transfers from the Bank of England and changes to the Royal Mail pension fund, was lower than in the same month last year. And on the same basis, borrowing of £46.8bn in the financial year to date ( April-to-August) was a couple of billion lower than in the same period in 2012. Borrowing for the 2012-13 year has been revised down again to £115.7bn. So, the chancellor could well undershoot the Office for Budget Responsibility's forecast for this year of £120bn." - BBC

  • "Coalition hopes of slashing government borrowing before the next election are being boosted by a robust economic recovery. Data from the Office for National Statistics shows the deficit stood at £13.3billion in August, compared to £14.2billion in the same month last year." - Daily Mail

CharlesmooreCharles Moore on why ConservativeHome conferences are better than Conservative Party Conferences

"Could it be different? Yesterday I rang up Douglas Carswell, the Conservative MP for Clacton, and his party’s most ardent advocate of wider democracy. He will not be going to this year’s Tory conference, he told me: scarcely anyone from his association has been for 10 years now. He wants a conference for two things – sharing campaigning tips and discussing policies – and he expects to find neither in Manchester. A conference organised by the ConservativeHome website is much more likely to offer value." - Charles Moore Daily Telegraph

Matthew Parris calls for the return of Sunny Dave

"I persist in thinking, though, that another part of the answer lies in remembering what Britain warmed to in Early Cameron: a message of liking 21st-century Britain; of sympathy for hardship; and of confidence in the individual and in family; belief in a caring society where public-spiritedness was not expressed only through the institutions of the State. All right. You’ve got me cornered. I liked the Big Society. I’m sorry
the language seems to have been dropped. I want to see Mr Cameron return unapologetically to the tree, the clouds, the huskies — yes, even the hoodies — and, most of all, the blue sky. Last week Nick Clegg tried to cast the Conservatives in their ancient role of panto villains. For the party to confirm a stereotype that David Cameron has come so far in rejecting would be to walk straight into the Left’s trap." - Matthew Parris The Times (£)

News in brief

  • Chinese Communists ask Mandelson for tips - TheTimes(£)
  • Ex MSP Bill Walker jailed - BBC
  • Cameron's sister in law apologises over picture  - The Times (£)
  • Unions are too big and too political says Miliband ally - Daily Telegraph
  • MEP denies switching to English Democrats - BBC
  • Faith school "selecting wealthy pupils by back door" - Daily Telegraph


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