Spectator's Signs Of The Times
Congratulations to today's winners of the Spectator Parliamentarian of the Year Awards 2007, sponsored by Threadneedle. They are: Newcomer: Nick Clegg, Inquisitor: Michael Connarty, Peer: Lady Thatcher, Speech: William Hague (Wilberforce speech), Resignation: Tony Blair, Minister to Watch: Liam Byrne, Campaigner: IDS, Parliamentarian: Alex Salmond, Marathon Man: Ian Paisley, Politician: George Osborne.
Press Release: English parliament is only answer to West Lothian question
CEP: English parliament is only answer to West Lothian question. On Wednesday November 14th the the House of Commons Justice Committee of MPs taking evidence from invited experts on constitutional matters was informed by Professor Robert Hazell, the Director of the Constitution Committee, that ‘the closest to a complete answer to the West Lothian Question was a separate English Parliament’.’ It was a statement with immense political significance.
Brown and the 'paramount' Scottish interest
In 1988, Gordon Brown signed something called the Scottish Claim of Right which said, We, gathered as the Scottish Constitutional Convention, do hereby acknowledge the sovereign right of the Scottish people to determine the form of Government best suited to their needs, and do hereby declare and pledge that in all our actions and deliberations their interests shall be paramount.
Who is Clegg closer to?
Nick Clegg’s interview with the New Statesman is well worth reading for an insight into how he sees relations with the two main parties. Clegg describes himself as “an anti-Labour northern MP” and explains why he thinks that the Lib Dems' room for growth comes from taking seats from Labour:
The EU: a ‘model’ for the world
Foreign Secretary David Miliband has called for the EU to be a ‘model power’ for the world. He wishes to see the EU enlarged further to include Russia, North Africa, and Middle Eastern countries, and he also advocates the early entry of Turkey. The Union should then use ‘soft and hard power’ to safeguard democracy, including military intervention in places like Darfur, to help solve problems of unwanted migration. He sees the Union as the means by which environmental damage may be mitigated, and religious extremism and terrorism may be eradicated.
Bin Tax to be trialed in five Councils - What a load of rubbish
The go ahead to trial bin tax has been given for five ENGLISH councils. The top recycling households will get an annual discount of up to £50, while planet destroyers (that's a normal family to you and me) could be charged up to £50. It sounds like a excellent incentive to recycle doesn't it? but is it? Already there have been worries expressed over the likely increase in fly tipping. The cost of clearing up fly tipping and prosecuting those responsible is already massive and it looks like it will only get larger. Who will pay? I'll give you one guess.
Of human rights and homeland security
Former home secretary John Reid once famously remarked that those who insist on raising human rights considerations at times when New Labour wants to railroad through anti-terrorism legislation ‘still don’t get the point’. The underlying contention here is that human rights are somehow like speed limits. They can be set high when the risks are minimal, but should be lowered for dangerous stretches of road.
Nigel 'Enoch' Hastilow is still Tory candidate as Cameron dithers and dithers...
Conservative Party members have declined to accept the resignation of Nigel Hastilow as their parliamentary candidate following the dithering and lack of leadership by David Cameron in the row over the 'Enoch was right' comments.
Passing it on
The political knockabout on inheritance tax is all very well, but the Liberal Democrats have a better alternative: it's time to show it off
Is Britain heading for a recession?
Consumers finally seem to have got the message that the good times are over - and the fall in retail sales suggests turbulent times may lie ahead
Undermining our intelligence
The UK has faced terrorist threats for years: extending pre-charge detention serves only to sabotage our security services and our liberty
Fixed term Parliament bill to go before Parliament
Gordon Brown's 'will he? won't he?' antics this autumn over possibly calling a general election highlighted the absurdity of letting the Prime Minister choose when to call an election.
Nick wins Question Time despite truly awful Tie
Memo to the Clegg Campaign - can somebody please ensure that the hideous pink tie that Nick wore on Question Time last night suffers an unfortunate accident. I will confess to having tights that colour in the 80s, and just about got away with it because of my dark hair - but Nick's tie simply clashed with everything. It would actually have suited Chris Huhne better.
The Great Debate - Huhne "Edges" it ... just
I've just been watching the Lib Dem Leadership debate and felt that Chris Huhne just about edged it over the length of the whole programme. To start with Chris exuded more confidence, spoke in a more measured and controlled way thatn Nick, his fluency was clear in the way he got his message across and by contrast nick seemed flustered and a little edgy.
Where have the Lib Dems gone?
Depending on which pollster’s figures you look at the Liberal Democrats have lost between a quarter and a half of their support since the last election. Where has it gone? Who will lose out if they recover?
Will Tory voters once again switch to Ken?
The Tories have not got a good record when it has come to finding someone suitable to fight Britain’s biggest election - the four yearly contest for mayor of London where there’s a single electorate of millions. Their first selection ahead of the 2000 race was Lord Archer who ran into a “spot of bother”. He was replaced by Steve Norris who hammered the official Labour candidate and came second to Livingstone. Norris’s 2004 bid against Ken, who had been readmitted to Labour in spite of Brown, was plagued by his links with Jarvis just as rail safety became a mega-issue.
Middle East puzzle
Should the European Union extend into the Middle East? The Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, seems to think so. He's making a speech in Bruges where, of course, Margaret Thatcher made her case that the EU should be less about concentrating power at the centre and more about nation states doing more together.