Yet another resignation… but where now?
Understandably, there is now lots of speculation as to who should take over. I know from my own point of view of working for Nick Clegg that his phone has now gone mad and he has been inundated with people wanting know what he intends to do in the leadership campaign that the party is about to have. Personally, I really hope that Nick Clegg runs for so many reasons:
It's all so damn predictable
There is a mood in the House of Commons – you can smell it, feel it, even taste it. Party politics, always tribal, has in this new session acquired an unpleasant edge. It is no longer a friendly or even civilised joust between rivals. The two sides – Labour and Conservatives (the Lib-Dims are an irrelevance) - now really loathe, hate and detest each other. And that was the driving force behind David Miliband's testimony to the European Scrutiny Committee yesterday afternoon where he sought to defend the EU treaty against all comers.
I've just emerged from an extraordinary evidence session at the European Scrutiny Committee. David Miliband has done himself no good at all with a performance that gets full marks for intellectual heft and vigour, but nul points for diplomacy. If he's like this in ineternational negotiations, look out. Faced with stiff questions from chairman Michael connarty, and Tories James Clappison, Bill Cash and Greg Hands, he rolled his eyes, banged the table, made political jokes about Tories on Europe, and made no attempt to disguise his annoyance at their inability to keep up with his big brain.
David Miliband spins the EU Treaty Referendum.
I can't believe that David Miliband has got the cheek to say on Radio 4's Today programme that: "everyone accepted" that the EU Treaty and the old Constitution were completely different. It's very true David they are different, but beyond someone rubbing out Constitution and replacing it with Treaty the change is insignificant.
Red Line Row
Exasperated, combative, forensic, playful, petulant... the whole Miliband range was on show as he took on the European Scrutiny Committee ahead of the Lisbon summit. The Foreign Secretary would plainly rather not have spent his afternoon poring over the details of the Amended Treaty/ Constitution with MPs.
Four reasons Tories shouldn't fear Nick Clegg
On the radio this morning Norman Smith of the BBC said that Nick Clegg was the last person Tories want to see winning the Lib Dem leadership. And he's probably right. But are Tories correct to take this view? I don't think so. Here are my four reasons.
Cameron pledges to eradicate ‘British Poverty’
…or actually to ‘make British poverty history’. But whichever way it is put, the objective is laudable but quite unattainable. This is a perfect example of where the utopian political vision is set before the people, but the bleak reality of poverty persists a decade after a party gains power, and nothing actually changes. This results in cynicism, contempt for politicians, and the eroding of the credibility of the political process.
Age before beauty
If they just thought they needed someone younger, the Lib Dems have made a horrible mistake. Politics doesn't work like that.
Tories: a case of premature congratulation?
Andrew Rawnsley made four good points in his Observer column. One: "For a government at the midterm of a third term, Labour's poll ratings are really not at all bad. The main traffic in votes has been between the Tories and the Lib Dems". Two: "...Gordon Brown's reputation has taken a severe hit. But he is still well ahead of David Cameron when pollsters ask who would make the best Prime Minister".
The power of the polls
Back in the summer I wrote a piece titled “Why Voting Intention Polls Matter” largely about the Brown boost in the polls but making the point about the real importance of opinion polling in politics today. It isn’t about predicting what the next election will be, because apart from those taken immediately before an election, polls can’t do that. They aren’t really important because they measure public opinion either - they can do so, you can tell if people’s gut instinct is in favour of inheritance tax or against environmental taxes or whatever, but it takes quite a lot of analysis to get anything concrete out of it.
The Tories are still useless, and if you really want to get Labour out, you should not vote Tory
I give myself a great deal of trouble by attacking the Tories, the party most of my readers want to support. Why do I do this, condemning myself to many angry and often personally rude messages from affronted people? I could easily make everyone happy by quietly dropping this campaign. It would save me hours spent writing letters and e-mails to Tory loyalists who absurdly accuse me, of all people, of wanting to keep Labour in power.