4pm Felix Bungay on Comment: The 2010 General Election was a great result for the Conservative Party: A response to Andrew Lilico

11am Mohammed Amin on Comment: In praise of ethnic monitoring

10.30am Local Government: London councils spend £200 million on pay offs – how much did gagging clauses cost?

ToryDiary: How Cameron could end the Coalition in 2014

Was Shakespeare a ruthless, tax-dodging right-winger?  In today's weekly Culture Column, Adrian Hilton has his doubts

Donna Edmunds on Comment: Osborne was right to link Philpott and welfare

Screen shot 2013-04-05 at 06.39.59Also on Comment: Lord Carey – I look forward to a dialogue with Lord Bates. But I wish he had read my views more thoroughly…

Cllr Andrew Johnson on Local Government: Hammersmith and Fulham social housing register cut by nearly 90%

LeftWatch: As Osborne's accent dives downmarket, Chuka Umunna moves upmarket. He slams "trash and C-list wannabes" on "exclusive" website

The Deep End: Heresy of the week – Mass immigration is a radical rightwing policy – but not in a good way

WATCH: Trident is "the ultimate insurance policy in a dangerous world" – Cameron

First, his benefits speech. Now, his Philpott comments. Osborne sets a trap for Labour on welfare…

OSBORNE SWORD"When asked on a visit to Derby if the Philpotts were a product of Britain’s welfare culture, Mr Osborne said: “Philpott is responsible for these absolutely horrendous crimes, these are crimes that have shocked the nation. “The courts are responsible for sentencing. But I think there is a question for government and for society about the welfare state, and the taxpayers who pay for the welfare state, subsidising lifestyles like that. That debate needs to be had.” – Daily Express 

  • Role reversal one: Osborne should drop his prolier-than-thou accent – Tom Utley, Daily Mail
  • Role
    reversal two: Chuka Umunna is member of exclusive online club for
    metrosexuals and complained about having to rub shoulders with 'trash
    and wannabes' – The Sun
  • Sneering Osborne deliberately parks car in disabled bay…whoops, actually it was his police escort's Land Rover, and he wasn't driving it – Daily Telegraph (£)

> Today:

…Which they promptly walk into

Balls Ed Feb 2010 2"But the Chancellor was criticised by Stephen Timms, Labour’s shadow work and pensions secretary, who said: “We need action to tackle the scourge of long-term unemployment, but today is not the day to seek to divide people in this way.” He was supported by Unite union boss Len McCluskey who said Mr Osborne had “demeaned his high office to sow hate” in a bid to sell his so-called reforms. And shadow chancellor Ed Balls joined the attack." – The Sun


  • "It was a reasonable statement to make about an increasingly bankrupt
    Britain’s unsustainable £180billion-a-year welfare bill which, while
    providing a humane safety net for the genuinely needy, is indisputably
    abused on a major scale." – Daily Mail Editorial
  • "Labour's are knee-jerk reactions that owe everything to political
    point-scoring and add precisely nothing to a vital debate about
    Britain’s future." – Sun Editorial
  • I blame the rich – Polly Toynbee, The Guardian

Philip Collins: Labour can’t win if it’s on Philpott’s side

Collins Phil"The
absence of a constructive Labour voice from the welfare debate means
that the Left is associated only with the shrill shriek of opposition.
The Labour Party cannot win in a state of deluded comfort, enjoying the
opportunities for indignation that austerity affords. On the NHS the
Labour book of lamentations is an echo of the public mood. On welfare it
marks the unforgiving distance between the view from the Labour seminar
room and the moral intuitions of the British people. Time for Mr
Miliband to get up off the sofa." – The Times (£)

The LibDems are blocking IDS from making further welfare cuts…

"Some Tories have been calling for further cuts to housing benefit and a freeze on all working-wage benefits, as well as restrictions on child benefit that would see it paid only for the first two children per family. It is understood that Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, is willing to implement the changes but has accepted none will be tolerated by Liberal Democrats in the Coalition. Downing Street also appears to have admitted defeat." – The Times (£)

  • New jobs for axed disabled Remploy workers – The Sun

…But Clegg came to his rescue over Universal Credit

Clegg Thumbs Up"Nick Clegg has stepped in TWICE to save Iain Duncan Smith’s Universal Credit welfare revolution from the chop, The Sun can reveal. Treasury officials have repeatedly tried to scrap the sweeping benefits overhaul or delay it until after the 2015 election. Chancellor George Osborne and his aides have deep fears over its spiralling £2billion costs and whether a huge new computer system will work. Deputy PM Mr Clegg first came to its rescue in 2010, then again late last year, Lib Dem sources have revealed." – The Sun

Will they won't they will they won't they? Labour may delay public spending decision

"The Tories are hoping to put pressure on Labour in this June's summer spending review, covering the post-election period, to reveal how quickly Ed Miliband would tackle the deficit if elected prime minister. However, the shadow chancellor, Ed Balls, may argue the exceptional volatile state of the economy would make such an early judgment premature. Labour sources point out Tony Blair and Gordon Brown did not decide to accept the first two years of the Conservatives' planned public spending limits until four months before Blair's election victory." – The Guardian

Cameron winched aboard nuclear submarine

Screen shot 2013-04-05 at 07.46.27
"The Prime Minister visited Faslane yesterday and was winched aboard HMS Victorious, a Vanguard-class submarine which carries the Trident missiles, and met the crew. He later took questions from an audience of defence workers in Glasgow where he underlined the importance of the industry which employs 12,800 across Scotland. Mr Cameron, who says he remains committed to keeping defence jobs in Scotland, said the 12,800 defence workers in Scotland amounts to around 0.5 per cent of the working population." – Scotsman

  • Cameron suggests that defence will be cut after 2015 – Daily Telegraph
  • "Despite SNP claims of "scaremongering", it seems unlikely that a Westminster government would be prepared to commission complex modern warships from an independent Scotland and, if it did waive EU tendering exemptions, the Clyde would have to compete with shipyards in Poland and France for orders. Could it win them?" – Herald Scotland Editorial

The LibDems: Pro-deterrent (but anti-Trident)

"A Lib Dem spokesman  said: "We do not believe there should be a like-for-like replacement and we will continue to make the case for an alternative."  Danny Alexander, the Lib Dem Chief Treasury Secretary, who is heading the party's review of Trident, is expected to recommend an alternative proposal this summer. Sir Malcolm Bruce, a senior Lib Dem MP, said: "We do accept the case for a nuclear deterrent and we are not in favour of unilateral disarmament." – The Independent 

Oh yes he could: Prime Minister insists North Korea's missiles are a threat to the UK

"The Prime Minister said he knows Communist dictator Kim Jong-un has access to missiles that can hit the UK. The threat showed that Britain must keep its Trident nuclear deterrent to combat ‘nuclear blackmail’, he said. But his claims were immediately disputed by experts who say North Korea does not have missiles that can reach Europe –  and cannot mount nuclear warheads on them either." – Daily Mail

  • Could Korean nukes hit UK? – Michael Burleigh, Daily Mail

On no he couldn't: Portillo says that North Korea's missiles aren't a threat to the UK

"Michael Portillo, the former Defence Secretary who was once supported by Mr Cameron for the Tory leadership, said that the United States was the only nation that would actually deploy nuclear weapons against Pyongyang. He said that the threats from North Korea had done nothing to change his view that investing up to £30 billion to renew Trident would be pointless. “It remains to me absurd to believe that the United Kingdom would use its nuclear weapons against North Korea,” he said." – The Times (£)

  • Our deterrent must stay – Daily Express Editorial
  • What we should be scared of is not the North Korean's belicosity but how it's being used to subvert domestic politics in the west – Simon Jenkins, The Guardian

Lidington in talks with Romania over migrants

"David Lidington, Europe minister, confirmed that there was a joint exercise, begun this month when he visited Victor Ponta, Romanian prime minister, in Bucharest. It is part of attempts by coalition ministers to protect UK public services from a feared influx of Romanians and Bulgarians when labour controls on these countries are lifted at the end of this year. “The last thing [Mr Ponta] wanted was for his citizens to have a reputation for being dependent on welfare payments,” the Europe minister said." – Financial Times (£)

  • Official study fails to reveal how many Romanians and Bulgarians will arrive next year – Daily Mail
  • Britain is still failing to plan for immigration – Daily Telegraph Editorial

Fraser Nelson: Don’t blame the HBOS bankers, blame the politicians who cosied up to them

"By working hand-in-glove with the financial sector, Labour ran a form of crony capitalism – and allowed the banks to have loans of up to 35 times their assets. Brown’s government was so dazzled by the tax haul, so swept up in the party spirit, that it left the teenagers with the car keys and a case of tequila. The crash was inevitable. This is the real, scandalous truth about the financial crisis. If the HBOS trio really were as wicked as the commission suggests, why didn’t the regulator shop them?" – Daily Telegraph (£)

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