9.15pm ToryDiary: CCHQ strengthens team in run up to General Election with return of George Bridges

7.45pm Melanchthon on CentreRight: I have never believed in human rights…

2.45pm ToryDiary: Tories 16% ahead in Angus Reid/ PoliticalBetting poll

Matt 2.30pm Matt Sinclair on LeftWatch: Brown's Copenhagen commitments would be ruinous for the UK economy

1.15pm CentreRight: Robin Simcox on (the lack of) freedom of speech at SOAS

12.30pm Local government: Tories hold ward in Reigate

12.30pm Ben Rogers on CentreRight: Keeping Burma on the agenda

11.30am LeftWatch: The five best Brown gaffes on video from 2009

11.15am Seats and candidates: Julie Kirkbride abandons plan to keep her seat

Barwell-new10.30am Local government: A defence of CCTV from Gavin Barwell

ToryDiary: Cameron rejects early referendum on Scottish independence

Sajid Javid on Platform: Foreign aid encourages corruption, conflict and dependency

Local government:

AndrewRosindell Parliament: Andrew Rosindell – Britain's most patriotic MP – wins campaign to fly three Union flags over Parliament

Picture 57 LeftWatch: Labour Chief Whip chooses punked up Nick 'Ziggy' Clegg for his Christmas card

Alex Deane on CentreRight: Council-run CCTV has trebled in the last ten years

WATCH: Boris Johnson presents video extolling his vision of a low carbon London

Tory frontbench descend on Britain's seaside towns today in election blitz

"There is a shrewd political calculation in the shadow ministers’ blitz. While election experts often predict that the traditional marginals in the West Midlands and North West will decide next year’s general election, Tory strategists hope they have discovered a secret weapon: the seaside town “swing” seats. At least 15 of the Tories’ top 100 target seats fall into this category, as do another 11 in their next 100 most winnable seats. “They could make all the difference in a tight election,” said one Tory frontbencher yesterday." – Independent

Dominic Grieve regrets lack of lawyer-led cross-examination of Iraq Inquiry witnesses

GRIEVE DOMINIC NW "The Iraq inquiry could be undermined through having no lawyers to question witnesses and establish the truth, the Shadow Justice Secretary warned yesterday. Dominic Grieve, a QC, told The Times: “Having waited so long for an inquiry into Iraq, it is vital that we learn the whole truth. “It is surprising that the inquiry is not benefiting from the probing questioning that an experienced lawyer would provide, particularly when it comes to taking evidence from the witnesses and experts involved.”"

In The Independent John Rentoul accuses unnamed people of attempting to "intimidate Chilcot and his colleagues into coming up with the "right" answer."  Rentoul suggests that "the headlines are already written" and "Depending on what Sir John and his colleagues conclude, it is "whitewash" or "Gotcha"."

Unions build up £25m war chest and prepare to 'unleash hell' on ToriesDaily Mail

> The Mail story is a straight copy of ConHome's exclusive of yesterday.

Team Cameron said to be happy at Brown's class war tactics

"Around Cameron the response to Brown's class war rhetoric is utterly different. They can't believe their luck. Brown has gifted us the centreground for a generation, they say, rubbing their hands. They are not going to spurn their gift." – Martin Kettle in The Guardian

GREEN-DAMIAN-RED-TIE Damian Green attacks Labour incompetence after EU forces dilution of UK's new borders monitoring schemeDaily Mail

Labour plans law to let soldiers jump waiting lists for public servicesDaily Mail

Government minister, Sion Simon, paid more than £40,000 in expenses to sisterTelegraph

More than 80 MPs challenge expenses repayment demand – BBC

"The Daily Telegraph's six-week investigation into MPs' expenses was
not only the defining story of 2009, but one which changed British
politics for good…" says The Telegraph

Councils and the police will be legally required to publish the names,
pay and perks of all officers earning more than £150,000

Council snoopers watch us on 60,000 CCTV camerasDaily Mail

And the state is STILL getting fatter

"Employment in the National Health Service jumped by another 23,000 jobs to a record high in the third quarter of this year, in spite of the squeeze to come on spending under the next government. The increase – the seventh successive quarterly rise in NHS employment taking it to above 1.6m people for the first time – took even seasoned observers by surprise following an 18,000 rise in the second quarter." – FT

Recently on Platform, Andrew Haldenby argued that one million public sector jobs needed to go.

Martin Wolf: Public spending cuts should be across-the-board

In today's FT Martin Wolf argues against a special status for the NHS and aid: "The government has decided to protect aid, health and “frontline” schools. Given the rise in debt interest and social security spending, this guarantees deep cuts in defence, transport, housing and higher education, as the Institute for Fiscal Studies points out. Yet this is irrational. It implies that spending on health and schools, at the margin, was much more valuable than in other areas, before the crisis. A better approach would be cuts across the board, but focused on the wage bill and poorly-targeted benefits."

And finally… Are these the heroes of New Labour?

The Economist Bagehot names Andrew Adonis, Donald Dewar, Lord Mandelson, Sir William Macpherson and Robin Cook as the stars of the post-1997 era.


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