6pm ToryDiary: Publicly-owned forests good, privately-owned forests bad?
5pm Robin Simcox on Comment: "We have to encourage democracy, and should no longer be in the business of propping up dictators for short-term gains which only foster longer-term resentment in these countries. However, if full and fair elections were held throughout the Middle East tomorrow, not too many of these newly elected democracies would be pro-Washington."
3.15pm Charlie Elphicke MP on Comment: A new fund to deliver growth from smaller businesses
Noon Comment: Daniel Hamilton interviews Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili: "To his supporters, he’s “Misha”, a modern-day King David IV who has battled his country’s enemies – internal and external – while at the same time putting Georgia on the path to real democracy, economic prosperity and international respect. To his enemies, he’s a hot-headed autocrat whose provocative choice of language and pig-headed obstinacy has imperilled not only Georgian democracy but the country’s very survival as an independent nation state…"
ToryDiary: Show us you are a tax cutter George, please
Lord Mackay of Clashfern on Comment: Christians should not be forced to act against their beliefs by equality laws
Steve Baker MP on Comment: Radio 4 Analysis tonight – Radical Economics: Yo Hayek!
Seats and candidates: MPs have thus far had more chance of being promoted if they were an "A-Lister"
Cllr Martin Curtis on Local government: Why we kept free Home to School Transport for Young Offenders
UK and US call for an "orderly transition" in Egypt – BBC
850,000 more people will be dragged into the 40% income tax bracket
"Analysis from the Institute for Fiscal Studies today reveals that changes in April will drag 750,000 people into the 40% tax bracket. Meanwhile, little-publicised tax credit cuts will push the marginal rates of 175,000 working parents up above 70%. In theory, effective tax rates in Middle Britain could reach 83%, the rate that Labour levied on Britain's top earners before 1979." – Guardian
"As well as battling against rising prices, with inflation forecast to spiral to 5 per cent this year, the average family will see its income shrink by an average £200 a year because of the tax changes in April, the IFS said. This comes on top of the extra £480 a year that households that are paying because of the higher rates of VAT and fuel duty introduced this month." – Times (£)
"The richest tenth of the population will on average lose 3 per cent of their net income from tax and benefit changes in April compared with an average of 1 per cent for the population as a whole, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies." – FT (£)
We are all about to feel poorer – Mary Ann Sieghart in The Independent
David Cameron busts five myths about the Coalition's NHS reforms
"The second myth is that we plan a revolution at the heart of the NHS. This is not revolution. It’s evolution. GP-led commissioning, patient choice, payment by results and Foundation Trusts have all existed in one form or another over the past 15 years. And the NHS has always worked with a range of social enterprises, charities and private companies. The difference is that we plan to make these changes effective right across our NHS. Under the previous Government, it was all far too piecemeal and far too half-hearted.We understand that all parts of the NHS are connected, and they all need to be developed together in a clear and consistent way." – David Cameron in The Times (£) | Or see BBC summary
> Recently on ToryDiary: The myths and the facts about the NHS reforms
How 600 die of thirst in care homes: Damning report exposes the rising number of elderly killed by neglect – Daily Mail
The Government will this evening take the unprecedented step of curtailing a House of Lords debate if Labour refuses to compromise over major constitutional changes – Telegraph
Theresa May unfolds new 'toolkit' to tackle antisocial behaviour and drops ASBO term – Guardian
Treasury seeks to stop Chris Huhne turning green investment bank into fully fledged bank – FT (£)
A fair fuel stabiliser would be straightforward and should be implemented – Andrew Lilico in The Telegraph
- The FFS is one of a number of growth measures backed by John Redwood on his personal blog this morning.
- For growth, it's often best that the state does nothing – Julian Glover in The Guardian
Teacher training places are to be reduced significantly and generous grants to tempt students into the classroom will be cut as the Coalition steps up its austerity drive – Telegraph
"The entrenched attitudes and fashionable Left-wing orthodoxies of the educational establishment have gone unchallenged for 40 years or more. Despite the constant upheaval in the state sector in recent years, power has remained in the hands of those who oppose selection, competition, excellence and discipline… The Coalition wants more teachers to learn their skills on the job in schools rather than in training colleges where they are fed the discredited nostrums that have held back so many schools." – Telegraph leader
More than 100 MPs have joined forces to call for financial education to become compulsory in schools
"Justin Tomlinson, chairman of the group, said: "Young people are entering an increasingly complex financial world of store cards, mobile phone tariffs, credit agreements and financial marketing. Through my MP casework, I have seen first-hand the implications for those who have made poor decisions, too often through a lack of understanding. I am passionate that financial education is the best way to equip all young people with the relevant skills to make informed decisions and empower them as consumers." – Express
Even the Aussies want to bend the knee to the Queen – Boris Johnson in The Telegraph
The Independent focuses on Labour's links to Murdoch
"Labour has not been exactly lily-white in its own relations with Mr Murdoch. As Opposition leader, Tony Blair flew half-way around the world to court the media tycoon; in power, New Labour was as susceptible to the dubious charms of the Murdoch media as the Conservatives appear now." – Independent leader
Ed Balls says Bank Governor Mervyn King doesn't mean what he says publicly – Video
"Mervyn King, Governor of the Bank of England, has been "leant on" to support the Government's policy of rapid spending cuts against his own better judgement, the Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls suggested yesterday." – Independent
Piers Morgan asks Ed Miliband "How many women have you slept with?" and "When did you lose your virginity?" – The Independent's Andy McSmith examines the Labour leader's responses.
"Ed Miliband has said he will not get married for political expediency, joking he had a choice about taking paternity leave because he has yet to tie the knot with his partner Justine Thornton." – Express
The flood of hate that greeted my article on gay intolerance – Melanie Phillips in the Daily Mail
"Infection rates for sexually transmitted diseases were significantly higher in areas where schoolgirls, including under-16s, were given free access to [morning-after] pills." – Daily Mail leader
Portillo, Parris and Widdecombe are among the ex-MPs to follow TV careers – Mark Lawson in The Guardian
And finally… Paul Staines is interviewed in The Guardian
"Since Guido's Order-Order blog went live in 2004, it has exposed MPs' petty expenses fraud, forced Peter Hain to resign from his cabinet post over undeclared campaign donations and, most spectacularly, brought down Damian McBride, Gordon Brown's political enforcer, in the Smeargate affair. But Staines's tentacles reach much further. He is that rarest of beasts – an independent publisher making money out of the internet…" – The Guardian's Adam Sherwin talks to Guido Fawkes
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