7.45pm WATCH: Damian Green: "Britain is addicted to immigration"

7pm WATCH: Nick Clegg: "We have not, as a government, said we are going to" cut off social media

5.30pm Tom Clougherty on Comment: In defence of tax havens

Cameron with Florence 3.30pm WATCH: The Camerons take baby Florence to visit the hospital where she was born

2.30pm Gazette: Conservative Future launches new website

2pm WATCH: William Hague: "Gaddafi's regime is over"

1.15pm ToryDiary: What will voters make of a falling GCSE pass rate?

Noon ConHomeUSA: Today's top Republican and American political news

Gibb nick 11.30am WATCH: Nick Gibb MP: "We do have to try to reverse" GCSE pass rate gender gap

ToryDiary: Choose the name for our new campaigning HQ

Also on ToryDiary: George Osborne's crackdown on Swiss bank accounts may yield £5 billion for Briish taxpayers

Robert Leitch on Comment: The poverty that blights young lives is the poverty of aspiration

Local government:

ThinkTankCentral: New TaxPayers' Alliance report finds £27.4 billion in taxes goes uncollected

George Osborne's £5bn to £6bn deal to 'squeeze rich and end Swiss tax haven'

OSBORNE LOOKING UP "Britain and Switzerland have agreed a ground-breaking tax avoidance deal that could bring in £6 billion for the Treasury and which marks the end of an era where the super-rich used the country to shelter their wealth. George Osborne flew to Zurich last night to sign the deal after 11 months of negotiation. The agreement will also involve Swiss banks handing over SwFr500 million [£384 million] to the Treasury upfront." – Times (£)

"George Osborne, the Chancellor, said last night: "We will be as tough on the richest who evade tax as those who cheat on benefits. The days when it was easy to stash the profits of tax evasion in Switzerland are over."" – Independent | Daily Mail

Today's GCSE results will be last before Gove's crackdown on standards has its impact

"Education Secretary Michael Gove has told the exam boards to be more strict in their marking, with more emphasis on spelling and grammar. Eventually, if Mr Gove is true to his promise to restore rigour to the system, the pass rate for GCSEs and A-levels – which are undergoing the same process – will even begin to fall in coming years. While a daunting prospect for pupils, such a development would be positive news for colleges and employers, who currently find it near impossible to  differentiate between the battalions of school-leavers with identical A* grades." – Daily Mail leader

6a00d83451b31c69e2014e5ff52955970c-150wi "Pupils should be required to sit GCSEs in five traditional academic subjects so that Britain can remain a competitive nation, a Conservative MP says. On the eve of the publication of GCSE results for 600,000 pupils in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, Elizabeth Truss has said all 16-year-olds – regardless of their ability – should take English, maths, at least two sciences, a foreign language and either history or geography." – Guardian

  • "A shift towards traditional subjects at GCSE risks "demotivating and alienating" thousands of teenagers, a union leader has warned." – Express

979,000 16 to 24-year-olds were languishing on benefits in the second quarter of this year, up by 107,000 in just 12 months

"Shadow education secretary Andy Burnham said: "These figures show that the Tory-led Government is being far too complacent, and risks leaving the next generation behind." …But education minister John Hayes said: "We're taking action to get our young people into work, helping restore a sense of responsibility and pride in our communities." – Sun

Sir Malcolm Rifkind: Libya is not Iraq

RIFKIND NEW "The invasion of Iraq did not lead, immediately, to the formation of a new government that could command the loyalty of the people. Instead Iraqis had to experience the humiliation of an American occupying administration for years, not weeks. Libya has a Libyan government-in- waiting, which will take power in days and will be seen as legitimate by its own people." – The former Foreign Secretary offers a list of differences in The Times (£)

  • Those hoping for a transformation in Libya and Syria are in for a rude awakening – Sir Andrew Green in The Telegraph

'Steady Eddie' Llewellyn is the brains behind David Cameron's Libyan campaign: "Ed, his chief of staff, de facto foreign policy adviser Ed Llewellyn, probably the most powerful man you rarely hear about." – Allegra Stratton in The Guardian

"Lord Mandelson has admitted that the previous Labour government failed to exploit the close links it forged with Muammar Gaddafi to press him to bring in democratic reforms in Libya" – Independent

On day Home Secretary meets social media industry, Boris Johnson opposes any Twitter crackdown during riots

Johnson Boris Red Background "When asked whether social media sites should be shut down during public disorder, Mr Johnson said that police did not consider this necessary. “On the contrary, the briefings I’ve had so far on this matter make it clear that social media and being able to follow things on Twitter is of some intelligence benefit to the police,” the mayor said." – FT (£)

  • Analysis of tweets during recent unrest appears to undermine the case for banning people from social networks – Guardian
  • Tories torn over regulating social media – Guardian

Accusations ‘Big Society’ has become ‘Big Business’ as voluntary groups lose out to the private sector in the government’s Work ProgrammeFT (£)

Labour worried by Clegg's plan to cap party donations at £50,000Independent

  • "Individual donations to the Labour party were vastly exceeded by those from trade unions in the second quarter of the year by a factor of 15 to one, according to figures from the Electoral Commission." – FT (£)
  • Conservatives received almost £1 million more in donations than Labour in the second quarter of this year – Herald

Tough community sentences? A move to non-custodial punishments is driven by budget cuts rather than a belief in their efficacyTelegraph leader

> Yesterday's ToryDiary looked at signs that the Coalition is restoring traditional law and order credentials

David Cameron's inadequate attention span

Cameron earnest "Cameron has a sharp mind but not an enquiring one. He parries well in parliament and opines prettily on television. He does not, however, immerse himself in detail; nor is he famed for his attention span. One minister describes the experience of briefing the Prime Minister as similar to teaching a bright and restless child, willing to learn but unable to listen." – Rafael Behr in the New Statesman

> Yesterday's ToryDiary examined the same attention span problem.

David Cameron could be dragged into inquiry over Andy Coulson cash

"A Labour MP claimed that the former News of the World editor could have broken Commons’ rules by failing to declare payments and benefits from News International while holding a parliamentary pass sponsored by Mr Cameron." – Telegraph

800 staff of 'wasteful and bureaucratic' quangos share £23 million in redundancy bonanza… all thanks to John Prescott

Screen shot 2011-08-25 at 07.04.07

Story in the Daily Mail

DARLING ALISTAIR 2 'Utter lack of leadership' in Europe risks fresh slump, says Alistair DarlingScotsman

Whitehall farce over secrecy exposes the nonsense of ‘open government’ – Benard Ingham in the Yorkshire Post

And finally (1)… The Minister for Simplification… The Minister for Platform Accomplishment… Ministers with silly namesThe Guardian

And finally (2)… "Will Jeffrey Archer ’s court misdemeanours ever be forgotten? He has a new Bengal kitten and asked on Twitter for naming suggestions. ‘Purrjury?’ offers one of his followers."Daily Mail


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22 comments for: Newslinks for Thursday 25th August 2011

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