11.15am Two CentreRight posts on the NHS:
- Alex Deane provides some stats
- Graeme Archer: "If #welovethenhs is the end of the debate, what, really, is the point of politics?"
11am SPECIAL SURVEY: What do you think of Alan Duncan?
- "Thatcherism back in Town Halls"
- Nick Seaton: £633 million could be saved on school quangos
- In the third part of his series on localism, Lord Hanningfield urges powers for councils to hold local referenda
- David Cameron's office refuses to give a statement of full support for Alan Duncan to Channel 4 News
- Fox News' Bill O'Reilly explains why support for Obama's health reforms is sliding
Daily Mail says Alan Duncan still doesn't "get it"
"Alan Duncan's political career was hanging in the balance last night after he complained MPs are forced to live on 'rations'. The multi-millionaire Tory was secretly filmed moaning about how MPs have been treated following the expenses scandal." – Daily Mail
"Alan Duncan’s future in the Shadow Cabinet was in the balance last night after he was forced to apologise for claiming that MPs were living on rations because of the expenses row. Senior Conservatives said that David Cameron’s firm stance on the expenses scandal risked being undermined after Mr Duncan, the Shadow Leader of the Commons, was taped saying that MPs had been “treated like s***” in recent months." – Times
> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Alan Duncan caught on secret video saying that MPs are treated like "s**t"
> Yesterday's CentreRight from Paul Goodman MP: Be afraid, candidates: The YouTube election is coming
Michael Gove: Schools are struggling to cope after being “swamped” by almost 4,000 pages of Government guidance every year – Telegraph
"More than £600m a year could be shaved off England's schools budget by scrapping some of the biggest education quangos, key advisers will tell the Tories today. The Centre for Policy Studies, a right-of-centre thinktank that influences Tory policy, has calculated that a Conservative government could save £633m if it abolished at least eight quangos, including the exams watchdog and regulator." – Guardian
Warning against lobbyists' Tory-hiring frenzy – Politics.co.uk
Osborne and Mandelson are smart political strategists, compulsive gossips and share a taste for high-living – Paul Vallely in The Independent
Fraser Nelson praises George Osborne's "perfect positioning" on Labour's lawn
"The Prime Minister is happy with Conservatives talking about efficiency and the ability of the market to allocate resources more effectively than the state. But he hates it when the Tories park their tanks on his red lawn, talking about the ‘broken society’, and considers it outright theft when men of the right like Mr Duncan Smith dare to speak of ‘social justice’. Never before has Labour faced such a sustained Tory assault on what it regards as its heartland issues. And given Labour’s appalling record on poverty, the governing party is ill-placed to defend itself from such an attack." – Fraser Nelson in The Spectator
James Forsyth profiles 'the Tory candidate from Kabul'
James Forsyth in The Spectator on Rory Stewart, the ex-Black Watch officer who wants to become a Conservative MP: "The entry of Stewart into Tory politics threatens to highlight the two big hidden splits in Cameron’s party. On foreign policy, there is a significant tension between the party’s neoconservative wing and the more realist faction. In opposition, this has been kept under wraps — the hawkish George Osborne said wryly on Tuesday that he and his fellow hawk Michael Gove ‘stay silent on foreign policy issues’ — but in government it may well burst open. The other is on how to integrate the Muslim community within Britain… There are worries that he represents the ‘empire comes home’ approach to dealing with Muslim communities, which emphasises squaring religious leaders rather than integration."
Dame Vera Lynn says Britain’s Afghan campaign makes no sense – Times
Empty shops to become community centres under Labour scheme – Telegraph
'The economic recovery will vindicate Thatcherism'
"I would venture a prediction: five or ten years hence, we will conclude that the countries that recovered most strongly and durably from the 2007-09 recession were those whose economies were the most flexible, the most able to seek out new opportunities and to shift resources from dud old sectors to new ones — which means more liberal countries, such as Britain and America." – Bill Emmott in The Times
Matthew (Mr Parris) doesn't like politicians addressing each other with first names: "I’ve lost count of the times I’ve heard Michael Gove — a Tory normally so ceremoniously polite that one can imagine him addressing his wife as “Mrs Gove” at breakfast — call his opposite number, the Schools Secretary, Ed Balls, “Ed”. Michael (oops — there I go) was at it again recently, with his “Ed says this” and “Ed claims that”. Anyone would think they’d moved in together. On the radio Lord Mandelson has started calling the Radio 4 interviewer Evan Davis “Evan”. The habit is intended either to be subtly disparaging, or to imply that both men know that the interview is only a game. When I started political broadcasting, my instructions were to resist all temptation to reciprocate politicians’ familiarity with first names. “The public don’t like it,” I was advised. I still think that’s right." – The Times
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