5pm Teatime newslinks: A referendum on Scottish independence tops this evening's teatime newslinks

4pm ToryDiary: Baroness Warsi is the most powerful example of Tory feminism

3.15pm WATCH: Jeremy Hunt: Everyone in the UK should "grasp the opportunity" offered by the Olympic Games

Miliband12.30pm LeftWatch: A record of seven days of attacks on Ed Miliband … from his own side

Noon ConHomeUSA newslinks: Time running out for other candidates to stop Romney

11.45am WATCH: 200 days before London 2012, Cameron and the Cabinet meet at the Olympic site in Stratford

ToryDiary: Cameron ready to gamble and force early referendum on Scottish independence

Also on ToryDiary: Cameron must say "no" if IMF wants more money for €urozone

Columnist Bruce Anderson: Prisons can work better

Dr Madsen Pirie on Comment: Employees of small and medium businesses should be given the status of self-employed people under contract

MPsETC: MPs and peers raise £85,000 for Diamond Jubilee tribute to Queen Elizabeth II

Local government: First new grammar school for 50 years

Screen shot 2012-01-09 at 07.11.06David Cameron leaves door open for extra €30bn for IMF to rescue single currencyFT (£)

PM threatens a second EU veto… as French go it alone on bank tax

"The Prime Minister said countries calling for a levy were welcome to implement it within their own borders – but added that to impose it across the EU without the backing of other major economies would harm businesses and jobs." – Daily Mail | Express

Cameron and Osborne have concluded that abolishing 50p tax is politically impossible in near future

"Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs is preparing a report for the Chancellor on the proceeds raised from the 50p rate, introduced by Gordon Brown in 2010… the HMRC report is expected to show a “surge” in revenues totalling hundreds of millions of pounds from the first year — undermining the economic case for scrapping the levy." – Telegraph

  • Will George Osborne dare to make scrapping the 50p rate a manifesto promise? – Benedict Brogan
  • But NO mansion tax, says Cameron – Daily Mail
  • The Conservative Case for a Wealth Tax – Ronald McKinnon in the Wall Street Journal

Cameron ready to seize control of the Scottish independence vote and force it to be held early, not on Alex Salmond's timetableScotsman

"The Government will publish legal advice this week suggesting a poll ordered by Holyrood could only be ‘consultative’… Mr Cameron is now planning to amend the law to allow a binding referendum, but within a fixed time period" – Daily Mail

The Cabinet will meet later at the London Olympics site, to mark 200 days until the start of the GamesBBC

Screen shot 2012-01-09 at 07.06.18Analysis of 70 National Audit Office reports identifies £31 billion of waste in just two years

"Bernard Jenkin, chairman of the Commons Public Administration Select Committee agreed that there was a dearth of commercial skill in Whitehall but also a lack of political leadership. “Civil servants are buying IT systems they don’t understand and negotiating long-term contracts which leave them locked into systems suppliers with few options for innovation,” Mr Jenkins said. “We have professional scientists and professional statisticians in Whitehall. So why isn’t there a professional procurement cadre across the Civil Service?” – Times (£)

HS2 is being put at risk by slow-footed ministers – Lord Adonis in The Times (£)

> Yesterday evening's ToryDiary: HS2 could be a massive moment for Tory prospects in northern England

190 families receive £60,000 a year in benefitsDaily Mail

"These households — 20 of which have 12 KIDS each — are eligible for an astounding £1,177 every week. Benefits include Jobseeker's Allowance, Child Tax Credits, Housing Benefit, Council Tax Benefit and Child Benefit." – The Sun

First new grammar school in 50 years is being planned by Tory-controlled KentDaily Mail

"Eight academy schools in financial difficulty were rescued by a Department for Education quango over the past 18 months at a cost of £10.7m, intensifying concerns in Whitehall that state schools moving outside the local authority system were not being adequately supervised by officials." – FT (£)

James O’Shaughnessy, until recently David Cameron’s director of policy, has been hired by a lobbying company to provide insights into Tory thinking to corporate clientsFT (£)

The Coalition's crackdown on fat cat pay is very cheering for the Left – Jackie Ashley in The Guardian

  • …But, Allister Heath for City AM, explains why free market capitalists should welcome Cameron's empowerment of shareholders
  • The Independent leader-writers want Cameron to go further: "We will know whether Mr Cameron is serious only when we see the detail of his proposals. Votes on directors' pay at annual general meetings must be binding, not advisory. Something must also be done to fix the ratio of pay between a company's highest and lowest earners. And staff representatives should be brought on to remuneration committees."
  • But The Telegraph worries he may already be going too far: "There is a danger that Mr Cameron, in trying to assuage public concerns about disproportionate rewards in the City, will end up devising a stultifying regulatory framework that discourages enterprise and wealth creation."
  • But Boris Johnson says Margaret Thatcher would approve: "In tackling boardroom greed, David Cameron is not bucking the market. He is acting in the true Thatcherite tradition of the Conservative Party, because male clubbiness, jobbery, idleness and complacency were the very things Margaret Thatcher fought against all her political career."

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: David Cameron begins fight for fairness agenda

Alan Johnson and Alistair Darling fire warning shots at Ed Miliband

Screen shot 2012-01-09 at 06.37.16

Alan Johnson says Labour must set out how it would tackle deficit, and notes we “can’t hide the fact the public remains suspicious about Labour” – Mirror

"Alistair Darling, the former Chancellor, said Ed Miliband still needs to develop a “credible and compelling” economic position. He said that Labour has got a “lot more to do” and added that the party needed to be “further ahead” in the opinion polls." – Telegraph

Miliband now doing worse than Clegg: Only 20% think Labour leader is doing good job but 21% say same of Clegg – Daily Mail (Although, as yesterday's Sunday Times (£) noted, more people think Clegg is doing a bad job).

  • Gavin Kelly, former adviser to Brown and Blair, suggests a whole Labour generation must unlearn its old model of politics – Guardian
  • Even Labour MPs think Ed Miliband is losing the plot – Leo McKinstry for The Express

Blair's company paid just £315,000 tax on income of more than £12mIndependent

LouiseGQ"If Louise Mensch wants to be taken seriously as a feminist, then posing in an expensive Dolce & Gabbana leather skirt like a dominatrix, as she did in GQ magazine last month, was a rum way to get her message across" – Janet Street-Porter in the Daily Mail | ConservativeHome background report

Meryl Streep defends Iron Lady film

"If I'd made a film about Margaret Thatcher and she had something wrongwith her lungs no one would have raised a hue and cry. But it's because it is mental frailty she is afflicted with that is what terrifies us most". – FemaleFirst

  • We won't repeat Thatcher mistakes, says Danny Alexander – BBC

Why are taxpayers still funding the unions? – Jesse Norman MP for The Telegraph

Britain is suffering from a ‘sensitivity inquisition’ where throwaway jibes, like Cameron's remark about Ed Balls – become national scandals – Melanie Phillips in the Daily Mail

MPs call for two alcohol-free days each week and clearer guidelines on drinkingGuardian | Independent

At 100, the ANC has lost its wayIndependent leader | Read Cameron's tribute to ANC

Wind power 'does not give value for money' as it is unreliable and requires back-up gas stationsThe Daily Mail on a new report from Ruth Lea

Screen shot 2012-01-09 at 07.09.23And finally… Cameron has completed EVERY level of hit app Angry Birds

"David Cameron boasted in an interview he has "finished" the addictive game, which sees players destroy pigs by firing birds from sling-shots… The Sun's Gaming Editor Lee Price praised the PM. He said: "Forget getting into No 10. Completing Angry Birds could be David Cameron's greatest achievement yet."" – The Sun


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