10pm ToryDiary: Ken Clarke u-turns on knife crime pledge
4pm LeftWatch: ANOTHER dirty Labour General Election campaign is exposed
2.15pm Jill Kirby on Comment: The Bank of England risks missing the return of inflation
Local government: The benefits of Boris Johnson's street trees
- Ann Widdecombe voted off Strictly Come Dancing after eight entertaining weeks
- Angry Boris withdraws hospitality at Dorchester Hotel for FIFA officials during Olympics
Cameron has been Tory leader for five years
This reflection from Andrew Cooper of Populus appears in a collection of such short reviews, gathered by The Independent: "The measure of David Cameron's first five years as Conservative leader lies in the bleakness – easy now to understate – of his inheritance. The Tories still languished a vast distance from power in December 2005, when he became the party's fifth leader in less than eight years. Voters immediately recognised in him a different type of Conservative leader: more modern, compassionate, forward-looking and liberal. They were – and remained right up to this year's general election – much less sure if his party had really changed. If there is a criticism of his leadership it is that he should have been an even bolder moderniser." Read all of the reviews.
Independent leader: "It was five years ago today that David Cameron, standing as an outsider, was elected to lead the Conservative Party. Now, it seems in some ways as though he has held that job forever, so comfortable does he seem in the role and so smoothly has he graduated from Opposition leader to Prime Minister. Yet he still seems the fresh new leader who bounded on to the stage and captivated his party conference with a pitch-perfect candidate's speech, delivered extempore. He remains youthful, engaging, and yes, to an almost infuriating degree, someone who was born to rule."
Banks offer "peace pact" to George Osborne in return for reduced levy
"George Osborne is resisting pressure for a new tax on bank bonuses or an increase in the revenue raised by the planned £2.5bn bank levy as he seeks to normalise relations between the government and the City… Bank leaders are expected to announce their side of a “peace pact” soon, and are considering commitments to lend £180bn each year to British companies and £1.5bn to Mr Cameron’s “Big Society Bank”, and a broad cut in bonus levels." – FT (£)
…BUT… "The business secretary told City A.M. last night that the government was still considering another tax on bonuses. This comes despite the fact that the Treasury and the rest of the government increasingly understand that the anti-City action and rhetoric has now gone too far, and that business, wealth, jobs and tax receipts are being lost."
- The New Year’s rise in VAT will cost the average middle-class family up to £448 a year – Daily Mail
- Treasury defends High Court action against complaint that June's Budget took £5.8bn of £8bn savings from women – BBC
Government proposes to scrap need for scientific advice on drugs policy – Guardian
"The Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill, published last week, will abolish the legal requirement for at least six doctors and scientists to sit on the Government’s 20-member drugs advisory panel, which the Home Secretary must currently consult before altering the classification of narcotics or adding new ones to the list. The reform, which has been condemned by senior scientists, also gives Theresa May, the Home Secretary, powers to make substances illegal on a temporary basis for up to a year, without seeking recommendations from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD)." – Times (£)
Association of Police Authorities wants cuts delayed until efficiencies are delivered – BBC
Almost one in 10 police officers in England and Wales is on sick leave or performing limited duties – Sun
Proposed laws against clothing that sexualises children would be impractical, parenting experts have warned the Government – Telegraph
Not a good day for Gordon Brown to predict a decade of decline for the west… – Guardian
…when an international report finds that Britain's classrooms fell behind during the Brown/Blair years
"Labour's record on education is expected to come under attack this week when results from the most respected international study of achievement in literacy, maths and science are likely to show that schools in Britain are performing poorly compared with those in other countries." – Guardian
- Ousted teacher exposes the tyranny of liberalism that has betrayed a generation of children – Katharine Birbalsingh in the Daily Mail
…and a Rowntree report finds that work REALLY doesn't pay: Child poverty among unemployed families is falling … but INCREASING in working homes – Daily Mail
The FT sets out the challenge for Ed Miliband
"Most importantly, the opposition leader must try to rebut Mr Cameron’s attempt to depict the Labour party as economically incompetent. Once cemented, such a reputation becomes an impediment to a return to power. His actions so far have not helped. By seeming to back a permanent 50p top tax rate, he risks presenting Labour as the high tax party. Branded “Red Ed” after union support swept him to victory, Mr Miliband has too often appeared to want to oppose every spending cut." – FT leader (£)
Yasmin Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, meanwhile, writing in The Independent, hates how X-factor politics trumps substance: "Ms Widdecombe's intolerance, her frightful social conservatism, and hardline tendencies are all puffed away by a floaty waltz, a foxtrot. Just a few reminders: she converted to Catholicism because she is against women priests. She voted for 42 days' detention without charge for terrorist suspects. She defended her government's policy to shackle pregnant prisoners. Just last week on The Andrew Marr Show she came out robustly against letting mothers breastfeed their babies in the workplace."
- To argue that current sentencing is too tough is preposterous – Telegraph leader
- Superb piece by Libby Purves on The Times (£) on how big charities are pushing out the small charities
- High-speed rail is the future – Julian Glover in The Guardian
- Stephen Glover in The Independent objects to the "pornographer", Richard Desmond buying The Sun.
University places would be cut by half if tuition fees don't rise, say vice-chancellors – Times (£)
And finally… the EU takes control of 32 Smith Square
"Margaret Thatcher’s citadel at 32 Smith Square – backdrop to her three election victories – will today fall into the hands of her oldest foes, when the old Conservative Central Office is officially reincarnated as Europe House. As if the sight of the blue, star-spangled European Union flag flying outside her old HQ was not enough, Lady Thatcher is unlikely to be impressed by the fact that the EU has spent more than £30m buying and refurbishing the building." – FT (£)
The Express has details of the new EU foreign service's pay and perks.
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