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Sunday 19th March 2006

Sunday_157.30pm ToryDiary update: New ConservativeHome poll of polls



Ten point briefing: 100 days of David Cameron

ToryDiary: Sleaze row leaves headline polls unchanged and David Cameron's guru receives £23,000pcm


Sunday Times: Tories use front organisations to hide individuals who lend to them.

Independent on Sunday: "Tony Blair was plunged into a damaging new row over the cash-for-peerages scandal yesterday when an Indian food magnate was blocked from joining the House of Lords after disclosures that he had made a secret loan to the Labour Party."

Observer_mastheadObserver leader: "Voters who put Labour in power because they wanted a change from the sleaze of the Major years might well feel like the creatures at the end of George Orwell's Animal Farm, looking through the farmhouse window, no longer able to tell pig from man. The traditional lament of political apathy, that 'they're all as bad as each other', is never very helpful, but it has rarely sounded so apt."

John Blundell in The Business: "Just as only individuals can vote so only those individuals can pay towards their party. It is the supporters that should pay – and only them. And to ensure a reasonable flow of money it may be sensible to set a modest threshold for tax relief. If the first £100 to an authorised party was tax deductible, parties would overnight be returned to their membership. This simple notion would be entirely wholesome."


Tory MP Greg Hands has asked about Ruth Kelly's expenses: "Ruth Kelly, the Education Secretary, was facing questions last night about a £72,000 expenses claim on her second home.  Ms Kelly has claimed £72,000 on her home over the past four years. But mortgage payments should have totalled only around £20,000 during that time." (Independent on Sunday).


Sunday Times: "The Ernst & Young analysis shows that the tax burden excluding North Sea oil revenues, the best measure of the load faced by families and businesses, will be 37.6% of gross domestic product this year, close to the 37.7% peak reached in the early 1980s.  Next year it will reach 37.8%, before rising to 38.1%."

Brown_gordon_1Bill Jamieson, The Business: "For all that [Gordon Brown] lays claim to superior management of the UK economy, the full figures show that the UK economy has performed less well since 1997 than in the five years from 1992 to 1997. In the meantime, UK international competitiveness continues to slip.  The reasons for this form a common theme in pre-budget submissions by business organisations: the rising regulatory burden, the increasingly unattractive tax regime by international standards and the increasing size of the state which drags down growth."

- ConservativeHome begins its 'Wake Up To Gordon Brown Week' tomorrow.  Each day we will be highlighting a key weakness in the Chancellor's record.

Bushondartsboard_2TEAM BUSH

Andrew Sullivan in The Sunday Times: Team Bush is too tired to think.

Business leader: "It is clear beyond peradventure that the Washington “freedom agenda” is in retreat, scuppered by its first outing in Iraq. In many countries, voters now believe democracy and the free market have been tried – and failed. In too many corners of the globe the enemies of democracy grow stronger and its proponents weaker, their energies sapped by the killing fields of Iraq. Al-Qaeda and other terrorists, who have certainly not gone away, are regrouping at a time when Iran, their biggest sponsor, intends to go nuclear. For the first time since the end of the Cold War, the light of democracy is growing dimmer around the world, a great tragedy for which those in Washington and London responsible for the miserable failure of Iraq – probably the worst foreign policy blunder of modern times – should be held to account."


New York Times: As Polling Stations Open, Belarus Braces for Aftermath

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