Eric Pickles

7.45pm WATCH: Pro-HS2 campaign releases new video laying claim to the Victorian engineering tradition

6.15pm Eric Pickles MP on Comment: "For the first time troubled families are being shown a bit of tough love. For too long the system allowed them to be cuddled into the system, giving the most vulnerable no obvious exit from the cycle of despair. This was not only damaging to one generation but to the future generations." Our troubled families programme is turning round thousands of lives

5pm ToryDiary: The BBC reports "softening attitudes on benefits" – but the polling numbers say the opposite

3.45pm International: The new Iron Lady: Conservatives win Norwegian election

2.30pm Jackie Doyle-Price MP on Comment: Lord Patten – more sinned against than sinning in the BBC Trust debacle

1.15pm LeftWatch: Ed Miliband fudges the union link, zero hours contracts and free schools

11.30am JP Floru on Comment: With Caroline Lucas in la-la land

RedlinesnewOn ToryDiary, the second post in our series exploring the terms for a second Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition reveals that Tory members' top "red line" for any post-2015 coalition deal is…the EU referendum & renegotiation

Stephen Tall's Other Half column: Seven ideas to unite liberal Conservatives and market liberals: a personal wish-list

In his weekly Foreign Affairs column, Garvan Walshe reflects on Russia: "Moscow's foreign policy has become the personal codpiece of its diminutive leader – he of the staged archaeological driving expeditions (think of the ageing medieval king whose servants would tie deer and boar to trees so they wouldn't escape the shaky royal arrow)." Putin – proof that size doesn't matter. Because he doesn't know what to do with it

Mark Prisk MP on Comment: Our new grassroots-led campaign to boost Right to Buy

On Majority Conservatism, POLLINGSTATION2Tim Montgomerie writes from Australia on the wisdom of a polling guru: "Abbott’s constant repetition of a few key messages – Scrap the carbon tax; Stop the boats carrying illegal immigrants; and Build more roads – sent political journalists to sleep but they were killer messages identified by Mark Textor’s opinion polling." Modern politics’ golden rule? Ignore media commentators and focus on your key messages

On Local Government, the second post in our series on sponsored academies reports on the pursuit of excellence in Nottingham

The Deep End: Third world schools provide a stark lesson on the need for pupil testing and league tables

Osborne pledges action on the cost of living…

Growth ConHome"George Osborne hinted at action to cut rail fares, energy, water, banking and housing bills yesterday as the political battle shifted from how to get out of recession to who benefits from recovery. In a keynote speech on the economy the Chancellor said that tackling “deep economic problems” rather than a “shopping list of interventions” was the best way of relieving “pressure on the cost of living”. He also made clear the areas where the Government would act to blunt Labour’s charge that most families were still substantially worse off than prior to the crash." – The Times (£)

>Yesterday: ToryDiary – Your five (and a bit) point guide to Osborne’s big speech

>Yesterday: WATCH - The economy is "turning a corner", says George Osborne

…while the IEA warns that slow growth is here to stay

"Not all economists share Mr Osborne’s optimism. Another report out today says the economy is experiencing its slowest recovery for 170 years and will “flatline” for decades. The Institute of Economic Affairs, a think tank, says high tax, debt and regulation will ensure GDP typically grows by just 1 per cent a year, compared to a trend rate since the Eighties of about 2.5 per cent." – Daily Telegraph 

Glimmer of hope in Syrian chemical weapons proposal

"President Obama offered hope last night of a breakthrough on the looming military crisis in Syria after a last-minute Russian effort to put President Assad’s chemical weapons under international control. His remarks came after a day of intense manoeuvring in Damascus, Moscow, London and Washington as Congress returned from its summer break for a crucial series of votes. David Cameron welcomed a proposal to put Syria’s chemical arsenal out of Mr Assad’s reach, although the White House, equally surprised at the offer, urged scepticism." – The Times (£) 

>Yesterday: WATCH - David Cameron: "A political settlement is the only way to a stable, inclusive and democratic Syria"

Britain has become socially and economically liberal

Freedom"Britain has become a "live and let live" society over the last 30 years, with a striking desire for less interference in people's personal choices and sweeping changes in how the country views homosexuality, religion and almost every institution in the land, the annual British social attitudes survey shows…This social liberalism has come in the wake of a consensus around economic liberalism. The report points out that the proportion of people who believe the government has a responsibility to provide a decent standard of living for the unemployed has fallen from 81% in 1985 to 59% today. This break with collectivism appears to support the coalition's message of self-reliance." – The Guardian 

>Today: Stephen Tall's Other Half column - Seven ideas to unite liberal Conservatives and market liberals: a personal wish-list

>Yesterday: ToryDiary - More evidence emerges that young voters are shifting to the right – this time on the welfare state

Cameron to attack civil service chiefs over slow reform

"David Cameron will criticise the slow pace of civil service reform when he appears before a high-powered committee of MPs on Tuesday, intensifying pressure on Sir Bob Kerslake, head of the civil service. The prime minister’s remarks to the Commons liaison committee will come days after Iain Duncan Smith, welfare secretary, described how he had last year “lost faith” in the capacity of civil servants to implement Universal Credit, his flagship reform of the welfare system." – FT 

BBC Money FunnelBBC Trust may be scrapped as Patten forced to accept flaws

"The BBC's governing body may be scrapped because of the executive payoff scandal, Chris Patten conceded yesterday. As his predecessor as chairman of the BBC Trust admitted controversial payoffs to senior executives were ‘eye-watering’, Lord Patten confessed he had failed to protect the interests of the licence-fee payer by clamping down on the issue earlier." – Daily Mail 

  • Cheers in newsroom as MPs pilloried BBC bosses – Daily Mail 
  • Missed opportunity to axe Alan Yentob – Daily Mail 
  • New governance is urgently needed – FT  

Miliband stops standing up to the unions

Miliband Labour Left"Ed Miliband will today try to repair his battered relationship with union barons by insisting they are not ‘the enemy within’. The Labour leader, who owes his job to union voting power, will laud their 6.5million members as ‘the people who make Britain what it is’. But he will acknowledge that his party reforms could mean as few as one in ten union members who currently contribute to Labour coffers will do so in future." – Daily Mail 


Only five A&E consultants working overnight in the NHS

"Figures obtained by the Mail show that just five NHS trusts in England employ a consultant to work in A&E overnight – even though thousands of seriously ill and injured patients turn up during these hours. Although most of the other hospitals have an ‘on-call’ consultant who can be contacted after they have gone home, junior staff are often reluctant to trouble them. Even during the day, 90 per cent of trusts have only one consultant working in A&E at weekends." – Daily Mail 

  • Give every elderly patient a named GP, says Hunt – Daily Mail 

Lawson urges bigger tax breaks for married couples

Lawson Nigel"Introducing a generous tax break for married couples would be the most cost-effective way to help families, a former Tory Chancellor said yesterday. Nigel Lawson backed the idea of a transferable tax allowance that would give married people extra money. But he said the Prime Minister’s plans for a tax break worth an extra £150 a year is ‘very limited’ and should be ‘much more generous’." – Daily Mail 

  • Marriage ceasing to be the foundation of family life – Daily Telegraph 

Faith in pension saving falls further

"The amount that the majority of workers are willing to save into their pension each month has plunged by almost a quarter in the past year. Employees earning under £50,000 who are preparing to be placed onto pension schemes as part of the Government's automatic enrolment programme plan on saving less than they did a year ago, in spite of warnings that millions of people are heading towards retirement without adequate savings." – Daily Mail   

The English support Scottish independence more than Scots

England-flag"Support for Scottish independence is now higher in England than it is north of the Border, according to new research which also suggests a backlash against devolution. For the first time, more English people than Scots back Alex Salmond’s move to break up Britain — 25 per cent compared with 23 per cent — and while support for the policy has been declining over the years north of the Border, the opposite is true in England." – The Times (£) 

>Yesterday: Lord Ashcroft on Comment - What Scots voters think about Scotland's Parliament, leaders and Government

Predatory groomers target asian girls, too

"Groups of Asian men who sexually exploit young girls are targeting Asian Muslim as well as white girls, a report has found. An analysis of known victims of sexual exploitation, who were Asian, Muslim or both, found “the offenders were almost always from the same ethnic background as the victim”." – The Times (£) 

Chris Huhne managed to disgrace himself further 

"It would be difficult to think of an ex-politician who has brought as much ridicule and vitriol upon himself as Chris Huhne did on Monday, by claiming that the moral of the story of his downfall is that newspaper ownership in the UK should be more diverse. He must have suffered a lonely moment when even Nick Clegg disowned him. Whatever case Huhne had to make about the treatment politicians receive from the press, he is the worst person to make it." – Andy McSmith, The Independent 

  • What he claimed, and what really happened, point by point – Daily Mail 

News in brief

  • Information Commissioner under pressure on private eye data – Daily Mail 
  • Fracking offers bridge to a green future – Tim Stone, The Guardian 
  • Bob Crow launches Workers Against the EU – Daily Express 
  • Another Godfrey Bloom blunder – The Independent 
  • David Attenborough praises China's one child policy – Daily Mail 
  • "I still hate Thatcher" mugs for sale at the TUC conference – The Sun (£) 
  • Tasers fired five times a day by police – Daily Mail 
  • Councils refused to find space for 9/11 memorial – Daily Mail
  • Equalities minister calls for curvier shop dummies – The Times (£) 

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