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23 Nov 2005 07:51:49

Wednesday 23rd November

Wednesday_7BLOGS

Paul Goodman MP on the Platform blog wonders if this leadership election is pushing the party back towards the establishment...

Leadership blog: Matthew d'Ancona on why Crime-fighting must be part of David Cameron's modernisation

CONSERVATIVE NEWS & COMMENTARY

Matthew d'Ancona in The Daily Telegraph: "Conservative members have until December 5 to return their ballot papers in this leadership contest, and a surprisingly high number of them have yet to do so. There is still time for Mr Cameron to show that, when it comes to crime, he has iron in his soul."

Scotsman interviews with the two contenders note David Davis' raw sex appeal and David Cameron's disabled son.

Survey finds Tories like Davis' policies but Cameron's style - PublicTechnology.net 

Clarke_1Western Mail: "The latest attempt to hold Prime Minister Tony Blair to account over the Iraq war has gained the backing of Tory big-hitter Ken Clarke and a senior Labour backbencher.  The campaign, led by Plaid Cymru MP Adam Price, has grown from his earlier bid to have Mr Blair impeached over the invasion.  Today Mr Price is tabling an "early day motion" in the Commons calling for a cross-party committee to investigate the way Britain was taken to war. The names on the motion include Mr Clarke, recently defeated in the Tory leadership contest, and deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats Sir Menzies Campbell. Other backers include Labour MP Alan Simpson and leader of the SNP Alex Salmond."

OTHER COMMENTARY

Simon Heffer makes the case for capital punishment.

"No party should outline their plans for coalition until the situation arises, warns Simon Hughes." - ePolitix.com

Tony Halpin in The Times: "Real choice means giving parents the money and letting schools explain how they would spend it to best serve their child. Concerns for social justice could be met by giving disadvantaged children additional value, so that schools had an incentive to address their problems rather than turn them away."

The Independent: "The licensing laws change at midnight, but is the glass half-full or half-empty?"

OTHER NEWS

The Times: "Gordon Brown will support plans for a new generation of nuclear power stations provided the Government’s forthcoming review provides a convincing case that can command public support."

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22 Nov 2005 08:59:11

Tuesday 22nd November 2005

Tuesday_9If you are interested in keeping up-to-date with the run-up to elections in Israel a new section has been added in the right hand column.  It will be updated regularly - like our other margin topics - and you need to scroll down to reach it.

BLOGS

Leadership blog - Cameron under fire for EPP promise and Freddie Forsyth endorses David Davis (with gusto).

CONSERVATIVE NEWS & COMMENTARY

The Herald: "The Tory leadership battle opened up on a new front yesterday after a U-turn by David Cameron, the front runner, that would mean Conservatives accepting the abolition of Scotland's six infantry regiments.  David Davis, his rival, quickly retorted that it was essential to reverse the Army merger and keep traditional regiments."

Leader in The Herald: "The party must learn to love devolution and be heart-and-soul Scottish. Being so does not concern Mr Cameron. Indeed, he encourages it. He has been an MP for a shorter time than the Scottish Parliament has existed. Consequently, he does not have the constitutional baggage of Mr Davis's generation of Conservatives. Although he will not commit himself on fiscal autonomy, he insists it would be up to the Scottish party if it wanted to fight a Holyrood election with a distinctive tax-cutting agenda.  There will be a huge opportunity to exploit if Mr Cameron wins and the UK party adopts a less strident voice that makes the Scottish party more electable."

Alice Thomson says that the Tories are the new party of hope.  The Telegraph: "David Cameron and George Osborne have all the energy, charm, enthusiasm and moderation that Mr Blair and Mr Brown once had. Boris Johnson has Mo Mowlam's charisma and blonde mop. David Davis is as good at collecting scalps as Robin Cook. They are a new phenomenon."

Andrew Billen profiles David Cameron - The Times.

Telegraph: "A new pressure group, Women2Win group, backed by Theresa May and other senior party figures, will outline plans to ensure that at least 30 of the party's 100 top target parliamentary seats fields female candidates at the next General Election.  The group, also supported by Peter Lilley, the former Cabinet minister, will stop short of endorsing all-women shortlists in individual constituencies, which both David Cameron and David Davis, the two leadership contenders, have also ruled out."

IRAQ COMMENTARY

Cal Thomas, TownHall.com: "We now have a legitimate comparison between the Vietnam War and what is taking place in Iraq. That comparison was summed up nicely in a Wall Street Journal editorial last Friday about the untimely call by Rep. John Murtha, Pennsylvania Democrat and decorated Vietnam veteran, for the withdrawal of American forces from Iraq. The Journal recalled a comment made to historian Stanley Karnow in a 1990 interview by North Vietnamese General Vo Nguyen Giap:

"We were not strong enough to drive out a half-million American troops, but that wasn't our aim. Our intention was to break the will of the American government to continue the war."

Mort Kondracke: "Somehow, last week, The New York Times and The Washington Post decided to give top-of-Page 1 treatment to Democratic Rep. John Murtha's (Pa.) call for immediate troop withdrawals. Yet when McCain, normally a hero of the media (myself included), advocated increasing U.S. troop strength by 10,000 in a Washington, D.C., speech on Nov. 10, it got played on Page 21 of the Times and Page 16 of the Post. McCain, though, has it right."

Click here for a Ten Point Briefing on McCain's How We Can Win In Iraq speech.

MALARIA

A recent post on the Commentators blog argued that fighting malaria should be a higher priority than climate change.  A New York Times leader notes the issue's importance today: "There is no mystery and no enormous expense to fighting malaria. Everyone knows what is effective - providing insecticide-treated nets for people to sleep under, spraying the insides of houses with insecticide, giving drugs prophylactically to pregnant women, and replacing ineffective medicines with new ones that cure the disease. These things work, and they are cheap."

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21 Nov 2005 07:59:40

Monday 21st November 2005

Sharon_ariel9.30pm update: Hustings Report from Perth

SHARON QUITS LIKUD TO SET UP NEW POLITICAL MOVEMENT
New York Times | BBC | Telegraph | Jerusalem Post

BLOGS

Ten point briefing: How to Win the War in Iraq

Platform blog: Brian Jenner suggests that it's time to put the 'party' back into the Conservative Party

Leadership blog: William Rees-Mogg urges adoption of all-women shortlists.

Ashcroft_michael_4Commentators blog: Michael Ashcroft says voters should decide who is an acceptable donor to political parties: "We should allow political parties to accept financial support — cash, benefits in kind and credit — from whomsoever they choose and without financial limit. We should require them only to make public the identity of the true donor and the detail of the donation."

CONSERVATIVE NEWS & COMMENTARY

The Telegraph concludes that yesterday's Dimbleby Debate was the most personal and confrontational.

The Times: David Cameron is "heart and soul" behind Scottish devolution and supports Scottish Tories' freedom to cut income tax.  And did you know that "The name Cameron is derived from the Scottish Gaelic for “crooked nose”?

The Times: Only 44 per cent of the 260,000 eligible voters have sent back their ballot papers.

Labour proposals to scrap the two-tier structure of district and county councils threatens the future of hundreds of mainly Tory councillors - Telegraph

NUCLEAR POWER

The Times: Britain will start building new civil nuclear power stations under plans backed by Tony Blair, The Times has learnt.  This might be another initiative where he'll need Tory votes... The plans are backed in a Times leader.

OTHER COMMENTARY

The Guardian: The neconservative temptation beckoning Britain's bitter liberals.

OTHER NEWS

The Times: The President uses a pulpit in Beijing to speak up for the persecuted Christian minority in China.

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20 Nov 2005 09:28:40

Sunday 20th November 2005

Stevensjohn_18pm Commentators blog update: Police killers deserve the death penalty

1.45pm Leadership blog update: There are four summarising posts on the Jonathan Dimbleby Debate between the two contenders.

BLOGS

Leadership blog: Labour's Treasury say they hold sensitive security information on David Cameron plus Ann Widdecombe backs streetfighter Davis.

CONSERVATIVE NEWS & COMMENTARY

The Sunday Times: "In an interview with GMTV’s Sunday programme today, Davis takes issue with Cameron’s decision to support Blair’s reforms of the public services. It could mean the government is propped up by Tory votes, because as many as 100 Labour MPs could rebel over the schools white paper.  “We would have an argument in the shadow cabinet undoubtedly and we will have to come to a conclusion on that,” Davis said."

Nicholas Boys Smith previews his Demos publication, 'True Blue: How Fair Conservatism Can Win the Next Election', in The Sunday Times: "The Conservatives can speak to Generation Gap’s concerns not by abandoning support for the free market (which Generation Gap share), nor by retreating from the need for radical public sector or welfare state reform (which is also accepted), but by clearly, consistently and passionately making the case for a fairer Britain.  Unless the Tory party can convince Generation Gap that they are like them, hard-working, fair people, interested in others and not out to get the weak, it can pack up and go home."

Hague_william_3The Independent on Sunday profiles William Hague and reports: "David Davis was chairman of the Public Accounts Committee during Hague's leadership. "Frankly, the person who did everything to undermine him day to day was David Davis; now his scheming and manoeuvring has come back to haunt him because everyone knows this," says an MP friend of Hague's."

The Sunday Herald profiles Annabel Goldie, new Scottish Tory leader.

The Sunday Times: "The Conservative party has accepted a £93,000 donation from a fund run by one of Britain’s most senior freemasons.  The donation was paid by the Midlands-based Leamington Fund. No public records exist for the fund, which is an “unincorporated association”. However, The Sunday Times has established that the fund’s chairman is Michael Price, the provincial grandmaster of Warwickshire freemasons."

OTHER COMMENTARY

Portillo_michaelMichael Portillo: "I fear that the prime minister has become unhinged. He has always tended towards being messianic. Now he is more convinced than ever that he is right and everyone else wrong. Neither the views of parliament nor the home secretary count for anything. He courts unpopularity, outrages his supporters and has lost his instinct for survival. Logic plays little part in his calculations and economics none."

The Business: "The OECD estimates that general government receipts (largely tax) as a share of gross domestic product (GDP) have risen in the UK from 38.8% in 1996 to 41.6% in 2005. In stark contrast, government receipts in the euro zone have fallen from 47.5% to 45.7% of GDP. The gap in government receipts between Britain and the euro zone has fallen from 8.7 percentage points to 4.1 points. UK public spending has surged even more significantly, and is set to reach 44.8% of GDP next year, according to the OECD.  Said added: “As the UK moves towards a more European tax environment, it may not be surprising that our relative growth performance is falling back.”"

Brooks_3David Brooks, The New York Times (subscription required): "while the American presence is a catalyst for violence in Iraq, it is not the main catalyst. The main source of violence in Iraq is the sectarian war between the Sunnis and the Shiites. The main source of violence is that the Sunnis think they are the majority and can't accept the possibility that the Shiites, whom they consider as almost subhuman, should be allowed to run their own affairs.  And what also drives violence in Iraq is that the Shiites have responded to Sunni supremacy by turning ultrachauvinist themselves. In the vacuum of security caused by the botched American occupation, these ethnic tensions have turned into a low-grade civil war."

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