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06.02.11

Good question from Lord Falconer

The Guardian today report that Lord Falconer has asked:

“Suppose the AV referendum was lost and Lords reform was kicked into the long grass – what would be said to have been the Liberal Democrats’ contribution to this government?”

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27.10.10

Labour + the deficit: The Prime Minister can’t have it both ways

According to the Guardian’s summary of today’s PMQs, David Cameron asked at 12.09pm what Labour’s plans are, implying that we don’t have any, and at 12.12pm he claimed that Labour’s cuts weren’t going to be that much different to those of the coalition.

Which is it? Does Labour not have a plan (as per Cameron’s question at 12.09pm) or does Labour have a plan containing cuts comparable to those of the government (as per his argument three minutes later)?

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04.10.10

The paradox of Cameron

I’ve previously written about how ideological the government is. Of course, however, David Cameron is keen not to appear an ideologue himself. This is why James Forsyth is on to something when he writes of the “the paradox of Cameron. A Prime Minister who is so determined to present himself as a non-ideological figure, who even appears disdainful of it is actually leading a highly ideological government.”

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07.09.10

The challenge for the new shadow chancellor

I wrote for Labour Uncut today on the challenge for the new shadow chancellor.

The Labour leadership election will, finally, end on 25 September. But the identity of the shadow chancellor will be unknown until 7 October, when the results of the shadow cabinet election are announced. 13 days after this the new leader and shadow chancellor will lead our response to the comprehensive spending review. “It is”, as a leadership contender has said, “an incredibly tight timetable for the new leader and their shadow chancellor to map out a policy that might yet determine how we are viewed for the rest of the parliament.”

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10.05.09

Where now for Labour?

The Sunday Mail reports that support for Labour has fallen to 23 percent – the lowest since opinion polls began in 1943. If Labour polled this badly at a general election, the party would lose 200 seats to the Conservatives, who would hold a massive, carte blanche majority of 220. The survey was also the first to record that the majority of voters want Gordon Brown to stand down now as PM.

These are desperate times, indeed, for Labour and while the expenses revelations “will hurt the reputation of all politicians”, argues Andrew Rawnsley, “the damage is likeliest to be greatest to Labour at the next election”. Another poll supports Rawnsley’s view. There have been many highs and lows under PM Brown. But each low seems lower and more desperate than the last one. I didn’t think it was possible to go any lower than the McBride affair but recent days have probably managed it.

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13.01.09

Statues in the centre of new housing estates

Some might think that Andy Burnham tried to fuse incompatibles in socialism and culture in his address to the Fabian Society tonight. However, Tony Crosland produced some memorable lines on culture in one of the greatest socialist tracts that this country has ever produced.

“We need not only higher exports and old-age pensions, but more open-air cafes, brighter and gayer streets at night, later closing-hours for public houses, more local repertory theatres, better and more hospitable hoteliers and restaurateurs, brighter and cleaner eating-houses, more riverside cafes, more pleasure-gardens on the Battersea model, more murals and pictures in public places, better designs for furniture and pottery and women’s clothes, statues in the centre of new housing-estates, better-designed street-lamps and telephone kiosks, and so on ad infinitum. The enemy in all this will often be in unexpected guise; it is not only dark Satanic things and people that now bar the road to the new Jerusalem, but also, if not mainly, hygienic, respectable, virtuous things and people, lacking only in grace and gaiety”.

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25.12.08

Merry Christmas: Class war isn’t over

Given that I have traveled from London to the north to spend Christmas with my family, this seems the perfect juncture to post this slice of Jeff Stelling genius. It can only be the kind of people who have never been to Middlesbrough and do not know about the Cleveland Hills, the inspiration for Stelling’s ire, which can give us the offensive politics of David Cameron’s favourite think-tank. In many ways, their “close the north” rhetoric is more redolent of heartless spivs than even the latest financial scandal to befall the Tory high command. Well, perhaps, Policy Exchange provides the heartlessness and Michael Spencer the spiving.

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25.12.08

Merry Christmas: Class war isn't over

Given that I have traveled from London to the north to spend Christmas with my family, this seems the perfect juncture to post this slice of Jeff Stelling genius. It can only be the kind of people who have never been to Middlesbrough and do not know about the Cleveland Hills, the inspiration for Stelling’s ire, which can give us the offensive politics of David Cameron’s favourite think-tank. In many ways, their “close the north” rhetoric is more redolent of heartless spivs than even the latest financial scandal to befall the Tory high command. Well, perhaps, Policy Exchange provides the heartlessness and Michael Spencer the spiving.

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26.10.08

Cads attract enemy radar

Alan Johnson observes that David Cameron wants to transform the Conservatives from “a party of proud Etonians and closet gays to a party of proud homosexuals and closet Etonians”. Indeed, the Conservatives may have come to accept that gays do not attract enemy radar but they are discovering that cads certainly do.

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=l7a1xIVoEF8

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26.10.08

Cads attract enemy radar

Alan Johnson observes that David Cameron wants to transform the Conservatives from “a party of proud Etonians and closet gays to a party of proud homosexuals and closet Etonians”. Indeed, the Conservatives may have come to accept that gays do not attract enemy radar but they are discovering that cads certainly do.

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=l7a1xIVoEF8

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05.10.08

Labour Party Conference Diary

Saturday 20 September, Labour Party Conference Diary

Train heave on to Euston”, once sang one of Manchester’s favourite sons. My reverse journey began with a blizzard of Cabinet Ministers: Hilary Benn, suited and booted, and seemingly fretting about his ticket; John Hutton, relaxed in both dress and in his ability to emerge from a long queue at W. H. Smith’s with a newspaper in time for his train. He may have read the Mirror editorial proclaiming that Labour faces “one of the most important conferences in its proud history”. Many of the pivotal moments in Labour’s history have been forged in the fiery furnace of conference. So the journey north was charged with anticipation and occasion.

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05.10.08

Does the body follow the head?

“Kill the body and the head will follow”, says old boxing wisdom. The struggles of Gordon Brown and the grumbles of all sections of the Labour Party might seem a portent of the reverse: that the blows inflicted upon Brown will not just produce his demise but expose bitter wounds within the Party. Sadly, this would not be the first time that Labour has so acquainted itself with the political canvass.

(more…)

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