Chris Huhne and whose army?
The Lib Dem leadership will be a closer affair than many people expect. Chris Huhne having run before and got a respectable 40 odd percent of vote is going to give Nick Clegg a decent run for his money. Indeed, Mike Smithson points out that today’s YouGov poll shows that Huhne has a slight edge over Clegg among Lib Dem supporters. Add to this the fact that Lib Dem activists tend to be a fairly left-wing lot who might find Clegg a little too right-wing for their tastes and it is not inconceivable that Huhne could pull off a surprise victory.
MPs need to be accountable, but the way their expenses claims are reported in the press makes me uncomfortable.
English Parliaments, Fairly Elected
I'm not a great fan of the asymmetric devolution practiced by Labour over the last ten years. Giving different powers to devolved assemblies and parliaments in different parts of the UK, and no devolution in much of England, whilst it isn't the constitutional atrocity the Tories claim, does keep the West Lothian question open and allow charges of intellectual inconsistency to be levelled.
Twas Free Prescriptions what done it.
The slumbering giant that is England is on the move. Until this month the National Assembly for Wales and the Scottish Parliament were but mere irritants. As Ken Stephens, one of my readers might say, they were no more than two teenagers who had left home, with possibly a bit more cash than mother thought they should have, not spending their money as mother would like. And this would have rumbled on - if the little Scottish one hadn't decided to rub mother's nose in it.
The treatment of Scotland and England
Alex Salmond has reason to feel pleased with his work. He has found a series of issues where Scotland can be given better treatment than England, based on the more favourable financial settlement. His intention is to use these issues to make English voters angry about the injustice of the Union settlement, so there is pressure for English - and therefore by definition for Scottish - independence from south of the border. It is beginning to have an impact.
Why should Scottish MPs vote on English matters?
In 1977, Tam Dalyell, the MP for West Lothian, asked for how long under Scottish/Welsh devolution, English MPs would tolerate Scottish MPs being able to vote on English matters, whilst they were unable to vote on Scottish matters.
Money for Scotland
I was phoned yesterday by Scottish journalists aware of the growing disquiet in England about the more favourable financial settlement they receive north of the border. I was asked if the Conservatives would change the formula.
Apparently Gordon Brown has a real problem with David Cameron: he hasn't spoken to him privately in weeks. While nobody would expect the two to be soul mates, the level of animosity goes a bit further than that. But the reasons given are rather bizarre:
Cameron promises coherent strategy to manage net immigration and its consquences
Later this morning David Cameron will deliver a speech on population and immigration. He'll be addressing the Policy Exchange think tank. I'll be there and will report with more afterwards.
Why rights are wrong
Proposals for a new bill of rights and duties can only lead to trouble - it should be dropped from the government's plans for constitutional reform.
Leadership is not about re-opening decisions every few months
Chris Huhne has announced he would seek to change our policy on Trident: to deciding now to scrap it in a few years time, rather that waiting until a decision on an upgrade actually becomes necessary.
Chris is consistent ont his issue. He had precisely the same position in the 2006 leadership election. But I think it is now a mistake.
Now Ipsos-Mori reports a one point Labour lead
Are we entering the era of Boat Race politics? The massive monthly face-to-face survey by Ipsos-Mori is out in the Observer this morning and shows that Labour, on 41% have just pipped ahead of the Tories on 40%. The actual figures with comparisons on a telephone survey from a sample of half the size from the same pollster a fortnight ago are CON 40%(-1): LAB 41%(+3): LD 13%(+2).
Tories and cigarettes
David Cameron has always refused to confirm or deny allegations about using drugs, but the New Statesman reports on a new rumour. Allegedly a picture of Cameron smoking an ‘oversized cigarette’ while at Oxford is doing the rounds.