Can Dave really do what’s only been done once since 1945?
Are the markets over-stating the chances of a Tory overall majority? It is a sobering fact that in only one of the seventeen general elections since the end of the Second World War has a party with a workable commons majority been replaced by another with a workable majority. In 1951, 1979 and 1997 the outgoing governments had ceased to have effective commons majorities. In 1964 and February 1974 the incoming governments had either minuscule majorities or were in a minority and second general elections followed not too long afterwards. Only when Ted Heath’s Tories took over from Harold Wilson’s Labour in June 1970 was a party with a reasonable majority replaced by another.
Donorgate: the new battle ground
As he wrapped up his monthly press conference this morning David Cameron looked slightly wistful when he said it would be his last before Christmas. With the Government reeling he would probably like one of these events every week at the moment. The days when he was at his lowest ebb in early August seem almost part of another era.
New Labour’s ‘whiter than white’ is now stained with Brown
When one recalls the unrelenting war of attrition on the cursed theme of ‘sleaze’ which ultimately brought down John Major’s government - money in brown envelopes, backhanders, ‘cash for questions’ – Labour knew it was writing a new and powerful narrative for political corruption, which they deployed mercilessly to devastating effect in order to consign the Conservative Party to opposition for a decade. Yet the questions surrounding the internal finances of New Labour are every bit as serious, if not more so.
New Labour and poverty reduction
Surely the entire point of having an ostensibly left-of-centre political party is wealth redistribution; if it does not, when in government, act to reduce inequality by the time-honoured means of taking from the rich to give to the poor, what is the point of social democracy? For many progressive voters, this is the crucial yardstick on which New Labour should be judged. They could forgive much else if the last decade had shown real progress on this score. But as a report published today by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation illustrates, the evidence is mixed.
Money for nothing
What no one has questioned is why political parties want, or believe they need, so much funding in the first place
Call me old-fashioned...
...but isn't the law supposed to apply equally to everyone? On Radio 4 this morning John Humphrys appeared to state as fact that Wendy Alexander had accepted an illegal donation, yet I can't find the resulting headline that she has resigned. Harriet Harman appears to have failed to declare a loan to her campaign and yet she is still in her job too. Can all criminals now use the "administrative error" defence? Or perhaps it's the Jowell "you mean money doesn't grow on trees" excuse?
Wendy Alexander makes the case for an English parliament
Wendy Alexander, in what might be her last speech as Leader of the Scottish Labour Party before allegations against her of accepting an illegal election donation force her to resign, has brilliantly and succinctly made the case for an English Parliament’. Speaking at the University of Edinburgh on St. Andrew’s Day Friday 30th November she spelt out her reasons why Scotland should have its own parliament.
Andrew Lilico: We don't need more regulation of party funding, we need less
If I give £100,000 to Amnesty International, or the Church, or my local cats home, no-one need ever know. The charity concerned may need to check that I’m not sending them the proceeds of crime, but they don’t need to publicize my donation if I don’t want it publicized. And rightly so, for in many cases it is of the essence of charitable giving that it should be in secret. Indeed, the Bible teaches us as follows:
Embattled Brown will look further afield
Prime Ministers in trouble at home can always resort to foreign affairs: talking about international diplomacy, war and peace and the future of the world helps voters put local scandals and travails in perspective. So look out for Gordon Brown taking a renewed interest in the world.
How to sell road pricing
The Economist carries an interesting article about road pricing this week, based on the RAC foundation's latest forecast of traffic growth. By 2041, their report says, demand for road space will have increased by 37 percent due to economic and population growth. Given the steady decline in road-building over the last twenty years, and the UK's already clogged-up infrastructure, the future sounds like it is going to be very congested indeed.
Ten Days To Shake Europe
The collapse of Gordon Brown’s personal authority after his fragility as a public politician, answering to the electorate’s representatives, has been exposed in the House of Commons, and the collapse of the Labour party into a miasma of corruptly and illegally sought and obtained money, thus depriving the Member for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath of what little democratic validity he had, now threatens the Labour regime policy of forcing the United Kingdom into the penultimate manifestation of the United States of Europe.
So the ex-head of HMRC who resigned just a fortnight ago over the data discs cock-up, is still in Whitehall, working now at the Cabinet Office. And Paul Gray is still on his £200k pa salary. Even better, he's now leading a project on "developing civil servant skills". The man who presided over such jaw-dropping sloppiness among his own staff that they routinely post everyone's bank details on Facebook, is now developing the same skills right across Whitehall.
Get a grip Darling - Northern Rock and interest rates need attention
Today we read that a rival bid is being warmed up for Northern Rock. I read in some papers that Virgin was given preferred status and allowed to enjoy great publicity for its bid in the hope that its name associated with Northern Rock would reassure depositors and stop the withdrawal of so much more money. Because the withdrawals continue, it appears the government is keen to give airtime to other bids, or will not stand in the way of their promotion.
Does this give some encouragement to Gordon?
How “certainty to vote” is driving the polls. The above table has been reproduced from the full data set from yesterday’s ICM survey for the News of the World which showed that Labour was 11% behind. This highlights how those surveyed responded when asked how likely, on a scale of 1-10, it was that they would vote.