Conservative Home

« November 2005 | Main | January 2006 »

31 Dec 2005 09:27:03

Saturday 31st December 2005

6.30pm update: Iain Dale's predictions for the year ahead


ToryDiary: Mail fires warning shots at David Cameron


John Hanley for "On three separate days this year, Iraqis had the opportunity to leave their homes, walk to their polling stations, and cast their votes. This simplest of civic duties, something that people everywhere should enjoy as a basic human dignity, was made infinitely more complex by widely circulated flyers reading, “This street will run red with the blood of voters."


Times: "In what may be the most crucial year of his premiership, Mr Blair insists that he will not back down on his reform agenda for schools, local health services and welfare, while taking important decisions on pensions, nuclear energy and the Respect agenda."


Times: "A senior Liberal Democrat MP has expressed fresh worries about Charles Kennedy, questioning whether he is fit to lead the party into the next election.  Alan Beith, the party’s former deputy leader, said that the political mood in the country was changing and the Liberal Democrats should not fall out of step with the country. His move comes after a petition calling for Mr Kennedy to step down immediately, which has collected more than 3,000 signatures, including those of two MPs and more than 100 councillors."


Simon Heffer in The Telegraph: "who has the final say on the Tories' economic policy - Ollie, who is not shadow chancellor, or poor old George Osborne, who allegedly is? On the Bob Geldof principle, shouldn't a suitably inclusive policy committee be set up to advise George and/or Ollie on what to do next?  I'm sure that well-known sympathisers such as Arthur Scargill, Michael Foot and the great Tony Benn would be only too glad to lend their services."

Smokingsmall1David Cameron talks to The Times about giving up smoking.


The UK economy may benefit from the strength of the US economy: "The 3.5% to 4% rate of growth in 2005 has been especially remarkable given eight Federal Reserve Board interest rate hikes, oil prices as high as $70 a barrel, and one of the most devastating natural disasters in American history. Yes, fourth quarter GDP may come in softer thanks to limping auto sales, but the entrepreneurial U.S. economy will still have grown at about twice the pace of Old Europe in 2005. As economist Michael Darda of MKM Partners, puts it: "This is the most derided and ridiculed growth cycle in post-World War II history, even though by many measures, including productivity and corporate profits, it's one of the most impressive."" (Wall Street Journal).

New York's zero tolerance revolution continues: "Crime has fallen across New York City for the 17th consecutive year, with subway crime down by more than 5 percent from last year and the number of recorded murders virtually certain to be the fewest in any single year since 1963, new Police Department statistics show." (New York Times).

Have I missed any important story?
Please use the 'comments' option to tell other visitors about interesting links...

30 Dec 2005 08:51:57

Friday 30th December 2005

Biggestinfluence_2Lunchtime update on ToryDiary:



ToryDiary: David Cameron faces friendly fire from The Sun and Spectator


Platform blog: Biodun on Making Bad Governance History

Critical letters in The Guardian.  The best of which was written by Sandra Eckersley from Australia: "I hope the Tories have sensibly agreed not to schedule any meetings with their new policy adviser on Mondays."


The Independent reports that David Cameron will deliver a speech to the Soil Association: "The Tories have tradiitonally backed the free market and big business, but Mr Cameron will embrace measures championed by Zac Goldsmith, his adviser on green issues, to support small organic farmers, encourage supermarkets to offer more home-grown organic produce and avoid high mileage in transporting food to the shops."

Times: "David Cameron is so determined to prove his green credentials that he has commissioned an eco-architect to make over his new house, complete with wind turbine on the roof.  The Conservatives’ new leader hopes that the fee of more than £10,000 for Alex Michaelis to provide green heating, lighting, insulation and fuel systems will be recouped on lower bills."


FT: "The Conservatives stepped up their policymaking drive yesterday with a "wide-ranging" examination of immigration strategy that could abandon an election pledge to introduce quotas for asylum seekers.  Francis Maude, Tory party chairman and one of several modernisers appointed to high-profile roles in David Cameron's shadow cabinet, appeared to acknowledge that a heavy focus on immigration issues had backfired for the party at the general election. He told the BBC's World at One that it was important to show that the Tories did not have an "antagonism" towards immigration and that the Conservatives were "decent people"."

MichaelbrownarticleMichael Brown presents an upbeat review of the Tory year in The Independent:

"If anyone had predicted, a year ago, that the Tories would end 2005 ahead in the polls, thanks to a 39-year-old leader with fewer than five years' parliamentary experience under his belt, the men in white coats would have been summoned.  The Tories' prospects have been so transformed that Labour's third decisive victory on 5 May has become but a distant memory. It is hard to recall the dire straits in which the Tories began the year..."

Times: "The Conservative Party chairman refused yesterday to criticise the payment of £1 million bonuses to City bankers in remarks calculated to soften suggestions that his was now the party of wealth redistribution... Mr Maude, interviewed on BBC radio, said that while it was not for the Tories to say how much people should be paid, it was for them to say that there should be no discrimination against people on grounds of gender or race." "The Conservatives have claimed they are leading the way in Scottish local by-elections, with the highest votes total of any party in the past two-and-a-half years."

TonyblairsebcoeLORD SIR SEB

The Sun: "Congratulations, Seb Coe. Never was an honour more deserved.  The athletics hero receives a knighthood for being the driving force and mastermind behind bringing the 2012 Olympics to London.  It was Seb who led from the front, providing inspiration and unquenchable optimism that what seemed impossible could be won.  We won’t know whether to call Seb a Lord or Sir from now on.  But no medal is big enough to mark what he has achieved for his country."


1387The Independent:  "Charles Kennedy has been dealt a fresh blow to his authority as Liberal Democrat leader by his party's 12 MEPs, who angrily protested at his failure to consult them over the party's proposals for radical reform of the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP).  In a letter to the Liberal Democrat leader which was leaked to The Independent, Chris Davies [pictured], leader of the Liberal Democrat group in the European Parliament, threatens publicly to disown the document, which is due to be published in a fortnight by the party's environment and rural affairs spokesman, Norman Baker."

Charles Kennedy stressed inequality in his New Year message of yesterday: "The statistics are chilling. In 21st-century Britain, a baby born in Westminster will live, on average, eight years longer than a child born in the Canning Town area of London. While Department of Health figures show infant mortality is twice as high for children of parents in manual work as those in managerial and professional jobs." (extract from The Independent)


BBCi: "A computer error has left about 10,000 UK supporters of Greenpeace out of pocket by hundreds of pounds.  Some members who make regular direct debit donations, ranging typically from £2 to £10 a month, have been charged a hundred times their usual amount."


"Right Islam vs. Wrong Islam - Muslims and non-Muslims must unite to defeat the Wahhabi ideology" says Abdurrahman Wahid in the Wall Street Journal:

"The most effective way to overcome Islamist extremism is to explain what Islam truly is to Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Without that explanation, people will tend to accept the unrefuted extremist view--further radicalizing Muslims, and turning the rest of the world against Islam itself.  Accomplishing this task will be neither quick nor easy. In recent decades, Wahhabi/Salafi ideology has made substantial inroads throughout the Muslim world. Islamic fundamentalism has become a well-financed, multifaceted global movement that operates like a juggernaut in much of the developing world, and even among immigrant Muslim communities in the West. To neutralize the virulent ideology that underlies fundamentalist terrorism and threatens the very foundations of modern civilization, we must identify its advocates, understand their goals and strategies, evaluate their strengths and weaknesses, and effectively counter their every move. What we are talking about is nothing less than a global struggle for the soul of Islam."

Have I missed any important story?
Please use the 'comments' option to tell other visitors about interesting links...

29 Dec 2005 07:56:19

Thursday 29th December 2005


ToryDiary: Let's get back to The And Theory, Mr Cameron


The Sun Says:

"Amazingly the average state salary is now £35,000 — that’s £10,000 MORE than the private sector.  Many of these jobs are Mickey Mouse positions that contribute very little practical help to anyone.  Huge sums of taxpayers’ money are being sucked away from real investment in the wealth-earning private sector.  And many of our brightest young talents are tempted away from life in business or industry by the state’s cushy jobs, fat pay packets and gold-plated pensions."

Read the complete report here.


The Guardian: Labour proposes major overhaul of local government...

  • Scrapping of county councils;
  • Greater economic powers for cities;
  • Greater power for local authorities that themselves devolve more power to local people and neighbourhoods (modelled on French communes).


Telegraph: "David Cameron committed the Conservatives yesterday to a campaign to end the "scandal" of women being paid less for doing the same job as men."

May_theresa_blk_jacket_3The Independent asked a number of women to offer brief comments on equal opportunities.  Theresa May offered the following: "The thing I experienced in banking was that men were much more likely to push to have a pay rise than women. Having been involved in banking and politics I would say I was not personally conscious of discrimination in both areas, although others I know have experienced it, particularly in politics. There is still a great deal for the Conservative Party to do in terms of a fairer balance of men and women in Parliament, and David Cameron has grasped this. In Parliament, we have both transparency in pay and equal pay. In banking, it was very different, although I think things have improved."

The Times: Tony Blair set to appoint Hazel Blears to cabinet in new year resuffle.  Mr Blair is set to want a Cabinet with the most women members in history.


The LibDem leader has used a speech to attack growing inequality under Tony Blair and to respond to David Cameron's attempts to woo his supporters: "David Cameron is a Conservative at heart, not a liberal.  But what I do also detect is a shifting of the political tectonic plates - a sense that change is coming.  And when this government falls, as one day it must, I believe it is the Liberal Democrats, the genuine bearers of the liberal and democratic flame in our country, who will be most in touch with how the majority want us to respond to such inequalities and unfairness." (BBCi)


A leader in The Telegraph calls on Mr Cameron to act on his EPP pledge:

"Mr Cameron's integrity, as well as his party's, is now at stake. Leaving the EPP was the only unequivocal promise he made during the recent leadership campaign. Failing to deliver on the one thing he can do in opposition would make voters doubt his ability to deliver in government. Mr Cameron's critics - Ken Clarke, Douglas Hurd, Geoffrey Howe - need to understand this. So, too, do those Conservative MEPs who have found comfortable niches within the EPP, and who are reluctant to be winkled out of them."

Bob Geldof txts The Times on his Tory role: "“I will be an ad hoc, pro tem, unpaid consultant 4 about 3 hours next yr. Same as the govt, lib dems if they want it. Like we do 4 reps n dems in u.S. No diff, no big deal. I’m on hols. Go away. bg”

The Guardian: Damian Green, shadow immigration minister, urges scrapping of "useless" £70 a month registration fee for EU migrant workers from Eastern Europe. "Conservative assembly leader Nick Bourne slammed the Wales secretary for "rigging" future elections through the Government of Wales Bill... Bourne said the provision disallowing constituency candidates from standing as list candidates in future assembly elections was designed to "serve Labour" not Wales."


ImprovingiraqOn the day on which the UN declared recent Iraq elections "valid" (New York Times) this interesting chart appeared in the  26/12 edition of Newsweek>>>

Have I missed any important story?
Please use the 'comments' option to tell other visitors about interesting links...

28 Dec 2005 07:17:02

Newslinks for 25th to 28th December 2005




Independent: "Bob Geldof has agreed to work with the Tories on a world poverty group being set up by David Cameron, the Conservative leader.  Mr Cameron has appointed Peter Lilley, a former Cabinet minister, to head the commission. His co-operation with Mr Geldof, who has warmly praised Tony Blair's initiatives at the G8 for Africa, will be seen as a further attempt to steer the Tories towards "caring Conservatism".  Senior Tories emphasised that Mr Geldof was acting in a non-party role."

FT: "One of the driving forces behind Tony Blair's Commission for Africa, Mr Geldof has criticised and commended in equal measure the government's efforts to boost aid spending and debt relief. His involvement in the Tory policy review is a small coup for Mr Cameron. But a spokesman made it clear that Mr Geldof would "feed in ideas" as a way of converting the Conservatives to the agenda outlined by the Commission for Africa, a plan for higher aid spending, immediate debt relief and fair trade."


Guardian: "The Conservatives yesterday warned local activists in marginal seats to guard against attempts by the British National party to infiltrate their ranks and "befriend malcontents" in an attempt to wreck David Cameron's hopes of a Tory revival.  In a Christmas message to supporters the BNP's leader, Nick Griffin, is urging them to join local Tory associations "as ordinary new members won over by media publicity about the leadership election", and to work hard to establish solid credentials."


Telegraph readers respond to Oliver Letwin's redistribution interview.


BBCi: "Conservative leader David Cameron must not become "obsessed" by Tony Blair's departure, his predecessor Iain Duncan Smith has warned.  Mr Duncan Smith, who was ousted in 2003, said the priority was to "put the squeeze" on Liberal Democrats."


Telegraph: Tory and LibDem peers plan new year attempt to make Tony Blair's ID card scheme voluntary.

EfpAlex Salmond criticises David Cameron's fishing policy: "Mr Cameron said during his leadership election campaign that fishing would take a lower priority in his approach to changing the UK's relationship to the EU.  He said control of fisheries should be at national or regional level, but that it was important to give priority to withdrawal from social and workplace regulations rather than fisheries.  But Ted Brocklebank, the Scottish Tory fisheries spokesman, has defiantly stood up for the previous position, which was to make a priority of pulling Britain out of the CFP. It would be possible for the Scottish party to have a different policy from their colleagues at Westminster, but it would be meaningless unless the party in London was committed to implementing it." (The Herald) 

Mirror: "Two Tory MPs were among thousands of toffs who turned up yesterday at the first Boxing Day hunts since the ban on killing foxes came in.  Stephen O'Brien and Ed Vaizey were there to pursue the sport despite the fact 72 per cent of Britons back the law that ended it.  Wantage and Didcot MP Vaizey, below, addressed riders at a meeting in Oxfordshire. The 250 hunts used scent trails instead of foxes. But animal campaigners claim they are still killed."

Scottish Conservatives claim biggest student membership - BBCi.

Davies_philipBBCi: "The Conservative Party are considering adopting a tactic from their New Zealand counterparts and appointing a "political correctness eradicator".  Tory MP Philip Davies, who was elected this year, said he wanted to wage a campaign against "this silliness.""


Times: "[Mr Cameron] has to ensure that no one who uses or works in the public services should automatically assume that the Conservative Party is an enemy. He will use a new tone to bring about a changed mood. Over the past 200 years only five Tory leaders changed the party’s public discourse significantly: Pitt the Younger, Peel, Disraeli, Macmillan and Thatcher. David Cameron will be the sixth."

Andrew Murray of the TGWU writes in The Guardian about the "campaign for capitalism" he launched at a recent CBI conference: "After 26 years of Thatcherite and Thatcher-lite governments, which have not only practised capitalism but also preached it without stint, "far too many people", according to the man who would be prime minister, are yet to get it. This is not for want of opportunity to appreciate the virtues of capitalism, profit and the rest. One thing that the past generation in Britain has not lacked is an unabashed campaign for capitalism."


The Guardian: "The government will announce plans next month for a national zero tolerance campaign against kerb crawlers and street prostitution after shelving plans to introduce licensed "red light" zones."

Telegraph: Labour is building on the greenbelt.


Wall Street Journal: How the John M Olin Foundation invested in conservative ideas.

Kathleen Parker, "Bloggers persist no matter their contributions or quality, though most would have little to occupy their time were the mainstream media to disappear tomorrow. Some bloggers do their own reporting, but most rely on mainstream reporters to do the heavy lifting. Some bloggers also offer superb commentary, but most babble, buzz and blurt like caffeinated adolescents competing for the Ritalin generation's inevitable senior superlative: Most Obsessive-Compulsive."

Have I missed any important story?
Please use the 'comments' option to tell other visitors about interesting links...

Conservative Intelligence