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29 Feb 2008 08:34:38

Friday 29th February 2008

11pm PlayPolitical video: Barack Obama 'judgment video' provides quick response to 'Clinton's 3am ad'

5.45pm: Over at CentreRight Jim McConalogue and Andrew Lilico disagree with the 'recall MPs' idea.  Douglas Carswell is very supportive, however.

5pm PlayPolitical MUST WATCH video: New Hillary ad asks... Who do you want answering the White House phone at 3am?

4pm: Should the UK withhold its contributions until the EU's budget is successfully audited?

3.30pm ToryDiary: The February survey is now live

2.30pm: Should members be able to rank incumbent MEPs?

Some CentreRight selections:

Noon: Should a Conservative government hold a retrospective referendum?

11am: Should Turkey join the EU?

Seats and Candidates: MEP candidates answer the first of five policy questions

ToryDiary: The 2005 Conservative intake recommends new powers for voters to remove ethically questionable MPs

Bernard Jenkin MP on Platform: The total lack of scrutiny of the Lisbon Treaty shows British democracy is becoming an elective dictatorship

LondonMayor: Rattled Labour plan negative campaign against "odious" Boris Johnson

Fallout from Andrew Lansley's NHS spending interview


"It was Mr Lansley’s frank admission that funding health rises while meeting the Tory tax pledges meant that other public services would have to be cut in order to fund health rises, while meeting the Tory tax pledges, that caused most internal tension.  It is understood that the Shadow Health Secretary went beyond any formulation agreed in the Shadow Cabinet. There is already tension between Mr Osborne and Liam Fox, the Shadow Defence Secretary, over spending plans. " - Times

"Labour dispatched public letters to several Tory frontbenchers suggesting that a Conservative government would have to cut spending on defence, education and policing to pay for the increased health expenditure.  Yvette Cooper, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said Mr Lansley's pledge showed that "George Osborne has lost control and is allowing the Tory frontbench to make wild and rash tax-and-spend pledges without thinking how they would be paid for"." - Telegraph

"On the day the National Audit Office reported that the new GP contract has cost the taxpayer £1.76 billion more than planned, can a Conservative front-bench spokesman seriously argue that more cash should be poured in without even pausing to suggest that better value could be extracted from the billions already being spent?" - Telegraph leader

Tory donors unhappy that George Osborne opened up Pandora's box on taxing non-doms


"Some of the Conservative Party’s highest-placed City donors are thought to be livid that it was the Tories who raised the possibility of a flat-rate tax for nondoms. The Tories proposed a £25,000 annual charge, but, unlike the Government’s plan, they did not intend to include scrutiny of offshore assets owned by nondoms.  One donor said: “When the Conservatives came up with the idea of a charge I know a lot of people were very, very annoyed because they felt that the party was opening up Pandora’s Box and giving Labour the opportunity to move on the issue.”" - Times

"Police chiefs last night demanded to be called in to probe Tory MP Derek Conway for hiring his son using public cash" - The Sun

Brown issues ultimatum to supermarkets on charging for plastic carrier bags - Daily Mail

Britain has 12 elected mayors, Hazel Blears wants more - FT

Benefits must be time-limited for welfare reform to succeed


"America's welfare revolution worked partly because benefit was time limited. In those areas where there has been a sustained increase in jobs over the past ten years, and starting with young claimants first, benefit should be time limited. The word needs to go out to every young person that living on benefit is no longer a career option.  The guy I buy my coffee from in the morning has run the franchise also for ten years. Every day during this time at least two and may be as many as five young people come in asking for a job. Not once has any of those young people been British." - Frank Field in The Telegraph

Clegg seeks to double the number of Scottish LibDem MPs - BBC

Profile of Matt Drudge, the man who broke the Prince Harry in Afghanistan story, as 'the world's most powerful journalist' - Telegraph

Spain's conservative opposition hopes on Socialist abstentions for unlikely victory - FT

And finally...

Tara Hamilton-Miller lists the musical tastes of leading Tories - New Statesman

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

28 Feb 2008 08:42:49

Thursday 28th February 2008

7pm CF Diary: Latest developments in CF elections

CentreRight selections:

7pm: David Cameron's statement on Prince Harry: “Like all the troops currently fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan Harry has been incredibly brave. He has pursued his desire to get on the front line and serve his country with huge determination and courage. I applaud the British press for not breaking the story and risking his life and others around him.”

5.45pm: Commenting on the news that Prince Harry has been serving on the frontline in Afghanistan, Shadow Defence Secretary, Dr Liam Fox, said: “It’s clear he wanted to do his duty and to carry out the work he was trained for. He is a brave young man amongst many brave men and women who are putting life and limb on the line for the security of our country. We are proud of them all.”

11.30am ToryDiary: Tories DO NOT plan to spend more on health than Labour

10.45am ToryDiary: Different messages for different newspapers


Seats and Candidates: Questions to MEP candidates

Throughout the day we'll be posting answers from candidates around the country:

ToryDiary: Coming soon - A daily poll of political insiders

Bensonquote Harry Benson on Platform: Would a wise woman pop the question tomorrow?

PlayPolitical videos: Protest on roof of Parliament at Heathrow expansion plans exposes security failings and McCain attacks Obama's promise to send troops back to Iraq if al-Qaeda establishes a base there after a US withdrawal

Become 'a friend' of the Conservative Party for as little as £1

Writing in The Times David Cameron explains how the new Tory recruitment drive is inspired by Radiohead.

Yesterday evening's ToryDiary profiled the Tories' new friends campaign.

Posterdm2702_468x239 "David Cameron put immigration at the heart of his election campaign for the first time last night.  The Tory leader lifted a ban imposed under his leadership by using the "i-word" in a Tory advertising blitz that promises to tackle the issue." - Daily Mail

David Cameron persuades Tory MEPs to come clean on pay and perks - Times

'The Tory education revolution'

"Fraser Nelson reports on the radical Swedish system of independent state schools, financed by vouchers, that has transformed the country’s education performance and is now inspiring the Conservative party’s dramatic blueprint for British schools." - The Spectator

Tebbit takes on the Cameroons

"Lord Tebbit has tonight launched a ferocious attack on David Cameron, accusing him of alienating voters and "planting the poisonous tree of Blairism" in his shadow cabinet." - Guardian

Yesterday's ToryDiary on the row: The Chingford skinhead mugs Michael Gove

Conservatives shift to a more positive approach to green issues

"The Conservatives unveiled a significant shift in their green agenda on Wednesday, admitting the public will swallow green taxes and restrictions on behaviour only if they are sugared with financial incentives." - FT

FT: Tories right to follow Labour's spending plans

"The Conservatives have tied their own hands over tax. They were right to do so. They volunteered to stick to Labour spending plans in order to banish a reputation for preferring tax breaks for the rich over high-quality public services. They have constrained their room to manoeuvre, but only for the first half of the next parliament at most. Like the pledge to make no unfunded tax cuts, this was a necessary step in electoral rehabilitation." - FT leader

But this is where Labour's spending plans are taking us: GPs' pay up 58% but work down 5% - Guardian

Andrew Lansley wants Tories to spend more on the NHS than Labour - Times

Times' survey highlights rising council tax and household bills

  • "£1,374.26 Band D council tax bill for 2008-09
  • £659 Annual household bill for landline and mobile phones
  • 7.8% proportion of annual earnings spent on utility and council tax bills, up from 6.9 per cent in 1997
  • 3.9% annual increase in Band D council tax
  • 99.5% increase in council tax since 1997"

More in The Times.

Rod Liddle ridicules luvvies-for-Livingstone

"The battle to become Mayor of London is getting dirty. Someone from Boris Johnson’s campaign team — or maybe Boris himself — put a hilarious spoof letter in the Guardian this week. It purported to be from 100 ‘academics’, luvvies, lesbians and professional agitators, all of them aghast at the notion that the ‘right-wing and reactionary’ Boris might actually win. It was a quite brilliant work of parody — long-winded, witless, sanctimonious and marvellously self-important. What Boris had done, with panache, was exemplify the extraordinary arrogance and naivety of a certain tranche of liberal opinion. After all, who would give a monkey’s that Baldrick from Blackadder and some bloke called Ivor Gaber, the visiting professor of media studies at the Central Polytechnic of Dollis Hill or something, thinks that Ken should win the election? Well, clearly Baldrick and Ivor Gaber..." - The Spectator

"Scotland Yard has privately conceded that it blundered in launching an investigation into the alleged theft by Boris Johnson of a cigar case owned by Saddam Hussein's former deputy prime minister, according to sources." - Telegraph

The shadow of Mrs Thatcher still hangs heavy over the party of David Cameron - Steve Richards in The Independent

A third of Brown's Cabinet are campaigning against their own Government's Post Office closures when they impact their own backyards - Telegraph

Exclude tips from wages, Brown urged - Herald

Nick Clegg orders LibDems to abstain on Lisbon referendum - Times

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

27 Feb 2008 08:58:13

Wednesday 27th February 2008

10pm ToryDiary: "You can get it if you really want" (and become a friend of the Tories)

6.45pm PlayPolitical video: West Wing's Matt Santos = Real Life's Barack Obama

5.30pm CentreRight selections:

  • Jim McConalogue highlights amendments from Bill Cash to the Treaty of Lisbon that demand the supremacy of the UK Parliament.
  • Samuel Coates highlights a campaign against video nasties by Julian Brazier MP.
  • Tim Montgomerie notes the death of the great American conservative, William Buckley.
  • Louise Bagshawe bemoans the clubby, backward character of much of today's Commons.
  • Peter Franklin is impressed with David Cameron's less Punch'n'Judy PMQs performance.

5.30pm LondonMayor: Ipsos-MORI put Livingstone 2% ahead

3.45pm ToryDiary: The Chingford skinhead mugs Michael Gove

1pm Local Government: Windsor Conservatives set council tax 1.5% below inflation in their first budget

SickeningCentreRight: 69 MPs back Parliamentary motion praising Fidel Castro

Noon ToryDiary: Liveblog of PMQs

10am Local government: All you need to know about this May's local elections


Platform: Dan Munford on the importance of the IWAR ballot in Aberconwy

See our Events page for details of the mass lobby of Parliament today

ToryDiary: How the EPP have shackled the Tories before (and how they intend to do so again)


Stephan Shakespeare on CentreRight: We shouldn't be surprised that MPs look after themselves

Parliament: Jeremy Hunt attacks Labour's zig-zagging approach to gambling

PlayPolitical: Deputy Speaker orders Ed Davey out of the Commons

Tax breaks for green investors

"Millions of investors will be able to buy tax-free shares in green firms like Tesco and M&S under Tory plans. They will be allowed to buy up to £10,000 worth each year and shelter them in tax-free savings accounts." - Sun

"Savers who invest in environmentally responsible companies would get significant tax breaks under plans being outlined by the Conservatives today. Shadow Chancellor George Osborne will pledge to introduce a new Green Individual Savings Account - or GISA - if the Tories win the next election." - Mail

"Shadow chancellor George Osborne will today propose that green technology incubators be rolled out to universities across Britain to help entrepreneurs turn their ideas into businesses. He will announce the appointment of David Mott, co-founder of Oxford Capital Partners, to lead a working group to draw up the Conservatives' plan by the end of the year." - Telegraph

"Doubts over how the Tories will fund their flagship tax cut policy have left them “exposed” to charges that they are promising more than they can deliver, experts warned on Tuesday, as the party prepared to unveil more fiscal pledges." - FT

Sharia law would breed extremism

"David Cameron yesterday issued a stark warning that allowing the influence of Muslim sharia law to grow in Britain would undermine society and breed Islamic extremism. The Tory leader launched a blistering attack on the Archbishop of Canterbury for saying there should be more recognition of the Islamic legal code." - Express

"A "cultural cloak of sensitivity" is preventing figures in authority, including police, teachers and social services, from protecting basic human rights for fear of upsetting certain ethnic minority communities, David Cameron warned yesterday." - Guardian

Iran condemned by its self-serving elite

Khamenei "Dr Liam Fox, the shadow defence secretary, has spelled out his view on Iran during a visit to St Andrews University, claiming a self-serving elite are “condemning it to economic failure, inflation and international isolation.” At a public lecture to university staff, students and townsfolk on relations with Iran, the Conservative MP said a crucial test of the ability of the system to evolve from within would be in the Parliamentary elections next month." - Dundee Courier

Portillo documentary criticised

"He was once the Tories' golden boy and was talked of as an heir to Margaret Thatcher. But this week Michael Portillo's stock among his former party colleagues has reached rock bottom after his BBC film on Lady Thatcher backfired spectacularly. The 90-minute documentary — Thatcher: The Lady's Not For Spurning — was billed as a pro-and-anti examination of her premiership, but senior Tories accused Portillo of serving up a drastically one-sided version of events." - Mail

Boris Johnson, criminal mastermind

Boris_police "Boris Johnson, Conservative candidate for Mayor of London, is accused of purloining invaluable "Iraqi cultural property" in 2003 - to whit, a cigar case owned by Tariq Aziz, Saddam's foreign minister... In a way, this ridiculous investigation is a compliment, for it shows that Mr Johnson's enemies are running scared. Yes, his tough-on-crime credentials may be mildly bruised, but it is their reputation - and Scotland Yard's - that will suffer more." - Telegraph leader

Muslims are trying to prove their loyalty - Dan Hannan MEP in the Telegraph

Brown faces defeat on 42 day terror law - Times

Why does the Left worship communist dictators like Castro? - Daniel Finkelstein in the Times

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

26 Feb 2008 08:12:51

Tuesday 26th February 2008

7pm ToryDiary: Conservatives visit Auschwitz and Birkenau



4.15pm ToryDiary: Lord Forsyth backs ConservativeHome on public spending

3pm ToryDiary: Could we get a referendum after all?

CentreRight selections:

  • Conor Burns reflects on last night's Portillo documentary on Margaret Thatcher
  • Louise Bagshawe notices that McCain is gaining on Obama
  • Tim Montgomerie posts two videos that make a subtle case for protection of unborn human life

ToryDiary: Learning the right lessons from America and ComRes gives Tories 11% lead

"Tony Blair's record on humanitarian intervention will forever be overshadowed by the problems in Afghanistan and Iraq.  But his earlier foray into using British military force to do good in Sierra Leone should be judged more kindly by historians."

Andrew Mitchell MP on Platform: The issue of conflict resolution must be central to our international development agenda

Gove_michael 100,000 children fail to get into their first choice secondary school

"As more than 560,000 families in England await the results of admissions day on March 4, when parents find out if they have a place at their favoured state secondary school, the figures suggest that nearly one in five is likely to be disappointed. This could rise to about half of children in parts of London and to four in ten in large cities or areas with grammar schools... Michael Gove, the Shadow Children’s Secretary, said: “These figures show that for large numbers of parents the idea that they can choose a school for their children is a myth. At the moment there aren’t enough good school places to go round. The most acute problems are in inner city areas, which means that it is the poorest children who miss out.”" - Times

Simon Carr salutes the one MP who stood apart from yesterday's solidarity with the Speaker - Independent

"There are also growing questions about his competence. He forgot to call Nick Clegg at the right moment in his first outing as leader to Prime Minister's Questions. He has been accused of favouring Labour over Tory MPs. He seems to drift off during Commons debates, then suddenly gets over-excited at the wrong moment. He dragged his feet for too long following the Derek Conway affair." - Rachel Sylvester in The Telegraph

"When the scandal over Derek Conway's misuse of allowances broke last month, this newspaper called for a small committee of senior parliamentarians to look at ways of restoring public confidence in our elected representatives.  Just such a group was convened - unfortunately, of its six members, only one has not been the subject of investigation into his financial affairs. This is not quite what we had in mind, though how typical it is of the way MPs view their activities." - Telegraph leader

MPs' pay

"They just don't get it, do they? In a breathtaking display of contempt for public opinion, MPs are considering awarding themselves a massive pay rise as a "solution" to the scandal over fiddling their expenses." - Daily Mail leader

Britain needs a strategic defence review

"The government is promising to publish a comprehensive national security strategy. I am not sure we should hold our breath. More encouragingly, officials are engaged in serious talks to step up co-operation with France if and when Paris returns to Nato’s military command. What is really needed, though, is someone able to deliver a speech in Munich setting out government’s view of the strategic purposes of Britain’s defence forces." - Philip Stephens in the FT

Thatcher_1979 Portillo's Margaret Thatcher documentary

"Ultimately, I think the broad conclusion that the Tory party still cannot escape her pull is incorrect and the Conservatives have Gordon Brown to thank for it. He reminded Cameron that the mood has changed, she is to be respected and beyond advocates of class war (who are mainly middle class) she is viewed by many Britons as being all but above party politics. A vocal minority will always despise her, but so what?" - Iain Martin at Three Line Whip

Yesterday evening's live blog on the programme.

Jacqui Smith will offer Parliament bigger scrutiny role in bid to pass 42 days detention law - Guardian

"Plans to seize the assets of suspected drug dealers before they are convicted has been criticised by the Conservatives and civil liberty groups." - Telegraph

Government to give go-ahead for sixteen regional casinos - BBC

Mayor Ken Livingstone’s close aide Lee Jasper failed to declare position - Times

"London has a treasury of unused tunnels. Why not use them, like other cities do?" - Kit Malthouse, Tory GLA candidate, in The Times

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

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