Tag Archives: iain martin

Two questions journalists aren’t asking about Nick Clegg’s free schools speech

Nick Clegg’s speech on free schools – setting out the policy approved by the Lib Dem conference last March – has ruffled feathers. Apparently he and David Cameron even had lunch yesterday to discuss this ‘bombshell’ announcement (which in fact won’t be made until a speech this Thursday).

My view (as I set out here on Sunday) is that schools should have the freedom to appoint teachers who lack formal qualifications, though I’d expect these to be the exceptions not the rule in the vast majority of state-funded schools. But I don’t think it’s at all surprising that Nick …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , and | 40 Comments

Your essential weekend reader — 12 must-read articles you may have missed

It’s Saturday evening, so here are twelve thought-provoking articles to stimulate your thinking juices…

Britain and Europe: Making the break – The Economist‘s verdict on many Europhobes’ éjaculation nocturne: ‘The most likely outcome would be that Britain would find itself as a scratchy outsider with somewhat limited access to the single market, almost no influence and few friends. And one certainty: that having once departed, it would be all but impossible to get back in again.’

Boris shows that Eurosceptics are in a mess

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The story of the Cabinet Minister hiding behind a tree

Well, it’s hardly been what you’d call a slow news week, has it?

In case you are frazzled by the ever changing headlines, I thought I’d bring one of the more bizarre Jeremy Hunt related stories to your attention.

Iain Martin in the Telegraph writes about the night in May 2010, the second week of the Coalition, when he went to attend a lecture given by James Murdoch.

The events he describes are farcical and are if you feel in need of a break, go and get yourself a cup of tea and a biscuit and simply enjoy the story.

A little taster?

It was

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Clegg’s role in IDS’s welfare reform plans

Mark Pack blogged here on LDV this morning of Promising news on welfare spending as major reforms set for go-ahead, and noted that “Steve Webb’s backing for the policies is a promising sign”.

Also crucial, it seems, was Nick Clegg’s role, according to the Wall Street Journal’s Iain Martin:

I revealed in the summer that IDS and George Osborne had a stand-up row over the welfare budget, with a deal eventually being brokered in which IDS delivers cuts but gets to keep several billions for his reforms. The shape of those reforms will be announced at Tory conference next week.

Oliver

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An old Liberal Democrat policy rides again courtesy of Iain Duncan Smith (UPDATED)

Unusual political times indeed courtesy of the front page of today’s Times. For a long time a central part of Liberal Democrat welfare policy was to integrate and simplify the tax and benefits system. The policy faded away from the party’s priorities, partly because the details were never that straightforward; for example, how do you integrate a system based on weekly payments and assessments (benefits) with another one based on monthly and annual payments and assessments (tax, particularly income tax and PAYE)?

A large chunk of that policy is now very much back on the political agenda, as ConservativeHome reports:

According

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Don’t take it out on Vince, guys, just ‘cos you’re stuck with George

I’ve been amused to see the rush-to-rubbish Vince Cable today among some right-wing bloggers following his appearance on BBC1′s The Politics Show.

Iain Dale (but of course) was first up to tweet: “Well done Jon Sopel for finally exposing Vince Cable as the overrated flipflopper that he is.” He was soon followed by ConservativeHome’s Tim Montgomerie, and Wall Street Journal’s Iain Martin, who has a pet-obsession with Vince’s popularity.

Having missed the show at lunchtime, I sat down nervously to catch up on iPlayer (Vince’s inteview begins about 3 minutes in) fully expecting him to be eviscerated by Jon Sopel.

In fact, what I watched was a robust interview in which Vince more than held his own, and made the key points that (1) the Labservatives have consistently opposed Lib Dem attempts to clean up our politics, and (2) the Tories need to explain how they’re going to fund their various tax-cuts if not through raising VAT.

Why have the Tories got it in for Vince?

Which left me wondering: what got Iain, Tim and Iain so excited that they dashed into the twitblogosphere to try and swing the media narrative against Vince? (Besides the inevitable election-time partisan point-scoring, that is).

Posted in General Election and Op-eds | Also tagged , , , and | 13 Comments

Conservatives rope in Squier, Knapp, Dunn Communications

Iain Martin’s general election commentary for the Wall Street Journal is rapidly become a must-read for me due to his record of unearthing useful bits of extra information that shed an extra light on the big political stories.

This week he had a good piece on the Conservative Party’s preparation for televised party leader debates during the general election:

Advisers close to U.S. President Barack Obama have been drafted by David Cameron to help the Conservatives in their election campaign against Gordon Brown and Labour.

The Tories have signed a contract with Squier, Knapp, Dunn Communications—a Washington-based Democrat-leaning political consultancy— to help

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Can you come up with a punchy Lib Dem slogan?

Iain Martin of the Wall Street Journal put in a pithy request to the political parties yesterday, Day -1 of the 2010 general election campaign: Better Slogans, Please.

Iain is equally scathing of Labour’s efforts (‘Come on Labour, wake up, get a move on! Don’t you know there’s an election on?’) and the Tories’ (‘a rather unhappy fudge of a slogan that doesn’t stick in the brain. Fail.’). But he’s also slightly underwhelmed by the Lib Dems’ sloganeering:

The Lib-Dems: The party knows there is no point diving in when the two larger parties are getting all the attention. Instead,

Posted in General Election and News | 60 Comments



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