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Wednesday 31st October 2007

11.45pm PlayPolitical: Oh dear; Iraqi army training has to get better than this


5.30pm ToryDiary: Tory poster to mark non-election

5.15pm CF Diary: Willetts salutes the work of Student Unions

12.30pm ToryDiary: Your favourite right-of-centre/ conservative (and elected) leader in the world today is... John Howard

ToryDiary: Tory MPs dissent from report calling for relaxed abortion laws and David Cameron to challenge Saudi leader on funding of extremist literature

Vikings, Vouchers and Valhalla - Greg Hands MP reports from the Swedish New Moderates' conference on the Platform

Columnist Peter Franklin advocates a "hypertext constitution":

"Whose fault is it that a Government elected with barely more than a third of the popular vote is now poised to ratify the repackaged EU constitution? I'm afraid that it all stems from the inherent weaknesses of our own constitution. Its individual parts - both efficient and dignified€ -“ may be perfectly formed, but as a whole it lacks an immune system, leaving it defenceless to any foreign bodies the Government of the day may choose to expose it to."


Support for Labour lower than any time since Blair

"Labour's majority could have been threatened if Gordon Brown had pressed ahead with plans to hold a general election tomorrow, according to a new Guardian/ICM poll. Support for the party has fallen to its lowest level in any ICM survey since Tony Blair left office." - Guardian

Yesterday's ToryDiary on the 5% lead

Attitudes to immigration

"Immigrants? Britain is plain full of them. Think of the House of Windsor, a hotch-potch of German and Greek ancestry with assorted other European bloodlines stirred into the pot. Think of such prominent Tories as Malcolm Rifkind and Michael Howard whose families successfully sought refuge from persecution before knitting themselves into the fabric of British life." - Ruth Wishart in The Herald

"Was Mr Cameron playing the populists' card, returning to one of Michael Howard's so-called "dog whistle" issues, which dominated the Conservatives' last election campaign? No doubt there is a connection between Mr Cameron's approach and the polls that suggest immigration tops voters' concerns." - Steve Richards in the Independent

"An unseemly anger against immigrants seems to be boiling over in the country. A speech by Tory leader David Cameron calling for a cap on migrant numbers has been given a warm reception. An underestimation by ministers of the number of foreign workers in Britain has been seized upon with glee by the usual reactionary subjects." - Independent leader

Is break-up inevitable?

"What is happening in Scotland is what has been happening throughout Europe. As globalisation makes national government ever less potent, sub-national government becomes stronger and more valued. Old arguments about viability, borders and sovereignties are left behind as centralist excuses, overwhelmed by both sentiment and realpolitik." - Simon Jenkins in the Guardian

Murdo Fraser supplements his Plaform article with an article for the Scotsman about a federal UK

Ed Balls seems to have something against excellence

"It's a pity that Ed, who could have stood up for high standards, has buckled. But I'm afraid he has form. It is on his watch that the educational establishment has been driving policy. And it is his bureaucrats who have proposed five-minute lessons because children are thought to have short attention spans, who have proposed children mark each other's work because that's less hierarchical and who, notoriously, proposed that you should teach history with Churchill written out of the script." - Michael Gove in the Telegraph

Hugh_robertson_2 Jowell claims Olympic budget is still under control

"The shadow sports spokesman, Hugh Robertson, described the minister's statement as "staggering", and said it proved the government does not know the state of the budget: "The minister's admission... that the Olympic Board does not have access to up-to-date figures for the Olympic budget is staggering," he said." - Guardian

Canadian Tories' tax pledge

"Canada's Conservative government on Tuesday promised to deliver C$60bn in business and personal tax cuts over five years. "Business taxes will come down again... to ensure continued economic growth in the face of growing international competition and uncertainty," said Jim Flaherty, finance minister." - FT

John Howard not dead yetJohn_howard

"As the election nears and the real issue becomes standards of living, Mr Howard and his experience become more appealing: the mood for change that earlier polls seemed to suggest is not yet apparent. Mr Rudd may have to wait three more years: and if he does, with Mr Howard promising this will be his last election, he may have a more open goal at which to kick. For the moment, Australia seems after all to be leaning back towards the known quantity." - Simon Heffer in the Telegraph

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