Monday, 10 September 2007

The Weekend Poliblogs 8th & 9th September

Discretion: The Better Part Of Valour?

David Cameron let some of his frustration show at critics of his leadership within the party today, but perhaps not all of it.

In a speech at the Tories' glitzy new headquarters, high above Westminster in Millbank Tower, he urged his audience to "Forget about those on the left who say I shouldn't talk about Europe, crime or lower taxes.....or those on the right who say I shouldn't talk about the NHS, the environment or well-being."

Adam Boulton

Rifkind: Brown is playing cynical politics with appointments

Gordon Brown's raids on Tory ranks have tested David Cameron's commitment to consensual politics. He's furious about it, but he can't say so for fear of playing into the Clunking Fist. Instead he's had to smile and sound gracious. Tonight though something has snapped. Sir Malcolm Rifkind has been sent out to accuse Gordon Brown of an abuse of power. His argument is that the PM is using Government appointments to score political points (Surely not!).

Ben Brogan

Stephan Shakespeare: The Tories aren't doing better in the marginals

When polls are spun, we should be very nervous. The purpose of a poll is to provide independent evidence about what people think, evidence that may be used to measure progress or justify a particular strategy. When polling data is misinterpreted, it’s therefore worse than having no data at all, because it gives us confidence in a proposition that may be false. A recent analysis of voter preference in the marginal seats presents just such a danger.

Conservative Home

SNP plans highlight the need for an English Parliament

The plans announced by the SNP on Wednesday show that Scotland's devolved parliament has started to develop in to a real asset for Scottish people, and further highlights the lack of a similar parliament for England.

Norfolk Blogger

Coulson's progress

I promised a few days ago an interim report on Andy Coulson's first weeks in office. So here are a few impressions, based I admit on too little evidence to be definitive. He's only just joined the circus, so we should wait until after conference at least before hazarding anything more concrete. But first a disclaimer: I met him for the first time on his second day in the job back in July, and have had several conversations with him since. And that is the extent of our personal contact.

Ben Brogan

Completely Missing the Point

Government silly initiative of the week, they're going to give pregnant women £200 towards them eating healthily. They'll be given it in their 29th week of pregnancy. Now there is no way of knowing what this money is sent on, no concern about what these women eat before the 29th week of their pregnancy, and surely it becomes more problematic to feed children after the are born from a financial point of view since you are actually buying separate food??

Caroline Hunt

People are ready for the low tax argument

I have, for some time now, argued that Cameron's Tories are far too timid. I have argued, time after time, that people are ready to hear the low tax argument: they have seen that plowing vast piles of money into public services does not automatically make them better, and they are ready—no, eager—to believe that cutting taxes will not, therefore, make public services worse.

Devil’s Kitchen

Avoiding past mistakes

Gordon Brown has some vital lessons to learn from the winter of discontent ahead of this week's Trades Union Congress.

James Moher

City doubts about the Bank of England

It has been a shared mantra of government and the City that Bank of England independence is a fine thing. Both sides have joined in this misrepresentation of what happened 10 years ago when Gordon Brown took over at the Treasury. Both sides have liked the fairly low interest rates and the fairly low inflation that characterised the period up to 2006.

John Redwood

The UK economy - after the turmoil, what next for mortgages?

The impact of the credit crunch caused by the US sub prime mortgage mis-lending is still spreading through the global markets and rarely a day passes without at least one UK sub prime lender, let alone US lenders, announcing an increase in rates and/or a tightening of criteria. The speed and scale with which the problems have spread around the globe is unprecedented and banks and investors are now so frightened of what they don’t know, ie where the black holes are, that most are not prepared to invest in anything other than top quality stock, which basically means Government securities.

Political Blogging

Will the TUC be a "yes" men to Gordon Brown on the EU Constitution?

Radio Five this morning were having a pre conference chat with TUC officials and finished their chat with the thorny topic of the EU Constitution referendum.

Norfolk Blogger

J.D. Wetherspoon talks sense on underage drinking

I caught an interview with Tim Martin, the founder of the J.D. Wetherspoon pub chain, on the Today programme yesterday morning.

Martin said that the crackdown on underage drinking had in many ways proved counterproductive. Earlier generations of teenagers had learned about alcohol through drinking beer in pubs from the age of about 16. Though their presence there was technically illegal, no one worried about it too much as long as they behaved themselves.

Liberal England

United States of America Follies 3: The Death Penalty does not Work

I’ll just mention one - very telling - phrase. Clive Stafford-Smith describes George Bush’s reforms to “speed up” the system as a way to kill innocent people more quickly. I have attached a couple of graphics from the Death Penalty Information Centre website. Click on the images for the full graphics.

Official Scottish Government: Matt Wardman

So do the Tories really believe in society?

Margaret Thatcher said society didn't exist. Now David Cameron's trying to mend it. No wonder he's so keen to shed the Iron Lady's legacy. This, by and large, is the theme of today's Newcastle Journal column looking back at the week's political developments.

Paul Linford

How Christian is Britain?

Since the religion question was added to the census in 2001 this has become a recurring debate on blogs - I was reminded of it when I saw Cramner’s blog talking about Iain Dale’s little survey of his readership where Cramner wrote “The 45% who profess belief in a deity is massively beneath the national average. In the 2001 census, just over 70% professed the Christian faith”.

Polling Report

TUC Conference, Brighton

Gordon Brown is about to deliver a speech to the TUC pledging to deliver "British jobs for British workers". This a day after the home secretary pledged to force immigrants to speak English. These moves are described in a number of papers as part of the new PM's determination to occupy the centre ground.

Nick Robinson

Gordon goes where Dave can't

“British jobs for British workers”: Gordon Brown has road-tested this muscular phrase many times before, not least when he accepted the Labour leadership in Manchester in front of a Union Flag the size of a small constituency. But today, at the TUC, he puts patriotic flesh on the bones promising an “extra 500,000 British jobs for British workers".

Coffee House

Tough times ahead for Brown only add to Cameron’s woes

Gordon Brown must be relieved that Labour has slipped in the opinion polls. The party’s clear lead during the summer suggested that the government could substantially increase its majority in an early election. The news was too good for comfort, putting pressure on the prime minister to call an autumn poll, something which was not in his game plan.

Michael Portillo

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