7.15pm WATCH Condoleezza Rice vowing to work hard on arranging a ceasefire in Gaza

5pm Tim Montgomerie on CentreRight: "Mr Bush has done much more for Africa than Bill Clinton ever did."

Cameroninradiointerview_23pm ToryDiary: David Cameron calls for "a more ethical capitalism"

2.30pm Two posts from Andrew Lilico on CentreRight:

1.45pm Jonathan Isaby on CentreRight: What is the point of having two classes of mail?

Osborneandrewmarr_212.15pm ToryDiary: George Osborne reacts to the gloomy economic news of the first working day of 2009

11.15am Local Government: Pay-as-you-throw shunned

10.30am Ridley Grove on CentreRight: The climate change industry becomes simultaneously more sensible and more crazy

ToryDiary: Dominic Grieve begins 2009 by calling for a return to "common sense" policing

Cllr David Meikle in Local Government on being the only Tory councillor in Glasgow

Seats and Candidates Search for 100 Peers: Richard Balfe

Liam Fox: How the EU is affecting defence policy

"Gordon Brown was wrong when he told the House of Commons recently that the Lisbon Treaty "in no way affects our defence policy". At the start of what may be a dangerous year for global security, perhaps he should read it more closely. On defence, the treaty gives the EU Commission more influence than ever. The debate is not about whether the treaty affects our defence policy but how far it pushes us from an intergovernmental policy to a supranational one." – Liam Fox writing in the Daily Telegraph

A vast majority of Britons still oppose joining the euro

"The sharp fall in the pound against the euro over the past six months
has not led to an upsurge in British support for joining the euro, a
poll has found. Some 71% of people are against entering the European
single currency, with only 23% in favour, according to the ICM survey
for BBC Radio 4’s the World At One." – Guardian

Married couples "punished by tax system"

"Married couples are thousands of pounds worse off than parents who do not live together under the tax and benefits system, according to a report by an influential think tank. Despite Gordon Brown’s pledge to support "hard working families", those who marry or set up home together and establish a stable family are up to 20 per cent poorer, the Civitas study shows." – Daily Telegraph

Gas crisis threatens Britain’s supplies

"Britain’s energy supplies were at risk last night after Russia moved to cut off a main gas line… Shadow Energy Secretary Greg Clark warned that the UK was especially vulnerable to turbulence in gas supplies because of 10 years of Government inaction to increase gas storage capacity: “Germany has 99 days of gas storage capacity, France has 122 days, while Britain has just 15 days,” he said. “As a result, British consumers pay the price because we are more exposed to volatile gas prices than our neighbours." – Daily Express

Hague demands answers over suggestion that Britain will take Guantánamo suspects

“The foreign secretary must explain urgently whether this is true, how many Guantánamo inmates would be admitted to Britain, by what criteria they would be selected, and what assurances would be given about their behaviour in the future,” – William Hague quoted in the FT

Councils refuse to impose pay-as-you-throw charge on families hit by credit crunch

"If councils and householders are against the scheme, Labour’s promise to give more powers to local people seems a distant murmur. We want to see people rewarded for doing the right thing, not bullied into being green." – Peter Ainsworth quoted in the Daily Mail

Michael Brown: Of the party leaders, Cameron has most to smile about this year

"The pain of unemployment will outweigh any minority "feel-good" factor… Against such a background it is hard to see how Mr Cameron can fail to make significant progress during the coming year. Two crucial mid-term electoral tests give him huge opportunities to consolidate the gains he made in London and local councils last year." – Michael Brown writing in the Indpendent

The tests for Boris in 2009

"The first big test of 2009 for London mayor Boris Johnson comes today as above-inflation fare rises kick in – but a closer look at his record shows the man once seen as a potential embarrassment is becoming a force to be reckoned with… Johnson is not to be trifled with. Britain’s most powerful Tory will not find 2009 easy. Yet he may prove to be a less soft and a more elusive target than many had expected last spring." – Dave Hill in the Guardian

Clear dividing lines have been drawn for the political battle of 2009

"Usually, there is little of interest in the New Year messages from Britain’s party leaders. They tend to be an unremarkable aggregation of familiar sound-bites and vague policy aspirations. But this year the messages serve to set out some unusually clear dividing lines between the mainparties, particularly on the question of how the country ought to be responding to the recession." – Independent editorial

More coverage of ConservativeHome’s latest reader survey

Independent | Daily Mirror | Daily Star

> Yesterday’s ToryDiary

Damian Green row has made it tougher for police to obtain warrantsDaily Telegraph

Scottish Tories demand sunset clauses on regulationsScotsman

Government may propose public votes on punishments for offendersGuardian

Government launches new anti-obesity driveIndependent

Mandelson’s return delays publication of ministers’ interestsTimes

3.5m records on Government’s tax database are wrongDaily Mail

Central Office of Information was the UK’s biggest advertiser in 2008 Daily Telegraph

And finally… Tony Blair "jokes" that the economic boom was "luck"

"Tony Blair has risked infuriating Gordon Brown by joking that the economic boom during his spell as Chancellor was down to luck. The PM is unlikely to see the funny side of his predecessor’s quip made to students in America. Mr Blair told students at Yale University where he lectures: “We had ten years of record growth when I was PM. I have, unfortunately, come to the conclusion it was luck.” But his spokesman last night insisted he made a “self-deprecating joke in response to a comment praising the handling of the economy while he was Premier”.  – The Sun


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