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28 Feb 2010 08:57:06

Sunday 28th February 2009

10.30pm ToryDiary: David Cameron needs to keep repeating the key pledges until politicos are bored of hearing them

9.45pm David T Breaker on CentreRight: The Internet could decide the election

8pm WATCH: Key extracts from David Cameron's speech to the Brighton Spring Forum

7.15pm ToryDiary: Reaction to David Cameron's Spring Forum speech

4.45pm ToryDiary: More clues as to which of the Shadow Cabinet could expect to make the transfer straight into their roles in government

Picture 134pm WATCH: David Cameron tells the spring conference that he is going to need some salesmanship to sell Britain to the world after putting the country under new economic management

3.15pm ToryDiary: David Cameron tells the spring forum that today's Conservative Party has the responsible and radical policies to deliver the change Britain needs

1pm Melanchthon on CentreRight recommends a Conservative election campaign song

12.30pm WATCH: Sky News's Jon Craig analyses today's YouGov poll and compares it with the latest bookmakers' election odds

11.15am ToryDiary update: David Cameron responds to this morning's poll: "We have a real fight on our hands"

11am ToryDiary: This is the choice at the General Election

ToryDiary: Tory lead down to 2% in YouGov survey

Julia Manning and Pav Kahlon on Platform: People should know the real value of their NHS-funded medication

Front Local government: Tory councillors' immigration leaflet is disowned by local MP, Andrew Rosindell

Also on Local government: Battle lines drawn in Reading

LeftWatch: Rapid reaction Tory poster highlights Labour divisions


Michael Gove plans troops-to-teachers scheme to address 400,000 suspensions each year - Sunday Express

Cameron blasts Labour's record in article for News of the World

"Last week Gordon Brown asked us to take a second look at Labour. All right then... here goes. They’ve doubled the national debt. Hit people with more than one hundred tax rises. Clobbered the poorest with the 10p tax fiasco. Sent our troops to war without the right equipment. Failed to control immigration, putting massive pressure on our schools and hospitals. Left one in five young people unable to find a job. Destroyed our pensions system. Allowed thousands of criminals out early. And let’s not forget the Prime Minister himself, who “unleashed the forces of hell” on his Chancellor in the middle of the longest and deepest recession since the war. We’ve had our second look, Prime Minister — and you don’t deserve a second chance." - David Cameron in the News of the World

Labour more trusted on economy in latest YouGov poll

"The most worrying aspect for the Tory leader and for George Osborne, the shadow chancellor, is that amidst the deepest recession since the Great Depression, and with the government borrowing an eighth of Britain’s national income this year, Labour is trusted more than the Tories to run the economy. Either Mr Brown’s propaganda has worked and voters genuinely believe that he saved the world from something much worse, or the Tories have simply sown too much confusion about what they would do in office. Voters, like the money markets, hate uncertainty." - The Sunday Times leader

Cameron will vow to carry on modernising

David Cameron will declare that he will not retreat into the "Conservative comfort zone" - The Sunday Telegraph

"The Tory leader will seek to revitalise his party by saying it is his 'patriotic duty' to oust Mr Brown from Downing Street. In his final speech to a party rally before the Election campaign gets under way, Mr Cameron will say: 'It is an Election we have a patriotic duty to win because the country is in a complete and utter mess - and we have to sort it out.'" - Mail on Sunday

Screen shot 2010-02-28 at 08.26.42 With stories like this you have to wonder if The Independent on Sunday is abandoning all objectivity: "As the Tory leader prepared for his final conference speech today before the general election with the slogan "vote for change", a battle at the top of the party over strategy appeared to have been won by those favouring a hardline core-vote agenda."

In the wake of the expenses scandal, voters want a rebel leader, the head of a resistance movement - Matthew d'Ancona in The Sunday Telegraph

Hague is constant voice of caution around Cameron

HagueChangeOrRuin "William Hague, the shadow foreign secretary, is fast becoming a member of the tight-knit inner circle. Hague is no natural Notting Hill Tory, but Cameron has come to rely increasingly on his counsel because of his experience as former leader. Yet Hague’s growing power has irritated the modernising Tories. “Every time someone comes up with a bold idea that could make the weather, it gets killed off by Hague,” said one frontbencher. “Because of his bruising experience losing in 2001, he is hobbled by caution.”" - Jonathan Oliver in The Sunday Times

Janet Daley: Tories must fight for their beliefs

"When people say that they doubt the Conservatives' conviction (which is roughly what they mean by "I don't know what they stand for"), they are making this judgment on the basis of their own experience of human nature. They are assessing the personality of the leader based on his behaviour: is he acting like a man who believes so wholeheartedly in what he professes that he will stand his ground and defend it even in the face of attack? Or does he avoid confrontation, take a step backwards when he is challenged, retreat from the high ground when it begins to look dangerous?" - Janet Daley in The Sunday Telegraph

Peter Hitchens: Cameron isn't an angel

"it was silly for David Cameron to call grandiosely for an inquiry into gossip about Mr Brown’s treatment of subordinates. This is not proper politics, and it demeans us. I said on my blog on Monday that Mr Cameron had better watch out in case people started asking questions about his own actions.  And within hours, a person (whose identity I now know, though he has asked me to keep it confidential) posted the following comment: ‘Cameron is far from blameless. I had the misfortune to work for him for a couple of months just after he was appointed to the Shadow Education brief in 2005. ‘Rudeness and inconsideration were his stock in trade with repeated attempts to humiliate me in front of others.  Middle-of-the-night phone calls to pick up on adverse Press comment were not uncommon – much of it stemming from his own inability to clear a “line-to-take” in time for newspaper deadlines." - Peter Hitchens in the Mail on Sunday

Catholic bishops will publish a report warning that Britain has suffered from "increased family breakdown" in recent years

"While the Church's 10-page document, offering advice to the country's four million Catholics, is not explicitly partisan, it will be seen as critical of Labour and as supportive of the Tories who have put marriage at the centre of their campaigning." - The Sunday Telegraph

Baroness Warsi is a tough talker ready to take on anyone from hardcore Islamists to the BNP - Interview in the Independent on Sunday

Which projects might the Tories cut? - The Independent on Sunday looks at options

Key No10 figure tells how he was pushed and shouted at by the PM - Mail on Sunday

Gordon Brown jokes about bullying allegations

"The prime minister attacked Tory plans to cut spending and said their biggest claim to being the "party of change" was they kept changing their mind. He also made a light-hearted reference to recent allegations of bullying. He joked that the only thing he had not yet been accused of was killing Archie Mitchell in the BBC's EastEnders." - BBC


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27 Feb 2010 08:53:43

Saturday 27th February 2010

7pm Seats and Candidates: Another Labour MP ducks out of defending a top Tory target

6.45pm ToryDiary: Dan Hannan calls for a return to sanity in the public finances and a revolutionary dispersal of power at the Brighton Tea Party

5.30pm ToryDiary: (1) Show Labour failed, says Osborne, (2) Show that they are still failing, and (3) Show that Conservatives will be different

5.15pm Seats and Candidates: David Cameron gives his full backing to Speaker Bercow's re-election bid in Buckingham

4.30pm LeftWatch: Your chance to be Alistair Darling escaping Ed Balls & Co in the 'Forces of Hell' video game

4.15pm Melanchthon on CentreRight offers Six critiques of Labour (to balance the six reasons for voting Conservative)

3.15pm WATCH: In a spring conference WebCameron video, David Cameron says that the Conservatives can win by being a "modern and radical" party

Picture 292.45pm ToryDiary: Eric Pickles urges Brown to "call the election now" as William Hague says the choice facing Britain is "change or ruin"

12.15pm ToryDiary: Results of the elections to the National Conservative Convention

11am ToryDiary: Local Conservative associations raised £25 million last year

10.30am MyLabourPoster: Guess who got selected as the Labour candidate in the one Midlands seat without an All Women Shortlist?

ToryDiary: We're changing tactics and turning our guns on Labour, declares George Osborne

Last night's ToryDiary: Tax cuts feature prominently in six Tory election pledges

Loanna Morrison on Platform: It is Labour's failure to control immigration and its obsession with promoting "multiculturalism" that has allowed the BNP to re-emerge

Seats and candidates: The Independent's attack on Lord Ashcroft backfires, revealing that 81% of target seat funding comes from local activists

Local government: Should the British Tea Party Movement begin with the Town Halls?

Screen shot 2010-02-27 at 08.08.41 Also on Local government, Harry Phibbs blogs that David Miliband's own council is raising council tax, cutting services but not dealing with waste:

"They are increasing the Council Tax by 2.71% but at their budget meeting this week rejected cutting spending on consultants or councillor allowances. They spend £2.3 million on printing and photocopying. Another £120,000 goes on funding full time trade union posts. However they have made cuts in street cleaning, cut physiotherapy service, cut support for museums and the arts and put up council rents by 2.9%. Tenants in sheltered housing are facing an 20% increase in heating charges."

LeftWatch: 'Let's talk about immigration', say Ed Balls and Tom Watson in message to local voters

David Cameron will speak without notes to Tory Spring Forum, warning voters against 'five more years of Gordon Brown'

"David Cameron will tomorrow rally Tories for the general election fight with a barnstorming speech designed to show he has a clear “choice and change” plan for Britain. He is to speak with no notes – an echo of the ground-breaking speech credited with winning him the leadership – and drive home his message that voters have a choice between five more years of Gordon Brown, or change with David Cameron and the Conservatives." - Express

"After grumbling in Tory ranks that the party has not been strong enough in its attacks on Labour, he will play what he believes may prove his trump card, asking the voters why they would want "another five years of Gordon Brown". It is a line we will hear ad nauseam from now on. And it is a question Labour has not yet answered." - Andrew Grice in The Independent

Bridges-George "The attempt to put Gordon Brown in the line of fire this weekend represents a victory for Mr Bridges, who has convinced Mr Cameron that a policy blitz in January was a mistake. The effort to persuade voters that the party has a substantial programme turned the media from the Government to the Conservatives, he argued." - Times

"The Tory mission is simple: to rescue Britain from the economic mess that has been the hallmark of every Labour government. That is the message David Cameron must spell out, again and again, until polling closes on General Election day - because the idea of another five years of Brown in No 10 is unthinkable." - Peter Oborne in the Daily Mail

No surprise but... the Tories' election slogan will be "vote for change" - BBC

David Robson: Tories must focus on Labour's record, not Brown's character

"All the chatter about his personality and his “bullying”, not to mention the intervention of the ineffable Mrs Pratt, of the National Bullying Helpline, has made this not a bad week at all for Gordon Brown. It’s all far less damaging than talk about his dreadful record in government. These days, when very few leading politicians have any personality whatsoever, at least it makes him seem more interesting." - David Robson in The Express

Tories ponder tactics if there is a hung parliament

HANCOCK MATT "Matt Hancock, chief of staff to George Osborne, the shadow chancellor, until he was recently selected as a parliamentary candidate, is taking charge of the post-election preparations. These revolve around an emergency budget, to be held within 50 days of the election, which would form the springboard to a second poll if the Tories were the largest party in a hung parliament. "The emergency budget will be crucial in setting out the long-term approach of Conservatives in tackling the fiscal deficit," one senior figure said. "But it will also give a chance to present a take-it-or-leave-it challenge. If Labour want to vote against it and trigger a general election, we would be very happy to have another election this year, when we would be confident of winning on the basis of the budget."" - Guardian

Charles Moore: Cameron's front men aren't performing

"George Osborne, the shadow chancellor, is still better as the strategist than as the front man. Ken Clarke, despite his strong record as a real Chancellor, turns out to be pretty useless at Opposition campaigning (he’s hardly ever known it, after all). He is slapdash and mentally idle. William Hague, though eloquent, witty, and something of a hero in the North, is not fighting as if his life depended on it (which, indeed, it doesn’t). And, by the way, who is Chris Grayling? Then there are the women. I bet you that 95 per cent of the voters could not name any of them, so I won’t either." - Charles Moore in The Telegraph

FT: Samantha Cameron is her husband's 'kitchen cabinet'

"David Cameron has a “genuine kitchen cabinet”, one close aide told the Financial Times. “His family is his core base and one of the reasons he keeps so calm in a crisis.” Samantha Cameron, once billed by her husband as his “one-person focus group”, is credited with influencing the Tory leader’s conversion to the modernisers’ cause, including his belated support for gay rights." - FT

"David Cameron's wife Samantha yesterday told of her pride in her husband for the first time..." - The Sun

Alex Massie: Council tax freeze isn't localist

COUNCIL TAX "In terms of philosophy and consistency rather than from a purely political standpoint, there's at least one terrible promise here that contradicts the Tories' interesting, promising, commitment to localism and decentralisation. That's the commitment to freeze council tax. I've no doubt that this is politically savvy and likely to be popular but it's a rotten idea nonetheless. How serious can the Tories be about decentralisation when they seem to want to make local government more not less dependent upon central government? Where's the accountability and transparency in that? Nowhere, that's where." - Alex Massie at The Spectator

Catholic Church's pre-election report likely to boost Conservatives - Times

Give back the Falklands in 99 years - Matthew Parris in The Times


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26 Feb 2010 09:00:35

Friday 26th February 2010

Telegraph 11.15pm ToryDiary: Tax cuts feature prominently in six Tory election pledges, unveiled tonight

11pm WATCH: Alan Johnson defends security services from attack by senior judge

7pm ToryDiary: A triple boost for George Osborne

6.30pm ToryDiary: I have no idea what Team Cameron thinks of this morning's ten point plan...

4.45pm LeftWatch: The real story of the revised GDP figures is that the recession was even deeper than previously thought

2.45pm ToryDiary: Ted Heath's house should be kept open for the nation

2pm WATCH: Darling tells BBC that Tory plan to cut spending now is "utter madness"

1pm Charlotte Vere on Seats and candidates: Stopping the Greens in Brighton

BackOnTrack ToryDiary: A ten point plan to put the Tory campaign back on track

Also on ToryDiary: Paul Goodman reviews David Willetts' 'The Pinch'

Shane Frith on Platform: It's time to expose the anti-capitalist green groups

Local government:

David Cooper on Seats and candidates: Reflections of an executive member in South Staffordshire on selecting a Tory candidate

Tory lead down to 5% in Telegraph/MORI poll - Yesterday evening's ToryDiary

27% of voters tell YouGov/ Sun that they might still change their minds - Yesterday evening's ToryDiary

The FT continues its series, profiling David Cameron

CameronOnTPS "Although friends say his instincts remain rightwing, the prevailing view is that [David Cameron] is an old-style Tory pragmatist, the type of politician that traditionally led the party before the more vigorous, ideologically driven Thatcher generation. As such, Mr Cameron is seen as interested primarily in securing power for his party, with his approach described variously as “compassionate”, “modern”, “liberal”, “centre-right” and – above all – “practical”." - FT

Both Labour and Tories hire debate advisers from USA - FT | Yesterday's ToryDiary

67% of business leaders prefer Osborne to Darling - Independent

"George Osborne's impressive Mais lecture suggests, thankfully, that we may be back to the Tory message of "austerity"" - Michael Brown in The Independent

Labour opts for bargain £4m campaign with no high street posters - Times

Gordon Brown not being honest about cuts, says Labour committee chairman - Guardian

Immigration is "out of control" - Daily Star | Yesterday's LeftWatch

Damian Green criticises "one-sided" BBC programme on immigration - Express

Almost 50,000 Health Service patients a year are dying while suffering from malnutrition in hospitals in England - Daily Mail

Professor David Kerr, one of the architects of Labour's NHS reforms, to become Conservative adviser - Times

The Charity Commission is investigating Christine Pratt's National Bullying Helpline - BBC

'No independence referendum in Alex Salmond's first term'

SALMOND ALEX "The minority Scottish National Party government published only a draft bill as it calculated a full bill would have been quickly killed by the pro-Union parties at Holyrood." - FT

"Alex Salmond has published yet another version of his independence referendum plan in an attempt to kept it alive during the general election campaign... Professor John Curtice, of Strathclyde University, said there was not enough time to organise a referendum before May 2011, the date of the next Holyrood elections... Annabel Goldie, Scottish Tory leader, said: “It is time for Alex Salmond to put up or shut up. If this is such a flagship policy for the SNP then why on earth doesn't Alex Salmond just introduce it to Parliament? Instead we get this persistent publicity campaign which just goes over and over the same old ground.”" - Telegraph

MPs in North West claim website has sent out Twitter messages in their names - Guardian

> WATCH: Harriet Harman tells Commons that her Twitter account was hacked

Building expensive wind turbines and other green energy investments will cost Britain €161bn by 2020 - Allister Heath in City AM

And finally... Times likens Nigel Farage to Alan Partridge

Alan-partridge460_795711c "In his rant at Mr Van Rompuy, Mr Farage boasted that “I can speak on behalf of the majority of British people in saying that we don’t know you, we don’t want you . . .” This newspaper did not want a leader of the European Council either. But no, Mr Farage, you do not speak for the majority of the British people. They would not dream of being so pathetically rude and neither do they relish being represented by the political equivalent of Alan Partridge." - Times leader

> Watch Nigel Farage compare EU President to "damp rag"


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25 Feb 2010 08:47:27

Thursday 25th February 2010

10.30pm ToryDiary: Tory lead down to 5% in Ipsos/MORI poll

10pm ToryDiary: Conservative lead is 6% again

9.30pm WATCH: Harriet Harman tells Commons that her Twitter account was hacked

6.30pm WATCH: Ann Widdecombe and Labour's Phil Woolas talk to Andrew Neil about immigration

5pm Alex Deane on CentreRight... is on the whale's side

HannanSpeaking3.30pm ToryDiary: Could Britain have an anti-tax revolution? Dan Hannan wants to get one going...

3pm Seats and candidates: Another survey confirms that Tory candidates are Thatcher's children (but against capital punishment and in favour of gay rights)

1pm Local government: At Boris' Question Time, Labour attack Opportunity Areas

12.15pm LeftWatch: Immigration is "out of control" under Labour, says Damian Green

11am Louise Bagshawe on CentreRight: "It's time for every Conservative candidate and activist to ignore polls that are all over the place and get ready - finally - to take this fight to Labour."

ToryDiary: Cameron recruits leading Obama advisers to rejuvenate final weeks of campaign

15558958-1 LeftWatch: Labour's NHS targets "needlessly" cost 1,200 lives in Staffordshire

Also on LeftWatch: Labour officials prepare to smear Samantha Cameron as "lazy"

Rachel Wolf on Platform: Why it is essential for our children that we follow the model of the American charter schools and Swedish free schools

Seats and candidates: First nine candidates standing under the joint UUP/Conservative banner selected

Local government:


WILLETTS READY 4 CHANGE David Willetts plans an all-age careers service to advise teenagers at school and people throughout their working lives - FT

Tim Loughton pledges to sweep away bureaucracy to free up frontline social workers to concentrate on protecting vulnerable children - Express

"Shadow chancellor George Osborne has promised that a Conservative government would work "flat out" to deal with the UK's budget deficit." - BBC

"[George Osborne's] Mais Lecture was 16 pages of sanity compared to the economic green ink brigade. Anyway, it's essential for the gilts market to hear Osborne say "we will make an early start" and then go on to confirm action for the first 100 days of a Tory government, which will include details of pay cuts across Whitehall departments, pay freezes for public sector workers, changes to public sector pensions including the pension age and then some in-year cuts, including reducing benefits for the better off, such as child tax credits." - Damian Reece in The Telegraph

"Mr Osborne is right to stick to his guns on the deficit. If only he could show similar boldness in making the moral case for lower taxes. The Tories have set out the right direction of travel on tax but need to display greater clarity of purpose. Their timidity could cost them dear." - Telegraph leader

In City AM, Allister Heath reminds us that benefits are at the heart of the deficit problem: "Michael Saunders of Citigroup reminds us that spending on benefits accounts for 13 per cent of GDP and 28 per cent of public spending, close to the peaks of the last 50 years. There are two main reasons: millions of middle class voters pay a lot of tax and get a lot of benefits; it would make more sense to cut both. And around 6m adults are on out-of-work benefits, a scandalous waste of resources for a supposedly civilised society. Any proper long-term plan to shrink the size of the state will have to find a way of moving millions of people stuck on welfare back into work. We desperately need to revolutionise the welfare state – as the next government will soon find out, cutting waste and freezing public sector pay simply won’t be enough."

The Conservatives and Ulster Unionist Party have agreed on nine of their joint General Election candidates - BBC

Benedict Brogan previews Tory energy plans

_45766413_benedict_brogan_teleg203 "Just as cash machines nearly stopped giving out cash, so we face a time when no electricity will come out of the socket. Unless the next government takes rapid, decisive and far-sighted action, the result will be catastrophic. As with the banks, we can see the disaster coming. Energy is too big to fail." - Benedict Brogan in The Telegraph

Unless the energy bill mandates tighter emissions standards for coal-fired power stations, the UK will miss its carbon-cut targets - Tim Yeo in The Guardian

The FT continues its profile of David Cameron with a focus on his time as 'spin doctor' for Carlton Communications

"“He did learn the ultimate politician’s trick, which is ubiquitous: they know how to bully. He learned from his time with Michael Howard, I think, and he wasn’t averse to using a little bit of muscle on journalists from time to time and sometimes, obviously, that’s counterproductive."" - FT

"Ian King, then business editor of The Sun, in an article in 2005 called Mr Cameron “a mendacious little creep”, but in a recent interview with the Financial Times he said: “I suppose the question is whether he is really the man I knew then or the one we see now. I am prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt.”" - FT

The Guardian continues its questioning of Andy Coulson

Coulson Andy PC3 "David Cameron's communications director, Andy Coulson, will come under fresh pressure to defend his editorship of the News of the World and his knowledge about the illegal activities of his journalists amid new allegations about the paper's involvement with private detectives who broke the law." - Guardian

Coulson could become a Tory liability - Alastair Campbell in The Guardian

The Conservatives have arranged to borrow up to £5 million from Arbuthnot Latham & Co - Times

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Conservatives raised more than twice as much money as Labour in the final quarter of 2009

Brown has failed not on character but on credibility - Nick Clegg in The Independent

Gordon Brown shouted 'you ruined my life' at Tony Blair - Guardian

Complaint over fundraising letter from ‘Friends of Speaker Bercow’ - Times

And finally...

Matthew Parris explains how Nadhim Zahawi, new Tory candidate for Stratford on Avon, got the better of him - Times


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