11am Jeremy Brier on CentreRight: A true British hero – The man who broke into Auschwitz
Peter Cuthbertson on CentreRight reviews Tony Blair's A Journey and recommends it as a "shining exception" to the usual dreary political biography
Local government: Sutton Council's £3 million on wooden fish
Osborne's deficit plans mean UK's AAA rating is safe
"Britain's top-notch AAA credit rating is safe thanks to the harsh austerity measures outlined by the government, a leading ratings agency said yesterday. The outlook for the UK’s public finances is ‘stable’ as a result of Coalition plans to slash the record deficit racked up by Labour, according to Moody’s. But Britain could lose its gold-plated rating if the swingeing cuts do not go ahead. Moody’s said ‘a combination of significantly slower economic growth and reduced political commitment to fiscal consolidation’ would put the AAA rating at risk" – Daily Mail
'Osborne's cuts take us back to 2006/07 and is that so bad?'
"A top City expert has risked a fierce union backlash by claiming the government's spending cuts are "relatively modest". A hard-hitting report called "Storm in a Spend Cut" insists the media, ministers and opponents are "making too much" of the Chancellor's plans. Dr Tim Morgan of City broker Tullett Prebon admits many admin and back-office jobs in the civil service will go. But he said that even cuts of £87 billion would only take the Coalition's public sector spending back to the levels seen in 2006-2007. He told Sun City: "It's a correction. We're only turning back the clock three or four years and taking out the excesses of the last government."
LibDems sink to new low (11%) in latest daily YouGov poll – YouGov
The Telegraph: Clegg has the bottle for the challenges ahead
"Nick Clegg showed a healthy disregard yesterday for the many Liberal Democrats who prefer the purity – and impotence – of opposition to the frequently disagreeable business of government. His hard-headed lecture on the absolute centrality of the Coalition's deficit-reduction strategy formed the core of his conference speech. The Deputy Prime Minister knows that many Lib Dems, inside and outside Parliament, feel squeamish about the public spending cuts that are to be unveiled a month from now. It is to Mr Clegg's credit that he faced them down not with bluster or windy rhetoric, but with a blunt and supremely confident exposition of why those cuts are unavoidable." – Telegraph leader
The FT: Clegg still needs to give the LibDems a defining purpose
"Mr Clegg is right to rule out an electoral pact with the Tories at the next election. But he needs to do more than hold out the possibility of switching his affections from one large party to another to retain power. This means articulating a set of values by which the Lib Dems will make any choice. A few ideas were thrown out, such as pursuing a more radical decentralisation agenda. But there is no sense that such identifiable Lib Dem ideas are guiding the actions of the coalition." – FT leader (£)
Nick Clegg's body language shows he is getting even more like David Cameron – Guardian
LibDem members vote against more academies and Coalition's 'free schools' plan
"Party activists dealt an embarrassing blow to Nick Clegg yesterday by backing a boycott of the coalition Government’s flagship plans for so-called “free” schools. Members voted overwhelmingly against the Tory policy, despite education minister Sarah Teather saying it was a “fundamentally liberal” plan." – Express
In The Telegraph David Green defends the free schools idea: "Bad schools are the fault of monopolistic local councils. Ending their exclusive control is the key to success. Public policies should not be directed against supportive parents but focused on setting up schools for children without them."
> Yesterday's LeftWatch: 65% of Liberal Democrat members see themselves as left-of-centre
Paddy Ashdown claims LibDems are succeeding in delaying Trident
"Lord Ashdown, the former Liberal Democrat leader, claimed today that any delay over the decision to replace the Trident nuclear deterrent would be down to his party's "strong influence" within the coalition government. The Lib Dems have seized on media reports that a final decision on the like-for-like replacement of the nuclear deterrent may be shelved until after the 2015 general election to stress the party's influence in government." – Guardian
> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Voluble Liberal Democrats win three more concessions from the Conservatives
David Laws is writing book on Coalition negotiations
"he is hard at work on a book. The title - 22 Days In May - is hardly likely to set pulses racing, but the book will be the first insider account of the negotiations which led to the coalition. Laws is also planning to cover the early days of the Government - days which, of course, include his downfall." – Andrew Pierce in the Daily Mail
Doubts about Charles Kennedy grow
"Doubts about his political future resurfaced after he pulled out of the fourth event since Saturday. He was due to appear first at an eve of conference rally but cancelled, citing problems with his train. He appeared the following morning on The Andrew Marr Show on BBC One, expressing doubts about the speed and scale of the coalition’s cuts, but failed to turn up for another television show and, later, a fringe meeting. Yesterday, he cancelled his appearance at another fringe event. He told one of his hosts that he had to return to London to look after his son." – Times (£)
UK troops killed in Afghanistan did not die in vain, David Cameron has said as a four-year mission in Sangin ended – BBC
Directly elected police and crime commissioners will cost £100m
"A cost analysis from Boxwood Consulting, commissioned by the APA, found that the new structure of directly elected commissioners and local police and crime panels would cost £453m over the five years from 2011-12, based on current assumptions. This involved a four-yearly election cost of £64m and transition costs of £12m, it said. The existing police authorities would cost £352m, with only one election in the five-year period, a difference of £101m." – Independent
Anti-immigration parties prosper across Europe
"Sweden has become the third EU member state since June to find itself without a governing majority after elections marked by the rise of far-Right, anti-immigration or separatist parties. The Netherlands and Belgium are in the same position. Far-Right parties are currently in government in Italy and also sit in the parliaments of Austria, Bulgaria, Denmark, Hungary, Latvia and Slovakia, as well as in the European Parliament." – Telegraph leader
> Yesterday's International: Sweden's centre right leader wins historic second term but anti-immigration party denies Reinfeldt majority
And finally… David Miliband is more fanciable than younger brother
"Labourleadership favourite David Miliband has been named the second sexiest MP – on a new set of political Top Trumps-style cards. The ex-Foreign Secretary scored a shock 95 out of 100 for fanciability – behind fresh-faced Tory millionaire Zac Goldsmith on 100. Leadership rival Andy Burnham was third on 88, while PM David Cameron and deputy Nick Clegg lagged behind on 80. Miliband's brother Ed notched only 77." – The Sun
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