May tilts to Israel (and to Trump) after voting against it (and working with Obama)…

screen-shot-2016-12-30-at-07-09-58“The Prime Minister’s spokesman criticised John Kerry, the outgoing US Secretary of State, after he described the Israeli government as the “most Right-wing in history”. Mrs May does “not believe that it is appropriate” for Mr Kerry to attack the make-up of the democratically elected Israeli government, the spokesman said. Her decision to speak out came as president-elect Trump accused Barack Obama and his government of treating Israel with “total disdain and disrespect”. Mr Kerry had criticised Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, for undermining the two-state solution with his settlement policy in the West Bank.” – Daily Telegraph

  • U.S Government “surprised” by May remarks – The Guardian

> Yesterday: Columnist Garvan Walshe- Israeli settlers eat Kerry’s lunch

…As she works up an American-style plan to stay in Europol

“The PM is drawing up plans for the UK to continue a key role in the organisation along a similar model to the US, which has permanent staff based in Europol’s HQ despite not being in the EU. Ministers believe the UK’s leading role in setting up the EU-wide intelligence agency as well as the fact a Brit currently heads up the organisation will force other EU leaders to agree to a new data-sharing deal despite our departure from the troubled union. A senior Government source said: “We provide a lot of the expertise and the data when it comes to Europol and we use it more than most, so we’re pushing for an American-style model where we’re outside the EU but very much still part of Europol.” – The Sun

  • screen-shot-2016-12-30-at-07-32-25More migrants will come to UK than entire EU populations if Britain stays in single market, warns Migration Watch – Daily Telegraph
  • General Medical Council says that proper tests on doctors from the continent will be impossible if Britain stays in the Single Market – Daily Express
  • Lord Hill says that May needs to “move forward rapidly” on Brexit – The Sun
  • New challengers join British Influence Single Market case – The Guardian
  • May could face Northern Ireland legal challenge if she tries to leave ECHR – The Independent
  • Johnson told off for giving his bodyguards the slip to run errands and take strolls – The Sun
  • Referendum boosted relationship counsellors’ workload – Daily Express
  • Number Ten plays down Cameron-for-NATO claims – The Guardian
  • The Queen and Melvyn King: battling for Brexit – Trevor Kavanagh, The Sun

> Today: ToryDiary – The Joy of Brex

> Yesterday: Andrew Green on Comment – Single market membership means more mass immigration

Fox says that £16 billion has been invested in Britain since the EU referendum

MAY and FOX“The international trade secretary faces accusations that he will have little to do for two years while Britain remains inside the EU, which limits Britain’s abilities to sign its own trade deals. Critics have also warned that Britain could be a less attractive venue for investment after it leaves the bloc. However, Dr Fox said that his Department for International Trade had brought in billions of investment in the past five months across sectors including property development, infrastructure and renewable energy. Government figures show that 2,213 foreign investment projects were secured in 2015-16, an 11 per cent increase on the previous year.” – The Times (£)

Andrew Jones: Learner drivers are to be allowed on motorways for the first time

“Andrew Jones, the Transport minister, said: “We have some of the safest roads in the world and we want to make them even safer. These changes will equip learners with a wider range of experience and greater skill set which will improve safety levels on our roads.” Steve Gooding, the RAC Director, said:  “The casualty statistics tell us that motorways are our safest roads, but they can feel anything but safe to a newly qualified driver heading down the slip road for the first time to join a fast moving, often heavy, flow of traffic. Many are so intimidated by the motorway environment that they choose instead to use statistically more dangerous roads, so we welcome this move which will help new drivers get the training they need to use motorways safely.”  – Daily Telegraph

Javid to quiz Surrey’s Hodge over proposed council tax rise to pay for social care

screen-shot-2016-12-30-at-07-22-38“Surrey County Council is understood to be considering a vote on a 16 per cent rise, which would push up the charge on an average band-D property by £203 to £1,471 next year. Its Tory leader David Hodge has said the local authority ‘simply cannot cope’ as it faces a budget shortfall of £45 million. Mr Hodge is understood to have been summoned to see Mr Javid over the referendum, which may cost up to £1 million to hold…The Local Government Association has said the social care funding gap will reach £2.6billion by the end of this Parliament. It warned measures announced by Mr Javid, including the rise in the ceiling for demand increases, ‘fall well short’ of what is needed.” – Daily Mail

Thatcher, milk saver. She blocked Ken Clarke from ending free milk for children in day care

“An official wrote to the PM: ‘You will see from Kenneth Clarke’s minute… that he has decided to end free welfare milk for children in day care from the end of this school term.’ In response she scrawled, ‘NO,’ underlining the word twice. ‘This will cause a terrible row – all for £4 million. I know – I went through it 19 years ago. Any scheme for saving £400 million or more I will look at. But not £4m.’ She also struck through a paragraph asking if she wanted to know more.” – Daily Mail

Those Thatcher papers in full. She –

  • Feared that the fall of Berlin Wall could herald return of Nazis – Daily Telegraph
  • Tried to block contact with Argentine ministers six years after the Falklands War – The Times (£)
  • Was horrified by Faslane five – The Times (£)
  • THATCHER black and whiteMulled secret plan to smash cocaine trade with moths – The Independent
  • Fought to keep male fellows out of Oxbridge’s women-only colleges – Daily Express
  • Wanted acid house parties banned – Daily Express
  • Rowed with Lawson as interest rates hit 15 per cent – Daily Express
  • Tried to stop Queen going to Brussels over fisheries negotiations – Daily Express
  • Thatcher adviser said Afro-Caribbeans ‘give cannabis to babies’ because the drug ‘is part of life’ as 1989 Government feared crack epidemic – Daily Mail
  • Princess Margaret letters to Thatcher – The Sun
  • Kissinger said Thatcher resignation was “worse than a death in the family” – The Guardian
  • She needed a council reminder to pay Downing Street poll tax – Financial Times
  • IRA made privatisation bids – Financial Times

Corbyn’s New Year message. He says: I understand Brexit.

“People didn’t trust politicians and they didn’t trust the European Union,” he says. “I understand that. I’ve spent over 40 years in politics campaigning for a better way of doing things, standing up for people, taking on the establishment and opposing decisions that would make us worse off.”  He promises to fight against a Brexit deal that would safeguard the interests of City banks or continue “corporate handouts” to big businesses, saying: “Labour was founded to stand up for people, and we founded the institutions that do that day in and day out, like our NHS. We are the party that listens to you and makes Britain better. Let’s do that, together, in 2017.” – The Guardian

  • Working people need fairer share of economic gains, says TUC head – The Guardian

> Today: Peter Cuthbertson on Comment – Labour’s prison policy is a threat to public safety

Michael Gove: The discreet triumph of the bourgeoisie

Michael Gove 01-07-16“For much of man’s history most of mankind lived at the level of bare subsistence. As recently as 1800 the average human consumed the equivalent of — at most — three dollars a day. Now the average citizen of a bourgeois nation such as France or Japan spends around one hundred dollars a day. It’s an exponential growth in human welfare, a transition from a world where infant mortality, illiteracy, periodic starvation and back-breaking manual labour were the norm for all but a tiny sliver of society to one where life expectancy is rising, liberty is expanding, racial and sexual discrimination is in retreat and science brings new miracles every day. And it is all the result of the triumph of middle-class morals.” – The Times (£)

> Yesterday: ToryDiary – Our survey. Gove is Leave campaigner of the year.

Obama expels Russian spies

“President Barack Obama said that he had issued sanctions against Russia’s two main intelligence services — the FSB and the GRU — along with sanctions against six individuals: four of them high-ranking GRU members and two of them individual Russian hackers. Separately, the state department also expelled 35 Russian intelligence operatives stationed in the Russian embassy in Washington and the Russian consulate in San Francisco for activity that the US said was “inconsistent with their diplomatic status”. This, it said, was in response to alleged harassment of US diplomats by Russia. The Russian officials have been given 72 hours to leave the country.” – Financial Times

  • Putin calls end to war in Syria after deal with Erdogan – The Times (£)
  • The West must stop meddling in the Middle East – Max Hastings, Daily Mail

News in Brief

  • philip-daviesCommissioner for Standards finds that there is no evidence that Philip Davies broke rules over gambling – The Times (£)
  • Scottish Conservatives say that empty seats on Edinburgh trams show project unsuccessful – Scotsman
  • Catholic bishop said Northern Ireland’s Catholics were “anti-authority and anti-everything” – Irish News
  • Debbie Reynolds has made explicit plans for her own funeral – Daily Telegraph
  • More than £600m allocated to pay for clinical negligence and personal injury claims against the Welsh NHS – Wales Online
  • Luton is country’s top property hotspot – Daily Mail
  • Thousands of children could miss out on a preferred primary school place as a third are already full – The Sun
  • Government ‘masking true scale of political cronyism with quiet rule change’ – The Independent
  • Zero-hours workers suffer £1,000 ‘precariousness penalty’ – Financial Times
  • Met locks down capital’s streets for New Year’s Eve – The Times (£)
  • Top 10 Liverpool judges’ put-downs and sentencing remarks of 2016 – Liverpool Echo
  • Year of revolution – Times Editorial (£)
  • 2016 will last an extra second – Daily Express
  • Freezing fog sweeps Britain… – Daily Telegraph
  • …But daffodils bloom in Torquay – Daily Mail