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30 Nov 2009 09:00:39

St Andrew's Day 2009

11.30pm International: Australian Liberals in meltdown after Turnbull is ousted by Tony Abbott... Speaking to a friend downunder he gave me this warning: "Climate change fundamentalism has wrecked our conservative coalition. Be careful it doesn't wreck yours."

9.15pm ToryDiary: Should the Conservatives be worried about the opinion polls?

Goldsmith-Zac-on-Sunday-AM 9pm Melanchthon on CentreRight: As I understand matters, Zac Goldsmith is legally entitled to non-dom status...

8.15pm ToryDiary: Conservative lead down to 10% according to ComRes

7pm ToryDiary: Sayeeda Warsi confronts Muslim extremists after they pelt her with eggs

6.45pm Try and WATCH this video of Boris Johnson talking about London's share of public spending without focusing on his hair being blown about by the wind!

Also WATCH: Alex Salmond makes the case for an independent Scotland

5.45pm Parliament: David Cameron apologises to the Commons for error over Islamic school funding

6a00d83451b31c69e2012875e6d26f970c-500wi 4.45pm: LeftWatch is now up and running:

2.45pm Tim Montgomerie on CentreRight: What's your favourite political slogan?

Noon ToryDiary: Eric Pickles blasts draft plans to give the BNP more broadcast time

10am WATCH: Nick Clegg announces 'mansion tax' on houses worth £2m and cuts in tax for those earning less than £10,000 (and Lord Heseltine responds)

Picture 36ToryDiary: On St Andrew's Day, Boris wants extra investment in London as the price for the capital's subsidy of Scotland

Lionel Zetter on Platform: Gordon Brown handing the reins of power to David Cameron could be the ultimate "Hospital Pass"

Seats and candidates: Four women, three lawyers, three doctors, two ex-military among those selected to replace thirteen retirees and Trevor Ivory's Diary of a PPC

Picture 15 Welcome to Think tank central: This new ConservativeHome page kicks off with profiles of the Centre for Social Justice, Policy Exchange and the TaxPayers' Alliance

On Local government Harry Phibbs defends £100K+ salaries for council CEOs: "It so happens that I suspect that if a Council is to have a Chief Executive at all then paying someone under £100,000 a year to do the post would not constitute value for money."

He also notes that Surrey Council has banned alcohol from County Hall

Parliament: It's time for an across-the-piece, step change, rollout of new language in public sector documents

Picture 34 We hope you like the new mastheads at the top of ConservativeHome's pages. They are all posted here if you want to see them in one place.


Greg Clark: Local residents who accept wind farms will get lower energy bills under the Conservatives

CLARK GREG 2 "As well as lower gas and electricity bills for up to 25 years, residents would be invited to share in the proceeds of business rates paid by wind farms for six years after they were built." - Telegraph

Zac Goldsmith should be fired over non-domicile tax, says Liberal Democrats - Times

Tory Treasurer hopes for speedy abolition of 50p tax band and corporate tax falling to close to 20p - FT

Soaring state deficits could force David Cameron to water down plans for tax breaks for married couples - Daily Mail

"Worrying noises are emanating from Tory HQ. In particular, it is said that allowing couples to combine their taxfree allowances – at a cost of around £5billion a year – may prove unaffordable. Yes, State spending must be slashed – but, with the cost of family breakdown estimated at £20billion a year, what could be more important than standing up for marriage?" - Daily Mail leader

Nuclear family is broken forever says the head of a Government-funded parenting group - Telegraph

Ed Balls is drawing up new plans to tackle family breakdown that will promote any stable relationship, not just the superiority of marriage - Guardian

Bruce Anderson: In emphasising society David Cameron is not repudiating Thatcherism but moving beyond it - Independent

Tory AM calls for more co-ops and credit unions to help people of Wales through recession - Western Mail

Madeleine Bunting: There is nothing ordinary about David Cameron 

"Every job Cameron has had has entailed the intervention of some connection or another. Conservative central office straight down from Oxford? A mysterious caller from no less than Buckingham Palace. Carlton Communications? A discreet intervention from Samantha's mother." - Madeleine Bunting in The Guardian

Lord Pearson's planned deal with Tories causes outrage among UKIP grassroots - Times

"The new leader of the UK Independence Party, Lord Pearson, claimed more than £100,000 in publicly-funded expenses on the basis that his £3.7 million house in London was his second home while also owning in a 12,000-acre estate with servants in Scotland." - Telegraph

William Rees-Mogg (or, given yesterday's news, should that be Bill Mogg?) writes about the battle for victory in the Somerset seats by being fought by his children: "In the Somerset marginals a vote for UKIP will help to elect Lib Dem candidates to Westminster. Yet voters in the West Country are predominantly Eurosceptic, as are all the Somerset Conservative candidates. This will be a very hard-fought battle and in the marginals a few votes lost to UKIP could decide the outcome."

Council bosses ready to leave in fear of Tory curbs on pay and perks - Times

Labour will set out £9bn of savings across Whitehall tomorrow - FT

SHAPPS GRANT-1 Cutting out the champagne could be a start... "Whitehall fat cats have blown almost £30,000 on champagne at official parties this year. In total, the bill for "hospitality" - including flowers, "porterage", laundry, wines, spirits and soft drinks - was £488,044. Tory shadow housing minister Grant Shapps, who uncovered the scandal, slammed the extravagance last night." - The Sun

Vince Cable will announce their tax plans today - BBC

Alex Salmond to publish White Paper making case for Scottish independence - BBC report | Nick Robinson interview

But, says The Herald, all other parties are set to deny him a referendum: "Labour leader Iain Gray said Mr Salmond was “out of touch”, Annabel Goldie of the Scottish Conservatives said it was “monumental waste of parliamentary time” and the LibDems’ Tavish Scott said the SNP’s “pet project” was a waste of £12 million of public money. With all three of the main opposition parties firmly set against the wishes of the minority SNP administration, the Bill is sure to fall at the first hurdle."

The BNP's Nick Griffin betrays Gibraltar

Picture 35 "The BNP would hand the key outpost of Gibraltar to Spain in an astonishing betrayal of its 30,000 British citizens. The move would also deprive the UK of a naval base - defended bitterly for more than 300 years - of huge strategic importance. Party leader Nick Griffin, elected as an MEP in June, made the offer at a fascist rally in Madrid last week to suck up to European extremists." - The Sun

More on

Malcolm Turnbull likely to be replaced as Australian Liberal leader tomorrow - ABC | ConservativeInternational


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

29 Nov 2009 08:55:24

Sunday 29th November 2009

10.30pm International: Right-wing pundits attempt to set agenda for Republican Party

8.15pm ToryDiary: David Cameron's first official portrait

6.45pm AmericaInTheWorld: The BBC's world affairs correspondent presents a one-sided account of the UK-US relationship

4pm Tim Montgomerie on CentreRight: How many billions are we about to give away to developing nations to spend on climate change?

6a00d83451b31c69e20120a6e85e80970b-500wi 1.15pm Tim Montgomerie on CentreRight: Exit polls say Swiss have voted to ban the building of minarets in Switzerland

6a00d83550306a69e200e5536c96878834-800wi12.15pm Matt Sinclair on CentreRight warns a Conservative government against pursuing a combined environmental and energy policy agenda "that would constitute perhaps the greatest financial assault on the interests of the poor in British history".

ToryDiary: Grassroots satisfaction with David Cameron dips to 80%

John Redwood MP on Platform: How to make the necessary cuts to public spending without cutting important services

Mark Wallace on Local government: The Government ignores the Local Government Association's savings plan

6a00d83451b31c69e201156f1fbaf6970c Seats and candidates: Are double-barrelled names a problem for Tory candidates?

WATCH: Jon Culshaw's latest impersonations of David Cameron and Boris Johnson

Stephen O'Brien leads Tory calls for overhaul of hospital inspections regime after twelve NHS hospital trusts in England are "significantly underperforming" despite nine recently having been rated as good or excellent - BBC

Labour may freeze inheritance tax threshold in new bid to present Conservatives as party of the rich
 - Observer

"[The Tories] are glued to a policy which has little economic merit and makes them politically vulnerable, a promise to privilege those who are already privileged." - Andrew Rawnsley in The Observer

And has David Cameron's pro-marriage tax plan been shelved?

The Observer's Toby Helm reports: "David Cameron appears to have backtracked on a plan to use the tax system to reward those who get married – because such a move would be unaffordable and also benefit wealthier couples, according to senior party sources."

Zac Goldsmith is a 'nom-dom'

Goldsmith-Zac-on-Sunday-AM "Zac Goldsmith, the green adviser to David Cameron and prospective Tory MP, has admitted that he claims non-domicile tax status, enabling him to avoid huge sums of tax on his estimated £200m fortune. In a disclosure that risks embarrassing the Conservative party, he confirmed that he is a “non-dom” who can legitimately escape paying tax on his inheritance from his late father, Sir James Goldsmith. Much of it is held offshore." - The Sunday Times

Are party strategists blaming opinion poll wobbles on the Tories' austerity message?

In the Sunday Telegraph Liam Halligan says the party cannot afford to do so: "This country will run a budget deficit equal to 13.2pc of GDP next year – the biggest fiscal shortfall of any major economy in the world and the biggest in our peacetime history. The Government will borrow £200bn annually for at least the next three years, the UK's national debt ballooning from 44pc of GDP to more than 100pc by 2014. The Tories recently outlined plans to save £7bn a year by 2013 – a response this column described as "tackling a fiscal inferno with a half-empty water-pistol"."

Should the Scottish Conservatives form their own independent party? - The Sunday Herald develops ConservativeHome's call for a radical solution to the Scottish Tories' limited progress

Labour has urged Alex Salmond to shelve his plans for Scottish independence referendum and concentrate on fighting the recession - BBC

> Yesterday on Platform: Murdo Fraser MSP on the Scottish Tories' support for deeper devolution

Cameron warned by Belize's PM not to give Lord Ashcroft a government post - Observer

Cameron's interest in Philip Blond is all part of a concerted attempt to distance his conservative brand from Thatcher - Martin Ivens in The Sunday Times

Margaret Thatcher couldn't sleep during Falklands War

"Margaret Thatcher stayed up all night in her Downing Street flat throughout the three months of the Falklands War and never changed into her bedclothes, it has been revealed. She sat fully dressed, huddled round a two-bar electric fire, nervously listening to the radio for news of the conflict, nursing a glass of whisky while husband Denis slept in the spare room." - Mail on Sunday

> Yesterday Radio 4 broadcast Michael Dobbs' play about Margaret Thatcher's last days in office

Swiss campaign to ban minarets depicts them as missiles:

"Swiss voters go to the polls later to decide on a proposal to ban the building of minarets in their country." - BBC

Britain's "muscular liberalism" should not be optional for our own immigrant groups - Janet Daley in The Sunday Telegraph

Thirteen outgoing EU commissioners will receive golden goodbyes averaging nearly £350,000 each - The Sunday Times

Chilcot should be looking at how the occupation gave rise to such bloodshed - John Rentoul in the Independent on Sunday

Tony Blair was told that Iraq war was illegal, eight months before invasion began - Mail on Sunday

Peter Hitchens: Al Gore and other climate change campaigners could bankrupt the West

"If not checked [the climate change "frenzy"] could end by bankrupting the West and leaving us sitting in the cold and the dark whistling for a wind to power our dead computers – while China and India surge on to growth and prosperity because they have had the sense to ignore the whole stupid thing." - Peter Hitchens in the Mail on Sunday

And finally... What do we think of David Cameron's first official portrait?

Picture 50 "The first official portrait of David Cameron shows him in gloomy colours rather than as a bright, bold figure to lead the country out of the Gordon Brown years. The portrait, commissioned for the Conservatives, is also remarkable for its depiction of a party leader, let alone a man banging on the door of No 10, standing in an open-necked shirt with both hands in his pockets...." - The Sunday Times


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

28 Nov 2009 09:03:38

Saturday 28th November 2009

6a00d83451b31c69e20120a5dab2ae970c-200wi 6.30pm Seats and candidates: Fiona Bruce selected for Congleton

6.30pm Melanchthon on CentreRight on what we've come to: "This chap felt he ought to apologise to me for touching my son whilst preventing him from running into the road and possibly being knocked down by a car. ..." 

5.15pm LISTEN: Radio 4 broadcast Michael Dobbs' play about Margaret Thatcher's last days in office

Picture 454pm WATCH:

2.30pm Roger Helmer MEP on CentreRight: Philip Blond fails the Thatcher test

9.45am Graeme Archer on CentreRight: Aliens 'Already Exist on Earth'. No kidding.

LeftWatch470 ToryDiary: Can you help with ConHome's new LeftWatch page?

Murdo Fraser MSP on Platform: Embracing devolution and moving it on is the way to faster progress and greater success for the Scottish Conservatives

Seats and candidates: Dr Daniel Poulter adopted for Suffolk Central and Ipswich North

Dr Andy Johnston on Local government: After the flood, who should pay the bill?

WATCH: Alex Samond talks to the BBC's Political Editor on the eve of the publication of the SNP government's White Paper on Scottish independence

LanslideTelegraph Conservatives 6% ahead in northern marginals and 10% ahead nationally - Telegraph | Yesterday evening's ToryDiary

Cameron rejected UKIP pact on EU referendum - Times | Guardian

Lord Pearson is interviewed in The Times: “It is very worrying that a large and growing sector of our society is set against our way of life and laws, our treatment of women and our religion.” Islamism is, in his view, a bigger threat than the European Union. “Its problem is that it is a religious, political and legal system all rolled into one, the penalty of leaving it is death, and it is on a roll all over the planet.”

Lord Pearson plays the Islam card to win leadership of UKIP - Independent

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Lord Pearson is new UKIP leader

"The power to oversee the City of London was yesterday given to a Frenchman known for his dislike of the free market and love of a strong EU." - Daily Mail

This week's opinion polls have worried markets that had come to expect a Tory government - FT

Philip Hammond promises focus on public sector waste

HAMMOND PHILIP NEWSNIGHT "The Conservatives promised the jittery financial markets today that they would urgently restore discipline to Britain's national debt and protect frontline public services by tackling what they claim is lax productivity and Labour's "catastrophic" waste. Philip Hammond, the shadow chief secretary, said "high-performing public sector businesses" such as the Passport Agency would be allowed to bid for work from other government departments where its proven IT skills were essential." - Guardian

Ken Clarke: Scotland's Parliament could get new powers from Tories in first year of office

CLARKE KEN ON ITN "One of the leading members of David Cameron's front-bench team has said he sees no reason why proposals to increase the Scottish Parliament's powers should not be brought forward in the first year of any Conservative government. Former chancellor Ken Clarke's comments to a gathering of business people and academics in Edinburgh yesterday appeared to calm fears that a new Tory government would put the reforms of devolution into the long grass." - Scotsman

Cameron's team couldn't run a p*** up in a brewery says Tory leader of H&F - Daily Mail | Local government blog

Town halls benefit as Labour announces £3.2bn increase in funding - Times

Lord Mandelson has pushed our public life into a culture of chicanery, political lies and the circumvention of parliamentary democracy - Charles Moore in The Telegraph

Ex-defence secretary Des Browne becomes latest Labour MP to quit - Guardian | BBC

Is interest in the Iraq inquiry already dwindling?

"The queues of day one and the protesters in carnival masks were long gone. The inquiry room was chilly, as though they had switched the heating off a bit early for the weekend, and barely a third full." - Mary Dejevsky in The Independent

The leaked climate change emails point to dangerous "groupthink" among scientists - Christopher Caldwell in the FT

Uganda proposes death penalty for HIV positive gays - Times

And finally... Will Boris wear the new London kilt?

Picture 30 "London mayor Boris Johnson certainly has the stature to carry off wearing a kilt. And hopes are high that he could be one of the first to don a new tartan being specifically designed for London and Londoners. A competition to design the tartan will be officially launched on Monday, St Andrew's Day, by the Scottish Tartans Authority and Kings Place, an arts venue in the capital." - Scotsman


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

27 Nov 2009 09:00:58

Friday 27th November 2009

9pm ToryDiary: Tories 6% ahead in northern marginals

6.15pm Local government: Tory leader of Hammersmith & Fullham says shadow cabinet "haven’t run a piss-up in a brewery"

5.30pm WATCH: New UKIP leader, Lord Pearson, says his party's aim is a hung parliament and he will champion issues that mainstream parties think "too smelly too touch"

6a00d83451b31c69e20120a5ee49b1970b-150wi4.45pm Sajid Javid on Platform: The news from Dubai is a big blow to the UK banking sector

4.15pm WATCH: In a message for World Aids Day, David Cameron promises to spend more money on tackling the disease in the developing world

4pm David T Breaker on CentreRight: Why we should NOT extradite Gary McKinnon

3.15pm ToryDiary: Lord Pearson is new UKIP leader

2.45pm WATCH: Theresa Villiers promises fewer traffic lights and better roads management in pledge to motorists

Picture 272.30pm Mark Wallace on Centreright wonders if you'd like a sperm as your town's logo?

1.45pm Local government: Liberal Democrats gain three council seats from the Conservatives

1.30pm ToryDiary: Why I, a climate change sceptic, support Greg Clark's 'positive environmentalism'

12.30pm Greg Clark MP on Platform: Conservatives are positively green

Noon Tim Montgomerie on CentreRight: Gary McKinnon should stand trial in the USA for the serious crimes he is alleged to have committed

10.45am Local Government: Mark Field MP on Local solutions for family breakdown

 ToryDiary: Fiscal conservatism is key to uniting the conservative coalition

HowardFlight470 Howard Flight on Platform: It is time we talked about Labour's damage to Britain

Local government: Should there be less secrecy in child protection?

WATCH: 'The Boris magic' is on display as he opens a new supermarket. Which other politician could get such a reception...?

Tories pledge to cut £60bn 'wasted' by Labour on unproductive public services - Daily Mail

"Philip Hammond, the shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, will say a “hearts and minds” bid to raise productivity levels in the public sector could deliver huge savings without harming front line services." - Telegraph

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Philip Hammond to announce plans to boost civil service productivity and efficiency

Michael Gove to blame for PMQs gaffe - Times

Gove Michael in office "The Haringey school has told the local council it no longer has links with "any of the individuals alleged to have connections with Hizb ut-Tahrir"." - Independent

Tory activists are concerned their party will impose excessive tax rises if David Cameron wins next year’s general election - Express

> Yesterday's ToryDiary on the poll

Labour MP rebuked over corruption claim against Lord Ashcroft - Telegraph

Britain's 'religious right' is very different from America's

"whereas America’s religious right is largely defined by divisive lifestyle issues such as gay marriage and abortion, the Christians influencing the Tories focus on social problems such as poverty and delinquency. Hence their attractiveness to the Conservatives’ largely non-believing strategists and policy wonks." - Economist

David Cameron has weakened the UK by not backing the Calman report on Scottish devolution - Times leader

"His best ideas are cloudy, his clearest ideas are eccentric." - The Times' verdict on Philip Blond

Philip Blond attacks supermarkets - Daily Mail

Recession 'is even worse than feared': Chancellor predicts steepest slump ever - Daily Mail

Peter Oborne is disgusted by Lord Mandelson going shooting with the son of a bloodthirsty and oil-rich Arab dictator

Mandelson Peter 2 "There will be no Cabinet resignations after the Waddesdon shooting weekend, and Peter Mandelson has not done anything illegal. But the message it sends is loud and clear.  The Labour Party has lost its moral centre. Its leaders have nauseatingly sold out to the aristocratic lifestyle and world of high finance that they claimed to abhor.  Having abandoned the high ideals that took them into politics, they will undoubtedly be abandoned by the voters they once pledged to represent." - Peter Oborne in the Daily Mail

Tory MP Ben Wallace turns up the heat on Lord Mandelson over his weekend away with Colonel Gaddafi's son - The Sun

UKIP's new leader will be announced today - BBC

"The UK Independence Party is set to head in a fresh direction, fighting radical Islam, with the election today of a replacement for Nigel Farage as its national leader. The two favourites to take over from Mr Farage are committed to adding the battle against Islamic fundamentalism to the party’s main goal of withdrawing Britain from the European Union." - Times

Tony Blair decided on Iraq war a year before invasion - Guardian

George Miller-Kurakin has died

"Intellectual and visionary, liberal and anti-Communist, George Miller inspired a generation of Conservative activists in the 1980s, when the Soviet Union seemed impregnable. His operations were so extensive that few of his associates knew the full picture." - Independent obituary


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