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11.45pm LeftWatch: Five reasons why David Miliband is the wrong choice to be Britain's US Ambassador

11.15am ToryDiary: Cameron's U-turns

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Picks
ToryDiary: Which was your Moment of 2010? The ConservativeHome team begin their Picks of the Year with their own choices…

Charles Tannock MEP on Platform: We must not tolerate the persecution of homosexuals by African countries receiving our international aid

Naming David Cameron their person of the year, The Times credits the Prime Minister with the most imaginative act of the post-war era

Cameron global "For more than 30 years, the Left had been in a process of realignment, attempting to create a single strong progressive alternative to the Conservatives. Now the Tory leader took advantage of the Parliamentary arithmetic to make a generous, unexpected offer to the Liberal Democrats. In Nick Clegg he found a willing partner. With this act, the new partners changed the shape of party politics. Britain acquired its first coalition Government since the Second World War and, against all odds, it is on the centre Right rather than the centre Left. It is hard to think of a more imaginative political act in the post-war era." – Times leader (£)

Coalition continues to lose popularity

"After six months of Conservative-LibDem rule just 43% think coalition government was the right decision for Britain while 47% now disagree. In May, in answer to a slightly differently worded question, 59% backed the coalition while 32% disagreed with the decision to form it. Rising Labour support has cut into the government's popularity. Other results from the poll, published earlier this month, put Labour support at a three-year high of 39%. Lib Dem support was at a five-year low of 13%. The Conservatives were on 37%, up one point from November." – Guardian

The Coalition faced fresh tensions yesterday after a top Tory accused the Lib Dems of trying to take the credit for the good things the Government has doneThe Sun | John Redwood's original blog

The Independent profiles ConservatriveHome's Mainstream Conservatism project.

"Badly-designed" plan to strip child benefit from high taxpayers will cost £370 million

"The Government has now admitted that the cost to the taxpayer of creating the complicated new system of clawing back benefits from those on higher rates will be £130 million. Separate figures produced by the Government at the time of the Comprehensive Spending Review show that officials expect to lose another £280 million a year from “tax planning,” where people use loopholes to avoid losing the benefit, and £60 million from those who break the law." – Telegraph

VILLIERS THERESA NW Coalition in brief:

  • Theresa Villiers: Government knew Heathrow was not prepared for snow – Telegraph | Yesterday's ToryDiary on laws to fine Heathrow
  • Leaked memo warns NHS to accelerate efficiency savings or face £10bn shortfall – Guardian
  • Wildlife charities oppose plan for them to run nature reserves – Independent
  • Lord Freud warned yesterday that taxpayers lost £66million last year from fraudsters living abroad – Daily Mail

Michael Gove forced to offer continuing funding for Booktrust

Screen shot 2010-12-27 at 08.05.13 "Michael Gove began performing a second emergency U-turn on education funding yesterday, hours after the Poet Laureate likened him to Scrooge. Carol Ann Duffy joined a chorus of protest at the Education Secretary’s decision to stop financing a programme designed to encourage a love of reading by giving free books to pre-school children." – Times (£)

But Bill Masters wonders why Philip Pullman and other rich authors don't fund the Booktrust themselves?: "Equally ridiculous is the idea that families cannot afford books. Not only are there libraries throughout the country but also you can pick up decent children’s books for under £1 in charity shops and discount stores. I suspect that the scheme, like so many government initiatives, was really a covert form of subsidy for the books trade and children’s authors. What we are hearing now is the squeal of a vested professional interest. If the literary world thinks Bookstart is so vital, why doesn’t it pay for the scheme instead of asking the taxpayer to meet the bills?" – Bill Masters in The Express

Scottish Conservatives want to divert money from free prescriptions into funding health visitors for new parentsThe Herald

Is Clegg cracking up? Deputy Prime Minister risks having a breakdown, says LibDemDaily Mail

Labour left the taxpayer a £245bn PFI billDaily Mail

William Rees-Mogg: The Telegraph was wrong to sting Liberal Democrat MPs without good reason

Telegraph "The Daily Telegraph decided to adopt a policy of trapping Lib Dem ministers by a trick — passing off reporters as constituents. They did not do so in pursuit of any major impropriety, but simply in a random search for political copy. I do not think that the old Daily Telegraph would have done that. Nor would it have been tolerated when I set out in journalism. These methods inherently involve deceit. Sometimes deceit is an unavoidable part of a legitimate investigation, but the subject of the investigation must be sufficiently serious to justify methods that inevitably undermine trust." – William Rees-Mogg in The Times (£)

Other Comment:

  • Sorry, Archbishop, but there IS a big difference between the deserving and undeserving poor – Melanie Phillips in the Daily Mail
  • Pro-Europeans should fight to reform the Common Agricultural Policy – Julian Glover in The Guardian

Bishop of Winchester: legal system discriminates against ChristiansTelegraph

The march of American conservatism – Rupert Cornwell in The Independent

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32 comments for: Newslinks for Monday 27th December 2010

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