Screen shot 2010-08-14 at 17.30.08 5.15pm: ToryDiary: As the Apprentice Boys march in Londonderry, a small bomb explodes in Lurgan

1.00pm: WATCH:

11.30am: J P Floru on CentreRight: Happy Birthday, Arthur Laffer!

Screen shot 2010-08-14 at 08.40.38 ToryDiary: The Spirit Level's authors should stop whinging

Andrew Mitchell MP on Platform: The impact of the work of Project Umubano volunteers on Rwanda and Sierra Leone is a credit to the Conservative Party

Local Government: In a Pickles about lobbying

Screen shot 2010-08-14 at 08.57.33 ConHome's Twenty Questions for the Class of 2010…answered today by Hove and Portslade's new MP, Mike Weatherley

Paul Goodman on CentreRight: Why Kashmir's a British issue

Daily Mail poll finds backing for spending scaleback

The Coalition Government' s honeymoon with the British public is all but over, a poll for the Daily Mail shows today. As Prime Minister David Cameron prepares to mark his first 100
days in office next week, the survey finds that some of the shine has
come off the Coalition, with 57 per cent of people describing its
performance as 'disappointing'. But the Harris Interactive poll also identifies strong support
for Mr Cameron personally, along with backing for the Coalition's
programme of cuts." – Daily Mail

David Willetts suggests that pupils are being badly advised about Universities at school

“There are people who do stay on for A levels but they are
doing PE, religious studies and geography and they say they want to be an
engineer. The schools are thinking about how do we maximise your A-level
grades, but perhaps a quarter of all the A levels that young people do in
maintained schools are not … valued by most universities." – Interview, The Times (£)

WILLETTS DAVID NW A pivotal moment for higher education – Daily Telegraph editorial

Leading Universities snub the A* students – Daily Mail

Pickles scraps the Audit Commission…

Audit Commission to be scrapped in Whitehall cuts – The Times (£)

Audit watchdog axed by Pickles in austerity drive – The Guardian

Audit Commission to be abolished – Financial Times (£)

2000 jobs to go as Audit Commission is scrapped – The Independent

…And considers scrapping himself

"Of all the ministers in the Coalition Government, it is Mr Pickles, one
senses, who is almost enjoying the cutting radical programme of cuts
required as part of the austerity drive to balance the books. So will
the department itself be significantly smaller in future? Could he
even imagine abolishing himself as Secretary of State for Communities?
“Oh yes, absolutely,” he says. “A self-denying ordinance, that would be a
really good idea." – Interview, Daily Telegraph

> Yesterday in Local Government: Audit Commission to be abolished

Army could lose half its helicopter transport fleet

FOX LOOKING UP "Despite criticism that a shortage of helicopters is exposing soldiers in
Afghanistan to greater risk from roadside bombs, the MoD is understood to be
considering scrapping an upgrade project — a move that would effectively
take 30 helicopters out of service within two years. The £300 million contract for the 40-year-old Puma helicopters, signed last
year, was meant to relieve the Army’s critical shortage of air transport.
The deficit was repeatedly condemned by the Conservatives in Opposition." – The Times

Helicopters to be scrapped amidst defence spending cuts – Daily Telegraph

Liam Fox opens Trident budget row with Osborne – The Guardian

Britain must learn to live with defences it can afford – Editorial, The Independent

> Yesterday in Tory Diary: Liam Fox to pledge greater control by military chiefs of armed forces

I'm in charge, says Clegg as PM goes to the seaside

"Colleagues say Mr Clegg, who this week endured the indignity of a newspaper
photograph of him on holiday looking paunchy, is returning to work feeling "refreshed
and upbeat". Mr Cameron is heading for Cornwall. Last August he went to Brittany and
Greece, but this year has chosen a domestic location in an effort to bang
the drum for British tourism. Staying in this country will also suit his
heavily pregnant wife, Samantha." – The Independent

Clegg set to run Britain – The Sun

Britain to boost Afghan aid by 40 per cent

MITCHELL ANDREW PORTRAIT-1 Andrew Mitchell, the international development secretary, will
increase aid from £500m to £700m over the next four years to help
Afghanistan stabilise. Mitchell is to redirect funding from projects in
other parts of the world that his department has identified as
underperforming…Tomorrow, Mitchell will set out how he
thinks the new aid will help Afghanistan. He will say securing progress
in the country is his "top priority", including setting targets such as
getting six million children into school – The Guardian

Dominic Grieve considers new David Kelly inquest

"The attorney general is considering re-opening the inquest into the death of government scientist David Kelly, it has emerged. A
spokesman for Dominic Grieve, who has the power to go to the high court
and ask for a new inquest, said he was reviewing the case in light of
fresh calls for the weapon inspector's death to be investigated. "He
remains concerned about this matter and is considering how to take it
forward with his ministerial colleagues," said the spokesman." – The Guardian

There's no mystery about David Kelly's death – David Aaronovitch, The Times (£)

Iain Duncan Smith wins £3 billion for welfare reform after row with Osborne

"The recent stand up shouting match between Work and Pensions
Secretary Iain Duncan Smith and Chancellor George Osborne, in the
presence of startled officials, centred on the Treasury’s unwillingness
to fund the plans IDS has for welfare reform. But I hear that there has been progress made…Whitehall peace talks have produced the outline
of a deal which, if the final details can be agreed, could keep IDS
inside the coalition tent and give the Chancellor what he wants." – Iain Martin, Wall Street Journal

Daily Mail profiles David Cameron

CAMERON COLOUR "And while Roosevelt proved equal to the terrible challenge of the
Great Depression, the jury on that equally genial patrician, Mr Cameron,
is still out. His first hundred days have flown by: a blizzard of photo
opportunities, foreign trips and initiatives announced and withdrawn,
defying predictions that his extraordinary coalition government would be
paralysed in weeks. Like Roosevelt, he has proved himself a cool and charming communicator. Yet beneath the fractured surface of the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition, the timebombs are quietly ticking." – Daily Mail

Michael Gove's big examination

"He had never run a substantial organisation before becoming a
minister. Now he's learning quickly about the pitfalls of being
responsible for a large Whitehall department, answerable to potentially
angry groups including parents, teachers and unions. If he survives and prospers, how far could he go? Could he
even lead his party if David Cameron falters? He once rashly predicted
such a future for Michael Portillo, who is now prepared, cautiously, to
return the favour." – BBC Radio Four profile

Osborne hit the ground running, but can he stay the distance?

"Like his master, David Cameron, the responsibilities of high office
seem to rest easily on his shoulders, and as he completes his first
hundred days as Chancellor, there is little evidence of strain or
self-doubt. He has hit the ground running, not just on the public
spending round, but on tax, financial reform and much else besides.
Treasury old hands are impressed and relieved." – Jeremy Warner, Daily Telegraph

Polly Toynbee: does Cameron have the bottle for big cuts?

TOYNBEE-POLLY "The prime minister remains something of an enigma. Is he steely
enough? One Nation, "We're all in this together" is the persona he
plainly enjoys. Unlike Thatcher, he likes to be liked. He couldn't even
bear to snatch milk from infants' mouths, or the pricey bus passes from
wealthier old folk. But having spelled out the numbers, he will have to do far worse." – The Guardian

How much bottle does Dave have to make sensitive cuts? – David Herdson, Political Betting

Firms and charities line up to run free schoolsBBC

Former Tory peer Lord Taylor in court over expenses – Daily Telegraph

Police receive bonuses just for doing their jobDaily Telegraph

Summer strikes and autumn dole queues – Bruce Anderson, Daily Telegraph

Dare Cameron enrage the Scots? – Max Davidson, Daily Telegraph

Why's Dave so besotted with vulgar tycoons? – Amanda Platell, Daily Mail

How Jewish are the Milibands? – Venetia Thompson, Spectator

Pakistan could face coup after floods disasterThe Guardian

Obama backs mosque near 9/11 site
New York Times


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