Is Gordon Brown really all that?
Talk about a week being a long time in politics. If Gordon Brown had the courage to match his opportunism today would mark the beginning of the second week of an autumn ’07 general election campaign. Phew, say Lib Dems and Tories. And both the Lib Dems and Tories would be more than a bit worried for a very good reason: neither party is yet ready to face an election. Why should they be? After all, we’re just half-way through the full Parliamentary term.
Failing to Go to the Country
Commanding the House of Commons is not at all the same thing as commanding a political party. Mr Blair could command the Commons and did so on occasions when his party tried to deny him his majority - on education his political will was sustained by Conservative support; on his leaving, the House recognized his Commons, not his party political, skills in rising to applaud him.
Treasury working on inheritance tax plans
How will Alistair Darling play inheritance tax this afternoon? Whatever he does there is a danger that it will be seen as little more than an anaemic follow up to the Tory proposal. Offering to match it like for lilke would smack of panic. The more likely alternative is to follow Gordon Brown's lead from his press conference yesterday and start a review, which would allow the Government to issue its counter-proposals after a decent interval has elapsed. Even then it might look like turning up a bit too late for the party.
When will the next Election be then?
Well, with Brown pulling out of having an election on 2007 we can now think about when the next likely date will be. For 2008 it seems the odds are against it given that Brown has just turned down the opportunity of having one now. However 2008 is the also likely to be the last year of any real growth in the economy and the time for a referendum (or not) on the EU treaty; so there may yet be an outside chance.
European Scrutiny Committee - Say we must have a referendum on the EU Treaty.
Below are three paragraphs of proposed amendments to the Thirty Fifth Report, put forward by Mr William Cash MP of the European Scrutiny Committee:
While we demonise young black people, many of them quietly upend our expectations and just get on with achieving great things.
Is This Proof that the Pre Budget Was Brought Forward for Electoral Reasons?
Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling will present his first Pre-Budget Report this afternoon. However, there's an oddity. This was sent to me anonymously...
Questions for the Chancellor on the day of his big tax raid
Today the Chancellor comes to brag about how much the public sector will cost us next year. Any increase in spending will be presented as good, whether it is a genuine service improvement, or more of the same- more civil servants, more bureaucracy, more regulations, more spin doctors, more consultancy contracts, more paper chase partnerships, more managers in meetings and more glossy brochures. The questions to ask include:
The "collapse" that wasn't
There's been a lot of nonsense spouted since Saturday about a "collapse" in Labour's poll ratings having prompted the decision not to call an election, Brown having got his strategy all wrong, etc., etc. Today's Populus Poll in the Times shows that actually Labour support went UP during the week of Tory conference:
We Need To Get A Wide On
I have lost count of the number of times I have read articles saying the real story of the Polls is the decline of the Liberals now down as far as 11%This is not a Party so much as a small gathering of close friends but Consevatives have less to gloat about than they might think and must pursue a rapprochement with true Liberals.There are old grudges to overcome ...
Baxter puts the Lib Dems on zero seats
For what must almost certainly be the first time ever Martin Baxter’s Electoral Calculus is putting the Lib Dems on zero seats for the next general election. This is based on feeding his weighted average of recent polls into his commons seat calculator. The result appears above.
Will 12% from Populus put the pressure on Ming?
The regular monthly Populus poll for the Times is out this morning and the shares are, compared with the last survey from the firm last week CON 38%(+2): LAB 40%(+1): LD12%(-3). It is important to note that the fieldwork took place over three days, from Friday to Sunday, and all but 200 of the interviews had been carried out before news of Brown’s election retreat became known.
Tip for Today - Everything you need to know about the Comphrensive Spending Review
Will Parbury looks at what is going to happen in the Comprehensive Spending Review. Oh joy of joys, it is the day you have all been waiting for, The CSR. For politicos if not the general population the comprehensive spending review is like three years of Christmas and Birthdays a little bit early as we find out what the government has decided to spend our money on over the next 3 financial years. This time there is less money sloshing about than in earlier CSR’s but will see what tricks the treasury can pull out of the bag to push money to frontline public services.
Pity poor Alistair Darling. Not only is he the poor soul who has to follow a decade of the “most successful chancellor in living memory". Not only does he have to do that with the Iron Chancellor as his boss. He is also the man sitting in the Treasury as the economic music stops or, to be more precise, slows.