11.15am Charlie Elphicke on CentreRight: Hazel Blears' resignation has really done it for Gordon Brown
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Stephan Shakespeare: We need a Union for voters
"Big business was once all-powerful and workers had few rights. Labour unions were established to change that, helping workers to achieve better pay and conditions and a more balanced distribution of social power. Today, power is again unevenly distributed. It has shifted towards the centralised state. In the coming year the public sector will spend about half of the nation's income. Government has acquired enormous surveillance powers. More and more laws are passed, with big implications for the way we all live. But while the state has grown, our democratic culture has almost shrivelled up… It's time for a new movement that will give voters more powers. That new movement is called the National Union of Voters and it is launching online today. Every British voter can join and every member will have an equal say in deciding the union's reform manifesto." – Stephan Shakespeare in The Telegraph
> Click here to join the Union of Voters and take part in its manifesto survey.
Labour in meltdown
The Guardian calls on Brown to go: "The truth is that there is no vision from him, no plan, no argument for the future and no support. The public see it. His party sees it. The cabinet must see it too, although they are not yet bold enough to say so. The prime minister demands loyalty, but that has become too much to ask of a party, and a country, that was never given the chance to vote for him."
But will he go? Daniel Finkelstein in The Times: "It is very probable that Labour will achieve such a bad result tomorrow that the party will be jolted. It is very probable that in the next week one or more Labour MPs may announce that it is time for Mr Brown to go. It is very probable that Mr Brown could be forced out if there were a revolt. But for all three things to happen? That's a great deal less probable."
"William Hague, the shadow Foreign Secretary, said the Government seemed to be in a state of collapse. "They have lost the authority and unity and confidence to actually govern the country," he said." – Quoted by The Independent
"The collapse of morale sweeping Labour ranks was laid bare yesterday when Jacqui Smith, the home secretary, and Tom Watson, one of Gordon Brown's closest political allies, revealed that they were quitting the government during a chaotic day that often appeared to be spiralling out of Downing Street's control." – Guardian
Labour backbencher Ian Gibson has been barred from standing for the party at the next general election – BBC
Government's £285m Mortgage Rescue Scheme helps just TWO families – Daily Mail
The Times: Vote Conservative
"The future of a viable EU surely lies in concentrating on those issues, such as the response to climate change and the need to secure energy supplies, on which co-ordinated work between governments is vital. That means it needs to spend a lot less time on pointless internal deliberation designed to cement power centrally, of which the Lisbon Treaty is an example. The Conservative Party has the only manifesto which contains both these defining ideas. On that basis it merits support in tomorrow's election. But the bigger issue is, in fact, whether an increased Conservative presence in Strasbourg can make any difference in finding a purpose for the European Parliament which, just at the moment, it palpably lacks." – Times leader
The Guardian has ANOTHER go at the Tories' new European allies
"Global warming is a lie, homosexuality is a "pathology" and Europe is becoming a "neo-totalitarian" regime, according to one of David Cameron's new European allies. Tory headquarters may never have heard of Urszula Krupa, a militant Roman Catholic and strong Polish nationalist, but at the weekend in Warsaw, Cameron sealed his new alliance in Europe with Krupa's rightwing party in Poland, the opposition Law and Justice party (PiS) run by twin brothers Jaroslaw and Lech Kaczy´nski. Cameron went to the city's Palladium cinema to stand alongside Jaroslaw Kaczy´nski, the PiS leader, and Mirek Topolánek, leader of the Civic Democratic party (ODS) in the Czech Republi
c, to celebrate the foundation of a new league of Eurosceptics to be established in the European parliament after elections for the assembly this weekend." – Guardian
"Business groups on Tuesday criticised David Cameron’s decision to pull the Conservative party out of the mainstream centre-right European parliament group after Thursday’s elections." – FT
Andrew Alexander: Cameron is a dodger, not a reformer
"If he thought EU membership was damaging to British interests, he says, he would oppose our membership. But it does not do that. It is good for Britain, so he insists. There you have it. Here is a man who will never let it be thought that, however much the EU rejects his promise to return significant powers from Brussels, he won't ever use the crucial negotiating lever of threatening to leave. He is a dodger by nature, as he has always been one of politics' blatant opportunists. Sadly, he is not even a very good opportunist, since he could save money and cut household bills by leaving the EU. But that would be contrary to the views of the smart set in which he makes his political home." – Andrew Alexander in the Daily Mail
Alex Salmond laughs off Tory attack on his use of expenses – Express
Angela Merkel blasts Bank of England for printing money – Daily Mail
"The Policy Exchange has advised the next government that it must be prepared to make radical and immediate cuts to spending plans or face a serious risk of a full-scale sovereign debt crisis. In a new paper, it has also shown that only a third of the impending surge in government spending can be traced back to measures intended to combat the recession, with the rest going on increased budgets for ballooning government departments." – Telegraph
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