6.30pm LeftWatch: Over on @LabourList, @LabourPaul has a go at "the colossal snobbery of those who sneer at Tesco"

2.30pm MPsETC: Shock, horror: CCHQ and Mark Pritchard agree about ethnic minority candidates

11am Local Government: Westminster Council proposes docking benefits from the fat

9.45am ToryDiary: If Cameron pledges an In/Out referendum, says Daniel Hannan, peace will proclaim olives of endless age

Screen shot 2013-01-03 at 09.44.55ToryDiary: IDS, today's Wilberforce. But the latter wasn't dependent on Government computers to help abolish slavery…

Philip Booth on Comment: Why does the poverty lobby wage war on markets instead of on poverty?

Local Government: Evicting "neighbours from hell" delayed for a year in the courts

LeftWatch: Here's a health unto Her Majesty! Martin McGuinness is appointed Steward and Bailiff of the Manor of Northstead

The Deep End: How much longer can America afford to be the world’s policeman?

First, the Universal Credit. Next, social care.  Two big reform programmes  – and the Treasury's worried about both

"David Cameron and Nick Clegg are to put big welfare reforms at the heart of next week’s coalition midterm relaunch, setting up a political battle over how best to help the “strivers” deemed to hold the key to the next election. At the heart of the plan will be a commitment to cap social care costs for the elderly and disabled, a move intended to reassure families that they will not have to sell their homes and use their lifetime savings to pay for care." – Financial Times (£)

> Today: ToryDiary – IDS, today's Wilberforce. But the latter wasn't dependent on Government computers to help abolish slavery…

Burstow: pensioners should lose winter fuel cash

Screen shot 2013-01-03 at 07.43.44"Most pensioners should lose the winter fuel allowance in order to pay for reform of the care funding system, a senior Liberal Democrat has proposed in a challenge to the government on what is a key issue for the rest of this parliament. Paul Burstow, who was care services minister for the first two years of the coalition, said it would be "brave and caring" politics to decide now to find £1.5bn for the reform by withdrawing the fuel allowance from at least three in four old people." – The Guardian

  • Means-testing winter fuel payments could prevent old people losing their assets and their dignity – Paul Burstow, The Guardian
  • Benefits bill to hit record £208 billion high this year – Daily Telegraph (Er, hang on a minute…how much of that is the state pension?)

> Yesterday: ToryDiary – IDS says it's unfair that benefits are rising faster than wages. Clegg agrees.

Business confidence is rising about the economy…but not Osborne

"Bosses are much more confident about the British economy than they were a year ago. They are also full of praise for the Government’s hard-line austerity policies — but are having second thoughts about George Osborne, whose personal rating is plunging.A survey by the Institute of Directors indicates that most business leaders believe that Britain should avoid a triple-dip recession. The quarterly snapshot of more than 1,300 company directors shows a surge in faith that things can only get better this year." – The Times (£)

"Almost a third of families affected by Osborne’s raid on child benefit have not been formally warned that they will no longer be eligible for the handout, which will be means-tested from next Monday"Daily Telegraph

Cameron kick-starts entrepreneur schemeThe Times (£)

Mandelson tells Miliband and Balls: You're not trusted on the economy

Mandelson happy"Lord Mandelson warned Ed Miliband and Ed Balls  yesterday that they have still not proved to the electorate that they can be trusted with the economy. The Labour veteran said voters ‘still need to have confidence’ in the Labour leader and his Shadow Chancellor. The party enjoys an opinion poll lead of around ten points over the Conservatives but surveys still show that the two Eds are trusted less with the economy than David Cameron and George Osborne." – Daily Mail

  • First YouGov poll of 2013 finds Labour 12 points ahead – The Sun

Rail prices soar on back-to-work dayDaily Express

What a day for Norman Baker to insult squeezed commuters Daily Mail Editorial

Why do our rail fares keep rising? – Christian Wolmar, Daily Telegraph

McLoughlin declares war on "confused and loopy street clutter blighting our roads and baffling drivers"

"Thousands of loopy road signs face the chop under a crusade being launched today. Ministers will call on councils to take down any which blight our roads and baffle drivers. One saying “Sign not in use” and another telling motorway motorists “No right turn for the next ten metres” are set to be among those targeted. Bewildering parking meter instructions and poles with more than half a dozen conflicting signs may also go." – The Sun

Better Together sets sights on SNP voters who reject independenceScotsman

New plea by Scottish LibDems for Lockerbie public inquiryHerald Scotland

Willetts wants white working class boys to get the same treatment from Universities as ethnic minorities…

"Universities will be told they should recruit more white, working-class boys in the wake of figures showing a massive slump in applications from men for courses. The Universities minister David Willetts wants white, working-class teenage boys put in the same category as students from other disadvantaged communities and ethnic minorities – as groups that should be targeted for recruitment…The final figures for last autumn's intake show a 54,000 slump in applications from men – 13 per cent down on the previous year and four times higher than the fall-off from females." – The Independent

  • Why higher education is getting better by degrees – David Willetts, The Independent

…As Mark Pritchard says: There must be no CCHQ fast-tracking of ethnic minority candidates over white ones

Mark Pritchard"It would be misguided if the Party hierarchy were again tempted to set itself on a collision course with Conservative Associations by attempting to fast-track favoured ethnic minority candidates over equally talented white-British candidates. Conservative Associations rightly value their independence and ‘right to choose’ their prospective parliamentary candidates. Any outside interference is rightly and fiercely resisted. Number 10 must learn the lessons from the failed ‘A list’ experiment." – Politics Home

Daniel Hannan: Stop worrying, Paul Goodman! If Cameron promises an In/Out referendrum, he can win

"What these mathematical analyses miss, though, is the indirect benefit
of getting the European issue right. Tory modernisers were quick to
identify their main negative, namely the impression that they – like all
politicians – were in it for themselves and prepared to say anything to
get elected. They have been slower to admit that Europe has, for 40
years, been the chief reason that politicians are thought to be
shysters. Even voters who are not especially exercised about Brussels
resent broken promises" – Daily Telegraph

> Recently on MajorityConservatism: Paul Goodman – Why Cameron can't win a majority in 2013

America's fiscal cliff settlement hangover: problems postponed, not solved. Weakened relations between Obama and the Republican leadership, and between Democrats and Republicans in Congress

"The measured peace offering from Mr Obama to Republicans in Congress, however, will run up against a much more rancorous reality on Capitol Hill and promises to make any second-term gains painfully difficult. The confrontation over the fiscal cliff has further undermined relations between Mr Obama and his most important negotiating partner in Congress, John Boehner, the Republican House speaker…Within Congress, relations between the Democratic and Republican Senate leaders, Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell, two old warhorses who can usually find ways to do business, also foundered in the fiscal cliff talks." – Financial Times

  • America could still go over the cliff — and take the rest of us with it – Simon Heffer, Daily Mail
  • "A mood of self-congratulation has descended on Washington D.C" – Leo McKinstry, Daily Express
  • End the fudge – Sun Editorial
  • FTSE breaks through the 6,000 barrier for the first time in almost 18 months – Daily Telegraph

Hillary Clinton discharged from hospitalFinancial Times (£)

"It's time to fight back against the left-wing guerillas"

Screen shot 2013-01-03 at 08.12.42"The hard Left, however, which vehemently opposes change to how our public services operate, is shifting its attack. Its activists are mobilising to infiltrate the very public bodies being set up to deliver the reforms they oppose, aiming to undermine them from within…Take the policy that will give NHS patients the right to choose where to be treated for nothing by any qualified health provider, including private ones. The trade unions’ recent national conferences urged activists to subvert this by penetrating the citizen panels governing NHS bodies…And while Michael Gove impressively chalks up the wins in Westminster debates, localised strikes and threats of walkouts by unions are being organised for as little as schools wanting more rigorous staff appraisals. These hit schools in the run-up to Christmas in areas such as Sheffield, South Shields and High Wycombe." – Sean Worth, Daily Telegraph

> Yesterday: Local Government – Labour council leaders warn that spending cuts will lead to civil unrest

The 4,000 foreign murderers and rapists we can't kick outDaily Mail

Ombudsman condemns maternity unit for highly misleading statements as
Hunt prepares to impose 'duty of candour' this April
The Guardian

> Yesterday: Julia Manning on Comment – Politicians must start being honest about the NHS and social care. Neither are fit for purpose

Martin McGuinness is made Steward and Bailiff of the Manor of NorthsteadDaily Mail

Call for crackdown on all-party groupsThe Times (£)

Screen shot 2013-01-03 at 08.15.12Rain goddess Spelman prepares for posthumous victory as Met Office poised to reveal whether 2012 was wettest year on record
Financial Times (£)

Paterson to tell farming conference that GM food offers great opportunities but public must be reassured of safety…The Guardian

…But Environment Secretary faces conference protest demoYorkshire Post

Douglas Carswell and other MPs claim Sants’ honour discredits systemFinancial Times (£)

Britain would vote to stay in the EU – Gideon Rachman, Financial Times (£)

Wales and Gaza: which has more millionaires? – Matthew Parris, The Times (£)

Lady Thatcher is recuperating at The RitzDaily Mail

Screen shot 2013-01-03 at 08.05.39
Argentine president Kirchner accuses UK of 'colonialism' by holding on to the Falkland Islands
The Sun


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