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5pm Today's teatime newslinks

LIVINGSTONE KEN@DEMO4pm LeftWatch: Ken Livingstone's route to victory: hanging George Osborne and prosecuting Tony Blair

3.30pm Nick Pickles on Comment: Far too many surveillance powers are exercised beyond scrutiny and without accountability

3pm Local government: Rochdale Lib Dem councillor defects to Conservatives

1.45pm ToryDiary: Merkel says nein, nein, nein to Cameron

Baron John.ashxNoon MPsETC: Bundesbank should deploy its £130 billion of gold reserves if Germany wants to save €uro, says John Baron MP

Noon ConHomeUSA: Today's American political news

11am Matt Sinclair on Comment: George Osborne can't let energy intensive industry down at the Autumn Statement

10.45am Local government: Council byelection results from yesterday

10.30am Columnist Anthony Browne: Give a job to the unemployed and get half of the benefits saved

ToryDiary: Osborne ready to trim benefits increase and hand savings to motorists

BBCtv Politics Show graphic

Pickles Eric Revolutionary

Eric Pickles writing for ConservativeHome: "Our flagship Localism Bill, has been passed and given the Royal Seal of approval. It marks the biggest shift in power since Victorian age – reversing 100 years of creeping centralisation and it restores a gapping local democratic deficit."

Columnist Danny Kruger: There are no easy solutions to unemployment

BaldwinHarriett Baldwin MP on Comment continues our seven part series on ideas to turbo charge the UK economy: Welfare could be localised and extra children shouldn't always mean more benefits

Tim Montgomerie: Can we talk about modern Germany without resorting to WWII imagery?

Local government: Hammersmith & Fulham plans housing preference for TA officers and Special Constables

Osborne will squeeze benefits in order to fund lower petrol duty

"For the past twenty years, annual benefit increases in April have been based on the previous September’s inflation rate. This September, inflation was 5.2 per cent, raising the prospect of a much higher benefits bill than expected. Ministers have now backed a compromise to use a lower inflation rate of 4.5 per cent, based on average inflation during the six months to September." – Times (£)

MERKEL ANGELAEurozone crisis to dominate Cameron talks with MerkelBBC

  • ""The atmosphere between the two countries is currently frostier than it has been in a long time," the centre-left daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung wrote Thursday. "With his speech he has positioned himself firmly against Merkel, who is calling for more Europe. In Berlin this development is being viewed with concern."" – EUbusiness
  • Cameron will say no to financial transactions tax – Metro
  • Merkel claims Cameron is an integrationist – Sun

Germany's Foreign Minister: Limited EU treaty change must strengthen the economic and currency union and nothing else

"We need to provide for the future and upgrade the monetary union to a stability union… It is vital to send a clear message to markets that the eurozone is determined to end the policies of debt-making. At the European Council in December, we should agree on establishing a convention for a limited treaty change. Its mission would be to strengthen the economic and currency union, no more, but no less." – Guido Westervelle for the FT (£)

  • Frederick Forsyth in The Express: "Franco-Germany has ann­ounced that there will have to be an inner core dominated by them and the core will dominate the outer periphery which will have no say in decision-making but will do as it is told. And that includes the UK. Reaction of the British lion? “Oh, er, wow, I mean golly gosh, that’s not very nice.” The usual dynamic leadership."
  • Ms Merkel’s political deputy told reporters: “I’m baffled that in Great Britain there doesn’t seem to be a clear view of the consequences a collapse of the euro would have for the City of London.” – Telegraph
  • An intrusive European body with the power to take over the economies of struggling nations should be set up to tackle the eurozone crisis, according to a leaked German government document – Telegraph
  • Technocracy is just contempt for democracy – Philip Collins for The Times (£)
  • Germany's secret plans to derail a British referendum on EU – Telegraph
  • To save the single currency, Angela Merkel must take on her own country’s economic establishment – Economist

Davis-David-red-tieIn contrast to Westervelle David Davis sets out what Britain should strive to extract from EU Treaty changes

  • "First, we need to reclaim control of justice and home affairs…
  • Second, it is time to reassess Britain’s contribution to the EU budget…
  • Third, we need to take control over key economic issues ranging from business regulation to striking trade agreements."

David Davis writing in The Telegraph.

Why UKIP could be a true scourge of the Tory Party – Amol Rajan for The Independent

Osborne sells off Northern Rock for £400m lossIndependent

REDWOOD JOHN"There is no point people tut tutting about losses on these holdings. The last government  was wrong to buy these stakes at the prices they paid. We were bound to lose money on them. Recognising  the loss is a necessary part of sorting them out and passing them on to owners who may be able to make them useful to our economy and turn a profit.Those profits can then be taxed.  That was why I at the time recommended controlled administration." – John Redwood

Even The Economist backed the nationalisation of Northern Rock but Osborne and Cameron did not – Steve Richards in The Independent

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Taxpayers lose at least £400m on sale of Northern Rock (and keep the bad bank)

Ed Miliband sets out five-point plan for more responsible capitalismGuardian

  • Tax cuts for the low paid will reduce unemployment by encouraging people back to work – Fraser Nelson in The Telegraph
  • You could argue that the debt reduction strategy amounts to the biggest tax cut in history – Tim Montgomerie in The Guardian

Rival airline chiefs urged George Osborne yesterday to scrap the hated £2.5billion Air Passenger Duty in order to encourage more holidaymakers to visit BritainExpress

StrikeMaude and Warsi highlight fact that only a minority of public sector workers voted for strike actionSun

MoD spent £600m on consultantsThe Guardian on how cash meant for equipment was used to pay outside specialists in breach of government guidelines on expenditure

Schools in deprived areas could lose most from national funding formula, warns IFSGuardian

Tories representing rural constituencies fear public backlash over looser planningIndependent

Why on earth is it taking the police so long to decide whether to charge Mr Huhne? – Simon Heffer in the Daily Mail

Only 14% of Britons see police officers on a daily basisDaily Mail

And finally… Charles Hendry MP and wife buys £8 million mansion in AyrshireHerald

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