Osborne TINA7.15pm LISTEN: Should George Osborne be Chancellor and Chief Election Strategist? Tim Montgomerie and Charlie Elphicke debate…

3.15pm Columnist Peter Hoskin: The Braveheart effect? What Braveheart effect?

11.15am Harry Phibbs on Comment: Alastair Burnet's prescient comparison at the 1975 Conservative Conference of Margaret Thatcher and Ogden Nash's Isabel

11.15am WATCH: Andrew Neil's tribute to his friend Sir Alastair Burnet

ToryDiary: Today, Osborne wants tough new strike laws. Yesterday, he wanted smaller wind subsidies. The Chancellor's fightback continues (but new borrowing figures disappoint)

Screen shot 2012-07-21 at 08.14.10Luke Bozier on Comment: Working class Tory? This is what it means

Peter Walker on Local Government: Ian Blair's attack on police reform is misguided

LeftWatch: Harriet Harman: Help! Help! Theresa May has "dogged my path"…followed me round TV studios…criticised "what we were arguing for"…

WATCH: Romney on the Batman killings: "This unspeakable tragedy"

It's Oldie Saturday: Clarke and Cable signal willingness to "go on and on and on"

Oldie Saturday 1) Ken Clarke supports Human Rights Act, opposes referendums, doesn't rule out joining Euro in Times interview – and is "in the mid-term of my career"

CLARKE HAPPY"Although Mrs May has called for the law to be scrapped, Mr Clarke insists: “I’m in favour of the Human Rights Act. It’s better for British judges to decide these cases than to have them all going to Strasbourg . . . Because of one or two highly publicised cases, a lot of the public regard human rights as something that is frightfully important in China and the Ukraine but shouldn’t be applied in the United Kingdom.” – The Times (£)

  • Justice Secretary calls for the return of biscuits at Cabinet meetings.  Backed by Biscuits Appreciation Society and nurtition experts.  Ate lemon slices and steak for lunch.
    Daily Telegraph

Oldie Saturday 2) Cable says Tories have always been his opponents, slams the "macho right", says Miliband is "an able guy" – and doesn't rule out leadership bid

Cable Vince Yes"Vince Cable has refused to rule out a future bid to lead the Liberal Democrats, claiming that the “worship of youth” is subsiding and that there is a growing appreciation of those with an insight into “what is going on”. Mr Cable’s comments will excite those who believe the 69-year-old business secretary is best placed to reassert the party’s identity after the Lib Dems emerge from their awkward embrace with the Conservatives." – Financial Times (£)

Oldie Saturday 3) Lawson double broadside at Cameron and Osborne.  (No comeback or leadership bid, however.)*

LAWSON NIGEL TODAY"David Cameron has ‘a lot to learn’ from Margaret Thatcher and should give up on trying to imitate Tony Blair, a senior Tory warned last night. Former Chancellor Lord Nigel Lawson, who served in the Thatcher governments of the 1980s, also fired a broadside at the current Chancellor, George Osborne. He said Mr Osborne should give up his wider strategy role and focus on the economy in the wake of this year’s disastrous Budget." – Daily Mail

  • Lawson boots filled with female fans – The Sun

Dairy farmers step up protest over price paid for milkThe Guardian

Osborne: We need tough new strike laws after PCS outrage…

"The Chancellor is said to be ‘furious’ about the attempt by the hardline Public and Commercial Services Union to wreck the Olympics by ordering thousands of border guards to go on strike next week…He is now pushing for immediate legislation to impose a minimum turnout – possibly 40 per cent – on strike ballots in order to protect the economy." – Daily Mail

  • Serwotka says "disruption is an everyday fact of life at Heathrow” – Financial Times (£)
  • Miliband comes out against strike – The Guardian
  • Strathclyde police chief takes over security for Olympics – Scotsman
  • Law to curb militants can’t come too soon – Daily Mail
  • "Something has gone wrong in the culture of the big businesses which deal with government, and of government which deals with big businesses. In a sentence, each has taken on the bad characteristics of the other." – Charles Moore, Daily Telegraph

> Yesterday: MPsETC – "Outrageous". "Unforgivable". "Unpatriotic". Tory MPs take to Twitter to condemn anti-British Olympics strikes

…But borrowing is higher than expected. Chancellor "set to miss debt-cutting target"

"Borrowing since April is 12 per cent higher than a year ago. The Chancellor had forecast a 4.6 per cent fall. The state paid out a staggering £47.6billion in benefits between April and the beginning of July. That is up almost eight per cent on a year ago — and equivalent to £523million a day or £21.8million an hour. The TaxPayers’ Alliance said: “This benefits bill has spiralled out of control and we have to keep borrowing to pay for it." – The Sun

Spain’s borrowing costs hit near euro-era highsFinancial Times (£)

Boris warns on Olympic brand ‘insanity’

"Mr Johnson called for the light-touch use of laws enacted to protect the rights of domestic sponsors, which contributed £720m to the London organising committee, as well as the International Olympic Committee’s global sponsors. It emerged this week that even the family of Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, had been told to make minor changes to Olympic references on the website of their business, which sells party products." – Financial Times (£)

Wollaston condemns "posthumous trial by media" of constituency predecessor Raymond MawbyWestern Morning News

Telegraph reports that members of RSPB and National Trust could elect own peers under Tory MPs' plan over Lords reform…

"The final proposals were sent by the rebels’ leader Jesse Norman MP to Patrick McLoughlin, the Tory party chief whip and to Cabinet Office minister Oliver Letwin on Thursday. The seven point plan includes a proposal to allow mass membership organisations – such as the CBI, TUC, General Medical Council or even the RSPB – to elect their own peers. Other measures include: reduction in size of the chamber; removal of the hereditary peers; introduction of a retirement age and arrangements for resignation; placing the appointments commission on a statutory footing; improvements to scrutiny of legislation; removal of criminals from the Lords; and separation of the peerage from the legislature." – Daily Telegraph

…but via Twitter…

Screen Shot 2012-07-21 at 10.25.55
Jesse Norman has described Telegraph report as "highly misleading and inaccurate".

> Richard Harrington MP on Comment: "I would much rather see the country systematically divided up into 'constituencies', which are not geographical, but representative of all of our society, by occupation and interest group." –

Rain Goddess Spelman helpless to prevent weekend sunshineThe Sun

Hammond declares Britain's new £100m superfighter jet 'money well spent' after seeing it in action for the first time

"After seeing it in action for the first time yesterday, defence secretary Philip Hammond declared the cost of Britain's first superfighter 'money well spent'. Mr Hammond flew out to Fort Worth, Texas, to receive Britain's first ever F-35 Joint Strike Fighter in an official handover ceremony. Hammond said: 'This hugely capable combat aircraft is now officially British and in the hands of our expert pilots." – Daily Mail

  • The big lie of the defence funding 'black hole' – Alan West, Daily Telegraph

Housing boost plans under Government scrutinyThe Guardian

British resolution approved at U.N as Assad strikes back in Damascus, Aleppo rises, and 30,000 people flee to Turkey

HagueSquare"In New York, the UN Security Council approved a British resolution to extend by a “final” 30 days the mandate of 300 international observers who were deployed in April to monitor a supposed ceasefire. “This gives the regime one last opportunity to live up to its commitments,” William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, said. But the chances of the regime ordering a ceasefire seemed non-existent…“Thousands of people per night are now crossing the border, fleeing this terrible situation,” Mr Hague said." – The Times (£)

> Yesterday: WATCH – Syria: Fifth day of fighting in Damascus. Rebels seize Iraq border posts

Parliament could gain powers to prosecute witnesses who lieThe Independent

Peter Hoskin: Batman and the massacre – the nerd and his culture are now a live political issue

"In the end, it is on people’s collective sense of realism and decency that we can rely. The madness of one individual will always be just the madness of one individual, not in itself a cause for censorship and overimaginative speculation. But neither should we just regard nerd culture as a silliness that society will grow out of. Batman walks among us now, in ways that his creators would never have foreseen. We can no more ignore him than we can ignore religion." – The Times (£)

Yesterday > WATCH: Obama responds to Denver Batman murders‬

Government adviser Louise Casey says problem families have too many childrenDaily Telegraph

I'm not posh like Sam Cam… says earl's niece Harriet Harman (The Mail helpfully points out that Ms Harman is an Earl's niece, went to a £20,000-a-year school and is the daughter of a Harley Street doctor.)

"In an apparent swipe at the Prime Minister's wife Samantha Cameron, Miss Harman said: 'I'm definitely on the posh side of things. But I am not landed gentry if you want to get into the detailed socio-economics. Not “Sam Cam” posh'…She recently admitted that she had dropped her 1950s' cut-glass accent to fit in more with her party's working-class roots." – Daily Mail

  • Miliband: Brown was wrong to brand Mrs Duffy a bigot – The Independent
  • Union’s vow to go left – The Sun
  • "Labour has reinforced its hold on the north west and north east (although not in Yorkshire and the Humber)" – The Guardian's Northern Blog
  • Does Vaz think he could be Speaker? – Quentin Letts, Daily Mail
  • Miliband won't win unless he puts bully-boy Balls in his box – Simon Heffer, Daily Mail

China in talks to build UK power plantsThe Guardian

Matthew Parris: My advice to Leveson

“I think there is a danger, however, that recommendations your Inquiry may consider may seek to repose in a statutory body the function of determining the public interest as it relates to the pursuit or publication of news or commentary. This, I believe, would be the beginning of a very slippery slope. Not much farther down the slope would come the idea of pre-submission of drafts or plans for pursuing stories for what would become tantamount to official clearance. Such a development is not, in my view, to be welcomed.” – The Times (£)

And finally…The man who said: "And finally": The Times's (£) Editorial commemorating Sir Alastair Burnet, who died yesterdayThe Times (£)

* Unfortunately.


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