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The three main parties agree a Royal Charter for press regulation – but will the press comply?

Pile of newspapers“The three main parties finally agreed the detail of a royal charter setting up a system of newspaper regulation in the wake of the Leveson Inquiry. … But the newspaper industry last night warned there were major problems with the deal – holding out the prospect that papers may boycott the deal and press ahead with plans to set up their own regulator.” – Daily Mail

Or will it be forced to?

“Britain’s newspaper industry has been given a blunt warning by the government that it risks being subject to full statutory regulation if it refuses to accept a royal charter that is designed to place the system on a lighter footing. … Maria Miller, the culture secretary, is understood to have told the industry that she cannot stop the Labour party and Liberal Democrats joining forces to agree amendments to future legislation if the press refuses to abide by the new system.” – The Guardian

  • “The secret state is just itching to gag the press” – Jonathan Freedland, The Guardian
  • “Leveson has done his damnedest to encourage press regulation, despite his protestations” – Claire Fox, The Independent

The price of Royal Mail shares leaps at the start of trading…

Snip20131008_7“More than 100million Royal Mail shares were traded within 60 minutes of the former monopoly floating on the stockmarket yesterday. … Their price jumped instantly from £3.30, the sale price set by ministers, to £4.50, allowing critics to say the Government had chronically under-valued the business. The price closed at £4.55 – a 38 per cent increase on the opening price.” – Daily Mail

  • “Business Secretary Vince Cable dismissed concerns, saying he expected an ‘enormous amount of froth’ at the start of trading. … And while David Cameron argued that ‘what really matters is this has got off to a very good start’, Ed Miliband branded it a ‘fire sale of a great institution at a knock-down price’.” – The Sun (£)
  • “A hedge fund that employs one of George Osborne’s closest friends and best man is among the City institutions set to make millions from the privatisation of Royal Mail.” – Daily Telegraph

…but the Government had reasons for setting it at 300p

“Strong demand for the controversial privatisation of Royal Mail prompted the government to explore whether it could extract a higher price for the postal operator, but key institutional investors signalled they would drop out if they had to pay more than 330p a share.” – Financial Times

  • “The rush for a slice of Britain’s first privatisation for decades does not automatically mean that the Government has sold out too cheaply” – Independent editorial
  • “The success of the Royal Mail will be judged by a better service, not a quick profit” – Times editorial (£)
  • “Vince Cable, Liberal Democrat business secretary, ought to be able to congratulate himself on privatising the 500-year-old company where predecessors such as the Tories’ Michael Heseltine and Labour’s Peter Mandelson failed.” – Brian Groom, Financial Times
  • “What is being replicated from the 1980s is not its politics or its culture, but its psychic temperature. … Mr Cameron wants people to forget too: to persuade them that the years of recession are consigned to the past, and that Britain is bouncing back.” – Peter Aspden, Financial Times
  • “My Royal Mail fortune gets lost in the post” – Giles Coren, The Times (£)

> Yesterday’s video to WATCH: Cable – “The Royal Mail can now go forward.”

An intra-Coalition scrap looms, as Cameron orders a review of green taxes…

Lib Dem bird cage“The Coalition was riven by bitter infighting over green taxes last night after David Cameron ordered a review to stem the rise in energy bills. … Green taxes have been blamed for pushing energy prices to record levels, but the Prime Minister’s intervention met fierce opposition from the Lib Dems. … … Business Secretary Vince Cable said it would be ‘short-sighted and foolish’ to try to cut energy bills in the short term by tearing up the Government’s environmental policies.” – Daily Mail

Related news:

  • “Consumers facing waits of up to eight weeks to switch energy companies could move to a cheaper supplier in less than a week under plans being drawn up by the Government in response to Labour’s price-freeze pledge.” – The Times (£)
  • “Minsters in charge of tackling climate spent £300,000 last year flying around the UK” – Daily Mail
  • “The millionaire boss of price-hiking energy giant SSE has avoided soaring power bills at his mansion – by building his own wind turbine.” – The Sun (£)
  • Ed Miliband faces conflict with Labour peers over energy battle – Daily Telegraph

And comment:

  • “Truly, Ed Miliband’s hypocrisy on energy bills takes the breath away.” – Daily Mail editorial
  • “The only way to keep energy costs down in the long term is not to rig the market, but to make it work properly” – Daily Telegraph editorial
  • “The Lib Dems’ prospects in the 2015 election look bad enough now. .. But one thing guaranteed to make them even worse is standing in the way of cheaper energy bills.” – Sun editorial (£)
  • “Brixton has won government plaudits for its profit-making solar energy scheme” – Geoffrey Lean, Daily Telegraph

…and he could help Merkel out with her own green worries – for a price

“Representatives of David  Cameron and Chancellor Angela Merkel have been discussing a German plan to delay the introduction of caps on carbon dioxide emissions that could harm BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi. … In return, the UK wants help to protect the banking sector, which is lobbying to reduce the impact of Brussels regulations.” – Daily Mail

UK demands hold up European banking union – Financial Times

  • “By reopening the debate on the EU referendum, Adam Afriyie has achieved the impossible – a united Conservative Party” – Matthew Norman, Daily Telegraph

> Yesterday, by Julian Lewis MP: The Conservative case for an EU referendum before 2015

Osborne suggests he’ll prioritise deficit reduction in the Autumn Statement

OSBORNE blue tie“The UK’s economic recovery will not provide a pot of money for tax sweeteners in the Autumn Statement, which is to be made on 4 December, George Osborne told journalists, saying he was ‘far from feeling the job is done’. … His position is part of the Conservative party’s new political strategy of arguing that the economy is not ‘out of the woods’ yet, in an effort to dissuade voters from supporting Labour.” – Financial Times

  • “Share prices, house prices, luxury cars… The recession is over and the country has started spending again” – Harry Wallop and Theo Merz, Daily Telegraph

> Today on ToryDiary: Osborne answers one of our advance-questions about the Autumn Statement: it won’t be stuffed with tax sweeteners

From Thucydides to genetics, Gove’s outgoing adviser pens a 250-page paper on the education system

“Education in England is no better than mediocre, and billions of pounds have been wasted on pointless university courses and Sure Start schemes for young children, Michael Gove’s special adviser has said in an outspoken private thesis written a few weeks before he is due to step down from his post…. In one of the most controversial passages of the thesis, [Dominic] Cummings maintains that individual child performance is mainly based on genetics and a child’s IQ rather than the quality of teaching.” – The Guardian

Read Some Thoughts on Education and Political Priorities, by Dominic Cummings, in full

  • “…there is little doubt that the document by an already controversial figure will cause anger among many in the educational establishment.” – Patrick Wintour, The Guardian
  • “The Tories should apply the lessons learnt in Michael Gove’s successful schools to NHS hospitals – it would be good politics” – Charles Moore, Daily Telegraph

> Yesterday on LeftWatch: Snappiest Guardian reader exchange in response to Cummings revelations

The Armed Forces are going without because of the MoD’s spending failures, claim commanders

DEFENCE cuts“An ‘overzealous’ austerity drive meant the Forces were missing out on vital equipment, senior military sources have told The Daily Telegraph. … They have accused ministers and civil servants of failing to manage the defence budget properly after the MoD failed to spend all the money it was allocated for 2012-13.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Staff at the MoD have spent £271,000 ringing Directory Enquiries since the last election – The Sun (£)

Government sources tell the Telegraph: our welfare policies are pushing cheats back into work

“Robust employment levels throughout the recession were partly caused by people with undeclared jobs coming clean due to the Coalition’s sanctions-based welfare schemes, Cabinet sources have suggested. … Official figures next month are expected to show that more than 100,000 people who were told to carry out ‘mandatory work activity’ or lose their benefits chose to stop claiming welfare.” – Daily Telegraph

Simon Heffer welcomes May’s immigration curbs, but calls for more

“Theresa May is reckoned to be a strong contender as a future Tory leader — and no wonder. The Immigration Bill, which the Home Secretary announced on Thursday, promises the sort of crackdown on illegal immigrants that traditional Tories love. … Yet despite her tough talk, there are two glaring holes in her immigration crackdown.  … It does nothing to address Britain’s shamefully lax border controls, and it ignores the fact that the vast majority of immigrants are legally entitled to use state services.” – Simon Heffer, Daily Mail

  • “Remember people like your barber when the Left tell us that this Immigration Bill is racist” – Graeme Archer, Daily Telegraph
  • If you believe what Norman Baker believes, then you can’t just move on – Daniel Finkelstein, The Times (£)

Mitchell gains a new job in the private sector – but is ready for a call from Cameron

MITCHELL Andrew “Andrew Mitchell, who stood aside as Conservative chief whip after being accused of calling a policeman a ‘pleb’ outside Downing Street, has found a new job as a consultant to Investec, an asset management company. … But in a sign that his political ambitions have not waned, he has inserted a 24-hour release clause into his contract, in case he is asked to return to a high-profile political role.” – Financial Times

Apprenticeships and marriage – Chloe Smith talks about life after Government

“She says that the choice to leave the role this week was her own. With her new-found time she plans to expand an apprenticeship scheme she set up in Norwich and to work on getting young people involved in politics. … There is also her wedding. She proposed to Sandy McFadzean, 34, after a four-month romance and the pair will be married next month.” – The Times (£)

Anger with the Guardian 1) The headline that linked Gove’s reforms and babys’ deaths

“Polly Toynbee suggested that the Education Secretary’s decision to dismantle Labour’s ContactPoint child protection database had made it easier for vulnerable youngsters to slip through the cracks. … The online version of the veteran Left-wing columnist’s account was headlined: ‘It is the Baby Ps and Hamzah Khans who pay for this Tory vandalism: Michael Gove’s dismantling of successful schemes like ContactPoint has left abuse victims even more vulnerable.’” – Daily Mail

> Yesterday, by John Bald on Local Government: Social Workers slam The Guardian for blaming Gove for the deaths of Baby P and Hamzah Khan

Anger with the Guardian 2) Jack Straw joins those condemning the newspaper for leaking intelligence files

Jack Straw“Condemnation of the Guardian for publishing top-secret files intensified yesterday as Jack Straw accused the paper of ‘indulgent irresponsibility’. … In a devastating indictment, the Labour former home and foreign secretary said it had developed a ‘sense of power and almost adolescent excitement’ from holding thousands of classified intelligence documents.” – The Guardian

  • “A review of the oversight of secret services was ruled out by David Cameron yesterday, as security experts raised further concerns about the danger from the leak of top secret files by a former CIA employee.” – The Times (£)
  • “In a boost to British deputy prime minister Nick Clegg, the deputy prime minister, who is planning to start conversations within government about the oversight of Britain’s intelligence agencies, [Hillary Clinton] said it would be wrong to shut down a debate.” – The Guardian
  • “The CIA could have halted the biggest-ever leak of UK secrets by stopping Ed Snowden in 2009, it has emerged.” – The Sun (£)
  • “The BBC was accused last night of siding with the Guardian in its coverage of criticism of the newspaper’s release of top-secret documents.” – Daily Mail

And comment:

  • “All journalists want to be heard, of course. But the best journalists must know when to shut up, too.” – Independent editorial
  • “Edward Snowden has failed to show that mass surveillance threatens individual freedoms.” – Times editorial (£)

The Mail comes out fighting 1) Dacre writes to justify that article about Ralph Miliband

Daily Mail masthead

“Let it be said loud and clear that the Mail, unlike News International, did NOT hack people’s phones or pay the police for stories. I have sworn that on oath. … No, our crime is more heinous than that. … It is that the Mail constantly dares to stand up to the liberal-Left consensus that dominates so many areas of British life, and instead represents the views of the ordinary people who are our readers and who don’t have a voice in today’s political landscape — and are too often ignored by today’s ruling elite.” – Paul Dacre, Daily Mail

The Mail comes out fighting 2) Burnham did know about NHS deaths, says the paper

“Andy Burnham said he did not recall being told about the problems at Furness General Hospital in Cumbria. … But documents seen by the Mail show Mr Burnham was briefed about the problems in January 2010, three months before his regulator gave the hospital a clean bill of health.” – Daily Mail

McCluskey hails Miliband as the best Labour leader since Michael Foot

Michael Foot“The Unite boss used a speech to hail [Miliband] as the most radical leader since 1983, the year of Labour’s ‘longest suicide note in history’ manifesto and worst election result since the War. … And he gloated over the fact that under Mr Miliband, New Labour and the centre-left policies pioneered by triple election-winning Tony Blair had been abandoned.” – Daily Mail

Tommy Robinson claims that UKIP has “ridden on the back of the success of the English Defence League”

“UKIP has ‘ridden on the back of the success of the English Defence League’, Tommy Robinson, the founder of the nationalist street protest movement, claims today. … Mr Robinson, who announced this week that he was quitting the EDL because it had become infiltrated with racist extremists, does not renounce its original aims, which include a five-year moratorium on immigration.” – The Times (£)

Read the Times’s interview with Tommy Robinson and Maajid Nawaz in full (£)

News in brief

  • Almost a third of Scots have yet to decide how they will vote in next year’s independence referendum, according to a new poll – The Times (£)
  • Motorists are paying more than £1,000 a year in taxes to the Treasury, according to the Local Government Association – Daily Telegraph
  • HMRC is failing to collect £35 billion each year in unpaid revenues – The Sun (£)
  • Treasury signs tax information sharing agreement with Isle of Man – The Guardian
  • Oil workers in Scotland set to strike – The Guardian
  • The NHS must not be “micromanaged” from Westminster, says top official – The Independent
  • Badgers cause 52 per cent of TB infections in cattle, study finds – The Independent

And finally 1)… Esther McVey, circa 1999

“As the newly appointed employment minister, she has succeeded in rising swiftly through the political ranks. … But not so long ago, it seems Esther McVey had little more than bare ambition. … These exclusive photographs, which have never been published before, show the former GMTV presenter in a series of racy poses as she launched her television career.” – Daily Mail

And finally 2)… Cameron, moustachioed

Freddy Mercury“David Cameron gets a ’tache of glamour — as we imagine what he’d look like as pop’s Freddie Mercury for the Movember charity campaign. … Next month’s drive urges fellas to grow whiskers to raise cancer awareness. And we reckon the PM could use some tec’s appeal — as TV sleuth Hair-cule Poirot. Or he might pull off a spectacular shave as ex-goalie David Seaman.” – The Sun (£)

  • “Deputy PM Nick Clegg is a dead ringer for Bob the Builder as he dons a yellow hard hat and high-vis jacket on a factory tour.” – The Sun (£)

And finally 3)… “His hand was on my bum”

“Another photograph in a selection posted online by [Fiona] Syms [, wife of the Tory MP Robert Syms], 44, shows the mother-of-two and an informally-dressed Mr Cameron standing shoulder to shoulder – with no daylight between them. … She wrote next to the photograph: ‘His hand was on my bum and I don’t know the etiquette where PMs are concerned. Usually I get a firm handshake or a peck on the cheek…’” – Daily Mail

18 comments for: Newslinks for Saturday 12th October 2013

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