February 26, 2007

BROWN VS GREEN:

Tory donations outstrip other parties combined (Ben Russell, 27 February 2007, Independent)

Labour remains more than £23m in debt and has still to repay millions of pounds in loans linked to the cash-for-honours affair, accounts have revealed.

The funding gap between Labour and the Conservatives has widened, with the Tories reporting donations of £5.3m in the final three months of last year - more than Labour and the Liberal Democrats combined.


Cameron boosts Tory coffers (JANE MERRICK, 26th February 2007, Daily Mail)
Even if only cash donations are taken into account, the Conservatives' £17.5 million amounts to more than Labour's £11.7 million and the Lib Dems' £2.7 million combined.

Conservative income from donations even topped the amount taken in 2005, the year of the General Election - usually the focus of any party's fundraising efforts - and amounted to several times the total normally taken in a non-election year.

The figures reflect the revival of Tory fortunes under Mr Cameron's leadership as polls begin to suggest he may be in with a chance of returning the party to power. And they indicate that the Conservatives - who are due to move to a new home near to Labour's old HQ on Millbank - are already in the process of creating the foundations for a war-chest to fight the election expected in 2009 or 2010.


Conservatives take 11-point lead over Labour (Andrew Grice, 27 February 2007, Independent)
The Conservatives have opened an 11-point lead over Labour, enough to give David Cameron an overall Commons majority of 100, according to the latest monthly opinion poll for The Independent.

The survey by CommunicateResearch suggests Mr Cameron's drive to rebrand his party is attracting floating voters and firming up the support of natural Tories. It is the Tories' highest rating from CommunicateResearch since the company began political polling in August 2004.

The findings will add to the jitters of Labour backbenchers who fear the party is on the slide during Tony Blair's final months and worry that Gordon Brown, his most likely successor, will struggle to turn round such a big deficit. "We are just treading water and wasting time," one Labour MP said last night.


A Kindler, Gentler Tory Party: Whatever happened to Britain's Conservatives? (Christopher Hitchens, Feb. 27, 2007, Slate)
David Cameron has become the green challenger. His party's events feature tie-less informality and earth tones and much grave talk about the need for "organic" attitudes. Confronted with things like youthful crime, which used to bring out the authoritarian beast in his party's traditionalist ranks, Cameron speaks soothingly of root causes and compassion. He has publicly regretted the way in which his party was too late in seeing the virtues of Nelson Mandela. Most astonishingly of all, he is running against Tony Blair (or rather, against Blair's heir-presumptive, Gordon Brown) as the candidate who wants to refashion Britain's relationship with Washington in such a way as to take distance from the American alliance. The press conference at which Cameron announced this new initiative was held on Sept. 11 last, as if to emphasize that the American Embassy could no longer take Tory sympathy for granted. And Cameron has appointed William Hague, a former leader of the party, as his spokesman on foreign affairs. Hague takes every opportunity to criticize the Blair administration for its slavish endorsement of George Bush and to promise that a Conservative government cannot be counted upon for Republican military expeditions.

Twenty or even 10 years ago, it would have been inconceivable that the historic left-right divide in British politics could have taken this form. Old leftist friends of mine from the 1960s are now on Labor's front bench and staunchly defend the overthrow of Saddam Hussein as a part of the noble anti-fascist tradition, while dyed-in-the-wool reactionaries are warning against American hubris. I keep having to pinch myself.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 26, 2007 9:02 PM
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