Tuesday 19th June 2007
5.45pm BritainAndAmerica: Video clips of Fred Thompson's speech in London on the transatlantic relationship (he topped the Republican presidential polling today)
4PM PICK OF THE WEB
- A post on Comment Central in support of Salman Rushdie's Knighthood attracted a lot of attention. Oliver Kamm is outraged at the response from Pakistan politicians and calls for democratic political parties to do more to defend the values of our free society. Stephen Pollard is one of many to criticise Lord Ahmed's comments on this issue.
- There's heated debate on Iain Dale about one in three conceived babies being aborted. Meanwhile The Difference asks if time frames for abortions should be matched with those for human embryo research and in vitro experiments.
- Stumbling and Mumbling argues that incompetence is an inevitable result of a lack of competition, referring to a report saying that the £1.8bn spent on consultants this year hasn't been good value.
- Norman Geras is unimpressed with the quality of the argument made by Michele Hanson in the Guardian this morning (that only Thatcher saw any point in the Falklands War)
- A barely alive Webcameron has released a video of Cameron talking to Lord Heseltine about the Cities Taskforce
- Open Europe tries to keep track of the ever-changing position of the Government on the constitutional treaty
- Croydonian questions the Government's figures on non-charging cash machines in poor areas
- Brian Jenner has written an interesting piece about how he prepares content for speeches
- "James Cleverly has criticised Ken Livingstone for his "insulting and cynical" objection to the Conservative nominations for the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA)." - Bexley & Bromeley Conservatives
- "Whether or not one rates Rushdie is utterly beside the point. Many of us find some of the statements and speeches made by Harold Pinter pretty loathsome and divisive too, but none of us are for a moment suggesting that he should be silenced." - New Culture Forum
- "The Conservative Party has called for an "immediate halt" to the reorganisation process after the high court gave the go-ahead to three councils to mount a challenge." - Local Government Chronicle
HEALTH PROPOSALS LAUNCHED TOMORROW
"A new public health act and efforts to fight obesity will be at the heart of Conservative proposals today for reform of the National Health Service, the Financial Times understands. David Cameron, Tory leader, is expected to highlight the latest findings of his health policy working group, announced today, when he unveils what party insiders are describing as a "white paper" tomorrow." - Financial Times
"Doctors will be given more say in how the NHS is run if the Conservatives are returned to power, according to a policy document published today. GPs delivered a vote of no confidence last week in the Government. They accused ministers of wasting a golden opportunity to transform the NHS by squandering millions of pounds. David Cameron is promising that instead of focusing on targets such as waiting times, he would look to improve the results of treatment." - Telegraph
REACTION TO TOOTING SPEECH
"David Cameron yesterday prepared the Conservative rank and file for the battle against Gordon Brown with reassurances that he would offer a "clear choice" to voters which stressed family values and smaller government." - Guardian
"David Cameron yesterday compared reconstructing the Conservative party to building a house, and if the metaphor is correct then he must now be staring at heaps of rubble, cement and copper piping, hoping that the architect's plans come together before the first tenants move in" - Guardian leader
"Many of the Tooting audience privately think him wet. But they grudgingly recognise the purpose upon which everything he does is fixed: to win a general election by entrenching himself in the centre ground, rejecting every demand for red meat from the Baskerville hounds of the right." - Max Hastings in the Guardian
"The philosophical underpinnings of Cameron Conservatism offered by that speech seem creditable enough, delineating a fundamental difference between the concepts of "social responsibility" and "state control". But under an aggressive assault from a refreshed Labour side, the Tories will need a thoroughly examined, well developed sense of what that distinction actually amounts to, and precisely how their critique of Mr Brown can be transformed into a positive model of government." - Telegraph leader
"Margaret Thatcher relied on Essex Man, Tony Blair wooed Worcester Woman and David Cameron is pinning his hopes on Tooting Man. If the next MP for the south London Labour marginal is a Conservative, Mr Cameron will almost certainly be heading for Downing Street." - Brendan Carlin in the Telegraph
"The difference between his Conservative Party and Gordon Brown, he insisted, was that, "We get the modern world, he doesn't. We trust people, he's suspicious of them." It was the clearest articulation he has yet made of his philosophy - but it was also a message that demonstrated vividly why the voters are confused about who he is." - Rachel Sylvester in the Telegraph
Highlights of Cameron's speech are responded to by Simon Heffer ("philisophically naive and vacuous") and Rachel Sylvester ("shows Cameron is more traditionalist than we thought") on Telegraph TV
"Mr Cameron’s support for collective security and individual opportunity is hardly new or radical. Each of the three party leaders could credibly deliver a speech on a similar theme. Indeed, Gordon Brown is already occupying exactly that ground." - Times leader
PARTY SHOULD "GROW UP"
"Mr Cameron is entering a defining period. The honeymoon is over and he will soon face the formidable Mr Brown directly for the first time. This was always going to be a testing moment for the Tories. But Mr Cameron's job of setting the terms of the political debate is now that much harder. If he does not turn back the trickles of dissent, they could yet turn into a tide of despair." - Independent leader
DAVIS' SOCIAL MOBILITY TASKFORCE
"David Cameron moved to reassure traditional Conservative voters yesterday by giving David Davis a new role in formulating party policy. Mr Cameron disclosed that Mr Davis, the shadow home secretary and the man he defeated to become party leader, would lead a task force to investigate why social mobility had slumped under Labour." - Telegraph
IS THERE A BETTER PHRASE?
"When Mr Cameron invokes "social responsibility" as his big idea, grassroots Tory voters scratch their heads in a way they did not when St Maggie said "freedom, enterprise and tax cuts", and most policies could fit that template. Mr Brown's language needs improvement too, but he will be prime minister." - Michael White in the Guardian
CONSULTATION ABOUT CONSULTATIONS
"Effective Consultation, a 33-page document, states: "It is aimed at anyone with an interest in responding to government consultation exercises. "The Cabinet Office wants to hear views on how the Government consults, on how government consultations can be improved and how government policy on consultation could bring about these improvements." The Tories are stupefied. "This is farcical," blasts Oliver Heald, the shadow cabinet office minister." - Telegraph Spy
EVANS WANTS TO GO BACK TO WESTMINSTER
"Welsh Conservative MEP Jonathan Evans is to seek a return to the House of Commons, we can reveal. A party source has confirmed that the former Brecon and Radnor MP and Welsh Office Minister has applied for the parliamentary candidacy in Cardiff North. If he wins the nomination, he will be trying to win the seat from the current Labour MP Julie Morgan, wife of First Minister Rhodri Morgan." - Western Mail
KEEP THE RAINBOW
"Liberal Democrat Assembly leader Michael German yesterday urged Plaid Cymru not to abandon plans for a three-way government with the Conservatives and his party in favour of a coalition with Labour. But he warned that if it is clear the so-called rainbow alliance is “heading for the rocks” he can act quickly to re-start negotiations of his own with Labour." - Western Mail
"Cherie Blair repeatedly urged her husband to sack Gordon Brown as she became incensed by his behaviour towards the prime minister, a family friend of the Blairs has disclosed." - Guardian
"The Government was in chaos over the European constitution last night as a damaging rift opened between Tony Blair and Gordon Brown over whether a referendum may be necessary to approve plans to hand more power to Brussels." - Telegraph
Please use this thread to highlight other interesting news and commentary..