Thursday, 2 October 2014

Land of hopeful Tories..

Didn't he do well? "Mr Cameron knew the occasion demanded one heck of a performance," writes Quentin Letts in the Mail: "I'd say he gave it."  "David Cameron saved the best lines for himself," is Phil Johnston's verdict on what Steve Swinford and Holly Watt call "one of the best speeches of his political career". "Cameron's speech was like a finely glazed, elegantly decorated doughnut," declares Jonathan Freedland in the Guardian: "it was constructed around a gaping hole, namely the gap left for by the Labour leader last week." "The election starts here" is the Guardian's headline. 
It's not just the delivery but the detail that has the papers purring: the personal allowance raised from £10,500 to £12,500 by 2020, lifting one million people out of tax altogether, the threshold for the 40p rate raised to £50,000 from £42,285.  The coverage couldn't be much better if Lynton Crosby had written it himself. "Cameron gives 30m a tax cut" is our splash. "Here Cams The Sun" roars the Sun. "More for the middle: Cameron makes his election offer" says the Indy."Cameron's £7bn tax giveaway to middle class" is the Times' take. At Last, A Real Tory Premier" sighs the Mail
Hold on just a moment, says Ed Balls. Where are you going to find £7.2bn from, exactly? "Nobody will be fooled by pie in the sky promises of tax cuts in six years' time when David Cameron cannot tell us where the money is coming from," says the Shadow Chancellor. All in all, it means an extra£28bn of austerity - equivalent to the entire budget for the Department of Transport according to the Times -  with no commitment, as yet, as to where it comes from.
Don't be such a killjoy, is Jonathan Isaby's response. "This was a positive speech for taxpayers, with tax cuts for the lowest paid and long-overdue relief for ordinary people being clobbered by the higher rate of tax." "David Cameron ensured yesterday that the Conservatives will be playing at home in next year's general election - on their favourite 'tax and spending' field," is Andy Grice's analysis in the i. It's put the Tories firmly back on the front foot as the election campaign kicks into gear. "His outstanding performance in Birmingham, and that of the team he leads, has made a Tory victory dramatically more likely," is our leader's verdict.  The optimism at the Conservative party conference which seemed so incongruous on Sunday now seems rather better-founded. 
Our man Chris Hope was among the tired journalists lured out to Bristol by Ukip in the promise of a "big announcement". Could it be another defector? No such luck. It was defectee donor Arron Banks, who, Nigel Farage said, was so exercised by William Hague's comments that "I have never heard of him, so we are not going to get too upset about that" that he was increasing his £100,000 donation to £1 million. "Now Mr Hague will know who I am," chuntered Mr Banks. Indeed. We now also know that there are no more big-name defectors waiting in the wings, and that behind the scenes, Ukip's machine is as prone to unforced errors as it ever was. HILL NEED TO DO BETTER THAN THAT, MEPS SAY
Lord Hill of Oareford faces an unprecedented second confirmation hearing to become Europe's financial regulation chief after MEPs complained that his grasp on his portfolio left much to be desired, Alex Barker reports in the FT. Speaking to the Today programme, Philippe Lamberts, a Green MEP, said that Lord Hill "had no clue", "showed no grasp of the issues", and that "while he is a charming person he has no knowledge". That Lord Hill's testimony appeared, on first blush, to be close to flawless has raised fears that leftist MEPs are looking for any pretext to dump Lord Hill. 
Civil rights groups have been angered by the PM's proposal to scrap the Human Rights Act and replace it with a "British Bill of Rights". Amnesty UK's campaigns director, Tim Hancock, tells the Guardian: “Theresa May made much in her speech about how we must stand up and fight for human rights abroad, it makes absolutely no sense to denigrate those same rights at home." Meanwhile, the Home Secretary's planned "disruption orders" are the subject of a stinging rebuke from Dominic Raab in today's Telegraph. It's "contrary to our great tradition of free speech," Mr Raab says.
Shirley Williams sits down with Andrew Billen in the Times.  The Baroness says that in the first 18 months of coalition, the Liberal Democrats were so keen to prove that it could work that "basically, we went along with almost everything the Tories wanted". But it's the pledge not to raise tuition fees that has really done for the Liberals, Baroness Williams says. "[It] was a terrible mistake. I neer signed it and I thought it was very foolish."  But, she says, the decision to go into coalition was the right one. "There was literally no alternative in 2010. That doesn't mean one likes the alternative at all. I don't." Casting an eye over her old party, she's still unimpressed: "Ed Miliband sounds like an academic."
Nick Griffin has been kicked out of the BNP. He's accused of trying to "embroil the BNP in factionalism designed to destabilise our party". It's part of the new leadership's attempt to take control of the wills and monies that keep the BNP ticking over, Matthew Goodwin, an expert on the politics of the radical right, explains.
Two-time Premier League winner Sol Campbell could join the Conservatives in order to fight Labour's mansion tax, Keith Perry reports.  "I can’t understand why Labour want to bring in a mansion tax. It’s madness," Mr Campbell tells the Telegraph. “All I can do is pray it won’t happen. They have gone too far now. A hell of a lot of people are worried about it. I might have to think about working for the Tories. This has to be nipped in the bud.”
Our cartoon is the work of Christian Adams; you can see his work onInstagram.  You can get in touch with me by hitting "reply", and via Twitter
Gatwick can connect Britain to the future, faster. A new runway at Gatwick can be delivered by 2025, at no additional cost to the taxpayer. A third runway at Heathrow would cost more than twice as much, be part-funded by the British taxpayer, and involve tunneling the M25 and introducing a road congestion charge at the airport.
@tara_mulholland: Imagine being in the position to respond to insults by throwing a million pounds around. The most I ever do is eat a million Jaffa Cakes.POLL OF POLLS

 02.10.14Poll of polls 25th September to 2nd October (Opinium-Populus-YouGov), Labour lead of four points

YouGov: Conservatives 31% Labour 38% Liberal Democrats 7% Ukip 15%
From the Telegraph
James Kirkup - David Cameron vs Ed Miliband: the narrative the Tories are hoping for

Janet Daley - David Cameron said everything we might have hoped for
Alison Pearson - Let's hear it for Theresa May
From elsewhere
Jane Merrick - Theresa May is ready for Number 10 (Independent)
George Eaton - History gives the Tories confidence; but the rules have changed (Statesman)
Jenni Russell - The next election is a choice between Mr Bumble and Pollyanna (Times)

0900: Call Clegg on LBC 97.3.
0930 LONDON: Bank of England Financial Policy Committee statement