Kelvin McKenzie kicks up a storm
So, did you see Question Time last night? I rather suspect that the BBC will be receiving a number of complaints about McKenzie’s use of the word Scottish as an insult. But really, what did the BBC expect? They even billed the program as a clash between Harriot Harman and ‘the man who thinks Gordon Brown should go home and leave England alone’.
How long can Ming hang on?
When it looked like there was going to be an autumn election, Ming Campbell’s position was safe for the simple reason that there wasn’t time to replace him. But now with no election likely until 2009, the Lib Dems have time to pick a new leadership team and bed them in before the next election.
Why have the wheels fallen off?
It's been a terrible week for Gordon Brown and the Labour Party. Widely derided for not calling an election, he was also savaged at PMQs yesterday. David Cameron was sharp, and has evidently decided that the best approach is to get under Brown's skin and needle him repeatedly with jibes about his lack of courage, honesty etc. It worked yesterday, Brown was visibly cross, but managed only to sound petulant and short of ideas.
Is the centre right really winning the battle of ideas?
There is growing awareness that the right is fighting back in the battle of ideas. On Tuesday ConservativeHome highlighted the extent to which Labour has been copying Tory ideas. Alistair Darling was correctly dubbed 'Mr Magpie' after his pre-Budget statement. As David Cameron said at yesterday's PMQs, the Conservatives are beginning to look like the future and Gordon Brown is certainly looking like the past. Waiting for him to unpack his vision is proving to be a very long wait indeed. This week's Economist concludes that the Conservatives are looking like the party of optimism and aspiration.
A politician with balls?
Once upon a time Parliament was a brilliant and wonderful place. The members were independently minded fellows, the Whip didn't exist and whilst there were notional party allegiances they were transient. It was the issues that mattered, not the party whip and the career that the MP so desired. In fact, the career was often mapped out by virtue of the MPs independent mind to argue, and crucially win their point. Then one day, it was all lost.
Leaving the fray
When I stand down as an MP at the next general election, there are some things I will miss, but others I won't be sorry to leave behind.
Why Conservatives Should Read Polly Today
I wouldn't normally do this, but I recommend you read Polly Toynbee's piece in today's Guardian. It's a corruscating attack on Brown. Can this really be the same Polly Toynbee that told us this, only a few short weeks ago?
Gareth Southgate is right about the Mayday for Nurses campaign
A while ago there was a lot of publicity for Noreena Hertz and her Mayday for Nurses campaign. The charity had asked Premiership footballers to donate a day's wages to help nurses and published figures showing how generous each club had been. Now, in the last couple of days, there have been stories about how quick to pay the players have been, again broken down by club.
Dan Leighton Every so often the discretionary powers available to our politicians come along and bite them on the backside. The debacle over the snap election that never was and the oncoming car crash that is the EU ‘treatitution’ are the latest additions to the litany of constitutional blowbacks that regularly plague the UK. The point in both instances is not that Gordon Brown is inclined to act in his party’s short-term interests (despite what he may have us believe, he is of human rather than divine origin) but that there is nothing in the way of constitutional rules that restrained him from doing so. As long as politicians have the capacity to make self-serving decisions over elections and referendums, the temptation to use them will be too great to resist.
Ipsos MORI also shows a swing to the Tories
A new Ipsos MORI poll in Friday’s Sun apparently has identical figures to the last YouGov poll, showing a big swing towards the Conservatives since their conference and putting them slightly ahead of Labour. The topline figures with changes from the previous Ipsos MORI poll, taken shortly after Gordon Brown’s conference speech, are CON 41%(+7), LAB 38%(-3), LDEM 11%(-5).
More bad news for embattled Labour
Will Alan Johnson come under pressure to resign? In what’s been a dreadful week for Labour, there’s more bad news for the government today with the 90 deaths from the C difficile bug at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust. Health secretary Alan Johnson has described the deaths as “scandalous” and has told the trust to withold any severance pay to the chief executive who resigned last week.
Gordon Brown, the election is as good as lost for Labour
Did you see the old sourpuss again just now? The PM, I mean, stumbling his way through a joint press conference with José Manuel Barroso, endlessly repeating, like the last survivor of a demented cult, that the text of the EU constitution has somehow been amended.
The Labour Manifestos 1997, 2001, 2005 on Post Offices: What did Gordon Brown and Tony Blair promise?
Last week I published an article looking at the impending closure of 2500-3000 of our Post Offices. This article highlights the promises made by in the last 3 election manifestos.
Should Al Gore win Nobel Peace Prize?
Despite what the sceptics think about climate change, Al Gore has considerably raised its profile throughout the world, he is passionately devoted to initiating international action on this. The latest controversy is whether he should win the Nobel Peace Prize because of his outstanding work. He has been nominated for the Nobel prize jointly with Sheila Watt-Cloutier, a Canadian Inuit activist who has campaigned about the effect of climate change on Arctic peoples.