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8pm ToryDiary: New ICM opinion poll gives the Tories a post-conference bounce, as Vince Cable rules out "pure" graduate tax

6.30pm Charles Tannock MEP on CentreRight on Pakistan: a state perilously close to the edge

5.45pm LeftWatch: A rolling blog of junior shadow appointments opens with reports that Diane Abbott will be shadow public health minister

5.30pm Local Government: Derrick Murphy poised to become leader of Norfolk County Council

5pm WATCH: William Hague says that the responsibility for the death of a kidnapped British aid worker in Afghanistan lies squarely with the hostage takers

David Cameron conference smiling 2.30pm Gazette: Happy Birthday David Cameron!

1.30pm LeftWatch: Guess who's photographed in today's Times wearing plus fours, tasselled socks, a Viyella shirt and leather-lined wellies?

12.30pm WATCH:  "I will feed upon their knowledge" – Alan Johnson on Yvette Cooper, Ed Balls and his appointment as Shadow Chancellor

ToryDiary: Chris Huhne's remarks show why politicians shouldn't usually give interviews (especially during the spending review run-up)

Marcus Booth on Platform: We must recognise and restore the rights of the people of the Chagos Islands

Cllr Daniel Astaire on Local Government: Fixing broken families using local solutions and a payment by results model

WATCH: Yvette Cooper, Ed Balls and Alan Johnson discuss their new shadow cabinet roles

George Osborne reportedly "rubbing his hands" at having Johnson, not Balls, as his shadow…

George Osborne and Alan Jphnson "Ed Miliband audaciously excluded Labour's top economic specialists, Ed Balls and Yvette Cooper, from the heart of Labour economic policy-making yesterday, refusing to back their call for a major shift away from the party's pledge to halve the deficit over four years. Cooper was instead appointed shadow foreign secretary, and given responsibility for equalities, while her husband, the pugnacious Balls, was appointed shadow home secretary." – The Guardian

"George Osborne is rubbing his hands. Instead of having to face Ed Balls – the most articulate Labour politician on the economy – his tormentor across the dispatch box will be the former postie Alan Johnson. Osborne pointedly notes that Johnson has no economic record in government. Johnson may make for more matey exchanges. But he will also offer a sharp working person’s response to cuts." – Alex Brummer in the Daily Mail

…as others give their take on Labour's new top team

"When Ed Miliband addressed Labour members as their leader for the first time just two weeks ago, he promised a "new generation" had arrived at the helm of the party. But while there are a number of fresh faces in his first Shadow Cabinet, as well as a far higher proportion of women, there is also a distinctly old-school dimension to the group. One third of the 28-strong shadow team were privately educated and went to Oxford or Cambridge. All but two are white." – Michael Savage in The Independent

"In two short weeks Ed Miliband has disposed of the three figures with the power and stature to stand between him and his promise of life beyond new Labour. First, his brother David… Next, Nick Brown…  Then Ed Balls." – Roland Watson in The Times (£)

"Mr Miliband, a politician still little known outside Westminster, has made a series of brave and in some cases unexpected decisions that are beginning to define his political character." – Guardian editorial

"The timid new Labour leader fluffed his first big call and played safe with Alan Johnson. As a result he missed a glorious opportunity to recast his party's economic policy and to turn the tables on the Tories." – Kevin maguire in The Mirror

"Alan Johnson is no economist – but he is just the man to depict the Tories as spoilt metropolitans with no personal experience of hardship." – Daily Telegraph editorial

Picture 15 "Also significant are the portfolios given to Liam Byrne and Andy Burnham. Alongside writing private notes to his successor, Byrne spent May bashing out a pamphlet titled "Why did Labour lose?". He concluded that lost C2 voters were critical and will now be given an opportunity to flesh out these ideas in a floating role at the Cabinet Office. Meanwhile, Burnham – a longstanding friend and political ally of David Miliband – has been made election coordinator alongside a move to education." – Will Straw in The Guardian

> Yesterday's ConHome coverage of the new Shadow Cabinet:

Andrew Lansley to reassure GPs on reforms

"The timetable for implementing reforms of the NHS is "ambitious" but not unachievable, the Health Secretary will say. Andrew Lansley has come under fire over the speed of his proposals, which will see GPs take control of the NHS budget from 2013 and NHS trusts, which manage the cash at the moment, will be abolished. Mr Lansley will seek to reassure doctors attending a Royal College of GPs (RCGP) conference in Harrogate, promising full support for their new role." – Press Association

Teacher who criticised education standards at Tory conference to return to school

Picture 17 "Katharine Birbalsingh, 37, was ordered not to come into school on Thursday or Friday after making critical remarks before a speech by Education Secretary Michael Gove at the party conference in Birmingham on Tuesday. Addressing the audience as a guest speaker, she gave a damning account of standards in schools, saying education had been "so dumbed down that even the children know it"… But the French teacher and deputy head has been told that she would be allowed to return to the classroom on Monday after parents voiced their support." – Daily Telegraph

I won't be silenced while our children are betrayed by schools – Katharine Birbalsingh writes in the Daily Mail

Revealed: The Blairite head who sent home the Tory sympathiser who spoke out at conference – Daily Mail

Osborne threatens new tax crackdown on banks…

"The chancellor, George Osborne, is "now examining" further taxes on the UK's banks, apparently in an effort to make them retain more of their earnings, lend more to business and restrain what promises to be another bumper bonus season in the City. Attending his first IMF meeting in Washington, Mr Osborne also backed calls from the United States for those countries with undervalued exchange rates – implicitly, and most egregiously, China – to bring their currencies into line with market forces." – The Independent

…and backs Bank action

"George Osborne has given the green light to the Bank of England to pump more money into the economy, even as he played down the likely effects of spending cuts on the economy. Reacting to widespread concern from business that the deficit reduction programme would undermine recovery, the chancellor insisted the axe would be wielded at a “staggered pace” and not be implemented in one fell swoop in April." – FT (£)

Will the child benefit cuts ever come to pass?

PARRIS-MATTHEW "This latest benefit cut is — I concede — irritatingly ragged around the edges. If it can be smoothed, if the cuts can be spread a little wider, then if only for the sake of the extra savings achieved at the expense of a group of two-earner families who can mostly afford it, so much the better. But don’t imagine that people will then like it more; they’ll simply find something else to dislike. Don’t imagine the imperfect distribution of pain is the problem. The problem is the pain." – Matthew Parris in The Times (£)

"Unless the books are still in total ruins, I anticipate Chancellor Osborne rising to deliver his 2013 Budget and announcing that the strong performance of the UK economy and buoyant tax receipts mean he is in a position to reprieve child benefit for higher rate payers. He will probably still remove it for those earning £150,000 on the 50p top rate of tax in order to be seen to hurt the rich. He may also by then have limited it to the age of 16 or to the first two children. But abolish it altogether for single earner families on £40,000 three years into a parliament? No way." – Patrick O'Flynn in the Daily Express

Demos claims welfare cuts "will hit disabled" Press Association

Andrew Grice: Cameron's challenge is to sell the Big Society

"In his conference speech, Mr Cameron gave his most passionate explanation of his "big society" vision. His challenge now is to sell it to the public at a time when it might be seen as cover for the huge spending cuts to be announced by Mr Osborne in 11 days. At the ConHome fringe meeting, the "big society" was blamed for a lack of coherence in the party's election message. The activists in the audience were asked whether they had found it a useful campaigning tool. No one put their hand up." – Andrew Grice in The Independent

Eric Pickles labels council planners as stubborn communists

"Council planning departments were condemned as a cross between the “last bastion of communism and sheer bloody mindedness” by a Government Minister. Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles said officials were all too often driven by a “you can’t build anything here” attitude." – Birmingham Post

Ministries to bargain over office leases

"Ministries negotiating or renewing leases on offices will have to agree a 25 per cent discount on the market rate under coalition plans to cut the cost of the Whitehall estate. Francis Maude, minister for the Cabinet Office, has written to Danny Alexander, chief secretary to the Treasury, laying out plans to drive out fresh savings from landlords “through harder negotiation”. – FT (£)

Charles Moore: Cameron is heir to Blair and Thatcher

Charles Moore "Today, Mr Cameron finds himself the heir both to Blair and to Thatcher. To Blair, because he has had to take his party away from its preferred territory and pay attention instead to what actual voters worry about. To Thatcher, because he confronts a crisis of the public finances even more severe than the one she faced. He also leads a coalition. So, unlike Mrs Thatcher, he wants to woo and to warn, please and prophesy at the same time. Can it be done, as she implied that it could not? It has to be. Mr Cameron’s only way of holding a majority together in such economic adversity is to convince enough people that he has honourable motives and does not like inflicting pain." – Charles Moore in the Daily Telegraph

Robin Harris: Cameron has great qualities. But he'll never understand the middle classes like Mrs T

"It isn’t now possible to know whether Mrs Thatcher would have sought today to cut, tax, or limit child benefit. Her desire to curb spending conflicted with her desire to avoid squeezing what she used to call the ‘conscientious middle’. But she would never have forgotten, as Mr Cameron seems to do, that still more important than a strategy for the deficit is a strategy for growth." – Robin Harris in the Daily Mail

Cameron to make veterans' mental health a priorityPress Association

Kremlin invites Hague to meet MedvedevFT (£)

Graduates in top jobs to subsidise tuition fees The Times (£)

Peter Mandelson uses a Guardian column as a confessional

Mandelson speaking 2 "Before this year's election we lost touch with the electorate. The world had moved on from the mid-90s New Labour mantras. But also we lost New Labour's ability to speak the language of fairness to a squeezed "middle Britain"… Too often we in New Labour thought that the mixture of being in the right policy position, uttering the right language and relying on Tony's charisma was enough… We were also too overbearing towards those who wanted quite legitimately to question or debate issues of policy or strategy and were pushed, partly as a result, into the arms of those who had always wanted to strangle New Labour at birth." – Lord Mandelson in The Guardian

Brown accused Blair of backing Cameron, claims Jonathan PowellThe Guardian

And finally… The red box farce as ministers told to take the Tube… but their papers are chauffeur-driven home

Picture 18 "David Cameron's plan to slash government spending by telling ministers to take the Tube has been undermined by the admission that their red boxes follow them in a limo. The prime minister launched the crackdown on the use of chauffeur-driven ministerial cars, which cost more than £10million a year under Labour, within weeks of taking office. But the government has now been forced to admit that while ministers are encouraged to take public transport, their papers have to follow them by car – for security reasons." – Daily Mail

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46 comments for: Weblinks for Saturday 9th October 2010

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