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April 2008 newslinks

3 May 2008 08:58:22

Saturday 3rd May 2008

7.45pm PlayPolitical: Boris Johnson acts the clown as he becomes London Mayor

Winnerslosers6pm ToryDiary: Thursday night's other winners and losers

4.15pm PlayPolitical: What do the Tories need to do to satisfy Michael Portillo?

3.45pm Dr Crippen on CentreRight: "I would cast Boris as the Fool in King Lear. Lovers of King Lear are not deceived by the Fool’s antics. Full of wit and insight, he is the most intellectually talented character in the play. Boris Johnson may well be the most intellectually talented member of the Conservative hierarchy. Whether or not you agree with that, he is now without doubt the most powerful Conservative in the country. He is David Cameron’s Fool.  King Lear could not control his Fool. We shall see whether Cameron can control his."

1pm Harry Phibbs on CentreRight: Guess who first suggested that Boris run for Mayor?

11.15am ToryDiary: When was the last time the Tories had such a good night?


ToryDiary: Boris wins the mayoralty


Platform: Paul Goodman MP says that in defeating Ken Livingstone Boris Johnson also defeated Islamic extremists

PlayPolitical: Watch David Cameron leap for joy as Boris' victory is announced

Over at CentreRight, Hamish Marshall notes how the international media are already biased against Mayor Boris

> And now let's win Crewe and Nantwich

Labour's dusk

"On Thursday the voters told Labour to - well, let us say “push off”. By their votes and abstentions they indicated that they don't like the Government any more. They said they've gone off the new Prime Minister in a big way. They didn't mention anything about being ready to change their minds and I don't for a moment believe they are disposed to. It's over." - Matthew Parris in the Times

"No prime minister has ever recovered from as bad a set of local election results as Labour had on Thursday and won the subsequent general election. Gordon Brown has very few options, apart from waiting, and hoping, unless he wants to undermine his hard-won reputation for prudence and long-term stability." - Peter Riddell in the Times

"We suggested on Thursday morning that the voters of England and Wales might wish to give Gordon Brown a punch on the nose. In the event, they delivered a right hook. Whether it presages a knock-out blow depends on what the Prime Minister does in the two years he has left before he must hold a general election. But it is impossible to escape the impression that he is mortally wounded, about to be overwhelmed by forces he can no longer control." - Telegraph leader

On May 2 2008 it was a wake at City Hall, witnessing a defeat that seemed to confirm what a day of results had already suggested: that after an era of dominance that has endured since the mid-1990s, Labour is about to enter the twilight. It threatens to be a slow death, as Labour decays steadily towards defeat in 2010. That, at least, is what plenty in the party fear after a horror show of a performance in local elections across England and Wales." - Jonathan Freedland in the Guardian

New Labour is dead - John McDonnell in the Guardian

Stephen Carter's diary of the week - Hugo Rifkind in the Times

David Cameron's "Tony Blair moment"

Boris_johnson_and_david_cameron "David Cameron's local election victory has been hailed as a "Tony Blair" moment, as the party's triumph at the ballot box appeared to echo the wins ahead of the 1997 Labour landslide. The Conservative leader yesterday embarked on a celebratory tour across England and Wales, after his party secured a massive 44 per cent of the vote, against Labour's 24 per cent." - Scotsman

"David Cameron hailed a string of victories in the North of England yesterday as he celebrated a stunning electoral breakthrough." - Times

No election next year

"Gordon Brown, on the ropes as never before, will play for time as he struggles to save his party’s skin and prevent himself becoming the first Prime Minister since James Callaghan never to win a general election." - Times

"[The results] are genuinely seismic in their implication. If Gordon Brown is eventually defeated in his bid to take Labour to a fourth term, then this is the moment which historians will determine marked the beginning of the end of his spell as Prime Minister. These local elections also mean that the ultimate battle is unlikely to occur before May 6, 2010." - Times leader

Labour control same number of councils in Wales as Tories

Welsh_conservatives "Labour was humiliated in the local elections, keeping overall control of just two councils in Wales – no more than the Conservatives. Neath Port Talbot and Rhondda Cynon Taf are all that remain of the Welsh Labour heartland that used to be considered impregnable. Even bracing themselves for a bad night, party activists were shocked to see authorities like Newport, Torfaen and Flintshire unexpectedly fall from their clutches." - Western Mail

Brown must go to save Labour

"I'm sure Labour would give anything to be offered the chance that the Tories were in 1995: a referendum, two years before a general election, on the leadership of a man who has plainly proved he is not up to it, and who is regarded as incapable even by his own core supporters. I doubt, as they recall the fate of the Tories, that they would be quite so kind to Gordon Brown." - Simon Heffer in the Telegraph

"The answer that stares these MPs in the face is that, echoing Cromwell, they should tell him: "In the name of God, go." Brown has not rescued Labour from its post-Iraq decline under Tony Blair. He has made it decisively worse." - Martin Kettle in the Guardian

Brown's former allies infighting and plotting behind the scenes - Toby Helm in the Telegraph

Unfavourable comparisons with Major

John_major "Unlike Mr Brown, Mr Major came to power as the result of a contest, and as soon as he did so, his appeal for a country "at ease with itself" was both authentic in relation to his own personality and a widely welcomed change from the strenuous demands of Mrs Thatcher. It is a very odd thing about a man who has spent more than 20 years in the front line of democratic politics, but Gordon Brown is someone who has gone to enormous lengths to avoid exposing himself to the bracing winds of political competition. It shows." - Charles Moore in the Telegraph

Boris's style of governance

"London's mayor, unlike New York's, does not control the police. But like New York's, he could bypass the police and give the citizens more information. All of us should know what the crime levels are in our street, our area, and how the police plan to tackle it. All of us should know how the mayor spends his budget. The Assembly is too weak to hold the mayor to account, so Londoners should have the information." - Camilla Cavendish in the Times

Boris and Cameron's relationship, from Eton to now - Francis Elliott in the Times

Well done, Stuart Wheeler

Stuart_wheeler "Stuart Wheeler is a patriot of the best and most unassuming kind. Having made a tidy sum of money by popularising spread-betting in the United Kingdom, he has given much of it away to good causes, including anti-torture groups and Euro-sceptic campaigners. Most recently, he has gone to court to challenge Labour's cancellation of the referendum on the European Constitution that it promised in its manifesto. Few gave him a chance, but Mr Wheeler knows a thing or two about odds." - Telegraph leader

> Wheeler wins first stage of legal battle

Full EU embassies discussed for the first time

"The "Embassies of the Union" would be controlled by a new EU diplomatic service created by the Lisbon Treaty. The Daily Telegraph has seen a high-level Brussels document discussing plans for a "European External Action Service" (EEAS) which was proposed under the new EU Treaty, currently being ratified in Westminster." - Telegraph

The most influential political pundits in the US - Telegraph

Please use this thread to highlight other interesting news and commentary and visit for breaking political news and views throughout the day.

30 Apr 2008 09:02:24

Wednesday 30th April 2008

4.15pm Seats and Candidates: Should selected candidates be subject to compulsory re-adoption in the event of a by-election?

3.30pm Parliament: Nick Herbert picks up on the Government delaying the release of figures on early-release prisoners... nothing to do with tomorrow's election

3pm LondonMayor: Livingstone's shredding period

12.45pm PlayPolitical: Harriet Harman gets into a muddle about whether Kate Hoey is supporting Livingstone

Noon CentreRight: Samuel Coates on why Christian Peoples Alliance candidate Alan Craig should endorse Boris

From noon: Live blog of PMQs

11.30am PlayPolitical video: 'Least said, soonest elected' - Rory Bremner paints David Cameron as an opportunist

Simonhefferacid LondonMayor: Simon Heffer does Red Ken's work for him

Jeremywright Jeremy Wright MP: The challenge of treating dementia

ToryDiary: Tory policies on crime are most likely to help win General Election

Local government: Labour haven't binned rubbish tax plans... they'll return after polling day

PlayPolitical videos:

Have your say in ConservativeHome's April survey

Click here to take part in's monthly survey: In additions to the regular questions we are asking for your views on the health of the Conservative Right, the criteria you use to select parliamentary candidates and membership levels in your Association.

By-election to choose Gwyneth Dunwoody's successor will be on 22nd May - BBC

Boris Johnson emphasises compassionate agenda on eve of poll

"Tory mayoral hopeful Boris Johnson says he wants those who earn "stonking quantities of dosh" in London to give more to poorer communities around them." - BBC

Livingstone_ken_2 If Ken Livingstone wins it will pose big strategic questions for Labour

"A Ken victory will embolden Labour in its conflict with the Conservatives, to be sure, but it will also have a profound effect on the continuing struggle within the party. For if Livingstone manages to defy a national trend, winning when Labour was losing everywhere else, it will tip the scales in what has, until now, been an evenly matched argument. Ranged on one side, broadly identified with the Progress group, is the uber-Blairite view that victory lies in ever-tighter targeting of the handful of swing voters in southern marginal seats that shifted to Labour in 1997. In the other corner, associated with the Compass thinktank, is a strategy that says Labour needs to win back the 4.5 million voters it has lost since 1997 - a coalition that, according to Jon Cruddas MP, includes "urban intellectuals", ethnic minorities, public sector workers and the traditional working class." - Jonathan Freedland in The Guardian

Brown to offer activists a say after poll results (Guardian) and a barrage of new policies (Independent).

Evening Standard responds to Polly Toynbee's criticism of its Mayoral coverage - Letter to The Guardian

Government accused of "pimping" - Western Mail | Yesterday's ToryDiary

YouGov: Support for independence slumps in Scotland

"A poll conducted for The Daily Telegraph by YouGov – the most in-depth analysis yet of attitudes to constitutional change – shows that only 19 per cent of Scots would support independence in a three-option referendum. Nearly three quarters backed keeping a devolved Parliament, either with its present powers or with more responsibilities." - Telegraph

UK house prices now falling year-on-year for first time since 1996 - Telegraph

WPP may join business exodus from high tax Britain - Telegraph

Secret tax adds £200 to cost of running family cars - Times

EU ready to censure Britain for fiscal ill-discipline - FT

It's opinion polls, not local elections, that count - Danny Finkelstein in The Times


Please use this thread to highlight other interesting news and commentary and visit for breaking political news and views throughout the day.

29 Apr 2008 08:58:30

Tuesday 29th April 2008

10.15pm PlayPolitical: Barack Obama disowns pastor's remarks

5.15pm ToryDiary: ConservativeHome in GQ

4.15pm ToryDiary: Should Job Centres advertise work in the sex industry?

3.45pm ToryDiary: Labour's failed the working class on university admissions

3.15pm LondonMayor: Can you help get out the vote over the next 48 hours?

Haveyoursay 3pm: Click here to take part in's monthly survey: In additions to the regular questions we are asking for your views on the health of the Conservative Right, the criteria you use to select parliamentary candidates and membership levels in your Association.

12.30pm Parliament: John Redwood urges UK to follow Irish model of lower corporate taxation

Important 11am update on our Kate Hoey story here.

Electionsnightblogging10.45am Local government: ConservativeHome will be in CCHQ on elections night

10am CentreRight: Peter Whittle observes the BBC and ITV retreat again in the face of Muslim supremacists


ToryDiary: Cameron admits that he hasn't been able to end Punch and Judy politics

Platform: Jonathan Caine reviews David Trimble: the Price of Peace' by Frank Millar

PlayPolitical videos: Sky News profiles Boris Johnson and David Cameron talks about the causes of poverty

Some key facts about Labour's Britain:

Help us add to this new directory.

Cameron doubles poll lead as election looms - Independent | ToryDiary

This latest poll has the Tories in majority territory but yesterday Nick Clegg set out his terms should his party hold the balance of power: "Nick Clegg said that he would expect a high price for his party's support in the event of a hung parliament after the next general election, demanding a "complete reinvention" of the political system.  That would mean reforms to campaign finance laws, electoral reform and the devolution of power away from Whitehall." (Quoted in The Telegraph).

Clegg supports compulsory English language in schools - BBC

Osbornegeorgesmiling George Osborne promises to deal with trade union power... but qualification follows

"George Osborne provoked a confrontation with the unions last night by suggesting that a Tory administration could introduce new measures to curb their power.  The Conservatives were considering reforms to employment legislation as a matter of “urgency” because of the threat of widespread unrest in the public sector over pay, the Shadow Chancellor said yesterday.  “I think the public service unions have grown too powerful. We would also look at any changes that need to be made in employment legislation. We are still in the process of looking at what the changes might be,” he told reporters on a visit to a business conference in Liverpool." - Times

"The Tories were on Monday night forced to row back from a suggestion by George Osborne, shadow chancellor, that they will look at changes to employment legislation to curb the growing number of strikes." - FT

Cameron short on policy detail - An FT analysis

Tory plan for free money adviser will be financed by levy on financial sector

"The Tories believe that the service is "urgently required", given the deterioriating economy and the increasing difficulties many people are facing.  While acknowledging that the idea has been around for several years, they said ministers had been "dithering" and had failed to implement it." - Telegraph

Brian Paddick remembers being wooed by the Conservatives

"Mr Paddick, a former senior Metropolitan Police officer, sent David Cameron an email asking if speculation that the Tories wanted him to be their man was true. The Tory leader quickly dispatched Francis Maude, a Shadow Cabinet member, for talks."They promised me the Earth, all the money I could spend and professional back-up," said Mr Paddick. He turned the Tories down after discussing their offer with his mother, who said her own mother would have been appalled." - Independent

Ken Livingstone launches women's manifesto - MayorWatch

Sky photo gallery of all the mayoral candidates.

Steve Richards: Cameron hasn't taken the tough decisions

"When Mr Cameron was asked to name a tough decision he had taken in relation to public spending the Tory leader responded comically by saying he had proposed the reduction of MPs' expenses. Mr Cameron would not get away with such casual trivialisation of the biggest theme of the lot, tax and spending, if the Government was not in such trouble: "I have taken the tough decisions on public spending. I plan to cut MPs' expenses. Thank you and good night"." - Steve Richards in The Independent

Parish council levies hide true council tax rises

"The true level of council tax rises is being disguised because parish councils are imposing levy increases above inflation, the Conservatives claim in a report to be released today. English families now pay up to £174 a year to their parish councils. The total amount raised by the levies has increased by 124 per cent over the past decade to £323 million." - Telegraph


Please use this thread to highlight other interesting news and commentary and visit for breaking political news and views throughout the day.

28 Apr 2008 08:56:57

Monday 28th April 2008

7.45pm ToryDiary: Tory lead doubles to 14% according to ComRes

6.30pm ToryDiary: Voices of the right

5.30pm LondonMayor: Dirty tricks Ken starts throwing the mud

3pm: Latest Boris PEB online, includes new scene on small businesses

2.45pm Peter Franklin on CentreRight: "Brown's colleagues must surely realise that the idea of presenting the country with a second unelected Prime Minister in the space of year is unconscionable."

11.45am Local government: Our placards are bigger than yours!

11am Harry Phibbs on CentreRight:

Boris lead up to 11%

Samuelcoatesdiary 9.30am ToryDiary: A day in the life of David Cameron

ToryDiary: Can anyone sum up in one memorable sentence what the Cameron-led Tories stand for?

Mixedageclasses Platform: Ryan Shorthouse advocates mixed-age classrooms

Parliament: Highlights of Ed Vaizey's speech about obesity

PlayPolitical video: Gordon Brown tries to impress Condi Rice but is outclassed by Nicolas Sarkozy in the latest Headcases comedy sketch

Polling_station Mayoral and local election news

Boris Johnson answers questions from The Independent

Labour MPs don't want Brown on the campaign trail with them - Daily Mail

Tories must make 200 gains - Professor Colin Rallings in The Telegraph

"The councils to watch are Reading, where Labour could easily lose overall control, and councils now with no overall control that the Tories could capture on a small shift of seats, such as Cheltenham, Vale of Glamorgan, Bury and North Tyneside." - Peter Riddell in The Times

Electoral fraud

Joseph Rowntree report says UK elections fall short of international standards on integrity - BBC

"Rowntree is not the first organisation to point out the shortcomings of the British democratic process. The Council of Europe, the Electoral Commission and the Electoral Reform Society have all highlighted serious defects" - Times leader

A Tory councillor has been found guilty of using bogus postal votes to ensure he was voted into office - BBC

Only 22% of businesses believe that they'd be a Conservative priority

"Fewer than one in four companies have faith in David Cameron to deliver for them, according to a survey by the British Chambers of Commerce. The Populus poll found only 22 per cent of businesses believed the Conservatives would make the needs of business a priority.  Labour’s rating was even worse, at only 14 per cent, in a survey revealing a deep-seated corporate cynicism about politicians’ ability to grasp business needs." - FT

> Richard Spring MP recently wrote for ConservativeHome about how "Strong business relations have been integrated into the Party"

Daleyjanetblackbackgroun Janet Daley: The Conservatives must do more to enthuse

"If the electorate is forced to choose between a party it has come to hate, and another that it regards as vacuous, it is more likely to stay at home. And what is going to be critical for a Tory victory both this week, and in the eventual general election, will be a high turnout." - Janet Daley in The Telegraph

Bruce Anderson: Public services for all will be David Cameron's priority

"Shortly before Nicolas Sarkozy became President of France, he visited London and told David Cameron how much he admired the economic reforms which Margaret Thatcher had pushed through in the 1980s. Mr Cameron was struck by this. Afterwards, he said that he hoped that the day would come, perhaps in the 2030s, when a French presidential candidate would tell a Tory leader how much he admired the public service reforms of the 2010s." - Bruce Anderson in The Independent

Brownite Smith Institute and IDS' Centre for Social Justice to co-operate on early intervention - Independent

LibDems ought to be doing better says Vince Cable -

"I did not come into politics to be an annexe to the Labour party or an annexe to the Conservative party." - Nick Clegg on Today,

Ministry of Defence overwhelmed by combination of commitments and budgetary restrictions - FT

Weekendhighlights ToryDiary: Who deserves the credit for the Tory comeback?

Peter Franklin on CentreRight: Muslim supremacist is the expression we should use instead of Islamist etc


Please use this thread to highlight other interesting news and commentary and visit for breaking political news and views throughout the day.