5.45pm General Election One Minute Guide: Tories off to a flying start to 2010
- Tories may use fear of hung parliament and financial crisis to drive waverers away from Liberal Democrats
- Ken Clarke refuses to rule out VAT increase as Tories inch towards more honesty on their deficit plans
Local government: In a list of new year resolutions for councillors Mark Wallace of The TaxPayers' Alliance urges local authorities to drop speed cameras, cut promotional budgets, abolish snooping powers and cut allowances. And more besides.
Rejected in his own country
By 54% to 46% Scots say Cameron is better leader than Brown – Scotland on Sunday
Whitehall "will take a haircut" if I win power, promises Cameron – Mail on Sunday
The poor will get a bigger share of protected NHS funding promises first chapter of Tory manifesto
"David Cameron will attempt to shed the Tories' image as the party of the rich and privileged tomorrow by pledging to divert billions of pounds to healthcare in the most deprived areas of the country. The promise to direct a higher share of NHS resources to boost health in run-down areas was described last night by a senior party source as proof that Gordon Brown's "class war" attacks on the Conservatives were baseless." – The Observer
"The Conservatives launch their election campaign tomorrow by putting the NHS at the heart of their battle for Britain. The party’s policy blitz begins in earnest, with the publication of the first chapter of its draft manifesto. While focusing on plans to shake up the health service, it comes with a guarantee that frontline spending will not be touched." – Sunday Express
The Sunday Telegraph: Cameron needs to be bolder
"The Cameron road map is pointing in the right direction, but he needs to travel more courageously. He should consider, for example, cutting the main rate of corporation tax to 20 per cent, rather than the 25 per cent rate currently proposed. The 50p income tax rate must be scrapped. His promise to ring-fence the National Health Service could have been restricted to clinical services, without granting immunity to burgeoning bureaucrats. His rhetoric, too, needs to eschew such Blairite flourishes as "building the big society"." – The Sunday Telegraph leader
Steve Hilton's private briefings to Tory MPs under attack – Mail on Sunday
> Yesterday evening's ToryDiary: CCHQ fury at 'briefings against Steve Hilton'
My long march to be a Tory MP in Cumbria – Rory Stewart on touring Penrith and the Border, The Sunday Times
Labour strategists will target George Osborne as the "weak link" in Tory operation – Independent on Sunday
"Cameron ordains an "age of austerity" – except of course for the privileged few." – Harriet Harman attacks the Tory agenda in The People
"The only way you can win sympathy and support from Labour is to remain deprived and disadvantaged but rather wistfully aspirational. Whatever you do, don't try to take your fate into your own hands, or to make articulate, forceful representations on behalf of yourself and your loved ones – that would be "pushy" and selfish. You must put your trust in the Government's all-seeing beneficence, which will provide "fair" opportunities to everyone equally, even if their talents, attitudes and efforts vary wildly." – Janet Daley in The Sunday Telegraph
Harriet Harman has attacked the BBC for "not valuing" older female newsreaders – BBC
Up to one-third of seats may not count on General Election night
"New figures from the Electoral Commission watchdog reveal that the results of one in three of the 650 constituencies may not be declared until the day after the election. According to the Electoral Commission, returning officers for 64 seats — many of them key marginals — say they will wait until the morning after the election to begin their count. Another 161 are considering following suit." – The Sunday Times
> Jonathan Isaby launched his Save General Election Night in October – here is his update on the campaign from 10th December
Fraser Nelson predicts a Tory majority of 45 in a May election – News of the World
The role of new (online) media in the General Election – The Observer
Opposition to mass immigration is reasonable and civilised – Mail on Sunday leader
Are we about to see the end of the much-vaunted eurozone? – Peter Oborne in The Observer
Make drunks pay! Sounds great but who do we tax next, the fat? – Liz Jones in the Mail on Sunday
Prince Charles tried to stop Iraq war – News of the World
And finally… You couldn't make it up!
"The Whitehall department in charge of ensuring that the government gets value for money from its public awareness campaigns spent more than £20,000 on a lavish beach-themed staff party that included buying sand to give the event an authentic "tropical island" appeal. The Central Office of Information (COI) confirmed to the Observer that it spent £21,598 on its summer party in 2007 at a time when ministers were urging all departments to cut back. The event, held at the COI's London headquarters, was described by one person who attended as "incredibly lavish", with fine wines including champagne flowing freely as bands played." – The Observer
Please use this thread to highlight other interesting news and commentary and visit PoliticsHome.com for breaking political news and views throughout the day.