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Friday 28th October 2005

Afternoon updates on the Leadership blog: David Cameron is put on the back foot over tax  while Daniel Finkelstein of The Times takes issue with me (your editor!).

BLOGS

Davis_david_pointing_1The Leadership blog welcomes the Davis campaign's £1,200 tax cut plan.

Paul Goodman MP on the Platform blog commends David Davis' tax cut pledge.

CONSERVATIVE NEWS & COMMENTARY

Telegraph: "David Davis will seek today to portray himself as the true champion of time-honoured Conservative tax-cutting values by unveiling £38 billion of tax cuts."

A Telegraph leader gives Nick Herbert MP the credit for David Davis tax cut pledge and ends like this: "For Mr Davis now openly to avow the desire for radical reform shows a boldness in economic policy that was lacking in Michael Howard's strategy, and is also lacking in that of Mr Davis's rival, David Cameron.  Where Mr Davis falls short, of course, is in his presentation and leadership. He has, hitherto, failed to convey the stature needed to lead the Conservative Party from opposition to government. Brave policy is half the battle: good leadership is the other."

The Guardian notes David Cameron's economic priorities - which were discussed on the Leadership blog yesterday.

Blue_boyThe Economist discusses class and politics: "Mr Cameron's background as an Etonian son of a stockbroker who married a baronet's daughter is harder to shake off than Mr Blair's. But he, too, has portrayed himself as an ordinary man who just happened to have a privileged upbringing. Cartoonists have drawn him as the “Blue Boy,” an 18th-century painting by Gainsborough of a young aristocrat in a lacy collar, and also as a country squire, striding around in tweed. Mr Cameron has responded by telling people that he drives a cheap car and prefers beer to champagne."

BBCi: "Householders and shopkeepers would be given the right to use greater force against burglars, under proposals to be introduced by a Conservative MP.  Anne McIntosh's Private Members Bill is the third attempt to change the law after the idea was put forward by listeners to BBC Radio 4's Today."

EUROPE SUMMIT

ePolitix.com: "Reaching an agreement on the European budget by the December deadline will be a "tall order", Tony Blair has told reporters."

The Times on Gerhard Schroeder Versus Tony Blair: "British officials were worried that Gerhard Schröder, the German Chancellor, would use his last European summit to spoil the show of his bête noire Tony Blair. They were right.  Having briefed German newspapers that he would do everything in his power to fight those who would destroy the European social model — code for Tony Blair — Herr Schröder started the boat-rocking by conspicuously failing to show up for Wednesday night’s dinner at Downing Street for Europe’s centre-left leaders.  He then arrived half an hour late for yesterday’s summit. Asked by journalists whether Britain could act as a social model for Europe, he answered: “Certainly not.”"

OTHER COMMENTARY

AhmadinejadTelegraph leader on Iran: "Mr Ahmadinejad's speeches to the UN General Assembly last month and to the Teheran conference on Wednesday have richly confirmed his reputation as a hardline ex-Revolutionary Guard. If the Security Council fails to confront such a rogue head of state, it does not deserve its name."

'After the fiasco over the Supreme Court, the Fed gets the right man," according to Gerard Baker in The Times.

The Spectator leader argues that Tony Blair has lost none of his ability to deceive conservative minds: "The word ‘independent’ was quite deliberately placed in Mr Blair’s speech on Monday to appeal to middle-class parents. But it was an appallingly dishonest word to have used. If you read the small print of the education White Paper, it becomes clear that Mr Blair’s new, improved state schools will be no more independent of the state than Czechoslovakia was independent of the Soviet Union during the Cold War. They will be allowed to do the equivalent of printing their own postage stamps but, should they attempt to diverge from the ruling dogma, they are left in no doubt that a legion of tanks will swiftly follow."

A definition on this website - on politicisation - argues that conservatism has neglected culture.  Writing for TownHall.com this morning, Bill Wichterman agrees: "Culture is “upstream” from politics.  Government is like a giant mirror reflecting the soul of the nation.  While the clarity of that reflection will shift from administration to administration, we generally get the government we deserve. Or as Plato wrote, the state is the soul writ large."

OTHER NEWS

The Times: "MPs claimed an inflation-busting £81 million in expenses last year, up by 3.8 per cent on the previous year."

Daily Mail: "Tony Blair and his senior ministers pocketed nearly £130,000 of taxpayers' money in housing allowances last year despite being given the run of lavish grace-and-favour homes paid for by voters."

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