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Wednesday 10th October 2007

6.30pm ToryDiary: The threat of nuclear terrorism isn't going away

3pm ToryDiary: The Scousers are coming

1pm ToryDiary: Mirror journalist joins Telegraph political team

Noon ToryDiary: Live PMQs blog

11.30am BritainAndAmerica: 'The special relationship unlikely to have much operational meaning in the medium-term'

10.30am Parliament: On the second day of our Parliamentary coverage we highlight:

ToryDiary: The Montgomerie family focus group

Any questions for Paul Oginsky?  The man who inspired David Cameron's National Citizen Service idea.

Platform: The European Journal's James McConalogue comments on the European Scrutiny Committee's findings on the EU "treaty"


Learning the lessons of yellow Saturday, Columnist Peter Franklin suggests:

(1) Fixed-term Parliaments
(2) Robust caps on party spending
(3) A directly elected speaker

(4) Kick-ass select committees
(5) A fully elected House of Lords


Stopthief Pre-Budget: Politics

Labour steals five Tory ideas - The Sun | The BBC notes that that's the general view of this morning's newspapers

The Sun's overall verdict: "The inheritance tax changes are typical of Gordon Brown's own convoluted budgets: over-complicated and too hard to understand.  Why couldn't Darling keep things simple like the Tories?  Voters like clear, simple and straightforward ideas, not a plethora of complex arrangements like tax credits.  And inevitably there was the traditional stealth tax buried in the small print — a guaranteed feature of Labour budgets.  In the depths of the document comes the news that council tax will leap by up to 5 per cent — twice the inflation rate.  This was Mr Darling’s first budget.  He may have been playing the Artful Dodger.  But he had Fagin sitting right behind him."

"Alistair Darling staged a brazen raid on the Tory manifesto yesterday by offering many families immediate relief from death duties.  The first major financial statement of Gordon Brown's premiership saw the Chancellor plunder a host of eye-catching Conservative ideas to shore up Labour's waning popularity." - Daily Mail

According to the Daily Mail, the Conservatives signal that their response will be deeper tax cuts in the future: "In a bid to repeat the success of their inheritance tax proposals Shadow chancellor George Osborne is drawing up plans for big reductions to corporation tax rates as well as moves to simplify the entire system of business taxation."

After eight days of electoral joy it's back to the drawing board for the Tories - Peter Riddell in The Times

"There was no evidence of any new vision yesterday, no sense of what "Brownism" might look like. Instead, we have a long-in-the-tooth administration whose primary motivation appears to be the retention of power by adhering to the same Labour orthodoxy that Mr Brown pursued, in his previous guise, for a decade.  He was a tax-and-spend Chancellor and is in danger of becoming a tax-and-spend Prime Minister. In his eyes, the measure of this Government's appeal is how much it can "invest" in the public services. Evidence since 1997 that this profligacy is not giving the taxpayer value for money is brushed aside." - Telegraph leader

Pre-Budget: Taxation

"Alistair Darling was on Tuesday night accused of hammering entrepreneurs after it emerged that sweeping tax changes he announced to crack down on high-earning private equity executives would hit thousands of small companies, employees and shareholders." - FT

"Darling's proposals on non-dom status are a mix of ideas from the Tories and the Lib Dems, but the details are not clear, because he has put them out for consultation - no matter that the Treasury has already had an inconclusive review underway for the past four years." - Guardian

"Mr Darling also announced that inheritance tax thresholds for couples would be doubled to £600,000, but the £1.4bn cost of this measure was contained because it would make no difference to any couple who had already taken advice and planned already to use both partners’ individual £300,000 exemptions." - FT

Pre-Budget: Spending

Slower growth in health spending - BBC

"The most crowded motorways will be widened as part of a multibillion-pound push to reduce congestion." - Times

"Increases in international aid announced yesterday by the Government will enable Gordon Brown to keep promises given to Bono and Bob Geldoff at the Gleneagles summit on doubling support for Africa.  Aid will rise by 11 per cent in real terms over the next three years to more than £9bn in 2010." - Independent

Pre-Budget: Environment

Green groups disappointed with Darling's statement - Independent - and Iain Murray on takes issue with the Chancellor's stated approach to environmental issues.

A Miliband-Clegg coalition by 2009?

"Would it be a real surprise, sometime in 2009, to be surveying the Miliband-Clegg coalition, with the present Prime Minister sequestered in the unremitting Calvinist grey of Kirkcaldy, with plenty of time to chew over in his mind the real legacy of his failure of nerve last Saturday, and to lament the alarming flaws of character that it has revealed?" - Simon Heffer in The Telegraph

Bedfordshire is bottom of league of worst-performing police forces - Independent

More than 2.2million immigrants arrived in the UK between 2001 and 2005 - Telegraph

Small businesses face ruin from postal strikes - Times

Please use this thread to highlight other interesting news and commentary...


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