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Monday 17th October 2005

Evening update on the Leadership blog: New declarations for Cameron and Clarke plus 'Blairite' Cameron targeted by his rivals.

If you've not visited conservativehome during the weekend you will have missed the launch of our dictionary blog and the opportunity to take part in our leadership race survey.

BLOGS

Ft_1The Leadership blog: The FT endorses David Cameron and Dr Fox attempts to shake off the right-wing label.

CONSERVATIVE NEWS & COMMENTARY

David Cameron is choice of candidates in marginal seats: "The survey of Tories in 50 seats where the party almost beat Labour at the general election showed 36 per cent of candidates backing Mr Cameron, 24 per cent supporting Kenneth Clarke, 18 per cent in favour of David Davis, and 12 per cent for Liam Fox." - Telegraph reporting a survey for 'More Four News'.

Davis and Clarke both back Cameron and Osborne on drugs - according to the Daily Mail - but The Times focuses on allegations from Cameron supporters that the Davis camp deliberately stoked up the controversy.

Rachel Sylvester does not believe that the drugs storm has weakened David Cameron's candidacy.  Far from it: "The [Tory] grassroots activists are no longer the stereotypical blue-rinsed ladies who cling to life as it was in the 1950s. They have been convinced that drastic action is needed if the Tories are to get into power again. They are more interested in a potential leader's ideas for the future than in his activities in the past.  Labour had a "Clause 4" moment that showed the country it had changed. The Conservatives could be about to have a "Class A" moment that demonstrates once and for all that the Tory party has caught up with the modern world." - Telegraph

Jackie Ashley wonders if Prime Minister Gordon Brown will be defeated by the 'Tories' Tony Blair': "Though Clarke had been the Tory candidate most feared by Labour, this may be changing. The prospect of a young, fresh-faced, English, moderate leader taking on Gordon Brown is concentrating minds. Some are even talking of the ultimate irony for Brown: to be defeated by a Tory Tony Blair, who seems to be gathering support in the Murdoch press." - Guardian.

The Telegraph presents mini profiles of each of the four candidates.

The Scotsman notes that David McLetchie says that he is determined to the lead the Tories' 2007 Scottish election campaign but concerns about his use of a parliamentary taxi allowance for political work persist.

Ids_to_csjWriting for The Big Issue Iain Duncan Smith warns that Britain is heading for 'social apartheid' if government doesn't find more effective policies to fight poverty (IDS' website).

The Guardian reviews Lord Aschcroft's Dirty Politics, Dirty Times.  The book revisits Lord Ashcroft's lengthy dispute with The Times newspaper when the Tory peer was William Hague's Treasurer.

OTHER COMMENTARY

Tim Hames welcomes the vote on the Iraqi constitution: "Whatever the result of the referendum held in Iraq on Saturday, it has been a triumph. The constitution on which the people were voting is a model of federalism and pluralism. It had already crossed both the sectarian and religious divide by being embraced by the Shia and Kurdish communities (it is often forgotten that the Kurds are Sunni Muslims). It has been accepted by a section of the Sunni Arabs as well, and even those who are not yet convinced of its merits appear to have decided, wisely, that it was much better to vote than to boycott the poll..." - Times

DEMOCRATIC INNOVATIONS

Romano Prodi was elected to lead the left-wing opposition to Silvio Berlusconi during primary elections held across Italy (BBCi and ABC News).  Voters had to pay €1 to participate in the contest.  This might be a model that Conservatives could consider for future Tory elections.  Meanwhile, in Estonia (home of the flat tax revolution), citizens are using ID-card-validated internet voting for their local elections (The Register).   

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