8.30pm ToryDiary: Could George Osborne be the next Tory Prime Minister?

4.15pm Comment: Graeme Archer at The Daily Telegraph

12:15pm WATCH: British combat helicopters carry out their first strikes over Libya

11.30am "The horrific death of Baby P happened under the watch of the same institutions, remember, which had solemnly promised to have learned the lessons of Victoria Climbie’s murder. Depressingly, I could list more. Any of us could. You don’t reach adulthood in Britain without absorbing the horror of these sequential institutional failures. Yet none of these organisations – that is, none of us – seem able to learn from history." – Graeme Archer on Comment: Rage Against The Machine

ToryDiary: Government-backed report will recommend restrictions on billboard, television and retail sexualisation of children

David Merlin-Jones on Comment: The Government's demands on carbon reduction are anti-industry and will drive business abroad


LeftWatch: On Planet Polly all profit-making is bad. Conservatives must never make the mistake of thinking all government is bad.

Local Government:

David Cameron and Nick Clegg decide policy by phone

4601012387_270ac5a14e_b "The survey by the Constitution Unit talked to 60 of the key players in Whitehall departments as part of an assessment of the Coalition’s effectiveness. It found most decisions were reached through informal channels as opposed to the formal coalition machinery set up by the government when it began."- Daily Telegraph

"The deputy prime minister's office is ineffective, Liberal Democrat junior ministers are spread too thinly, and many policy decisions are made in regular evening phone calls between Nick Clegg and David Cameron, according to one of the most thorough studies of the coalition's workings so far undertaken." – The Guardian

> The newspapers have focused on the most negative findings of the report. Interviewed on Today this morning Professor Hazell of the Constitution Unit gave a much more upbeat assessment of how the Coalition was working. Listen here

David Cameron-backed report to recommend protecting children from commercialisation

CameronUK "TV chiefs will be ordered to cut raunchy routines on talent shows and sexual content in soap operas in a toughening of the 9pm watershed. Shows such as The X Factor must tone down their content after protests by parents over graphic performances by pop stars including Rihanna and Christina Aguilera." – Daily Mail

David Cameron to be told to reverse Territorial Army cuts plans

"The Times understands that a six-month study of reserve forces will urge a government U-turn on plans to cut the Territorial Army and its Navy and RAF equivalents. It is likely to advise a balance between reserve and regular forces more in line with Britain’s closest allies, such as the United States and Australia, where part-time soldiers, sailors and airmen are far more numerous." – The Times (£)

Francis Maude pledges to end "archaic" Civil service sick pay rules

MAUDE-FRANCIS-ON-QT "More than £300million is being spent every year on lavish sick pay terms for civil servants, it was revealed yesterday. Whitehall staff who fall ill get six months on full pay and six months on half pay – sick pay terms beyond the wildest dreams of private sector workers. Many in the private sector have to make do with statutory sick pay of just £81.60 a week for 28 weeks." – Daily Mail

> This week's ConHome interview with Francis Maude

  • Civil servants spend £25m on credit cards, including luxury hotels, fine dining and golf trips – Daily Telegraph
  • The Sun Says: "…the HMRC thumbs its nose at critics by holding an awards ceremony for staff who "went the extra mile" to serve the taxpayer."

Former Health Secretary Stephen Dorrell hints on TV that he could take Andrew Lansley's job

"Stephen Dorrell, who was Health Secretary in John Major’s government during the mid-1990s, indicated he thinks he could do a better job. Asked on BBC’s Question Time programme about whether he would do better, he said: 'I am going to plead the Fifth Amendment.'" – Daily Mail

  • MOORE Charles Moore: To change the NHS, you have to sound like a true believer: "Mr Lansley is a believer, but, by training, he is a civil servant. He has failed to charm the producers, and his way of talking in public is essentially that of the bureaucrat. His article in this paper on Thursday was couched as a threat – if we don’t make my changes everything will go smash. This is unpersuasive. It makes believers suspect that all he is really thinking about is money. The believer’s way of talking is to show how people’s treatments will actually improve. The communication of the policy has failed so completely that the Government now actively discourages its supporters from speaking up for it. Not one voter in 100 could give a coherent and favourable account of the NHS reforms. There are probably 60 who can give an unfavourable one." – Daily Telegraph

Eric Pickles defied by Conservative Kent council

PICKLES ERIC 1QT "Kent County Council pays Katherine Kerswell, its group managing director, £197,000, while five directors below her earn more than than £150,000. One interim director is said to be earning £1,100 a day. This is despite calls by Eric Pickles, the Communities and Local Government Secretary, for any chief executive on that level to take a 10 per cent pay cut, and for other staff to maintain salaries below the £142,500 earned by the Prime Minister." – The Times (£)

Ministers to target council house tenants who earn more than £100,000

"According to a Whitehall analysis prepared for ministers, there are up to 6,000 people in social housing with an income greater than £100,000. A range of options is now being considered to free up this housing, which ministers say is being kept from those in need. These include granting new powers to councils, and the social landlords they control, to take homes away when it is clear that the income in the household is more than £100,000." – Daily Telegraph

Alan Cochrane: No more respect for 'No to Britain' – it's time David Cameron acted to defend the Union

SCOTTISH-PARLIAMENT "The mask has slipped with the SNP. For all their fine declarations, they are anti-British and anti-English – the past week has proved that without a shadow of a doubt. It may take some time for Mr Cameron to find out what has been going on in his absence, but it would be nice to think that his lethargy over what should be one of his top priorities – the maintenance of the country of which he is Prime Minister – will end soon. Otherwise, it will be difficult to escape the conclusion that English Tories like him do not really mind if Britain is broken up.” – Alan Cochrane in the Daily Telegraph

  • SNP campaign victory "mastermind" given control of the independence campaign – The Scotsman

Graeme Archer: I don't have the stomach for new-fangled, evidence-based politics

Graeme Archer"My Tory stomach tells me that children need fathers, and two parents are better than one. I am pleased that the evidence gathered overwhelmingly supports my view, but even if a new study found that an indicator of psychosocial function in single-parented children didn't support my instinct, my mind wouldn't necessarily change; not without overwhelming evidence. (…) Trust your stomach (your political conviction, your ideology) because its rumbles are forged from generations of experience. Beware of lobby groups waving pieces of "research" and demanding you bow down to their opinion. Keynes was only almost correct. When the "facts" change, before I change my mind, my stomach wants to know: who paid for this evidence, and why?" – Graeme Archer in the Daily Telegraph

Other political news in brief

  • Michael Heseltine gives the FT a tour of his house – Financial Times (£)
  • Economic growth slows again as hard-hit consumers rein in spending – The Times (£)
  • Give Brussels power to veto Britain's tax policies, urges Euro bank chief – Daily Mail
  • Downing St art collection put on public displacy – Financial Times (£)
  • New MPs say their lives have been 'devastated' by working in Commons – Daily Mail

Tim Montgomerie: Ed Miliband is a disaster not just for Labour but for democracy

Miliband Ed Official "Recent experience in Scotland should also have shown the Labour leadership that good opinion polls don’t last if they’re built on sand. One month before the May elections to the Scottish Parliament, the Labour Party was well ahead in every opinion poll. But that lead evaporated in four sunny weeks of glorious campaigning by the charismatic leader of the SNP, Alex Salmond. Conservative HQ promises the same Salmond-sized onslaught on Ed Miliband when the time is right. They just don’t want to finish him off too early. David Cameron’s pledges to cap immigration and the amount of benefits that any one household can receive are hugely popular with Labour voters as well as Conservative voters." Tim Montgomerie in the Daily Mail

And finally… following the marriage of Louise Bagshawe MP to heavy metal band Metallica's manager, the Independent has drawn up some possible conference songs

BAGSHAWE LOUISE NEW "We trust plans are already being formed in Downing Street to persuade Ms Bagshawe's husband's band to play at the next Conservative Party conference. "Seek and Destroy" could proceed the Chancellor's speech. "Master of Puppets" should obviously introduce the Prime Minister. And what better to close the conference than "The Unforgiven"? It would certainly be more honest than "Things Can Only Get Better"." – The Independent