Labour must be careful: Osborne wasn’t downgraded for cutting, but cutting the wrong way

I had this on Labour Uncut in February.

John Moody first offered credit rating services in the US in 1909. By this time, Dutch investors had been buying bonds for three centuries, English investors for two, and American investors for one century. Investors have, therefore, prospered for long periods without credit rating agencies.



Bill Clinton at policy network

I had this on Labour Uncut in November last year.

In the closing stages of the US presidential election Joe Klein voiced “the frustration that many informed voters have had with this race: Romney’s proposals for the next four years are ridiculous; the President’s are nonexistent … The vast majority of people in the vast majority of states are irrelevant to the process. The campaigns brag about their ability to microtarget voters. That is precisely what we’ve gotten: a whole lot of micro at a time when macro is sorely needed.”



Obama must be more ambitious if he wins a second term tomorrow

I had this on Labour Uncut just before President Obama was re-elected:

“Obama is forty-seven years old”, noted Russell Baker prior to the 2008 presidential election. “McCain is seventy-two, old enough to be Obama’s father … In classical mythology the son must kill the father to allow for the earth’s renewal.”



Advice for Ed: Ed needs to get in touch with his inner red neck

I had this on Labour Uncut last week:

Raymond Geuss – writing, incidentally, in a book with a cover so starkly evocative that it is almost worth buying for the cover alone – is right about one thing:



Lessons for Labour from Little Rock, Arkansas

I had this on Labour Uncut earlier this year:

The main gallery of Bill Clinton’s presidential library in Little Rock, Arkansas, which I visited last month, contains sections on the various achievements of his presidency. The first three to greet visitors are on deficit reduction, crime and welfare. Too often, these are considered right-wing issues. But Clinton counts them amongst his proudest achievements.



Obama should pretend there’s a Republican Clinton

I wrote this recently for Labour Uncut when I was in holiday in the USA.

I recently saw a TV pundit – admittedly on Fox News, which I watch for perverse laughs – assert that Barack Obama will not win the next presidential election. Another pundit came back that he would, because the Republicans don’t have anyone to beat him. This is the prevailing establishment view. Andrew Neil recently tweeted: “A prediction you can hold me to: Obama will serve a second term”.



Yes, we still can (but leadership and disciplined support are needed)

The striking thing about the most powerful person in the world, as he approaches one year in office, is how, err, lacking in power he appears.

Disappointed and, according to Mark Lynas, insulted by the Chinese in Copenhagen.  A Health Care Bill that isn’t yet on the statute; is much delayed on his original timetable; and, by his own admission, is only “nine-tenths of a loaf” – some would say that half a loaf is nearer the mark and it comes with lashings of pork barrel whatever way you look at it. An Afghan strategy that even he doesn’t seem wholly convinced by and the backdrop to which Andrew Sullivan commented upon by saying:



Caroline is not from the Block

Charles Krauthammer describes British democracy as if the House of Lords Act 1999 had never happened. But he writes well on Caroline Kennedy’s Senate bid, picking up on a statement by Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.). “I don’t know what Caroline Kennedy’s qualifications are. Except that she has name recognition, but so does J-Lo”.

J-Lo’s claim to still be “Jenny from the Block” may stretch credulity somewhat after a decade of uber-stardom. Still her rise from humble beginnings in the Bronx was obviously marked by great dedication and hard-work. For example, dividing her time “between working in a legal office, dance classes, and dance performances in Manhatten night clubs”, as wikipedia describes, doesn’t sound like the easiest of lives.