8.30pm International: The Republicans likely to be hurt most if America falls off its "fiscal cliff"
- BBC chooses "I know it's hard to remember the people we used to be" as background lyrics for Cameron/Clegg video review
- Equalities minister Jo Swinson MP encourages lifestyle magazines to stop promoting miracle diets and the idea of the perfect body
Noon ToryDiary: Backbencher of the Year:
John Baron MP on Comment: We don't want another manifesto promise of a referendum we want Cameron to legislate for a referendum
Grant Shapps confirms Owen Paterson's view that there is no chance of overturning ban on foxhunting
"The outspoken new head of the RSPCA, Gavin Grant, taunted David Cameron on his failure to bring forward a vote on fox hunting – telling him it was because he knows he will lose. The Prime Minister had pledged a free vote in the Commons on reversing the ban on fox hunting before the 2015 election. But almost three years into his Coalition, no vote has yet been timetabled." – Daily Mail
In the Daily Mail, Stephen Glover is unimpressed by Cameron's priorities: "In promoting gay marriage, which doesn’t matter to his supporters, and deferring a new Hunting Bill, which does, there is surely an important lesson for the New Year. David Cameron’s Conservative Party needs rebalancing."
- Hound, horse and human come together today in an activity as vital as our heartbeats, says Roger Scruton in The Telegraph
- The Times (£) warns against a vote, however: "The coalition has already expended precious political capital by allowing the Liberal Democrats to pursue their enthusiasm for reform of the House of Lords and by holding a referendum on changing the voting system to AV. It would be perverse to do more damage by allowing Conservative MPs to have a futile vote on their pet subject."
Cameron sees lack of support among minority communities as key failure of Tory detoxification and orders push to recruit more BME candidates
"One Conservative MP in a marginal urban seat told The Independent that his party faced an "existential" challenge in responding to the country's changing ethnic make-up. MPs and candidates are being given advice on how to engage with non-white communities by regularly attending key events, being urged to increase their presence in ethnic minority newspapers, radio programmes and television bulletins and to gain expertise on issues that particularly affect such groups." – Independent
- In the FT (£) David Goodhart notes how Boris was re-elected despite "white flight" from the capital: "The data on the white exodus from London underlines just how remarkable Mr Johnson’s re-election was, given how most minority groups still overwhelmingly prefer Labour, at least in national elections. If he can win in London, despite losing so many of the white voters most disaffected with diversity, it suggests we may be set for a political swap: socially conservative urban ethnic minority voters switching to the Conservatives, and the godless, liberal suburbs turning to Labour."
62% support the move to legalise gay marriage; only 31% oppose – Guardian
BUT… "Ministers are pursuing the "wrong policy" on gay marriage, and should be focusing on family breakdown, a High Court judge has said. Sir Paul Coleridge told the Times same-sex unions are a "minority issue"." – BBC
- The Daily Mail agrees: "At a time when 45 per cent of 15-year-olds have seen their parents separate, how can gay marriage be a more urgent priority?"
- The Express reports concern at lack of democratic mandate for change: "Archbishop Nichols said: “There was no announcement in any party manifesto, no Green Paper, no statement in the Queen’s Speech. And yet here we are on the verge of primary legislation. From a democratic point of view, it’s a shambles.”"
Ann Widdecombe says flawed people can and should still speak up for laws or moral codes they struggle to honour: "Does it mean that anybody who has ever broken the speed limit cannot take a view about road safety? If a Christian breaks a commandment is he any less a Christian? Do I have to be married in order to defend my view that married couples should have special tax reliefs? Is an adulterer who chooses to stay with his wife rather than his mistress and is thereafter faithful not an upholder rather than destroyer of marriage?" – Express
Ten years ago Britons wanted to stay in Europe by a margin of 68% to 19%, now we want to leave by 51% to 40% – Daily Mail
Labour MP Shaun Woodward backs referendum on our membership: "A
referendum on continued membership may now be the only way to drain the
poison from our membership. Initially it will alarm European nation
states – not because the solution is wrong, but because they will face
similar calls. Yet they may come to be the best disinfectant, ensuring
the European commission speedily reforms itself." – Shaun Woodward MP in The Guardian
> Today on Platform from John Baron MP: We don't want another manifesto promise of a referendum we want Cameron to legislate for a referendum.
Nick Clegg has warned his coalition partner David Cameron that discussion of a referendum on relations with the EU before the euro has been rescued would place "the cart before the horse" – Guardian | Scotsman | ITV
More on Europe:
- Fresh Start Group wants PM to set out 'nuclear' options to protect British interests in Europe – Guardian
- Up to 70,000 British jobs 'are at risk from Brussels climate change law' – Daily Mail
- "David Cameron will fail to strike a deal to freeze the EU budget —
according to the Government’s own economic forecasters. The Office for
Budget Responsibility has instead “assumed” it will increase by 2.8 per
cent next year." – The Sun
- More than 20,000 foreign workers from outside the EU could flock to Britain to replace Romanian and Bulgarian fruit pickers who will be tempted by better jobs when work restrictions are lifted in December 2013 – Telegraph
Tories should tackle UKIP by saying that a vote for Farage might help Ed Miliband… concluding "It may not work. But unlike the alternatives, it is unlikely to make things worse." – Daniel Finkelstein in The Times (£)
David Cameron's appeal among voters on the wane – Guardian
- Is David Cameron undermining the honours system by rewarding MPs for the wrong reasons? – Peter Oborne in The Telegraph
"It is one of the lightest yet strongest and most conductive materials
known to man – and was originally discovered by scientists at
Manchester University. Now other universities will be asked to research potential commercial uses. Mr Osborne said the £21.5m investment fund would aim to take the technology from the lab to the factory floor." – BBC
Number of highly-paid staff increase in many Whitehall departments
"The Chancellor’s Treasury department has increased the number of civil servants earning £100,000 or more from 20 in 2009-10 to 39 in 2011-2012. Meanwhile, Theresa May’s Home Office has seen a 50 per cent increase in staff on four times the national average salary, despite overseeing budget cuts under which police forces have shrunk." – Express
- Charities Minister Nick Hurd said he would congratulate any
pensioner who chose to give away their winter fuel allowance to good
causes – Daily Mail
- Change in definition of inflation may hurt pensioners – Philip Johnston in The Telegraph
- The rich ARE bearing and will bear a greater share of the burden of taxes than the poor – John Rentoul in The Independent
- Britain spends twice as much as US and six times as much as Japan on disability benefits – Daily Mail
- The Tories are trying to use the politics of fear to turn us against one another – Zoe Williams in The Guardian insists that Britain is in fundamentally good shape.
An online system to identify children who may be in danger of abuse or neglect is being developed for use in hospitals across England – BBC
Children should transfer school at 14, rather than 11, argues Lord (Kenneth) Baker – Independent
Michael Fabricant warns against witch-hunt against 'Plebgate" police – Independent
Tory MP Philip Davies should have been honest about his links to an increasingly dangerous and powerful gambling industry – Alastair Campbell for The Guardian
"He reflects on the "good run" mental health had in 2012, praising fellow Conservative Gavin Barwell for successfully pushing a private member's bill he helped draw up – to scrap laws that discriminate against people who have had serious mental health problems, preventing them serving as jurors or school governors, for example. The bill makes its way to the Lords in January." – Guardian
Alistair Darling is planning to quit at the next election in a huge blow for Ed Miliband – The Sun
Seb Coe is The Times' Briton of the Year
"When he looks back, Lord Coe can forever be proud of the glorious day s in London in the summer of 2012 when the sun shone, the athletes came and a nation smiled" – Times leader (£)
Former US President George H W Bush has been in intensive care with a fever since Sunday – BBC
- "Today’s Republican party is a bit like a headless body striking out blindly against change" – FT leader (£)
"Eric Pickles, the Community Secretary, has been banned from one of the pubs in his home town after he was reported as saying that he hated going back to his native Yorkshire… The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government was quoted as telling Kirsty Young: “I am afraid I am going to have to kind of admit to treason on the air: I like Essex. Essex is my home. I hate going back to Yorkshire.” Later, Mr Pickles insisted that he had been misheard, and had said “ain’t” instead of “hate”." – Times (£)
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