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ToryDiary: Backbencher of 2010
Cameron to kick off new year with help for new businesses
"David Cameron and George Osborne will launch a push in January to kickstart economic growth and create thousands of jobs. The Prime Minister and Chancellor will unveil tax breaks for business start-ups and a cull of the red tape that is holding back small businesses. Mr Cameron will throw his weight behind plans to make it easier to set up high-tech businesses." – Daily Mail
Public to propose policies as coalition gets the X Factor
"In an attempt to reduce what is seen as a disconnection between the public and parliament, ministers will ensure that the most popular petition on the government website Direct.gov.uk will be drafted as a bill. It is also planning to guarantee that petitions which reach a fixed level of support – most likely 100,000 signatures – will be guaranteed a Commons debate." – Guardian
John Redwood's warning: "I suggest the public does not get too full of expectations…"
Francis Maude: The nudge is no policy fudge
"Despite the false choice often presented by commentators, there are many options between bans and doing nothing. We can offer, or require, information to be shared with citizens, such as on financial products or food labelling, so individuals can make more informed decisions. We can encourage behaviour through price, such as when leaded petrol was taxed at a higher rate. And we can change the default options individuals are given in areas like pension schemes, so that citizens are given the choice to opt out rather than opt in." – Francis Maude in The Guardian
Chris Grayling reveals that 1.5 million people have spent more than five years claiming incapacity benefits – Telegraph
Boris Johnson was on alleged Christmas bomb plotters' target list – The Sun
- £550,000 has gone to Muslim groups in Luton but police haven't received one terror tip-off – Sun Says
- David Cameron must face the challenge of Islamisation – Telegraph leader
Christian assemblies in schools face axe over claims they infringe Human Rights Act – Daily Mail
"David Cameron [went] to the country on a promise to repeal [the Human Rights Act] and replace it with a UK Bill of Rights. Yet under the Coalition agreement, all we’re given is the promise of a Commission into a possible new law that would ‘build on all our obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights.’ In short, it’s a plan for no change. Just what must Britain do to reclaim the right to decide how we are governed?" – Daily Mail leader
Atheist Clegg wants Church of England out of reformed House of Lords
"Anglican bishops have lodged an official protest at the Deputy Prime Minister’s plans to reform the House of Lords. They have urged Mr Clegg to allow them to retain their seats in the Upper House, even as he draws up proposals to cut its size by half and make its members stand for election. Refusing the 26 bishops any seat in a new, Senate-style chamber would risk a constitutional row involving the Queen because it would, in effect, disestablish the Church of England." – Times (£)
- Lord Sugar has only voted three times in House of Lords in the last 12 months – Daily Mail
- James Landale reviews Nick Clegg's rollercoaster year: "From "Which Nick?" to "Saint Nick" to "Nasty Nick" in 12 months: truly a political rollercoaster." – BBC
Danny Alexander: The Coalition’s £81 billion cuts programme is “common sense”, “unavoidable”, “progressive” and “civilised” – Scotsman
Bagehot examines ConservativeHome's Mainstream Conservatism project – Economist
Ed Miliband considering £500 limit on political donations
"Ed Miliband is to distance Labour from its trade union paymasters by diluting the party's financial dependence on them and reducing their role in electing the party leader. Labour has proposed introducing a ceiling on donations to any political party which could be as low as £500, The Independent has learnt. The move could break the long-running deadlock between the parties on agreeing a new system of financing politics."
Britons give to charity but don't want to volunteer in the public services
"According to the polling – carried out in the UK, France, Italy, Spain, Germany and the US – 77% of Britons said they had given to charity in the past 12 months. This was far higher than the other European countries and above the 71% in the US. However, only a quarter of Britons agreed they should be “encouraged to give up some of their time to help support public services, including healthcare education and policing”. This was far lower than in the other countries, and well below the 42% of US people who thought it their duty to participate." – FT (£)
- A million UK children 'lack access to computers' – BBC
- APCO seeks national database of men suspected of attacking sex workers – BBC
- Half of all Germans want to ditch the euro and bring back their deutschmark – Express
Successive governments have allowed Britain's privatised, liberalised utility companies to get away with murder – George Monbiot in The Guardian
And finally… Sally Bercow gets her revenge on Andrew Pierce
"Proof that Commons Speaker John Bercow’s wife Sally wears the trousers in that household. She had my name struck off the guest list from a reception at Speaker’s House for her husband’s deputy Nigel Evans. My crime, according to her latest load of drivel on Twitter, was to ‘gratuitously’ insult her. For the life of me, I can’t see what’s ‘gratuitous’ about calling Silly Sally ‘stupid’." – Andrew Pierce in the Daily Mail
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