David Cameron

How Reid gets away with it

Drug traffickers passport blunder – BBC news.

There’s something very un-New Labour about John Reid. Not just something, everything, in fact. It’s not that he lacks the smooth sophistication of Blair, Mandelson and Campbell (remember them?). After all, we’ve put up with John Prescott. It’s that he makes a positive virtue out of telling it like it is, with no thought for collective cabinet responsibility, protecting his predecessors, preparing a position for the future. “The home office is not fit for purpose” he tells us. Well, yes. It should be split into two departments, he says. Sounds reasonable. Heads will roll, he indicates.

All this has the sound of a man walking into a new department at the start of a new government, ready to expose mercilessly every fault, failing and foible of his predecessors. Except, of course, as everyone knows, he came in nine years after Labour swept to power. Private Eye, in a naturally scurillous fashion, has suggested that this is because nobody has yet told him he is the Home Secretary. Indeed, his antics do more resemble an opposition Shadow Home-Secretary homing in on an incompetent cabinet minister. More

Are Tories headed for a three-way split?

Conservative peer defects to UKIP, 20 Jan 07, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/6281423.stm
Tory donors ‘may vote for UKIP’, 15 Jan 07, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/6262325.stm
Conservative peers defect to UKIP, 09 Jan 07, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/6243807.stm

Things are looking up for the Conservative party. They reached their strongest poll position for 14 years on December 20, according to the Guardian http://politics.guardian.co.uk/polls/story/0,,1975783,00.html What’s more, David Cameron seems to have that which John Major, William Hague, Iain Duncan-Smith and Michael Howard all missed: appeal with the voters. But there are rather darker clouds on the horizon. At the back end of 2006 Cameron felt forced to put out a strong ‘back me or sack me’ message. At the time nobody felt like taking him up, but it was eerily reminiscent of John Major’s final months.

Squirm and Squirm about for Mr Cameron

Gordon Brown lacks a “full-throated mandate” to become prime minister and there should be an election soon after Tony Blair resigns, David Cameron says.

Should Gordon Brown be prime minister after Tony Blair? Will he? Is anyone even still interested in the question? With every potential contender ducking for cover and touting for the position of deputy-leader (ie, leader after Gordon Brown loses a General Election), this particular hot potato is now as cold as last year’s summer salad.

Except for David Cameron. Mr Cameron seems to think there’s still lots of mileage in this one.

But there’s the thing. When challenged on the question of why this is different from John Major, Mr Cameron says: “I think there’s a difference this time in that Tony Blair uniquely said before the last election that ‘I’m not going to fight another election but I’m going to do a full term’. People elected him for a full term, so we are in a different situation.”

That would be because people didn’t elect Margaret Thatcher for a full time, would it, David?

Conference resounding success

Today’s Federal Party Conference finished on a high note. Menzies Campbell’s leadership withstood its first test on Saturday, as delegates overwhelmingly voted through the parliamentary party’s policy on Post Offices. This was the motion that had been sent back by the autumn conference — but yesterday tables were turned and it was the (now rather few) rebels who were defeated. Today the party proved that it has the will to take the fight to its political enemies.

Everywhere there was a sense that change is in the air. This wasn’t just the thrilling Harrogate weather. Elsewhere Labour was going through another regretful crisis. While in Wales David Cameron was pleading with his party not to be frightened by the pace of his changes.

We should not gloat over the discomfiture of Tessa Jowell. Her situation is a tragedy largely not of her making. Nor should we be gleeful over the down-turn on Tory confidence in Cameron. Britain needs rejuvenation in its parties, and if the Tories are too slow-witted to see that, then that is their loss and ours.

In fact, the time for continuously comparing ourselves with our opponents and our poll-ratings has reached its end. Scandal may sell newspapers, but it does not make for good government.

Outside of the tiny world of British party politics, the world is changing. The environment is deteriorating far faster than most people are willing to believe. The West’s recent adventures in war and publishing have dramatically destabilised our relationship with the entire Muslim world. The economic development of China and India is a seismic shift in international trade. And, all the while, the worldwide growth in human trafficking for the sex-industry sees more than five million people sold into slavery each year — a blight on our consciences about which are doing almost nothing.

We no longer have time for bickering.

And Liberal-Democrats, at least, are ready to engage in constructive politics.

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