Churchill 1) Half a century on Cameron leads the tributes

churchill“A day of events has been held in London to mark the 50th anniversary of Sir Winston Churchill’s funeral. The boat that carried the former prime minister’s coffin along the Thames in 1965 repeated the journey, with members of his family among those on board. Earlier, Prime Minister David Cameron laid a wreath in memory of the World War Two leader, whom he called “a great leader and great Briton”. An evening service was held at Westminster Abbey. Speaking at a service in Parliament at the start of the day of commemorations, Mr Cameron said: “If there is one aspect of this man I admire more than any other – it is Churchill the patriot.” – BBC

  • “WINSTON Churchill reckoned King Alfred was the greatest Englishman. That’s as may be. But, if so, Churchill himself is the greatest since.” – The Sun Says(£)
  • Churchill inspired the whole world says Cameron – Daily Telegraph
  • No politician today can equal Churchill’s stature but he offers useful lessons – Leader The Times(£)

Churchill 2) Barge used for the State Funeral sails the Thames once more

“Back in 1965, it was the cranes – bowing in that famous tableau of mechanical mourning – which ‘undid’ members of the Churchill family. Yesterday it was the crowds on the bridges. Exactly 50 years to the very moment when Sir Winston Churchill was carried from his state funeral to his final resting place, many of the same mourners were making the same journey on the same boat, the Havengore. Many thousands of ordinary people had turned out to pay their respects, too, as the 84ft former Port of London Authority launch made its way to Westminster carrying a wreath surmounted with the great man’s trademark – a huge ‘V’ for victory.” – Daily Mail

Churchill 3) Charles Moore recalls the day

MOORE Charles blue background“Fifty years ago yesterday, along with hundreds of thousands of others, I watched Winston Churchill’s body pass through London. We were on a balcony in Whitehall. I was eight years old. Everything was military. The route was lined by servicemen. The coffin, wrapped in the Union flag, lay on a gun carriage. All this was fitting, of course, for the man who had served in the Army, run the Navy and then led us to victory in our greatest war. But the problems with which all Churchill’s successors have had to wrestle have – thank goodness – been chiefly those of peace.” – Charles Moore Daily Telegraph

Boris stands by his attack on “porn driven” Islamist terrorists

“Boris Johnson has described men who join religious extremist groups such as Islamic State as “losers” who are likely to be users of pornography. The Mayor of London told The Sun those turning to violence had low self-esteem and were unsuccessful with women. The Tory politician cited an MI5 report into extremism that had compiled psychological profiles of jihadists. ..Asked about his remarks later, Mr Johnson said he did not believe “anyone could seriously contest a word I said”.”- BBC

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Johnson and Javid. Two prospective leadership candidates. And two interviews.

Shapps says mmigrants to Britain are natural Conservatives…

SHAPPS Grant favourite“Immigrants to Britain are natural Conservatives who are finding the party more and more attractive, Grant Shapps has claimed. The Tory party chairman said the Conservative message of working hard and getting on appeals to voters who have come to settle in Britain and often ‘work every hour’ to provide for their family. Mr Shapps was responding to Manchester University research, reported in yesterday’s Daily Mail, showing two London seats – Brent North and East Ham – which will be contested at the general election contain a majority of voters born overseas.” – Daily Mail

  • Shapps “won’t investigate” Tory plot to trip up BBC cameraman- The Sun(£)

…and rules out coalition with UKIP

“The Conservative party chairman, Grant Shapps, has ruled out any kind of deal with Ukip after the election, putting him at odds with David Cameron who has repeatedly refused to do so. Shapps made the comments at the launch of a document pouring scorn on Labour’s first 30 days of campaigning. He was mostly grilled about the Tories’ policies and the potential for a future relationship with Nigel Farage’s party.” – The Guardian

Mitchell faces extra half million pound bill for during down libel settlement

Andrew Mitchell talking to press“Former minister Andrew Mitchell refused an offer to settle his “Plebgate” libel case just two months before he lost, court papers seen by the BBC show. The Tory MP could have saved at least £500,000 in legal costs had he accepted a deal from the Sun’s publishers, News Group newspapers, last September. A judge ruled in November the ex-chief whip probably had called a policeman at Downing Street’s gates a “pleb”. Mr Mitchell accepted using bad language but said he had not used that word.” – BBC

Miliband’s worse than Kinnock playwright David Hare tells The Guardian…

Miliband coffee“Labour is now comprehensively failing to provide a convincing narrative on a scale bigger even than during Neil Kinnock’s doomed 1992 election campaign, according to the influential playwright David Hare. In an excoriating analysis of Labour’s leadership, he suggests that Miliband struggles to connect with the public, saying “you can only make a great speech if you have a great analysis”. But he also turns on the entire political class, saying it is their fault that they are now perceived as a “self-interested cartel”.” – The Guardian

  • Can Labour find its voice? – David Hare The Guardian
  • A week that wrecked Red Ed’s campaign – Leader Daily Mail

…so who might take over asks James Kirkup in The Daily Telegraph

“Some Labour MPs are spending rather more time than they should be talking about who their next leader will be. Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Chuka Umunna are the best-established candidates, but other names are coming into play, names like Liz Kendall, a health spokesman, Dan Jarvis, a soldier-turned politician. Tristram Hunt, the shadow education secretary, is also “very active”, looking for friends and supporters in Parliament and the party membership, MPs say. “People are manoeuvring for position, trying to raise their profile,” says an MP. “If we win, they might get better jobs in government. If we lose, Ed’s gone and they’re ready to run. So why not put yourself about a bit now?”- James Kirkup Daily Telegraph

Parris: Labour must become big spenders again

PARRIS Mathhew“Face it, Mr Blair had no more to do with the British Labour party than Beagle 2 with Mars; he just landed on it. Face it, Labour and new Labour don’t fit together. Face it, new or old, the party can’t win the election. But it can live to fight another day. To survive, to maximise support, Labour people must hunker down with their own values, stay true to themselves and their own supporters, believe their day will come and wait. Nothing else would be plausible. No other position could hold.” – Matthew Parris The Times(£)

Labour/SNP deal would destabilise Britain say voters

“Britain will be destabilised if Labour does a post-election deal with the SNP, English voters believe according to new research that reveals the height of opposition to a coalition between the pair. Two in three English voters disapprove of Ed Miliband using the support of the Scottish Nationalists to enter Number 10 after the election, once don’t knows are excluded.” – Daily Telegraph

Clegg: I wanted to slap Cameron

CLEGG Bird“Nick Clegg has admitted he wanted to slap David Cameron on more than 20 occasions during their time in coalition…During the appearance on Channel 4’s The Last Leg, he was asked how many times in the last five years he had wanted to give the prime minister a slap. “A few times, yes, and, I think, likewise,” he replied. Pressed on whether it was more than 10 or 20 times, he said: “Oh, more than that.” – The Guardian

The Prince of Wales wants to reform the Honours System..

“We understand that Prince Charles, a man who is sometimes found sleeping at his study desk in Clarence House after writing and thinking well past midnight, has turned his thoughts to the honours system. ‘This is one area where his opinions might even be welcomed,’ declares one close friend. ‘Why, for example, should people still be invested with an order of a defunct British empire?’ (The CBE, for example, stands for Commander of the most excellent order of the British Empire.)” – Richard Kay and Geoffrey Levy Daily Mail

…as he discusses what sort of King he should be

Prince Charles“The Prince of Wales has discussed with the Queen the “sensitive matter” of what sort of king he should be, royal aides have disclosed as they prepare for the publication of a new biography which explores the Prince’s preparations for kingship. Sources close to the Prince have said there is “no-one” other than his mother with whom he would talk about his plans for the monarchy, adding that nobody else would ever be present when such discussions took place.” – Daily Telegraph

>Today: ToryDiary: The Prince of Wales should carry on “meddling”

University applications at record high

“University applications have reached record levels, according to the Ucas admissions service. These figures, showing applications for full-time courses starting in autumn 2015, show increases in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. More than 592,000 people have applied so far, up 2% compared with the same point last year. Business Secretary Vince Cable said it showed the progress made “to break down barriers to higher education”.” – BBC

Given every police officer a taser says Police Federation

guardiantaser“Every frontline uniformed police officer should be offered a Taser stun gun to fight off possible murder attempts by terrorists, says the leader of the body representing rank and file officers in England and Wales. Steve White, who chairs the Police Federation, said the availability of Tasers needs to be expanded because of evidence of terrorists’ plans to kill officers, who are traditionally unarmed. In an interview with the Guardian, White said: “The terrorist ideal to get attention no longer relies on an attack being in a place of note. It could be in Cheam high street, in any town, in any part of the UK.” – The Guardian

  • “In 2013, Tasers were deployed 10,380 times across England and Wales and there were 154 complaints about their use.” – BBC
  • “Some senior officers are believed to support the idea in theory, but one police leader said chief constables would be mostly opposed.” – Daily Mail

50p tax rate failed to raise the promised funds

“Labour’s controversial 50p tax rate raised much less than promised, it has emerged. The news will come as a blow to party leader Ed Miliband, who has vowed to bring back the tax on high-earners if he wins the next election. When the previous Labour government introduced the rate, it promised a £2.5bn boost to Treasury coffers each year. New research suggests that the tax brought in much less and could actually have cost the government money, rather than raising extra cash. A Treasury aide said: “This is more evidence Labour’s chaotic gimmick raised no money but did drive away business and investment.”- The Sun(£)

The Daily Telegraph calls for simpler taxes

Tax Take“The truth is, Britain’s tax code is a mess: when George Osborne came to power, he described it as a “spaghetti bowl of reliefs and allowances”. Yet the Office for Tax Simplification that he set up has had little success in untangling things. Before the Autumn Statement, it calculated that this country had 1,140 separate tax reliefs in operation. The most recent Budget produced a Finance Act that came to 668 pages, longer even than Gordon Brown’s. Tolley’s Yellow Tax Handbook, which summarises and advises on the tax code, is a five-volume monstrosity which has grown by thousands of pages over this parliament.” – Leader Daily Telegraph

News in brief

  • Bristol school apologises after including UKIP in list of racist groups – BBC
  • Peers spend £60,000 on Executive Chef – The Sun(£)
  • Thatcher briefed on “unnatural”sexual behaviour of leading diplomat – The Independent
  • Blair claims £500,000 from the taxpayer – The Times(£)