6pm ToryDiary: What questions should the monthly survey include?

5.30pm Local government: Cllr Sir Merrick Cockell's New Year message to Conservative councillors

3.30pm ToryDiary: Cameron's sex appeal

2.45pm ThinkTankCentral: Free market think tanks unite against increase in VAT

Noon WATCH: A brilliant video summarising how much we spend on the Iraq war, debt, the NHS and…

10am ToryDiary: The twelve political stories of Christmas (in case you missed them)


ToryDiary: The Conservatives' G.R.A.N.D. strategy for re-election

Matthew Elliott on Comment: "AV positions the Liberal Democrats as the ‘Kingmakers of British Politics’ (in Professor Bogdanor’s words). Governments should be chosen by voters, not the MPs of Britain's third party."

Andrew Lilico on Comment: In praise of tax avoidance

On Local government:

Michael Howard backs retention of control orders

HOWARDmichael-bigben "Former Tory leader Michael Howard has warned David Cameron not to ditch control orders for terrorist suspects yesterday, deepening Government divisions over national security. Lord Howard said it was necessary to keep the tight limits on a small number of extremists because ending the regime could lead to further atrocities on the streets of Britain." – Daily Mail

"Four ex-Home Secretaries from across the political divide joined forces last night to tell ministers NOT to axe control orders on terror suspects. Tory Lord Howard stood united with Labour bigwigs David Blunkett, John Reid and Charles Clarke on the issue." – The Sun

Nick Boles: Coalition must focus on the big issues, particularly the economy

"In December an Ipsos Mori poll for The Economist found that the matters of greatest concern to the British people were the economy (61%), unemployment (27%), immigration (25%) and education (21%). It is these doorstep issues — not the eurozone bailout mechanism or the scrapping of control orders — that must be the focus of coalition attention in 2011." – Nick Boles in The Times (£)

Tim Montgomerie: LibCon Coalition must be temporary

LibCon rosette "Concessions to the Liberal Democrats are the essential consequence of David Cameron’s failure to win a General Election. They are necessary to keep a Government in power that is pulling Britain back from the financial cliff edge. Both parties have come together in the national interest to clean up Labour’s economic mess. Tory MPs and activists are ready to swallow these concessions as temporary medicine. But the idea that this emergency cohabitation becomes a marriage enrages them." – Tim Montgomerie in the Daily Mail

  • Lib Dem Deputy Simon Hughes: 'There'll be no lasting Lib-Con pact' – Daily Mail
  • But Tory MP Nick Boles repeats his call for some sort of alliance: "It seems to me then completely inconceivable… to stand up and somehow say that we’re going to run a candidate against Nick Clegg or Chris Huhne or Vince Cable." Quoted on Coffee House.
  • Roger Helmer MEP on ConHome yesterday: A Con-LibDem merger? I will not be a member of such a mongrel party

Open up, before it becomes too lateFT (£) leader on Open Data

Pickles and Hammond scrap anti-car measures as petrol becomes pricierIndependent | Greg Clark explains policy

Times: Coalition right to make rail travellers pay more

"Half the cost of each rail ticket comes from the taxpayer. This is far too high, and the coalition has rightly decided to make passengers pay a greater proportion. They complain that they are having to shoulder the cost of future investment. But is this not the case in deciding prices in any industry? As a percentage of a household budget, transport costs have not risen for years. We are paying more because we travel more. Mobility is a worthy aim, but not all journeys are necessary. The fare and fuel rises will curb travel." – Times leader (£)

Ed Miliband's VAT attack proves he is a shameless political opportunistTelegraph leader | George Osborne accuses Ed Miliband of bandwagon jumping

Miliband Ed QT "Ed Miliband warned that today’s 2.5 percentage point rise in VAT would lead to 250,000 job losses as he accused both coalition parties of breaking election pledges on tax. As it became clear that raising VAT would dominate the political agenda for many weeks to come, the Labour leader argued yesterday that the increase would cost average families, already struggling to make ends meet, £400 a year." – Times (£)

The Sun examines Ed Miliband's simple minded message: "The nasty Tories are deliberately making people suffer – unlike Labour, our noble champions."

Taxes on financial transactions, carbon and land could fill VAT's hole in the public finances – Philippe Legrain in The Guardian

Alan Johnson, the Shadow Chancellor, has accused the Government of breaking an election promise by increasing the rate of VAT – Telegraph

Ed Miliband shuns quick fixes in first 100 days – Allegra Stratton in The Guardian

Don't bet on Ed Miliband being the high-flier who crashes to earth – Mary Riddell in The Telegraph

> Yesterday's LeftWatch: Ed Muddleband's first 100 days of dither and disarray

Tessa Jowell: Class is less and less important in British politics

Screen shot 2011-01-04 at 07.38.35 "As research from Peter Kellner has shown, class has never been less relevant to how people vote. In 1970, 56 per cent of working-class voters backed Labour, compared with just 22 per cent of middle-class voters – a difference of 34 points. This year, that gap has narrowed to just six points: 27 per cent of middle-class voters backed Labour, compared with 33 per cent of working-class voters. People no longer have tribal affiliations – as more than 70 per cent of them do not consider themselves supporters of any one political party…. Understand that you can't will communities, but you can create or reshape institutions to make them possible. Outward-looking schools, tenant-run housing estates and community-led health services are all examples of how public investment can engage people and in so doing build social capital." – Tessa Jowell in The Independent

'Broken' First Past The Post will keep us in perpetual coalition, says IPPRGuardian

"Only about 31% of voters – 9 million people – live in the marginal seats which form the main battlefields in elections under FPTP, found the IPPR. But the number whose votes made up the margin of victory in seats which actually changed hands was even smaller – just over 460,000, or 1.6% of the electorate." – Express

Who will be the movers and shakers of Parliament in 2011? – Simon Carr in The Independent

Up to 500,000 wrongly denied incapacity benefitGuardian

And finally… David Cameron is one of Britain's best-dressed men

Cameron PM green

"The GQ Best-Dressed List 2011 features Little Britain star David Walliams at 11, Doctor Who's Matt Smith, a new entry at 12, David Beckham at 16 and Prime Minister David Cameron, who has dropped from eighth place last year to 20." – PA


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