5.15pm Matt Sinclair on CentreRight is disappointed at Grant Shapps' £15,000 green fine for building a normal house
3.15pm SILLY SEASON WATCH: Deputy leader of Australia's Liberal Party wins the stare war on comedy TV
Douglas Carswell MP on ThinkTankCentral: How Direct Democracy has inspired many of the policies of the Coalition Government
ConHome's Twenty Questions for the Class of 2010: Gordon Henderson MP says Nigel Farage MEP is the non-Tory politician he most admires
Downing Street acts quickly to protect free milk for young children
"Cameron the milk kleptomaniac, Dave the dairy cutter? Journalists would have struggled to devise a sobriquet as damaging as Thatcher the milk snatcher for the current Conservative leader, but David Cameron was taking no chances on acquiring a nickname yesterday when he strangled a plan by one of his ministers to abolish free milk for nursery children." – Independent
Daily Mail attacks Cameron to 'humiliating' Anne Milton on free milk cuts: "Mr Cameron has softened us up for cuts and must now ensure they are implemented bravely, rationally and fairly, despite the inevitable complaints from those who stand to lose out. He may not have agreed with Mrs Milton’s plan to end free milk, but it was an honest and reasoned proposal. To publicly humiliate her for even suggesting it smacks of confusion in the ranks and panic at the first whiff of grapeshot."
> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Would you be the 'gotta lotta bottle politician' who stopped free milk for young children?
David Willetts clears way for Vince Cable's graduate tax
"Graduates face paying thousands of pounds more for their degrees after the Government announced that a tax on future earnings was its preferred option for university funding. David Willetts, the Tory minister responsible for higher education, cleared the way for the levy and headed off a coalition split when he confirmed that the independent review into funding was being encouraged to look at ways of raising more from graduates." – Times (£)
From the Telegraph leader today:
- "Mr Cable's graduate tax would kill any prospect of developing a dynamic market ethos in higher education of the type that makes America's best universities the envy of the world. Instead, we would be saddled with an enormously bureaucratic structure with the Treasury collecting the cash and then doling it out to the universities.
- If the Business Secretary thinks his scheme is "fairer" – a word he uses a great deal – he should read the report we carry today of a study by the University and College Union that exposes just how inequitable a graduate tax would be. A nurse, for example, could end up paying three or four times the actual cost of tuition fees; a doctor as much as seven times. Such an onerous, long-term burden would act as a powerful disincentive to entering higher education, particularly for young people from poorer backgrounds.
- It would also act as an open invitation for graduates to go and work abroad once they have qualified because they would not have to pay the graduate tax at all. In other words, they would get their higher education for nothing."
Councils paid bonuses to build more homes
"Grant Shapps, the Housing minister, said he wanted to use the incentives, which can fund either more frontline services, new playground facilities or council tax discounts, to boost housebuilding. Under the plans councils which give the green light to new homes will qualify for a New Homes Bonus for every property that is built." – Telegraph
Clint Eastwood shot down by Tory Jeremy Hunt after criticising decision to axe UK Film Council – Daily Mail
David Cameron's council housing plans opposed by majority of Lib Dem MPs
"More than half of Liberal Democrat MPs, including two cabinet members and eight junior ministers, are on record as opposing plans by David Cameron to water down security of tenure for new social housing tenants. The scale of the opposition suggests Simon Hughes, the Lib Dem deputy leader, is speaking for the bulk of the party in opposing the ideas floated by the prime minister." – Guardian
Tories lose support in Scotland, LibDems stable – Herald Scotland
"The Tories’ proposals on council houses and school milk would not necessarily have ended up applying in Scotland (and yesterday Mr Cameron made it clear school milk was staying), but they create a tone and an impression that is not good for the coalition. Should this continue, the slide in support for the Tories shown by this new poll will only accelerate. And it may be only a question of time before the LibDems pay the price too." – Herald leader
Speed camera cuts will increase road death toll, warns top police officer
"In letters seen by The Times, Chief Constable Mick Giannasi has warned ministers of a rise in fatal road accidents as councils switch off speed cameras because they can no longer afford to operate them." – Times (£)
> Yesterday's Local government: Speed Camera axe spreads
Why GCSEs in parenting could save a generation – Janet Street Porter in the Daily Mail
> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Frank Field wants Cameron to introduce parenting lessons
From The Sun:
"This picture of a scruffy toilet might make PM's wife Samantha Cameron feel a little flushed – she painted it as an art student. The Philosopher's Throne, uncovered last week, was part of her fine art degree graduation show in 1993 before she wed…"
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