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Wednesday 22nd March 2006

Cameron's budget response | Seven things not mentioned in The Budget (courtesy of the team at CCHQ)


11am ToryDiary update: Liam Fox on the way Britain's armed forces are being starved of resources.


On the Books blog, Damian Collins reviews 'Ask Not: The Inauguration of John F. Kennedy and the Speech That Changed America':

"The importance of the big speech is something that has never been lost on the great communicators of modern politics. Presidents Reagan and Kennedy, like Winston Churchill, were great speakers because they invested a great deal of time and care in their performances, and had honed them over years. This great care, rather than being evidence of an interest in style over substance, is rather evidence of great respect for the people they are speaking out to, and a desire to make sure their message was both inspiring and understood."

Continuing the cultural theme - Matthew Sinclair reviews the new film 'V for Vendetta' on the Platform blog:

"The film is based upon a cartoon set within a dystopian future where the Conservative Party have been elected and all hell has broken loose. A "high chancellor" has been elected and is kicking out minorities, making homosexuality illegal, 'disappearing' dissenters and experimenting on prisoners (clearly the makers haven't heard that we're Cameron's Conservatives now). Essentially the country is being run by utter fascists and this sets up the moral case for V and his campaign of bombings (including a particularly distasteful scene with bombs on the tube) which are hailed as heroic..."

ToryDiary: WAKE UP TO GORDON BROWN (3): Social justice

Brown_budget THE BUDGET

The Times: Voters are beginning to see the chinks in Gordon Brown's armour according to a special Populus poll:

  • "Nearly two thirds (64 per cent) agree that he “has significantly increased taxes over the years, without things really improving much as a result of all the extra spending” and only 32 per cent disagree."
  • "Voters are almost evenly split (45 to 49 per cent) about whether Mr Brown has made Britain a fairer country."
  • "People are also evenly divided (47 to 46 per cent) about whether decisions taken by Mr Brown have made “Britain’s economy less efficient so it is harder for us now to compete internationally.”"

Jeff Randall, The Telegraph: "Prudence, Brown's first love during his early days in Downing Street, was a sensible lassie, but she didn't fit in with the Chancellor's army of hangers-on who expect much more than tea and sympathy from a Labour government.  When paraded at Number 11 cocktail parties, Prudence was ridiculed by all the wanna-haves - public-sector unions, bleeding-heart lobby groups and quango time-servers - whose entitlement culture Brown has ended up funding with other people's money.  Frankly, the nice girl with a Calvinist background was an embarrassment. So, Prudence was dumped unceremoniously, and in her place Brown has shacked up with Profligacy, a hip-swinging fancy piece who just can't get enough. She's costing him a fortune - spend, spend, spend - but the poor man's bewitched."


Telegraph: "Gordon Brown was accused yesterday of cowardice over climate change after it emerged that green taxes have declined since 1999.  The Chancellor is today expected to give his 10th Budget statement a "green" tinge by proposing higher road tax for new "gas-guzzling" cars and large four-by-four vehicles."

Guardian: "Radiohead star Thom Yorke has revealed that he turned down a meeting with the prime minister to discuss climate change.  The singer was asked to visit Downing Street by campaigners last September, in his role as ambassador for environmental group Friends of the Earth.  But he dismissed Tony Blair as a man with "no environmental credentials" and said dealing with Labour spin doctors had made him feel ill."


: "As Labour stepped up the pressure for the Tories to follow its decision to reveal all of its backers, Dominic Grieve, the Shadow Attorney-General, said that the identities should be made public.  He opened up a debate in the party after Jonathan Marland, the Tory treasurer, said that he would not “under any circumstances” disclose the source of loans. Mr Marland’s refusal to discuss any details of lenders has led some to suppose that the party could have taken loans from abroad to circumvent the strict rules banning foreign donations."

Times leader: "The public has witnessed the unmasking of Tony Blair’s hypocrisy over secret loans, but also the Conservatives’ slow and uncertain response — itself a symptom of complicity, if not in the misuse of patronage, then in exploiting loopholes in election laws."

FT: "Labour is to sell its plum Westminster headquarters and negotiate extensions to up to £14m of private loans in a desperate attempt to avoid a financial crisis."


Telegraph Spy: "Could the Tories be on the verge of calling for an end to that most pernicious of taxes - inheritance tax?  The policy is being pushed by Lord Forsyth of Drumlean, who is heading shadow chancellor George Osborne's tax reform commission.  Delivering the 2006 Keith Joseph Memorial Lecture to the Centre for Policy Studies on Monday (to an audience which included Baroness Thatcher), Forsyth opined that "there is no moral case for inheritance tax".  "It is double taxation," he added, "and it discourages thrift and self-reliance."

Blair_waving_2 THE END OF BLAIR

Alice Miles, The Times: "Lucky I don’t work on The Guardian because it has become almost de rigueur for Labour’s in-house journal to call for Mr Blair to step down. On Monday the paper formalised its position, carrying a leading article demanding that the Prime Minister go by the autumn. “At heart”, it said, “the question is how much longer Mr Blair can convince the nation, his party or himself that Britain would be better governed — or he more kindly remembered — if he stayed in office than if he left it.”  You mustn’t underestimate the significance of this. It is a very important moment in Mr Blair’s premiership when The Guardian calls on him to stand down. The demand will reverberate through the Labour Party and revitalise the opposition to the Prime Minister within it."


Times: "Ken Livingstone was embroiled in a further dispute last night after suggesting that the billionaire Reuben brothers, who are involved with the 2012 Olympics, could “go back to Iran and try their luck with the ayatollahs”."

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