Labour collapse in Scotland

Labour holes‘Labour faces near wipeout in Scotland next May in a setback that could cost Ed Miliband the general election, according to a new poll for The Times. Mr Miliband’s personal ratings have also plunged since the referendum seven weeks ago, the YouGov poll of Scottish voters has found…The poll suggests that Labour is on course to lose 30 of its 40 MPs in Scotland.’ – The Times (£)

>Today: ToryDiary: Scotland. Labour’s troubles. A Conservative opportunity?

>Yesterday: Graeme Archer’s column: Miliband and His Problems (as T.S.Eliot nearly wrote)

Montgomerie: Austerity is dead and buried

‘As we march into the future the nations that have done more to reduce their deficits (such as Spain, Ireland and, embarrassingly, Greece) will be able to spend a greater share of their future taxes on roads, universities and other economy-enhancing infrastructure projects. An increasing share of our taxes will go on servicing the £600 billion we’ve already borrowed to get through the Great Recession — and with much more borrowing still to come.’ – Tim Montgomerie, The Times (£)

  • IFS savages the government’s cuts claims – FT
  • Cameron wants permanently low interest rates – Daily Telegraph
  • Northern Ireland strikes budget deal – FT

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Osborne has not given up on deficit reduction

IDS: We must support marriage

Family shield‘I believe part of the problem lies in politicians shying away from promoting strong family relationships, at the heart of which lies marriage – for fear of being thought judgmental. Yet evidence tells us that any Government serious about promoting a strong society must strengthen and support families – and marriage.’ – Iain Duncan Smith MP, Daily Mail

  • Every new law must support the family – The Sun (£)
  • Birmingham’s family sculpture features no father – Daily Mail Leader 

>Yesterday: Ryan Bourne and Kristian Niemietz on Comment: Tory Reform 4) Iain Duncan Smith – a tenacious reformer on a moral mission

Coalition mulls blanket ban on ‘legal highs’

‘The prime minister called for “tougher powers” to ban new psychoactive substances and reiterated his refusal to consider the decriminalisation of illegal drugs. Speaking during a visit to Cheshire, David Cameron said: “I want to see us have tougher powers so that we ban these legal highs.” The Lib Dems also threw their support behind a blanket ban, marking a rare element of consensus between the coalition partners on drugs policy.’ – The Times (£)

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: The mind-bending politics of drugs

Aid ‘encouraging bribes’

aidgraphic‘The billions Britain pours into foreign aid are actually doing harm by making corruption worse in many parts of the world, a damning report reveals. It says projects funded by UK cash are increasing opportunities for bribery.’ – Daily Mail

Cameron: firms will ‘damn well pay’ their tax

‘Companies which exploit loopholes to avoid paying tax in Britain will be made to ‘damn well pay’, David Cameron said last night…Mr Cameron said: ‘We’ve cut the rate of corporation tax down to 20 per cent, we’re the most competitive place to come and start a business, but here’s the deal – if they have a low tax rate, those companies have damn well got to pay it.’ – Daily Mail

  • Air Passenger Duty ‘out of control’ – Daily Mail
  • Hodge attacks tax cuts – FT
  • We need a solution to low wages – FT Leader

Osborne announces new powers – and a new mayor – for Manchester

OSBORNE red and blue‘George Osborne is to announce plans for a new mayor of Greater Manchester and a package of additional powers for the metropolitan region as the Conservatives and Labour compete to devolve more powers to the regions. The deal for Greater Manchester, which the Treasury is finalising on Friday, comes amid a renewal of devolutionary fervour.’ – FT

  • Bristol to become a ‘smart city’ – FT

Woolf under fire after redrafts of her letter on Lady Brittan revealed

‘Fiona Woolf is already under pressure to resign because of her personal relationship to the Tory peer, who is at the centre of allegations of an Establishment cover-up of sex abuse claims in the 1980s. It has now emerged that she made several changes to a formal letter she sent to Theresa May about possible conflicts of interest.’ – Daily Mail

Merlin problems strike Rochester campaign

Union Jack Tree Logo‘Tories in Rochester and Strood said that software designed to target voters was in disarray just weeks before the by-election was triggered, in a revelation that casts doubt on Conservative prospects of victory…Andrew Mackness, the chairman of the local Tory association, said in July that the Merlin software, designed to help campaigners target the right voters, “has proved a disaster”.’ – The Times (£)

South Yorkshire PCC by-election hangs in the balance

‘UKIP are on the verge of causing a major upset in Ed Miliband’s backyard. The party could today seize the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner post following the Rotherham child sex abuse scandal. Voters went to the polls across the Sheffield, Rotherham, Barnsley and Doncaster districts after 2012 winner Shaun Wright resigned over the scandal.’ – The Sun (£)

  • Abusers still ‘on the streets’ in Rochdale – Daily Mail

Blair warns against aping UKIP on immigration

tony-blair‘Curbing immigration to Britain would be a ‘disaster’, Tony Blair has claimed in a warning against Labour copying UKIP policies. The former prime minister said Labour must be ‘really careful’ of saying things that suggested Nigel Farage’s party is justified in its policies.’ – Daily Mail

>Today: Iain Dale’s Friday Diary: My date in the dark with Sadiq Khan

One in seven young Brits sympathise with ISIS

‘Isis is riding a surge of “anti-politics” sentiment among disaffected under-35s who admire the jihadists’ courage, academics warn. A tenth of Londoners and one in 12 Scots view Islamic State (Isis) favourably, but sympathy for the militant group reaches its highest levels among the under-25s, the Populus survey found.’ – The Times (£)

>Yesterday: Left Watch: Pinning Down Miliband: What is Labour’s defence policy?

News in brief