Graeme Archer on CentreRight: "The civility of the swimming pool depends on the unspoken assumption that no one individual will seek to dominate any lane. By looking out for the swimmer in front of me, if he or she does the same, the whole pool benefits and my own interests prosper more than they would in a more selfish pool." How multiple, overlapping, horizontal identities maximise freedom of choice for individuals, who define themselves by the actions they choose for themselves.
"A furious political row over homophobia intensified last night when the Conservatives accused two openly gay ministers of “stirring up hatred and division” after they claimed that many Tory MPs were homophobic… The Conservatives are keen to stress that their prospective election candidates include a number of gay people, including the party’s vice-chairman, Margot James, and that the next generation of Tory MPs will be more socially liberal. In a survey of 144 prospective parliamentary candidates in winnable seats for the ConservativeHome website, 62 per cent said that same-sex couples should be given the same benefits as married couples, while 31 per cent disagreed." – The Times
"I don't really care whether there will ever be a gay Prime Minister or which party they will be from. For all I know, we may have already had one. I do know that I am now thoroughly bored with writing on this subject. Which proves being gay is now accepted as normal – even by the homophobes. So let's cancel Gay Pride and "move on".- Michael Brown writing in The Independent
Alan Duncan calls Labour's homophobia accusations "a sick scare story" – Pink News
> Yesterday's post detailing the results of ConservativeHome's survey of candidates
Government and Opposition both plan "bonfire of quangos"
"The Treasury has called for a crackdown on quangos, which are costing taxpayers billions each year… David Cameron is also expected to announce his own “bonfire of the quangos” in a speech on Monday. “Taxpayers need to be sure they are getting value for money,” said a Conservative spokesman. “David Cameron has made it clear that he thinks there are too many of these non-accountable organisations.” – The Times
"George Osborne last night hit back at accusations that the Conservatives will come down hard on private equity firms if they win the next election. The Shadow Chancellor told the Mail it was never his intention to phase out the UK's favourable tax treatment of debt – the bedrock of the buyout industry. 'We are not considering the abolition of tax relief on debt interest. This is not our policy and it has never been our policy,' Osborne said." – Daily Mail
Grayling highlights "wholly inadequate" visa checks
"Officials are spending an average of just 11 minutes checking visa applications from Afghanistan and Pakistan, the Tories have claimed. The introduction of a new system for handling visas means only 11 entry clearance officers have processed more than 66,000 requests over seven months amounting to 43 applications each every day – or one every 11 minutes, the party said. Shadow home secretary Chris Grayling said the revelations showed the system was "wholly inadequate" but the Home Office said the calculations were "totally wrong". – Press Association
Hague condemns Iranian treatment of British embassy staff
"Iranian employees of the British Embassy in Tehran face the prospect of a show trial after the regime said that they had admitted conspiring against the Islamic Republic… The British Government said that the charges against the arrested local staff were “wholly without foundation” and William Hague, the shadow Foreign Secretary, called a show trial of British embassy staff in Tehran "utterly unacceptable". – The Times
"The death of the commanding officer of the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards has reignited the row over the lack of vital military equipment for British troops in Afghanistan. The Government has been accused of providing too few transport helicopters, forcing soldiers to travel by road, the main target of Taleban attacks… Liam Fox, the Shadow Defence Secretary, blamed the lack of helicopters on Mr Brown’s refusal to supply adequate funds for the campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan when he was Chancellor. “Gordon Brown denied the Armed Forces the funds they needed,” he said." – The Times
Matthew Parris: Victory is impossible in Afghanistan – The Times
The Telegraph accuses Alan Duncan over mortgage claims
"Alan Duncan, a senior Conservative MP, has claimed tens of thousands of pounds in mortgage interest on his designated second home – even though he had owned the property outright for more than a decade, The Daily Telegraph can disclose… Last night, the shadow minister admitted that he had switched the mortgage on his London home to the Rutland property in 2004. However, he explained that he had taken out a loan against his million-pound London town house to purchase the Rutland house in 1992." – Daily Telegraph
Tory peer hits back over expenses "smear"
"A Tory peer referred to the police over expenses says it is part of a campaign of "attacks and innuendo" by an MP. Lord Hanningfield claimed the unnamed MP was determined to "blacken my name" over education policy in Essex, where the peer is council leader." – BBC
"Politics can be exasperating. It is very different from business. My timing was not ideal, but you have to take the time God gives you and make the most of it. I would encourage people with a background in business to enter public life, but also to recognise that it is a different world requiring different talents. You can't just swan in and carry on as you would in the outside world… I would like to think if I was still in politics I could be a member of the shadow cabinet today, but my time as an elected politician is over" – Archie Norman interviewed in the Daily Telegraph
Ex-Mitterand adviser claims Thatcher was defeated at Fontainebleau
"Margaret Thatcher's famous budget rebate "victory" in Europe 25 years ago was actually a defeat which left her broken and in tears, it has been claimed. French economist Jacques Attali was a senior adviser to President Francois Mitterrand when Prime Minister Thatcher demanded "my money back" at an EU summit in Fontainebleau in 1984. Now 65, he says she lost the rebate battle because she had to accept only half of her "embarrassing" demands." – Press Association
Tories must prove they can be trusted with power
"The Opposition still has an electoral mountain to climb if it is to win power outright. It is by no means certain that the peak will be scaled. The public needs a clearer idea of the instincts and values that the Conservatives will bring to office. The party has been sound recently on the need for tough controls over spending and has made promising noises about the prospect of lower taxes. Yet it is not that long since David Cameron and George Osborne were talking about "sharing the proceeds of growth" and matching Labour's spending plans. " – Daily Telegraph editorial
Anne McElvoy: The Tories swing north
"Hazel Blears insists that there is no real Tory "empathy or understanding" with the north and that it is more resistant to a revival of Conservatism because of the long memories of 1980s hardship. But that isn't borne out by Ipsos-Mori's aggregated regional research, which we analysed for the programme. It shows the Conservatives outpolling Labour even more in the north-west than nationwide. So while Blears should hang on to her Salford fiefdom, neighbouring seats are much more endangered." – Anne McElvoy in The Guardian
Andrew Grice: Tories fear "scorched earth" policy by Government
"An incoming Tory government would hold a wide-ranging defence and national security review but senior Tories fear it could be pre-empted by defence contracts signed before the election. Ministers won't tell them what's going on. Similarly, the Tories fear ministers might approve huge IT contracts, for, among others, the police and the Flexible New Deal for the jobless, that might be virtually impossible to unstitch. The Tories are convinced they can save billions by switching from top-down super-computers to smaller but compatible networks." – Andrew Grice in The Independent
Labour may raise NI contributions to fund care homes – Independent
How Sarah Brown is raising her profile via Twitter – Guardian
Tony Blair appears in public with a black eye – The Sun
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