Also on ToryDiary we begin our Picks of 2009: Jonathan Isaby chooses Douglas Carswell MP as his Backbencher of the Year, Tim Montgomerie chooses Lord Lawson
Liberal Democrats have rejected David Cameron's claim that there are now fewer policy differences between the two parties – BBC
David Cameron 'love-bombed' Nick Clegg's voters in his new year message: "Let's be honest that whether you're Labour, Conservative or Liberal Democrat, you're motivated by pretty much the same progressive aims: a country that is safer, fairer, greener and where opportunity is more equal. It's how to achieve these aims that we disagree about – and indeed between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats there is a lot less disagreement than there used to be."
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David Willetts responds to reports that Labour has u-turned in its attitude to marriage and the two parent family
Quoted in the Daily Mail: "'This is a big change in Labour's rhetoric but it needs to be backed up with proper policy. It seems Ed Balls has at last woken up to the fact that evidence shows most people, from all backgrounds, aspire to get married, and it helps create a stable environment for children. The challenge for Ed Balls is to reverse the damage Labour has done. For example, they have removed the recognition of marriage in the tax system as part of their failure to value the relationship between partheyents. Most developed countries recognise marriage in the tax system and it is time for us to rejoin them."
A report from the Centre for Social Justice examines how Britain penalises marriage, almost uniquely in the world – Daily Mail
Bruce Anderson reviews 'Wasted' – Harriet Sergeant's damning indictment of a lost welfarised generation – Independent
Tory plan to freeze council tax and provide a health visitor service for new parents may cost £1.4bn more than budgeted – FT
David Cameron questioned over use of flights funded by Scottish Conservative Treasurer, Malcolm Scott – Herald
Boris the optimist predicts big human progress by 2020
"By 2020 I predict that we will have made good progress in solving the problems that afflict humanity. By spreading literacy and female emancipation we will begin to bring our population under control. We will devise such innovative technical solutions to global warming that we will start to cast around for something else to worry about. We will promote reconciliation and understanding between mutually antagonistic monotheisms. We will reverse the tide of expensive politically correct risk-averse regulatory nonsense. We will bring back hunting. So forward with homo sapiens, chief glory of the universe, and up with British companies whose cunning allows us to gratify our innermost desires and spend the Christmas break blamelessly shooting our closest relatives. Happy New Year!" – Boris Johnson in The Telegraph
Gordon Brown’s fatal flaw is his underlying gloom – William Rees-Mogg in The Times
The Sun: Winston Churchill makes Cameron look like one of EastEnder's Mitchell brothers
The Sun Says: "Gordon Brown's class war against the Tories is foolish and desperate. It may play to die-hard left-wingers who'll vote Labour come what may. Swing voters don't give a damn about David Cameron's background, as two senior ministers point out. Winston Churchill was born in Blenheim Palace. His "toff" credentials make Cameron look like a Mitchell brother. But few would dispute he was our finest Prime Minister in a crisis."
Ed Balls has dismissed reports that Labour is conducting a class war against the Tories as "nonsense” – Telegraph
David Davies MP reveals government departments have spenmt £4m revamping websites – Telegraph
Michael Gove reveals that poorest pupils are five times as likely to truant as richest pupils – Guardian
Jack Straw orders a comprehensive review of Britain's much-criticised libel laws – Guardian
Michael White continues his politician of the decade series, naming Alex Salmond today – Guardian
The Times names Joanna Lumley as its Briton of the Year
"Joanna Lumley’s triumph is not just a victory for Nepal, but for Britain, too. In a year when the reputation of the House of Commons has suffered, we all benefit from the reminder that Parliament remains the place where one should go, if one wishes a wrong to be made right." – Times leader
"Despite 9/11, the 2005 London Tube and bus attacks and the dozens of other Islamist plots uncovered in Britain, the astounding fact is that Islamic extremist networks are still allowed to flourish in Britain, largely through the obsession of its governing class with multiculturalism and 'human rights'. As a result, Britain remains – to its eternal shame – the biggest hub of Islamic radicalisation outside the Arab and Muslim world." – Melanie Phillips in the Daily Mail
> Paul Goodman MP on CentreRight: The middle class converts who want to bomb us
Dan Lewis: Energy security is more important than reducing carbon – Wall Street Journal
"Tory leader David Cameron took a break from running for office to run a mud-filled mile for charity. The politician, 43, held up his Chadlington Great Brook Run medal in Oxfordshire, while enjoying a pint and a kiss from wife Samantha, 38." – Report and photo in the Daily Star
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