Looking at the news and opinion out of London each day.
That senior Tories are urging David Cameron to break up the Coalition early so the Conservatives can fight the election unencumbered by those pesky Lib Dems is hardly going to dent the Prime Minister’s chillaxing this summer.
David Cameron was chin-juttingly firm about many subjects in his interview with Andrew Marr. On child pornography, the main subject of the piece, he warned of “stronger laws” if the internet firms don’t act stronger themselves.
There are two particular reasons, at the moment, to discuss whether and when David Cameron should break the bonds of coalition. First, there’s the spirit of self-confidence that has descended on the Tories with the hot weather. Second, there’s the fact that so many simmering divisions between Conservatives and Lib Dems – benefits, Europe, Trident – have recently boiled over into the newspapers.
The Prime Minister is challenging the internet companies to acknowledge their ‘moral duty’ to restrict access to hardcore pornography
Here’s a competition for you: ‘The most irritating discussion on Radio 4 in the past month.’ Answers in not more than 140 characters — but on a proper postcard, preferably written in fountain pen.
The Andy Coulson saga involves a trial. The Lynton Crosby controversy does not. This helps to explain why the latter is a classic Westminster Village story, with its complex calculations about conflicting interests and chinese walls. (David Cameron’s strategist is a Party and not a Government employee, and even then only a part-time one.)
The news that the British Crime Survey has found crime levels at the lowest level since records began more than 30 years ago has been greeted with near-universal acclaim in today’s papers.
George Osborne is taking the ‘global race’ to a new level today. The Chancellor is not just allowing Britain to enter the fracking revolution by unveiling a shale gas allowance, he’s also offering the most generous tax breaks in the world for the exploitation. The allowance will mean shale production income will be taxed at 30 per cent rather than 62 per cent.
To say the trade unions have been in the news recently is an understatement akin to saying Norman Tebbit is a bit right wing. The Falkirk scandal, the further revelations about wider union power and Ed Miliband’s attempt to stem the crisis have all seen the Conservatives hammering Labour on charges of dodgy dealings and weakness in the face of union bosses.
Education and welfare reforms, not imported labour, are the way to solve our mounting debt
What happens when talk of ‘exploratory drilling’ comes to a pretty corner of West Sussex
The formidable Conservative backbench support for transferable tax allowances shows how crucial marriage is to Tory thinking about social policy. It’s often accompanied by a preoccupation with the position of one-earner couples within the tax and benefit system, and a certain sympathy for universalism and hostility to means-testing
The Keogh review is yet more evidence that the NHS needs to change, and not along party-political lines
The latest labour market statistics from the ONS contains five key pieces of good news for the Government
It’s difficult to find a Tory MP who doesn’t think Lynton Crosby is making their party more aggressive and impressive. The Wizard of Oz has been a good thing. Most MPs think his tough-talking vision for how the party can fight Ukip and Labour rather than fighting one another has made a huge difference.
Iain Duncan Smith’s fresh ideas for updating the welfare state are welcome and will prove popular with voters
Despite all the twitter chatter about more heat than light, a number of things have become over the past hour. The first is that Jeremy Hunt is, by a country mile the worst House of Commons performer in the government. He’s now fronted two major statements – on News International and today’s – and it’s been embarrassing to watch.
There is almost nothing more emotive than a murder trial, particularly when it takes place in the United States and involves the shooting dead of a black boy on the basis of self-defence. Public sympathies are inevitably roused and divided on the basis of prejudices and predilections. That is understandable.
Lord Ashcroft’s latest polling tests the more than 40 proposals put forward by Peter Bone and Philip Hollobone in their Alternative Queen’s Speech. He rightly points out that, in the national scheme of things, the idea that the platform is a mass vote-winner which would swing the General Election is mistaken.
It wasn’t just Mid Staffordshire Hospital. We now know that thousands of patients, in a dozen or more hospitals across the country, received seriously inadequate health care. The review by Sir Bruce Keogh suggests neglect and malpractice are widespread within parts of the NHS. So much so that the Health Minister has had to put many NHS trusts into “special measures”.
Actually, there’s another word of the day – and that word is “group”. David Skelton’s campaign group Renewal, designed to extend the Tories’ appeal into areas like the North, properly launches this evening. The Forty Group, composed of Tory MPs in marginal seats, is publishing a list of policies designed to attract those voters floating in the centre of the political spectrum.