Cheryl Gillan MP on Comment: Labour wants a "slate curtain" between Wales and the rest of the UK
LeftWatch: The 1% support Ed Miliband. The 99% do not.
Local government: Cllr Stephen Greenhalgh is the TaxPayers Alliance's pin up of the month
Also on Local government: Halton Labour councillors oppose free school
Builders say Osborne’s infrastructure plan will make “no discernible difference” in the short term – FT (£)
Cameron is expected to overrule Cabinet colleagues in an attempt to push through plans setting a minimum price for alcohol – Yorkshire Post
- "The issue is set to trigger a Cabinet split with Health Secretary Andrew Lansley, who is deeply opposed to the measures. Attorney General Dominic Grieve is also understood to have warned that moves to introduce minimum pricing would be illegal under EU competition laws." – Daily Mail
- "Two thirds of Conservatives MPs voted against the smoking ban in 2006, claiming it encroached on personal freedoms. Conservative critics today claimed Mr Cameron's plans to raise the price of alcohol were another example of a "Big Brother" policy that would penalise moderate, middle-class drinkers." – Telegraph
- The FT (£) reports that Vince Cable agrees with Lansley that minimum price might be illegal under EU law.
- The Mail (middle leader) urges Cameron to scrap 24 hour drinking instead.
The Sun continues its campaign against Ken Clarke by pointing out that one-quarter of those on community sentences break orders – The Sun
"In opposing tax breaks for marriage, therefore, Mr Clegg ignores volumes of evidence. For the sake of children’s well-being and our country’s future, David Cameron has a duty to overrule him." – Mail leader
- Single-parent Britain: One in five children lives with just mum or dad – more than in most of Europe – Daily Mail
Aid charities accuse Andrew Mitchell of fiddling aid targets
"The UK government will meet its much heralded international aid target by cancelling the debts of some of the poorest countries, triggering accusations that ministers are fiddling the books to reach their stated goals." – FT (£)
- Britain is STILL giving aid to Brazil – even though it's richer than we are – Daily Mail
Public sector unions say concessions from Coalition on pensions vindicate taking tough line on redundancies and pay
"The Conservative party has built up a formidable recent record in addressing the causes and effects of crony capitalism, from work on poverty and debt to the bank levy and the Vickers reforms. Now is the time to turn up the volume." – Jesse Norman MP in the FT (£)
The Conservatives could hijack Labour's agenda on crony capitalism, claims Patrick Wintour
"Jesse Norman's latest attack on crony capitalism shows there is a thirst for action amongst influential thinkers on the Tory benches. He says of the two distinguishing features of crony capitalism: "Business action loses any relation to the wider public interest and business reward is separated from business merit."… Conservatives in this camp believe Cameron can pull off an intellectual heist by presenting himself as the man to rescue Britain from the predatory crony capitalism that Labour had allowed to develop. Under this argument, issues such as corporate governance, tackling short-termism among investors, rethinking competition law and building strong regions around new democratic institutions such as city mayors will come to the fore." – Patrick Wintour in The Guardian
Ed Miliband uses New Year message to accuse PM of Depression-era 'despair' – Guardian
The BBC has key quotes from the message: "When so many are sceptical about politics the easy route for politicians is to join in and accept the cynicism. To say simply that in hard times nothing can be done. But that's not why I came into politics and it's not what the Labour Party stands for."
- Labour has failed to spell out its deficit plans, admits Miliband – Daily Mail
"In a stark reminder of the challenge facing the Labour leader, who trails David Cameron on economic competence, Miliband is told he will face the same fate as Michael Foot and Neil Kinnock unless he avoids the "tax and spend" trap. Gregg McClymont, the shadow pensions minister who is a former Oxford history don, writes in a new pamphlet that Labour will avoid the Tory trap only if it resists the temptation to appeal to its core supporters in the public services." – Guardian
Miliband's party should focus on growth and improving living standards for the majority, and not get caught up in the cuts – Gregg McClymont and Ben Jackson in The Guardian
Labour historians say prime minister resembles Tories' most electorally successful leader of the modern era, Stanley Baldwin
– Nick Watt at The Guardian
Councils are hoarding billions of pounds of taxpayers money, equivalent to £430 for every British family, despite making cuts to public services – Telegraph
Is there any level of spending that wouldn't trigger 'Tory cuts' headlines? – Dan Hannan in The Telegraph
The future belongs to leaders unashamedly shaped by personal beliefs and convictions – Peter Oborne in The Telegraph
Britain's future lies with America, not Europe – Iain Murray and James Bennett in the Wall Street Journal
And finally… Tracey Emin has said that she feels an "outsider" in the art fraternity after admitting she voted for the Conservatives in the last general election – Independent
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