Lots of good politics this week

Climate change – some kind of watershed. Iraq – another watershed?. Immigration – the numbers confirm Britain is a net consumer of migrants and has become a kind of ‘interchange’ for mobile populations (probably not a bad role for a post-imperial power at the edge of a major economic bloc). Privacy – ours is becoming… Continue reading Lots of good politics this week

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Another sad, jug-eared Tory comes out…

I bring you – without comment, of course – the voting record of Gregory Barker, utterly true blue MP for the constituency of Bexhill and Battle. I think you’ll also want to note TheyWorkForYou‘s (entirely algorithmic) assertion that Barker’s record shows him to be ‘moderately against’ equal gay rights (Stephen Newton, though, points out that… Continue reading Another sad, jug-eared Tory comes out…

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If you have no policies are you still a political party?

Political parties are developing an aversion to policy. David Cameron’s refusal to provide anything more than mood music in Bournemouth is only the latest tock in the unstoppable tick tock that’s moving politics into line with the other branches of marketing. Don’t mention the product, focus on the brand, communicate the feeling. Mars Bars became… Continue reading If you have no policies are you still a political party?

Electrifying

I’m not a reporter. No one relies on me for my opinion. I’m not sought after for my angle. Still, I’m pretty sure you’re going to want to fire up RealPlayer and listen to the quite amazing Peter Mandelson on this morning’s Today Programme. The smell of political cordite is strong here. The man’s been… Continue reading Electrifying

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Brown vs Blair links

Charles Clarke’s blistering Telegraph interview and, of course, the interview with The Standard’s Associate Editor Anne MacElvoy that brought his entertainingly incendiary views to light in the first place. The Statesman’s interview with David Milliband (the one who looks like Mr Bean) and, from the same issue, Martin Bright’s It’s Already Over. One of those… Continue reading Brown vs Blair links

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Political unwisdom

There are many reasons to be frustrated if you’re a Labour supporter right now. First, there’s the epic squandering of political capital. In the year-and-a-bit since Labour’s important and unprecedented third general election victory in a row Labour has inexplicably surrendered so much ground to the Tories that the humungous electoral mountain that stands between… Continue reading Political unwisdom

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What’s the point of inheritance tax?

The trouble with defending inheritance tax is that it’s impossible to do so without sounding like a miserable, money-grubbing pensioner-basher (although I suppose you’re actually bashing the kids). The best its defenders can manage is the obviously contradictory: “It’s worth £3Billion per year and hardly anyone pays it anyway.” The tax systems of the world… Continue reading What’s the point of inheritance tax?

Complete Cant

Cameron’s Bill of Rights may be meaningless, even mendacious and certainly legally incoherent but it is outstanding politics. Proper agenda-grabbing spin. A policy so insubstantial as to be practically invisible married to a clever expression of middle-British distrust of soft European ‘human rights’ nonsense. I can almost see the roomful of rosy-faced twenty-somethings who came… Continue reading Complete Cant

Fascists?

Some debate about whether or not the BNP are fascists. I guess a narrow definition would exclude them (but then some unhelpfully narrow definitions exclude the Nazis). I like Umberto Eco’s 1995 definition of something he calls ‘Ur-Fascism’. He provides a handy 14-point, cut-out-and keep recognition guide, including, selectively: ‘1. The first feature of Ur-Fascism… Continue reading Fascists?

Still angry really

What’s frustrating about Blair’s culpable ineptitude in the last fortnight or so is that it favours principally the Old Labour rump of maybe 50 bitter and increasingly vocal old-timers. Gordon Brown may be rubbing his hands in anticipation of an accelerated succession but his own room to manoeuvre will be sharply restricted if the old… Continue reading Still angry really