Darling faces fraught few weeks
Alistair Darling's straight bat helped him survive his appearance in the Commons just now, no thanks to his own MPs who did little to support him and seemed instead to be obsessed with getting taxpayer cash to save jobs (theirs) in Northern Rock's northeast backyard. I thought George Osborne, normally so effective in the Commons, got it wrong by going for the Chancellor's honesty. It's a difficult charge to make stick and in my book is one best left to your backbench rottweilers on the make.
Politicians on the Northern Rocks- let them take a third way liferaft
Yesterday was a dispiriting sight in the Commons. We saw Lib Dems and Labour arguing over the future of a bank when none of them seemed to understand the first thing about how banking operates. Nor did they seem to understand the complicated banking regulations and company law they have put in place over the last decade.
Will Labour get the blame now?
How will the increasing crisis play in the polls? Back in September, in what now looks to have been a completely different political era, one of the great surprises was how the early stage of the Northern Rock crisis seemed to have no impact in the polls. In fact when specific questions were put polling respondents did not blame Gordon or Labour.
How deep in the bunker are the Brownites?
When Gordon Brown was riding high in the polls, the Brownites were a ubiquitous present. Now, they have gone to ground. Last night’s, Blair documentary was a reminder of just how factional the Brownites are by nature and it seems those old instincts are coming out again. Ben Brogan reports on his indispensable blog that someone called him on Sunday afternoon to sound off about David Miliband:
Gordon Brown, taxes for fun, plays the clown, and with my money he runs.
So Gordon Brown has announced his plans for a cleaner, greener Britain. The first thing I noticed when I clicked onto the BBC News site was his proposal for another great non-job - the "green hotline". God give me bloody strength. The hotline is to advise people on what they can do to cut their impact on the environment. Is that 'green' as in green and leafy like a cabbage. I must learn how to write a noise that adequately conveys the sound of me wailing whilst gnashing my teeth.
Actions, not words
Tony Blair's body language when asked about Gordon Brown in last night's BBC1 programme told you everything about their relationship
The environmental policies of Gordon Brown
Brown is the new green. Or at least that’s what New Labour wants us to believe. The prime minister is set to deliver his first major speech on the environment today, with the spin doctors flagging up the likelihood of tougher domestic targets on carbon emissions and probably a doubling of renewable energy targets to boot. Far be it from me to belittle targets per se. Before dramatic changes can be brought about in any aspect of public policy, it is as well to plan for them first. But targets are one thing and delivery is another. Our experience of target culture in education, education, education surely underlines that.
Are they sane?
It really is very hard to tell whether Gordon Brown, when he originally made his pledge to create "British jobs for British workers" at the September Labour Party conference, was attempting to deceive, or genuinely did not know that any such pledge would contravene EU law.
Political Funding; Current Rules Favour Conservatives
Off-shore Dollar Billionaire Lord Ashcroft's claim that he is merely levelling the playing field with his slush funds has been rocked by an independent study. Carried out by Charles Pattie and Ron Johnston, geography professors at the universities of Sheffield and Bristol respectively, who found that donations outside the official election campaign period did "make a difference".
Everyone likes Nick Clegg but beards like Chris Huhne
Why is everyone so certain that Nick Clegg will win? Alright, he’s plainly the more appealing candidate, the more intelligent, the more likeable and the better qualified. But when has any of this made the slightest difference to LibDem activists?
Protecting the taxpayer
Chancellor Alastair Darling refused repeated invitations in the Commons this afternoon to promise that the taxpayer would get back with interest all the money lent to Northern Rock. He spoke instead of doing what was "best to protect the taxpayer". When it was pointed out to a Treasury spokesman that there was a significant difference between these forms of words journalists were told that there were limits to what could be said in the middle of commercial negotiations over the possible sale of the bank.