Monday, 23 July 2007

The Poliblogs 23rd July 2007

Reflections on calls for a leadership election

The Daily Telegraph reports that up to half-a-dozen Tory MPs have written to Sir Michael Spicer asking for a leadership election. The magic number triggering a ballot is 29. Is the situation as straightforward as everyone is saying today or are there other interpretations?

Enough is enough

Greg Hands MP: War in Iraq is now longer than the Great War; the conflict in Afghanistan longer even than World War Two

Last month, our armed forces reached two unlikely milestones. On 12th June, after 2,074 days, the war in Afghanistan overtook World War Two in length. On 27th June, after 1,560 days, the war in Iraq overtook World War One in length.

Conservative Home

Stephan Shakespeare: The public need to be convinced that changing government is worth the risk

Michael Portillo, who I greatly admire, used his Sunday Times column on the weekend before the Southall and Sedgefield by-elections to call on David Cameron to show more ‘cojones’, reminding him that the ‘half-hearted’ don’t get to the top. He meant that up to now the modernising project had lacked the necessary ruthlessness, and that DC should stop feeding the party’s ‘baying right’.

Conservative Home

Where has conservatism gone?

Our party leader promised that 2006 would be a year of transformation for the Tory party. Indeed, eighteen months on the results are spectacular. Mr. Cameron’s search for a ‘modern and compassionate Conservative Party’ has resulted in a palpable loss of party identity and an acrid erosion of time-honoured conservative values. Today it seems that the Tory party can no longer call themselves ‘conservative’ nor that they are ‘right wing’. Instead their political compass is spinning adrift in a Bermuda triangle of identity disorientation.

Tory Radio

The stamp of moral authority

Our politicians' soundbite on youthful drug use betrays a hopelessly simplistic attitude towards law-making.

Ned Beauman

Why the cash for honours inquiry is a success

The cash for honours fiasco? A triumph.

The purpose of raising money is to advance a party's political cause. But if you handle donors and donations carelessly you risk damaging the party's cause more than the money secured advances it. In a competitive political system, you won't do this too often. That's why democracy works.

Daniel Finkelstein

Brown should be fighting the Europeans, not America

When a British prime minister visits a US president it is never a meeting of equals because of America’s incomparable influence in the world. But when Gordon Brown arrives at the White House next week, his hosts know he will be in office long after George W Bush has departed for his ranch in Crawford, Texas.

Michael Portillo

Trial by media?

Quite a number of those who've responded to my blog on the cash for honours saga have questioned or criticised the media's role in it. Now, the wife of one of those caught up in the police investigation has gone further.

Nick Robinson

Covered in glory on honours

The Times has the only new information on the cash for honours story. It claims that eight people who loaned Labour large amounts of money were initially put forward for peerages - to some extent reported before - and that a diary entry from one lender recorded an agreement to nominate him. Meanwhile, the Observer quite shamelessly gives the Blairites' side of the story.

Spin and Spinners

Labour’s YouGov lead jumps to 7%

Another big boost to Brown’s Labour comes with a YouGov poll for tomorrow’s Sunday Times showing the party now has a 7% margin. These are the shares compared with the last YouGov poll three weeks ago - CON 33% (-2): LAB 40% (+2): LD 15% (nc).

Political Betting

Was Cameron’s mistake to have even tried?

As we’ve discussed on the previous thread things don’t look too good for the Tory leader, David Cameron, this morning. With two new opinion polls showing Labour in the 40s and reports of Tory MPs wanting a confidence vote this is certainly going to be a period that will test him to the hilt.

Political Betting

What’s the political fall-out from the flooding?

As was seen in the US in 2005 the way that governments respond to natural disasters such as flooding can have a significant and lasting political impact. The manner of the Bush administration’s response Hurricane Katrina was cited by many as a major reason why the Republicans did so badly in the US mid-term elections last November.

Clearly what we have had in the UK in the past few weeks is not on that scale but there’s a similar expectation that governments should be there to help when things like this happen and inevitably it’s going to be hard to satisfy everybody.

Political Betting

How not to impress as a prime minister in waiting

The likely next Prime Minister of Belgium is Yves Leterme, a Flemish speaker. About 1.18 into the clip below he is asked by a reporter if he can sing La Brabanconne, the Belgian national anthem. He declares that he can, and even those readers with no knowledge of French, and little of national anthems will be struck by what he decides to sing. Anyway, enjoy.

The Croydonian

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