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10pm WATCH: David Cameron speaks at a White House press conference after his talks with President Obama

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5.15pm ToryDiary: AV might not hurt Tories if LibDem meltdown continues

5.15pm Lord Ashcroft on Platform: Could the Liberal Democrat meltdown in marginal seats mean the Tories could gain from AV?

5.00pm ToryDiary: It’s easy to call for the burqa to be banned.  It’s harder to track what extremists are up to.

3.30pm Parliament: Conservative Education Select Committee
chairman expresses concern at the Academies Bill’s hasty passage
through the Commons as Michael Gove declares himself a “born-again
Blairite”

2.45pm Tim Roll-Pickering on CentreRight analyses the effects of the AV system in action in Australia

2pm Matthew Sinclair on CentreRight: The 10 worst examples of dodgy reasoning in Tim Yeo’s new book

1.30pm ToryDiary: Liam Fox paves the way for major changes to defence spending as he states that current programmes are “entirely unaffordable”

Picture 51pm WATCH: William Hague tells the international conference in Kabul that he welcomes the goal of Afghan-led security operations within five years

12.30pm Daniel Hamilton on CentreRight writes in praise of Colombia

11.45am Steve Baker MP on CentreRight: Monetary bingeing and the spirit of the British people

11.30am WATCH: Newsnight takes Tory MP Philip Hollobone to meet some burqa-clad women in east London

10.45am ToryDiary: Office for Tax Simplification launched with two initial reviews

Cameron and ObamaToryDiary: As he prepares to meet Obama, Cameron defends the special relationship. Good for him.

Raheem Kassam on Platform: David Cameron should not seek to copy Obama’s “omnipresidency”

General Election Review: We should have won – but the last election wasn’t fought in perfect electoral conditions

Local Government:

Benedict Rogers on CentreRight: In the battle of the burka, choose freedom

WATCH:

George Osborne launches bonfire of the taxes

George Osborne Brussels “George Osborne will signal his intention today to take the axe to Britain’s labyrinthine tax system when he announces the creation of a new panel of experts charged with making the regime less complex. The new Office for Tax Simplification (OTS) will write two reports for the chancellor within the next 12 months – one on tax reliefs in the autumn and one on business taxes before next spring’s budget. A Treasury spokesman said John Whiting, a former tax partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers, and Michael Jack, financial secretary to the Treasury in John Major’s government, will form an unpaid two-person board with a remit to make the tax system simpler for individuals and firms.” – The Guardian

“The OTS will not set tax policy but will focus on creating internal institutional pressure to simplify the tax system, Treasury officials said of the latest move by the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition government, which came to power in May. “We need to reduce the complexities in our tax system and the coalition is committed to delivering that goal. The OTS will provide important advice that will help inform us,” Treasury minister David Gauke will say at the launch, according to extracts of his remarks.” – Reuters

Whitehall ‘unlikely to meet’ £35bn cuts target, says NAOBBC

Business quangos scrapped in coalition cutsThe Guardian

Cameron saves £200,000 by taking regular flight to Washington

Picture 15 “Cash-conscious David Cameron flew out to meet President Barack Obama last night on a regular BA flight – astonishing other passengers. For the first time on a major official visit, the Premier turned down chartering his own plane to make the two-day trip to Washington DC. And he even spurned First Class tickets to travel in the far cheaper Business Class. The move saved £200,000 in costs, Downing Street officials said.” – The Sun

Jeremy Warner: What Cameron has to teach Obama about economics

“The new British prime minister has plenty to teach his older American counterpart. The Coalition has ignored siren calls for more stimulus and is rightly embarking on a radical programme of fiscal retrenchment. If the recovery stalls, there will have to be a rethink, but for the moment the Coalition’s approach looks correct. But like Britain’s Labour opposition, the White House warns that too much fiscal austerity too soon risks killing the recovery.” – Jeremy Warner in the Daily Telegraph

David Cameron: Big Society is not a ‘cover for cuts’

“David Cameron has denied that his vision of a “Big Society” in which volunteers and communities take over the role of the state is a “cover for cuts”… In a speech in Liverpool, Mr Cameron put the Big Society initiative at the centre of his premiership, saying that he wanted his Government to be recognised for promoting a new spirit of community activism as much for tackling the deficit. Challenged to say whether getting volunteers to do the work of state employees was a “cover for cuts” in the public sector, he told the BBC: “It is not a cover for anything.” – Daily Telegraph

“In his most important speech since the election on devolving power, the prime minister said he wanted to end the days in which capable people become passive recipients of state help and communities were “soulless clones of one another”. – The Guardian

Steve Richards “As Margaret Thatcher discovered, voters respond to
messages about the state getting off their back and leading their own lives.
Cameron projects the argument more subtly, by speaking the language of
community as well as the smaller state. The combination of the two makes the
Big Society emblematic of his leadership, Thatcherite outlook revised as a
progressive creed. One of his close allies once put it to me more bluntly
and with great enthusiasm as “re-heated Thatcherism”. – Steve Richards in The Independent

“The transfer of power to the lowest possible level, an idea with the unlovely name of subsidiarity, is the idea that gives the Big Society real weight. Without this glue, there is a risk that the Big Society dissolves into the four fragments of which it is currently comprised.” – Times (£) editorial

Big Society? It’s all about liberating the locals – Rory Stewart MP in The Times (£)

> Yesterday’s ToryDiary: Cameron defines his Big Society “passion”

> Charlie Elphicke on CentreRight: Big Society could be really… Big

William Hague: Britain remains “steady friend” of Afghanistan

William Hague square serious “Afghan president Hamid Karzai has paid tribute to the efforts and sacrifice of British troops in his country, as he met Foreign Secretary William Hague ahead of a major conference in Kabul on Tuesday. Mr Hague, who will represent the UK at the international gathering in the Afghan capital, assured the president that Britain remains “a steady friend” of Afghanistan.” – Press Association

Iain Duncan Smith to accelerate change in state pension age to 68

“Iain Duncan Smith has confirmed he is considering speeding up the raising of the state pension age. Labour proposed before the election that the age at which people can claim should rise to 66 by 2024 and 68 from 2044. But the Lib-Con coalition is examining how to accelerate the previous government’s timetable to save billions of pounds to help tackle Britain’s financial crisis.” – Yesterday’s Evening Standard

Michael Gove: academies bill needs to be rushed through to improve schools

Michael Gove contrite Commons “The education secretary, Michael Gove, said yesterday that his plan to transform England’s schools was urgently needed to improve the chances of the poorest children, and claimed the country was falling behind the rest of the world in science, literacy and maths. He defended himself from criticism that a bill to enable all the country’s schools to convert to academies was being rushed through parliament by telling MPs that the legislation would bring “new dynamism” to a programme that had lifted standards for all children and helped the disadvantaged most of all.” – The Guardian

“Education secretary Michael Gove faced heavy criticism yesterday by both Labour and a senior Tory MP for using Parliamentary procedures normally reserved for emergency counter-terror laws to rush through legislation to create more academy schools.” – The Independent

Labour suppressed report showing alarming prediction of repossessions

“Repossession rates could hit 175,000 a year, according to a report commissioned under the Labour government but never published. The study, set to be released officially on Tuesday, paints a bleak picture but ministers insisted the Government’s efforts to tackle the deficit will keep interest rates low and help homeowners meet mortgage payments. In a Commons written answer, Housing Minister Grant Shapps said the report would be published “in the interests of transparency”. – Press Association

Stamp duty threat for buyers of homes that waste too much energyThe Times (£)

Baroness Warsi continues her visit to Pakistan

WARSI-BARONESS “Sayeeda Warsi called on President Asif Ali Zardari at Aiwan-e-Sadr here on Monday and matters relating to Pak-UK bilateral relations, strengthening of mutual cooperation, regional situation and the role of Pak-origin citizens abroad were discussed along with war against terror.The President during the meeting appreciated the achievements of Pak-origin Ms. Warsi and said it was a matter of great pride for the Pakistani people that she was playing such a leading role in a country that is regarded as the mother of democracy.” – Associated Press of Pakistan

“Sayeeda Warsi on Monday called for collective efforts in the United Kingdom and Pakistan to create more opportunities for the education and economic empowerment of women. Speaking at a panel discussion on women leadership at the Fatima Jinnah Women’s University in Rawalpindi, she said economic development could not be ensured until men and women were given equal opportunities.” – Pakistan Daily Times

Burka and niqab banned at Syrian universities

“Syria has banned face-covering Islamic veils from the country’s universities. The surprise move comes as similar moves in Europe – including controversial calls in Britain for a ban on burkas – have sparked cries of discrimination against Muslims. The crackdown was ordered by the secular government in Damascus amid fears of increasing Islamic extremism among young Muslim students.” – Daily Mail

> The debate continued to rage yesterday on CentreRight:

Delay puts spoke in Boris Johnson’s London bike hire scheme

“Boris Johnson’s flagship £140 million bicycle hire scheme will not be ready in time. Transport for London announced that most cyclists and tourists will have to wait until the end of next month before they can use it.” – Yesterday’s Evening Standard

Parliament Square protesters evictedBBC

Sacked NHS managers could simply move to work for GPs

“NHS managers made redundant by the Government could end up working for GPs under a huge ‘revolving door’ scandal, it emerged last night. Health Secretary Andrew Lansley last week unveiled plans to axe a range of NHS organisations, potentially costing 20,000 managers their jobs.” – Daily Mail

Review into NHS targets begins BBC

We will allow gay couples to get married, says Simon Hughes

HUGHES SIMON 2 “Gay couples will be granted the right to marry, Lib Dem deputy leader Simon Hughes has suggested. Mr Hughes predicted the change would be in place in time for the next General Election. He said that a consultation will take place on taking civil partnerships to the ‘next level’.” – Daily Mail

Menzies Campbell says keeping out Trident ‘skews’ strategic defence review The Guardian

David Miliband should have stood against Brown, says MandelsonThe Times (£)

And finally… Brown’s “Bigotgate” aide prepares to take her seat in the Lords

“The woman Gordon Brown sought to blame for the “Bigotgate” disaster during the election is to take a seat in the House of Lords. Sue Nye, the former prime minister’s director of government relations, was thrust into spotlight after being blamed for making Mr Brown meet Gillian Duffy.” – Sky News

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38 comments for: Weblinks for Tuesday 20th July 2010

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