The papers are anticipating an “optimistic” speech from David Cameron following the “austerity” message from George Osborne. There are few details but the Telegraph believe it will be about confronting Britain’s “culture of irresponsibility” while everyone suggests he will mimic Barack Obama’s victory speech by claiming there is a “steep climb” ahead. The Guardian focuses on post-election strategy with a senior Tory source saying, “[If] there is a hung parliament … it would be highly unlikely we would form a coalition with the Lib Dems, but we might be able to reach an understanding with them.”
Yesterday lunchtime, Left Foot Forward spotted General Dannatt’s remarks on Radio 5 Live that “theoretically, yes” he would take a job in a Cameron government. The story gained legs when the appointment was leaked before Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling had been informed. Grayling told the BBC that the move, which he thought was a Labour appointment, was a “gimmick.” General Lord Guthrie, the former Chief of the Defence Staff, said: “If he’s going to the House of Lords, it’s best to be a crossbencher. I will give advice to anyone, Labour or Conservative, but I wouldn’t want to be associated with any one political party.”
Grayling is also criticised by the British Retail Consortium for his announcement that supermarkets would be banned from selling alcohol at below cost price. The BRC said, “Our overriding response is that it has been well proved that the irresponsible consumption of alcohol is not about price. It is about culture, about information and about education.” Left Foot Forward revealed that Shadow Justice Secretary Dominic Grieve’s had “long been a supporter” of the Human Rights Act, which he now seeks to replace. The Independent see the duo’s announcements as a “depressing old Conservative tune on crime and punishment.”
The Guardian thinks a future Tory government is “on course for a showdown with the teaching unions.” Michael Gove set out plans to sideline local authorities, scrap the curriculum agency, sack the worst headteachers, and return to traditional values in the classroom. Mary Bousted, head of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, said, “The Conservatives seem to believe they can abolish failure by waving a magic wand and renaming a school an academy and putting a new head in place.” Author Francis Gilbert writes, “Gove’s speech proves that the Tories’ plans are utterly contradictory and extremely muddled.”
In the US, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has judged that the healthcare bill would reduce the budget deficit by a total of $81 billion in the decade starting next year. The proportion of nonelderly Americans with insurance would rise over the 10 years to 94 percent, from 83 percent today. The Finance Committee could vote as soon as Friday on the bill.Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.