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7.15pm Melanchthon on CentreRight: The Taleban are wrong, and I don't care about preserving their "culture"

6.00pm Graeme Archer on CentreRight: Gay people and Christians aren't enemies

Screen shot 2010-08-13 at 19.17.30 5.15pm Three new posts on Local Government:

2.30pm Two new posts on CentreRight:

2.15pm WATCH:

11.15am Tory Diary: John Redwood doesn't like what William Hague isn't doing about the EU

10.00am Alex Deane on CentreRight: Does the EU speak for you?

9.45am Local government: Why is Plymouth Council persecuting the Owl Man?

FOX LIAM SMILING ToryDiary Updated at noon: Liam Fox to pledge greater control by military chiefs of the armed forces

Martin Parsons on Platform: What next in the Conservative Party's relationship with Churchgoers?

Eric Pickles MP writes his latest fortnightly column for ConservativeHome in Local Government today: Show me the money

Also in Local Government

Seats and Candidates: Scottish Parliament candidates selected for two more Glasgow constituencies

Screen shot 2010-08-13 at 08.54.21 ConHome's Twenty Questions for the Class of 2010…answered today by Dudley South's new MP, Chris Kelly

Sir Philip Green to review Government efficiency

"Sir Philip Green, who runs the UK’s largest privately family owned clothing retailer Arcadia Group, has been asked by the Prime Minister to lead an external Efficiency Review into government spending. Sir Philip, who will report to the Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude, and Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, will be supported by a team of officials from the Cabinet Office and the Treasury. The remit is to scrutinise government spending in the last three years to identify inefficiencies and potential savings, and to look at where lessons can be learned for the future. He will then report back before the end of the Spending Review" – Financial Times (£)

Whitehall to get the Topshop treatment from Philip Green – Daily Telegraph

Shopping tycoon asked to create cut-price Whitehall – The Times (£)

Sir Philip Green to conduct external review of Government spending cuts -  Guardian

Topshop boss Sir Philip Green turns waste buster for David Cameron – Daily Express

Screen shot 2010-08-13 at 09.09.07 Who does Cameron choose to help him with cuts?  The Topshop boss whose personal arrangements allow him to save millions in tax – Daily Mail

Cable snubbed over Philip Green role

"Business Secretary Vince Cable, a vociferous opponent of tax avoidance, was not consulted over the appointment of Sir Philip Green to lead a review into government efficiency, City A.M. has learned. In the past, Sir Philip has been associated with sophisticated tax planning arrangements in the UK and offshore locations to produce tax savings on behalf of non-resident members of his family. Cable, who is one of the government’s lead contacts for the business community, yesterday reacted with surprise on learning that the Top Shop tycoon had been asked to help the coalition root out waste in Whitehall." – City A.M

John Redwood: Time to speak for the UK, Mr Hague

"It is time Mr Hague went to Brussels and tackled some of the issues which feed our sense of unfairness. Many people in the UK are fed up with power seeping away. We did not like Mr Hague’s acceptance of an enlarged EU diplomatic service. That is more cost for the member states, seeking to undermine our own Foreign office and diplomatic service. We did not like Mr Hague’s opting in to more of the EU’s movement into criminal justice affairs. We do not wish to see the UK have to pay out £150 million for a technical infringement, at a time of public spending restraint. We would like the EU to cut its budget to help with our spending review, and would like to see EU spending cut back rather than important domestic programmes – John Redwood's Diary

Budd defends record as he quits Office for Budget Reponsibility

Screen shot 2010-08-13 at 09.07.22 "Sir Alan Budd leaves the Office of Budget Responsibility tomorrow with a defence of his track record after three months at the helm of George Osborne's new watchdog. After a brief but controversy-fuelled period at the OBR, Budd insisted he was "immensely proud of the forecasts we've put together, the transparency we've brought and our advice to establish a permanent office"." – Guardian

EU attempts to repair relations with Pakistan

"The EU's foreign policy chief, Lady Ashton, has moved Pakistan to the top of the EU agenda after the floods, aiming to undo damage to EU-Pakistan relations by David Cameron when the prime minister accused Islamabad of exporting terrorism. "The damage Cameron did with those comments really hasn't helped us," an EU diplomat said after Ashton, the EU high representative, sent a letter to foreign ministers urging a step-change in support for Pakistan as some in European capitals fear the floods could further destabilise the country." – The Guardian

Treasury drumbeat sets Coalition tempo

A savage spending review and a Downing Street operation proud of eschewing “top-down management” is giving the Treasury more power than it has enjoyed for almost two decades, when it last set about slashing budgets…The Treasury drumbeat now sets the Whitehall tempo, striking fear into ministers and drowning out Downing Street reform initiatives. “A terrifying mythical creature invented to torment us,” half-joked one minister of the Treasury official overseeing his department’s spending – Financial Times (£)

New MPs set out with confidence

Screen shot 2010-08-13 at 09.05.21 "With fresh faces making up a third of the Chamber, government and opposition alike are finding it difficult to keep a firm grip on this large, confident and surprisingly effective new group. Their sturdy individualism has its roots in Gordon Brown’s decision to eschew the general election he had been expected to call in the autumn of 2007. Jonathan Isaby, an editor of ConservativeHome, the website for Tory activists, said: “Those new MPs who have been in their constituencies for a while, especially those who have been councillors, are primarily going to be accountable to their local constituencies – Financial Times (£)

The dailies are less excited by David Cameron's tourism speech yesterday…

David Cameron urges Britain to help build economy with UK holidays – The Guardian

Cameron wants half of us to take holidays in Britain – The Times (£)

Forget Cool Britannia, Rule Britannia will bring in tourists, says Cameron – The Independent

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: David Cameron marks holiday season with tourism speech

…Than by yesterday's Eric Pickles spending announcement, which spurs garish details of DCLG extravagance

Eric Pickles cheerful Taxpayers' cash went on jazz, limos and a trip to Blackpool – The Times

Tories reveal thrill of Labour spending – from thrill rides to jazz quartets – The Guardian

Civil servants' £3450 bill for "jazz theory of management" – The Independent

> Yesterday in Local Government: Eric Pickles opens the DCLG's books

PM: I'm David Cam-hour-on

"David Cameron is thinking of putting the clocks forward one hour to brighten up the UK – as he urges Brits to holiday at home. He wants us to spend at least half our holiday time and cash here to boost the economy. And he believes an extra hour of daylight will encourage this. The PM – off to Cornwall next week for a family break – revealed he may advance British Summer Time to bring us in line with Continental Europe." – The Sun

Radical Britain

Currentcoveruk "So a gamble it remains. But it is one that in general this newspaper supports. Throughout the rich world, government has simply got too big and Mr Cameron’s crew currently have the most promising approach to trimming it. Others—and not just the tottering likes of Greece and Spain—will surely follow. That includes America. At present, unlike in the 1980s, there is no Reaganesque echo from the other side of the Atlantic: despite the Tea Partiers’ zeal, the Republicans seem as clueless as Mr Obama in producing a credible medium-term plan to balance America’s budget – The Economist (£)

Jeff Randall: Welfare reform – only radical action will save our valleys of despair

"For the past two weeks, I have been in Merthyr as part of a documentary team, trying to discover how a town that was built on Methodist values and back-breaking work in furnaces and mines has become so dysfunctional, with one in three adults collecting state handouts. One thing quickly became clear: irrespective of where you stand on party politics, the current system of subsidising unemployment while, in effect, disincentivising personal enterprise has been tested to destruction." – Daily Telegraph

Pakistan floods: an emergency for the West

Screen shot 2010-08-13 at 09.14.30 "It has become clear this week that, unless major aid is forthcoming immediately and international diplomatic effort is applied to improving Pakistan's relations with India, social and ethnic tensions will rise and there will be food riots. Large parts of the country that are now cut off will be taken over by the Pakistani Taliban and affiliated extremist groups, and governance will collapse. The risk is that Pakistan will become what many have long predicted – a failed state with nuclear weapons, although we are a long way off from that yet." – Ahmed Rashid in the Daily Telegraph

Nine top doctors issue new demand for David Kelly inquest Letter in The Times (£)

Fears over £65 billion "NHS mortgage" BBC

This year's student intake can look forward to £25,000 debts The Times

David Miliband gets £50,000 from donor that Labour once rejected Daily Mail

Follett backs Balls with £100,000 giftThe Independent

This carbon scheme is a fiasco in the makingDaily Telegraph

Iraq: Half-built with the roof offThe Guardian

And finally…IPSA staff boycotted Daniel Kawczynski

Screen shot 2010-08-13 at 09.16.08 "We’re told that a female member of IPSA’s staff refused to have any dealings with Daniel Kawczynski, the Tory member for Shrewsbury and Atcham, after he’d complained about being addressed by his Christian name instead of being called ‘Mr Kawczynski’…In IPSA's book, this was just another example of the insufferable arrogance and pomposity of our high-handed MPs. But wasn’t Mr Kawczynski making a perfectly reasonable point?" – Tom Utley in the Daily Mail

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