3pm LeftWatch: Five reasons why Labour can't be complacent
Rupert Myers, also on Comment, asks: Is Mike Huckabee a man to watch?
Local government: Government urges councils to review funding for union posts
Ian Birrell: On Libya we are seeing the real Cameron
"Take a look at his actions in opposition. In Burma, he urged emergency air drops after the military junta restricted access for aid groups after a dreadful cyclone. In Georgia,he flew to Tblisi to show solidarity with a democracy in the face of Russian aggression. And, once in office, he was unafraid to criticise Israel, even during a trip to Turkey. Unlike some Cabinet colleagues, however, Cameron is not a neo-conservative who believes it is his mission to impose democracy upon the world; indeed, he was highly sceptical about the Iraq War in private. But what he has shown this week, just as in opposition, is that when forced by events to make a choice, he comes down on the side of taking action to stop atrocities. This is, after all, someone who has said his formative political experience was travelling in Eastern Europe as a student and sensing the excitement at the fall of the Berlin Wall. His heroes are the Italian freedom fighter Giuseppe Garibaldi and Lord Palmerston, the Prime Minister famous for gunboat diplomacy and supporting a wave of revolutions that swept Europe in 1848." – Ian Birrell, Cameron's former speechwriter, in the Mail on Sunday
Matthew d'Ancona: Cameron rescues interventionism from the shambles of Iraq
"Whatever happens now, the Prime Minister has already achieved something remarkable, which is to reclaim the interventionist principle from the quagmire of Iraq. Those who say that the last few days have seen the PM at his most Blairesque are missing the point. In every detail, he has tried to prepare for military action in a fashion demonstrably different to Blair’s strategy in 2002-03. True, as I disclosed last week, Cameron was willing to take action without a UN resolution, and rightly so. But he always grasped that the first British military intervention since Iraq would benefit hugely from explicit UN authorisation – if only to distinguish it from the Second Gulf War. He understood that regional support in the form of Arab League approval was essential. Whereas the prelude to Iraq saw Europe harshly divided into “Old” and “New”, it is the “cheese-eating surrender monkeys” of France who have been Cameron’s closest ally in coaxing Barack Obama out from under his security blanket." – The Sunday Telegraph
- Fraser Nelson at The Spectator: Cameron has shown leadership and clarity that the world will not forget
- Andrew Rawnsley warns of "an unpredictable and hazardous road" ahead on Libya – Observer
- If Colonel Gaddafi does not fall soon it's hard to see a happy ending – John Rentoul in the Independent on Sunday
- "Politics seems to have become a sort of mental illness. We have no bloody business in Libya, and no idea what we hope to achieve there." – Peter Hitchens in the Mail on Sunday
Ronald Reagan was famously known as The Great Communicator but paralysis over Libya has landed Barack Obama with the title The Great Vacillator – Andrew Roberts in the Mail on Sunday
The President's reluctance to act over Libya signals a new worrying direction for the United States – Janet Daley in The Sunday Telegraph
Danny Alexander buts lower income tax at heart of Wednesday's Budget
"There is nothing more fundamentally liberal than saying those who work but receive least reward should pay no tax. That's why when the government unveils its budget on Wednesday we will set out further real progress towards our goal of taking anyone earning less than £10,000 out of tax altogether." – The Chief Secretary to the Treasury, writing in The Observer
Profiling George Osborne, Martin Ivens, in The Sunday Times (£) notes the Quad: "Today the ambitious chancellor’s hand can be detected everywhere in Whitehall. His programme, Wednesday’s budget included, is nodded through the four-man quadrilateral, or “quad” on which he sits. It is the real seat of power, an inner cabinet that also includes the Liberal Democrats Nick Clegg and Danny Alexander, the chief secretary to the Treasury."
Tory MP and GP Sarah Wollaston warns that NHS reforms may go "belly up"
"Commissioning consortia will be overwhelmed trying to adapt to their new roles. Someone needs to get a grip or we will continue to haemorrhage the best staff as a result of intolerable uncertainty and pointless morale-sapping denigration. It all risks going 'belly up' rather than 'bottom up'." – Sarah Wollaston writing for The Sunday Telegraph
Andrew Lansley accused of burying poll showing record satisfaction with NHS – Observer
Grant Shapps to strengthen squatting laws to make it a criminal offence – The Sunday Telegraph
The Housing Minister in The Sunday Telegraph: "Let me be clear: squatters are not above the law. I can assure homeowners that we understand the strength of public feeling about this issue and that's why we are urgently taking steps to lock the door to so-called "squatters' rights" once and for all."
"Chris Huhne says he still backs government's 'three-pronged' energy approach but Fukushima could make nuclear unviable"
"Huhne, a Liberal Democrat, said that Britain was in a very different position from Japan, which was vulnerable to strong earthquakes and tsunamis. The UK also used different types of reactors. But he conceded that the Japanese disaster was likely to make it more difficult for private investors to raise capital to build the eight new reactors planned by the government." – Observer
The scandal of seizures by social workers of children from responsible parents is bigger than Tim Loughton, Children's Minister has stated – Christopher Booker in The Sunday Telegraph
The Sunday Times: Civil service obstructing ministers
"The unco-operative approach of some officials has driven ministers to take unconventional measures to circumvent them. One said he had asked for a briefing on a policy only to receive a single side of A4 paper. He was so desperate for information that he discreetly contacted a pressure group, which handed him a full dossier. It later emerged the group’s data had also been sent to his officials. Another minister has started showing his civil servants’ reports to private sector experts because he is worried he is being selectively briefed. He said: “Do I take my civil servants’ briefings at face value? No. Then I go outside to someone in the sector and say, ‘Is this kosher?’ and they say, ‘Absolutely not’.”" – The Sunday Times (£)
Scottish Tory leader Annabel Goldie in pensioner pledge – BBC
> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Goldie's four key messages to Scotland's voters
Ed Miliband says Labour win in Scotland could hasten end of Tory-LibDem Coalition – BBC
"In his address to the Scottish Labour conference yesterday, the UK leader claimed that a Labour win and a Liberal Democrat defeat at Holyrood could force the Liberals to "come to their senses" and make them realise they had made a "terrible mistake" in joining the Tories in government." – Scotland on Sunday
Tories and LDs struggling in new Scotttish survey – Sunday Herald
- Liberal Democrats could lose 12 of their 57 seats because of boundary review (says trouble-making Labour research) – The Sunday Times (£)
- Union leaders are to target Liberal Democrats in a campaign to slow down the speed and scale of public spending cuts – Independent on Sunday
- The latest YouGov poll has the LibDems on 9% and the Conservatives 6% behind Labour
- Clegg: I won’t use AV No vote as excuse to quit Coalition – Mail on Sunday
Three senior MEPs agreed to table amendments damaging consumer protection across the EU in return for secret payments – The Sunday Times (£)
Now MEPs can use UK taxpayers' cash for propaganda to keep Britain in the EU – Mail on Sunday
Lord Ashcroft to unveil new exhibition of special forces medals – The Sunday Express
In an essay for the Express Lord Ashcroft tells the remarkable stories behind three of the men who won them for their bravery.