Monday, 30 July 2012


Noon Philip Booth on Comment: The truly international, communitarian Olympics opening we could have had - but didn't

ToryDiary: Boris Johnson emerges as grassroots' early favourite to be next Tory leader

Columnist Bruce Anderson: We Conservatives are lucky to be governing in Coalition

Neil Carmichael MP on Comment: How to merge the Climate Change Department and improve government at the same time

Local Government: Change of use rules to be eased to reduce number of empty buildings

MPsETC: Helping the underdog: Dom Raab MP advocates ten policies to help the little guy
  • Police in charge of keeping the Olympics safe have lost the keys to Wembley Stadium - Daily Mail
"In one account of the meeting Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, was said to have scored the ceremony just four out 10, a claim his spokesman denied last night. Mr Gove was also said to have objected to the absence of Winston Churchill from the ceremony. According to this version, Jeremy Hunt, the Culture Secretary, was also sceptical about some of the scenes, while Theresa May, the Home Secretary, was said to have intervened to defend Boyle and to have told her colleagues it was unfair to judge the ceremony in such a crude way." - Daily Telegraph
  • 15% thought show "too political", 12% thought NHS tribute inappropriate - Survation
  • Opening ceremony was a Trojan horse for socialist values, says Labour MP Paul Flynn - The Guardian
  • Danny Boyle's story of Britain was a celebration of freedom - Shami Chakrabati, The Guardian
"Right-wing critics should be reassured that the meaning of the Mary Poppins-Dementors clash has been widely misunderstood. I am told by one figure close to proceedings that the bellicose nanny figure was intended by Danny Boyle to stand for Mrs Thatcher in her struggles with the NUM and other militant trade unionists. So that’s all right, then, eh!…James Bond and the Monarchy – not to mention The Eton Boating Song… How can anyone call that Lefty propaganda?" - Boris Johnson, Daily Telegraph  "Three-quarters of local Conservative associations are losing activists as the party suffers a recruitment crisis which has seen membership halve since David Cameron became leader. The latest estimates put Conservative membership at between 130,000 and 170,000, compared with almost 300,000 shortly after Mr Cameron succeeded Michael Howard. There are fears within the party that on current trends it could soon fall below 100,000." - The Independent 

…But Trevor Kavanagh asks: Is it really so bad for the economy after all?
"First, few people believe the notoriously erratic statistics showing a big 0.7 per cent fall in national output. They do not tally with a robust 800,000 new jobs and a surprise surge in tax revenues… Second, Mr Osborne won rare applause for the debt-busting programme so bitterly opposed in yesterday’s Sun by Labour’s Ed Balls. Indeed, OECD chief Angel Gurria warned the greatest risk of a slump would be if Mr Osborne changed course and followed Ed. The Chancellor’s third boost came from one of those “weakness-seeking missiles” — the credit ratings agency Standard & Poor’s." - Trevor Kavanagh, The Sun
  • Economists warn Osborne: We're heading for a triple dip - The Sun
  • Merkel, Monti: We will do all we can to protect the Eurozone - BBC
"Ministers were last night under pressure to tighten border controls for EU citizens after Spain demanded ‘proof of income’ from expats  hoping to live in the country. The move – taken in response to the country’s economic crisis – was said by one Tory MP to have ‘driven a coach and horses’ through the EU’s cherished principle of the free movement of peoples, and immediately triggered calls for David Cameron to adopt tougher measures." - Daily Mail "Britain's benefits system faces a fresh blitz after figures today reveal nearly 900,000 people have claimed sickness handouts for more than a decade. Taxpayers shelled out around £4billion last year alone to long-term benefit claimants for a vast number of ailments, the new statistics show.  Employment Minister Chris Grayling said the statistics underlined why drastic action is needed to make sure funds only go to those who have genuine health reasons for not working. The sick pay system has been blamed for keeping millions of families mired in benefit dependency." - Daily Express
  • Scandal of 10 years' disability handouts for acne - The Sun
  • Disability tests "sending sick and disabled back to work - Daily Telegraph
  • A million jobless may face six months' unpaid work or have benefits stopped - The Guardian

The Deep End:

WATCH: Romney takes aim at Iran on visit to Israel‬ 

Cameron eyes possible Olympics bounce...
"David Cameron has played down the prospect of a big political bounce from the London Olympics, telling colleagues: “People are too sensible to confuse a sporting event with their day-to-day lives.” Nevertheless the prime minister will not overlook the political opportunities afforded by the games to project what he claims is not just Britain’s illustrious past but its “exciting future”….George Osborne is also expecting an economic lift from the games when the third quarter gross domestic product figures are assembled." - Financial Times (£)
...As the row over Danny Boyle's opening ceremony rumbles on: Gove was unhappy when he saw a preview and Hunt had concerns

The Mail remains pro-Boyle.  Melanie Phillips: he showed modern Britain as it is
"Danny Boyle has given them Caliban’s dream — a Utopian vision of Britain. He gave them the brilliance and wit of his spectacle. He also gave them something else: the fantasy of an inclusive, generous, warm-hearted, joyful image of themselves. Boyle’s genius was to create this fantasy of goodness, this triumph of hope over experience, of heart over head. This was patriotism as a feelgood movie. Oscars all round." - Daily Mail

As, unsurprisingly, does Boris: How, he asks, can anyone call the Eton Boating Song left-wing propaganda?

The London Mayor tops ConHome poll of candidates to succeed Cameron
"The Mayor of London, who is enjoying a high profile during the Olympics, is favoured by 32 per cent of party members, according to the poll of 1,419 activists conducted by the ConservativeHome website. His nearest rivals are William Hague, the Foreign Secretary and a former party leader, who is backed by 24 per cent, and Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, on 19 per cent. George Osborne, who was widely seen as Mr Johnson's main rival in the future leadership stakes, is supported by a derisory 2 per cent" - The Independent

Tim Montgomerie: Be upbeat, hug modern Britain and embrace the state - that's what all Tories should learn from London's Mayor
"Whatever the next few years might hold for Boris personally, his compelling world view should be at the heart of tomorrow’s Conservatism. Making peace with the NHS, the welfare state and the State’s role in delivering big projects does not equal surrender. It simply gives Conservatives the freedom to meet necessary challenges such as restarting social mobility and strengthening the family. The things we need the courage to change." - The Times (£)
Party membership "could soon fall below six figures"

Man due in court after Stewart Jackson bus shelter assault - Daily Express 
Business groups call for interest rates to be slashed to zero...
"The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) urged the Bank of England to take immediate action to slash the cost of borrowing to homeowners and business, following shock growth figures last week showing the economic downturn is accelerating. Economists at the Ernst & Young Item Club also backed the call, saying an interest rate cut was ‘not the only answer, but it would help’." - Daily Mail

Spain "drives coach and horses" through EU movement of peoples, Clappison and Carswell urge Cameron to follow suit

Romney "would not stop Israel attacking Iran" - The Sun
Medvedev: We’ve seen the preview, now world must prevent a civil war in Syria - The Times (£)
Grayling: New figures show scale of welfare problem

Yes Scotland wins support from Labour rebel group - Herald Scotland

Academics claims that another referendum on tax-raising powers for Wales would damage devolution - Wales Online

Plain English campaign slams "diet of waffle" from Stormont politicians - Belfast Telegraph

British Islamists fighting with Syrian resistance - Daily Express

Private groups to help guard Trident - Financial Times (£)

More than half of the rioters jailed after last summer’s violence, arson and looting are back on the streets - Daily Mail