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6.45pm WATCH: Legal commentator Joshua Rozenberg gives his take on today’s Abu Qatada ruling

6pm WATCH: Gordon Brown tells monthly press conference that the world must "work together" to tackle the credit crunch

Picture_35pm ToryDiary: Theresa May commends companies who encourage
flexible working and says the Government should consider opening Job
Centres in the evenings and at weekends

4.45pm ToryDiary: Is David Cameron a secret radical?

4.30pm Andrew Lilico on CentreRight: Freedom of speech includes the freedom to be gratuitously rude and the right to incite non-violvent hatred

3.45pm Jonathan Isaby on CentreRight: Which soap characters vote Conservative?

3.45pm Local Government: More reaction for Council Tax cuts list

2pm Mark Field on CentreRight: The fallacy of British jobs for British workers

12.30pm ToryDiary: Theresa May answers your questions on pensions and women

Noon JP Floru on CentreRIght: In defence of social climbing

9.45am Alex Deane on CentreRight: Statistics of the Day – the American "Bailout package"

ToryDiary posts:

Stuart Carroll on Platform: The NHS Postcode Lottery – It Could Be You

Seats and Candidates Search for 100 Peers: Janet Daley

Local Government:

AmericaInTheWorld: Obama announces 17,000 more troops for Afghanistan

WATCH:

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Osborne accuses Government of "too little, too late" on RBS bonuses

"Royal Bank of Scotland has cut its payout of cash bonuses by 90 per cent from £1bn to the legal minimum after the Government attempted to defuse the political row over pay… George Osborne, the shadow Chancellor, said: “The Government has finally been dragged into acting on bonuses but once again it is too little too late. David Cameron said at the weekend that all cash bonuses over £2,000 should be stopped in the banks that have been bailed out. If need be, the Government should be prepared to defend that decision in court.” – Independent

Reaction to Conservative plans to decentralise local government

"The public, and the Government, will probably be too distracted by the economic situation to give the Conservatives’ plans for power, set out yesterday in a new policy paper, "Control Shift", the attention they deserve. That is a shame, because they have the potential to do something extremely rare: not just to change the way this country is run, but to improve it." – Daily Telegraph editorial

"In his latest discourse on localism, in these pages yesterday, Cameron repeated that his heart is still close to home and hearth. But they all say that. His much spun "radical power shift" from centre to locality is merely a rehash of his last one. He wants an "end to one-size-fits-all solutions dispensed from the centre … to give local councils more power and more responsibility." So do we all. But it means giving them freedom over resources, and Cameron does not want that, probably because his shadow chancellor, George Osborne, is a card-carrying Treasury centralist." – Simon Jenkins in The Guardian

> Yesterday’s ToryDiary on the proposals

Scottish Tories want elected mayors too

"Scotland’s Tories yesterday followed David Cameron’s lead and called for elected mayors to be introduced north of the border to improve local accountability… In Scotland, the Tories want to see the mayoral system adopted in local government, especially after proportional representation has led to so many hung councils and minority administrations." – The Herald

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Disaster for Brown as Tories open up 20-point poll lead

"Gordon Brown was dealt a huge blow today as a poll showed the Tories have opened up a 20-point lead over Labour. The Ipsos/MORI survey also shows a decline in the Prime Minister’s personal ratings since the start of the year as the economic turbulence facing the country deepens. It puts the Conservatives up four points on 48 per cent while Labour dropped two points to  28" – Daily Express

> Yesterday’s ToryDiary on the poll

Tories may drop Government’s over-optimistic child poverty target

"Over three million children will be living in poverty in the United Kingdom by 2020 as the recession pushes hundreds of thousands more families onto the breadline, economists predict today… The Tories said the report showed that the Government’s “one-dimensional” approach to tackling poverty had failed. “Simply relying on means-tested benefits to address the symptoms of poverty is an unsustainable approach,” said Theresa May, shadow Work and Pensions Secretary. “Instead we must tackle the root causes of poverty, such as educational failure, family breakdown, drug abuse, indebtedness and crime." Privately the Tory party has confirmed it is looking at dropping the 2020 target. Their priority is to get people into work, which would give them “long term independence”, rather than pouring money into the tax credit system, which introduce perverse incentives, they claim." – The Times

What does the coming of Cameron mean for Scots?

"David Cameron grows bolder by the day, and who can blame him? His economic prescriptions might be a little hard to swallow. He might have the sound, now and then, of a man trying to sell sun hats in a snowstorm. His popularity might be a purely regional phenomenon. But British politics has long been an asymmetrical business. A failure to win Scottish hearts has never been a bar to Downing Street. Is that last fact a problem for Mr Cameron?" – Ian Bell writing in The Herald

The Government has abandoned its ideas on schools, crime and local power – and the Conservatives are picking them up

"Behaving like an Opposition, Labour defined itself against what the Tories said. So it is that Labour now finds itself just to the left of sensible on everything. It feels better there, without the company of Conservatives. But the comfort zone will be lonely. It is no coincidence that the Blair Government slowly came to the same conclusions on public service reform that the Major Government had come to. A decade of trying to flog improvement from the centre ends in the conclusion that nothing more can be done that way." – Tony Blair’s former speech writer Philip Collins writing in The Times

Stelzer
Irwin Stelzer: Britain can be fixed – but not by a PM who wants to save the world

"It is a pity that Gordon Brown has decided to substitute truculence for calm reason when confronted by his critics. For my guess is that when the history of the Brown era is written, he will realise that his defensiveness; his unwillingness to admit a single error; his dishonest effort to paint the Tories as a do-nothing party, despite the fact that some of their ideas were so sound that he filched them, detracted from his real accomplishments." – Irwin Stelzer writing in the Daily Telegraph

Labour to begin organising in Northern Ireland

"Labour will take the first steps to fight elections in Northern Ireland next week, when it formally constitutes itself as a local political party at the first meeting of the province’s constituency association. The move follows a Conservative party initiative to link up with Ulster Unionists to contest the general election on a joint ticket." – FT

MI5 fed questions to CIA for interrogation of Guantanamo detainee

"MI5 provided the CIA with material to interrogate Binyam Mohamed, the former UK resident at the centre of torture allegations, even though it had no idea where he was being held and in what condition he was in, it emerged yesterday." – Guardian

> Yesterday’s ToryDiary: William Hague demands answers from Miliband over alleged Guantanamo torture cover-up

"Humiliation" for Tessa Jowell as her estranged husband is sentenced to jailTelegraph

£34bn cost of state-run surveillance databasesTimes

Millions face pay freeze as inflation hits 50-year lowTelegraph

Harman accused of plotting to succeed BrownIndependent

Best friend of Stephen Lawrence bidding to become Lib Dem councillorTimes

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9 comments for: Wednesday 18th February 2009

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