Picture 7 7.45pm ToryDiary: Tories project £5,500 per second debt clock on to Battersea Power Station

6pm ToryDiary: Marriage is special says Cameron, but promises support for every family

11.45am ToryDiary: The tide of defections is all in the Tories' favour

11.15am AmericaInTheWorld: Obama's pragmatic foreign policy reminds Jerry Seib of the approach pursued by the first George Bush

10.45am ThinkTankCentral: Profile of Civitas

10.15am Local government: Labour councillor defects to Croydon Conservatives


6a00d83451b31c69e201157132b9dd970c-200wi Andrew Haldenby on Platform: One million public sector jobs need to go

Local government: Government urge "local homes for local people"

On CentreRight:

LeftWatch: Work doesn't pay under Labour

"8 of the 12 polls published since early November have put the Tories below 40 per cent, against only one of the previous 25."Times | Yesterday's ToryDiary

"The prospect of a Conservative landslide seems to have disappeared" – Jon Harris in The Guardian

Tory coup as George Osborne signs up Labour advisers on Whitehall efficiency

"The Conservatives signed up a series of government advisers today , including two business leaders who have led current and past public sector efficiency drives, in an attempt to steal a march on Labour in the run-up to the general election." – Guardian

One of those advisers, Bernard Gray, tells The Times why he thinks efficiencies are possible: "Over the past decade the productivity of the private sector has risen by a quarter, while in the public sector it has fallen, despite huge investment in IT and other capital expenditure designed to improve productivity."

In a leading article, The Guardian compares the similarity of the main political parties' public reform strategies.

Single mothers heckle David Cameron as he defends his pro-marriage agendaThe Sun

"David Cameron was accused of "discrimination" and "perpetuating stereotypes" by a group of single parents yesterday as he was forced to defend his party's policy of handing tax breaks to married couples. In a speech to members of the single parent charity Gingerbread – which was not advertised to the media by his aides who feared the Tory leader would face a rough ride – Mr Cameron denied being "at war" with single parents." – Independent

Polly Toynbee accuses Cameron of class war against the poor

is not class war or engaging in scare tactics to point out that Cameron
and Osborne's only known tax plans gift £1.2bn to the top 2% of
wealthiest estates in inheritance tax. Their marriage tax relief gifts
13 times more cash to the top than the bottom. Giving back extra tax
relief on pensions of the richest gives £3.2bn to the top 1.5% of
earners. Reversing Labour's 50p income rate gives £2.4bn back to the
top 1%. The total sum taken from 98% of voters to donate to the top 2%
is £11. 7bn. That really is class war – the rich looting everyone
else." – Polly Toynbee in The Guardian

The outgoing Football League chairman Lord Mawhinney wants a salary capGuardian

Alistair Darling will announce a one-off punitive super-tax of more than 50% on the bonuses of tens of thousands of bankersGuardian

"Opinion polls demonstrate widespread support for taxes on bankers. A ComRes survey in October found two-thirds backed a windfall tax, with only a quarter opposed. Measures to focus taxes on the rich also have broad appeal. A YouGov poll this weekend found two-thirds agreeing that “any further tax rises should be concentrated on the highly paid”, while 25 per cent said any tax rises should be spread more widely to avoid discouraging entrepreneurs. A poll on public sector pay restraint for the BBC last month found the most popular measure was a 5 per cent pay cut for the top 10 per cent of public sector earners." – FT

Scottish Tories attack Alex Salmond's choice of Christmas card

Picture 8 "Tory Whip David McLetchie said: “Alex Salmond is trying to politicise Christmas, having already attempted to politicise the Saltire, Scotland’s national days and our children’s education. His obsession with independence is blinding him to reality.”" – Herald | BBC

Green hypocrisy

"If there really is just a fortnight left before we are all doomed, it is good to see that the 20,000 or so delegates are going out in style. More than 1,200 limousines have flooded into the Danish capital (forget about public transport). According to this newspaper's Copenhagen diarist, "most of these stretched vehicles have been driven hundreds of miles from Germany and Sweden. Last week France ordered an extra 42 of them. Only five of the limos are hybrid; the rest are petrol and diesel." – Dominic Lawson in The Independent

And finally… Cameron the comedian

The Daily Mail quotes David Cameron talking to 1,300 members of the Lord's Taverners charity Christmas lunch: "I asked Tiger to come along, but somehow the idea of 1,300 men didn't seem to be very appealing to him  -  although he did express a keen interest in my all-women shortlists."


Please use this thread to highlight other interesting news and commentary and visit for breaking political news and views throughout the day.