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31 Jan 2006 03:27:01

Tuesday 31st January 2006

Bush_alito6PM UPDATE: SAMUEL ALITO CONFIRMED FOR US SUPREME COURT (MSNBC)

TownHall.com:

"Alito is a longtime federal appeals judge, having been confirmed by the Senate by unanimous consent on the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia on April 27, 1990. Before that, he worked as New Jersey's U.S. attorney and as a lawyer in the Justice Department for the conservative Reagan administration.  It was his Reagan-era work that caused the most controversy during his three-month candidacy for the high court.  Alito replaces O'Connor, the court's first female justice and a key moderate swing vote on issues like assisted suicide, campaign finance law, the death penalty, affirmative action and abortion.  Critics who mounted a fierce campaign against his nomination noted that while he worked in the solicitor general's office for President Reagan, he suggested that the Justice Department should try to chip away at abortion rights rather than mount an all-out assault. He also wrote in a 1985 job application for another Reagan administration post that he was proud of his work helping the government argue that "the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion.""

The confirmation of Alito - following GWB's earlier successful nomination of John Roberts means that four of the nine justices on the US Supreme Court are likely to be reliably conservative.  One more conservative appointment could tilt the balance of the Court and make for the President's biggest legacy.

BLOGS

ToryDiary: Huhne wants troops out, a quick look at Mitt Romney's presidential hopes and MORI gives 2% lead to Tories

Cameron_looking_up_1DAVID CAMERON'S MODERN CONSERVATISM SPEECH

Telegraph: "Since Tony Blair's arrival on the political scene the Conservatives had been wrong to campaign so hard on Right-wing issues such as immigration as they tried to differentiate themselves from New Labour, Mr Cameron said.  In an implicit criticism of his predecessors William Hague, Iain Duncan Smith and Michael Howard, he said: "As Labour moved to the centre ground, the Conservative Party moved to the Right.  "Instead of focusing on the areas where we now agreed with Labour on our aims and on highlighting the different prescriptions that arose from our different values and principles, we ended up focusing on those areas where we did not agree: tax cuts, immigration, Europe.""

The Sun Says:

"Tory leader David Cameron set out to embarrass Tony Blair with a bucket of warm praise.  He hailed the PM as a gifted politician who rightly tied economic success to social justice...  But while praising Mr Blair, there were cool words for “well-intentioned cheerleaders on the right”. He urged them to climb off their hobby horses on tax, immigration and Europe.  Mr Cameron is determined to refloat the Tory boat. If that means throwing unwanted baggage over the side, so be it.  The risk in imitating Tony Blair’s style instead of the real thing is that voters will see him an opportunistic chameleon, rather than a principled politician."

Times leader: "The speech is significant. For the past decade the Tories have been trying to define themselves against Mr Blair, largely unsuccessfully. By refusing to admit much of the evidence before their eyes — that the Prime Minister was sincere in accepting the open markets he inherited — they have chased up blind alleys of opportunism. As Mr Cameron conceded yesterday, his party made “terrible strategic and tactical mistakes”, sometimes claiming that Labour remained unchanged, at other times protesting that the Prime Minister was stealing Tory clothes. The Tories’ resulting pitch to the right had disastrous electoral results. Mr Cameron is now, more fruitfully, focusing on excessive regulation and a government short-termism that has failed to rectify long-term problems."

The Independent: "Cameron allies believe the right-wing sniping may help to define the Tories in the voters' eyes, in the way that Tony Blair's battles with his party shaped New Labour."

EXIT FROM THE EPP

BBCi: "Shadow foreign secretary William Hague is in Brussels to start talks which he hopes will sever links between Tory MEPs and the European People's Party.  Conservative leader David Cameron has ordered the move with threats of deselection for any pro-European Tory MEPs who defy him."

Independent leader: "This policy of withdrawal is difficult to explain. Mr Cameron is making a show of moving his party to the centre ground at home, so why make a lurch to the right abroad that was ruled out by the likes of Michael Howard and Iain Duncan Smith? It will force Tory representatives in Europe to sit with extremists, fascists and Robert Kilroy-Silk. This does not fit comfortably with Mr Cameron's message that the Tories have learned from past mistakes."

RightLinks launches campaign to support David Cameron on the EPP.

CCHQ'S GAGGING ORDER

Andrew Pierce (who often reports scoops from inside Tory HQ) writes this in today's Times: "David Cameron, the Conservative leader, has triggered his first internal revolt by trying to impose a lifetime gagging order on all the party’s employees.  The Times has learnt that the confidentiality agreement was sent to all staff, irrespective of their seniority or how long they have worked for the party, without any warning or consultation at the end of last week."

THE FUTURE OF THE SPECTATOR

The Guardian says that Andrew Neil is determined to make The Spectator a serious political player again after the years in which Boris Johnson allegedly trivialised it - but took it to circulation heights.

ANTI-EUTHANASIA ALLIANCE IS LAUNCHED

BBCi: "A new alliance has been formed to promote palliative care, and oppose efforts to legalise euthanasia, or physician-assisted suicide.  Supporters of the Care Not Killing Alliance include health workers and human rights groups."

CLIMATE CHANGE

The Guardian: "The government's strategy to cut carbon dioxide emissions in the battle against climate change has been paralysed for seven months by a dispute between two Whitehall departments.  Labour has pledged in three successive manifestos that by 2010 it will cut the UK's CO2 emissions by 20% below 1990 levels. The promise has reached almost totemic status in the party.  But publication of a programme to meet the targets has been held up, with the Department of Trade and Industry arguing that emissions have risen at such a rate over the past two years that it is unlikely Britain can meet the target. The DTI's latest projections show that, on current measures, CO2 will have been reduced to "only around 10% below 1990 levels by 2010"."

Blair_condoleezzariceCONDI COMES TO LONDON

ePolitix.com: "The government is today hosting a major international conference on the future of Afghanistan."

EUAN BLAIR GOES TO WASHINGTON

Telegraph: "The Prime Minister's son Euan began work as an intern on Capitol Hill yesterday, with old hands predicting quiet days and wild nights for the 22-year-old."

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30 Jan 2006 06:30:00

Monday 30th January 2006

Ch_pics_0029pm update: David Cameron's 'Modern Conservatism' speech

BLOGS

ToryDiary:

Platform: Jeremy Brier: After Hamas' 'victory'

Events: Keep in the loop!

TORY TAX POLICY

Telegraph Business interview with George Osborne: "Faced with the position of poor public finances and with Britain's declining place in the world, the Conservatives did not promise tax cuts in the 1979 election and said they had to sort out the public finances first"
"There is plenty of evidence that voters are very sceptical about politicians who make promises of tax cuts that seem primarily designed to get them elected, and they are doubtful that these cuts will not be offset by increases elsewhere. That is the legacy of stealth taxes".Ch_pics_300

TaxPayer's Alliance: "A low tax campaign should make far more use of the moral and personal case for lower taxes – i.e. it should be made relevant to the lives of ordinary people. These sorts of messages have scored particularly well in internal Conservative polling."

MILLIONS TRAPPED IN TAX MAZE

Telegraph: "Some 3.8 million people are paying income tax at the wrong rate - many are giving the Treasury too much - because the system devised by Gordon Brown is excessively complicated, a report says before tomorrow's final deadline for tax returns. The study, compiled by City experts for the Bow Group, paints a picture of a system in chaos and taxpayers confused about how to fill in ever more complex forms. The report calls for a drastic simplification of the system, with fewer reliefs and exemptions."

CAMERON'S BIG SPEECH

David Cameron will be at the Demos think-tank to make a keynote speech on Modern Conservatism later today, he will controversially praise Tony Blair, saying the prime minister saw his task as "preserving the fruits of the Thatcher revolution". ConservativeHome will report on it in the evening.

RELIGIOUS HATRED BILL

BBCi - This bill returns to the Commons tomorrow, a growing coalition are urging the Government to accept the amendments made in the Lords. Evan Harris MP, LibDem Human Rights spokesman and a prominent secularist, said that "These freedoms to speak and to argue, to criticise and indeed to ridicule, once lost are very rarely got back."

OTHER NEWS & COMMENTARY

Telegraph Leader on the erosion of parental responsibility: "The state's role in bringing up minors is ceasing to be complementary and becoming preponderant. Instead of having a presumption in favour of parental authority, to be disregarded only if parents are plainly unfit, we have a system in which only limited variety is sanctioned."

Independent: A poll of polls puts Labour one point ahead

BBCi - Alan Milburn urges unity on Labour's education reforms: "It's become a test of Labour's willingness to carry on as a reforming government".

Times Leader on Bush's second term: "...it might be assumed that Mr Bush is already sprouting the feathers that make for lame-duck status. That would be too sweeping a conclusion."

TORY RADIO
 
According to Hugo Muir of the Guardian,
 
"There comes a time when every invention comes into its own. Radar in the second world war; television during the coronation. Rejoice, then, about a meaningful use for the MP3 player with the advent of Tory Radio, a weekly podcast of interviews and news covering the progress of the Cameroonian revolution. It will be informative and modern, incisive and modern, provocative and ... well you know. This is surely what the iPod was destined for. Think about wandering down a country lane as John Redwood explains macroeconomics. Sheer bliss."

Tory Radio is the brainchild of regular conservativehome.com poster and occasional blogger Jonathan Sheppard. The aim is to produce a weekly half hour broadcast each week focusing on news, opinion pieces and interviews.
 
Just as blogging has revolutionised both the media and political campaigning by allowing the grass roots a voice through the written word, podcasting will do the same with the spoken word. Conservativehome fully backs this initiative and urges anyone interested in knowing more or wanting to get involved to email editor@toryradio.com or look at www.toryradio.com

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29 Jan 2006 09:35:53

Sunday 29th January 2006

BLOGS

ToryDiary:

Widdecombe_ann_1GERALD HOWARTH AND ANN WIDDECOMBE RAISE CONCERNS ABOUT CANDIDATES' 'A' LIST

Sunday Times:

"Ann Widdecombe, the Conservative MP for Maidstone and the Weald, condemned Cameron’s idea as “diabolical”.  “It is positive discrimination by any other means. If you are drawing up a list based on merit you cannot say at the outset that 50% should be women,” she said. “Given that they are trying to get ethnic minorities and probably people of particular sexual orientation on the register also, it looks as though if you are a white, male, Christian heterosexual there are going to be very few places for you on this list.”  Gerald Howarth, Tory MP for Aldershot, said: “We need a broad range of candidates, but the rub will come when a local association makes up its mind that it wants a particular candidate who isn’t on the list.”"

Dancona_matthewMATTHEW d'ANCONA: FRANCIS MAUDE AND STEPHEN DORRELL ARE THE REAL HEROES

Matthew d'Ancona, Sunday Telegraph:

"If the next general election results in Conservative victory, or even a hung Parliament, tribute should be paid to Francis Maude and Stephen Dorrell for an article published in The Sunday Telegraph on May 8, 2005. Only three days after Tony Blair's third election victory, Messrs Maude and Dorrell presented an analysis that, at the time, found few takers.  The key to Conservative revival, they argued, was to address "our failure to compete effectively with the Liberal Democrats for the anti-Labour vote". Mr Blair's genius had been "to recognise that by 1994 'One Nation Middle Britain' had given up on the Tories and was looking for a new voice." The lesson of the 2005 election, they concluded, was that the same constituency felt let down by New Labour and "was on the move again" - but not yet in the Tories' direction."

COMPASSIONATE CONSERVATISM

David Milliband slams Cameron's social justice agenda - South Shields Gazette

LIBDEMS

Nick Clegg MP makes the case for Ming Campbell - Yorkshire Post

"Former party leader Charles Kennedy vowed to give up alcohol on a number of occasions but lapsed when under pressure, a senior Lib Dem has said.  Shirley Williams, ex-Lib Dem leader in the House of Lords, told BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs Mr Kennedy had made a "real effort" to give up drinking." - BBCi

IN THE CLOSET

The Independent: 49% of gay people are too scared to come out at work

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28 Jan 2006 07:00:00

Saturday 28th January 2006

Ch_pics_003_1

BLOGS

ToryDiary: Editor's Review of the Week

Platform
: Martin Sewell - A rational case in support of marriage

HAMAS VICTORY

BBCi: Protesters urge Abbas to resignHamas2

Jerusalem Post: Column One: The anatomy of Hamas's victory - "Hamas's rise to political leadership and the significance of its ascendancy for Israel must be understood on two levels. First, Hamas must be viewed in the local Palestinian context. Second, the jihadist group's political victory must be viewed in the context of regional developments."

New York Times: Hamas leader reaffirms stance on Israel

McCAIN PRAISES CAMERON (...AND BLAIR)

Senator John McCain is interviewed by The Times: "From what I know of, and have seen of, Prime Minister Cameron, I mean Mr Cameron, I’m sure he and I are more philosophically aligned about the role of government because I’m more conservative myself. But the good news is that I cannot imagine a government in power in England which does not preserve the unique relationship with the US"

SIMON HUGHESHughes

"The Lib Dem's could win a landslide at the next election" (BBCi)

Guardian: Hughes relaunches his campaign in Manchester. "For me politics is first and foremost about values. The other parties may change their values every time they change their leader.We must remain true to ours".

Times: "An associate of Mr Hughes, who, like his mother, is a devout Christian, said: “Paddy is a lovely lady. Mother and son get on well but he had never talked to her about his sexuality. To be honest, it was one of the reasons that Simon did not come out. He wanted to spare his mother’s feelings."

Times: "I still want to get married, but to a woman not a man".

EDUCATION CLAUSE

Independent: "Ruth Kelly, the Education Secretary, is planning to add a clause to her Education Bill reinforcing the ban on comprehensive schools selecting pupils for their ability in basic subjects like maths and English."

NEW LABOUR

Telegraph Leader: "One of the oddest traits of New Labour is how, when it sets about controlling our behaviour, it invariably heatedly denies what it is doing even as it assumes new powers over us."

Matthew Parris in The Times: "A time is coming, and faster than some think, when we shall marvel at how long we put up with this cascade of inanities for so long. Were our leaders out of their minds we shall ask? Was any single, rational human intelligence awake on the ship’s bridge as we sailed into the night?"

GREG CLARK MP TAKES ON THE 'GARDEN GRABBERS'

Telegraph: "An MP is to confront the problem of "garden grabbing", in which developers acquire a large detached house, knock it down and then pack a small estate of new homes into the plot.  Greg Clark, Conservative MP for Tunbridge Wells, who is introducing a Bill to Parliament next week, says the problem is growing, not only in his constituency but in leafy suburbs across Britain..."

OTHER CONSERVATIVE NEWS

Ann Widdecombe turns down "Strictly come dancing" (BBCi)

Scotsman: Boris gets mixed reception at Edinburgh - "I tried to make a speech but I couldn't hear anything because of the noise. At the end, someone very kindly poured a pint of beer over my head."

Stephen Harper has health scare, and makes some anti-American noises (Reuters)

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