Cameron’s net safety plan: Google promises to block search results linked to child abuse

Google“Internet search reAults linked to child abuse are to be blocked across the world in a stunning U-turn by Google. … The company’s chairman Eric Schmidt, writing in today’s Daily Mail ahead of a Downing Street summit on internet pornography says: ‘We’ve listened.’ … David Cameron, in an interview with this newspaper, said the move ‘represented a really significant step forward’ but was not enough – and threatened legislation if the firms refuse to do more.” – Daily Mail

“David Cameron has ordered spy agency GCHQ to break into the secret internet networks of paedophiles.” – The Sun (£)

“Britain and the United States will join forces to tackle child abuse online, David Cameron will announce today at a Downing Street summit” – The Independent

  •  “We’ve listened – and here’s how we’ll halt this depravity.” – Eric Schmidt, Daily Mail
  • “Victory on web porn, but the fight goes on” – Daily Mail editorial
  • “The schoolyard addiction of extreme porn” – Libby Purves, The Times (£)

The Prime Minister declines to lower the age of consent

CAMERON byline photo“A leading public health expert’s proposal to lower the age of consent to 15 has been swiftly rejected by the Prime Minister … Downing Street shot down the idea, saying the age at 16 was in place to protect children and there were ‘no plans to change it’.” – Daily Mail

  • “What most young people need is what this government seems reluctant to offer: better education about sex and relationships.” – Guardian editorial

The union bosses and the Lib Dems line up against Cameron’s probe into bully-boy tactics

“Militant union bosses last night warned their members not to ‘collaborate’ with a government inquiry into the use of bully-boy tactics in industrial disputes. … [S]enior Liberal Democrats also voiced concerns, saying they would not allow the review – which they insist will also examine tactics used by some companies – to become an exercise in ‘union bashing’.” – Daily Mail

  • “Thousands of construction workers on an industry blacklist have been offered compensation payments of up to £100,000 each, just as the government launches a review of malpractice by both unions and employers across all sectors.” – Financial Times

Osborne set to be given a fiscal boost

OSBORNE blue tie“Government borrowing is on course to fall up to £20 billion below expectations this year, handing Chancellor George Osborne a major boost ahead of next month’s Autumn Statement. … Economic watchdog the Office for Budget Responsibility is this week expected to slash its borrowing forecasts for the year from £120 billion to as little as £100 billion.” – Daily Mail

  • “George Osborne is prepared to implement a fresh cut in income tax for low-earning workers suggested by Nick Clegg, the Conservatives signal” – Daily Telegraph

As Tory MPs press the Chancellor for middle-class tax cuts

“The Free Enterprise Group, an alliance of Tory MPs from the right of the party, dominated by those in the 2010 intake, believe that the personal allowance is not an immediate priority and will set out alternatives today. … Dominic Raab, a leading member of the group, said that another rise in the personal allowance would be unwelcome because it does little to help the middle classes, who have increasingly been dragged into the top rate of tax.” – The Times (£)

“An influential group of Conservative MPs will today call for stamp duty to be scrapped on all homes worth less than £500,000. … The change would be included as part of a package of tax cuts to help Britain’s middle classes.” – Daily Mail

  • “The squeezed middle class also deserves a tax cut” – Dominic Raab, The Times (£)
  • “High tax is a burden on us all” – Daily Telegraph editorial

> Today on ToryDiary: Any tax cuts should help poorer workers first

> Yesterday on ToryDiary: Lib Dems lack credibility on tax cuts

Greening accused of “flat-footed” response to the Philippines disaster…

Philippines appeal“International Development Secretary Justine Greening is under fire within Government for her ‘flat-footed’ response to the Philippines typhoon. … A senior Tory source said Miss Greening has been slow to grasp the enormity of typhoon Haiyan and appeared out of touch with the public over a disaster that has touched the hearts of millions in this country.” – Daily Mail

  • “Typhoon Haiyan must spur us on to slow climate change” – Chris Huhne, The Guardian

…and she’s also attacked by Carswell for subscribing to aid pledge

“International Development Secretary Justine Greening said Britain should carry on handing out 0.7 per cent of its annual wealth in the next Parliament. … But Tory MP Douglas Carswell, who grew up in Africa, said: “The 0.7 per cent target is a number plucked out of thin air by experts over a generation ago.” – The Sun (£)

Danny Kruger: 21st Century charities spy potential, not need

“There is another way of doing things. The way to treat a charity’s beneficiary is not as a liability but as an undeveloped asset. Rather than focusing endlessly on an offender’s crimes, or an addict’s drug of choice, we should focus on what the individual in question is good at – and invest in that. We find that this way, the offending or the addiction reduces naturally.” – Danny Kruger, The Times (£)

More discouraging news from the North for the Tories

“Tory support in the North has dropped further and the party is set to fare as badly there as in Scotland, a poll reveals. … The party’s support in the region has dropped from 31 per cent to 29 per cent, with Labour, whose fortunes have improved in recent weeks, strengthening in its northern heartlands.” – Daily Mail

  • “Ambitious plans to hand control of the bulk of the north of England’s rail networks over to local councils to help improve services have stalled in Whitehall, potentially undermining support in the region for high speed rail.” – Financial Times

Boris: “We should humbly thank the super-rich, not bash them”

BORIS open mouth“It is through their restless concupiscent energy and sheer wealth-creating dynamism that we pay for an ever-growing proportion of public services. The top one per cent of earners now pay 29.8 per cent of all the income tax and National Insurance received by the Treasury.” – Boris Johnson, Daily Telegraph

Former Tory donor Paul Sykes pledges to do “whatever it takes” to help UKIP triumph

“The UK Independence Party will receive a multi-million pound boost before next year’s European elections after winning support from one of Britain’s wealthiest businessmen. … Paul Sykes, a self-made tycoon and veteran of the campaign to keep the pound 15 years ago, has promised to do ‘whatever it takes’ to help Ukip top the polls in May.” – Daily Telegraph

Read the Daily Telegraph’s full interview with Paul Sykes

  • “Sykes and Ukip could put Labour into No.10” – Daily Telegraph editorial

Farage: “We will never reduce energy bills as long as we are in hock to the green lobby”

“We are doing massive economic damage in the UK. We need to scrap all the current green taxes and subsidy schemes from new projects. We need urgently to develop gas exploration and recovery here in the UK. We need an energy generation system based on proven, reliable, grown-up technologies: coal, gas and nuclear. But, of course, we can’t do these things as long as we’re bound by last-century thinking and regulation from Brussels.” – Nigel Farage, The Independent

“At last, a Plan B to stop global warming” – Bjorn Lomborg, The Times (£)

  • Some energy companies keep their customers on hold for up to 47 minutes – Daily Mail

> Today on the Deep End: How much oxygen for Nigel Farage? An important constitutional question

Steve Webb rails against rip-off pensions

Steve Webb“Rip-off insurance firms are raiding the pensions of millions of older workers while failing to offer a decent income from the investment, experts claimed last night. … Pensions minister Steve Webb has accused the firms involved of making ‘excess profits’ in a scandal likened to the mis-selling of payment protection insurance.” – Daily Mail

> Today, by Malcolm Small on Comment: The pension system needs urgent reform

Labour’s Co-op Bank concerns

  • “Apart from the serious debts and the likely big drop in revenue from the unions, Labour’s big worry is the fate of the stricken Co-op Bank. … The party has a £1.3 million overdraft with the bank, a sum which could be called in by the Co-op’s very unsocialist new owners and which could, in theory, bankrupt the party.” – Andrew Pierce, Daily Mail
  • “Why didn’t Balls and his cronies see what is now so obvious: that the bosses, especially its chairman, were simply not up to the task of running a million-pound bank. … Could it be they deliberately turned a blind eye because they have been financially dependent on the Co-operative?” – Alex Brummer, Daily Mail
  • “Leaving aside Reverend Flowers’ drug abuse, the truly indefensible thing was how little this Co-op Group chairman knew about finance” – Independent editorial

Miliband to highlight the “childcare crunch”

MILIBAND Ed red background“Miliband will draw attention to the ‘childcare crunch’ in a speech on Monday by pointing out that the average cost of a weekly nursery place for a child aged two or over for 25 hours a week has gone up to £107 in 2013, from £82 in 2010.” – The Guardian

  • TUC slams “Scrooge of Europe” UK over poor maternity pay – The Independent
  • Michael Dugher on Labour’s 2015 election strategy: this will be the most personal election ever – The Independent

The unions urge Balls to back HS2

“Failing to build HS2 would be ‘disastrous for the British economy’, unions have warned the shadow chancellor, Ed Balls, on the back of fears that he is undermining Labour support for the rail scheme.” – The Guardian

Cooper exposes figures showing that half of all reported child sex crime are being dropped by the police

“More than half of all reported child sex crimes are being dropped by police, The Sun can reveal. … Just 49 per cent of allegations were referred by cops to prosecutors in 2013 – the lowest figure in years. … Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper – who exposed the figures in questions to ministers – branded them ‘shocking and deeply disturbing’ last night.” – The Sun (£)

NHS consultants should work on weekends, says report

“NHS consultants should work on weekends because it is ‘wrong’ for patients to be at greater risk on Saturdays and Sundays, a report has said. … The Academy of Royal Colleges says drastic changes should be made to the running of hospitals so that senior staff, emergency tests and urgent surgery are quickly accessible each day.” – Daily Mail

Think-tank proposes higher minimum wage for London

“Raising the adult minimum wage in London to £6.75 per hour – 44p higher than the national minimum wage rate – would help tackle poverty without causing job losses, according to a report by the Centre for London think-tank.” – Financial Times

Companies prepare for cross-examination by select committee

“An investigation by The Independent has found a plethora of lobbying firms which are hiring out their services to executives facing cross examination by select committees. The companies offer to put witnesses through most examinations, draft likely questions and provide clients with inside information on the ‘motivations and objectives’ of the committees and the MPs who sit on them.” – The Independent

News in brief

  • Malnutrition cases almost double across the past five years – Daily Mail
  • Row breaks out over the will of the late Labour MP Jimmy Wray – Daily Mail
  • Terror trial could be held in secret to “stop [the defendants’] conspirators being tipped off” – Daily Mail
  • Top directors’ pay rises 14 per cent in past year – Financial Times
  • Michael D Higgins is to become the first Irish head of state to make an official state visit to the UK – The Independent
  • Report suggests that paying high levels of benefits to the unemployed does not make them lazy – The Independent

And finally… Cameron’s cufflinks trauma

Cufflinks“David Cameron is being forced to wear New Zealand flag cufflinks after losing a bet over England’s defeat to the All Blacks. … He had a wager on the game – which ended in 22-30 defeat at Twickenham on Saturday – with Kiwi PM John Key.” – The Sun (£)

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