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David Cameron speaking 2010 8.15pm Local government: 4.4% grant cut to councils – has Eric gone soft?

6.15pm Gazette: David Cameron tells the Conservative Friends of Israel: "You have a Prime Minister whose belief in Israel is indestructible"

3.30pm LeftWatch:Tim Farron tells Ed Miliband to renounce Bush and Murdoch before making any more outreach to Lib Dems

1pm LeftWatch on the Labour leader's appointment of Tom Baldwin: Ed Miliband goes back to the worst of Labour spin and smear

Noon Local government: As Eric Pickles prepares to allocate budgets to councils, Gavin Barwell MP notes how some councils got cuts while others got plenty under Labour

Paul Goodman on ToryDiary examines six tensions between the Tory backbenches and the party leadership: Class War on the Conservative benches

Pickles Eric Revolutionary
Also on ToryDiary: Coalition launches its 'Power to the People' Bill

And: Should Theresa May ban the Qur'an-burning pastor from entering Britain? On balance, yes.

Blair Murray on Platform: The "Bavarian option" can address the Scottish Tories' malaise

Giovanni Spinella on International: If Silvio Bersluconi loses tomorrow's no confidence vote, his downfall will owe much to his lack of a traditional party machine

Stripping 'NICE' of powers, Andrew Lansley will give doctors the power to issue costly drugs

Lansley-Big-Ben "A new mechanism for deciding how much the NHS will pay for costly new drugs will leave doctors having to decide whether they are affordable, Andrew Lansley has confirmed… Mr Lansley said the changes would devolve power to clinicians. He told the FT: “If a medicine is licensed and effective, clinicians should be put in a position where they can make the most clinically effective treatments available to patients.” – FT (£)

250 jobs to go as half of all coastguard stations earmarked for closure

"More than half of Britain’s coastguard stations are to be scrapped and the RAF and Royal Navy will be stripped of their role of running rescue helicopters. Budget cuts will lead to rescue operations being run from two main stations, one in England and one in Scotland. A further six of the current 19 will be kept. About 250 people will lose their jobs, half of the workforce." – Times (£)

Attacks on Ken Clarke and his prisons policy continue

Clarke may be demoted – Express

"By making Kenneth Clarke head of the Ministry of Justice [David Cameron] has exceeded our worst fears, his party’s and his own… His anti-prison pronouncements have caused widespread anger; his complacent attitude to releasing mentally unstable prisoners is alarming. For a Government facing all sorts of other problems the Clarke fiasco is extremely unwelcome. Mr Cameron has to some extent brought it on himself. In his desire to add gravitas he brought an old maverick back expecting to be able to control him. He was wrong." – Express leader

> Yesterday's ThinkTankCentral: Significant reductions in prison populations tend to be associated with spikes in crime rates

May Theresa Sky Coalition in brief:

  • Riot control: Police could use water cannon to disperse protesters after tuition fees demonstrations, warns Theresa May – Daily Mail
  • Control orders: We need them, says The Telegraph
  • Privatisation: Treasury Select Committee presses George Osborne to disclose amount he expects from privatisations – Guardian
  • Education: "Nick Clegg confirms for the first time in a letter to the shadow schools secretary Andy Burnham, seen by the Guardian, that the government is protecting per-pupil funding only in cash terms, not real terms, a de facto cut of millions of pounds."
  • BBC bias: Jeremy Hunt accuses the BBC of being "out of step" on a number of issues, including Europe, immigration and Northern Ireland – Sun

David Davis says many backbench Tories are unhappy with leadership of CoalitionBBC

Liberal Democrat tensions:

  • "In an open attack on Mr Clegg, Greg Mulholland, a former schools spokesman for the party, who voted against raising tuition fees on Thursday, questioned the wisdom of the party being in the Coalition. And he warned Mr Clegg that the party was "hurting"." – Independent
  • "Progressives are needed more now than ever in the history of the party" – Simon Hughes on the BBC
  • 'Grown-up voters' may be more likely to vote Liberal Democrat because of their record in government – Mary Ann Sieghart in The Independent

The 'blimpish Little Englanders’ who opposed monetary union were right all along – Boris Johnson in The Telegraph

British Social Attitude report finds people less supportive of the welfare state than in the 1980sGuardian

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  • Suspicion of government and politics: "In the Thatcher years, only one in ten said they ‘almost never’ trusted British governments to put the national interest first. Today, that figure has quadrupled." – Daily Mail leader
  • Anti-welfare: "Only 27 per cent of people believed the government should spend more on benefits, down from 58 per cent in 1991 after Thatcher's reign. Meanwhile, trust in the government and the banks fell to an all-time low" – Scotsman
  • Satisfied with NHS: "The study, which is based on face-to-face interviews with more than 3,000 adults, suggests satisfaction with health and education are at an all-time high. When Labour gained power in 1997, only a third of people were satisfied with the NHS, the lowest level since the survey began in 1983. By 2009, satisfaction had nearly doubled, and now stands at 64 per cent." – Independent
  • Worried about inequality: "Respondents also remain concerned that the gap between rich and poor is too large – about 80 per cent persistently hold that view. More than half support an increase in the minimum wage." – FT (£)

Labour news:

  • Yvette Cooper plans less US-centric foreign policy for Labour – Independent
  • The BBC's John Pienaar is being mentioned as candidate for Ed Miliband's chief spin doctor – Stephen Glover in The Independent
  • Melanie Phillips is appalled by Harriet Harman's remarks about immigrants sending welfare money 'home' – Daily Mail

New CBI boss Roger Carr backs 50p tax rate for the richTelegraph

Bnp_logo_conservative_logo BNP activists 'may defect to English Defence League'Metro

BNP 'steals' Tory logo >

Close failing universities

"There are already too many English universities duplicating each other’s provision, especially in the London area. The bottom universities should be shut and their departments amalgamated. Students should expect first-class attention in contact hours and teaching provision. Both are sometimes sadly lacking in a sector that is complacent of its virtues and forgetful of its shortcomings." – Professor Clive Bloom in The Times (£)

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74 comments for: Weblinks for Monday 13th December 2010

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