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31 May 2006 08:16:57

Wednesday 31st May 2006

11pm ToryDiary update: No more croquet for No Jobs

11.45am GoldList blog update: How many A-listers have applied to your local Association?




ToryDiary: Cameron will live to regret insulting right says Simon Heffer

Richard D North on the Social Affairs Unit blog thinks that David Cameron is trying to save the Conservative Party by applying all the advice that a Corporate Social Responsibility consultant would give to a big company.


There are articles in most newspapers today about the A-list.  The FT declares that 'Tories seek to ease fears over A-list candidates' whilst The Times' headline is 'Tories forced to rethink as elite shun risky seats'.  The Times reports:

"Party insiders blame Francis Maude, the party chairman, for the shambles. “The biggest mistake was trying to get A-list candidates to go for B-list seats,” one insider said. “Anyone with any sense will hang on until better seats come up.”

The most comprehensive survey of the A-list's problems comes in The Telegraph.  The problems include:

  • Continuing controversy over 'celebrity candidates' like Adam Rickitt who have not fought seats before;
  • Goldsmithzac_1 The failure of Zac Goldsmith (pictured) to apply for any seat even though A-listers are obligated to do so;
  • A-listers appear reluctant to apply for tougher seats - particularly LibDem-held seats;
  • That some of the first 35 seats due to select are now telling CCHQ that it is too early for them to select;
  • Two "senior" shadow cabinet ministers have expressed their private unhappiness at the A-list; and
  • The below average performance of A-listers at previous elections.

A leader in The Guardian urges Mr Cameron to press on with his "ambitious" A-list but warns him against further concessions on its implementation:

"Now this promise to change the face of the party must be acted upon, starting with the choice of candidate to replace Eric Forth in the Bromley byelection. Already Mr Cameron has ducked the chance to insist someone from the A-list is chosen and if the party ends up putting forward a Barbour-and-blazer clone he will look foolish. Excuses for delay can always be found. But if all his talk of change is to mean anything he must press on with his bid to ensure Tory candidates at the next election do not all look like Mr Cameron himself."

The Taxcutter: Candidates already selected thump The A list.


"A plan to require all new homes to be built with dual plumbing systems, which use recycled water for flushing and gardening, is being prepared by the Conservatives." - Guardian

"One of Norfolk's most prominent and outspoken politicians [Tory Cliff Jordan] has been told to pay back more than £17,000 in incapacity benefit - because he was also claiming thousands of pounds in expenses for his council work." - Norfolk news-site

"A national charity has described a local Conservative leader as "beyond the pale" for claiming that people might be "cheered up" if the Prime Minister committed suicide.  The Samaritans said it was appalled to learn that Trevor Ivory, the chairman of Norwich South Conservatives, had posted the comments on his website following a speech by David Cameron, the Conservatives' leader." - Independent


"The core of a £20 billion scheme to computerise the NHS is at least two and a half years behind schedule.  Lord Warner, the health minister, said plans to create electronic medical records for 50 million NHS patients, due to have begun last year, will not be implemented until late 2007 at the earliest." - Telegraph

Telegraph leader:

"Not a day passes now without further evidence of administrative incompetence emerging from our floundering Government. Yesterday, indeed, provided four new examples..."


"Today on YouTube, six million people will watch 40 million videos - and no, it's not porn. Leo Benedictus speaks to the kids (and adults) at the forefront of the internet's latest phenomenon and shares his own contribution with the world." - Guardian

Finkelstein_50_3 QUOTE OF THE DAY

"What about that picture of John Prescott playing croquet during office hours?  I think it was a set-up to reassure us that he wasn’t busy running the country."

- Daniel Finkelstein in The Times

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30 May 2006 00:02:00

Tuesday 30th May 2006

4.30pm ToryDiary update: Tory MP calls for review of abortion laws

3.15pm update:


Redwood_john_2 Interviews blog: Any questions for John Redwood MP?

Platform: Shane Greer calls for the military option to remain on the table in dealing with Iran

ToryDiary: David Burrowes MP makes the case for compassionate, locally-active Tory candidates

>>> The Times picks up on David Burrowes' paper and the Cornerstone Group's spin on it: "Right-wing Conservatives will pick their first big fight with David Cameron today, accusing him of ignoring Middle England in favour of the “pseuds and posers of London’s chichi set”.

>>> The Telegraph: "David Cameron faced his first clash with Conservative Right-wingers yesterday after they condemned his elite list of parliamentary candidates as the work of metropolitan "pseuds and posers"."


In part 1 of Francis Maude's interview with ToryRadio the Party Chairman made his now famous "mincing meterosexuals" remark.  Part 2 is now live and it's well worth listening to:

  • The Chairman defends David Cameron's focus on the environment as very much "a bread and butter issue" for people.  He stresses the local aspects of environmentalism - graffiti and dirty neighbourhoods - as well as catastrophic global warming.
  • He castigates an unnamed "reactionary" right-wing pundit for saying that "saving the planet" is not the most important of issues!  Who is that pundit?  Does anyone know?  No guesses please... let's have a hyperlink for evidence...
  • He also talks about the need for the Conservative Party to broaden its appeal.  The party has defined itself by who it excludes in recent times - it must be more inclusive, he says.
  • Mr Maude also says that "rebuilding the Conservative grassroots" is his most important task as Tory Chairman.  Technology will play a vital role in this and he says that registered supporters - rather than members alone - must become an integral part of the Conservative Party's vote-winning team.  He says that constituency association mergers are still on his agenda and cites the "successful" merger of his own Horsham association with neighbouring Crawley as a model for the future.


"It now seems overwhelmingly likely that Cameron will sooner or later become prime minister. Sure, he was born at the right time. But he is also working his passage with dazzling style." - The Guardian


Independent front page >>>

"Labour MP Stephen Pound told the BBC that the electorate had a negative image of Mr Prescott and that "the sell-by date is rapidly approaching"." - BBC

"Mr Prescott should be sacked for his policy failings, not his personal ones. But forget the integrated public transport policy, the house demolitions in the North and the house-building in the South-East. Forget the abortive regionalisation programme. In the public mind "John Prescott" means a punch, an affair with his secretary and now, possibly, a croquet game when he was standing in for the Prime Minister. His reputation survived all his administrative cock-ups. It will not survive this." - Danny Kruger in The Telegraph


"Radiohead have denied playing a request for the Conservative Party leader David Cameron at a concert in London earlier this month." - NME

"The man appointed by the government to scrap the Child Support Agency is being paid £900 a day to find a solution - a higher daily rate than the country's most senior civil servant, according to the Department for Work and Pensions." - The Guardian

"Niall Ferguson has built a career out of rubbishing liberal views of history. He tells John Crace why he is right." - The Guardian

"The internet will this year overtake national newspapers to become the third biggest advertising medium by spend, according to authoritative forecasts." - FT


"COLOMBIA'S President Alvaro Uribe today scored a landslide re-election victory that handed him a solid mandate for four more years as Washington's closest ally in Latin America." - The Australian

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29 May 2006 07:52:29

Monday 29th May 2006

Monday_103.15pm ToryDiary update: Any questions for you?

Mandelson and Hilary Benn come to Prescott's support - BBC

12.15pm GoldList update: Most A-listers achieved below-average results 


Platform: The changing political landscape by Daniel Vince-Archer

ToryDiary: Knife control (or lack of)

GoldList: A-listers turn their backs on tougher seats

Iain Dale: The Choice Facing Bromley & Chislehurst Conservatives


"David Cameron's "A list" of parliamentary candidates appeared to be in disarray last night after it emerged that some target seats were attracting hardly any applicants." - Telegraph



Prescott_1"We have no problem with conspicuous consumption. What we object to is what Mr Prescott personifies, more than any other minister, namely a worn-out administration clinging to office for its own sake. As we report today, there are manoeuvrings within Labour to remove Mr Prescott from his post, inspired partly by his personal unpopularity - especially among female MPs - and partly by the sense that he is an electoral liability. But Mr Prescott is a symptom, not a cause, of Labour's unpopularity. Replacing him with another office-hungry minister - a Hoon or a Hain or a Hewitt - will come across to the electorate as what it is: a spat about access to country houses. We are witnessing the last intrigues of a dying royal court; beyond the palace walls, the mob is gathering." - Telegraph leader

"Some Labour MPs have been accused of planning campaigns for the deputy leadership on behalf of favoured ministers, including Peter Hain, Harriet Harman and Alan Johnson, all of whom have expressed interest, in public or private. Opposition MPs seized on a fresh opportunity to push for a sacking." - The Guardian


"Cherie Blair has hit out at criticism of the £7,700 Labour spent on her hairdressing during the election. In a BBC World Service interview, she said the attacks on her hair bill were a "load of fuss about trivia"."" - BBC


Blair_bush_3"There is much in this that has to be conceded. Mistakes made in the aftermath of the overthrow of Saddam Hussein have been costly. Some of them were avoidable. Others, on the other hand, were inevitable. The idea that there can ever be such a thing as Fairy Liquid warfare — conflict that leaves your hands feeling cleaner and smoother afterwards — is an illusion. Liberal." - Tim Hames in The Times


"Many Conservatives, particularly in the Midlands and the North, still think there has not been too little liberalism, but too much. David Cameron fits one Conservative stereotype remarkably well, as Anthony Eden did in the late 1930s. He personifies the Disraelian ideal of Young England. But he has to hold his party together, North as well as South, Birmingham as well as London, old as well as young, poor as well as rich, conservative as well as liberal. He cannot fly on only one wing. Events are looking tougher — Labour itself has had to move to the right. Mr Cameron has successfully projected a liberalism that makes his Conservatism very attractive. Yet it may be his relationship with a tougher-minded tradition of conservatism that will determine his success." - William Rees-Mogg in The Times

Question_time_1 QUESTION TIME

"Are you young, well-informed, articulate and passionate about what matters today? If so, you have the chance to be a panellist on the BBC's flagship political programme, Question Time." - BBC


"Last year 10,000 women ended their pregnancies in their own homes, using the abortion pill known as EMA (early medical abortion) that was introduced only in 2000. According to bpas, Britain’s biggest idependent abortion provider, the pill accounted for nearly a third of all 32,000 early abortions that it provided in the first nine weeks of pregnancy. This is an extraordinarily high figure for a drug that has been controversial since its introduction and may soon be banned in the United States because of safety concerns. It is likely to reignite debate over the ethics and practice of abortion, of which in 2004 there were 185,400 in the United Kingdom, compared with 181,600 in 2003." - Times leader


"Who killed off marriage in Britain? If future historians try to identify who was guilty of the deadly assault upon the bedrock institution of our society, the bloody trail will surely lead them straight to the legal profession. Through court rulings and initiatives stretching back more than three decades, judges and lawyers have succeeded in reshaping family life in this country by progressively hollowing out the institution of marriage." - Melanie Phillips


"A coalition with the Independent group has seen the Conservatives virtually take control of Epping Forest District Council. The May 4 elections saw the Conservatives come back with 29 seats, just one short of the number required to take overall control. But through a deal with the Independent group, which gives former leader John Knapman a seat on the cabinet, the party is now in the box seat." - ThisIsLondon

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28 May 2006 09:08:00

Sunday 28th May 2006

2.15pm update on the GoldList blog: Adam Rickitt seeks to succeed Michael Howard

Prescottatwork ^^^^^^^
Buy the Mail on Sunday to see the other photos of our highly-paid Deputy Prime Minister hard at work.


Neil O'Brien on YourPlatform: Can Europe Ever Learn to Listen?

ToryDiary: This government couldn't run a booze-up in a brewery and Britain still on course for a hung parliament


There is an extended essay in today's Telegraph about Tory prospects.  It reviews David Cameron's celebrity trip to Beckingham Palace, his happiness speech  and his Desert Island Discs interview.  It also looks at the Conservative Party's opinion poll progress, the A-list and David Cameron's relations with the party right.

LampardThe essay contains this nugget about the blue-shirted Chelsea player, Frank Lampard:

"Frank Lampard, the Chelsea and England midfielder, greeted Mr Cameron warmly and told him to let him know if there was anything he could do."


Women2Win roadshows have recruited 100 high-powered women to become potential Tory candidates - Independent on Sunday.  The IoS article reproduces ConservativeHome's A-list without acknowledgment.


"The green, caring, social-conscience image fostered by the Conservative leader has led many to think the Tories have abandoned big business." - The Sunday Times


Fraser Nelson in Scotland on Sunday:

"Not since William Hague claimed to have drunk 14 pints of beer in a day has a politician made a more laughable claim. Gordon Brown, the Chancellor, last week told New Woman magazine that he starts his day by switching on his iPod and listening to indie rock band the Arctic Monkeys. "They really get you up in the morning," the 55-year-old explained.  There was worse to come in the interview, and his references to underwear - and even sex toys - are simply too gruesome to recount here. But his efforts make a serious political point, and perhaps one which could decide the next general election. Try as he does, Brown cannot relaunch himself. Each time he tries, he exposes himself not just to failure, but to ridicule: there is no softening the Iron Chancellor."


Michael Portillo believes that David Cameron's happiness speech may have a profound effect on British politics - The Sunday Times

"Britain in the 1980s became more vibrant, creative, inventive in commerce, financial services, fashion and music, leaving the rest of Europe well behind. The result is that we still have, if not for much longer, a strong economy with low unemployment. My view is that people who remember the 1980s with distaste can’t know much about economics and care much about the less fortunate." - Minette Marrin in The Sunday Times

"Lord Black, the disgraced Tory peer and former owner of the Daily Telegraph, has been named in a series of letters surrounding the 'cash for peerages' police investigation." - Observer

The Sunday Times profiles Al Gore as chatter increases about the former Vice-President running for the White House again.

"More than 20 babies have been aborted in advanced pregnancy because scans showed that they had club feet, a deformity readily corrected by surgery or physiotherapy." - The Sunday Times

RightwingbloggersRIGHT-WING BLOGGING

In this morning's The Business, Tim Montgomerie, Editor of, overviews the rise of anti-establishment blogging - naming Iain Dale, Guido Fawkes, Reinstate Roger, Burning Our Money, ToryRadio and Biased BBC.  The article also predicts the rise of left-wing, anti-New Labour blogging.  Click on newspaper article to enlarge.

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