12.45pm WATCH: Our plans do not include VAT rise, says Cameron
Interviews: Paul Goodman interviews Greg Clark
Natalie Elphicke on LeftWatch: The Unions are not fighting "The Bosses", they have become The Bosses
"I would say to the fourth estate, which sometimes seems hell-bent on
destroying the other three, that the House of Commons is the ultimate
defender of all our liberties."
Tories 6%, 10% and 12% ahead in last night's polls – Yesterday evening's ToryDiary
Cameron: 'People are gagging for change'
“This is going to be the first time in 23 years that the Conservative party goes into a general election with a seven to 10-point lead. We’ve come a long way,” the Tory leader said in an interview with the Financial Times. “People are gagging for change.”
Cameron attacks America's refusal to back Britain over the Falklands – Daily Mail
Business leaders back Conservative tax pledge
"Bosses of some of the UK's biggest firms have backed Conservative plans to scrap part of a planned National Insurance rise if they win power. The 23 top executives, including the bosses of Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury's and Next, welcomed the Tory pledge in a letter to the Daily Telegraph." – BBC
David Cameron's big idea is a big society
The two words sum up everything Cameron’s Tory Party believes in – Peter Oborne in the Daily Mail
The Tories' plan for society is truly radical – Benedict Brogan in the Telegraph
"Yesterday Mr Cameron and his team of Shadow ministers launched the Big Society, their attempt to describe that future in more detail. The unmistakable allusion to the Great Society programme of President Lyndon Johnson in the 1960s is misleading. Johnson expanded US welfare provision and the role of the state dramatically. Mr Cameron’s Big Society, by contrast, aims to devolve power from the State to civil society, and especially to voluntary associations." – Times leader
"[Cameron's] enthusiasm for a strong society is not actually shared by his party's more ideologically Thatcherite members, large numbers of whom still see cutting the state as a virtue in itself and are not overly fussed about the social consequences. These free marketeers are likely to see the Big Society's community initiatives as a waste of time and money." – Guardian leader
"Britain’s 500,000 civil servants will be expected to undertake regular
community service under plans outlined on Wednesday by David Cameron,
the Conservative leader, to build a “big society” in place of big
government. The Tories also plan to train “a national army” of 5,000
community organisers to help local neighbourhoods tackle social
problems, with the organisers then raising funds to pay their own
salaries and get projects going." – FT
> Yesterday's ToryDiary: David Cameron promises "neighbourhood army" of 5,000 full-time community organisers
Telegraph: Cameron must discuss immigration
"Voters are ready for a mature debate, yet David Cameron has denied them one for fear of reviving accusations that the party is somehow racist. There is no time to waste. At current rates our population will rise by four million over the next decade." – Telegraph leader
"[Tories] should stress that some immigration since 1997 has benefited the British economy, but the sheer uncontrolled enormity of the process has disquieted many people, including immigrants of longer standing.
In some cases indigenous workers have been priced out of the jobs market, in others encouraged to remain on the dole as immigrants have filled low-paid jobs. The Conservatives must not be frightened of saying as much, and no one with half a brain in his head will take seriously any allegations of racism which New Labour may unleash in order to cover up its record." – Stephen Glover in the Daily Mail
> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Cameron must use the debates to hammer Labour on immigration
The extent to which Britain’s Tories and Europe’s leaders don’t understand each other is frightening – Economist
"Angela Merkel is to have talks today at Chequers with Gordon Brown on Afghanistan, nuclear proliferation and the economy. But the German Chancellor will find no time for the Conservative leader during her visit to Britain." – Times
Government minister has demanded David Cameron acts against a Tory councillor over an alleged homophobic slur – Telegraph
Households have seen growth in their incomes dwindle rapidly during Labour’s three terms – FT
7th May General Election will cost £82.1m – Telegraph
And finally… Labour plan aggressive class war campaign
"In an audacious new election strategy, Labour is set to embrace Gordon Brown's reputation for anger and physical aggression, presenting the prime minister as a hard man, unafraid of confrontation, who is willing to take on David Cameron in "a bare-knuckle fistfight for the future of Britain", The Guardian has learned."
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