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7.45pm ToryDiary: David Davis launches "bombshell" critique of Cameron's understanding of 'real people'

Screen shot 2011-01-23 at 17.10.575.15pm WATCH: Harriet Harman says Labour is united on economic policy despite Ed Balls' past opposition to the party's deficit reduction plan

4.45pm ToryDiary: Are these the Coalition's five biggest policy troubles?

1.15pm LISTEN: Radio 4's fifteen minute profile of Andy Coulson

ToryDiary: The Sunday Telegraph, Rachel Johnson and Archbishop of Canterbury join forces to oppose privatisation of England's forests

Peter Bone MP on Comment: It's time for an ‘in’ or ‘out’ referendum on Europe

Timothy Alderslade on Comment: Ministers should do more to allow supporters to own a financial stake in football clubs

Local government:

Latest YouGov/ Sunday Times poll

Screen shot 2011-01-23 at 08.12.00 Con 39%, Lab 43%, LD 9%; but approval of Coalition now at minus 22% – YouGov

The five big challenges for Andy Coulson's successor: Cuts, strikes, inflation, controversial NHS reforms and fewer police officers and prison sentences – Tim Montgomerie in The Sunday Telegraph: "There’s nothing [Coulson's successor] can do to change the fact that the Coalition will be very unpopular for at least two years. Success will consist of keeping the two parties together during bad times. MPs and journalists will be loyal and enthusiastic if they see skilful implementation of a long-term plan. But what is that long-term plan? Answering that is priority number one."

"The uniqueness of the coalition is that it has embarked on major reform in every area at the same time." – The Observer's Diary of a Civil Servant

Andy Coulson kept secret No10 diary while Cameron's spin chief

Screen shot 2011-01-23 at 07.25.33

"The Downing Street spin doctor forced to resign over a phone hacking row has kept an explosive diary of his three turbulent years working with David Cameron. Andy Coulson, who is stepping down as No 10 communications director, said last night he has no intention of publishing the diary yet. But, crucially, he did not rule out the possibility of doing so in the future." – Mail on Sunday

Three days of preparing for the Tommy Sheridan court case convinced Coulson he had to resign – The Sunday Times (£)

John Rentoul admires the way Coulson helped Cameron execute speedy flip-flops on secondary matters

"Cameron's willingness to drop policies at the first whiff of cordite sometimes made him look flaky in opposition, but it makes him a formidable prime minister. Yes, eventually such reactive flexibility and touchy petulance might come to be his undoing, but that could be years away. For the moment, quick flip-flops on small issues mean that they do not distract from the big picture. No wonder Cameron thinks highly of Coulson. He was good at keeping the Prime Minister's name away from toxic media stories – and in the end that included himself." – John Rentoul in the Independent on Sunday

Coalition struggling to reach agreement with banks on lending to small businesses

"Attempts by the coalition government to reach an agreement with the UK's biggest banks on the amount they lend to small businesses have stalled, the BBC has learnt… BBC's business correspondent Joe Lynam says bank bosses argue that lending targets for what might be weaker businesses could breach rules that say any decision should be in the best interest of shareholders." – BBC

Leading public figures, including Archbishop of Canterbury, urge Government to reverse plan to privatise forests

"In a letter published in The Sunday Telegraph and signed by almost 100 dignitaries, the Coalition sale is branded as “unconscionable” and “ill-conceived”. The signatories to the letter, organised by a new campaign group, Save England’s Forests, include Dr Rowan Williams; Carol Ann Duffy, the poet laureate; Dame Judi Dench, the Oscar-winning actress; and Bill Bryson, the author and president of the Campaign to Protect Rural England." – The Sunday Telegraph

Equality madness: Government spends £30m to discover whether preserving fish stocks harms ethnic Chinese, or hovercraft discriminate against gays

Screen shot 2011-01-23 at 08.42.23 "Conservative MP Dominic Raab said: ‘The Coalition should scale back the Equality Act. The last thing hard-pressed public bodies need is this blizzard of extra bureaucracy – wasting their time and millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money. It’s not just political correctness. It’s also bitterly divisive to carve up our society into artificial social categories.’" – Mail on Sunday

Ministers are drawing up plans to give hard-hit haulage firms a DISCOUNT at the pumpsNews of the World (£)

A number of private schools want to re-enter state system as one of Michael Gove's 'free' schoolsSunday Express

James Forsyth: Sayeeda Warsi cries whenever she's criticised

WARSI-BARONESS "Warsi was already in Downing Street’s bad books for a misjudged attack on the ‘Right-wing’ of the Conservative party after the Oldham East by-election. But this week she moved from the lacking judgment category to the positively devious one. She briefed out details of a speech on religion, which she must have known was going to be controversial, before it had been cleared by Downing Street. One senior figure tells me that ‘Downing Street will never trust her again’. Another complains that she’s impossible to deal with and that any criticism leads to tears. Cameron’s problem is that he can’t sack her. Having made such a big deal of appointing a first female Muslim Cabinet Minister, the Prime Minister is stuck with her." – James Forsyth in the Mail on Sunday

Donors abandoning Labour over leftwards drift on economy

"Labour’s biggest donors, including Lord Sainsbury, who has bankrolled the party with £13m in the past decade, are to stop funding the party because they are worried about its direction under Ed Miliband… The financier Sir Ronald Cohen, who has given £2.8m, has also shut his wallet. Other funders who are turning their backs on Ed Miliband include Chai Patel, the care homes magnate who lent the party £1.5m; Barry Townsley, who lent £1m; Sir David Garrard, who loaned the party; and Andrew Rosenfeld, who lent £1m." – The Sunday Times (£)

Ed Balls comes out fighting with attack on 'reckless gamble' over economyObserver

Andrew Rawnsley: The Brownites are back in charge

RAWNSLEY "Ed Miliband put together his first shadow cabinet three months ago. It has been much remarked that the two Eds are both proteges of Gordon Brown and this, along with the appointment of Yvette Cooper as shadow home secretary and the elevation of Douglas Alexander to shadow foreign secretary, seals a Brownite ascendancy over the Labour party. The sons and daughters of Gordon do indeed look more completely in charge than ever they were when Mr Brown was prime minister." – Andrew Rawnsley in The Observer

"Balls is associated with the very worst of Brownomics. He was Brown's adviser when, as Chancellor, he decided to remove the dividend tax credit from pensions funds, which is generally blamed for the end of the UK's final salary scheme. He was also beside Brown when he made perhaps one of his more absurd decisions, selling Britain's gold reserves at $250 an ounce – today gold is over $1,000 – so the Treasury lost billions for the taxpayer. Balls was also party to Brown's decision to create the tripartite City regulation, taking banking supervision away from the Bank of England to the Financial Services Authority, a move which was partly to blame for the lack of monitoring over the banks." – Margareta Pagano in the Independent on Sunday

"What will Labour do if the Cameron-Osborne-Clegg strategy starts to bear fruit? How will Miliband and Balls speak to those who want to get on in life, and do not share their tribal passion for government, taxation and spending? What does their rigidly binary world-view have to offer other than anger and prophecies of doom? The problem for Labour, I think, is not that the two Eds will clash. The problem is that, on so much, they already agree." – Matthew d'Ancona in The Sunday Telegraph

"Balls, a stocky figure with piercing eyes and a bad stammer, would cross a six-lane motorway to pick a fight." – Paul Goodman in The Sunday Express

Labour peers are threatening to wreck David Cameron's flagship bill on voting reform, with another series of all night sittings in the Lords this weekThe Sunday Telegraph

Other Comment:

  • The Tory manifesto was very clear about Andrew Lansley's NHS reform plans – John Redwood
  • "For the Coalition to deliver real reform, the vested interests in the health and education sectors must be confonted or simply bypassed", says Janet Daley in The Sunday Telegraph
  • Hague hasn't lost his mojo – Daniel Korski in The Spectator

Osborne's ski host was £3.5bn fund manager (…whose wife is top Tory Party official)Mail on Sunday

Lord Strathclyde had affair with notorious Green Party activistSunday Mirror | Mail on Sunday
Voting fraud claims spark calls for ID at pollsIndependent on Sunday

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58 comments for: Newslinks for Sunday 23rd January 2011

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