Trump 1) Washington prepares for the inauguration

TRUMP Donald thumbs up‘Donald Trump vowed to make America “greater than ever before” as he stood framed by Washington’s Lincoln Memorial and addressed a crowd of supporters on the eve of his inauguration as the 45th president of the United States. “It’s a movement like we’ve never seen anywhere in the world,” the former property developer and reality television star declared before fireworks lit up the sky above the National Mall and the president-elect headed across the normally sleepy city to Union Station for a black-tie dinner with his supporters and the donors he once derided. “There’s never been a movement like this. And it’s something very, very special. And we’re going to unify our country. And our phrase, you all know it. Half of you are wearing the hat — Make America Great Again.”’ – FT


>Today: Iain Dale: I find Washington in shock as I arrive for the new President’s inauguration

>Yesterday: Timothy Stafford on Comment: Four historical parallels that help understand Trump

Trump 2) Hammond warns of the ‘fool’s paradise’ of populism

‘Philip Hammond launched a thinly-veiled attack on Donald Trump yesterday, saying populism was a ‘fool’s paradise’. Although he did not mention the incoming US President by name, the Chancellor said there were no easy options for governments around the world in the face of mounting discontent. Mr Trump, who will be sworn in today in Washington DC, swept to power on a tidal wave of populist support, partly rooted in criticism of globalisation and free trade. It came as another Cabinet minister, Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon, also issued a coded attack on the new President over his stance on Russia.’ – Daily Mail

>Today: Ben Roback on Comment: Presidential pinch points: three key hurdles that Trump must vault

Trump 3) New ambassador to London named

American USA flag‘President-elect Donald J. Trump on Thursday chose Woody Johnson, the owner of the New York Jets football franchise and one of Mr. Trump’s oldest friends, as his ambassador to Britain. It is just the fourth ambassadorial pick Mr. Trump has announced…the job could be unusually challenging during Mr. Trump’s administration, as Prime Minister Theresa May pushes Britain to leave the European Union and tries to reach a quick trade agreement with the United States…Mr. Johnson, heir to a pharmaceutical and shampoo fortune, has long balanced his twin passions of politics and football. He was a prominent member of Mitt Romney’s fund-raising team in 2012, when he said he would rather Mr. Romney win the presidency than the Jets have a winning season. Neither happened.’ – New York Times

  • His Treasury nominee forgot to declare $100 million – The Times (£)

May has firm words for global businesses

‘Theresa May yesterday warned the world’s business elite that they face disaster if they do not win back the trust of ordinary workers. In a thinly-veiled threat to tech giants Facebook, Apple and Google, the PM said that barely a third of low-income Brits have any faith in them. And she insisted that all arrogant global companies must stop tax dodging and curb their fatcat executives’ soaring pay to win back trust. Mrs May also told the World Economic Forum in Davos that such firms must ditch their short-term hunt for quick profits and “invest in people and communities for the long term”.’ – The Sun

  • Good – The Sun Says
  • The industrial strategy will be launched next week – FT

>Yesterday: MPsETC: May warns Davos of globalisation’s downside – and “the cult of individualism”. Her speech: full text

The Prime Minister comes out fighting for the City in Davos

Banks Face 6 Billion Of Libor Litigation‘Prime Minister Theresa May and her chancellor Philip Hammond came out fighting at Davos yesterday following reports that London’s banking sector faces job losses in the wake of Brexit…May insisted her summit with bank chiefs included “a very good, positive discussion about the benefits of the City of London, about what it is that has brought them to the City of London, and how we can continue to build on that for the future”. She added: “I value financial services in the City of London and I want to ensure we can keep financial services in the City of London.” Hammond told Bloomberg the financial sector is “a priority for the UK government” during upcoming Brexit negotiations, praising the industry’s “scale and depth”.’ – CityAM

  • May’s plan has popular support, but voters don’t expect the EU to agree a deal – Daily Mail
  • She has no mandate for a Singaporean economic model – Philip Collins, The Times (£)
  • Businesses say ‘the fog is clearing’ – Daily Mail
  • Investment is holding up well – The Sun Says
  • If Remainers refuse to accept Brexit, we won’t be heard in the negotiations – Rupert Myers, Daily Telegraph
  • Dutch finance minister predicts Britain will return to a 1970s economy – Daily Mail


Gove: Brexit will strengthen, not threaten, the Union

‘Talented as the SNP cohort at Westminster may be, the cause that they’re here to champion is becoming less and less popular with the people of Scotland. Support for Scottish independence has been steadily falling since the Brexit vote and last week it was at its lowest yet, at just 40 per cent, down from the 45 per cent recorded in the 2014 independence referendum. It wasn’t supposed to be this way. During the EU referendum we were warned that a vote to leave would precipitate the break-up of Britain. The SNP claimed that a Scotland that voted to remain would not want to stay in a union with an England that had voted to leave. And Remainers predicted that the strains imposed by exiting the EU could prove intolerable for the UK…The vote to leave the EU was a vote of confidence in the ability of the UK to make its own way in the world and a vote, for the first time in my adult life, to strengthen the powers of the Westminster parliament. It is no coincidence that support for the UK has risen and the appeal of separation has receded.’ – Michael Gove, The Times (£)

>Today: ToryDiary: Why May’s say-so on a Scottish independence referendum matters

Downing Street defends Johnson’s Second World War reference

borisfringe‘Sources close to the Foreign Secretary played down the remark yesterday and said the ‘Nazi comparison’ had never entered Mr Johnson’s mind. No 10 defended Mr Johnson, insisting he had not used the word ‘Nazi’ and was merely making a ‘theatrical’ point that ‘was not in any way suggesting anyone was a Nazi.’ Mrs May’s spokeswoman insisted there was no Government policy not to mention the war. Asked if Mrs May would follow Mr Verhofstadt’s demand to condemn Mr Johnson, she said there would be ‘lots going to be said, lots of different perspectives’ during the negotiation.’ – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Why do we keep mentioning the war?

Surrey County Council calls referendum on 15 per cent council tax rise

‘A Conservative-run council has asked voters for a 15 per cent rise in council tax to tackle an elderly care crisis, in a move that critics have dismissed as a stunt. Surrey county council said it had no choice but to call a referendum on the rise after cuts of £170 million left a “huge gap” in its budget. The decision could raise residents’ taxes by an average of £200 a year. Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, and Philip Hammond, the chancellor, both have constituencies in the county and some senior Tories believe the move was designed to heap pressure on them to find a long-term solution to paying for social care.’ – The Times (£)

>Today: Judy Terry on Local Government: Council Tax hikes hit the working poor hardest

Farron rules out alliance with Labour and attacks Corbyn’s Brexit response

FARRON Tim‘The Liberal Democrat leader, Tim Farron, has accused Jeremy Corbyn of “lamely giving up” while Britain “drives off a cliff” towards Brexit, and said future generations will not forgive Labour for failing to stand up to Theresa May’s plans. In an overt attempt to steal votes from Labour in pro-remain constituencies, Farron said he believed Corbyn had put his party on the wrong side of the biggest political issue in a generation and was struggling because his MPs were increasingly split on how to respond. “I think what Labour has done is to believe this is too difficult for them politically, let’s just wait for it to go away, and the meeker we are, the quicker it will go away. I think that’s the calculation they’ve made.” – The Guardian

Brighter children excel at grammar schools

‘Grammar schools allow children to achieve their potential, new Government figures reveal, while the brightest 150,000 state school children do not excel at comprehensives. Official data released by the Department for Education (DfE) shows that 94 per cent of children at grammar schools have made good progress by the time they are 16, compared to less than half (49 per cent) of students at non-selective schools. The figures will come as a boost for Prime Minister Theresa May’s plans to overturn the ban on grammar schools imposed by Labour some 20 years ago.’ – Daily Telegraph

  • But they fall behind in league tables – The Times (£)

McGuinness retires from Stormont due to illness

Northern Ireland‘Martin McGuinness, the former IRA activist turned peacemaker who was Sinn Fein’s leader in Northern Ireland, has announced the end of his political career. He is fighting a serious illness which he is determined to overcome but said that he would not have the strength to contest an election. “I have to be honest, this has taken a toll on me,” he said last night, announcing his retirement from political life. It had been reported that he is suffering from a rare genetic disease. The former IRA commander who became deputy first minister in the Stormont executive said that he had intended to stay in office until May.’ – The Times (£)

News in Brief

  • Westminster and Waterloo bridges closed due to World War Two bomb – Daily Mail
  • Six Britons die in Mecca crash – The Times (£)
  • Cameron: I’m available for weddings and Bar Mitzvahs – The Sun
  • Senegalese troops enter the Gambia – The Guardian
  • Why was four-year-old allowed to stay with addict mother who killed her? – Daily Mail
  • Search for survivors in Italian hotel struck by avalanche – The Times (£)
  • Driver deliberately ploughs car into Melbourne crowd – The Sun
  • Kurds stake claim on larger territory in Iraq – The Guardian