MORNING BRIEFING – By Benedict Brogan (Daily Telegraph
All eyes on Camp Davidtoday, where the G8 will try to persuade Angela Merkel to come to the euro’s rescue. Overnight, the focus has switched from Greeceto Spainwith Moody’s slashing the ratings of 16 Spanish banks.
Yesterday, David Cameron took the unusual step of setting out a three-point plan to save the single currency. He suggested the issue of so-called Eurobonds, which would effectively mean the debts of countries in crisis would be spread across the eurozone.
David Cameron has an op-ed on Politics Home this morning, listing his priorities for the summit, he says:
“We must work together to give the world economy the one big stimulus that would really make a difference: an expansion of trade freedoms – breaking down the barriers to world trade and getting global trade moving again.”
He follows this up with three further priorities on democracy making reference to the Arab Spring, work continuing in Afghanistan and development spending.
The Guardian lead says even Barack Obama is pushing for a switch from growth to austerity, and will lobby the German chancellor.
Mr Obama is expected to welcome François Hollande as a potential ally in his push for Europe to follow the US in giving a higher priority to expansionary policies.
In his column Jeremy Warner suggests Germany will step in to save the single currency only once Greece has been ejected. He says:
“Back in Britain, David Cameron is spot on with his analysis that Europe must either make up or break up.
“Privately, both Mr Cameron and his Chancellor, George Osborne, must prefer a break-up, which is plainly more in Britain’s long-term interests than Europe making a go of the single currency, leaving our island race stranded on the sidelines.”
Overnight, Mr Cameron’s speech appears to have been well received, though the FT points out that behind the three point plan for reviving European growth is a piece of political positioning: despite the seven French snubs listed by the Mail , Mr Cameron has tried discreetly to realign himself alongside Francois Hollande by embracing some of the growth reforms suggested by the French president.
The Times (£) has put on page 1 a version of the story that has been doing the rounds for months, namely that De La Rue is preparing new drachmas.
Martin Wolf in the FT has made a staunch case for greater stimulus spending in his column.. He says a Euro breakup would mean civil war in Greece and that George Osborne has consigned the UK to stagflation, concluding:
“The result is likely to be a permanent reduction in the output of the UK, not to mention permanent damage to a whole generation of the unemployed. I have words for such behaviour. Not on this list is the word “sensible”.”
But after all that hard talk, Dave wanted to talk about babies. We’ve splashed on his speech yesterday in Manchester where he said it was “ludicrous” that parents received more training in how to drive a car than in how to raise children.
The PM committed to a £3.4million digital information service, starting today, that will provide free email alerts and text messages with NHS advice “on everything from teething to tantrums”.
Dave anticipated the nanny state charge though – he’s said it’s the action of a ‘sensible state’.You could describe it as a bit of social supply side aimed at heading off the social failure that costs the taxpayer so much. The Guardian points out that it’s another of Steve Hilton’s pet projects. It’s nice to think he didn’t just leave behind a row about the civil service.
U-TURN IF GEORGE WANTS TO
Also in Manchester, Dave made a speech that was trumpeted as a Thatcher-style “no turning back” statement on deficit reduction.
But the image was ruined by another two U-turns. The Mail and the Times (£) report that the Chancellor has in effect exempt churches from the changes to the tax treatment of heritage buildings – he’s providing them a £30 million grant that’s guaranteed for the next three years – effectively a tax break.
And the Sun reports that he’s rolling back on the pasty tax. He’s considering only taxing pastry snacks kept in hot cabinets, while those in taken out of the oven and left to cool will be exempt.
More for the growing collection then.
THE LEVESON LEVY
But the Tories are doing their best to prevent more negative headlines. The Times (£) reports that both the Tory party and the government are spending considerable sums on lawyers and other advisers to prepare David Cameron and ministers for their appearances before Lord Justice Leveson.
The paper quotes sources saying: “It must be costing a good few million” and “There are concerns that quite a lot of quality time is being spent on this, but no one — except the lawyers — has been using a stopwatch.”
It’s also worth noting that the Guardian reports that Hannah Pawlby, one of Labour’s more effective special advisers, is filing a claim against NI after discovering her phone was hacked.
NO MORE MOSCOW
The FT reports that Lib Dems are pressing for a change in nuclear deterrent policy that would mean dumping Trident and going for something more modest. It’s all about nuking smaller cities, not Moscow, apparently.
Menzies Campbell has a column in the FT (£ ) making this case, saying:
“Britain should take such a decision now, by publicly renouncing the Moscow criterion at this weekend’s Nato summit in Chicago. What utility does it have, after all, if we know it is inconsistent with the stated policy of minimum deterrence?”
“The UK could make this decision without any prejudice to national security. It would make a significant contribution to the multilateral disarmament so eloquently promoted by US President Barack Obama. It would be entirely consistent with other multilateral political initiatives being taken on both sides of the Atlantic.”
The recently promoted, Jon Cruddas, has been given a must-read profile by Nick Watt in the Guardian. The kite-surfing philosopher now in charge of Labour policy.
The Cruddas Mantra, as described by one of his colleagues, is interesting:“Policy is about illustrations of a deeper story, the establishment of a deeper sentiment which Labour had and it lost.”
At the press lunch yesterday, Danny Alexander said that Rebekah Brooks isn’t the only one to receive unusual text message abbreviations from senior members of the government. It’s just that his come from the Deputy PM:
“The first few months of our time in office, I thought we were getting really stressed out because every text he sent me started with the letters ‘OMG’. But it turns out that this is code in the Clegg household for ‘On Miriam’s Guidance’.”
TWEETS AND TWITS
The Labour Party seems to be in a modernising mood, launching an official Twitter feed for its whips this week. The party wants its @labourwhips feed to dispel some of the mystery and myths surrounding the office.
The Tories, however, are embracing tradition with Tory MP Glyn Davies tweeting:
“@GlynDaviesMP: New Tory MP to Chief Whip after voting with Lab “Sorry – but its water under the bridge now” Reply- “Sounds more like career down the drain””
Latest YouGov/The Sun results: Conservatives 31%, Labour 44%, Lib Dems 7%, UKIP 9%
Overall government approval rating: -39
In The Telegraph
Fraser Nelson: Turn off your iPad, David Cameron, and start dealing with Britain’s debt
Jeremy Warner: Are the Germans destined to save the euro?
Leader: The 1922 and 2012
Leader: Caught between the Rock and the euro crisis
Best of the rest
Martin Wolf in the Financial Times (£): Cameron is consigning the UK to stagnation
Menzies Campbell in the Financial Times (£): Time to abandon the ‘Moscow criterion
Philip Collins in the Times (£): Switch to Plan B before resurgent Labour does
Simon Jenkins in the Guardian: So, you think reason guides your politics? Think again
Today:David Cameron at the G8 Summit at Camp David
Today: Iain Duncan Smith gives a speech on parenting, Towcester, Northamptonshire
Today: The House will not be sitting
1pm: George Osborne to speak at the European Bank of Reconstruction. EBRD, 1 Exchange Square, Bishopsgate