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8.15pm ToryDiary: Just how low has today's turnout fallen?

5.45pm Alistair Thompson on Comment: Cameron is no Obama

HagueSquare4.45pm ToryDiary: Hague – Hamas bears "principal responsibility" for the Israel/Gaza escalation of violence

4pm Nicholas Rogers on Comment: Why this Conservative is a libertarian

2.45pm ToryDiary: The wisdom of Alistair McAlpine – a man who, in two senses, lives well

12.30pm Sam Royston of the Children's Society on Comment: The Government has made a great decision in seeking to understand poverty better

11am Lord Ashcroft on Comment: Peter Cruddas wins another battle in the aftermath of his legal action against The Sunday Times

6a00d83451b31c69e2016762c5f8ca970b-500wi11am MajorityConservatism: Tory HQ aims to lovebomb twenty Lib Dem MPs out of office

10am LeftWatch: Calling Humberside voters: Don't forget your Labour candidate's law and order credentials today!

ToryDiary: Is Michael Gove in the vanguard of another revolution?

Columnist Andrew Lilico: Three challenges for the new Archbishop of Canterbury

BRADY GRAHAMGraham Brady MP on Comment: It is time to get real on airports policy

Local Government: Councils should seize chance of boarding school placements for children in care

LeftWatch: When Labour's Anne Begg and Karen Buck signed up to IDS's approach to reducing poverty

The Deep End: A big society or a bankrupt NHS – the choice is ours. Boles was wrong to castigate Phillip Blond

WATCH: Media blow after Gaza strike – Israel releases video of its air strike killing Hamas chief

Today is Mini-Election day.  It's crunch time for the Police Commissioner elections and three by-elections – including Corby

1) Police Commissioner elections. Cameron hails chance to vote for police chiefs.  But what will the turnout be?

Screen shot 2012-11-15 at 08.05.54"David Cameron has hailed Thursday’s police and crime commissioner elections as a “historic opportunity” for voters to influence local crime and policing policy, even though doubts persist about an apathetic voter turnout. The prime minister has championed the reforms, which will see new crime-busting commissioners given the power to fire police chiefs, set policing priorities and manage forces’ budgets." – Financial Times (£)

  • Electoral Reform Society has predicted as few as 18.5 per cent will bother to vote – The Sun
  • The big contests: Humberside, Bedfordshire, Dyfed-Powys – Michael White, The Guardian
  • Prescott on patrol in Humberside: God help the police! – Daily Mail
  • Police and crime commissioner timetable is 'unrealistic', critics warn – Daily Telegraph
  • Today’s elections for police and crime commissioners will help to drive reform in a service that has resisted change – Times Editorial (£)

> Yesterday: Tory Diary – Why low turnout in tomorrow's police commissioner elections won't matter

Abu Qatada crimewatch news:

  • 60 officers from Scotland Yard, MI5 and a private security firm have
    been tasked with keeping the public safe from Abu Qatada at a cost of
    £100,000 a week – Daily Express
  • Security measures include monitoring Abu Qatada from space – Daily Telegraph

2) The by-elections. Labour poised to win Corby.  But how big will its majority be?

Miliband Ed Official"Labour is on course to seal a clean sweep of by-election wins in three constituencies. But while Manchester Central and Cardiff South are safe Labour seats, winning the Northamptonshire town of Corby, lost to the Conservatives in 2010, would be used by Mr Miliband’s team as a sign that his “One Nation” message was winning back voters. Senior Labour sources were confident last night that they had done enough to win the seat, though they cautioned that the prospect of a 22-point lead, as predicted in some polls, was “very wide of the mark”. – The Times (£)

  • Labour exploits NHS in Corby campaign – Financial Times (£)
  • Corby candidate list – BBC
  • Turnout could fall below 30% in Cardiff South and Penarth by-election – Wales Online
  • Rotherham Labour Party members storm out of meeting over by-election candidate – The Times (£)

MI6 ‘should hold talks with CIA about Scottish independence’ Scotsman 

MI5 seized Cyril Smith sex dossierDaily Telegraph 

In the Eurozone, Van Rompuy attacks UK EU rebate as protesters take to the streets…

"Britain’s EU rebate – or refund – came under fresh attack from Brussels on Wednesday, raising the stakes for David Cameron ahead of next week’s summit on the bloc’s long-term budget. Herman Van Rompuy, EU council president, tried to broker a deal by proposing a €20bn cut in the seven-year EU budget, but he also put forward a contentious plan to cut the UK rebate – £3.2bn (€3.5bn) in 2010-11. Downing Street rejected Mr Van Rompuy’s suggestion out of hand that Britain should pay for part of its annual rebate from Brussels – in effect cutting the value of the refund secured in 1984 by Margaret Thatcher." – Financial Times (£)

….While in Britain, King aims to talk sterling down as he warns of low growth: threat of triple dip…

Screen shot 2012-11-15 at 08.34.45"Sir Mervyn King attempted to talk down the pound on Wednesday, after the Bank of England produced its gloomiest medium-term assessment of economic prospects since it was granted independence in 1997.  The bank governor dismissed prospects for a rapid recovery and warned that the economy “may be in for a period of persistently low growth”, adding that the pound’s rise in the past year “was not a welcome development”. Sterling has risen 8 per cent over the past year on a trade-weighted basis.' – Financial Times (£)

  • UK would lose AAA status if it enters triple-dip recession, warns Moodys – The Guardian
  • Osborne must begin the groundwork for radical supply-side reforms that can rescue the UK economy – Daily Telegraph Editorial
  • Whether you like it or not, the era of much smaller government is fast approaching in Britain – Hamish Macrae, The Independent
  • There is a silver lining to depressed real wages – Allister Heath, City A.M

 …But jobless figures fall to their lowest in a yearDaily Express

> Yesterday: On Thinkers' Corner, Roger Scruton discusses Europe and the Nation 

The Heaton-Harris tapes, Day Two: Daventry MP to have "interview without coffee" (Will Sir George do it McLoughlin-style? – See illustration on right.)

Screen shot 2012-11-15 at 08.16.06"Mr Heaton-Harris spoke briefly to party chairman Grant Shapps on Wednesday and
is due to meet the party’s whips next week to discuss his “professionalism”.
Such informal disciplinary meetings are known in Westminster as an "interview
without coffee". Mr Shapps is understood to accept Mr Heaton-Harris’s argument that he never
actually helped someone stand against the Tories because Mr Delingpole, who
writes a blog
on the Telegraph's website, never paid for his deposit to fight the
by-election." – Daily Telegraph

> Yesterday:

Israel kills Hamas chief in new Gaza offensiveThe Times (£) 

Duncan Smith, Paterson and Grayling back call for marriage tax breaks

"At least three Cabinet ministers are backing demands for David Cameron to deliver a tax break for married couples within months. Allies of Iain Duncan Smith, Owen Paterson and Chris Grayling indicated yesterday that they want the long-promised measure – worth £150 a year – to be introduced in the Budget in spring 2013.  The intervention piles pressure on Chancellor George Osborne to placate social conservatives." – Daily Mail

  • IDS wants family breakdown included in a new official measure of determining child poverty Daily Mail
  • Cameron accused of misleading over gay marriage polling – Spectator Coffee House

> Today: LeftWatch – When Labour's Ann Begg and Karen Buck signed up to IDS's approach to reducing poverty

> Yesterday: MPsETC – Tory MPs and press wonder why George Osborne promotes gay marriage but does not introduce tax allowance for married couples

Hague recruits Angelina Jolie in campaign against rape in warzonesDaily Telegraph 

CCHQ's Top 40 seat hit list includes 20 Liberal Democrats

Forsyth James"Which 40 are in their sights? Normally, it’s an easy one to answer: you just look at the last election and count which seats have the most narrow Tory defeat. If you’d done this, there would only be 9 Liberal Democrat MPs on the Tory hit list. But the Liberal Democrat vote has changed radically since the last election. So Stephen Gilbert, the PM’s political secretary,  has drawn up a new list, added in demographic factors, current polling data and consumer targeting. As a result, the  number of Liberal Democrat seats on the list more than doubled." – James Forsyth, The Spectator

30 new Tory MPs add names to Guardian pro-press regulation letter The Guardian 

Bercow and his bullies bring shame on our Parliament – Peter Oborne, Daily Telegraph 

> Yesterday: ToryDiary – In defence, for once, of Bercow

Power firm's profits surge by 38% as your bill goes up by a quarterDaily Mail 

Defence chief attacks Armed Forces cutsDaily Telegraph 

Olympics haven't boosted school sport, admits CoeThe Independent 

PPC Mike WeatherleyMike Weatherley MP attacked with rocks and tomatoes by 50 'violent thugs' ahead of talk on controversial new squatting laws
Daily Mail

China 1) Xi Jinping is new Communist Party leader BBC 

China 2) In a country that in many other ways is changing so fast, the Chinese Communist Party is still ditheringThe Economist

Bedfordshire MPs Burt and Selous offer to help Nadine's constituents while she is in celebrity jungleThe Times (£) 

Shadow Care Minister's yellow post-it notes cold war over stolen lunch from Commons fridgeDaily Mail


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