Tuesday, 13 November 2007

The Poliblogs 13 November 2007

Would Cameron's Council Tax proposals bring back poll tax riots.

The referendum notion on council tax proposed by the Conservatives is quite fascinating. Would it be one vote per person, or one per household? Would all of those 5.3 million dizzy has identified as unemployed also get a vote? And the pensioners? Those on disability allowances? Would you get half a vote if you only paid half of the council tax?

Bob Piper

A local referendum is only a part of the solution

Today David Cameron will make proposals to remove the Westminster set cap of Council Tax and replace it with an annual increase and rules that say if a Council wants to raise the tax any higher there should be a local referendum. Now I'm not 100 per cent sure such an idea will have an effective outcome practically because asking people if they want to pay more or less tax is a bit like asking them if they want to have a red hot poker shoved somewhere or not.

Dizzy Thinks

Are we writing Gordon off prematurely?

How the numbers show that he has a lot to smile about. Judging by the latest round of press comment and the reaction to the polls you would have thought that Brown had brought his party to the point of electoral disaster with an inglorious election defeat being the only possible outcome. Yet are these perceptions correct? For the numbers suggest that under Gordon Labour’s polling position has been transformed with the number of people telling pollsters they would vote Labour up sharply.

Political Betting

What do the next generation of Conservative MPs believe?

What do the next generation of Conservative MPs believe? On Sunday an opinion poll gave the Conservatives an 8% lead. Perhaps more encouragingly, the party was at 43% according to the ICM survey for The Sunday Express. There is a long way to go before we can be confident of seeing David Cameron becoming Prime Minister but a majority Conservative government now appears a realistic possibility after the next General Election.

Conservative Home

David Cameron on the UK’s ‘moral collapse’

Cranmer just loves it when politicians turn to moralising. It strengthens the hand of those clerics who dare to politicise, and challenges directly the naïve assertion that religion and politics ‘do not mix’. It has become common parlance in Conservative circles that morality, like religion, belongs to the private sphere, and politics belongs to the public. It is therefore no business of the state to have either a religious or a moral stance on issues that are essentially private and subjective.



News that Jonathan Aitken is to advise the Tories on penal reform policy has been met with scorn by Labour Whip Tom Watson, who said: "Next week, Jeffrey Archer heads the truth and reconciliation commission, Neil Hamilton on modernising parliamentary scrutiny, and Shirley Porter reviews London housing."

Wit & Wisdom

Brian Paddick is the Liberal Democrat candidate for London mayor.

Former deputy assistant commissioner for the Metropolitan police Brian Paddick, was the United Kingdom's most senior openly gay police officer. Today Brian has been named as the Liberal Democrat candidate for London mayor. Born on 24 April 1958 in Balham in London, Brian was educated at Tooting Bec Grammar School and Queen's College Oxford (to name a few). In December 2003 the Mail on Sunday apologised and paid damages to Brian after they published a story by his former partner, James Renolleau, that Commander Paddick had used cannabis.

Daily Referendum

Jonathan Aitken, the Tories and prison reform

There is something rather distasteful about New Labour’s attack on the Tories’ appointment of Jonathan Aitken as head of an inquiry into prison reform. Yes, the former cabinet minister is a convicted perjurer. But his is a spent conviction within the meaning of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act. Unnamed Labour sources claim that giving him this job is an example of the Nasty Party returning to its ‘disgraced, scandal-ridden past’. But it is pretty incongruous for Labour to attempt this seizure of the moral high ground after all that has happened over the last decade.

Dave’s Part

Cameron: Rape as Political Football

In one sense I'm glad to see that David Cameron is trying to address the issues I raised five months ago. However his announcement today, widely spun as "Tougher Rape Laws", was pure politics, aimed at securing his still flaky support on the Conservative right.

However let's do something radical and look at what Cameron said. His speech (PDF) is here. There are three recommendations:

The Diary of Chris K

What is the Tory Treaty Referendum Policy?

Guido still doesn't know what the Tory policy is on ratifying the EU Treaty. They want a referendum now, that at least is clear. Gordon is not going to "listen to the people", that is also clear. So what therefore would a Tory government do in power in 2010, two years after the treaty could be ratified? That Tory poster promising a Conservative government would hold a referendum was, we were told, incorrectly interpreted. Well that was the line last week...

Guido Fawkes

What will the next Lib Dem shadow cabinet look like?

Five weeks’ today, the Liberal Democrats will be announcing who is to be the next leader of the party: Nick Clegg or Chris Huhne. One of the first jobs for whoever is the victor is to decide who should be in their shadow cabinet - never an easy task.

Lib Dem Voice

Doesn’t anybody care about this nanny state that is enveloping us?

I read a report in the Observer over the weekend that a new grouping called the Alcohol Health Alliance will launch this week, calling for a 10% rise in taxation on booze, and a ban on advertising it on TV before 9pm - and I see that they have today launched their campaign. The Observer went further, going on to quote a Professor Sir Michael Marmot from University College London, as saying that that doesn’t go nearly far enough, and that alcohol prices should be doubled, to discourage people from drinking - indeed this is highlighted in the article’s headline “Call for price of bring to double to cut bingeing”. Their piece generally runs through all the evils of drinking, and why the government is concerned about this.

Jeremy Hargreaves

Nick Clegg, what have you sacrificed?

At the time of the last Liberal Democrat leadership election I used my fast-receding chess career to produce an extended metaphor. Let's try another one this time. Just before I hung my pawns up there was a highly rated junior here in Leicestershire who never really impressed me. Perhaps this was because I first played him when he was very young (and I was at my strongest) and won that game easily.

Liberal England

The most pigheaded man in Britain

Politicians and other people in positions in authority used to resign on a point of principle if bad things happened on their watch, but as Peter Oborne pointed out in his recent book on the Political Class, times have changed somewhat and the name of the game these days is to hang on to your job for as long as possible, if necessary by blaming the media for trying to force you out.

Paul Linford

Will Labour oppose Tax Cuts?

Today's papers are dominated by the prospect of the first SNP Budget which will be published on Tuesday. Key to the announcement will be (1) the local government settlement and (2) replacing the Council Tax with a Local Income Tax alternative.

Tartan Hero

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