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30 Nov 2005 08:36:23

Wednesday 30th November 2005

Afternoon update: MICHAEL HOWARD'S LAST PMQs "While the PM proclaimed that his eight years in office had produced record job levels, record investment in hospitals and schools, and record police numbers, Mr Howard put the record straight. Pointing out that Labour's real legacy was higher taxes, more crime, dirty hospitals, more means testing, increased truancy, higher borrowing, plus reduced levels of savings, productivity growth, competitiveness, manufacturing employment, and crime clear up rates - plus a blocked reform programme."

Also see: Sky News | Daily Mail


Leadership blog: John Jenkins reports from the Welsh Hustings and Yorkshire Post endorses David Cameron.


The Telegraph: Tony Blair is preparing to dismantle Britain's annual rebate from the European Union budget - secured by Margaret Thatcher in 1984 - in a move that will cost the taxpayer billions of pounds.  He is ready to split it into parts that he can defend as "fair" - including Britain's rebate from the Common Agricultural Policy - and others that are less easy to justify, including spending on enlargement, Whitehall sources said.

TURNER'S PENSIONS REPORT "Lord Turner will today publish his key report on the future of UK pensions.  The peer will present the findings of his government commissioned review following three years of consideration.  However his expected conclusions, including detailed recommendations rather than just a range of options, have already come under fire from the Treasury which has warned that they may not be affordable.  According to leaked extracts, the Turner commission will recommend the restoration of the link between state pensions and earnings, ending the means tested pensions credit - a move the chancellor has repeatedly rejected."


Telegraph: "David Cameron will keep George Osborne as his shadow chancellor and offer William Hague the post of foreign affairs spokesman if, as now seems virtually certain, he becomes Conservative leader next week."

Daniel Finkelstein in The Times: "A Black Skies party is itself viewed as dark, threatening, likely to bring about precisely the problems it warns against. The public slays the messenger that brings it bad tidings.  It doesn’t have to be like this. My mother likes to describe pessimists as those who can only see the holes in the Emmenthal. It’s time for the Tory party to wake up and see the cheese."

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29 Nov 2005 08:03:44

Tuesday 29th November 2005


"Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin's government has been ousted in a no-confidence vote.  Canada's three opposition parties united against his Liberal Party, which has been mired in a corruption scandal." - BBCi


Leadership blog: Hague set to return as Shadow Foreign Secretary and Cameron is now 66-1 on favourite


Francis Maude calls for Tories to form a "broad alliance" with Blairite Labour MPs and Orange Book LibDems to push through public service reforms - Telegraph

David Cameron "is to hold talks with community groups, the Armed Forces and teacher unions about a programme that would bring young people together for a few months to do some form of service and help to prepare them for the responsibilities of adult life." - Times


"Our Troops Must Stay" says Joe Lieberman in The Wall Street Journal - "America can't abandon 27 million Iraqis to 10,000 terrorists".

Lorie Byrd on "This month, the president finally began to fight back against the Democrats’ claims that he lied about pre-war intelligence and misled the country into war in Iraq."


Times: "Congestion charging is to be extended to towns and cities across England under government plans for a fundamental change in the way drivers pay for using the roads.  Local authorities in seven areas were yesterday awarded £7 million to develop a model charging scheme that will be rolled out over the entire road network in the next 10-15 years."

Times leader: "Towns and cities such as Brighton and Oxford already restrict cars in the centre and provide generous park and ride services on the outskirts. Where feasible, these should be extended, as long as shuttle buses are frequent and cheap. Technology should be used to vary charges according to time, season and distances travelled. Integrated transport, a national joke under Labour, must be made a reality at local level. And the private sector — taxis, minibuses and company transport — must be included. Transport takes years to plan and billions to deliver. All the more reason, therefore, for politicians to give local authorities an incentive to begin the task now."


The Independent's case for and against nuclear power.

Independent: "Tony Blair will today announce the terms of an energy review that he hopes will lead to the building of a new generation of nuclear power stations."

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28 Nov 2005 07:49:25

Monday 28th November 2005

3pm update on the Leadership blog: Is 'National Service' David Cameron's big idea?


A NEW YORK TIMES LEADER: "Who says George W. Bush and Bill Clinton have nothing in common? Just as President Clinton did on Rwanda, President Bush is doing precious little to try to stop a genocide in Darfur. Indeed, this entire generation of world leaders has a dismal record at intervening in this kind of wholesale murder, and now they are failing to stop the elimination of entire African tribes in the Sudan countryside."

Also see Nicholas Kristof on the Commentators Blog.


Platform blog: Alex Singleton on the intellectual revolution that is necessary for a Conservative agenda on international development.

Leadership blog: David Davis insists that he can still win leadership

Archer_jeffrey_2JEFFREY ARCHER

The Guardian: Cameron rejects Archer as Tory peer but Alan Duncan thinks "the period of condemning him is over".

Max Hastings in The Guardian wonders why we welcome "crooks and bounders" back into public life: "I feel a worm of discomfort, believing that a society that tolerates Mandelson as the nation's representative in Brussels and still throngs Archer's Christmas parties has lost its compass."


Cbi_1BBCi: "The CBI has called on the government to spend an extra £1bn on transport over the next two years, claiming delays are hitting output and stressing-out staff."

The Guardian: Speaking to the CBI today, "Mr Davis will allege that "Enron-style accounting" has become the "order of the day" in the Treasury, pointing to the way Network Rail's £20 billion of debt is kept off the national balance sheet, and what he will brand the "far bigger scam" of unfunded public sector pension liabilities. Mr Davis will cite estimates that at the end of last year they amounted to an off-balance-sheet liability of £500 billion."


The Times: "The Tory contest has exposed the two candidates’ personal qualities and voter appeal to endless media scrutiny and public exposure; their relative charm, charisma, rhetoric and “electability” have been tested, assessed and measured by every conceivable metric, through focus groups, hustings and opinion polls. But their ideas and policy proposals have hardly been considered..." Anatole Kaletsky goes on to to consider what the two Davids really stand for...

Howard_michael_5420 Tory donors pay £300 a head to say goodbye to Michael Howard - Independent

Brighton's The Argus: "Tories are taking full advantage of new longer drinking hours despite the Conservative Party warning that extended licences would result in mayhem.  Conservative clubs in Sussex, which provide meeting places for grass-roots Tories, have applied for late opening times just after the party they support vowed to "fight licensing laws to the end".  The Hove and Newhaven clubs have had their hours extended to 1am and midnight."


BBCi: Montreal "is the first United Nations climate conference since the Kyoto agreement came into force earlier this year."

Times: Host Canadian government expected to fall in no-confidence vote.


The Telegraph: "With the closure of most independent newspapers and magazines in Iran, blogging - publishing an online diary - has become a powerful tool in the dissidents' arsenal by providing individuals with a public voice."

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27 Nov 2005 08:26:17

Sunday 27th November 2005


Leadership blog: Sunday Telegraph endorses David Cameron and calls for George Osborne, Liam Fox and David Davis to be his key colleagues.

Commentators blog: Nicholas Kristof - reporting from a worsening situation in Darfur - asks: How Much Genocide Is Too Much?


Cameron_older_photo_1The Observer: "The Tory leadership front-runner David Cameron vowed yesterday to block any return to Conservative Party politics by Lord Archer... 'David Cameron's view is that Lord Archer's days as an active politician are over,' a spokesman for Cameron said. 'Therefore, there is no question of his taking the Conservative Party whip in the House of Lords.'"

Gerald Warner, Scotland on Sunday: "With Davis, what you see is what you get. He is about as ambiguous in his intentions as Margaret Thatcher. University tuition fees? Hand him a waste-paper basket. Patient opt-outs from the NHS? Right on! Tax cuts? You betcha - £38bn, to be precise: not £37bn or £39bn. Love him or loathe him, this man can hardly be accused of Blairite evasion.  It is interesting that one of the main attack points by his opponents is to accuse Davis of making wildly precise (if that concept is not too Irish) fiscal commitments at least four years before he could ever be in a position to honour them. That is one charge that certainly could not be levelled at Cameron. His policy declarations are crafted in terms of generality... The bottom line is, both the party membership and the media have gone overboard for Cameron on grounds that have nothing to do with his policies and everything to do with his looks, deportment and image. Yet are not these the same people who ruefully deplore how badly they were taken in by Tony Blair in 1997? Now they are on the same lemming stampede again, as groupies for a one-man boy band."

New Mori poll gives Labour a 10% lead over Tories - Observer.


Shaun Bailey was born on the west London estates that have been linked to investigations into the murder of WPC Sharon Beshenivsky.  In today's Sunday Times he describes how pop culture and liberal politics have created a feral generation hooked on drugs, crime and violence: "The more liberal we’ve been, the more the poor have suffered.  Poor people don’t need all this liberalism. They need direction. Everybody talks about “my rights” — but there is some point when your behaviour needs to be balanced by your duty to your community.  The working class look to rules. The rules are important to them. Take away the rules and they are left in limbo. So they form their own: the kind that are driven by pop economics and lead to crime.  The liberal intelligentsia relax the rules for themselves, not for us.""

A leader in The Sunday Times welcomes Mr Bailey's intervention and calls on David Cameron to rethink his own relaxed view of drugs.

The Independent: "Teenagers are facing what medical experts warn is "a mental health time bomb" caused by the abuse of drugs and alcohol.  New figures show that the use of drink and drugs has become common among children as young as 13, with one expert saying alcohol, cocaine and marijuana are "as ubiquitous as traffic on the streets"."

Nuclear_energyNUCLEAR ENERGY

The Business: The case for going nuclear

Fraser Nelson, Scotland on Sunday: Blair needs to power on and go nuclear


Wall Street Journal: James Q Wilson writes a speech President Bush should give about Iraq...

Britain breaks ranks with America on need for UN reform - Sunday Telegraph

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