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Cameron joins tributes to Nelson Mandela

telegraphmandela“UK Prime Minister David Cameron has paid tribute to former South African President Nelson Mandela, who has died aged 95. He said: “A great light has gone out in the world. Nelson Mandela was a hero of our time.” The flag above Downing Street is flying at half-mast as a mark of respect.” – BBC

  • “A statement from Buckingham Palace said: “Her Majesty remembers with great warmth her meetings with Mr Mandela”. “He worked tirelessly for the good of his country, and his legacy is the peaceful South Africa we see today”. – BBC
  • “The White House said tonight that the president is expected to travel to South Africa for Mandela’s state funeral along with other world
    leaders. ‘He achieved more than could be expected for any man and today he’s gone home,’ Obama said at a news conference. ‘Madiba transformed South Africa and moved all of us- his journey from a prisoner to a president embodied the promise that humans can transform for the better.’ Mr Obama visited South Africa in June and met with the former president’s family but did not personally meet with the ailing leader because his health was so poor at the time.” – Daily Mail
  • “FW de Klerk, the South African president under whom Nelson Mandela was released from prison, has said his country and the world have lost “a great unifier”. De Klerk shared the Nobel peace prize with Mandela in 1993 for brokering the end of apartheid and, when the ANC leader was elected president in the first multiracial election, entered into a government of national unity as his deputy.” – The Guardian
  • Mailmandela“Despite the decades of abuse by the apartheid government, which murdered, tortured, and defended its right to segregate people on the
    basis of their race, Mr Mandela emerged from prison in 1990 with a message of reconciliation. He led the African National Congress to power in 1994 and served one five-year term as president.” – The Times(£)
  • “If ever the teaching that “Suffering breeds character. Character breeds faith. In the end faith will not disappoint” rang true, it did in the life of Mandela.” – Jesse Jackson The Guardian
  • “A well-thumbed copy of the complete works of Shakespeare was smuggled onto Robben Island in 1977 and signed by many of its political prisoners next to their favourite passages. Mandela chose Julius Caesar, Act II, Scene II: “Cowards die many times before their deaths / The valiant never taste of death but once.” – Leader The Times(£)
  • Former prime minister Tony Blair said the political leader was a “great man” who had made racism “not just immoral but stupid”. “He was a unique political figure at a unique moment in history,” he said. “He was a great man, a great leader and the world’s most powerful symbol of reconciliation, hope and progress.” – Daily Telegraph
  • BBC newsreader Huw Edwards holds back tears as he breaks the news – Daily Express

Today:

Osborne wins praise for Autumn Statement…

Osborne delivers Autumn Statement copy“Britain’s burgeoning economic recovery will see house prices roar back to life, adding more than a quarter to the value of the average home in the next five years, according to official forecasts yesterday. A confident Chancellor George Osborne declared Britain back on track thanks to the Government’s economic plan, with growth set to more than double this year in the biggest upgrade for 14 years.” – Daily Mail

  • “The recovery risks fizzling out because of an over-reliance on debt-fuelled spending, the official Budget watchdog warned yesterday. Fears about spiralling property prices and household debt tarnished George Osborne’s claim that a doubling of economic growth this year
    vindicated the coalition’s policies.” – The Times(£)
  • “A hugely impressive George Osborne was soberly honest about the challenges Britain still faces in fixing the debacle created by Mr Balls and his tax-and-spend party.” – Leader Daily Mail
  • “Britain is still running a £111bn deficit, so the chancellor’s new measures on fiscal responsibility are highly encouraging. The proposed
    cap on welfare spending will help ensure that Britain never again runs a deficit while the economy is booming. It should be remembered that we ran significant deficits even when the economy was growing in the 2000s.” – Kwasi Kwarteng The Guardian
  • “Thanks to better tax takings from the powerful new recovery, the nation’s coffers will be back in the black and even running a small
    surplus by 2018, the Chancellor told MPs. Wage rises will also finally start outstripping inflation next year, the Treasury’s independent forecasters said.” – The Sun(£)
  • “Jobless 18- to 21-year-olds without a basic standard of English or mathematics will be denied benefits unless they return to classes to improve their skills.” – The Independent
  • “The Home Office, the Ministry of Defence and the Department for Business will be hardest hit from the fresh austerity measures, losing
    between them around £500m a year. But there will be no further cuts to local council budgets.” – The Independent
  • “Spending cuts have actually been remarkably limited so far. The cumulative real cuts between 2010-11 and 2018-19 are now due to reach
    just 3.4 per cent. The OBR believes that total spending is due to fall on average by 0.49 per cent a year between 2010-11 and 2015-16; it will then fall by 0.2 per cent in 2016-17 and 0.5 per cent in 2017-18.” – Allister Heath City AM
  • “Where the Chancellor has been bold in applying conservative principles, he has been amply rewarded. Take his phased cut of corporation tax, from 28 per cent to 20 per cent. The Treasury released a study yesterday showing it expects to claw back two-thirds of the cost of this tax cut, because it has unleashed so much extra entrepreneurship.” Fraser Nelson Daily Telegraph
  • “There was an important but long-term commitment to increase the pensionable age, designed to remind voters of the importance of
    deficit cutting. ” – Leader Financial Times
  • George Osborne has given the Tories a working plan for victory – Peter Oborne Daily Telegraph
  • Who will offer hope? – Polly Toynbee The Guardian
  • Full text of Autumn Statement – HM Treasury

> Yesterday: David Galke on Comment: On the deficit and productivity Labour have nothing to say

…but Balls under attack

independentosborne“The knives were out for Ed Balls last night as Labour MPs denounced his performance as one of the worst they have seen in the Commons. Red-faced and shouting, the Shadow Chancellor faced mockery as he refused to acknowledge rising growth and continued to insist that he was right to oppose austerity all along.” – Daily Mail

  • “If Mr Osborne – owner of a gorgeous new bichon frise dog called Lola – had a tail it would have been wagging away. At long last he was on the front foot – economically and politically – and he was determined to enjoy himself. Most of all he was going to remind Mr Balls of every statement of doom’n’gloom that he had uttered. Mr Balls certainly looked uncomfortable.” – Tim Montgomerie The Times(£)
  • “In a day without any big winners, the shadow chancellor was the clearest loser. Standing up straight after the chancellor had just delivered his first upgrades to growth since moving into Number 11, Balls delivered the same attack lines he has been using since 2010.” – The Guardian
  • “Amid turbulent scenes in the chamber, the shadow Chancellor – whose flushed appearance saw him dubbed “Red Ed” on social media – struggled to make himself heard in the face of sustained heckling from Conservative MPs.” – The Independent
  • “Gloomy Labour MPs were noticeably quiet as red-faced Mr Balls struggled to make himself heard. He blamed his below-par showing on a “very, very soar throat”. But a Labour MP told The Sun: “He f***** it up. I was watching it thinking ‘we are f*****’.” – The Sun(£)
  • The Tories could fight an election tomorrow, not so Labour – Steve Richards The Independent
  • The day Ed Balls’ career imploded – Simon Heffer Daily Mail

IDS delays Universal Credit

“The work and pensions secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, has used the cover of the autumn statement to announce that he is to miss his deadline of getting all existing and new benefit claimants on to universal credit (UC) by 2017. He has also confirmed he is having to entirely rework the IT system at substantial cost because the original IT failed to meet the needs of claimants.” – The Guardian

Worst floods for 60 years

“Environment Secretary Owen Paterson chaired a meeting of the Government’s emergency Cobra committee to discuss the response to the storm. ‘The purpose of the meeting was to make sure that all of the preparations – which we have well in advance – will work together to benefit the public,’ he told BBC News. ‘In some areas of Norfolk, where evacuations have commenced, I would urge everybody to work closely and to cooperate with the local authorities.’ ” – Daily Mail

  • “Two die in high winds and tens of thousands told to evacuate their homes as worst tidal surges in 60 years expected to cause widespread flooding.” – Daily Telegraph

Peter Hoskin says there should be more rage at Welsh failure

“Politicians might simply spend as much time discussing Wales as they do Scotland and the North of England. Dylan Thomas advised us to rage against the dying of the light. Not even a new reactor will save Welsh lights from dying — there ought to be more rage about that.” Peter Hoskin The Times(£)

News in brief

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