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Friday 15th December 2006

4pm ToryDiary update: As stupid as UKIP

12.30pm ToryDiary update: Cameron says voluntary sector can help defeat postcode lottery

11am update on Seats and candidates: Adam Rickitt linked to Chester

+++ Frank Johnson has died (Iain Dale) 



Dr Jonathan Munday on A Federal Parliament for the UK

Dr Andrew Lilico on YourPlatform: Defining child poverty


"In one of his most quoted speeches as Labour leader, Neil Kinnock castigated the Militants who had secured control of Liverpool City Council for what he described as the grotesque chaos of a Labour council scuttling around town sacking its own staff by taxi. In order to make the point, he repeated and emphasised the words "a Labour council..." – and that is what any Labour Party member feels today about a Labour prime minister being interviewed by the police about selling honours to finance his own position in power: "A Labour Prime Minister..."" - Julia Langdon in The Daily Telegraph

"In the long run, the real significance of the cash-for-honours affair will not relate to Mr Blair and his entourage. Instead, the central question will be whether Sir Hayden Phillips, a top mandarin, can broker a reform of the political party funding system." - FT

"It is far too late for Mr Blair to honour his pledge to "clean up politics". The task will fall to his successor, probably Gordon Brown, who has plenty of ideas about restoring trust in politicians. Mr Blair thinks Labour's "trust problem" will go when he goes. Others are not so sure." - Independent

Postofficesign 2,500 POST OFFICES TO CLOSE

"The Government said yesterday that 2,500 rural post offices would have to close in 18 months — the fastest closure programme ever.  Postmasters said they "regretted the plans" while the biggest pensioners' organisation accused the Government of having "blood on its hands" by taking services away from post offices." - Telegraph

"Charles Hendry, the Conservative post office spokesman, said that the statement would bring fear and anxiety to people across the country. “The Government needs to recognise that if the local post office closes, often the last shop in the village closes as well,” he said." - Times


"The Tory policy review would work to increase the number of voluntary organisations as well as pinpointing the obstacles which prevent existing charities from expanding, he said.  One of the main barriers was the short life of grants awarded to charities, he said.  Despite promising to introduce three-year funding cycles in 2003, the chancellor, Gordon Brown, had made little progress on this front.  He also promised to cut the regulatory burden on small and medium sized voluntary sector organisations." - Guardian


"Girls Aloud have given Tory leader David Cameron the thumbs down after band member Cheryl Tweedy said Cameron should stop pretending to be "cool" and concentrate on policies.  Earlier this year, he claimed Cheryl was the most fanciable one in Girls Aloud." -

>>> See more in the New Statesman


The Economist is not optimistic that the Tories can deliver workable solutions to the problem of family breakdown.

Dorriesnadine_5 "Tory MP Nadine Dorries has said she will publish a new version of her bill to reduce the time limit for abortions.  The new version would limit the timescale for terminations to 20 weeks from the current 24 weeks." - BBC

"The Tories seem to be slumping back into a born-to-rule complacency. Teresa May produced some party research showing how poor the government record was on written parliamentary answers.  The Leader of the House demolished her assertions, her evidence and her argument. Several of the questions she claimed unanswered were sitting there in Hansard; others had been withdrawn, or grouped, or transferred. It was a pitifully weak attack." - Simon Carr in The Independent

"Gay couples should be given the same parental rights to children born from fertility treatment as heterosexual partners, according to government proposals published yesterday." - Guardian

The Spectator's Fraser Nelson interviews Labour deputy leadership candidate John Cruddas: "Ironically, he says the BNP threat has focused minds and driven recruitment. ‘In a strange way, it helps rebuild the Labour party. People rejoin; the BNP reminds them why they were involved in the first place. People who had drifted away, frustrated with the party nationally, are coming back for local reasons. They make a mental separation between the national and local parties.’"

Camila Batmanghelidjh is the New Statesman's Person Of The Year.

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