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27 Oct 2005 07:45:24

Thursday 27th October 2005

4pm update on the Leadership blog: David Cameron's economic priorities

National Review Online | New York Times | CNN | Fox News | BBCi
For background see's The Fall of George W Bush briefing


Gay_marriage_On the Commentators blog we examine Dale Carpenter's ten principles to guide conservative discussion on (gay) marriage.

Leadership blog: Win a mug by accurately predicting the result of the Cameron Vs Davis run-off.

EUROPE "Tony Blair has set out a six-point reform plan aimed at reconnecting the EU with its citizens and enabling Europe to compete in the global economy."

The Telegraph: "Tony Blair yesterday invited the European Union to extend its reach into a sweeping range of new - and sensitive - policy areas, from company taxation to university reforms, a "common energy policy" for Europe and the management of immigration... But Conservatives accused Mr Blair of backing away from the bold calls he made over the summer for major reforms of the EU after the rejection of the draft EU constitution by Dutch and French voters."

Also in The Telegraph Daniel Hannan MEP looks to Norway as a model for how Britain should restructure its relationship with the EU.


The Telegraph: "David Davis will unveil plans tomorrow for far-reaching tax cuts that are designed to open up "clear blue water" between him and David Cameron, his Conservative leadership rival... Mr Davis, the shadow home secretary, has already hinted that a lack of policy commitments will be Mr Cameron's Achilles heel in the leadership contest."

The Telegraph: "The Tory leadership favourite, David Cameron, was accused yesterday of offering Muslim voters no more than Tony Blair after he defended the invasion of Iraq."

The Guardian: "David Blunkett, the work and pensions secretary, yesterday faced renewed Conservative calls for an inquiry into his relationship with a DNA testing company after he admitted buying shares in it shortly before the general election."


The Independent: "The dispute over smoking shows the Prime Minister's command over his Cabinet may be slipping.  Senior figures in the Government professed themselves mystified that the row had not been settled by a telephone call from Downing Street before it was allowed to develop into a public embarrassment. "This would have been out of the question a year ago," one said.  Frank Dobson, the former health secretary, has described it as "one of the growing products of the fact the Prime Minister is going, and his authority isn't as strong as it used to be"."

Neal Lawson, in The Guardian, wonders when Brown might move against Blair: "So what does Gordon do? He has to differentiate himself tactically and strategically both from a tired looking New Labour and a fresh-faced Cameron. He has to find his version of the poll tax to signal a break with New Labour, just as Major did with Thatcher. Halting the commercialisation agenda is a key place to start but so are identity cards, Iraq and reform of the Lords."


The Times: "The businessman who bankrolled the Liberal Democrats’ election campaign is wanted in the United States where he could face up to five years in jail for fraud."  A leader in the same newspaper criticises the Electoral Commission and the LibDems for failing to appreciate the seriousness of the relationship that Charles Kennedy's party had with Michael Brown.


Anne Morse on National Review Online: "Journalist Annie Jacobsen gained a certain degree of fame last year as the woman who wrote about the strange and frightening behavior of a group of Syrian “musicians” aboard a Northwest Airlines flight. She has now written a riveting book, Terror in the Skies: Why 9-11 Could Happen Again about what happened that day and in the months that followed. Jacobsen put her investigative skills to work, and discovered that the harrowing events that took place on her flight were far from an isolated occurrence. She ends her book with a warning: If our security system does not improve, another 9/11 is almost inevitable."

"It is the lack of idealism and complacency of the west that is viewed with repugnance," says Dylan Evans in The Guardian: "When George Bush speaks of exporting democracy to the Middle East, he should realise that liberal democracy on its own is a limp, anaemic idea. If the west is to provide a more inspiring ideal, then it is time we devoted more thought to the questions that Plato, More and Marx placed at the heart their utopias; the question of how to make work more rewarding, leisure more abundant, and communities more friendly."


CharlesBBCi: "Prince Charles says climate change should be seen as the "greatest challenge to face man" and treated as a much bigger priority in the UK."

BBCi: "Hardline Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called for the Jewish state to be "wiped off the map".  The Foreign Office will call in Iran's London chargé d'affaires on Thursday. It said the comments were "deeply disturbing and sickening"."


The Guardian's Backbencher column: "Those who complain that DD is living in the past will find plenty of evidence on, where he lists 63 MPs "who have made public" their support for him. Given that he only scraped 57 votes in the second round last week, the Backbencher can only conclude that some of the recruits ought to be scratched - possibly with a dagger through their photos. But which ones? The Backbencher considered ringing Derek Conway to ask, but thought better of it. No doubt the BBC is really to blame."

A cartoon presents a liberal Democrat's guide to becoming an American Republican.

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26 Oct 2005 07:41:23

Wednesday 26th October 2005

6pm update on the Leadership blog: David Cameron highlights five main challenges facing Britain


Hannan_2Daniel Hannan MEP (on the Platform Blog) makes the case for open primary elections in the Conservative Party.

Leadership blog: The Sun warms to David Cameron plus David Davis strengthens his campaign team.


Candidates will go head-to-head on BBC1's Question Time next Thursday (a day before ballot papers are sent out) - Telegraph.

The Guardian reviews David Davis' visit to Tooting: "Visiting underprivileged parts of Britain is something the Davids Davis and Cameron both have to do. It's not an easy task. One of the few strengths IDS enjoyed as a leader was his ability to visit deprived housing estates - in which he took a keen and sincere interest - and make the locals feel that he cared about their fate..."

David Willetts reviews Geoffrey Wheatcroft's Strand Death of Tory England in Prospect magazine: "The Conservative party has traditionally combined two great principles—personal freedom and public service. It now needs a new idea of community..."

Heffer_simonIn his first article for The Daily Telegraph since he joined the paper from the Daily Mail, Simon Heffer argues that Labour has demoralised Britain: "But the client base that Labour has created since 1997 presents a social and political as well as an economic problem. Hundreds of thousands of those recruited to work for the state are employed in regulatory activities, needlessly, expensively and counter-productively interfering in the lives of businesses and individuals. Government, local government and quangos all have monitors of one sort or another, and in some cases even the monitors have monitors..."


Times: "Tony Blair and Ruth Kelly presented their “parent power” revolution for schools to a group of frustrated families yesterday — and were rebuffed..."

Telegraph leader: "We have heard ministers promise a revolution in education so many times that only simple and direct action will do now. The Government has wasted eight years, first repealing, now restoring, the limited reforms of their predecessors. It should give parents complete control over the funding for their child's schooling, and free up the supply of school places that cater to them."

"Blair has served up an old Tory idea - of taking schools away from local councils - that has failed once already," says Simon Jenkins in The Guardian.


Disagreements delay Government's smoking in public places policy - BBCi

Logows"The BBC World Service is closing 10 foreign language radio services - most of them in the former eastern bloc - to pay for a new £19 million Arabic television news channel" - Telegraph

Telegraph: Has a Lords majority of 149 sunk Labour's Religious Hatred Bill?

Guardian: "A children's cancer charity that paid Cherie Blair more than £100,000 to speak at a series of fundraising events in Australia could be deregistered after only a small portion of the proceeds went towards cancer research."

Washington Post: US death toll in Iraq hits 2,000.

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25 Oct 2005 08:01:08

Tuesday 25th October 2005

7.45pm update on the Leadership blog: 'Vote for real change, not Blairism', says David Davis

On the day that Iraq's new democratic constitution was passed the Commentators Blog looks at the extent of progress in that country.

Michael Ancram seeks answers on security situation in Basra -

Parks_rosa_4"Rosa Parks, a black seamstress whose refusal to relinquish her seat to a white man on a city bus in Montgomery, Ala., almost 50 years ago grew into a mythic event that helped touch off the civil rights movement of the 1950's and 1960's, died yesterday at her home in Detroit. She was 92 years old."

New York Times and Fox News

The Senate committee says it has seen bank records linking George Galloway and his estranged wife Dr Amineh Abu-Zayyad with Iraqi government vouchers - BBCi


Gove_michael_1On the Platform Blog Michael Gove MP asks: 'Michael Gove MP: Can you ever have too much of a good thing? Not when its democracy.'

Leadership blog: It takes The Mirror to stand up for the toffs.


The Independent:  "David Davis returns to the part of south London where he grew up to launch the last phase of his campaign for the leadership of the Conservative Party today.  He will visit the Base Community Centre in Tooting, used by pupils from Mr Davis's old school, then Bec Grammar School.  His choice of location will bring attention to the contrast between his beginnings, as the child of a single mother living on a council estate, and those of his rival, David Cameron. Mr Cameron is an old Etonian, the grandson of a baronet, and a descendant of the Talbots, one of the most powerful families in England under the Plantagenet kings."

The Times: "David Davis said yesterday that he had fouled up his leadership campaign in Blackpool by neglecting his conference speech."

David Cameron declines to reciprocate David Davis' offer of deputy role - Telegraph.

Duncan_alanAlan Duncan launches attack on how the collapse of Railtrack "illustrates how the proper process of government has been "bypassed, corrupted and polluted" under New Labour" - Guardian.

Anne Treneman's Commons Sketch notes Ken Clarke's contribution to the Railtrack debate - Times.


'Can President Bush recover from his annus horribilis?' asks Brendan Miniter in The Wall Street Journal.

"One of the more appealing aspects about being on the Left is that you do not necessarily have to engage your opponents in debates over the truth or falsehood of their positions. You can simply dismiss your opponent as "anti..." - Dennis Prager on


StopidcardsLiberal Democrats launch website to campaign against ID cards.

Ruth Kelly to detail radical education reforms -

A boy of seven has been caught smoking cannabis at school, it was revealed yesterday - Mirror.


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24 Oct 2005 08:18:49

Monday 24th October 2005

3pm update: Paul Goodman MP blogs from inside the Davis campaign:

"The right plan for Britain is to reject the Blair consensus, and shape a Conservative one.  If we fight the next election on a platform proposing, inter alia, lower taxes and more public service choice we’ll deserve to win it.  If we don’t, we won’t."


Maude_francisParty Chairman Francis Maude writes his first Platform piece for conservativehome: "I thought my former PPS David Davis was bang on the money in his conference speech when he quoted Ronald Reagan’s Eleventh Commandment: “Never speak ill of a fellow Conservative”.  We’re never all going to agree on everything, but we all belong to the same movement.  How can we expect people to think good things of us if we don’t think and say good things of each other?  How can we expect people to respect us if we don't seem to respect each other?"

On the Leadership blog we report Derek Conway's unhelpful observations on yesterday's GMTV programme - unhelpful, that is, to his own candidate...

Whilst Britain's conservatives have been enjoying ourselves, America's conservatives have started cracking-up.  A new ten point briefing looks at The Fall of George W Bush.


The Times notes David Cameron's campaign launch in Birmingham yesterday.  Mr Cameron is in Berkshire today - "a county with one of the highest concentrations of party members and a key battle ground in the contest".  Mr Davis will launch his campaign tomorrow - in Tooting, where he grew up.  In an interview with The Independent, Mr Davis hints at some radical tax-cutting policies...

David Cameron is rising too soon, warns Davis team - Scotsman, but is good enough to be Mr Davis' Deputy Leader (Daily Mail).

The Independent: "Sir John Major has signalled that Kenneth Clarke and William Hague are ready to make a comeback to frontline politics after one of the "two Davids" is elected as the new Tory leader.  The former prime minister said that the team would be more impressive than that of the Government and said he hoped it may mark "a moment when the terms of political trade begin to change"."

Neil Clark writes that David Cameron is "no moderate": he "supports the Iraq war and tax cuts, opposes EU social policies and has neocon associations."  (The Guardian)  I'm warming to him more and more.

Guardian leader: "The weekend's latest Guardian/ICM poll shows Labour's lead down to just three points (Labour on 36% to the Conservatives' 33%) and the first upward movement in the Tory share of the vote since May 5 (after four successive months on 31%). It is not difficult to explain what has happened. The Tories have had a terrific October, with a mass of favourable headlines from the Blackpool party conference, and there is also a colder breeze blowing through the British economy..."


Telegraph leader: "Mr Blair's genius has been to present himself to the electorate as a sort of Right-wing critic of his own Government. In truth, he is the smiling front man, soothing us while his ministers lighten our wallets and spool out their regulations. That he has got away with it for so long is a tribute to his skill as a politician; but it says little good about the rest of us."

Pete du Pont, The Wall Street Journal: "The real annual growth rate of federal government outlays is nearly at its highest modern percentage. Under President Clinton it was only 1.5%, under Ronald Reagan 2.6% and under Lyndon Johnson 5.7%. Spending has grown 5.6% a year since George W. Bush took office, and it seems likely to keep rising. Of course the war in Iraq is a part of it, but the current administration's domestic spending increase is 7.1% a year, the highest since the 1960s."  Mr du Pont believes that budgetary discipline needs to be written into the US Constitution.

Jeff Jacoby: "There is something awfully sad and strange about a culture in which teenage sex is condoned so long as it is "safe," while teenage smoking is denounced as categorically wrong." -


"A surge in cocaine use is pushing Britain towards a "healthcare disaster" that will see a dramatic rise in heart attacks, strokes and neurological problems among young people, says a leading specialist. The warning follows a three-year investigation into cocaine use carried out at a London hospital emergency unit which indicates that the medical complications of the drug will become a significant burden on hospital resources." - Guardian


"Commentators are lining up to blame the iPod for ruining UK city life. In the Spectator recently, Henrietta Bredin lamented the fact that we were 'hooking ourselves up to those little white earphones to fill our heads with a sound-stream of our own choice'. In the New Humanist, Caspar Melville argued that iPods are turning people into smug zombies who are indifferent to others. Articles by reformed iPod users tell how they saw the error of their little white earphones and now listen to the 'music of the city' instead..." - But Josie Appleton ( defends the 'White Wires'.

Arctic_monkeysPop band goes to No 1 by clicking with fans online - Telegraph.

"We have moved from the age where military capability depended on air supremacy to an age where the key capability is surveillance supremacy." - Arnold Kling in

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