Mandela 1) Special ceremony at Westminster Hall to commemorate him

guardianmandela“The UK Parliament is to host a special ceremony to commemorate the life of Nelson Mandela, who has died aged 95. Sources say the event will be for a wide range of people whose lives were influenced by the former South African president.” – BBC

  • “World leaders are preparing to converge in unprecedented numbers on South Africa for Nelson Mandela’s funeral, likely to be one of the biggest global gatherings of powerful people in modern history. As South Africa embarked on nine days of mourning, comparisons were being drawn with earlier mammoth funeral ceremonies, of Pope John Paul II, Princess Diana, President John F Kennedy and Winston Churchill.” – The Guardian
  • “The leaders of Britain’s three main political parties will lead tributes by MPs to Nelson Mandela in the House of Commons on Monday, as normal parliamentary business is suspended… Mr Cameron and senior British politicians are also expected to fly to South Africa early next week to attend a memorial service for the former president. Details were being finalised on Friday night with the South African government and Mandela family.” – The Independent
  • “Margaret Thatcher’s government was right to ignore sanctions against apartheid-era South Africa, former Tory chairman Lord Tebbit has said. He also defended Conservatives, including Lady Thatcher, who had described Nelson Mandela as the leader of a “terrorist” organisation.” – BBC

Mandela 2) Cameron writes of his memories

“Several years ago, while I was Leader of the Opposition, I was invited to a London hotel to meet Nelson Mandela. The whole thing is vivid in my memory: how he never stopped smiling; and how gracious he was to Samantha and me….When in Opposition I visited him in South Africa and I went to an Aids respite centre and orphanage. I will never forget the rooms of mothers dying slowly. He admitted that during his time as President he failed to confront the issue. But he had the courage and humility to recognise this and the resolve to do something about it.” – David Cameron The Times(£)

Mandela 3) He was pro-British, says Charles Moore

“The Boer war was the first of the great anti-colonial battles of the 20th century. The Afrikaners – then – were seen by liberals across the world as freedom-fighters. It was into this context, in 1918, that Rolihlahla Mandela was born. Britain gave him the name by which he was ever after known. His British teacher, a Mr Wellington, could not pronounce Rolihlahla and called him “Nelson” instead. Mandela did not mind. “Lord Nelson is a famous historical figure,” he wrote, “…the name Nelson is too famous for you just to throw it away.” – Charles Moore Daily Telegraph

Mandela 4) John Major argues that he was a pragmatist

“In government, he proved to be wise and even-handed. He inherited high unemployment and social deprivation, yet – despite being politically to the Left – did not shrink from using capitalist methods to fight them. He said famously: “Money won’t create success, the freedom to make it will.” It was a truism any Conservative might have uttered.” – John Major Daily Telegraph

Never mind the adulation, warns Matthew Parris: South Africa may still face a day of reckoning

“As this weekend we wallow in what (as I write) appears a virtual orgy of adulation — bleary, heavy, sloppy, mindless and unfocused — and as from broadcasters pours an unremitting barrage of white men interviewing each other, we need the reality check that our media seem incapable of providing. The question is so simple. Was Mandela more than a postponement?” – Matthew Parris The Times(£)

IFS claim Osborne relying on £12 billion of uncertain revenues…

timesosborne“Households face a new round of tax rises or welfare cuts after the election to fill a £12 billion hole in the Chancellor’s austerity plans, a leading think-tank has warned…The Chancellor is relying on “uncertain revenues” from a crackdown on tax avoidance and increase in the bank levy to fund a series of giveaways, the IFS said.” The Times(£)

  • “George Osborne has hit back at fears the UK’s economic recovery is based solely on a boom in consumer spending. The chancellor said exports and investment were also picking up – but there was still work to be done to create a more “balanced” economy. He delivered an upbeat Autumn Statement on Thursday, claiming critics of his austerity plan had been proved wrong.” – BBC
  • Chancellor has raised taxes 509 times since taking power – The Sun(£)
  • System would collapse without pension age raise says Osborne – Daily Telegraph
  • Chancellor to treble revenue from Stamp Duty – Daily Telegraph
  • The timeline for the tax changes –  Daily Telegraph

…and says we will be poorer in 2015 than in 2010

“Brits will be “substantially” poorer at the general election than they were in 2010 – despite next year’s return to real wage rises, experts have said. Average household incomes will be around 5% less in 2015 than five years earlier. The prediction by the Institute for Fiscal Studies – after pouring over George Osborne’s Autumn Statement figures – is a blow to him.” – The Sun(£)

  • “Osborne sought to counter Labour’s claims this week by using a different way of calculating incomes to show total household incomes rose by 3.9% between their pre-recession peak of early 2008 and the second quarter of 2013.” – The Guardian

Tory MPs accused of sexist hand gestures

“An MP has claimed some Conservatives make lurid hand gestures towards Labour women during debates in the Commons. Sarah Champion said there was an “insidious” sexist culture in which “some Tories are very good at gesticulating about female assets”.” – BBC

Biffen suffered from depression

“For most of his career, John Biffen, a Cabinet minister under Margaret Thatcher, suffered from debilitating episodes of depression that have only now, six years after his death, been fully revealed.In his posthumous autobiography, Semi-Detached , published on  Monday, Biffen reveals that he was first struck by depression two years after becoming MP  for Oswestry in 1961.” – The Times (£)

GPs are too slow to spot cancer

“Family doctors accused of failing cancer sufferers after first ever GP league tables found more than half not referring such patients to specialists quickly enough.” – Daily Telegraph

  • “Government guidelines state that all patients suspected by their GP of having cancer must be referred for an urgent appointment with a hospital specialist within two weeks. But the data shows that in one practice, 1 Marine Parade, in Lowestoft, Suffolk, only 6 per cent of patients were sent for these fast-track consultations…..Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the figures showed ‘unacceptable variation’ across the country. Every single patient in the NHS has a right to the very best care,’ he added.” – Daily Mail

Pickles freezes parking charges

PICKLES Eric smiling“PARKING charges are to be frozen in a bid to get more people shopping in their local High Street. The measure was announced by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles, who also wants councils to stop using CCTV to enforce parking rules.” – The Sun(£)

  • “FREEZING parking charges will do nothing to revive our dying high streets despite the best intentions of the Government. …Slamming parking charges into reverse is the only prayer they’ve got.” – The Sun Says(£)

Gove “dithers” over expanding grammar schools in Kent

“Joe Shute reports from the county where selective education is so popular it means a two-hour commute for some pupils – and a headache for the Government.” – Daily Telegraph

Cherish marriage, says IDS

“The state must take steps to bolster the institution of marriage which it has been “tilted against” for too long, Iain Duncan Smith said yesterday. Pledging action to rectify the balance, the Work and Pensions Secretary said: “When this Government entered office we inherited a state system in which support for marriage had been casually withdrawn.” – The Times(£)

Don’t agree to ab in/out referendum – Cable’s plea to Miliband

“Vince Cable yesterday urged Ed Miliband to hold firm against calling a referendum on membership of the European Union because the Business Secretary believes it is the only way Britain could end up voting to leave.” – The Times(£)

Miliband says Labour champion small business

“To mark the fact that this Saturday has been designated Small Business Saturday in an attempt to encourage consumers to support small businesses, emulating a US scheme, Miliband will be visiting shops in Crystal Palace, south London. In its own initiative, the Department for Business will publish its own manifesto, Small Business, GREAT Ambition, highlighting government commitments to help small firms.” – The Guardian

News in brief

  • Home security firms price cartel – BBC
  • UKIP’s ethnic minority rising stars – The Times(£)
  • House prices up 7.7 per cent in a year – Daily Mail
  • Mopping up after worset storm for 60 years – Daily Express
  • Selling student loan book won’t fund lifting cap on college places- The Independent
  • Plan to end dining rights for disgraced peers – The Times(£)

And finally…Florence stars in Prime Minister’s Christmas card

“Offerring a shy smile from behind mum’s cheek, Florence Rose Endellion Cameron is the star of Number 10’s official Christmas card, ready to be sent to world leaders and dignitaries.” – Daily Mail


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