Thursday, 15 August 2013

Today's ConservativeHome top features
ToryDiary: "There are Cabinet changes which could usefully be made - more of that in due course - but moving Villiers from Northern Ireland is not one of them.  As she proved last week." - "No-nonsense Villiers puts her credentials on parade"
Kate Maltby writes this week's culture column, on the perils and peculiarities of holiday reading
Benedict McAleenan on Comment: "The real grassroots of our Party is not just the membership. To really access our grassroots we need to dig right down into the community and access the shared Conservative values at work in our neighbourhoods. Developing those relationships will help us win the next election." - Don’t be distracted by low membership figures – they’re an outdated measure of support
Today's ConservativeHome newslinks
Hundreds killed in Egyptian violence
Egypt coup"Witnesses said that many of the dead had been shot by snipers on rooftops as police and troops used bulldozers, teargas and live rounds against the demonstrators. The brutal intervention triggered violent protests in several cities. The Egyptian Government said that 278 people, including 43 policemen, were killed across the country, and 1,400 were injured. The Muslim Brotherhood, which came to power through free elections a year ago but was deposed by the military in July, said that more than 500 people had been killed in eight hours of continuous firing." - The Times (£) 
Employment up, unemployment down
Growth ConHome"Record employment levels gave the economy yet another boost yesterday as official figures showed almost 30 million people now have jobs in Britain. The number of workers rocketed by 69,000 in the three months to June, up to 29.78 million. That is the highest level since records began in 1971. It means 307,000 more people are in employment in the UK compared with the same time last year. Figures also showed that UK unemployment fell by 4,000 in the same three months, leaving 2.51 million out of work." - Daily Express 
EU clouds: Romanian and Bulgarian immigration boom...
"The number of Romanians and Bulgarians working in Britain has risen by more than a quarter in three months, according to figures which provide the first evidence of an influx of migrants from the two countries, even before border controls are lifted next year. Migrant workers from Romania and Bulgaria numbered 141,000 at the end of June, a rise of nearly 26 per cent on the 112,000 recorded at the end of March. The figure was up 35 per cent year-on-year." - Daily Telegraph
...and EU silver linings: Merkel joins Cameron in pushing for powers back from Brussels
Cameron fence"The German Chancellor yesterday announced she wants to encourage talks on whether the European Union should ‘give something back’ to member states this autumn. In a major boost for the Prime Minister, Mrs Merkel said: ‘We don’t have to do everything in Brussels.’  She signalled that she wants negotiations to begin after next month’s German general election." - Daily M ail  
"Government of the day" will's executors join donation row
"‘At the time of the instructions received from the late Miss Edwards, the solicitor specifically checked with Miss Edwards about the unusual nature of her proposed bequest and it was confirmed by Miss Edwards at the time of her instructions that her estate was to be left to whichever political party formed the Government at the date of her death.’ This statement again failed to provide any evidence that Miss Edwards intended to make a generous gift to the Tories and Lib Dems. Richard Roberts, who chairs the Law Society’s wills and equity committee, said: ‘Wills are construed extremely tightly and I have now seen a copy of Miss Edwards’s will. It does say quite specifically “for whichever government” . . . it does not say “for which political party shall form the government”." -Daily Mail 
We must rebut the shale gas lies
Matt Ridley”In the debate over shale gas — I refuse to call it the fracking debate, as fracking has been happening in this country for decades — the opponents do seem to be astonishingly cavalier with the facts. Here are five things they keep saying that are simply false. First, that shale gas production has polluted aquifers in America. Second, that it releases more methane than other forms of gas production. Third, that it uses a worryingly large amount of water. Fourth, that it uses hundreds of toxic chemicals. Fifth, that it causes damaging earthquakes. None is true." - < a href="" target="_blank">Matt Ridley, The Times (£) 
  • Lancashire MPs demand more money for their communities - FT 
  • CofE's frack attack is brainless - The Sun Says (£) 
  • Arrested protestors win right to return to Balcombe - The Times (£) 
Tougher exams expected to cause rise in appeals
School"Record numbers of appeals will be made about exam results this year, a top academic predicted yesterday. Demands for GCSE and A-level grades to be reviewed could burst through the 300,000 barrier. Complaints have risen every year since 2008 and soared 36 per cent to almost 280,000 last year. Around two-thirds of complaints are expected to be made about GCSE papers, especially if anticipated grade falls in maths and science materialise in next week’s results." - Daily Mail  
£800m bill for plugging Whitehall gaps
"Ministers spent up to £800 million parachuting in consultants and temporary staff last year, despite giving big payoffs to tens of thousands of civil servants. Departments are laying off workers but taking on expensive consultants — often earning more than £1,000 a day — to do the same jobs in a “revolving door” at the heart of the Civil Service. Francis Maude, the Cabinet Office Minister, announced a ban on the use of management consultants three years ago as part of the Government’s efficiency reforms." - The Times (£) 
Ed Miliband gets back from holiday, and is egged by a fan of his brother
Red Ed"The Labour leader’s first public event after his holidays was marred by the confrontation in which six eggs were thrown, two of which hit him directly. Ten minutes into the walkabout at East Street market in Walworth, he was the target of Dean Porter, a 38-year-old in a fluorescent jacket. It is the second time Mr Miliband has been ambushed by an egg thrower. Beforehand Mr Porter said he would only vote for Mr Miliband’s brother." - The Times (£) 
>Today: MPsETC - Heath's egg joke
>Yesterday: WATCH - The moment the egg hit Miliband
News in brief
  • Winston Churchill's great-grandson joins calls to help Afghan interpreters - Daily Mail 
  • Met's Muslim Contact Unit head charged with leaking hate preacher arrest details to wife, a Galloway employee - Daily Mail 
  • Parties spend less in safe seats - Daily Mail 
  • Firm investigating BBC payoffs has wined and dined BBC bosses - Daily Mail
  • Execution video reveals brutal face of totalitarian China [Warning: graphic content] - Daily Mail 
Yesterday on ConservativeHome
ToryDiary: "There was a time when most of our rulers had front-line experience of war as well as politics. Nowadays they have experience as backroom boys. Which is one reason why the public finds so many politicians lacking in authenticity." In praise of older politicians 
Henry Hill's Red, White and Blue column: Former SNP leader demands nationalists attack 'southern cancer'
Chris White MP on Comment describes his role as the Government's social value ambassador: "In essence, it asks local authorities and public bodies to think about how we can squeeze maximum value out of every penny of public money spent." Social value holds the key to making public services sustainable