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Tuesday 21st March 2006

Tuesday_18Evening ToryDiary update: Scotland Yard gets involved in loan scandal

5.45pm ToryDiary update: Blair is still right on Iraq

11.15am ToryDiary update: Chris Tame, founder of Britain's Libertarian Alliance, has died.



Platform: John Hustings provides a comprehensive analysis of the centre ground.

Books: Have you read a political book recently? Please email [email protected] if you would like to review it.


The Times leader: "There is no such thing as political donations — or loans — that come without strings attached. But to outlaw them and make up the shortfall with increased public grants is no solution. Are taxpayers being asked to fund a scheme to cover up the Prime Minister’s latest embarrassment?"

The Telegraph leader: "Taxpayers are hard-pressed enough, and it is a sad reflection on David Cameron that he imagines nationalising party finances would make voters trust politicians more. He is in effect saying that his party cannot be trusted to behave with probity. We hope that voters will not take him at his own estimation."

The Guardian leader: "Like cold war talks over slashing nuclear arsenals, one side will only make a move if they are sure the other will match it. Neither Labour nor the Conservatives want to fight an election with less money than their opponent. That is why yesterday's proposals from the Conservatives are good news."


David Aaronovitch in The Times: "Fighting elections, preparing manifestos, slapping messages all over billboards, employing phone canvassers, all costs. Democracy costs. Getting the message out costs. And the long-term decline of party activism means it now costs more. So how expensive should it be, and who should pay?"

From the Right Side blog: "There must be a free market in politics. A party that cannot excite and enthuse its supporters, and which cannot obtain from them sufficient voluntary donations or membership fees, deserves to die. It does not deserve to be kept on life support by the taxpayer."


BBCi: "The biggest loans were £2.3m from property developer Sir David Garrard, £2m from fashion magnate Richard Caring and £2m from minister Lord Sainsbury. The list was released as Labour continued to deny sleaze claims after it emerged some of the lenders were later recommended for peerages."

BBCi: David Cameron "will not be "bounced" into revealing the names, adding that it was "very difficult to retrospectively name" past lenders. "I am not prepared under any circumstances to disclose where the loans come from," he told BBC2's Newsnight programme."


Latest ToryRadio interview, with Greg Clark MP:

  • David Davis - "He has a clear sense of agenda."
  • Cameron's first 100 days - "Gone really well. Hasn't put a foot wrong." (Also see: the extensive Ten Point Briefing)
  • Poverty - "We can be the people to help people out of poverty."
  • Party funding - "Instinctively against state funding. In favour of a donation cap."


The Western Mail reports the following comments from Lord Patten on David Cameron's plan to take Tory MEPs out of the EPP:

"I'm very supportive of what David Cameron has been trying to do overall in dragging the Conservative Party back to the centre- ground of British politics.  I don't think he was terribly well advised on this. I think he was sold a pup. He was given the impression by some members of the European parliament - to borrow the phrase from Hollywood, the usual suspects - that there was a group desperate to form new groups outside the EPP.  That has turned into the pursuit of fool's gold I think this is going to be a voyage of discovery; the best thing that people like me can say is as little as possible."


Brian Walden writes for BBCi about what makes people want to pursue a political career: "Politicians have become like the priests of an ancient, primitive religion. They keep frantically blessing ever more sacrifices and offering up ever more prayers. But few people believe they're controlling destiny - and I doubt they believe it themselves."



Telegraph: "With vicious timing, Alan B'Stard MP, the odious hero of a 1980s television series that satirised the "sleaze" years of the Tory government, is to be reborn - but this time as a corrupt Labour MP and wheeler-dealer."

Guardian obituary: "Hamish Gray, latterly Lord Gray of Contin, who has died aged 78, was a genial, progressive Scottish Conservative, loyal to party and principle."

Telegraph leader: "Surrounded by countries which, to a greater or lesser extent, have reformed, Belarus remains a curious, and deeply unpleasant, throwback to a bygone age."

Dan Quixote: "In many ways, Humphrey was more of a guinea pig than a cat, for it was Humphrey who was the first to be done over by the New Labour machine, in the same manner later witnessed with the treatment of the likes of Rose Addis, Pam Warren and the late David Kelly."

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