We are locked in a Dad’s Army politics of the left and right

As Europe faces its biggest refugee crisis since World War II, our prime minister tours the continent talking tax credits. The puniness of David Cameron next to the magnitude of events, the narrow, inward focus of his preoccupations, means that if he were a film he’d be a Dad’s Army remake.

Why, Peter Bradshaw not unreasonably asks in his Guardian review, do we need this film?



Three reasons for Labour victory in 2015

I had this on Labour Uncut at the end of last year.

Tony Blair might be despondent about Labour’s prospects but all is not lost, there are three reasons for Labour victory in 2015: leadership, economy and brand.



The right attack on Cameron’s handling of the floods isn’t about cuts or climate change, but competence

I had this on Labour Uncut a few weeks ago.

Number 10 has long wished to minimise media coverage of backbench rebellions to maximise airtime on economic recovery. Hence, Cameron’s concessions to his backbenches. But members of the government have needlessly distracted media focus from economic recovery. For example, Michael Gove picking another fight with Ofsted and the failure of government whips to have any women on the frontbench for PMQs.



Two impressions of Policy Exchange

I had this on Labour Uncut last November.

My two visits to Policy Exchange bookend the Tory modernisation project. Early in David Cameron’s leadership, I heard Daniel Finkelstein and Siôn Simon debate what this endeavour might learn from Labour’s own modernisation. Nick Boles, then director of the think-tank, dressed in suit jacket and vest, gave Simon some cheese as thanks for passing into centre-right territory.



Only Miliband can now lead Britain on Syria

This is what I wrote on Labour Uncut after the Syria vote. What I hoped for has not yet happened.

All changed, changed utterly. If politics is trench warfare, advancement by inch, especially now with our major parties seemingly so entrenched in their political and socio-economic citadels, with their safe seats and ideological comfort zones, then last night was a moment when the terrain dramatically shifted.



Labour’s European third way

I had this in the Progress magazine for July.

Mainstream Labour opinion has been pro-European since Neil Kinnock, as leader, made it so. Rarely, however, do Labour speakers join up the dots between the European Union and our policy objectives. We pride ourselves, for example, on being green but we hear little from Labour on what role the EU Emissions Trading Scheme should have in decarbonisation.



Miliband must make, not accept, the political weather

I had this on Labour Uncut last week.

“Are our problems so deep nobody can actually make a difference to them? My emphatic answer to that is yes.” The state of the nation was revealed in Ed Miliband’s slip of the tongue in the run-up to the local elections. Only one in three of those eligible to vote in these elections bothered to do so, down 10 points from when these seats were last contested in the halcyon days of 2009. Where given the opportunity, one in four voters gave their support to Ukip, which is as near as it gets to voting ‘none of the above’.



David Cameron and Ed Miliband are both sons of Gordon Brown

I had this on Labour Uncut yesterday.

There is probably a significant degree of cross-party agreement that Douglas Carswell is wrong to argue that the present government is a continuation of the last. Even David Cameron’s critics in the Conservative party would claim that he is an improvement on Gordon Brown, while many Labour party members see Cameron as the worst prime minister since Margaret Thatcher or perhaps even worse.



Sweden was remade through reform

I had this in the current Progress magazine and on the Progress website today.

Just as David Cameron jetted off to India during last month’s parliamentary recess, Ed Miliband was making his way to Sweden. The destinations were deliberately chosen: for each leader, each country represents something about where he sees Britain and where he wants to take it. Why, asks Cameron, must the UK rid itself of costly European Union regulation, reform welfare and improve schools? Because countries like India are bringing vast armies of cheap, motivated and increasingly well-educated workers to the ‘global race’. We must reduce our labour costs by trimming regulation and welfare, he argues.



The future belongs to pragmatists

I had this on the Demos blog earlier this year.

It is now more than three years since the Copenhagen climate conference. If it is remembered at all in the UK, it is not remembered fondly. For all the sleeplessness that it induced in the then Climate Secretary, Ed Miliband, it did not produce a great leap forward in our response to climate change.



Will Miliband face either Cameron or Clegg at the election?

I had this on Labour Uncut earlier in March.

This weekend the fog of war descended on Brighton, central London and Grantham. It seemed to be thickest in Brighton where the Liberal Democrats met for their spring conference. Some think their enemy are the “self-appointed detectives” in the media. Others are convinced that their enemy is the party with whom they share government.



Attacking the Tories is our priority but we shouldn’t be afraid of finding common ground with the Lib Dems

I had this on Labour Uncut in January.

The Conservatives are the fundamental barrier to a Labour government, capable of correcting the division, injustice and incompetence that they have brought us. David Cameron and his party is our enemy. We should target our fire upon him and them.


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