4.45pm Local government: Council byelection results from yesterday and last week

4pm ToryDiary: Margaret Thatcher listed her Cabinet allies and opponents. Who would Cameron list today?

3.30pm Kevin Culwick on Majority Conservatism: The Tory challenge amongst minority voters

2pm Nicole Gelinas: Osborne's “Help to Buy” violates every principle of economics – and of fiscal governance, too

Claire Headshot OutsideNoon Claire Perry MP on Comment: Tax-free childcare is about helping parents, not hurting those who stay at home

11.30am Nick Pickles on Comment: Bloggers and local news websites should not be part of the Leveson stitch-up

11.30am MPsETC: Let's not forget that debt rose under Labour BEFORE the financial crisis struck

11.15am Local government: John Bald : Those academic "experts" attacking Gove turn out not to be politically impartial

10am Video: From Budget Day, Treasury Minister Sajid Javid defends George Osborne's decisions

9am Local government: Local Government Chronicle warned over false marketing

ToryDiary: Lots at stake in next September's Scottish referendum

Screen Shot 2013-03-22 at 07.53.55Charlie Elphicke MP on Comment: Smaller businesses are creating jobs and it's right that Osborne backs them

Andrew Lilico on Comment: We are not targeting inflation and "not targeting inflation" has a long and inglorious history

Peter Hoskin writes this week's Culture column and offers some "Lessons from the censorial past"

The Deep End's Heresy of the week: There is zero evidence for zero tolerance policing

Alex Salmond says 18 September 2014 will be seen as 'the day Scotland took a decisive step forward'The Guardian on the day Scotland will decide its future in the Union.

  • The English would end the Union if they got the chance – Iain Martin in The Telegraph
  • Supporters of the Union must ensure that Alex Salmond’s ambitions for Scottish independence are not just defeated, but buried – Telegraph leader

The IFS warns that spending cuts might be too difficult for the next parliament and warns of £9bn of extra tax increasesGuardian

Screen Shot 2013-03-22 at 07.28.55

"A Budget black hole of £23billion could lead to future tax rises of £480 for every family after the general election. The Institute for Fiscal Studies warned the next government will have to find the money in the two years after the election if it is to get public finances back on track. If ministers keep cutting spending at the current rate, £9billion of tax rises would be necessary in 2016/17 – the equivalent of an increase of 3p on the basic rate of income tax." – Daily MailCut debt bomb

  • George Osborne, like the Lib Dems and Labour, simply refuses to acknowledge how deep a hole the country is in – Telegraph leader
  • "Cuts as far as the eye can see" – Guardian leader
  • Two Eds still have no clue on the economy – The Daily Mail criticises ugly small print in the Budget but warns that Labour would be worse.

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Osborne gambles Britain would rather vote for a political party that cuts the price of beer than a government that solves Britain's debt problems. He might be right.

Osborne preferred by 31% to 25% over Ed Balls as public's choice to be Chancellor – YouGov for The Sun

Osborne is targeting Harlow man – The Economist's Bagehot

George Osborne: I’m determined to get more Twitter followers than Ed Balls – Independent

Balls Ed 470 May 2012

More bad news for the Shadow Chancellor comes from Lord Mandelson: "Lord Mandelson has launched a damaging critique of Ed Balls as shadow chancellor, accusing him of living in the past and focusing on “tiring” arguments about the pace of spending cuts. Speaking at the CBI’s annual dinner in London on Thursday, Labours former business secretary said his party’s economic strategy was failing to win over voters." – FT (£)

This Government badly needs a full-time political strategist to stop the rot and it should be George Osborne – Philip Collins in The Times (£)

Property developers have been privately promised by Nick Boles MP that
planning laws will be liberalised again within weeks to allow them to
begin a house-building boom

Screen Shot 2013-03-22 at 07.29.43


Reaction to the Chancellor's home purchase policy:

  • Lenders said that costs involved in administering the Chancellor’s blueprint to help to underwrite £130 billion worth of mortgages could mean it fails to get off the ground – Times (£)
  • Property developers have been privately promised by Nick Boles MP that planning laws will be liberalised again within weeks to allow them to begin a house-building boom – Telegraph
  • Could Osborne's initiative to help first-time buyers actually help people buy second homes? – BBC
  • Osborne’s housing subsidies feel right out of the 1970s – Allister Heath for City AM
  • Osborne's housing policy need not be sub-prime II – John Redwood
  • George Osborne’s help-to-buy scheme in the Budget may excite the hopes
    of would-be homeowners, but it confirms our alarming dependence on an
    insufficient stock of homes – Alex Morton in The Telegraph
  • We should follow Europe and offer more long-lease accommodation for rent – Mary Dejevsky in The Independent

Two Budget briefs:

  • The cost of foreign travel will rise sharply for holidaymakers after George Osborne ignored calls to scrap an air passenger duty increase – Telegraph
  • Danny Alexander plans to scale up successful pilot schemes, which are on course to save £800m over five years – Guardian

Nelson Fraser Feb 2010More commentators react to the Budget:

  • "Imagine if Osborne had stood up on Wednesday and announced a trickle-down tax that would award £127,000 to the richest households while making the poorest about £310 worse off. Grim, he’d say, but sadly necessary for the recovery. There would be an outcry; Ed Balls would be baying for blood. Yet this has been precisely the effect of all this money printing, according to official Bank of England figures." – Fraser Nelson in The Telegraph
  • "Osborne's policies are monumentally regressive" – Polly Toynbee in The Guardian
  • George Osborne’s growth plan involves fresh cuts, looser monetary policy and another housing-market bubble – The Economist

Michael Gove admitted on BBC1's Question Time that he was "uncomfortable" about fellow politicians' attempts to curb the free PressMirror

Gove Michael June 2011"Speaking on BBC1’s Question Time last night, Mr Gove said: “I’m uncomfortable about politicians themselves deciding how the Press should be regulated. My view is a minority in the House of Commons. The majority wanted regulation, wanted to have essentially political control — through statute — of the Press.”" – The Sun

Rupert Murdoch sharply criticised David Cameron for agreeing tougher press regulation, saying the new system was a "holy mess" and that Cameron had disappointed his supporters – Reuters

Peter Lilley V George Eustice on press regulation – Spectator podcast

The Economist's verdict on the press regulation plan; "A rotten deal".

Cameron and Miliband attend Archbishop's enthronementITV

"The Prime Minister has insisted the government cares about faith and is committed to its links with Christianity despite clashes with religious groups over gay marriage and welfare cuts. At an Easter reception at Downing Street on Wednesday, David Cameron said the coalition was keen to stand up and oppose secularisation and supported Christians' right to practice their faith." – Guardian

Nick Clegg is to call for a bail-like system of security bonds to tackle abuse of immigration visas

"In his first speech on immigration as deputy prime minister, Mr Clegg will say applicants from "high risk" countries would pay cash guarantees to be repaid when they leave" – BBC

"An attempt by Nick Clegg to toughen his position on immigration ran into trouble last night as he was accused of stealing Conservative ideas and Vince Cable ridiculed the idea of cutting the number of incomers to the tens of thousands" – Daily Mail

…Meanwhile Vince Cable attacks Theresa May's immigration goal – Yesterday evening's LeftWatch

Screen Shot 2013-03-22 at 07.28.15One woman speaks up for mums who stop work to raise a family and tells Deputy PM that ministers think they're 'worthless'
Daily Mail | Yesterday's video

MPs' profits on taxpayer-funded second homes stay secret for now… thanks to Adam AfriyieTelegraph

The European Central Bank said Cyprus must find £6billion by Monday or it will pull the plug on its banksThe Sun

If Cyprus falls into Putin's grip, the West will have lost the first battle in the new Cold War – Edward Lucas in the Daily Mail

Never has it been so easy for young children to watch violent pornography. Can politicians who grew up in the analogue age do anything about it? – Rafael Behr in the New Statesman

Life expectancy up as number of Britons in their nineties soars to 440,000Express

And finally…


Papers from Thatcher's archive reveal that senior Tories were initially sceptical about going to war over the Falklands /// The Daily Mail wondered if Margaret Thatcher had the "stomach" for a military campaign – BBC

Kenneth Clarke argued against fighting Argentina to win back the Falkland Islands, saying Britain should “blow up a few ships but nothing more” – Telegraph

  • A squiggly line indicated Margaret Thatcher's disapproval of a memo – Express
  • Was the Iron Lady really a bit of a softie after all? – Quentin Letts for the Daily Mail


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