4.15pm JP Floru on Comment: Property crime must be punished more severely: Why work if thieves can steal with impunity?

Screen shot 2013-08-14 at 16.13.21
3.45pm WATCH: The moment the egg hit Miliband

3.30pm ToryDiary: "There was a time when most of our rulers
had front-line experience of war as well as politics. Nowadays they have
experience as backroom boys. Which is one reason why the public finds so
many politicians lacking in authenticity."
In praise of older politicians 

11.45am ToryDiary: Unemployment keeps falling, employment keeps rising; now we must focus on those at risk of being left behind

Screen shot 2013-08-14 at 11.36.0611.30am Henry Hill's Red, White and Blue column: Former SNP leader demands nationalists attack 'southern cancer'

10.30am Chris White MP on Comment describes his role as the Government's social value ambassador: "In essence, it asks local authorities and public bodies to think about how we can
squeeze maximum value out of every penny of public money spent."
Social value holds the key to making public services sustainable

ToryDiary: The number of full-time Conservative members registered with the electoral commission last year was 58,884

Chris Skidmore MP on Comment:  You want evidence that Gove's policies are working, StephenTwigg? Here's some.

Local Government: Labour-run Sheffield told to ditch Student Tax

MPsETC: Two more unbeaten games for the Bluebirds

The Deep End: Why low paid jobs are a bigger problem than they used to be 

Tory membership 1): ConHome research shows that it's likely to have fallen below 100,000

Screen shot 2013-08-14 at 08.14.46“The Conservative membership is now likely to
have dropped below 100,000, according to research from the ConservativeHome
website which reveals that 139 local parties have recorded with the Electoral
Commission a total of only 58,884 members. A further 535 local parties have not
submitted accounts or disclosed a number, but ConservativeHome says that the
total is unlikely to reach six figures” – The Times

Tory membership 2) Paul Goodman: It's unsustainable for CCHQ not to give a figure

“Imagine the Campaign for the Protection of Rural
England refusing to disclose the number of people who have signed up as supporters,
claiming that because it has local branches, it can’t possibly know the figure.
Or Tesco saying it has no idea how many shoppers hold its clubcards. Or
Manchester United declaring that it hasn’t a clue how many fans have priority
home match tickets. All would look ridiculous and their positions would be
unsustainable — which is exactly where the Conservative Party now stands over
its refusal to answer a similar question: how many members do you have?” – The
Times (£)

  • Shortage of activists
    “threatens Tory election chances” – Daily

Alan Duncan
warns David Cameron against promoting “token” women

Cameron should avoid promoting women in the forthcoming reshuffle at the
expense of more talented or experienced men, one of his senior ministers has
warned. Alan
Duncan said the prime minister should avoid ‘tokenistic’ gestures in an effort
to boost the number of women in his top team” – Financial

  • Puppy love for Cameron as he visits Battersea Dogs and Cats home – Daily Express

Labour funding: Three-quarters of it now comes from the unions

"More than £2.4million of the £3.1million that flowed into the party's coffers in the three months to the end of June came from the unions. A
total £772,195 came from the public-sector union Unite while the GMB
gave £485,830 and Unison gave £458,080. The figures for donations over
£7,500 from the Electoral Commission sparked fresh concern that the unions have increased their grip on Labour under Ed Miliband.” – Daily Express

Miliband urged to bring back Alistair
Darling and Alan Johnson…

Miliband Red Ed“Ed Miliband needs to bring back ‘grown-ups’ such
as Alistair Darling and Alan Johnson to improve his party’s performance, a
former Labour minister has said. Chris Mullin, a former Foreign Office
minister, said it was without doubt that members of Labour’s Shadow Cabinet
were not making their voices heard and did not yet have a ‘coherent line’ on
Britain’s economy” – The Times

Mary Riddell: Friends and foes are wonder if the Labour leader has lost the plot

“'Our messaging strategy is useless,' says one such henchman. “The danger is
that the whole thing could rupture.” On the leader’s first day back, a
fortnight of silence and drift culminated in an immigration speech that
exemplified the party’s shortcomings. The most worrying aspect of Chris
Bryant’s intervention was not the amateurish errors, but the convoluted
message." – Daily Telegraph

– Mary Riddell, Daily

  • Labour
    should say the pain of recession has not been worth it – Robert Skidelsky, Guardian
  • Miliband to
    attack coalition on cost of living – Guardian
  • George
    Galloway urged to resign as MP if he wants to be London Mayor – Guardian
  • Hollande blames island for decline in his popularity ratings – Daily Express

Politicians "pocket spinster’s legacy"

Screen shot 2013-08-14 at 08.22.49“The Tories and
Lib Dems stood accused of ‘robbery’ yesterday after pocketing a £520,000
bequest to the nation left in an elderly spinster’s will. When she died
aged 90, former nurse Joan Edwards left her fortune to the Government to spend
‘as they may think fit’. But instead of using the money on the Health Service,
schools or to ease the national debt, the Coalition shared it between them as a
party donation” – Daily

Commuters in the South “cheated” by fares

“Ministers are facing a battle with Tory MPs over
‘warped’ rail franchises that mean commuters in the South subsidise passengers
in the North. Rail users were hit again yesterday when they learnt that fares
are to increase by an average of 4.1 per cent next year…Travellers on South
West Trains, which takes commuters from Hampshire and Surrey into London
Waterloo, paid an extra £228 million last year to subsidise six other rail
companies” – The Times

  • Rail fare rises must be worth the pain – Daily
    Telegraph Editorial
  • "Rail passengers face more above-inflation fare increases but it would be
    unfair for taxpayers to pay even more money for essential investment" – Times Editorial (£)
  • These fare rises are outrageous and damaging – The
    Sun Says
  • Hike in rail fares is a kick in the teeth for workers – Daily

Ministers deny loan guarantee schemes will cause
housing bubble

Pickles Eric Close Up“Developers and politicians have hit back at claims that the government’s
housing stimulus measures are promoting a wave of speculative buying that risks
inflating another housing bubble. Eric Pickles, the communities secretary,
moved to quash the concern, arguing the coalition’s package of measures to
boost housing was working, with ‘house building and housing supply on the up’”

of crime to get right to challenge police cautions

“Ministers want to give magistrates a range of new powers to
oversee how police cautions are used amid widespread concern that too many
criminals – including violent offenders – are being spared serious punishment.
If the plan goes ahead it would see the police come under unprecedented scrutiny
over their decisions to use cautions, which were handed to more than 200,000
criminals in England and Wales last year including violent offenders and sex
attackers” – Daily

Gibraltar: Foreign Office protests to Spain, Government to mount legal challenge

Screen shot 2013-08-14 at 08.24.51"Officials are still considering whether to mount a legal challenge to Spain
over its imposition of additional border controls in the latest diplomatic
spat between the two countries over the Rock. Mariano Rajoy, the Spanish prime minister, on Friday defended the border
controls. "The government of Spain has not taken any illegal steps," he said." – Daily Telegraph

  • Gibraltar Chief Minister compares Spain's Prime Minister to Argentinian dictator – The Sun

Carney has not yet bent the markets to his will

was not quite the debut that Mark Carney must have hoped for when, last
Wednesday, the Bank of England’s new governor presented his policy of forward
guidance to the markets. His aim was to shift investor expectations of how soon
the central bank is going to tighten the monetary purse strings – but he
failed, which speaks volumes about the constraints on the governor” – Martin
Sandbu, Financial

  • Eurozone set to exit 18-month double-dip recession – Guardian

Peter Hoskin: How Texan Republicans turn their back on locking up criminals

"Money was funnelled into treatment programmes for those convicted of
non-violent crimes. More people were employed to help inmates once they left
prison, so that they left it for good. And it worked. By most measures,
including falling crime rates, the Lone Star State is becoming a lodestar
state. The funny thing is, this policy wasn’t introduced by soppy hippies but by the
sorts of conservatives who starch their cowboy hats. Jeb Bush, brother of
George W, has signed up to the “Right on Crime” campaign for criminal
justice reform, as has Newt Gingrich." – The Times (£)

Neil Clark: Expect a deluge of rising bills from water companies

Screen shot 2013-08-14 at 08.27.29"The
idea that Thames Water needs to raise bills by as much as 12 per cent
to stay afloat is absurd: this is a company that earned profits of
£549million last year on sales of £1.8billion, and which awarded chief
executive Martin Baggs a 5.9 per cent pay rise bringing his salary up to
£450,000, plus a £274,000 bonus." – Daily Express

Alexander Perkins: Churchill would have stood by our Afghan interpreters

“When he was 27, my great-grandfather, Winston Churchill, made
his maiden speech in the House of Commons. Unlike him, I am not a
parliamentarian, still less a public figure. But today, on my 27th birthday, I
will be among a group of former soldiers petitioning Downing Street for a cause
to which I am convinced my great-grandpapa would have lent his most eloquent
support. We are asking the Government to offer all Afghan interpreters who have
served alongside British troops right of entry to this country” – Alexander
Perkins, Daily

News in brief

  • British teenagers seen laughing and eating cake
    in Peruvian jail after drug arrests – Daily
  • Church of England's Blackburn diocese says fracking “threatens God’s
    glorious creation” – Daily
  • Star pupil stabbed to death in east London –
  • Deporting Thai killer from Britain would be too
    “stressful” – Sun
  • Average house to cost 266,000 by the end of 2014 – Daily Express
  • Hemel Hempstead named as Britain’s ugliest town –
  • Families thrown out of Legoland after brawling
    while waiting for pirate ship ride – Daily

And finally, Sarah Vine writes her last column
for the Times, on Jeremy Paxman’s beard

“Prince Michael, Evgeny Lebedev and Tom Ford, the
owners of successful beards, have much to teach the Newsnight presenter. The camera panned in very, very slowly, perhaps out of deference for
those of us holding hot drinks. The lips were moving, the man behind the desk
was saying something serious about something or other of vital national
importance, but no one was listening. A nation was slack-jawed in wonder:
Jeremy Paxman with a beard” – The
Times (£)


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