8pm WATCH: Eight Reasons Why Big Government Hurts Economic Growth from the Center for Freedom and Prosperity Foundation

5.30pm WATCH: Gen Sir Richard Dannatt says that the aim of the war in Afghanistan is to ensure that the country does not return to being a failed state

5pm Martin Parsons on CentreRight: The Defence Secretary MUST resign over his attack on the head of the army

4.30pm Seats and Candidates: John Lamont MSP selected for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk

FOX3.15pm Parliament: The long recess means Liam Fox again has to resort to letter-writing in place of asking parliamentary questions about Afghanistan

2pm Tim Montgomerie on CentreRight: #LabourNotUsingNHS

1pm Seats and Candidates update: Anne McIntosh facing deselection vote in Thirsk and Malton Updated with text of press release sent out this morning by Anne McIntosh

12.45pm Tom Greeves on CentreRight: "Independent" candidates should be scrutinised like anyone else

Picture 112.30pm Parliament: Tory frontbench peer suggests that describing
lap-dancers as "sex encounter workers" is "prejudicial, dangerous and

Noon Paul Goodman MP on CentreRight: Why heretical challengers of orthodoxies like Daniel Hannan are indispensable to progress

11.45am Tim Montgomerie on CentreRight: Ten Commandments for MPs

11am Peter Franklin on CentreRight notes a warning to David Cameron not to repeat President Obama's mistakes

ToryDiary: Labour's latest salvo in the NHS "debate" is pathetic and smacks of desperation

Syed Kamall MEP on Platform: How tomorrow's African leaders think a Conservative Government could usefully spend its international aid budget

Seats and Candidates Diary of a PPC: Alan Wright hits the ground running in his first full week as PPC for Hartlepool

Lewis Robinson in Local Government: How Southwark Tories are punching above their weight

WATCH: Lord Howell tells the Royal Commonwealth Society that the Commonwealth is underfunded and under-appreciated

LISTEN: Tim Montgomerie and Dr Tim Bale discuss whether the Conservative Party has changed under David Cameron on last night's Westminster Hour

GOVE MICHAEL RED TIE More on Conservative plans to overhaul the system of exams and league tables

"An overhaul of school league tables to give more weight to A-level performance in maths and physics is being planned by the Conservatives… The proposals, outlined by the shadow Schools Secretary Michael Gove, would see schools ranked on a new point-scoring system at both A-level and GCSE which would give more weight to "academic" subjects such as maths and physics at A-level. The old ranking based on the percentage of pupils getting five A*- to C-grades at GCSE (including maths and English) would go." – The Independent

"Soft-touch school subjects like hairdressing and media studies will be drastically curbed under radical Tory plans unveiled yesterday… Mr Gove also warned that brighter pupils were not being stretched by GCSE exams because league tables reflected only numbers getting over the borderline pass grade between D and C. Mr Gove said: “The truly brighter students aren’t being stretched because there’s no emphasis on getting people from a B to an A or an A to an A star.” – Daily Express

"A survey of 150 A-level teachers by the thinktank Civitas found none believed the rise in A-level grades was due to students becoming brighter, with most blaming changes in assessment and teaching that allowed students to re-sit exams and made classes more focused on exams." – The Guardian

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Michael Gove plans "major overhaul" of exams and league tables to tackle the "deterioration of standards"

Unsurprisingly, Michael Gove disagrees with Dan Hannan on the NHS

"Shadow schools secretary Michael Gove insisted it was "complete nonsense" to suggest he personally did not back the health service after a Sunday newspaper reported he and other senior Tories are listed with MEP Daniel Hannan as co-authors of a book Direct Democracy which criticises the NHS… "One of the great things about Dan (Hannan] is that he generates some fantastic ideas, and some ideas that I do not agree with," Mr Gove said. "I value some of the ideas that Dan has brought, but I emphatically do not agree with him on the NHS." – The Scotsman

Phillip Johnston: The NHS, and the rest of the public sector, must not be immune to criticism

"What is it about politics in this country that anyone who challenges the prevailing orthodoxies is howled down? They are traduced and dismissed as barmy, never to be taken seriously, even if there is some good sense to what they say. The latest to be banished to this nether world of eccentrics is MEP Daniel Hannan, who writes for the Telegraph. He dared to question the consensus on the funding and structure of the NHS. After all, what could possibly be wrong with an institution established more than 60 years ago in the aftermath of war and whose delivery has hardly been reformed in the meantime? Well, quite a lot, actually" – Philip Johnston writing in the Daily Telegraph

Bruce Anderson: Alan Duncan and Dan Hannan both told the truth – but David Cameron had no choice but to slap them down

"Alan Duncan was right to warn of the dangers of nationalising Parliament. He was equally right about MPs' pay… Although Mr Duncan was unlucky – he thought that he was speaking in private – Mr Cameron had no choice but to rebuke him. The same was true over Dan Hannan's criticisms of the NHS. A man of relentless integrity, Mr Hannan is a Whips' nightmare and one of the most admirable people in public life… Dan Hannan had a good point. David Cameron had a better one. In electoral-handicap terms, a Brit
ish politician who expressed scepticism about the NHS would be like an American politician admitting to atheism." – Bruce Anderson writing in The Independent

HagueSquare William Hague raps David Miliband for seemingly condoning terrorism

"David Miliband was last night heavily condemned for appearing to condone terrorism in certain circumstances with a warning that his words could undermine Britain's mission in Afghanistan and give succour to the Taliban. The Foreign Secretary made his controversial remarks while speaking in support of the ANC's armed struggle in South Africa… The remarks were condemned by William Hague, his Conservative shadow, as a failure of judgement. "Ministers must be very careful before advancing any argument that seems to legitimise terrorism in some circumstances. When much of the efforts of our security services and the sacrifices of our troops in Afghanistan are devoted to defeating terrorists, this is hardly the time to argue that terrorism is sometimes acceptable," he added." – The Herald

Liam Fox demands answers over continuing British involvement in Afghanistan

"The Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth yesterday suggested that Britain's role in Afghanistan could be scaled down over the next 12 months, and walked into a row about misleading people over the progress being made in the country… His political opponents quickly seized on the remarks. Liam Fox, the shadow defence secretary, demanded clarification from Mr Ainsworth. "Has the Government made an agreement with the Americans to hand over Helmand to them?" Dr Fox said. "If so we should be told about it. Or is it just spin designed to detract from the failure of the Government to fully equip our troops in Afghanistan?" – The Independent

Tories stifle FSA staffing drive

"The Financial Services Authority's efforts to strengthen its
supervisory and enforcement work by recruiting hundreds more staff have
been thrown off course by the Conservative party's plan to disband the
regulator. Since George Osborne, shadow chancellor, said last month he
would shift the FSA's core supervisory role to a beefed-up Bank of
England, and set up a Consumer Protection Agency to handle the rest of
the body's work, the regulator has suffered a crisis of confidence
affecting some top staff and potential recruits, according to
headhunters, consultants and FSA insiders." – FT

More coverage of Martin Bell and Terry Waite's plan to target "discredited" MPs

"Bell has been expected to announce his own candidacy for some time now, describing the current political climate as "dishevelled". Bell and Waite have spent the last few months recruiting "high profile" candidates. Talking to the Guardian, Bell said he did not think the network need be as large as 25 and instead said it would only need a "handful". The pair also appear to be operating a deliberately quiet operation. Bell said: "It's just common sense – as soon as political parties know you're running then they train their searchlights on you and blast away." – The Guardian

You can also hear Martin Bell being interviewed on the Today Programme this morning

> Yesterday in Seats and Candidates: Martin Bell and Terry Waite forge alliance to target Alan Duncan and MPs with a "dodgy record" on expenses

Phillip Blond identifies the "two great evils" for modern radical Conservatism

"For modern radical Conservatism, there are two great evils – the centralised State and the monopolised market. And both are evil, because both have destroyed what all true Conservatives really believe in – the life and institution of British society. For the Tories, the State no longer serves society. It has dispossessed the people and amassed all power to itself." – Phillip Blond writing in the Daily Mail

John Harris: Primaries favour the rich

"If primaries are pushed from Westminster constituencies, through mayoral contests and up to the election of national leaders, the importance of money will grow and grow. To reverse the terms of the current transatlantic shouting match over healthcare, look at the US. The primary system at least partly explains why, at the last count, at least 40 of America's 100 senators were millionaires. Donation-heavy incumbents are the sole candidates in the vast majority of congressional primaries – and if they are challenged, lobbyist-funded war chests of $500,000 plus are not uncommon." – John Harris in The Guardian

Scottish Tories seek to exploit rift over replacement of council tax

"Tories hope to expose potential splits within Labour over plans to replace the council tax with a new levy branded the "DIY tax". A letter has been sent to all Scottish Labour MPs and Westminster candidates asking if they support a proposal to create a new local tax more closely based on property values. The proposal has come from Holyrood's Labour group as its contribution to the debate over what should replace the tax… The Tories have claimed that Labour's proposal would penalise people who improved their homes." – The Scotsman

Labour appoints campaign spokesman on new mediaGuardian


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