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4.30pm LeftWatch: It wasn't a heartfelt speech.  It was a cynical speech.  Which is why it won't work.

1.45pm Columnists: Anthony Browne sends the AQA to the bottom of the class: "The master of Magdalen College, Oxford has pointed out the unfairness of marking down a poor pupil who receives a bursary to an independent school while marking up a student who goes to a "leafy comprehensive".

1.30pm WATCH: Tom Watson tells Labour's Conference that News International is "sick from top to bottom"

Screen shot 2011-09-27 at 13.29.41 12.30pm ToryDiary: Final opportunity to advertise in ConservativeHome's Party Conference newspaper

Noon ConHomeUSA: Today's top Republican and American political news

10.30am Ben Howlett on Comment: Miliband has nothing credible to offer students

ToryDiary: Where is the wave of protest over the arts spending scaleback?

LeftWatch: Labour may, finally, have some better tunes but Ed Miliband is singing them

Stephan Shakespeare on our columnists' page: Our society can't move forward if we don't become more productive

Guy Hordern on Comment: How committed is the Government to religious education?

Local Government:

WATCH: A cut-out guide to Miliband's year 

Morning, Ed! Seen ComRes? On your big day, the Conservatives have edged ahead of Labour for the first time in a year

Screen shot 2011-09-27 at 05.44.17
"Ed Miliband suffered a double setback last night as the Conservatives edged ahead of Labour in a poll for The Independent which also shows that only one in four voters regards him as a credible Prime Minister-in-waiting. As the Labour leader prepared for his crucial speech to his party's conference in Liverpool today, the Tories enjoy a lead for the first time since October last year, just before Chancellor George Osborne outlined the Coalition's spending cuts, the research by ComRes shows." – The Independent

"Today the Labour leader makes the most important speech of his life. Voters are becoming turned off by him. On the eve of his conference address, the Tories have gone ahead in an opinion poll for the first time in a year." – Sun Editorial

And it's a Blue Labour speech: the Labour leader will attack bankers, scroungers

Screen shot 2011-09-27 at 05.44.33 "Ed Miliband will target asset strippers and antisocial tenants on Tuesday as he vows to rebuild society so that the values of the decent majority are heard, ending a morally inverted system that rewards vested interests with the wrong values. In his major speech to the Labour party conference, he will also attack suggestions that company executives are the only ones that create prosperity, saying "the true wealth creators are not just an elite, but every man and woman who goes out to work"." – The Guardian

"Mr Miliband will also use his speech to Labour’s conference in Liverpool to try to reverse the party’s image as being soft on benefit cheats – promising to create a ‘something for something’ principle in welfare.  He will say council houses should no longer be allocated just on the basis of need, but also on contribution to society – whether applicants are working, have looked after previous homes or are good neighbours." – Daily Mail

  • Miliband is to offer vision of a "good society" to Argos Britain – Mary Riddell, Daily Telegraph
  • Ed Miliband should learn from the Tory opposition experience – Tim Montgomerie, The Guardian

Glasman returns with call to control European immigration – The Guardian

Glasman returns with call to halve the number of universities – The Times (£)

Balls's big apologetic non-apology apology

Screen shot 2011-09-27 at 05.44.55 "Mr Balls told the conference that there was much to be proud of, but being told about the great things that Labour did in government "doesn't pay the bills, secure the job, it doesn't secure the pension." "When they say we made mistakes in government, they're right. We have to admit them and show we've learned," he added. The shadow chancellor went on to reel-off a list of mistakes he admitted his party had made." – Daily Telegraph

"The star speaker… finished to a roar of astounded, delighted applause and a spontaneous standing ovation. The trouble is that the speaker wasn't Ed Balls. The great, churning, ecstatic outpouring of admiration was for a 16-year-old, Rory Weal, the son of a single mother from Maidstone." – Simon Hoggart, The Guardian

(Panic in Cumbria and Kabul: The Independent describes Weal as "Rory Stewart")

Screen shot 2011-09-27 at 08.30.15
Balls Comment:

  • Balls has no regret over UK’s vast debt – Tom Newton-Dunn, The Sun
  • Would you buy a used economy from this man? – Simon Heffer, Daily Mail
  • Look back to Black Wednesday in 1992 to understand Ed Balls – Wintour and Watt, The Guardian

More Labour Conference news:

  • Screen shot 2011-09-27 at 05.45.03 Blair: I should have saved the royal yacht – Daily Mail
  • Labour must stand side by side with women – Yvette Cooper, The Guardian
  • CentreForum claims Labour's tuition fees cap would benefit richest graduates, thinktank claims – The Guardian

Conference comment:

> Yesterday's ConHome Labour Conference coverage:

Callanan and Cameron clash over Strasbourg sitting

CALLANAN MARTIN "Senior Tories are furious the Prime Minister has gone back on his support for a campaign by MEPs to reduce the number of European Parliament meetings held in the French city of Strasbourg, which is 220 miles from its main seat in ­Brussels. Last week the deadline passed for Britain to declare its support for the MEPs.…Martin Callanan, Tory leader in the European Parliament, said: “This was a genuine opportunity to pursue serious reform in Europe.”  – Daily Express

Fox claims "black hole" of defence costs eliminated

"A £38bn debt weighing on the Ministry of Defence has been almost eliminated with tough financial management, Liam Fox will claim next week, as he seeks to highlight a turnround in the fortunes of Whitehall’s most “traumatised” department…the defence secretary will tell the Tory conference in Manchester next week that MoD finances are now stable, thanks to removing the debt he inherited from Labour. At £38bn, this was bigger than the department’s annual budget." – Financial Times (£)

  • RUSI warns of multi-billion black hole risk for MoD – Daily Mail
  • MOD cutbacks could cost 30,000 jobs – Daily Express
  • British arm will never again be among superpowers – The Guardian

Libyan campaign "could cost UK £1.75billion"

"The cost of Britain’s military mission in Libya could hit £1.75billion – seven times what the Government predicted it would spend. The sum, calculated by one of the UK’s leading defence specialists, is an embarrassing blow to Liam Fox who said in June the operation to stop Colonel Gaddafi attacking civilians would cost £260million. Originally the Treasury believed the cost would be no more than ‘tens of millions’ of pounds." – Daily Mail

Screen shot 2011-09-27 at 06.10.51 Exam board proposes to discriminate against pupils from private schools – The Independent 

Prisoners forced to give 40% of pay to victims under new Clarke law‎

"Prisoners are set to have money taken from their wages and given to support victims of crime, ministers said today. The scheme is part of Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke's rehabilitation revolution and will raise £1 million a year. The move will affect 500 inmates who work outside prisons, which will see their take-home pay cut by up to 40 per cent and used to help support victims, the Ministry of Justice said." – Daily Mail 

Desmond Swayne tells constituent that this Government will not leave the EU shockerDaily Mail

Sir Malcolm Rifkind backs Murdo Fraser

"The stark message from Sir Malcolm Rifkind, the former Foreign, Defence and Scottish Secretary, comes in a personal endorsement for Mr Fraser made available to The Times. Sir Malcolm says that Mr Fraser’s plan for the Scottish Tories to be replaced by a new centre-right party is “a bold and brave move of the sort that is needed if we are to be successful once again in Scotland and ensure that the Union is saved”." – The Times (£)

David Gauke to criticise Swinney over slow tax reform progress – Herald Scotland

Market jitters at Euro bailout plan Daily Express

Other Political News and Comment in Brief

  • Obama goes cap in hand to woo A-listers – The Times (£)
  • Study says NHS reform cost may exceed savings – Financial Times (£)
  • Seven MEPs' £100k seafood holiday in Seychelles – The Sun
  • Riots sentence appeals due – BBC
  • These terrorists should all be wearing orange jumpsuits, not jumping on a red London bus – Richard Littlejohn, Daily Mail
  • Sinn Fein's most obnoxious rhetorical strategy is that of whitewashing McGuinness by smearing Mandela – Fintan O'Toole, Irish Times
  • How far can the press go in the public interest? – Harold Evans and Others, The Times (£)

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