What the papers say…

A look back at the last few days of news and comment in the National newspapers, by former Fleet Street News Editor (and former Editor of Liberal News), Philip Young… including a few clippings you may have missed.

Sunday Times, 6.12.09:

“A Tory peer has been caught using someone else’s home address to claim tens of thousands of pounds in expenses. Lord Taylor of Warwick, a 57-year-old former barrister, told the House of Lords that his main home was a terrace house in Oxford, which he neither owned nor lived in. Taylor has lived in his family home in Ealing since 1995. By claiming his address was outside the capital he accumulated more than £70,000 in subsistence expenses between 2001 and 2007.”

Sunday Times, Rod Liddle column, 6.12.09:

“Should the Conservative parliamentary candidate for Somerton and Frome, Annunziata Rees-Moss, change her name to “Nancy Mogg” in order to enhance her popular appeal, a ploy suggested by leader, “Dave” Cameron? The obvious answer is yes, of course she should, and perhaps to gain even more votes from the street, call herself Nancy Ghostface-Kilah Mogg, or perhaps MC NM, or, even N-Lo. And she should cruise the streets of Wincanton in a pimped-up SUV.

“Ah, Dave. You can nail a wind turbine to its forehead, teach it to “keep it real” and even force it to change its name. But if it looks like a pig, goes “oink” like a pig, and snuffles for acorns… it probably is a pig.”

Sunday Telegraph, Janet Daley column, 6.12.09:

“Why aren’t the Conservatives more popular with voters? After a succession of polls showed them bumping along below the magic 40 per cent rating, ours today has them just there with an unremarkable lead over Labour of 11 per cent. (Con: 40; Lab: 29; Lib Dem: 19).  So why aren’t the Tories doing better? What can be done to prevent this becoming one of the abiding mysteries of modern political history:  how did the Opposition fail to trounce, definitely and unambiguously, the worst Government in living memory? Whether of not they admit it, the party leadership is worried by the prospect of an election that might be only barely won – or worse. Prospective candidates, even in seats which should be easily gained under present circumstances, confide in me the terror of a hung parliament and a Lib-Lab pact resulting in a proportional representation Bill being pushed through Parliament.”

Daily Express, 7.12.09:

“A network of new camps has been set up for immigrants trying to sneak into Britain from France, the Daily Express can reveal. Three centres offering a range of services for migrants hoping to make their way to the UK have been established close to major transport routes to the Channel ports over the past six weeks. All the centres have been approved by the French authorities and have a licence to provide a place for the migrants to “rest and recuperate”. Yesterday a helper said: They don’t want to stay in France, they want to get to England because they want a passport, a job and a house.”

Daily Express, 7.12.09:

“The bill for locking up foreign prisoners has reached £292 million. That is the cost of holding the 7,500 immigrants from 160 nations who committed crimes after arrival here.”

Daily Mail, Melanie Phillips column, 7.12.09:

“The Tories feel guilty merely on account of being Tories. So it is the Conservative party that has to be destroyed and reconstructed – as a pale shadow of Labour. As a result, when class war is waged against them, the Tories are paralysed like rabbits caught in the headlights.

“But they cannot win voters to their cause if they are so badly on the back foot.

“People pick up very quickly on the fact that the Tories are ashamed of their party. Voters can see the attempted makeover is wholly opportunistic. They conclude therefore that Cameron stands for nothing is merely a chameleon who will say anything to gain power. Why should they believe in the Conservative party when the Tories so patently – and painfully – don’t believe in themselves? It is this innate moral cowardice, rather than having been to Eton, which so repels people. That’s why the image of Cameron cycling to work while his chauffeur-driven car follows behind with his briefcase has done such lasting and lethal damage.

“There is a political fate even more deadly than being called a privileged toff. It is being judged as not being true to yourself. “

The Daily Telegraph, Mary Riddell column, 8.12.09:

“Labour has much to be ashamed of: according to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, poverty is as widespread now as in 2000.  But the Tories’ policies would make things worse. Their inheritance tax ceiling would give £200,000 to the wealthiest 3,000 estates, and their married couples tax cut would, on Government figures, be 13 times more beneficial to those at the top than the bottom.

“Mr. Brown likes hitching tax breaks for the wealthier to class and privilege, partly because so much is invested in Brand Cameron. Lord Ashcroft, whose own tax status poses unanswered questions, has based his strategy on installing Cameron Clones in key marginals. If the leader wobbles, then so does this pyramid of Davealikes. “

The Daily Express, 8.12.09:

“Labour has doubled spending on spin doctors at the Department of Health over the past year, it emerged last night. Official figures revealed that £9.6 million that could have been used for patient care was instead spent on public relations consultants. Liberal Democrat healthy spokesman Norman Lamb said: “This is a staggering amount of money for ministers to be wasting on spin. While hardworking nurses, and teachers, are being short-changed with stingy pay deals, ministers are happily wasting eye-watering amounts trying to sell their policies. We keep being told belts must be tightened, yet this Government continues to be unashamedly extravagant with our money. “

The Daily Mail, 8.12.09

Gordon Brown was accused of a new torture cover-up yesterday over a Pakistani man arrested by British forces and sent to a secretive U.S. prison in Afghanistan.

The Prime Minister was presented with evidence suggesting that Parliament was misled four times of Britain’s role in the “extraordinary rendition” of rice merchant Amanatuklla Ali. Mr. Ali, 45, was seized by the SAS in Iraq in 2004, and shortly afterwards handed over to the Americans, who flew him to the CIA’s so-called Dark Prison in Bagram, near Kabul. The father of five is still there today, being held without charge of access to a lawyer.”

The Times, 10.12.09:

The Chancellor landed himself or his successor with a budget deficit continuing to run at more than £70 billion, public debt set almost to double to £1.5 trillion, and a ferocious Cabinet battle over spending cuts. There is also the real threat of strikes after he announced an effective pay cut for millions of public sector workers. Vince Cable, of the Liberal Democrats, said: “What we needed was a national economic plan – but what got is an election manifesto.”

The Times, 10.12.09:

A litany of organisational failures compounded by outdated systems means that the HM Revenue and Customs will fail to collect £11.2 billion in taxes. A report from the Commons Public Accounts Committee shows that 40 per cent of £27.7 billon of the tax that was uncollected by March 31 is unlikely to ever reach the public purse. The figure was 23 per cent only three years ago. The evidence of the taxman’s failures is a serious blow to the Government.”

The Daily Telegraph, 10.12.09:

“Conservative MP David Willetts has again billed the taxpayer for fitting light bulbs to his home. Mr. Willetts, often known as “two brains”,  submitted a builder’s invoice in March this year for £1,035 which included the cost of replacing 10 light bulbs. Among other jobs he billed were: “make the windows open and work”, and “supply and fit a door number.”

The Independent, 10.12.09:

“Quentin Davies, the Defence Minister, submitted a £20,700 bill for building work, including repairs to a bell tower, at his stately home in Lincolnshire, according to the latest MPs expense claims.”

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