City investors get two thirds of the Royal Mail shares. Smaller investors get the rest.  Which means that half a million people could miss out…

Screen shot 2013-10-11 at 07.47.00“More than half a million ordinary Brits could miss out on a small fortune after a huge stampede to snap up Royal Mail shares by City fatcats. More than 500million shares — 52 per cent of the total — are being sold at an initial price of £3.30 each. It’s one of the biggest Government sell-offs since the 1980s, when British Telecom and British Gas were privatised. Nearly 100,000 smaller investors will receive £750 worth — exactly what they asked for. But around 600,000 who applied for between £750 and £10,000 worth will also only get £750. And 35,000 who applied for more than £10,000 will get nothing.” – The Sun (£)

…But Fraser Nelson argues that the smallest investors are first in the queue, and that the sale’s a triumph for popular capitalism

“Last night, it was decided that those who applied for more than £10,000 of Royal Mail shares will get nothing, and all those who applied for £750 will be fully satisfied. A brilliant idea, which embodies popular capitalism – an offer aimed for the many, not just a handful of merchant banks. Protests about Royal Mail’s sell-off are now almost inaudible – a reminder that the British public is moving to the Right, just at the time when Miliband is moving Labour to the Left.” – Daily Telegraph

A QTWTAIN from John Rentoul: So is this the share float that could win the Tories the next election?

RENTOUL John headshot right“The flotation, rushed as it was, has been a “success”, in the sense that more people applied for shares than were available. The many thousands of successful buyers will feel slightly richer. Some of them might be ever so slightly more inclined to vote Conservative when the election comes. And that is the point. George Osborne’s light remark to the Cabinet, which Andrew Grice reported in yesterday’s Independent – “Hopefully we will get a little housing boom and everyone will be happy as property values go up” – was revealing of the Tory plan.” – The Independent

Meanwhile, Fallon, who’s overseeing the sale, urges the boycott of SSE, after it raises energy bills by £111 a year…

“Mr Fallon said: ‘I would encourage all customers to look again at their tariffs and see if they can switch to a cheaper tariff. It is important that consumers have the power and information to be able to switch accounts. We are encouraging that by simplifying the tariff structure.’ The wholesale price of energy, which makes up half the bill, is up by 4 per cent compared to a year ago. In theory, this should put bills up by only 2 per cent.” – Daily Mail

  • SSE boss blames green taxes for price rise – Financial Times
  • Cameron told reducing green levies could end Ministers up in court… – The Times (£)
  • …And the LibDems say they’d fight any attempt to do so anyway – The Independent
  • British energy consumers are not victims, but they are wasteful – Times Editorial (£)
  • The energy companies “bleat that they make tiny profits on domestic energy. Yet overall they pocket billions.” – Sun Editorial

…And Miliband says: “It’s all nothing to do with me, guv”

MILIBAND Red Ed“Mr Miliband says it is “nonsense” to suggest that Thursday’s 8 per cent price increase by SSE is linked to the Labour pledge: “They’re actually blaming other things today: they don’t seem to be saying it’s to do with us.” The Labour leader also denies that rising prices are connected to green policies stemming from the Climate Change Act that he put through as energy secretary in 2008. “The gas companies have increased their margins and it’s just completely wrong to suggest otherwise,” he says.” – Financial Times (£)

  • Labour leader: I want to reform capitalism, not abolish it – Financial Times

McLoughlin mulls no driving licence till 19 plan

“The measure is aimed at sparing 24 families a day the heartache of deaths and injuries on the road. Rather than letting youngsters drive at 17 if they pass their test, the report recommends at least a one-year learning period, followed by a further 12 months on probation. Other ideas include banning them from driving between 10pm and 5am, a lower alcohol limit and restricting the number of passengers they can carry. The report was written by the Transport Research Laboratory for the Department for Transport.” – Daily Express

Badgers could be gassed, says Paterson

Screen shot 2013-10-11 at 07.52.13“Speaking shortly after the end of a six-week trial cull in Somerset in which marksmen failed to kill enough animals, Mr Paterson said he was examining other ways of reducing their numbers. Responding to a question from the Green MP Caroline Lucas in the Commons, Mr Paterson said: “We have to use the tools used by other sensible countries… We made it quite clear in our TB strategy we would look at other methods of removing wildlife, and yes we are looking at gassing, but we will not use it unless it is proven to be safe, humane and effective.” – The Independent

> Yesterday: Graham Godwin-Pearson on Comment: It’s time to drop the badger cull

Pickles strives to ensure that his wind farm guidance is followed

“In a major boost for anti-wind farm campaigners, Eric Pickles announced new measures to make sure their concerns about the visual and environmental impact must be taken into account. For the next six months his Whitehall department will review many of the appeals – to decide whether angry residents opposing a wind farm should have their concerns upheld.” – Daily Mail

  • Communities Secretary is “the god of small things” – Gaby Hinsliff, The Times (£)

New Housing Minister Hopkins announces that Right to Buy sales have doubled in a year…

Hopkins Kris.ashx“Kris Hopkins, the housing minister, said that 10,000 people had bought their own property after David Cameron introduced changes to Margaret Thatcher’s flagship scheme in April 2012. New figures show that in the year to April 2013, 8,398 council and association tenants exercised the right to buy. A further 2,149 sales have taken place in the first quarter of this year. The purchases will generate £173m in receipts, which councils use to build new homes.” – The Guardian

  • ‘156,000 in arrears’ after council tax support cuts – The Times (£)

…But Isobel Hardman asks: why sack Prisk, Hopkins’s predecessor? Why demote housing – and appoint the third Minister in as many years?

“Mr Prisk moved to the brief a year ago from the Business department, where he was construction minister. He was a quieter and more serious chap than his pugnacious predecessor, Grant Shapps, and didn’t get off to the best start in his new department. He told colleagues that he wasn’t interested in Shapps-style “knockabout”. He didn’t want to help with mischievous stories about his former boss, Vince Cable. Instead, this new housing minister just wanted to get enough homes built.” – Daily Telegraph

> Today: ToryDiary – What signal does it send to appoint the third Housing Minister in as many years?

May v LibDems 1) She battles with the Deputy Prime Minister over immigration plans…

May_hits_Clegg“Theresa May’s scheme requiring all private landlords to check the immigration status of new tenants and lodgers has run straight into trouble with the Liberal Democrats, who have voiced concerns that it will increase homelessness and drive migrants underground into the hands of unscrupulous landlords. A spokesman for Nick Clegg said the home secretary had been forced to agree to restrict the proposal this side of the next general election to a trial scheme in a single area, as the government introduced the immigration bill in the Commons.” – The Guardian

> Yesterday: ToryDiary – May’s new Immigration Bill will catch more illegal immigrants – but will the public believe her?

(…Though she and Clegg agree on something – namely, the irresponsible behaviour of the Guardian)

“There were growing demands last night for an inquiry into whether the Guardian could be prosecuted for publishing top-secret files. The calls came as the row over the leaking of intelligence intensified with Nick Clegg and Theresa May joining the Prime Minister’s attack on the newspaper. It has now been condemned by David Cameron, his deputy and the Home Secretary for revelations described as a ‘gift’ to terrorists by MI5 chief Andrew Parker.” – Daily Mail

May v LibDems 2) She battles with her own Home Office Minister over immigration, drugs, data communications…well, everything, pretty much

Screen shot 2013-10-11 at 07.56.58“In an interview with The Independent, Norman Baker denounced the “hysterical” attacks he had faced this week over the book in which he suggested the Government scientist David Kelly could have been assassinated and his murder covered up. And he disclosed he had been given the go-ahead by the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, to range across all policy areas to “make sure there is a liberal voice clearly heard in the Home Office”.” – The Independent

Decentralise some benefits, says Clegg

“Local councils should be responsible for setting some benefits, Nick Clegg has said, as the deputy prime minister pushes for a significant power shift away from Whitehall to regional authorities. Speaking to a committee of MPs on Thursday, Mr Clegg revealed he is pushing to decentralise parts of the welfare system to make cities responsible for deciding who should be able to claim benefits and how much support they should get.” – Financial Times (£)

“Very assertive” Carmichael tells his new Cabinet colleagues how to fight the SNP

Screen shot 2013-10-11 at 07.59.25“The new Scottish Secretary, Alistair Carmichael, has told his Cabinet colleagues to get more heavily involved in the anti-independence battle and come north “to learn” rather than give lectures. Mr Carmichael said that he was going to be “very assertive” with his fellow ministers and had already talked to them about how they should present themselves in Scotland.  He took up the post on Monday after Michael Moore became a high-profile casualty of David Cameron’s reshuffle.” – The Times (£)

Gove unveils Labour plot to close Free Schools

“Labour is planning a secret review into whether children who attend free schools are being educated in “unsuitable buildings” and should be moved elsewhere, in a move likely to provoke uncertainty for pupils and their parents. A source close to Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, said that the hitherto undisclosed review looked like a back-door attempt to close the 174 existing and 100 planned free schools which will educate 130,000 pupils.” – The Times (£)

  • We’ve moved on from the Blairite v Brownite wars – Philip Collins, The Times (£)

The humiliation of Adam Afriyie. First, almost every 2010 intake Tory MP urges him to withdraw Wharton Bill amendment. Next, he hints that he may do on ConservativeHome

ConHome - Adam Afriyie“Wharton, who warned over the weekend that the Afriyie amendment risks killing his bill, has persuaded more than 140 of the 147 Tory MPs elected in 2010 to sign a letter to the former shadow science minister calling on him to withdraw his letter.The letter, published by the Spectator’s Coffee House blog, says: “…We believe that the bill before the House provides in its current form the best opportunity to secure this outcome, in part because of its uncomplicated, unambiguous nature.” – The Guardian

> Yesterday:

Bernard Jenkin: All male Conservative MPs risk seeming to be sexist

“Every Tory man risks appearing sexist, causing harm to the party’s re-election hopes, a senior Conservative MP warned tonight. Bernard Jenkin said even David Cameron was guilty of ‘unconscious slights to women’, including  greeting a leading businesswoman by asking where her husband was. Too often Conservative men think female colleagues can be left to deal with ‘women’s issues’, while ‘men get on with running the country’.” – Daily Mail

Jenkin’s House Magazine Diary in full

Thatcher raged at “spineless, gutless Judases”, “turncoats and traitors” and…John “no backbone” Major

Thatcher Sep 11“She vented her spleen not just in ­private conversations, but also in ­public interviews. She repeatedly referred to herself as ‘the only ­undefeated prime minister’. She became recklessly indiscreet. I recall a dinner party when she openly mocked her successor John Major as ‘a puir wee bairn’ with ‘no courage and no backbone’ who was ‘hell-bent on destroying the legacy I left him’.” – Jonathan Aitken, Daily Mail

News in Brief

  • Hunt orders inquiry into 48-hour ‘straitjacket’ – The Guardian
  • Burns “I can work with Bercow” shocker – BBC
  • Vandals cause £1m of damage at Richard Benyon’s country estate – Daily Telegraph
  • Press regulation talks go to the wire – Financial Times
  • ‘Silent’ Leveson clashes with MPs over future of newspaper regulation – Daily Express
  • OFSTED chief says that prisoners should be able to conceal convictions to find work – The Times (£)
  • Policy Exchange: State workers are earning over £3,000 more than private employees – Daily Express
  • The Victorians were deeply caring – Simon Heffer, Daily Mail
  • No deal: Republicans and White House fail to reach agreement on short-term debt-ceiling increase – The Independent
  • Sally Bercow flashes new tattoo dedicated to her children – Daily Mail

And finally…new Health Minister Jane Ellison announces a squeeze on builders’ bottoms

Screen shot 2013-10-11 at 08.14.07“In a move likely to elicit cries of “nanny state” from building sites throughout the country, newly-appointed public health minister Jane Ellison has announced her first priority – urging construction workers to “get into shape”. Thirty companies have already signed up to a number of measures, which include urging staff canteens to serve healthier, low fat, low salt meals – replacing the traditional builders’ breakfast of bacon, sausage and eggs. In an unusually vivid policy announcement, DH officials said that “the image of the bottom-baring, overweight builder” would be replaced by “workers who are hands-on, well-oiled machines”.” – The Independent

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