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Cameron receives support from France and Germany… but not everyone backs his stance on EU migration

cameron-speech“Hours after David Cameron outlined a crackdown on benefit tourism, France and Germany sensationally followed suit with similar plans. … The triple assault pushed Brussels on to the back foot and one of its commissioners was told to quit for claiming Britain risked becoming the ‘nasty country’ of Europe. … In Westminster, 46 Tory MPs kept up the pressure by signing a Commons motion calling for restrictions on Romanian and Bulgarian workers to stay in place after January 1 because Britain was ‘full up’.” – Daily Mail

“[EU commissioner] Laszlo Andor claimed David Cameron’s plans to curb benefits for migrants fuelled hysteria and might scupper the single market. … But Home Secretary Theresa May hit back immediately, saying the Hungarian’s comments showed Brussels was increasingly ‘on the wrong side of the argument’.” – Daily Mail

  • “The number of international students coming to the UK has fallen by nearly a third since the coalition came to power, putting Britain at risk of permanently losing its status as a leading study destination, research has warned.” – Financial Times

And lots of comment:

  • FT“Politicians are right to rethink the way national welfare systems work in an era of mass migrations. But the principle that labour should stay free within the EU is right and should be upheld.” – Financial Times editorial
  • “Mr Cameron says his aim is to issue ‘a very clear signal’ that the UK is not a soft touch. It is one that should have been sent out a long time ago.” – Daily Telegraph editorial
  • “Cameron has woken up to concerns about EU immigration, and his tightening of access to benefits will have some effect” – Times editorial (£)
  • “…when the accuser who brands us a ‘nasty country’ comes from Hungary, notoriously Europe’s most bigoted nation, the hypocrisy gauge shoots off the scale.” – Daily Mail editorial
  • “It seems likely that migration has become the proxy for a deeper anxiety about living standards, jobs and public services.” – Guardian editorial
  • “With immigration replacing the NHS as Britain’s central neurosis, and with the UK Independence Party increasingly rampant on the political right, Mr Cameron hopes for a quick win with the public. But his job is to lead, not merely to follow.” – Independent editorial
  • “We’ve a one word reply to the EU Commissioner who says curbs on benefits for migrants make Britain look ‘nasty.’ … Good. Anything that dispels the vision of the UK as a welfare paradise is welcome.” – Sun editorial (£)
  • “Plans to limit benefits for Romanians and Bulgarians go some way to discourage new migrants, but Britain has a strong case to push for wider controls” – Paul Collier, Daily Telegraph
  • Will Cameron’s crackdown stop anyone coming here? – James Slack, Daily Mail
  • “PM’s shape shifting is all down to UKIP” – Rod Liddle, The Sun (£)
  • “Nick Clegg’s scapegoating of immigrants is his most unforgiveable Tory collaboration yet” – Owen Jones, Independent
  • “Don’t summon up the immigration monster” – David Aaronovitch, The Times (£)

> Yesterday on ToryDiary: Romania and Bulgaria: Cam to do what he can

The Prime Minister rethinks plain packaging for cigarettes (again)

Smoke“Cigarettes will be sold in plain packaging by May 2015 following an astonishing double U-turn by David Cameron. … Ministers will today announce a review of the evidence from Australia, the first country to ban branded cigarettes. … They will also bring forward legislation so that a ban can be introduced before the next general election.” – Daily Mail

  • “Slowly making smoking less desirable is a good way to improve public health” – Times editorial (£)

Rafael Behr: Is Cameron becoming an impediment to the Tories?

“The Conservatives need millions of new votes to win a majority and it still isn’t clear where they will come from. Cameron once had the potential to deliver that bounty but he squandered it. He may even become an active impediment. His patrician gentility passed for charisma when it was allied to a moderate, optimistic prospectus. Without that, it congeals into arrogance.” – Rafael Behr, New Statesman

Everything from grammar schools to IQ: Boris’s wide-ranging Thatcher lecture

BORIS open mouth“The London Mayor called for the  creation of a new generation of  grammar schools to help the brightest children from poor homes. … Arguing that some people were simply not bright enough to succeed in the modern world, Mr Johnson hailed what he called the ‘spirit of envy’, and said inequality was ‘essential’ for economic growth. … But he insisted he did not want the economic recovery to breed a new generation of ‘heartless’ bankers.” – Daily Mail

CCHQ highlights Unite’s continuing closeness to the Labour Party

“…figures reveal that over a third of Labour candidates selected for the next election now have direct links to Unite, which is also the party’s biggest donor. … Conservative Party chairman Grant Shapps said the figures suggested Mr Miliband’s promised crackdown had had no effect. … He said: ‘After the Falkirk scandal we are once again seeing the stranglehold that Unite and the unions have over Ed Miliband.'” – Daily Mail

Parliament’s irrelevance contributed to fiddled expenses, suggests Bercow…

“Politicians abused the expenses system as a ‘displacement activity’ because they were bored by an increasingly irrelevant Parliament, John Bercow has claimed.
The Commons Speaker prompted criticism when he blamed the expenses scandal on Westminster becoming less ‘meaningful’ rather than on collective ‘malice or corruption’.” – Daily Mail

…as he pushes proposals for online voting

“British voters could soon be allowed to cast their general election ballot online under plans being pushed by John Bercow, speaker of the House of Commons. … Revealing plans to update democracy in Britain to allow greater participation, Mr Bercow suggested the UK should follow the example set in Estonia, where a quarter of people voted online at the last election. … The speaker has established a commission to look into his proposals, which is due to report in 2015.” – Financial Times

Tim Montgomerie: We need an English Parliament

MONTGOMERIE purple background“The Tories need to become England’s champions but to succeed they must avoid a narrow and unattractive English nationalism. They should present a “big bang” set of reforms that will simultaneously address the West Lothian Question but also advance social justice and decentralise power. … At the heart of such a reform agenda would be some form of English parliament.” – Tim Montgomerie, The Times (£)

Carney insists that the Bank doesn’t have a veto over Help to Buy

“The chancellor announced in October that the Bank would be asked to review the taxpayer-backed mortgage support scheme yearly, amid growing fears it could inflate an unsustainable housing bubble. … But in a letter to Treasury select committee chairman Andrew Tyrie, published on Thursday, Carney makes clear that while the Bank’s financial policy committee could advise the government at any time if Help to Buy is putting financial stability at risk, the final decision about if it should continue will lie with the Treasury.” – The Guardian

Poor care is too common in NHS, says the chairman of the Mid-Staffs inquiry

“Reports of ‘disturbing, poor and unsafe care’ in the NHS have become too common, the chairman of the inquiry into Mid-Staffs has said, as he called on hospitals to learn from the mistakes of previous scandals. … Robert Francis QC, newly appointed as president of the Patients Association, spoke as the charity exposed a catalogue of hospital and care home failings.” – Daily Telegraph

  • GP league table shows far more complaints down south – Daily Telegraph
  • “Charity chiefs last night dismissed as ‘ludicrous’ the Government’s proposal to set up an ‘army of good Samaritans’ to visit the elderly this winter.” – The Times (£)

Any higher and investors might have walked away, says Cable of the Royal Mail sale price

Royal Mail“In a grilling by the Business Select Committee, Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, said he had effectively given the government an ultimatum over increasing the initial share price above £3.30. … He told MPs: ‘The very clear and unambiguous advice that we got was that this would be a very unwise thing to do.’ … Michael Fallon, the Business Minister, added: ‘It became very clear to us that there was a point at which institutional investors would not invest.’” – Daily Mail

  • “In the Royal Mail sell-off scandal, taxpayers have been robbed by the very piranhas who caused the crash – on the sanctimonious Dr Cable’s watch” – Alex Brummer, Daily Mail

RBS may face a criminal probe after financial bullying allegations

“Top bosses at the Royal Bank of Scotland may face a criminal investigation into allegations the bank sent small firms to the wall on purpose. … The Serious Fraud Office announced yesterday it is looking into claims that RBS forced clients into bankruptcy in order to seize assets and boost their own profits. … But The Sun can reveal that not just small firms but also ordinary banking customers are alleging apparently shady behaviour.” – The Sun (£)

Alexander takes on the “rip-off” employment agencies

“Hundreds of thousands of poorer workers will be up to £1,300 a year better off in a new Treasury clampdown on rip-off employment agencies, The Sun can reveal. … The move will be announced by George Osborne in his mini-Budget on December 5. … But it has been pushed through by Treasury Chief Secretary Danny Alexander as part of the Lib Dem minister’s war on tax avoiders.” – The Sun (£)

  • “In next week’s Autumn statement we need to see the scrapping of Green taxes — and tax breaks to help those on low incomes.” – Sun editorial (£)
  • “Filming Bono, fighting Balls – how George Osborne’s preparing for his autumn statement” – James Forsyth, The Spectator

> Yesterday on ToryDiary: Tell us what you would like to see in George Osborne’s Autumn Statement

A Lib-Lab coalition is possible after 2015, reckons Huhne

Chris Huhne“A historic radical coalition of Labour and Liberal Democrats is possible after the 2015 election if the two parties can forgo their tribalism and look for common ground, Chris Huhne, the former Liberal Democrat cabinet minister suggests. .. He says: ‘The assumption that the Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg having consolidated a centre right hold on the party is preparing to do a deal with the Tories is wrong.'” – The Guardian

Falkirk whistleblower ruled out of race to be Labour’s candidate

“The Labour councillor who exposed claims of vote-rigging in Falkirk has been eliminated from the race to become the town’s next MP. … Linda Gow was told by party officials and members of the national executive that she had been knocked out of the race after an interview on Tuesday. … Friends said that she had been barred from running purely because of her involvement in unearthing the scandal in Falkirk.” – The Times (£)

Spain rebuffs Salmond’s overtures

“”Alex Salmond’s plans for an independent Scotland to smoothly join the European Union have been dealt a painful blow after the Scottish first minister’s proposals were dismissed by Spain’s prime minister. … Mariano Rajoy said his government believed an independent Scotland could only apply to join the EU from outside the organisation as a new state, as he warned against regions of Europe embarking on ‘solo adventures in an uncertain future’.” – The Guardian

  • “[Salmond’s white paper] increases the pressure on Ed Miliband, not just Darling, to make One Nation mean something more than a slogan. It challenges Labour to define the British common weal and the place, if any, of Trident in the Britain he wants Scots to stay in. At the moment that’s not happening.” – Martin Kettle, The Guardian
  • “If the Scots opt for independence, the negotiations will be endlessly complex” – Sue Cameron, Daily Telegraph

Exam chief criticises schools which place quantity ahead of quality

“Teenagers pressured into taking up to 15 GSCE’s are being given an education of quantity rather than quality, according to the head of the country’s biggest exam board. … Instead of having more subjects on offer for testing, schools should provide more time for extra-curricular activities, community volunteering and work experience, said Mr Hall.” – Daily Mail

The Beeb’s director general wants the Beeb to aggressively defend its licence fee

BBC“The BBC plans to bombard viewers with ‘aggressive’ TV adverts that will try to justify the licence fee, the director general revealed yesterday. … Insisting the £145.50 annual levy was ‘great value for money’, Lord Hall said from now on he would be ‘less British’ about using the airwaves to defend it.” – Daily Mail

Spending cuts have hit the poorest parts of England and Scotland harder, suggests report

“Spending cuts have hit the poorest parts of England and Scotland much harder than more affluent areas, according to research published on Thursday. … The Joseph Rowntree Foundation, which analysed the 30 per cent real terms cut in local government spending between 2008 and 2015, said the North and Midlands are suffering more than the south, with deprived areas left about £100 per person worse off.” – The Independent

News in brief

  • Over £5 billion is owed in student loans by graduates who can’t be traced – Daily Mail
  • Individual happiness declines when a nation’s GDP hits £22,000 per person, suggest report – Daily Mail
  • Npower to cut almost 2,000 call centre staff, as it outsources work to India – Daily Mail
  • One in four teenagers “send sexual text messages” – Daily Telegraph
  • Cuts may force councils to stop funding arts and leisure services by 2015, claims report – The Guardian
  • 12 per cent of mental health patients are waiting over a year to access certain forms of treatment – The Guardian

And finally… David Cameron’s moustache woes

“David Cameron has admitted he is not able to grow a full moustache, saying he is jealous of Tory MPs now sporting ‘bandito’-style facial hair. … The Prime Minister was speaking in the House of Commons where he was questioned by George Freeman, one of several MPs growing a moustache for the Movember charity campaign.” – Daily Telegraph

> Yesterday’s video to WATCH: Michael Fabricant and the Movember “banditos” make an appearance at PMQs

51 comments for: Newslinks for Thursday 28th November 2013

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