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Sunday 11th September 2005

911FOUR YEARS AFTER 9/11

6pm update: Mark Steyn says that the war on terror is progressing better in Iraq than at home - Commentators Blog

Fox News presents photo essays and other reports.

BLOGS

Leadership Blog - David Davis seeks William Hague as Shadow Chancellor

Leadership Blog - Liam Fox takes the gloves off with attack on Ken Clarke

CONSERVATIVE NEWS & COMMENTARY

A poll in The Independent on Sunday contradicts the idea that Ken Clarke would transform the Tories' poll rating: ""If you had to choose between a Labour government led by Gordon Brown and a Conservative government led by Kenneth Clarke, which would you vote for?" CommunicateResearch, which carried out the survey, found that 44 per cent said Labour and 25 per cent Conservative; 24 per cent said they did not know and 7 per cent refused to answer."  A YouGov survey for The Sunday Times also finds that "Brown would crush any Tory leader".

The Observer reveals the next stages of the Clarke campaign: "Clarke plans at least three further 'heavyweight' policy addresses this month, including major statements on health and education. They would be followed by 'what amounts to a policy manifesto' before the party conference early in October, according to an MP involved in the campaign. But the immediate focus, according to one campaign insider, would be on a comprehensive attack this week on 'the way Blair has governed the country' in a presidential manner, ignoring parliament in favour of a coterie of special advisers working through Downing Street."

Sir Malcolm Rifkind explains (again) why he opposed the Iraq war - Independent on Sunday

In a slightly meandering article in which he praises George Osborne's intellectual flair and says that David Cameron has been wrong to bid for the Tory leadership so early, Michael Portillo just about declares it better to keep the existing leadership election rules.  He is not sure if the party in the country is more or less representative than the MPs but at least there are members throughout Britain.  Mr Portillo also criticises the parliamentary party for its post-election optimism: "The parliamentary party demonstrated its naivety when it returned in boisterous mood after the general election, having gained more than 30 seats. The result was in fact a disaster. Most of the Tory gains occurred because the Liberal Democrats took votes from Labour while Conservative support was unchanged. In 2005 Labour lost a number of seats that it had taken from the Tories in the 1990s, but they went to the Lib Dems. After 2001 the Conservatives could at least dream of winning because they were in second place in 356 seats. It is harder to imagine holding office now because they are second in only 269 constituencies. If Labour did badly at the next election, the Lib Dems might gain as much as the Tories." - Sunday Times

Gerald Warner in Scotland on Sunday welcomes Tory interest in a flat tax: "Shadow chancellor George Osborne has announced the setting up of a commission to investigate the case for a flat rate of taxation and report next year.  This is the first real sign of brain activity from the comatose Tory Party since the last election and it is very welcome. Make no mistake, the flat tax is, globally, the fiscal issue of the next decade. There are plausible reasons for questioning its efficacy in a British context, but there is no respectable reason for dismissing it out of hand, which is the present posture of the Treasury."

The endangered Tories spend too much time focusing on policy warns Anthony Seldon in The Observer: "David Davis, the frontrunner, Liam Fox and David Cameron, egged on by the press, all believe that policies matter more than anything. Clarke is derided for being heavy on blokeishness but light on policy. Yet, in two weeks, he has articulated one policy - on the Iraq war - which had more resonance in the country than Howard and his two predecessors achieved in eight years."

OTHER COMMENTARY

Big-state liberals who think Katrina's aftermath will produce an upsurge in faith in government need to explain why government failed so comprehensively in New Orleans - David Brooks in the New York Times 

OTHER NEWS

Tony Blair plots David Blunkett's return to the Home Office as John Stevens, former Met Commissioner, attacks Mr Blunkett's knowledge of policing - Sunday Telegraph

British prosperity on par with poorest US states and cities - The Business

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