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May 2008 newslinks

31 May 2008 08:40:50

Saturday 31st May 2008

9.45pm ToryDiary: Steve Hilton, Cameron's 'guru', off to USA for six months

7.15pm Seats and candidates: Chorley candidate stands down because of ill health

11am ToryDiary: The futures of Boris and Ken

"Oil prices will ease when demand eases and supply increases, which will only occur when growth slows down and the new big production regions can replace dwindling stocks elsewhere."

Platform: Oberon Houston explains the oil price cycle in the context of action on fuel duty

Local Government: Could Westminster Council afford lower Council Tax?

PlayPolitical: Eric Pickles thanks Labour for its counterproductive by-election leaflets

Seats and Candidates: Local Councillor John Howell was selected for Henley

Swedish schools policy

"David Cameron, emboldened by a runaway lead in the opinion polls, will copy elements of the much-vaunted "free schools" policy in Sweden under which companies now run more than 900 primary and secondary schools, making healthy profits in the process. Under the plans, companies would be invited to set up new schools or take over failing institutions." - Telegraph

Private schools spokesman says some state pupils are unteachable - Guardian

The_jam Paul Weller criticises Cameron for saying he liked The Jam - Sun

Energy poverty plan questioned

"Reforms to privacy laws intended to help pensioners meet their fuel bills were criticised yesterday. Malcolm Wicks, the energy minister, announced changes to data protection laws so that energy companies could be told which of their customers needed the most help... But Alan Duncan, the shadow business secretary, said changes to the privacy laws were an "alarming" way of tackling the problem." - Telegraph

Surrey police boycotting Home Office targets and bureaucracy - Times

Repairing the policy roof whilst the sun is shining

Matthew_parris "Is the undertaking to match Labour's spending plans sustainable? Now could be the moment - as Mr Brown describes looming “world” economic difficulties - for the Tory leadership to revisit that undertaking in the light of changed circumstances, and ask whether Labour can afford its own spending plans. Would the voters really be too appalled to hear the Opposition say there may have to be a squeeze?" - Matthew Parris in the Times

"Those Tory MPs who went to Crewe and Nantwich are keen to point out that the messages that resonated with voters there were on tax, income levels and crime – not the environment. That no-one much has picked up on this change of tack merely underlines Mr Cameron’s political power." - Western Mail

"Spending cuts announced in a volatile economic climate so long before an election would be a hostage to fortune. What we do expect, however, is for the Tories to make a more confident and vocal case for the smaller, more efficient state that the public now desires. They should go back to the findings of Lord Forsyth's commission, which proposed net tax cuts of £21 billion achieved through simplifying the system to make it flatter and fairer. These proposals could provide the framework for a debate leading to a groundbreaking election manifesto." - Telegraph leader

Blair champions role of religion in world politics

"Listen carefully and you might already be able to hear the distant sound of swords being beaten into ploughshares. Look closely and you might be able to see lions lying down with lambs. And if not, rest assured that such a peaceable revolution can only be a matter of time because Tony Blair launched his "Faith Foundation" in New York yesterday." - Independent leader

He's still behaving like the Messiah - Vicki Woods in the Telegraph

Schemes matching elderly volunteers with troubled families are a model for public service delivery - Times leader

Global marketplace makes the taxman's job difficult - Guardian

Now is the time for realism in Afghanistan - Charles Moore in the Telegraph

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30 May 2008 09:01:34

Friday 30th May 2008

9pm Seats and Candidates: And the candidate for Henley is... John Howell

5.30pm updates on CentreRight:

11.15am ToryDiary: Conservation is MORE important in tough economic times says Peter Ainsworth

GreenhalghobjectiveStephen Greenhalgh in Local government: Help me write a bold Conservative blueprint for local government

Stephen O'Brien MP on Platform Stephen O’Brien questions the future of the supercomputer programme in light of Fujitsu terminating its contract: The latest NHS IT shambles

Tim Montgomerie on CentreRight finds a killer quote: "Arresting or fining someone for a trifling offence - such as a child stealing a Mars bar - is a good way of hitting the target and pleasing the Home Office.  Amazingly, the chocolate theft ranks as highly as catching a killer."

PlayPolitical videos:

> Hard-hitting viral campaign launched to combat rising knife crime
> Sky News profiles the three main ways in which Gordon Brown can appease unhappy motorists

Brown_resolved Only 15% are satisfied with Brown, 75% are dissatisfied

Gordon Brown support slumps to its lowest since polling began - Telegraph | ToryDiary comment

"Gordon Brown's hopes of recovering from this month's hat-trick of electoral setbacks received a fresh blow today as falling house prices and rising food and energy bills prompted the biggest slump in consumer confidence since the onset of the last UK recession in autumn 1990." - Guardian

Government plans major concession to 42 day rebels - BBC

Cut taxes to regain middle class support, Blairites tell Brown - Independent | ConservativeHome's new tax plan for the Conservatives

"For a generation now Britain has enjoyed a reputation as one of the most dynamic, flexible and stable countries in a rapidly changing and challenging world. While Europe stagnated, Britain fought its way back into the first rank of nations.  But a combination of economic shocks and political mismanagement is threatening to inflict severe damage to that reputation." - Gerry Baker in The Times

'Mum, Gordon Brown's on the phone'

"Complaints, queries and commendations — written about anything from benefits and bus services to the weather — normally receive a polite letter of reply on behalf of the Prime Minister, signed by an official.  But some of them, perhaps as many as two dozen a week, prompt a personal call, and the distinctive gravelly baritone of Gordon Brown." - Times

The Conservatives and business

"Peter Buckley, combative chairman of Caledonia Investments, launched fresh brickbats at Gordon Brown and held out the prospect of more cash for David Cameron in his latest colourful review of the economic and political scene.   He parodied the Prime Minister as "Rooster Brown" and says he will ask shareholders to increase the investment trust group's contribution to the Conservative Party by £15,000 to £75,000 to help bolster its pre-election coffers." - Telegraph

Damian Reece, in The Telegraph, calls for more businesses to back the Conservatives.

"“The recent taxation changes that have been made by the government are the worst things that have happened in British tax reform since the early 1970s,” says Theo Paphitis, the entrepreneur and panellist on the BBC’s Dragons’ Den, when asked about Capital Gains Tax (CGT) increases." - City AM

"Alistair Darling must move the Bank of England's financial stability chief in favour of someone with extensive City experience, the Shadow Chancellor said." - Telegraph

Oaten_mark Confirmation of ConservativeHome story that LibDem Mark Oaten may quit Winchester - Times | Our original story

William Hague accuses David Miliband of misleading about EU embassies

"The Conservatives have accused David Miliband of misleading the House of Commons over secret negotiations to set up a euro-diplomatic and foreign affairs service under the new Lisbon Treaty" - Telegraph

Hunt_jeremy Jeremy Hunt attacks 50% over-run in BBC expenditure on its websites - Times

"Its huge £36m overspend on the BBC website crowds out commercial competitors while failing to deliver anything better or different in the name of public service. But the money has been spent. The damage done, without reparation." - Telegraph

It's time to break up BAA - Jeff Randall in The Telegraph

Margaret Thatcher, 82, appears in Vogue - Times

Time to talk to al-Qaida, senior police chief urges - Guardian

Obama is overwhelming favourite of Europeans - Telegraph

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

29 May 2008 09:02:45

Thursday 29th May 2008

Question Time liveblog from 10.30pm

Yougov_4 9.30pm ToryDiary: Harriet, Jack, David and Alan are here to see you, Prime Minister

8pm CentreRight: Cameron Watt welcomes the fact that Ray Lewis and Shaun Bailey represent a new "Black fightback against violent crime"

7.15pm ToryDiary: Richard Balfe's mission to the unions gets underway

6pm CentreRight: Matthew Sinclair notes how "The EU is spending your money on anti-Israel NGOs"

5pm CentreRight: Harry Phibbs on "Boris' first blunder"

Fiverecommends 4.15pm ToryDiary: Five ideas for Conservative tax and spend policy

2pm CentreRight selections:

12.45pm PlayPolitical: Zac Goldsmith tells Friction TV why we should boycott Sainsbury's

11.30am Seats and candidates: Plan for flying start in Henley with leaflet blitz this Saturday

Pickles_2ToryDiary: Eric Pickles emerges as a new Tory hero

+ See yesterday's ToryDiary for a 9am update on the Tory MEPs' attitude to attempts to make it harder for new groups to be formed.

Seats and candidates: 71% of Tory members support ConservativeHome's campaign on MEP selection

Jonathan M Scott on Platform: Darling, the tax-cutter? No. It's Brown, the Sub-Prime Minister

Alex Deane on CentreRight: "The UN has failed: democracies should ignore it and act as needed"

Today's must-read article

Kelvin Mackenzie witnesses someone stealing petrol but the police weren't interested - The Sun

Labour Party faces its own credit crisis

"Senior officials in the Labour party, including Gordon Brown, could become personally liable for millions of pounds in debt unless new donors can be found within weeks, the Guardian has learned.  The party has five weeks to find £7.45m to pay off loans to banks and wealthy donors recruited by Lord Levy, Tony Blair's former chief fundraiser, or become insolvent. A further £6.2m will have to be repaid by Christmas - making £13.65m in all. The sum amounts to two-thirds of the party's annual income from donations." - Guardian | Guido

Darling_alistair Darling keeps options open on fuel duty

"The chancellor pledged to make a statement on the contentious 2p a litre rise in duty before it comes into effect in October. Mr Darling rejected suggestions a further postponement of the increase – already delayed by six months – would represent another tax U-turn by the government. “I said at the time of the Budget ... I would return to the issue nearer the time,” Mr Darling told the BBC. “I will do that.”" - FT

Brown expands nuclear ambitions - BBC

Vote of business leaders say Blair still more influential than Brown - Telegraph

Cut regulation, cut taxes say Labour heavyweights

John Hutton signals end of business regulation era - Guardian

Gordon Brown must bite the bullet and cut taxes for people on low and middle incomes - Denis MacShane MP in The Guardian

Boris launches review of Livingstone's 'foreign embassies' but business wants them to stay - FT

The collapse of Christianity has left Britain vulnerable to disorder and Islam

"The collapse of Christianity has wrecked British society, a leading Church of England bishop declared yesterday. It has destroyed family life and left the country defenceless against the rise of radical Islam in a moral and spiritual vacuum." - Daily Mail

You can read the full article on the website of the new conservative magazine, Standpoint.

BNP success is rooted in switch from focusing on fears of colour to fears of Islam - Times

ePolitix.com has been relaunched - Here

George Monbiot makes unsuccessful attempt to make a citizen's arrest of John Bolton for 'war crimes' - Guardian

Berlusconi fails to turn up at a private dinner in Italy in honour of Lady Thatcher - Daily Mail

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

28 May 2008 08:59:46

Wednesday 28th May 2008

3pm Jill Kirby on CentreRight: When it comes to child protection, the state should focus on vulnerable groups - not every child

2.15pm ToryDiary: David Cameron must order Conservative MEPs to vote against new barrier to EPP exit

Noon Seats and candidates: Another Labour MP gives up the fight

11.30am Jim McConalogue on CentreRight: Could looming tough times spell the end for the eurozone?

Goldsmithzac2 11.15am Seats and candidates: Zac Goldsmith calls for national boycott of Sainsbury's

***

"For it has been said so truthfully that it is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us the freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the agitator, who has given us the freedom to protest..."

Tim Montgomerie on CentreRight seeks your favourite conservative quotations.

Local government: Plymouth Conservatives under fire for bin collection questionnaire

Alex Deane on Platform: In defence of Simon Cowell, a review of "Look at Me: Celebrating the Self in Modern Britain" by Peter Whittle.

CentreRight selections:

Picture_13 PlayPolitical videos:

Brown considers another U-turn... this time on fuel taxes

"Gordon Brown’s ministers on Tuesday paved the way for a new tax retreat, signalling the government may unpick another aspect of the Budget by reversing proposed new duties on motorists and hauliers already hit by rising fuel prices." - FT

Crabbstephen2 Conservative MP Stephen Crabb warns of consequences for UK employment: "The Government will try to hide behind climate change arguments for why the tax needs to be so high but this is spurious.  High UK fuel taxes will not reduce the overall number of lorries on British roads but it will accelerate the disappearance of many excellent UK haulage firms and the increasing presence of Irish, German and Hungarian trucks who pay zero tax to Britain." - Quoted in The Independent

"Analysts believe that the second-hand car market is collapsing thanks to rising fuel prices, the credit crisis and Government plans to backdate road tax increases on the most heavily polluting cars." - Telegraph

"Suspending the 2p tax rise would be sheer populism. It would do nothing to address the underlying cause of the pain of haulage firms, which is a massive growth in the demand for fuel from Asia and dwindling global supplies. The idea that it is in the Government's power to control the global price of a barrel of oil is one that needs to be exposed as nonsense, not indulged. A tax suspension now would also heap up pressure for future suspensions, undermining the very purpose of the Government's fuel tax escalator." - Independent leader

"The oil crisis is a global problem requiring global solutions. And the Opec cartel has to play its part." - Gordon Brown in The Guardian

"The Tories are subtly shifting their emphasis as environmental concerns slip down the list of public concerns. Mr Cameron appears to have cooled on the Arctic – in recent speeches, he has scarcely mentioned climate change and, when he set out the priorities for a Tory government this month, he made no mention of green issues." - FT

Nick Clegg: Tory policy makes as much sense as a Turner Prize entry

"Cameron cries crocodile tears for the poor families affected by the doubling of the 10p tax rate, but his one and only tax policy is to cut inheritance tax for the richest six per cent of people. He has supported calls for "food security" - code for protectionism - but also lectured the World Trade Organisation on the importance of free trade.  He tells us to "go green", but won't commit to specific policies to help us. He has preached about personal privacy, but wants to abolish Data Protection laws. Like Labour, he promises to decentralise, but steers clear of explaining how or when.Tory policy makes about as much sense as a Turner prize entry." - The Liberal Democrat leader in The Telegraph

Britain needs 'nasty' not 'nice conservatism' just at the moment - Peregrine Worsthorne on The First Post

Conservatives' poverty agenda needs some tough questioning - Jonathan Freedland in The Guardian

39% of Tory voters back law-making parliament for Wales - Western Mail

Prescottjohnhandgestures The Labour memoirs

I can’t talk English proper says Prezza - The Sun

Listeners blast BBC as 'publicity machine' for Cherie's memoirs - Daily Mail

Canada's Conservatives lose their dynamic Foreign Secretary over mishandling of secret papers - FT

Obama hasn't been to Iraq since 2006

McCain challenges his opponent to come to the country with him and see the progress - TownHall.com

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