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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.


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


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."


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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