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31 Oct 2009 09:05:40

Saturday 31st October 2009

10.30pm International: Grassroots Conservative candidate forces official Republican candidate to withdraw from New York Congressional race

8.30pm ToryDiary: Heseltine warns of "mountain to climb" as new poll points to landslide Tory victory

7.45pm Graeme Archer on CentreRight disapproves of the decision to sack David Nutt, the Government's drugs adviser

SteveBaker-199x3006.45pm Seats and candidates: Steve Baker chosen for Wycombe

5pm Tim Montgomerie on CentreRight: The BBC will dramatise the MP expenses campaign of transparency revolutionary, Heather Brooke

2.30pm ToryDiary: Tories will replace Air Passenger Duty with tax that also targets freight and Roman Abramovich

12.30pm WATCH: Adam Holloway MP discusses "devastating" letter from killed Colonel about lack of helicopters for Afghan campaign

Glen John August200910.15am John Glen on CentreRight sees Labour's plan to put foxhunting at heart of election as an "attempt to draw attention away from their substantive failures"

ToryDiary: Aware that "expert class" is ready to bite Conservatives, Chris Grayling backs dismissal of Government drugs adviser

Tony Baldry MP on Platform: Iraqis of whatever background are keen to make a success of the new Iraq - which offers many opportunities for British business

Local government:

Today's must-read: Two Britains persist under Labour

John Redwood 2 "The three highest constituency figures for unemployment in September were Brimingham Ladywood (21.2%), Birmingham Sparkbrook (18%) and Birmingham Hodge Hill (16.9%). The top 25 highest unemployment constituencies include parts of Liverpool, Wolverhampton, Glasgow, Middlesborough, the Welsh valleys and East London. In contrast the four lowest in England are Westmoreland (2%), West Dorset (2.1%), Witney (2.1%) and Henley (2.1%)." - John Redwood MP

Labour aim to use fox hunting as key weapon against Tories - Times | Yesterday evening's ToryDiary

Iain Duncan Smith backs restorative justice and opposes short prison sentences - Daily Mail

Andrew Pierce profiles Iain Duncan Smith in The Telegraph: "The quiet Tory who is making his voice heard."

Guardian and David Miliband decline to admit error on Kaminski

The Guardian's headline on its Kaminski story today is "Chief rabbi of Poland refines 'antisemitic' verdict on Tory ally". He did more than "refine"! Read yesterday's ToryDiary.

Charles Moore: The Eurosceptic movement is not in good health

MOORE "The brilliant work of 1990s pressure groups like Business for Sterling, which took the Eurosceptic argument out of a nationalist ghetto and succeeded in keeping us out of the euro, has not moved into a new generation. Where are the modern Tory ideas about how to break down the concentrations of European power and return it to people? Every poll shows that a majority of the British population is Eurosceptic, but that majority is never given coherent leadership. On the one hand is the impossibilism of the get-outers; on the other, the bad faith which the Tories have tried to deploy at election after election. They "won't let the matter rest" if the Lisbon Treaty is ratified, they say. But anyone can see that letting the matter rest is exactly what, psychologically, they want." - Charles Moore in The Telegraph

"Cameron will be relieved once Lisbon is over. He can then stick to the British tradition of quiet foot-dragging over Europe." - Matthew Parris in The Times

EU leaders said to be unhappy at Cameron's attempts to encourage Klaus to block Lisbon - Guardian

Geoffrey Lean encourages the Conservative Party to embrace green taxation - Geoffrey Lean in The Telegraph

Simon Heffer says something nice about the Conservatives... in Kent...

Heffer Talking "Conservative-controlled Kent County Council, probably the most sensible in the country, wants to expand its grammar schools. It has too few places for the demand from bright children, and hundreds each year cannot be accommodated. There is not merely resistance to this from the Government, as is to be expected: I hear that Dave and his chums aren’t wild on the idea either, given the Old Etonian’s objection to people without his father’s money getting a rigorous education on the state. Kent should not just be allowed to expand existing schools – it should have the right to open new ones. If you have a vote in Kent, only exercise it at the next election in favour of candidates who openly support this policy." - Simon Heffer in The Telegraph

> Wednesday's Local government: Kent plans expansion in grammar school provision

The Economist highlights Tory thinking on localism

"For all his English wariness of grand plans and ideologies, David Cameron, the Tory leader, is keen on the centrifugal theme. If there is such a thing as Cameronism, it is giving power away." - The Economist

How the Conservatives rely on Lord Ashcroft - Andy McSmith in The Independent

Affair of Elizabeth Truss exposes Tory tensions - Times | Guardian

Derek Conway's son says his disgrace was 'small beer' compared with expenses row - Daily Mail

UK Youth Parliament takes over Commons chamber for a day

Political version of Bugsy Malone as UK Youth Parliament takes to green benches of House of Commons - Michael White in The Guardian

BERCOW-JOHN "Speaker Bercow came a frightful cropper. "I am imperfect but I have done my best," he said to a point of order from a Scots boy (who'd been sickened). The room went wild for Bercow with whooping, cheering, and a standing ovation. He was quite overcome. So overcome that he quite lost his head. He was saying one minute that Speakers were above party politics and that they didn't get involved in controversy. The next minute he was calling one of the country's parties a "scourge", and "evil" and "driven by hate" and depending on "ignorance and apathy". What happens if the BNP were to actually get a seat in Westminster?" - Simon Carr in The Independent

> Jonathan Isaby has noted how John Bercow used the Youth Parliament's debates to attack the BNP


Please use this thread to highlight other interesting news and commentary and visit for breaking political news and views throughout the day.

30 Oct 2009 08:58:10

Friday 30th October 2009

10pm ToryDiary: Labour to make retaining the hunting ban a "key plank in its election strategy"

7.45pm WATCH: David Cameron says that the British people feel let down that the Government has not given us a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty

5.15pm Jonathan Isaby on CentreRight: Speaker Bercow attacks the "evil of the BNP"

David Cameron poppy3.45pm ToryDiary update: David Cameron demands an apology from David Miliband over his smears against Michal Kamiński

3.15pm Local Government: Pickles urges Councils to ditch CEOs (according to Municipal Journal)

2.30pm Jim McConalogue on CentreRight: Is the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty legal?

1.45pm WATCH: On Question Time Jacqui Smith tries to defend her failure to return the £116,000 she took in housing allowances - despite having broken the rules on MPs' expenses

12.30pm ToryDiary update: Jack Straw says proposed election cost-cutting is "simply unacceptable" but Dominic Grieve wants the report published to ensure that nothing else is being covered up

Noon Seats and Candidates: Twickenham PPC Deborah Thomas demands answers from Vince Cable over the Lib Dems' use of an offensive image of a child in their propaganda

Michal Kaminski Manc9.45am ToryDiary: Poland's Chief Rabbi nails the smears against Michal Kamiński once and for all

ToryDiary: Dominic Grieve slams the threat to democracy posed by possible cuts to election costs

Cheryl Gillan MP on Platform: As the Welsh Conservatives recover from the 1997 "near death experience", Labour is having to resort to the politics of the playground

Local Government:

Matthew Sinclair on CentreRight: The EU Emissions Trading Scheme cost British consumers £3 billion in 2008

WATCH: Labour MP Tony McNulty apologises to the Commons after being forced to pay back nearly £14,000 in expenses

Tories plan to sell off all of strike-hit Royal Mail

Royal Mail logo "The Conservatives are backing the total privatisation of Royal Mail and believe bidders will be more willing to come forward if the dispute ends with the union forced to accept modernisation. The move risks further inflaming the increasingly bitter dispute as the second wave of national strikes kicked off today after last-ditch talks collapsed on Wednesday... en Clarke, the shadow business secretary, has held talks on the sale of Royal Mail with potential bidders, and the party believes there is still a desire in the private sector to take over the company. The Conservatives' resolve has hardened over the last few days as union leaders and management remain deadlocked." - The Guardian

Postal strike enters second day - BBC

> Mark Field MP wrote on Platform last week that the national postal strike was "suicidal"

Tony Blair's chances of EU presidency "fading"

BLAIR AND EU STAR "Tony Blair’s chances of becoming the European Union’s first president were fading fast last night as opposition to his selection grew across Europe and France and Germany failed to throw their weight behind him. The case for the former Prime Minister came under attack from European leaders on the Right and the Left at a summit in Brussels, despite an appeal from Gordon Brown to Labour’s sister socialist parties in Europe to “get real” about the merits of Mr Blair." - The Times

President Blair would do nothing for Britain - Jeff Randall writing in the Daily Telegraph

Blair is the only man for the job - Steve Richards writing in The Independent

Only third of voters want Tony Blair to be EU president - Daily Telegraph

Baroness Ashton mooted for European "Foreign minister" role... - The Independent is David Miliband - The Guardian

> WATCH: Brown makes the case for Tony Blair to be EU President

> Yesterday on CentreRight Melanchthon renewed his case for President Blair

EU grants Czech Republic Lisbon treaty concession

European leaders have granted the Czech Republic an opt-out from the EU charter of fundamental rights in a move intended to force the country's Eurosceptic leader to finally ratify the Lisbon treaty. The Czech Republic's refusal to sign – it is the only member state yet to ratify the legislation – has held up the implementation of the treaty and the naming of an EU president. EU leaders meeting in Brussels approved the UK style opt-out, overcoming an obstacle placed in the path of ratification by the Czech president, Vaclav Klaus, earlier this month." - The Guardian

George Osborne attacks Brown on the economy as US recession is declared over

George Osborne poppy "Pressure mounted on Gordon Brown after the United States came out of recession yesterday, leaving the UK as the only major world economy experiencing negative growth...  Shadow chancellor George Osborne said: "These figures are very good news for the world economy, but Britain now stands out as the only major economy still in recession. Gordon Brown's claim that we were 'best placed' now lies in tatters. His recession plan has failed. The rest of the world is moving on and we are left behind." - The Scotsman

Nadine Dorries wins damages from Damian McBride

"A Tory MP has received damages from one of Gordon Brown's former spin doctors after he targeted her as part of the "smear emails" scandal. Nadine Dorries is believed to have been paid damages of £1,000 by Damian McBride, who had been one of the Prime Minister's closest advisers. He resigned following his admission that he had composed emails designed to smear Tory rivals. The Mid Bedfordshire MP said that she hoped Mr McBride's decision to settle the case and pay her £2,500 legal costs would strengthen her hand in bringing legal action against No 10 itself. She added that she hoped the victory would stop people believing there was "no smoke without fire" when they heard rumours about her." - The Independent

Michael Gove laments decline in foreign language teaching

"A dearth of trainee modern foreign language teachers is hampering a Government drive to ensure all children start learning another language from the age of seven... "When ministers dropped the compulsory study of language up to age 16 a few years ago, the other half of the deal was improved provision in primary schools," said Michael Gove, the Conservatives' education spokesman. "But these figures show that the number of trainee primary teachers with a specialism in languages is actually falling, as is the number of language specialists overall. For all the Government's promise of improving modern foreign languages, in reality things are going in the wrong direction." - The Independent

People of Gosport to choose new Tory candidate

"The Tory candidate to replace expenses scandal MP Sir Peter Viggers will be selected by the people of Gosport. It's only the second time in the country that a candidate will be selected by the public, not the party. A total of 73,683 postal ballots will be sent out to the residents of the town, costing the Conservative party an estimated £38,000. The 'open primary' system has been used in America for years, but it was only in July this year that the Tory party first selected a candidate for MP by using the system." - Portsmouth News

"Through open primaries, the Tories have been able to turn stories of backwoodsmen clinging to their privileges into stories of a party experimenting with new forms of democracy." - Martin Bell backs open primaries in the Daily Telegraph

> Wednesday's Seats and Candidates post: Gosport will be the next constituency to run an all-postal primary

Grant Shapps: Turn Nimbys to Yimbys on housing

SHAPPS GRANT "Labour strategies are actually preventing house-building, and upsetting communities that could be seen as part of the solution... But there is a better way. Scrap targets, abolish most regional quangos and allow local communities the freedom to build again. Because the Regional Spatial Strategies are bogged down by legal dispute, there is evidence that they are actually preventing homes from being built right now." - Grant Shapps writing for The Guardian

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Grant Shapps promises incentives to turn NIMBYs into YIMBYs

> Yesterday on CentreRight Lawrence Kay highlighted Policy Exchange's success in moving Tory policy on housing

Director in Boris Johnson's business and Economic unit sacked for racist language - The Times

Lord Ashcroft rejects "politically motivated" accusations from the Prime Minister of Belize - The Independent

All peers to sign up to new code of conduct - The Times

UK Youth Parliament to hold sitting in the Commons chamber today - BBC

Five ways Britain can get the most from Russia - Advice in The Times for David Miliband from former Ambassador to Moscow turned would-be Conservative candidate Tony Brenton


Please use this thread to highlight other interesting news and commentary and visit for breaking political news and views throughout the day.

29 Oct 2009 09:05:48

Thursday 29th October 2009

5.45pm WATCH: Brown makes the case for Tony Blair to be EU President

3.30pm Harry Phibbs on CentreRight: "As everyone is urgently posting their Christmas presents in the hope they arrive in time may I suggest for those in need of inspiration a book by my friend Madsen Pirie? It is entitled 101 Great Philosophers and is only just over 200 pages so can be read in a day. Afterwards you need have no fear of finding yourself embarrassed at intellectual dinner parties. No longer need you worry if instructed to pick up Oliver Letwin from the station to attend your constituency annual dinner as to what to discuss on the car journey to the hotel."

12.45pm Lawrence Kay on CentreRight highlights Policy Exchange's success in moving Tory policy on housing

Noon Melanchthon on CentreRight updates his case for Tony Blair

ToryDiary: Grant Shapps promises incentives to turn NIMBYs into YIMBYs

PicklesShortlists Seats and candidates: Eric Pickles and not John Maples should draw up emergency shortlists

Charles Walker MP on Platform: Sir Christopher Kelly's review of MPs' expenses risks favouring independently wealthy MPs and giving the government whips even more power over their charges

Local government: Devon County Council spent £45,231 on overseas travel over four years

WATCH: Barack Obama signs Hate Crimes Bill into law

Tories warn of five-year war with EU over election of Tony Blair as President

BLAIR head looking left "Europe will face a 'five-year war' with Britain if Tony Blair is installed as EU President, Conservative sources warned last night... Yesterday German diplomats suggested Chancellor Angela Merkel, seen as a key player in the appointment process, did not like the idea of 'having to listen to Mr Flash all the time'.
Former German president Richard von Weiszaecker, a conservative who is close to Mrs Merkel, added that Mr Blair's 'extraordinarily intensive backing' of the Iraq war would count badly against him." - Daily Mail

Timothy Kirkhope MEP warns that Blair would gallivant "around the world" rather than do the real work that Europe needs - Telegraph

Don't give Tony Blair the post of EU President, His presence would revive past battles rather than inspire a fresh approach - Charles Clarke MP in The Independent

On CentreRight yesterday evening Melanchthon urged a vote for Tony Blair as EU President: "If we must have a President, surely we want a good, strong, exciting, British one?"

British Legion poster defaced to attack Tony Blair - Photograph in The Telegraph

MPs demand five years to adjust to expenses overhaul - Guardian

Sir Christopher Kelly received pleas from 17 MPs who did not want him to ban them from employing relatives - Telegraph

"One of the wives who would lose her job if Sir Christopher Kelly were to ban MPs employing spouses has said she will take the matter to court if the new rules are brought in. Suzy Gale, who this year will have worked for her husband, the Conservative MP for North Thanet, Roger Gale, for 27 years, said: "I have taken advice from an employment lawyer and if this goes ahead I will be taking legal action for unfair dismissal or positive discrimination against whatever authority I can." - Guardian

MPs will no longer be able to cash in on lucrative resettlement allowances if they stand down at future general elections or are defeated - Telegraph

Picture 2 "Good riddance to the 200-odd MPs who may quit because they don't like the sound of the new regime" - Daily Mail leader

Labour's Tony McNulty will be told to repay around £13,000 and apologise to the Commons for claiming second home expenses on a house where his parents lived - Sky News

The Independent highlights Jonathan Isaby's campaign to encourage retiring Tory MPs to announce early

ISABY JONATHAN "Campaigners now hope to sidestep the threat of all-women lists by writing to the 161 Conservative MPs who have not yet announced whether or not they will stand at the next election, urging them to do so before the end of the year. It could block Mr Cameron from imposing any all-women lists before the next election. Jonathan Isaby, the co-editor of the Tory members' website ConservativeHome, who sent out the letters yesterday, said he had launched the campaign to "ensure that their associations do not have to select under the restrictive by-election rules", which dictate that the CCO can impose a shortlist containing three or four names on local parties." - Independent

> Read the text of Jonathan Isaby's letter to Tory MPs

Deborah Orr says she'd vote for new Tory candidate for Penrith, Rory Stewart - Guardian | Seats & Candidates

The Sun castigates Labour over Nimrod

Picture 3 The Sun Says: "Saying sorry sounds distinctly hollow after Government penny-pinching caused the deaths of 14 servicemen. Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth floundered again yesterday when cuts were blamed for the 2006 crash of a Nimrod spyplane in Afghanistan. An inquiry says 20 per cent defence budget cuts - applied with "Stalinist efficiency" - made the Nimrod a death-trap. Safety was sacrificed for savings, while danger signals were ignored through incompetence, complacency and cynicism... Labour's record on defence spending is appalling. Cash has been sprayed in every direction but the one that matters most."

The Government's chief drug adviser accuses Jacqui Smith of distorting the evidence on cannabis - BBC

"Ecstasy, LSD and cannabis are less dangerous than alcohol and cigarettes, the Government’s chief drug adviser claims today. Professor David Nutt is calling for a new ‘index of harm’ to warn the public about the relative dangers of various substances. He says alcohol should rank fifth, behind only cocaine, heroin, barbiturates and methadone, while tobacco should rank ninth, ahead of cannabis, LSD and Ecstasy." - Daily Mail

The BNP can expect to be on Question Time every year says BBC chief - BBC

And finally...

Email from Schwarzenegger spells out F-U-C-K-Y-O-U - Independent


Please use this thread to highlight other interesting news and commentary and visit for breaking political news and views throughout the day.

28 Oct 2009 09:01:14

Wednesday 28th October 2009

9.45pm WATCH: Sky News's Joey Jones analyses today's Prime Minister's Questions

7.45pm ToryDiary: Do the Conservatives have a "Blair complex"?

6.45pm Melanchthon on CentreRight: I may be an avowed Eurosceptic - but if the EU has to have a President, it must be Tony Blair

MAUDE FRANCIS 2- 5pm WATCH: Francis Maude plans to give ministers more power over civil servants

4.30pm Local Government: Hate preachers should not be defended. Alexander Melagrou-Hitchens replies to Andrew Boff on appeasement of Islamic extremism at City Hall.

2.30pm Seats and candidates: Public oppose All Women Shortlists by two-to-one

2pm Roger Helmer MEP on CentreRight: Stern Warning to go Vegetarian (but first eat the dog)

12.30pm ToryDiary: Cameron bashes Brown on TA u-turn and Britain's deep recession at PMQs

11.30am Local Government: Volunteer shepherds in Brighton and Hove and Dorset recycles asphalt on roads

10.45am Parliament: Labour MP Peter Kilfoyle starts EDM against Blair becoming EU President

10.30am Seats and Candidates: Richard Normington resigns as PPC for Cambridge

10am ToryDiary: Tories force another Brown u-turn... on the TA

JohnHoward John Howard on Platform: We must not let recent economic woes be used to discredit the capitalist system

Seats and candidates: Local government: Kent plans expansion in grammar school provisionOn CentreRight: AmericaInTheWorld: Twice as many Americans see themselves as "conservative" than see themselves as "liberal"

MPs will be banned from claiming the cost of mortgage interest payments on second homes - BBC

"[Sir Christopher Kelly] is also prepared to push ahead with plans to ban MPs from employing family members. More than 100 employed wives, husbands or their children to work in their offices despite concerns that taxpayers’ money was not being spent prudently. MPs have considerable freedom to set salaries, bonuses and other working conditions for their staff." - Telegraph

The TaxPayers' Alliance's Matthew Elliott backs Bernard Jenkin after he is asked to repay £63,000: “It seems unfair to pick out people such as Bernard Jenkin, because when he set up the agreement with the Fees Office and his wife's sister's property, they were fully aware of it. In fact my understanding is the rent was below the market value, so it wasn't a bad deal for taxpayers. I do think that he's been slightly hard done-by when other MPs have done far worse and, frankly, got away with it.” Quotation from East Anglian Daily Times. Background on the BBC website.

Alastair Campbell and Simon Heffer attack George Osborne

Osborne-Headshot "One of the reasons for his strategic weakness is the sense that he is more interested in short-term political tactics than he is in long-term economic policy, a problem the effect of which is exaggerated by his dual role as shadow chancellor and general election campaign co-ordinator. His initiative on curbing bankers’ bonuses, which fell apart on minimal scrutiny, is but the latest to draw fire from City and business leaders. It was attacked not for being tough, but because it was not thought through." - Tony Blair's former press secretary Alastair Campbell in a letter to the FT

"Mr Osborne is not stupid, and we all learn as we get older: but he does seem to struggle with the notion of how things really are, and how we might best proceed out of the hole. He was praised for his party conference speech, though three weeks later all any of us remember of it was the repetitive statement that "We are all in this together". The problem with the speech, as I wrote at the time, was that as well as understating the difficulty, it also gave no hint of what a government might do to bring about the conditions in which the economy can grow. It is that, in particular, that has spooked the City and which, to be frank, jolly well spooks me." - Simon Heffer in The Telegraph

Iain Duncan Smith asked to find solutions for tax poverty trap - The Times

Phillip Collins reviews the Conservative Party's Victorian reforms

"In the 19th century the Tories were, quite rightly, keen for the State to regulate factory work. Lord Liverpool’s Cotton Mills and Factories Act, 1819, prohibited the employment of children under 9 years of age. Shaftesbury’s Factory Acts in the 1840s reduced working time for women and children and introduced the idea of state responsibility for health and safety. Disraeli’s Factory Act of 1874 made education compulsory for children up to the age of 10. In 1901 Lord Salisbury raised the minimum working age to 12. The Victorian Conservative Party also had a developed sense of the public realm and regulated without compunction. The Public Health Act of 1875 forced councils to clear refuse and sewage and to provide an adequate water supply. The same year the Artisans’ Dwelling Act began the clearing of urban slums." - Phillip Collins in The Times

A plan for the Tories to curb public sector strikes - Proposed by Tim Leunig in the FT

Nick Hurd MP rebuked by statistics chief for questioning census - Times

David Cameron dismisses Alex Salmond’s SNP as 'irrelevant' in general election - Times

Andrew Lansley has confirmed there will be a new GP contract if the Conservatives take office - Healthcare Republic

Lloyds, Royal Bank of Scotland and Northern Rock will be broken up and parts of their businesses sold off to create three new banks under Labour plans - Independent

Labour censored links between immigration and crime in report - The Sun | Daily Mail

'Superstar' Tony Blair is wrong man for EU president, says Nick Clegg - Guardian

BLAIR TONY serious President Blair? Why doesn't he just stick to solving the Middle East? - Quentin Letts in the Daily Mail

"Mr Blair would soon become the focal point of Europe's response to any major eventuality. And so the powers of this unelected and unaccountable position would grow. To anyone opposed to losing more sovereignty to Europe, that is reason enough to reject Mr Blair." - Telegraph leader

And finally... David Cameron invents a new word

"Dave says that he doesn’t want Europe to have a president but if it must have one, he should be “chairman-ic”. This is a Dave-ism. (You just wait, we may have an entire Dave language soon.) It means someone who acts like a chair, not as in piece of furniture but, certainly, someone who is wooden." - Ann Treneman in The Times

"The president, he said, should have a "chairmanic" role. A what? It almost rhymed with "Germanic". We stared at each other. "It means going mad, but in a seated position," said my neighbour. I don't think that's what Cameron meant. He seemed to be saying that it was all very well for the president to chair boring old meetings of the council of ministers, but not go round the world being the hotshot president." - Simon Hoggart in The Guardian


Please use this thread to highlight other interesting news and commentary and visit for breaking political news and views throughout the day.

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