11.15am Mark Wallace on CentreRight: "Alistair Darling is reduced to begging the new Single Market Commissioner Michel Barnier in the pages of The Times not to wreck the City with overly aggressive regulation."
10.45am Alex Deane on CentreRight: "President Obama gave a commitment yesterday to begin pulling troops out of Afghanistan by July 2011. As I've pointed out on this site before, once you set a timetable for withdrawal, you have doomed yourself to defeat. The enemy knows that he must merely wait you out – and, perhaps, force you to bring forward your timetable by escalating his efforts."
Chris Grayling brands leaked policing white paper "a damp squib"
"An apparent admission in the leaked papers that there was not much new in the proposals – the phrase 'bold new programme' was amended to delete the word 'bold' – was seized on by opposition politicians. Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling said: 'This is quite clearly a real damp squib of a White Paper. There is a lack of any new real ideas and we get a clear sense that what we have now is a Labour Government which has run out of steam and has no idea how to reform policing'." – Daily Mail
Brown's painting the Tories as friends of the rich is an admission of defeat
"Mr Brown knows that this time he cannot run a Tory tax cuts versus Labour spending campaign; instead it looks as though he has decided to return to class war. “The rich always betray the poor,” will be his theme… His tactics are deeply opportunistic and people may not want politicians playing games when their jobs are on the line. The Prime Minister is in danger of using the Pre-Budget Report as a political tool when it should be used as an economic lever to help to pull Britain out of recession. It is also an acknowledgement of defeat." – Alice Thomson in The Times
The Telegraph welcomes David Cameron's assault on the "health and safety culture"
"David Cameron yesterday became the first politician sensibly to address this issue – a subject that exercises many people, yet is studiously ignored by those who purport to govern us… It is to be hoped that Mr Cameron's speech was more than mere populism, and that sanity, initiative and responsibility can be restored where madness too often reigns." – Daily Telegraph editorial
George Osborne promises more freedom for big galleries and museums
"Britain's biggest museums and galleries would be set free from direct government control by the Tories, giving them a greater chance to build up US-style endowments, George Osborne announced today. In a speech at Tate Modern in London, the shadow chancellor said that free entry to museums and galleries during "straitened times" would be maintained by a series of reforms if the Conservatives won the election." – The Guardian
New figures show little improvement resulting from a doubling in spending on education
"A doubling of spending on schools under Labour has led to negligible improvements as billions have been swallowed up in bureaucracy… Nick Gibb, Tory schools spokesman, said: 'These figures confirm that the Government has failed to deliver value for money. Productivity has fallen since 2000 because higher spending hasn't been matched by necessary reform'." – Daily Mail
Jeremy Hunt: Music and sport videos should have ratings for sex and violence
"A loophole in the law currently means that music and sport videos or DVDs are not classified despite many containing content which is unsuitable for children. Jeremy Hunt, the shadow culture secretary, has now pledged to seek to amend laws to classify video games to broaden the scope of the rules for DVDs and videos." – Daily Telegraph
Boris discussed arts job with Veronica Wadley two weeks before it was advertised
"Boris Johnson discussed with Veronica Wadley whether she could apply for a senior arts job at a lunch held two weeks before it was advertised, according to correspondence released under freedom of information today." – The Guardian
Boris calls for mobile giants to form Olympic team – The Times
Steve Richards compares David Cameron to William Hague (not Tony Blair)
"Tonally Cameron has a wider range, whereas at this stage of the parliament Hague was desperately seeking to retain the support of his core vote, worrying that the Conservatives could perform even worse than they had in 1997. Even so the similarities are much closer than those between Cameron and Blair en route to his 1997 landslide." – Steve Richards in The Independent
Simon Heffer: David Cameron must learn the dangers of tinkering with the constitution
"What is happening in Scotland exemplifies the disastrousness of Labour's attempts at constitutional reform… Look, too, at the casual way in which Mr Brown chucked the bone to the Liberal Democrats, in his conference speech two months ago, about a measure of proportional representation… This disgusting, self-serving behaviour is something the Conservative Party should not try to emulate." – Simon Heffer in the Daily Telegraph
Veteran MP Sir Patrick Cormack to retire
"Veteran Tory MP Sir Patrick Cormack has announced he is standing down at the next general election. The 70-year-old said the "unhappy events" of recent months had made working hours at Westminster much more of a burden than before." – Daily Mail
British yachtsmen reportedly freed by Iran – BBC
We are in charge now, Sarkozy tells the City – The Times
Barack Obama orders 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan – BBC
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