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Astatement
4.45 Tim Montgomerie on CentreRight: A Statement of Conservatism

4.15pm WATCH: Government advisers recommend technology that automatically restricts cars to speed limit

3.15pm ToryDiary: Moment of 2008

12.30pm ToryDiary: Frontbencher of 2008

11.30am ToryDiary: Cameron promises to keep to his gentler, greener conservatism in New Year message

10.30am Tim Montgomerie on CentreRight: "2008 was the best year for socialism since 1917"

ToryDiary: Backbencher of 2008

Local government: Eric Pickles plans purge of ‘Town Hall fat cats’

Cllr Merrick Cockell on Local government: Parents, not the state, should decide if their children are placed on a national database.

Tim Montgomerie on CentreRight: Caroline Kennedy is bidding to succeed Hillary Clinton as New York’s junior Senator, you know.

WATCH:

Grant Shapps highlights householders’ fears about mortgage and rent payments

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"Yesterday the Tories seized on an opinion poll showing that 44% of mortgage holders are worried about being able to meet their
mortgage payments over the next year. The YouGov survey also found that
47% of local authority and housing association tenants and 41% of private tenants are worried about being able to afford
their rent. Grant Shapps, the Tory spokesman on housing, said:
"Householders up and down the country and in every kind of housing are
now concerned, as never before, about their ability to maintain a roof
over their heads over the next 12 months." – Independent | Iain Dale

PDF of Grant Shapps’ ‘The New Homeless’ report

Michael Gove: 15,000 teachers go sick everyday

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"Teachers are calling in sick at the rate of 15,000 a day. Almost three million working days were lost last year, up from 2.5million in 1999. Some 311,000 teachers took at least one day off. Tories called the official figures ‘very worrying’, linking them with mounting bureaucracy and disruptive classroom behaviour." – Daily Mail

ConservativeHome comment: "This story is the splash in the Daily Mail. Yesterday James Brokenshire’s knife crime story was the front page headline in The Sun. Eric Pickles’ story on Labour’s plans to tax ‘nice neighbourhoods’ led Boxing Day’s Daily Telegraph. All good ‘Christmas holiday period’ work by our frontbench."

William Hague defends his outside interests

"Some people want politics to be totally professionalised, and for politicians to be nothing other than politicians for every single second of their lives. I have written books on history, on Pitt and Wilberforce. I think it is a net gain to politics for some of us to have interests of that kind." – The Shadow Foreign Secretary quoted in the Daily Mail

Tory grassroots want David Davis and Ken Clarke back on frontbench

Stories in The Independent and Guardian note yesterday’s ConservativeHome poll of party members.

‘Better the devil you don’t know’ when it comes to election chances

"The Conservatives’ greatest asset is that they are not in power. Fortunately for them, their greatest asset almost certainly trumps their greatest liability, which is that few voters have any idea how the Tories will comport themselves if and when they regain power. For the foreseeable future, the devil that voters don’t know looks like being more attractive than the one they do." – Anthony King in The Telegraph

Gordon Brown has re-iterated his opposition to any change in the law on assisted dyingBBC

"In addressing their lectures to Mr Brown, rather than their own errant flock, the Bishops are moral cowards." – Dominic Lawson in The Independent

Peter Oborne quotes some Cicero

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"Writing more than 2,000 years ago, a Roman politician made the following observation: ‘The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance.’  These words were uttered by Cicero in 55BC. Today they are every bit as apposite." – Peter Oborne in the Daily Mail

Thirty years ago… James Callaghan attempted to stop Margaret Thatcher attending anniversary of suffragette movement

"Secret papers released after 30 years show how Labour tried to sideline opposition leader Margaret Thatcher on the anniversary of universal suffrage." – BBC

Saatchi & Saatchi’s Labour Isn’t Working poster caused "consternation" in Labour government – Times

Parallels between Blair and Obama

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"Like Obama, he was a highly pedigreed lawyer who ran as a post-partisan change candidate. Like Obama, he broke years of what seemed, to progressives, like interminable conservative rule. Like Obama, he was nonconfrontational in style, charismatic without heat (reedy frame, wide-caliber smile), and idealistic without being ideological. His speeches also inspired and rang with logic. International leaders also embraced him and saw his victory as the dawn of a new era. The weight of the world and his own country’s expectations rode heavily, too, on his shoulders." – New York Magazine

And finally… Sarah Palin’s daughter has baby boyNY Daily News

Samuel Huntingdon, Author of Clash of Civilisations, RIPReihan Salam

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