Tuesday, 27 November 2012

George gets his man..

He may not be known for pulling rabbits from the hat, but yesterday George Osborne could survey a dumbfounded Labour front-bench with pleasure having announced Mark Carney as the new Governor of the Bank of England. Securing the service of the Canadian (particularly withonly the reins of the British economy to offer) is a tremendous coup. Canada's growth trajectory matched that of Britain's before the crisis, and has continued through the crash. He will bring authority and originality to the corridors of an organisation often accused of being paralysed by group-think. The papers are pleased. The Telegraphheadline is "New Bank boss comes to UK for 'greatest of challenges', theTimes (£) goes with "Chancellor banks on top outsider to save the economy", and the Sun contents itself with "Head Banger to Head Banker", a comment on Mr Carney's taste in pre-hockey match music while a student. Nowadays, the paper adds, he prefers AC/DC's "Back in the black".
If Mr Balls and the Times (£) leader writer were taken by surprise yesterday, so was Vince. The Chancellor only told him of his new pick minutes beforehand, according to Sam Coates (£). It's almost as if he suspected Vince might leak it otherwise. Commentators were broadly welcoming, particularly Alex Brummer in the Mail and Martin Wolf in theFT (£). In the Telegraph, Jeremy Warner notes the incredible lengths the Chancellor went to in order to land Mr Carney - cutting three years from the Governor's term and paying five times as much as the Prime Minister's wage - and argued that the appointment was a result of domestic failures. Damian Reece argues that the Treasury needed to deliver "a bout of long-termism" under Mr Carney. Philip Johnston , however, says that foreign leaders of British institutions have a chequered past. In City AM, Allister Heath is delighted over an "unusually brilliant" move by Mr Osborne:
"His appointment will guarantee a coherent and stable approach. He wants to reform finance to make sure it doesn’t explode every few years – and to make sure that if firms do go bust, special wind-down and resolution procedures kick-in, protecting taxpayers from having to bail out banks. Crucially, however, he is a tough reformer, not a vandal. He is no soft touch – but neither does he want to turn Canary Wharf into a ghost town."
For my money, the two striking revelations about the decision are, first, Mr Osborne's persistence in wooing Mr Carney, down to fixing the rules to allow him to be interviewed without applying as it were, and second, its message that Britain as an open, trading nation, is relaxed enough to put a foreigner in charge of the nation's bank. Imagine the French doing that? No, me neither. A big, defining moment for Mr Osborne.
Nick Clegg has gone out of his way to warn Dave that he faces a split in the Coalition and a possible Commons defeat if he rejects the findings of the Leveson Inquiry, the FT (£) reports. The problem for Mr Clegg is that he also faces a split among his parliamentary party. Deputy leader Simon Hughes has confirmed he would not back statutory press regulation, with Sir Menzies Campbell also expressing discomfort with the idea, as the Mail reports. On the Tory benches, Owen Paterson is the latest minister to declare for press freedom. Former Number 10 aide George Eustice has taken the opposite view for some time. Mr Eustice circulated a briefing note on press regulation to fellow MPs which had been prepared in part by Hacked Off, the Telegraph notes.
The tiresome thing is that, as Dominic Lawson points out in today'sIndependent, "there is already a regulatory framework for newspapers. It is called the law: and there is no journalistic immunity for it". Whatever the outcome, Lord Justice Leveson's future looks secure once he returns from his Australian jaunt. He is being lined up for the role of Lord Chief Justice, the Independent reports, meaning that the second part of the inquiry or "who-did-what-to-who" would need to be re-scheduled or re-assigned. As I write in my Telegraph column, the damage may have been done by then. After years of resentment, the Left now has the press at its mercy:
"The report, when it is published, will be their indictment against the Right, a payback for more than 30 years of political pain. Leveson, they hope, will mark an irreversible defeat for the political forces that stuck Neil Kinnock’s head on a lightbulb and invited the last person to leave Britain to switch out the lights if Labour won in 1992."
Preliminary discussions over defection have taken place between eight Conservative MPs and senior figures in Ukip, the Telegraph reports. Stuart Wheeler, the UKIP treasurer and former Tory donor has held lunches with the disaffected MPs and believes "a few" will defect before the next election. If they are tempted, then it's do or die. There is no room for negotiation as Number 10 made clear when downgrading Michael Fabricant's role. "He organises byelections" was the opening line, followed swiftly afterwards by "his role is to help out at byelections", news the Vice Chairman re-tweeted. Mr Fabricant is not entirely at odds with CCHQ's view of Ukip, however. Conceding that some Ukip members were racists, he pointed to the fact that Tory and Labour voters were as well in mitigation, the Mirror reports. In the round, though, Mr Fabricant's attempts to build relations between the "warring brothers" has left them more strained than ever, as Nigel Farrage notes in today'sTelegraph:
"The political traditions of Britain are largely about the growth of liberty, freedom, equality before the law and tolerance. We believe in fair play and muddling through. We don’t like grand plans and irrational manoeuvring for political gain, as seen in Rotherham. We are decent people, who are fed up with the nannying, pettifogging overlordship of the grey bureaucracies."
Having renounced his EU referendum demand, Bo-Jo criticised Britain's tough immigration laws yesterday. Speaking on his trip to India, he called for an end to foreign student visa restrictions, the Telegraphreports. Meanwhile, day two of the Evening Standard's tour diary reports that Boris has been doing some teaching of his own, explaining that Darwin's theory of evolution originated in Bromley, not the bowels of the Beagle.
All foreigners must be treated by GPs for free under a directive announced shortly before summer recess, the Sun reports. Some 3,600 foreigners were treated in British hospitals last year, and visas are issued without medical insurance conditions attached, unlike in much of Europe. Frank Field and Nicholas Soames have demanded the programme is cancelled, adding that "it is astonishing the Government should have agreed to this when the NHS is struggling." 
Michael Gove's family were recent visitors to Chequers, Mandrakereports. Mr Gove's eight-year-old-son William endeared himself to his host by asking, within Dave's earshot:  "Daddy, when you are prime minister, will we have this place to ourselves?"  

Michael Fabricant aka Basil Fawlty:

@Mike_Fabricant: "Don't mention UKIP. Under any circumstances. I mentioned it once, but I think I got away with it". (With apols to Fawlty Towers)." 


In the Telegraph
Best of the rest
Martin Wolf in the FT (£) - Welcome to Britain, Mr Carney - it needs you
Rachel Sylvester in The Times (£) - Cameron's Britain: now we'll see its true face
TODAY: Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith and Home Office Minister Jeremy Browne to speak at Home Office conference on Gang and Youth violence.
07:45 am: Education Minister Elizabeth Truss to visit a children's centre to make an announcement on funding for early education. Loughborough Children's Centre, Minet Road, Lambeth, London.
09:30 am: Latest estimate of Q3 GDP is published by the Office for National Statistics.
10:00 am: Bank of England Governor Sir Mervyn King to appear before Commons Treasury Committee to give evidence on the Bank's quarterly inflation report. Grimond Room, Portcullis House.
1015 STEVENAGE: Labour leader Ed Miliband and shadow chancellor Ed Balls pre-Autumn Statement Q&A. Propak Sheet Metal Ltd, Unit 1 Gunnelswood Industrial Estate, Stevenage.
10:30 am: Lord Patten will appear before the Commons culture committee. BBC Trust chairman Lord Patten and acting director general Tim Davie will give evidence at the Culture, Media and Sport committee. Thatcher Room, Portcullis House.
12:15 pm: Communities Secretary Eric Pickles to give evidence to Commons Committee on Draft Local Audit Bill. Committee Room 15, House of Commons.
01:30 pm: Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham launches Labour NHS Check report on care rationing. Old Shadow Cabinet Room, House of Commons.
07:00 pm: Scotland Secretary Michael Moore gives first St Andrew's Day lecture. Scotland Office, Dover House, Whitehall.