5.15pm Tim Montgomerie on CentreRight: "A shadow cabinet full of men married to other men or moonlighting in lucrative directorships will alienate voters"

4.45pm Paul Goodman on CentreRight: Britain’s religious leaders need to discourage global tensions boiling over here

4.15pm WATCH Ten minute defence of Israel’s actions from New York’s Mayor, Mike Bloomberg

3.45pm Parliament: Should Parliament be in recess for so long over Christmas?

3.30pm Seats and candidates: Leaked Tory memo hints at extra care for female and ethnic minority candidates

3.15pm Parliament: Is lobbying regulated adequately?

3.15pm Andrew Lilico on CentreRight: Polling evidence on the teaching of creationism in schools

Spelman_caroline_nw3pm ToryDiary: ‘Spelman in the clear’

2pm Peter Whittle on CentreRight: Cormac Murphy O’Connor’s views are as crazy as his name

On Local government today:


SiralanwaltersEamonn Butler on Platform: Alan Walters provided an intellectual underpinning for Margaret Thatcher’s economic policies

Seats and candidates: Search for 100 Peers: Rod Bluh

Merkel_angela_2 International: Merkel agrees to €50 billion stimulus package

Graeme Archer on CentreRight: "I was so incensed that there could be people alive who could not understand Thatcherite logic (control money supply, defeat inflation, ditto Scargill, lower taxes, Laffer curves, the lot), incensed in the way only a 15 year old can be, incensed to the extent that I would lie awake at night, grinding my teeth, aghast at the absurdities broadcast by The World Tonight, that I joined the North Ayrshire Young Conservatives. And then spent 23 years losing, gradually, bit by bit, almost all of that youthful certainty…"

 "More than 20 million savers and pensioners would be better off under a £4.1 billion package of tax cuts unveiled by David Cameron"Telegraph

"At last! Cameron pledges to help 20m ‘innocent victims’ of recession" – A big Daily Mail welcome to Tory tax announcement

"The Mail warmly welcomes his proposals. For isn’t it downright immoral that prudent savers are suffering, while the Government spends billions on bailing out reckless spenders and borrowers?" – Mail leader

"Tory leader David Cameron wants to scrap tax on savings for poor pensioners. This is a trend to be encouraged." – The Sun Says

The Telegraph: Labour should pinch Tory ideas on saving

"This is an important step in the right direction which will, we hope, lead to even more radical measures to limit the reach and cost of the state. Clearly, Mr Cameron is in no position to enact these measures – yet. It is not, however, unknown for Labour to steal the Tories’ best policies. Well, there’s a Budget in a few months – and these plans are well worth pinching." – Telegraph leader

Cut taxes now and spending (a lot more) later

"The idea behind the proposal – cut taxes and pay for them with large-scale cuts to public spending – is quite right. The timing is wrong. The tax cuts should come first, alongside a proposal to make more swingeing cuts to the state in 2010 or 2011 when the recession is over." – Richard Fletcher in The Telegraph

Polly Toynbee: Labour won’t be able to tell people that Keynesianism worked

"The Confederation of British Industry, the International Monetary Fund and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development all urge Keynesian policies, with Barack Obama leading the way. Labour’s serious problem is that no one will ever be able to prove whether what they did worked: if the recession is less deep, were these debts really necessary?" – Polly Toynbee in The Guardian

Despite sharp rhetoric there aren’t yet big differences between Labour and the Conservatives – Must-read from Steve Richards in The Independent

On debt and against the bishops Gordon Brown is on the wrong side of moral arguments – Iain Martin in The Telegraph

The similarities between David Cameron and Alex Salmond – Alan Cochrane in The Telegraph

Scottish Tories recruit STV journalist Michael Crow as new Strategy DirectorThe Herald

Crow_michael Wiki profile | Watch him in action here

Commenting on the appointment, Andrew Fulton, Scottish Conservative Chairman, said: “I am delighted Michael has agreed to come on board as our Director of Strategy and Communications. As a journalist for fifteen years Michael brings with him a huge amount of media and political experience. He has worked for STV at both Westminster and Holyrood and is well respected by members of all political parties and his colleagues in the media.”

Nick Clegg’s troubles

"Nick Clegg presided over a recent Liberal Democrat shadow cabinet meeting that one participant compared with “a village fête in the pouring rain where everyone fixes smiles like the sun is shining”." – Alex Barker in the FT overviews difficult times for the LibDems

Declining US confidence in Britain’s Armed Forces is the biggest threat to the special relationship – Rachel Sylvester in The Times


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