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Wednesday 22nd November 2006

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ToryDiary: Will Brown really be worse for Labour? and Cameron in Darfur

Camerontold LABOUR HAS FAILED TO ADDRESS THE DEEPEST FORMS OF POVERTY

In language designed to shock, Greg Clark MP has prompted the main story on the front page of this morning's Guardian.  He argues that attacking relative poverty rather than a focus on absolute poverty alone should inspire modern Conservative policy:

"The traditional Conservative vision of welfare as a safety net encompasses another outdated Tory nostrum - that poverty is absolute, not relative. Churchill's safety net is at the bottom: holding people at subsistence level, just above the abyss of hunger and homelessness. It is the social commentator Polly Toynbee who supplies imagery that is more appropriate for Conservative social policy in the twenty first century."

Daniel Finkelstein writes about the poverty diagnosed by Greg Clark (and his influential researcher Peter Franklin) in his Times column.  Applying the thinking behind The Long Tail book, Danny argues that the deepest forms of poverty remain to be addressed:

"The causes of each household’s difficulties are different, complicated, hard to tackle with simple measures. There is family breakdown, illiteracy, drug abuse, criminal history, abuse, nasty neighbours, mental illness and much else besides, all mixed in different combinations. Many of these households are too far away from prosperity to be easily moved back over the poverty line, official or otherwise.  If this long tail theory is correct, and I think it is, the next phase of poverty policy will be a hard one. The low-hanging fruit has been picked. Reducing the numbers in child poverty was relatively straightforward, but to “end child poverty forever”, as Tony Blair promised, will be much harder, requiring a very different programme of small-scale, precisely targeted policies."

In an exclusive article for ConservativeHome Greg Clark has developed his poverty-fighting views on YourPlatform: Poverty is too important an issue to leave to the Labour Party.  Please begin the debate there.

Penning_mike LABOUR'S HEALTH FUNDING BIAS

"In angry exchanges with Tory MP Mike Penning, [Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt] was asked to justify the £1,300 per head allocated to her Leicester East constituency, against the £960 per head in Mr Penning's Hertfordshire constituency. He said if his constituency received an extra £100 per head, two trusts being forced to consider a merger to cut costs would be taken out of the deficit." - Independent

CAMERON WANTS TO TAKE THE POLITICS OUT OF SECURITY POLICY

"Conservative leader David Cameron is expected to urge all politicians to work together to combat terrorism.  In a speech at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, he will say point-scoring by rival parties is undermining efforts." - BBC

GEORGE OSBORNE DEFENDS TORY ECONOMIC POLICY

Responding to an attack from Irwin Stelzer, George Osborne defends his economic thinking in an article for The Telegraph:

"It is time to learn from three election defeats. We are developing a tax policy that puts stability first, simplifies taxes and reduces them when we can.  But a tax policy is not the same as an economic policy. We are broadening our approach to boost innovation, encourage science, make life easier for small businesses and tackle problem debt. We have outlined how we will reinforce Bank of England independence, tackle climate change and prepare Britain to compete in 21st century. That is, as Irwin might put it, "plenty of something" – and the evidence is the public increasingly likes it."

Thatcher_3 SIXTEEN YEARS AGO

Mrs Thatcher resigned as Prime Minister.

OTHER NEWSLINKS

"The Liberal Democrats are facing a new threat of financial meltdown after the Government’s Asset Recovery Agency was called on to investigate the £2.4 million donated by the jailed millionaire Michael Brown.  The Conservatives demanded that the agency investigate the money under the Proceeds of Crime Act, opening up the prospect that the Liberal Democrats could be required to refund it." - The Times

The Independent interviews 'The Black Farmer' and Tory candidate Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones.

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