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Tuesday 31st January 2006


"Alito is a longtime federal appeals judge, having been confirmed by the Senate by unanimous consent on the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia on April 27, 1990. Before that, he worked as New Jersey's U.S. attorney and as a lawyer in the Justice Department for the conservative Reagan administration.  It was his Reagan-era work that caused the most controversy during his three-month candidacy for the high court.  Alito replaces O'Connor, the court's first female justice and a key moderate swing vote on issues like assisted suicide, campaign finance law, the death penalty, affirmative action and abortion.  Critics who mounted a fierce campaign against his nomination noted that while he worked in the solicitor general's office for President Reagan, he suggested that the Justice Department should try to chip away at abortion rights rather than mount an all-out assault. He also wrote in a 1985 job application for another Reagan administration post that he was proud of his work helping the government argue that "the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion.""

The confirmation of Alito - following GWB's earlier successful nomination of John Roberts means that four of the nine justices on the US Supreme Court are likely to be reliably conservative.  One more conservative appointment could tilt the balance of the Court and make for the President's biggest legacy.


ToryDiary: Huhne wants troops out, a quick look at Mitt Romney's presidential hopes and MORI gives 2% lead to Tories


Telegraph: "Since Tony Blair's arrival on the political scene the Conservatives had been wrong to campaign so hard on Right-wing issues such as immigration as they tried to differentiate themselves from New Labour, Mr Cameron said.  In an implicit criticism of his predecessors William Hague, Iain Duncan Smith and Michael Howard, he said: "As Labour moved to the centre ground, the Conservative Party moved to the Right.  "Instead of focusing on the areas where we now agreed with Labour on our aims and on highlighting the different prescriptions that arose from our different values and principles, we ended up focusing on those areas where we did not agree: tax cuts, immigration, Europe.""

The Sun Says:

"Tory leader David Cameron set out to embarrass Tony Blair with a bucket of warm praise.  He hailed the PM as a gifted politician who rightly tied economic success to social justice...  But while praising Mr Blair, there were cool words for “well-intentioned cheerleaders on the right”. He urged them to climb off their hobby horses on tax, immigration and Europe.  Mr Cameron is determined to refloat the Tory boat. If that means throwing unwanted baggage over the side, so be it.  The risk in imitating Tony Blair’s style instead of the real thing is that voters will see him an opportunistic chameleon, rather than a principled politician."

Times leader: "The speech is significant. For the past decade the Tories have been trying to define themselves against Mr Blair, largely unsuccessfully. By refusing to admit much of the evidence before their eyes — that the Prime Minister was sincere in accepting the open markets he inherited — they have chased up blind alleys of opportunism. As Mr Cameron conceded yesterday, his party made “terrible strategic and tactical mistakes”, sometimes claiming that Labour remained unchanged, at other times protesting that the Prime Minister was stealing Tory clothes. The Tories’ resulting pitch to the right had disastrous electoral results. Mr Cameron is now, more fruitfully, focusing on excessive regulation and a government short-termism that has failed to rectify long-term problems."

The Independent: "Cameron allies believe the right-wing sniping may help to define the Tories in the voters' eyes, in the way that Tony Blair's battles with his party shaped New Labour."


BBCi: "Shadow foreign secretary William Hague is in Brussels to start talks which he hopes will sever links between Tory MEPs and the European People's Party.  Conservative leader David Cameron has ordered the move with threats of deselection for any pro-European Tory MEPs who defy him."

Independent leader: "This policy of withdrawal is difficult to explain. Mr Cameron is making a show of moving his party to the centre ground at home, so why make a lurch to the right abroad that was ruled out by the likes of Michael Howard and Iain Duncan Smith? It will force Tory representatives in Europe to sit with extremists, fascists and Robert Kilroy-Silk. This does not fit comfortably with Mr Cameron's message that the Tories have learned from past mistakes."

RightLinks launches campaign to support David Cameron on the EPP.


Andrew Pierce (who often reports scoops from inside Tory HQ) writes this in today's Times: "David Cameron, the Conservative leader, has triggered his first internal revolt by trying to impose a lifetime gagging order on all the party’s employees.  The Times has learnt that the confidentiality agreement was sent to all staff, irrespective of their seniority or how long they have worked for the party, without any warning or consultation at the end of last week."


The Guardian says that Andrew Neil is determined to make The Spectator a serious political player again after the years in which Boris Johnson allegedly trivialised it - but took it to circulation heights.


BBCi: "A new alliance has been formed to promote palliative care, and oppose efforts to legalise euthanasia, or physician-assisted suicide.  Supporters of the Care Not Killing Alliance include health workers and human rights groups."


The Guardian: "The government's strategy to cut carbon dioxide emissions in the battle against climate change has been paralysed for seven months by a dispute between two Whitehall departments.  Labour has pledged in three successive manifestos that by 2010 it will cut the UK's CO2 emissions by 20% below 1990 levels. The promise has reached almost totemic status in the party.  But publication of a programme to meet the targets has been held up, with the Department of Trade and Industry arguing that emissions have risen at such a rate over the past two years that it is unlikely Britain can meet the target. The DTI's latest projections show that, on current measures, CO2 will have been reduced to "only around 10% below 1990 levels by 2010"."

Blair_condoleezzariceCONDI COMES TO LONDON "The government is today hosting a major international conference on the future of Afghanistan."


Telegraph: "The Prime Minister's son Euan began work as an intern on Capitol Hill yesterday, with old hands predicting quiet days and wild nights for the 22-year-old."

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