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April 2008 newslinks

27 Apr 2008 09:00:52

Sunday 27th April 2008

7.30pm PlayPolitical video: Watch Harriet Harman admit to Adam Boulton that her username for her hacked blog was "Harriet" and her password was "Harman"

7pm ToryDiary: Gold, silver and bronze: Who deserves the credit for the Tory comeback?

4.45pm ToryDiary: April questions

10am ToryDiary: I will never sanction a Budget that singles out the working poor for a tax rise says Cameron

LondonMayor: Two of the four final polls point to a victory for Ken Livingstone

Platform: Graeme Archer finds the best reason on Earth to vote for Boris Johnson

ToryDiary: Our new opinion poll graphic shows Tories 2 seats short of a majority according to the latest ICM poll but heading for a majority of 26 according to the ConservativeHome poll of polls

Widdecombe_ann_new PlayPolitical: Ann Widdecombe tells Sky News that prison officers shouldn't be able to strike

Matthew Sinclair on CentreRight: Obama's protectionist policies should make him unacceptable to British Conservatives

Blair doesn't believe Brown can beat Cameron, says Lord Levy

Tony Blair believes Gordon Brown "could never beat" Tory leader David Cameron in a General Election and is "disappointed" by Labour's slide under his successor.  The devastating verdict is revealed by Blair's controversial chief fund-raiser, Lord Levy, whose sensational memoirs are serialised in today's Mail on Sunday... Levy tells how Blair ended up believing that Brown was a "liar" who tried to use the scandal as a weapon to unseat him." - Mail on Sunday

Brown: 'Mandelson's telling people I'm gay... and I am NOT GAY' - Mail on Sunday

Watch The Mail on Sunday's Simon Walters interview Lord Levy.

"Tony Blair went "bright red" when confronted over the long massages he was said to be receiving from the former topless model Carole Caplin, Lord Levy claims." - Independent on Sunday

Johnson_boris_2006 Mayoral and local election stories

The Camerons and the Johnsons campaign together in London's East End - BBC

Livingstone offers to give Boris a job and train him up - Observer

Livingstone to offer 'LibDems for Ken' manifesto in battle for 2nd preferences - Independent on Sunday

How to assess the results of this week’s local elections - Colin Rallings and Michael Thrasher in The Sunday Times

Sunday comment

The work that David Cameron still needs to do: "Most voters know their limitations. They can’t work out whether one policy is better for the country than another. But when one is advanced they try to read between the lines. They want to know whether the Tories really care, is it part of a coherent, costed message and, above all, is it being proposed for the good of everyone. So far, Cameron’s spokesmen have come up with some interesting thoughts about welfare reform and extending school choice as well some offputting jargon about “the post-bureaucratic age”. The latter is scheduled to be a big idea, but nobody out there knows what the hell it means.' - Martin Ivens in The Sunday Times

Osbornegreentie These are Labour, not Tory times: "Osborne goes through the motions, but what stymies him is that he is a believer in the very policies and attitudes that have delivered the crisis. It seems a matter of personal incredulity that free markets, in which he has invested so much political capital, deliver irrational credit booms and busts. In his mind, regulation is always the problem not the solution. Public intervention and ownership are always wrong... Even if he were less wedded to the old-time religion, he would still have his party to contend with, along with a powerful right-wing commentariat who, some honourable exceptions aside, are unreconstructed Thatcherites." - Will Hutton in The Observer

Labour is losing the will to govern: Matthew d'Ancona in The Sunday Telegraph

Celebrities warm to the Conservatives

Matthew Vaughn, Kirstie Allsopp, Allison Pearson, Dylan Jones; The celebrities who are endorsing the Conservatives - James Delingpole in The Sunday Telegraph

Devolution stories

Plaid Cymru should hold their noses and embrace a minority Tory Government - Matt Withers in Wales on Sunday

Mark Field MP attacks Ken Clarke's answer to the West Lothian Question as "inadequate and unworkable" - Scotland on Sunday

Lord Laidlaw, major Tory donor, admits to orgies and sex addiction - Scotland on Sunday | News of the World

Compensation boost for severely injured soldiers - The Sunday Telegraph


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

26 Apr 2008 09:00:15

Saturday 26th April 2008

8.30pm ToryDiary: Tories 10% ahead according to ICM

131 7pm ToryDiary: Labour set to lose 131 seats

5pm LondonMayor: Extravagant Livingstone, and his heavy-handed minders

4.15pm CentreRight selections:

  • 'Muslim supremacists' is Peter Franklin's preferred expression to describe the evil men who bomb and murder in the name of Islam.
  • Peter Whittle previews his new book - Look At Me; an exploration of Britain's runaway obsession with the need to be extraordinary, special or visible.
  • Tim Montgomerie notes Ken Livingstone's support for a Labour-Green-Galloway coalition against the Conservatives

10.45am ToryDiary: Politics need not be brutal


Platform: Mark Prisk MP looks at how technology will change our way of life

Returningtothebluecorner ToryDiary: 'Fleet Street' is becoming friendly again and Jonathan Oliver awarded with Scoop of the Year

Shadow Cabinet may have to name those who fund their offices

"David Cameron and his shadow cabinet are expected next week to be ordered by John Lyon, the parliamentary standards commissioner, to publish the names of the wealthy donors who bankroll their private offices. This follows an investigation sparked by two Labour MPs into the failure of the shadow chancellor, George Osborne, to disclose the names to parliament of five wealthy donors who put up nearly £500,000 last year to pay for his office staff. The five donors are the carpet millionaire Lord Harris, Lady Serena Rothschild, the financier Sir John Beckwith, Sir Jeremy Isaacs and Julian Schilds." - Guardian

Welsh visit

Cameron_brown_train Cameron and Brown get the same train by accident - Guardian

"While Gordon Brown skulked in Swansea, David Cameron bounced into Barry with all the enthusiasm one would expect of a man riding a 21-year-high lead in the polls. Making the most of the Prime Minister’s apparent avoidance of mixing with members of the public further west, the Conservative leader looked to go the opposite way as he conducted his whistlestop tour of Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan." - Western Mail

"Plaid Cymru last night opened the door to a post-election deal with David Cameron in the event of a hung parliament. Adam Price, the MP for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr and the man credited with negotiating the Assembly coalition deal with Labour, said Plaid would talk to all parties on an equal footing." - Western Mail

It's the paypacket, stupid - Tomos Livingstone in the Western Mail

Are we prepared for government?

"The best prospects for the Parliamentary Labour Party, though dismal, are to hold its nerve, bite its tongue, cleave to the leader it has and try to keep him upright and on his feet... The party's second-best prospects would lie in dispatching Mr Brown tomorrow, decisively and cleanly, and hoping to anoint a successor. Labour's worst prospects lie in leaving Mr Brown in place but sniping at him and undermining him until he almost literally cannot stand up any more. It is this third prospect, the worst of all worlds, that looks to me likely. So are the Tories ready yet - and perhaps quite soon - to take over?" - Matthew Parris in the Times

Mayoral stories


"The Tory candidate is targeting the Conservative neighbourhoods surrounding the capital's Labour inner-city boroughs, in what has been dubbed a "doughnut strategy". His campaign is seeking to overcome a trend identified in recent years whereby Tory voters in outer boroughs opt out of mayoral elections because they do not identify with the issues important to those in the centre of the city." - Telegraph / Independent

"The thrust of Mr Johnson's policy suggestions on crime, transport and planning are sensible. His candour is welcome. His energy, enthusiasm and appetite for the role are much needed, particularly as London's economy heads into a testing few years. He is alive to Londoners' very deep concerns about drugs, stabbings and gangs, disappointment about persistent poverty and housing shortages." - Times leader endorses Johnson

"The choice facing London is not a happy one, but Mr Livingstone is the better option." - Guardian leader

"Ken Livingstone’s only declared donation to his last election campaign was a single £356,413 payment from the London Labour Party, prompting fresh questions about transparency. With six days to go until election day, Mr Livingstone was accused in Parliament of engaging in “dirty politics” by failing to list all the backers of the mayoral election campaign in his returns." - Times

"Mr Livingstone has had some successes: the Oyster card, better buses. But the argument he made when first seeking office - that incumbency leads to cronyism and corruption - has been amply vindicated. London is the world's greatest city. It surely deserves better. Enough is enough, Mr Livingstone. It's time for a change." - Telegraph leader

Pericles "With most of our politicians, confined as they are by their knowledge of only one language and only one time - the present - the best one could hope for would be an admiring reference to what Rudy Giuliani or Michael Bloomberg have done in New York. Instead, this classicist takes us back to the first flowering of democratic politics in Athens: his hero is Pericles, leader of that city state in its golden age in the fifth century BC." - Andrew Gimson in the Telegraph


Brown is a Tory asset

"Another Tory reason for wanting Mr Brown to fight the next election as Labour leader is his virtually pathological dislike of voting contests... In these last weeks, he has campaigned for the Labour candidate in the London mayoralty election with whatever is the opposite of barn-storming. In short, Mr Brown has never led his party into any national electoral contest, and does not like the thought of it. So the Tories should." - Charles Moore in the Telegraph

Heseltine tops ST Rich List in Northamptonshire - Northampton Chronicle

Motorists urged to stay calm amid fuel strikes - Times

Brown criticises strikes - Guardian


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

25 Apr 2008 08:28:49

Friday 25th April 2008

8.30pm ToryDiary: Conservatives lead by 9% according to Ipsos MORI

381241 5.30pm LondonMayor: Unison-funded MORI poll puts Livingstone 6% ahead with second preferences

3.45pm CentreRight: Peter Franklin wonders what would happen to Brown's poll rating if the economy fell off the cliff...?

3.15pm ToryDiary: Religious faith is needed to help tackle today's greatest injustices says William Hague

2.30pm PlayPolitical: David Cameron and Boris Johnson talk about the crime mapping idea

1.15pm LondonMayor: The Case Against Ken Livingstone (and images of Boris' biggest backer)

ToryDiary: IDS says voters must see conservatism as good for them and their neighbour and Brown "obsessed" with Andy Coulson


LondonMayor: Ken "Mudthrower" Livingstone: The Video

Platform: John Leonard questions the regionalisation solution to the Union question

Tory lead hits 21yr high

Telegraph_poll "The Conservatives have opened up their biggest opinion poll lead since Margaret Thatcher's heyday. David Cameron's Tories now have an 18 point lead according to a YouGov poll for the Telegraph, which discloses the extent to which Labour's electoral prospects have been damaged by the 10p tax revolt." - Telegraph

"It was to be expected that the so-called "feel-good factor" would be seriously damaged by the impact of the credit crunch, the fall in house prices and concerns about the economy. But these fears have even convinced people who will stand to benefit from Mr Brown's tax reforms that they will lose out. It requires an extraordinarily inept political touch to disgruntle losers and winners in equal measure." - Telegraph leader

> Tories surge to 18% lead in first poll since 10p tax row

Cameron backs nationwide release of crime hotspots

"Secret "crime maps" should be made public to let residents see how many assaults, muggings and burglaries are committed on their doorsteps, David Cameron has said. Most forces currently only publish details of crime broken down on a borough by borough basis - and have resisted publishing more detailed information because of data protection concerns." - Telegraph

Boris signals tentative support for "medicinal use" of Cannabis

Cannabis_medicinal "Boris Johnson has become one of the first senior Conservative Party politicians to call for the legalisation of cannabis for medicinal use. In an interview for Telegraph TV, the candidate for London mayor responded to a question from a reader about his personal views on the use of marijuana by sufferers of chronic conditions such as arthritis." - Telegraph / Telegraph TV interview

Leaders woo Wales

"Gordon Brown and David Cameron storm into Wales today as they battle for support in next week’s high-stakes local elections. Mr Brown, who will be in Swansea, is desperate to put the 10p tax band row behind him and today promises a “relentless effort” to help low-income families. Tory leader Mr Cameron ventures into Gavin and Stacey territory in the Vale of Glamorgan – a council the Tories are desperate to win." - Western Mail

Light infantry battallion to be sent to Kosovo

Rifles "Britain is to deploy hundreds of troops to Kosovo in a move likely to revive claims that the government is demanding too much from its armed forces. Senior military and defence officials have agreed to a request from Nato to send a battlegroup based on 2 Rifles, a light infantry battalion of about 600 soldiers, to help maintain "public order" in the newly independent Balkan state." - Guardian

Tories should be as angry as the voters

"There is a rich vein of support to be tapped from people who may not yet like the Tories, but are coming to dislike Labour even more. They see a prime minister whose mouthing of platitudes about "stability" and "making the right long-term decisions" cuts no ice. Their income tax bills have increased by £200 and their council tax has done the same. There's a rising tide of anger among an increasingly volatile electorate. That anger needs to be reflected by Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition." - Iain Dale in the Telegraph

Mayoral race stories

"Boris Johnson has raised £1m in his campaign to unseat Ken Livingstone as mayor of London, allowing the Tories to run a highly effective "outer boroughs" campaign that is unsettling Labour ministers." - Guardian

"As important as Ken Livingstone's bid to remain London Mayor is to New Labour's fate, Gordon Brown can hardly be accused of being a towering beacon of support. This week, both David Cameron and Nick Clegg have appeared on the London-based radio station LBC... But, with just over a week until the vote, securing a commitment from someone high up in the Government's ranks proved more problematic." - Independent Pandora

"A strong Johnson showing would provide the first electoral evidence that the modernised Tory party is reaching far beyond its usual comfort zones. "London is totemic and will grab the headlines on May 1," said one member of the shadow frontbench. If Johnson wins, the debt he will owe to Associated Newspapers, and Wadley in particular, will be huge." - Guardian

Fictional drama about Thatcher's parliamentary selection

Actress_riseboro "Everyone is going to have an opinion about Andrea's portrayal of Thatcher in the BBC drama The Long Walk To Finchley, a fictionalised account of Maggie's tenacious trek to win her first Parliamentary seat and how she overcame the clubby Tory men who tried to block her way. Whatever political views you hold, I defy anyone not to be spellbound by the actress's riveting exploration of the determined woman who became a landmark in our culture." - Mail

Bob Spink at odds with UKIP over 42 days - Guardian diary

Kelvin Mackenzie stands against his local Conservatives over parking charges - Telegraph

New Local Government Network calls for scrapping of GLA - Times

More than 100 MPs employ relatives - Independent


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

24 Apr 2008 09:04:00

Thursday 24th April 2008

8.15pm ToryDiary: David Cameron's Chief Speechwriter leaves for charity work

Tories18pcahead 6pm ToryDiary: Tories surge to 18% lead in first poll after 10p row

5pm: LondonMayor: Boris Johnson's latest email bulletin

4.30pm ToryDiary: Six must-adopt ideas to tackle social injustice

3pm PlayPolitical: Watch Yvette Cooper get the Jeremy Paxman treatment

Fiddleronthehoof 2.30pm: Simon Chapman on CentreRight on the unravelling of Brown's 10p climbdown

12.15pm ToryDiary: Unless we address the West Lothian Question the United Kingdom is in great danger warns Sir Malcolm Rifkind

12pm CentreRight: Harry Phibbs misses the pre-postal vote days and Alex Deane laments the over-reaction of transport bureaucrats to overcrowding

ToryDiary: Unthinking environmentalism costs taxpayers, costs jobs and costs lives

Kawczynski_daniel Daniel Kawczynski MP criticises negative coverage of Polish immigrants: BBC wrong to single out Poles

Parliament: Andrew Lansley on reforming GP services and David Ruffley on tackling crime in London

PlayPolitical videos:


Gordon Brown had no choice but to retreat on 10p - Philip Webster in The Times

"In the end it took a face-to-face meeting between Gordon Brown and Frank Field last night to end the 10p revolt.  But if the government thinks it’s out of the woods, it should think again. Backbenchers are ready to use their newfound clout over other issues: the next big one being 42 days terror suspect detention without trial." - Jim Pickard on the FT blog

Brown warns he won't back down on 42 days - Daily Mail

> David Gauke MP: What does Labour's 10p retreat tell us about Gordon Brown?

The right solution to the 10p tax mess is higher thresholds

"There is a good case for getting rid of the 10p starting rate and simplifying the tax system. But this way is the wrong way. The Government should increase allowances to take more of the low-paid out of tax altogether.  Mr Brown's approach is to make even more Britons beholden to him as the grand dispenser of taxpayers' largesse. He said yesterday that Labour's task was to lift people out of poverty. In which case, let the poor keep more of their own money." - Telegraph leader

"Taxing with one hand and giving credits with the other is confusing and bureaucratic.  We need long-term solutions.  And the Tories must suggest some too as well as attacking the PM.  Why not take the low-paid out of tax altogether?  Wouldn’t that be simpler and more transparent than complex credits?" - The Sun Says

Tebbitfromindependent Tebbit: Cameron should be wooing the voters who stopped supporting the Tories - not Blair's voters

"At the last election that Labour lost, in 1992, Neil Kinnock's vote was 11.6 million. In 1997, Tony Blair scored 13.5 million, an increase of 1.9 million. John Major's vote fell from 14.1 million to 9.6 million - a loss of 4.5 million. The Liberal Democrat vote also fell by 0.8 million, most of which, one might guess, supported Mr Blair.  So, even if Tony Blair recruited not a single voter who had abstained in 1992 - a very unlikely scenario - no more than 1.1 million Tories deserted to New Labour. In all likelihood the total was less than half a million." - Read Lord Tebbit's full letter to The Telegraph

> Tebbit is responding to this story

Obituary for "staunchly Thatcherite" Conservative MP for Newark, Richard Alexander - Independent

Schools minister vows 'no retreat' as NUT strike - PoliticsHome transcript service


New Tony Blair portrait unveiled - Times - Click to enlarge >>>

Latest Mayoral race news

Matthew d'Ancona writes the case for Voting for Boris - Spectator

Boris Johnson attacks Ken Livingstone on youth crime record - Telegraph

Tony Blair and Alistair Campbell have both been advising Ken Livingstone on re-election - Guardian

Who will run a Johnson London? Dave Hill notes that supporters wish Boris had named more appointees - Guardian

Boris in sleaze row over undeclared shareholding - Independent

Bill to force all peers to pay tax in UK will be debated today - ePolitix

Why I'm standing to be a local councillor - Kelvin Mackenzie in The Spectator

800 US troops now in Basra - FT


Boris is in the top twenty most popular politicians in the world on Facebook, just behind Sarkozy... Join his group and invite your friends! 

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