David Cameron

Coalition: The Inside Story of the Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition Government

Coallition David LawsFirst published in Progress magazine

‘They’re all useless bastards’, was an agreed spoiled vote in David Laws’ Yeovil constituency in 2010. Fast forward five years and it was the public’s reaction to the Liberal Democrats after half a decade of power.

Having read Laws’ first book, 22 days in May, I was looking forward to an equally stimulating read in Coalition. But alas. His latest BiteBack publication gallantly makes the case that it was right for the Liberal Democrats to join the government in May 2010; after all, if the ‘Orange Bookers’ do not, who else will?

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What to expect in 2016

First published in Maitland Political Insight

In 2016 the real world and the political world will feel more distant from each other than ever. At the furthest point from the next general election both major parties will attend to party matters, ahead of the country’s big challenges. (more…)

Leaked letter opens the floodgates

First published on Progressonline

David Cameron has made a pig’s ear of it again. A leaked letter that he is pressuring his local council to resist the worst implications of George Osborne’s cuts is either confirmation that Jeremy Corbyn’s anti-austerity politics is catching on or that the prime minister has no idea what the implications of his own policies are in his own back garden. You decide.

Either way – Labour has seen the chink in his armour and is pressing its advantage. Jonathan Ashworth – member of parliament for Leicester South and shadow Cabinet Office minister – was straight on Cameron’s flagrant disregard of the Ministerial Code as he offers up use of the No 10 Policy Unit to provide free consultancy to his local struggling Tory council. (more…)

Face-Off: Who Will Labour’s Next Opponent

‘Now it’s open war’, screamed the Daily Mail headline on 18 June 2015. Not, this time, a comment on the Labour leadership race that was then getting into full swing, but the contest to come on the Treasury benches. The future race to be leader of the Conservative party, a vacancy David Cameron himself pre-announced in his kitchen interview with the BBC’s James Landale earlier this year, might have slipped from the public eye temporarily, but the unrest that characterised the Conservative parliamentary party in the last parliament has not gone away.

In this new pamphlet, a leading cast of Labour commentators examine the names in the Tory frame and assess their chances.

Face-off front coverContents

II Introduction Parties at war – by Richard Angell and Adam Harrison

III George Osborne Politics first, economics second – by Conor Pope
IV Theresa May Neither ‘blue’ nor ‘Bullingdon’ – by Jacqui Smith
Boris Johnson A real laugh – by Sally Gimson
VI Sajid Javid Break the mould – by Felicity Slater
VII Amber Rudd Thatcher’s heir – by Ben Dilks
VIII David Cameron Always underestimated – by Jonathan Todd

XI Conclusion Osborne’s to lose? – by Richard Angell and Adam Harrison

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See the full pamphlet with all the potential leaders profiled here

Crosby’s mimicry is too little, too late

Redbox article 16/04/2015First published on the Times Redbox

The Conservative party’s apparent political cross-dressing has left many people puzzling over why the party is talking about matters traditionally viewed as Labour strengths. In fact, this is classic Lynton Crosby.

Known as the ‘Australian Karl Rove’, and ‘The Wizard of Oz’, Crosby has long been associated with the negative campaigning that became the signature of the 2005 general election.

But he is also a master of mimicry. When things are going well for his opponent, and he cannot easily demolish it or find a way to fold it into the Conservative message, he will go all out and ape it. (more…)

The final sweep

First publish on LabourList, and Progress magazine

In the final weeksbefore the general election, as the rapid pursuit for promises becomes more fraught, the election campaign metaphorically turns into the final dash in 1990s television programme Supermarket Sweep. In the Big Sweep round contestants would find themselves torn between collecting Dale Winton’s shopping list and an unknown quantity of inflatable fruit and their hidden bonuses. The latter seemed more attractive but the former guaranteed £100 being added to the shopping total. More importantly, it was a surefire way to victory and the Super Sweep prize money. Getting your strategy right mattered.

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‘The country will be run according to a different idea’

First published in Progress magazine

There will be no pie-in-the-sky promises under the next Labour government, Ed Miliband tells Richard Angell and Adam Harrison

Entering the leader of the opposition’s now-bare office, his team are quick to point out how the operation has decamped to Brewers Green, the campaign nerve centre. In what is one of Ed Miliband’s last meetings in the Norman Shaw South office we ask him to cast his mind forward. What will Britain after five years of a Labour government look like? ‘The country will be run according to a different idea,’ he explains. ‘I think the Tories really do believe that as long as you take care of those at the top, the wealth will just trickle down to everybody else. That has not worked.’ So Labour, in contrast, believes ‘when working people succeed, that Britain succeeds’. ‘At the end of five years of this government, people think the country is more divided, more unequal, more unjust. And I hope that by the end of five years of my government, people will think, “Actually the country is more fair, more just, more equal and better serves my interests”.’ (more…)