Tuesday 3rd February 2009
12.45pm Jonathan Isaby on CentreRight: Wetherspoon's refusal to accept military ID is unacceptable
9.30am Graeme Archer on CentreRight: The need for better maths skills is easily deduced
Also in Local Government:
"The Tories today blamed Gordon Brown's "irresponsible" comments over British jobs for British workers for the wave of wildcat strikes at industrial sites across the country. Shadow business secretary Kenneth Clarke said however aggrieved people felt, industrial action at power stations and oil refineries at a time of "national crisis" was not the way forward. "We don't want to see riots in Italy about British workers, working in Italy, at a time when British companies are seeking contracts on the continent for their British workers." But he added: "Understandable worries at the present time have been turned into direct action as a result of the Prime Minister's irresponsible use of the phrase 'British jobs for British workers'. This was populist nonsense at the time he used it and part of some curious Britishness agenda, which he was pursuing for reasons of his own at the time." - The Herald
"So, Europe is no longer a contentious issue. That was the claim made by Ken Clarke and the Tory leadership when the pro-European former chancellor returned to the frontbench with a declaration that the party now had a "settled view" on the EU... The strikes show that the EU will always be a contentious issue... It will be interesting to see how long the Tory truce lasts." - Nicholas Watt in The Guardian
Boris: We must not put a brake on free trade
"Of course people are angry, and of course they want to protect themselves and their families. But if the nations of the world decide that it makes sense for them each to discriminate against foreign competition, then we are really on the road to perdition, and a skid will turn into a prang from which it could take a long time to recover." - Boris Johnson writing in the Daily Telegraph
"The Conservatives on Monday warned about the risk of banks that become “too big to bail”, suggesting a Tory government could use the taxpayers’ stakes in lenders to try to increase competition in the sector. George Osborne, shadow chancellor, highlighted the potential impact on the banking system of the eventual sale of the taxpayers’ bank shareholdings. The state owns 70 per cent of Royal Bank of Scotland and 43 per cent of the newly created Lloyds Banking Group, as well as the wholly nationalised Northern Rock and Bradford & Bingley. In a speech in London, Mr Osborne said he recognised the need for “internationally competitive” banks to restore London’s reputation as a global financial centre. But he signalled for the first time that the opposition party might balk at the idea of creating ever bigger financial institutions in response to the credit crunch." - FT
...as he says he'll give the Bank of England new powers to control house price rises...
"A Conservative government would seek to control house prices by giving the Bank of England new powers to deflate "bubbles" in the housing market, George Osborne has said... The Tory plan would entail a change in the Bank of England's obligations. Under current rules, the Bank is charged only with ensuring a stable rate of inflation, and has no formal requirement to consider house prices other than as they affect the general price level. Mr Osborne said that as well as targeting a stable rate of inflation, the Bank should be told to monitor house prices and other asset prices." - Daily Telegraph
...but he wants Britain to start saving and learn to live within its means...
"The great question that Britain faces is: how can the whole country live within its means and pay its way in the world?... We need nothing short of a second supply-side revolution. We need a stronger and broader economy." - George Osborne in The Independent
...and he also has something to say about government IT procurement
"IT has the potential to transform the relationship between citizen and State, and deliver more efficient and effective public services. Our plan will help us to make the most of this potential. Under the Conservatives, government IT will be about getting value for money for the future, not adding to the bills of the past." - George Osborne writing in The Times
"As the snowfall intensified yesterday afternoon, and forecasters warned the cold snap could last for the week, the government and the London mayor, Boris Johnson, were under pressure to explain why they had not been better prepared... "Both our national and local transport infrastructure should have better contingency plans in place for extreme weather," said Theresa Villiers, the shadow transport secretary... Johnson defended his decision to suspend London's bus network, saying while everything possible had been done to clear the roads, the capital simply could not cope with heavy snow. He also argued that the rarity of heavy snow in the capital meant it would be uneconomical to buy the kind of snowploughs that clear New York's streets." - Guardian
David Cameron: Eighties flops "would now easily pass maths A-level"
"Students who would have failed A-level maths 20 years ago are now being awarded Bs and Cs thanks to ‘dumbing down’ under Labour, David Cameron has claimed. The warning from the Tory leader came as he appointed Carol Vorderman, former co-host of Countdown, as his adviser on how to improve numeracy. He said there was an ‘apartheid’ opening up between independent schools and the best state schools, which offer rigorous tuition and examination, and failing state schools." - Daily Mail
Tim Loughton on the crisis in social working profession
"There’s a real crisis in the social working profession... We need to improve the image and the status and the standing of social workers. We need a massive recruitment and PR campaign for starters. We think you should do things such as appoint a Chief Social Worker – a face for the profession. We need to recruit a super-breed of social workers, putting them into the more challenging areas." - Shadow Children's minister Tim Loughton's Today interview quoted on PoliticsHome.com
Have police breached Speaker's guidance in demanding to see David Davis's emails to Damian Green?
"The Commons Speaker has said he will look into claims that the police asked for access to e-mails sent by Tory MP Damian Green without notifying him. Fellow Conservative David Davis told Parliament the police had approached Mr Green to request access to electronic correspondence between the two MPs." - BBC
David Willetts: There really has been a radical shift in Conservative thinking
"Margaret Thatcher left a lasting legacy for the Conservatives – her final service to the party was to provide a caricature of Conservatism against which the party could appear to react. And while the reaction may have been gradual, the 'new' Tory party is no longer obsessed with economics and reductionism – it now has a much richer, more socially engaged agenda. This analysis of the Conservatives comes from David Willetts, shadow Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities & Skills, and is the result of months and months of navel gazing by the party as it considers whether it is not only electable but how exactly it would rule if it got into power." - Rory Baxter summarises David Willetts's take on Conservatism at PublicService.co.uk
"Conservative frontbencher Tobias Ellwood is hoping to represent Britain in the Olympic shooting championships in 2012. The shadow culture, media and sport minister learned to shoot while serving in the British army and has already won several military competitions for shooting a 9mm pistol. The 2012 Olympics will be a fantastic experience for the whole country and I would be honoured and delighted to be selected to represent Team GB," Ellwood said." - Deborah Summers's Guardian blog
Steve Richards: It is too early to anoint Cameron
"One respected opinion pollster tells me he expects a Conservative landslide. Cabinet ministers privately contemplate a period in opposition. Key Labour strategists are already planning for how their party should respond to defeat. Their discussions include who is best placed to lead them back into power, or at least prevent a descent into eternal opposition... Yet at this particular point I sense the politicians and pundits are premature in predicting so confidently the outcome of the next election." - Steve Richards writing in The Independent
Labour leader in London praises Boris's hard work
"Boris Johnson has been praised for his "hard-working" ways by the Labour leader on the London assembly. Len Duvall, the member for Greenwich and Lewisham, who has previously come into conflict with the Tory mayor, told a website for Greenwich residents that Johnson had confounded critics who feared that he would be "lazy". Duvall, one of Johnson's fiercest critics on the 25-strong cross-party assembly, conceded that Johnson had defied low expectations of his mayoralty by "putting in the hours". - Guardian
"The pay gap between the public and private sectors has widened dramatically in just four years, official figures show. State workers now earn an average £62 a week more than their private sector counterparts - a 50 per cent increase in the differential since 2004... Tory Cabinet Office spokesman Francis Maude, who requested the figures, said: 'We need to recognise and reward the performance of hard-working staff in both the public and private sectors. But this data flies in the face of all Labour's cheap rhetoric about making efficiency savings and cutbacks in Whitehall. I also have grave concerns about the burden this state wage bill is putting on the economy'." - Daily Mail
Derek Conway apologises for breaching Commons rules - BBC
Lord Marland withdraws from election for England Cricket Board chairmanship - SportingLife.com
All-party support likely for Scottish budget - Scotsman
Premier Wen attacked by shoe - Independent
Every hospital in England to get senior dementia specialist - Times
Average speed cameras to be deployed in residential areas - Times
David Miliband to meet Hillary Clinton in Washington today - USA Today
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