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Newslinks for Sunday 1st May 2011

Midnight WATCH: David Blunkett presents final No2AV broadcast

5pm ToryDiary: Tories send fundraising letter to 300,000 homes and roadtest key messages

3.00pm Local government: The battle for Torbay

12.45pm Local government: Cllr Richard Kemp should publish his LGA expenses

12.30pm LeftWatch: Chris Huhne accuses the Conservative Party of opposing "every change in our democracy"

11am WATCH: Tim Loughton MP gets "gunged" for charity

ToryDiary: "George Osborne has always said that if the Coalition lasts two years, it will make it for five years. All depends on Year Two."

Yesterday evening's ToryDiary: Is Britain a centre left country as Chris Huhne claims?

6a00d83550306a69e200e54f35689c8834-800wi Matthew Elliott on Comment: No2AV enters crucial final five days of the campaign

On Local government:

Extended essay on Cameron's first year in Number 10 - Anthony Seldon in The Sunday Times (£)

Cameron attacks "expensive" AV - The Sunday Telegraph

Screen shot 2011-05-01 at 08.28.45

The Prime Minister's full case against AV is made in an article for The Sunday Telegraph: "In the next few days ask yourself a few questions: do you want to switch to a voting system that is hopelessly unclear, unfair and indecisive? Do you want elections that are – as Churchill put it – “determined by the most worthless votes given for the most worthless candidates”? And do you want to rip up a valuable part of our constitution and centuries of British history for a system that is unpopular the world over? If the answer is no, make sure you get out to the polling station on 5th May – and vote no to AV."

Miliband Ed Official Miliband blames Clegg for likely defeat of AV, saying "Cleggphobia" should have meant Deputy PM stayed out of campaign - The Sunday Times (£)

"The Lib Dems will reel from an AV defeat and there will be dismay in their lower ranks. As Cameron’s old Oxford tutor in politics, Vernon Bogdanor, notes in his new book, The Coalition and the Constitution, “coalitions rot from the bottom up”, not the top down — though Vince Cable sometimes appears to be on a one-man mission to prove the professor wrong." - Martin Ivens in The Sunday Times (£)

Clegg blames Cameron for No2AV campaign's tactics

The Deputy PM interviewed in The Observer by Andrew Rawnsley: ""I kept my silence for weeks and weeks and weeks of ludicrous bilge being put out there [by the no to AV campaign] to dupe and to scare the British people." He "makes no apologies" for hitting back. "The yelling and screaming" from the anti-reformers is "the yelp" of people who can't accept that first past the post is bust and the two-party system is over. They "desperately want everything to be put back into its box". These "yelpers" and "screamers" include his frenemy, David Cameron. Clegg blames the prime minister for letting the campaign turn ugly. "David Cameron and George Osborne, a couple of months ago, became very worried that the right wing of the Conservative party would react very badly if AV wasn't defeated, and they decided to basically throw the kitchen sink at the referendum."

Cable and Huhne deploy anti-Tory message to encourage Yes vote

Cable Vince Yes "Labour, Lib Dem and Green supporters should ask themselves one simple question before they vote: why is it that the Conservatives are pulling out all the stops, with their millionaire backers pouring the contents of their coffers into the No campaign? It is because they know that the first-past-the-post system is stacked in their favour and they are determined to keep it." - Vince Cable in the Independent on Sunday

> Huhne's message was subject of last night's ToryDiary: Is Britain a centre left nation?

Don't be naive about the brutal desire driving the Tories' lust for power - Will Hutton in The Observer

James Forsyth: Cameron may not give Clegg Lords reform - Mail on Sunday

"David Cameron and Nick Clegg have decided against a "renewing of vows" ceremony following their bitter clash over the AV vote. The PM and his deputy had been urged to stage a repeat of last year's love-in at the rose garden of Number 10 to mark the coalition's first anniversary." - News of the World (£)

HAGUE WILLIAM NW Coalition in Brief:

  • NATO strikes kill Gaddafi son and three grandchildren, confirming targeting suspicions - Mail on Sunday
  • Hague has expressed concern at "credible" reports that more than 500 people have been killed in Syria - BBC
  • British Gas owner says it may stop flow from Britain's biggest gas field in response to Osborne’s surprise budget raid on North Sea firms - The Sunday Times (£)
  • Syrian tycoons, including an arms dealer with ties to the president, are Conservative backers to the tune of £740,000 - The Sunday Times (£)

Ed Miliband to say Coalition is "fundamentally unstable" and Tories have no mandate for NHS and economic reforms - Mail on Sunday

Scotland's warning for Ed Miliband


"Some of the shadow cabinet fear there is a wider lesson from the shock Labour collapse in Scotland, a lesson that Mr Miliband ought to heed. The fate of Scottish Labour demonstrates that playing safe is actually highly risky. There is great peril in boring leadership which does little more than mouth anti-government rhetoric and sit back on an opinion poll lead. Scotland shows how that can give an illusion of success which will evaporate at the moment of choice, especially when up against a wily and ruthless incumbent." - Andrew Rawnsley in The Observer

Scotland on Sunday reports that the latest YouGov poll shows the race tightening however.

Labour may gain 1,500 seats on Thursday with Conservatives losing 1,000 and the Lib Dems losing 500

"Lib Dem chiefs are braced for losing control of some of their prized northern councils including Newcastle upon Tyne and Hull. In Sheffield, where they are currently the largest party, control could pass back to Labour in what would be a significant psychological blow in the city which contains Mr Clegg's parliamentary seat." - The Sunday Telegraph

John Rentoul warns Labour not to underestimate the flexible Cameron...

Rentoul John "Cameron knows his history. He is not a right-wing Thatcherite bent on the destruction of everything that the Labour Party holds dear, but the opposite. He is a true Conservative who understands the party's genius for adaptation and survival. His is the Tory party that co-opted and swallowed the Liberal leadership in 1922 and 1931. His is the party that swivelled round with the minimum of fuss to support the Clement Attlee postwar welfare state and presided over its golden years in the 1950s." - John Rentoul in the Independent on Sunday

...But Toby Helm in The Observer says Cameron's "calm down, dear" remark retoxified his Eton brand.

  • "Cameron's "dear", with its sniff of de haut en bas, aimed foursquare at the "little woman". And as such links to other forms of diminution. Man-to-woman endearments have twin themes: the metaphorically edible and what Germaine Greer termed "the pretty toy words". Neither offer what one might consider "parliamentary language"." - Jonathon Green in the Independent on Sunday
  • "Angela Eagle is at the centre of intrigue over a sudden makeover which, according to some reports, has triggered her twin sister and fellow party frontbencher Maria into trying to catch up in the fashion stakes." - Mail on Sunday

Support grows for Chuka Umunna's idea to return Northern Rock to mutual sector - Observer

The notion that the royal family is above politics is arrant nonsense: Prepare for the reign of Charles the Meddler - Nick Cohen for The Observer

Cameron beats Boris Becker in charity tennis match - The Mail on Sunday has photographs

26 million Britons watched the Royal Wedding on TV - Sunday Express

And finally... Will AV even make Tim Farron work harder?

Tim farron02 "Lib Dem president Tim Farron claims the Alternative Vote would make MPs work harder. That’s pretty rich from Farron who, as a member of the Commons European Scrutiny Committee, has missed nearly all its 13 meetings this year. Dim Tim also blamed the first-past-the-post system for slavery. Really? Under AV, Abe Lincoln, who narrowly beat three pro-slavery candidates, would not have been US President and the slaves would have remained shackled." - Mail on Sunday's Black Dog



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