5pm ToryDiary: David Willetts wants Conservatives to embrace the state (and he's right)

Johnson Boris Smiling3.30pm WATCH: Were they amused? Boris says Queen wanted to know if people found her Bond scene funny

1pm ToryDiary: Next time round, can we have Aidan Burley MP as part of the show, please?

11.30am ToryDiary: Matthew Parris speaks for Team Osborne — Why are Tory MPs so "unbelievably lily-livered and flaky"?

9.45am ToryDiary: On the money — Jeremy Hunt's decision to double ceremony budget was vindicated by last night's magical spectacle

ToryDiary: Grassroots think Lib Dems are three times as likely to form coalition with Labour than Tories

MPsETC: All Tory MPs pour praise on opening ceremony (well nearly all)

Henry Smith MP on Comment: The Government should not raise air passenger duty further

Local government: Councils expect to outsource a third of services by 2015 – but some Conservative councillors are blocking progress

United Kingdom 'AAA/A-1+' Ratings Affirmed; Outlook Remains Stable

"In our opinion, the U.K. government remains committed to implementing its fiscal program, and we believe it can respond rapidly to economic challenges." – Standard and Poor's

"Standard & Poor's on Friday stood by Britain’s triple A rating and gave it a stable outlook on Friday night in spite of fears for the top-notch seal of approval after poor GDP figures this week. The ratings agency restamped the country’s sovereign debt with its highest grade on expectations that the economy would gather steam toward the end of the year." – FT (£)

  • "A roaring success" – The FT (£) salutes Britain's comback car industry

…And Matthew Parris attacks Tory MPs for being "lily-livered" on austerity

PARRIS MATTHEW"I feel part of and curiously fond of the dear old Conservative Party. But, take it from me, Tory MPs are as a collective unbelievably lily-livered and flaky: not a bunch to go tiger shooting with. They’ll thump their tables and urge you forward, then, when danger threatens, funk it and urge your critics on with more table thumping… The backstabbing behaviour of some of them now towards George Osborne — a Chancellor who has embraced all the austerity they urged upon him (except with more restraint) and whom they now moan at for not “creating growth” or for utter trivialities such as upsetting pasty-sellers or static-caravan owners — is simply disgraceful." – Matthew Parris in The Times (£)

Under cover of Olympics, Syria escalates its killing of its own people

"Speaking at a news conference in London with United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, Mr Hague said it was "deeply frustrating" Russia and China had vetoed a UN Security Council resolution proposing further sanctions on Syria. "The Assad regime is not implementing any of the proposals the UN has asked it to do," he added. Referring to the Syrian regime, the foreign secretary said: "The more they do, the more we will increase the practical support we offer to opposition groups and the more we will ask other nations, including Arab nations, to isolate them."" – BBC

Verdicts on the Olympic Ceremony

Screen Shot 2012-07-28 at 08.04.16
The PM's Twitter feed

"So after all of this, what is Britain? A country that can still put on a show, that has many identities, that is culturally rich, that has a battered landscape, that lost a lot when the factories were first built, that has patches of God still found lying about, that is intensely proud of what it got right (free healthcare, women’s votes), but not too comfortable about what it got wrong (empire was never mentioned). It is a mess. A jolly wonderful mess. We’re good at those." – Tim Stanley at The Telegraph

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Sayeeda Warsi and Justine Greening at the Opening Ceremony

"Bouncing punks, geese, the mosh pit versus the posh pit, buzzing helicopters, dragonflies, a statue of Sir Winston Churchill coming to life, blazing gold rings of fire, cows, milkmaids plus David Beckham being unbelievably cool. Welcome to the barmiest Opening Ceremony in Olympic history, an explosion of nonsense and tremendous good fun that blazed for three hours." – Jan Moir in the Daily Mail

Olympics opening ceremony was 'multicultural crap' says Tory MP on Twitter

  • "David Cameron will face pressure to remove the Tory whip from the Conservative MP Aidan Burley after he tweeted that the Olympics opening ceremony was "multicultural crap". Burley, who was sacked as a ministerial aide last year after he took part in a Nazi-themed stag party in the French Alps, described Danny Boyle's work as "the most leftie opening ceremony I have ever seen"." – Guardian | Telegraph
  • Mr Burley says his Tweet was "misunderstood" – BBC

The press has gone from Olympo-scepticism to Olympo-exuberanceExpress forecasts £17bn boost to UK economy.

Meanwhile… Boris under double attack from the Right

HEFFER SIMONSimon Heffer in the Daily Mail: "The Olympics may well provide him with a base upon which he can build a career in high, national office. But they will not convince people that Boris Johnson has the seriousness of mind, and the dedication to public service — rather than self-service — expected of a true leader."

"An official on the Mitt Romney presidential campaign in the United States branded the Mayor an 'eccentric, odd fellow' who was biased in favour of Barack Obama" – Daily Mail

  • …But Mitt Romney makes Patrick O'Flynn yearn for an Obama victory – Express

Andrew Grice in The Independent: "Mr Cameron's relaxed and assured performance at the torch ceremony was trumped on Thursday night when Boris had 60,000 people in raptures as he addressed a pre-Games rally in Hyde Park. It was a remarkable event; no other UK politician would have got such an ecstatic response."

Michael Gove announces new employment freedoms for academies

"Academies will be allowed to employ people with no formal teaching qualifications in a move that could sideline both the unions and the established teacher training colleges. Education secretary Michael Gove has decided to bring academies into line with private schools and the government's flagship free schools, which can hire professionals such as scientists, engineers, musicians and linguists to teach even if they do not have not have qualified teaching status (QTS)." – Guardian

Direct Marketing Association (DMA) forces Caroline Spelman to delay crackdown on junk mailBBC

UK Trade and Investment says immigration limits are hurting UK economyThe Sun

More than half RAF personnel are thinking of quitting over defence spending cutsThe Sun

Mensch Louise May 2012The British justice system has wasted precious time and money on the Twitter Joke Trial – Louise Mensch in The Guardian

We can learn lessons about flexibility and productivity from German enterprise – Dom Raab in The Telegraph

The Tories should be cutting taxes, Mr Gauke, not defending them – Graeme Archer in The Telegraph

What is the true cost of Britain's EU membership?John Redwood reviews Lee Rotherham's book on the European Union

Patrick O'Flynn: Don't write off the Liberal Democrats

LIBERAL-DEMOCRATS"Look at the numbers. Clegg had a majority of more than 15,000 in 2010, with the Tories in second place. He was a towering 19,000 votes clear of the third placed Labour candidate. The Lib Dems have been holding council wards in the seat too. So he’ll very probably be back, albeit with a much-reduced majority. There will be fewer Lib Dem MPs next time round but they will probably still hold the balance of power and through Clegg and Cable they have both sides of the bet well covered." – Express

Cameron wants us to spend again. And borrow. Have we learned nothing? – Deborah Orr in The Guardian


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