Tag Archives: james forsyth

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

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , , , , , , and | 8 Comments

How the Westminster Village media is still struggling with concept of coalition

It can be surprisingly easy to excite some journalists. Today is a case in point. Nick Clegg stood in for David Cameron at Prime Minister’s Questions. During his exchanges with Jack Straw (who was standing in for Labour’s Harriet Harman), the Deputy Prime Minister referred to the invasion of Iraq as “illegal”.

To most people watching this is not a surprise. The Lib Dems’ opposition to the Iraq war, which was supported by both Labour and the Tories, is pretty well-documented, I think it’s fair to say. The fact that the Lib Dems and Conservatives have reached a coalition agreement does not alter the past, nor does it alter politicians’ individual views. Why should it?

And yet the response from some journalists has been to label this a “gaffe” – a term otherwise known as a politician saying something he believes which a journalist hopes to be able to spin into a story.

Indeed, it’s interesting to see how a story like this can develop.

Posted in Op-eds and PMQs | Also tagged , , , , and | 56 Comments

Lord Ashcroft and the Conservative Party: the financial controversies

Cross-posted from The Wardman Wire:

With Michael Ashcroft back in the news over his financial support for the Conservative Party, this post provides a quick recap of the past controversies over Michael Ashcroft, the Conservative Party and political funding.

Ashcroft’s sequence of senior Conservative posts

Under William Hague, Ashcroft was Treasurer of the Conservative Party (1998-2001), becoming a peer and member of the House of Lords in 2000. He was involved in a protracted dispute with The Times, which had been investigating some of the sources of his wealth. A libel action was settled out of court, with both sides paying their own legal costs.

After Hague’s departure, there was a gap of several years before Ashcroft once again held senior office in the Conservative Party, coming back as Deputy Chairman after the 2005 general election. This role, combined with his financial contributions, have given him huge influence over the Conservative Party’s target seats operation.

Ashcroft’s influence on the Conservative Party’s direction

He paid privately for an extensive polling operation during the 2005 campaign, the results of which – along with his book, Smell the coffee: A wake-up call for the Conservative Party – played a significant part in the modernising debates in the Conservative Party.

Tim Montgomerie has commented on ConservativeHome that, “I think his polling operation and Smell The Coffee report did too much to send the Cameron project in an über-modernising direction.”

Ashcroft and the House of Lords

Prior to being made a peer in 2000, Michael Ashcroft promised that he would return to the UK and pay income tax:

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , , , and | 1 Comment

Putting private interests before national interest: the three Tory shadow cabinet members who faced down their leader

Tory leader David Cameron has been forced to abandon plans to make all members of his shadow cabinet drop their lucrative outside retainers after three of his team vowed to quit if he did so. The FT broke the story this morning, noting:

Conservative strategists remain concerned about the potential political damage the “part-time” nature of the shadow cabinet could cause. The onset of recession will add weight to Labour jibes that Mr Cameron’s “two-jobs team” is not devoting its full attention to mitigating the impact of the downturn.

The party leader’s efforts to portray his party as in touch with

Posted in News | Also tagged , , and | 2 Comments

Because even a stopped clock is right twice a day

I’ll be honest: The Spectator’s Coffee House blog is not one of my favourites reads. Despite or because of its prolific output – eight posts today, and counting – too much of it reads as unthinkingly pro-Tory, while its visceral contempt for Labour too often blinkers it to serious analysis. Coffee House may speak with many voices but they all sound the same. And yet, and yet… There have been two articles this week which have partially broken the mould and seem worth highlighting.

First up, is James Forsyth’s verdict on Gordon Brown’s cabinet reshuffle, All tactics, no strategy:

When you

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 1 Comment

Lord Ashcroft under fire over his tax status

There’s been a double-dose of criticism from the Spectator today for Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft and his refusal to come clean on whether he has kept the promise he made at the time he was made a peer.

As I’ve blogged before (such as here), on being appointed to the House of Lords, Lord Ashcroft promised he would become a UK resident and start paying tax here.

Since getting the peerage (which of course can’t now be removed if he didn’t keep his promise), he has refused to state whether he’s kept his word, journalists who have dug into the story …

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 3 Comments

Is Nick Clegg right to back the Speaker?

The House of Commons Speaker, Michael Martin, has found himself in the full glare of unwelcome publicity this weekend, following allegations that he has misused his Parliamentary allowances:

In the past two weeks it has emerged that some black cab trips made by Mr Martin’s wife to buy food were claimed on expenses, that allowances were claimed for a home he owns outright in Scotland, and that he used air miles earned on official business to buy first-class tickets for some relatives to fly to London over the New Year.”

As none of this is outside the rules it might not …

Posted in News and Parliament | Also tagged and | 8 Comments
Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarDavid-1 27th May - 1:48am
    Can't one just forgo the response altogether? The attention to it is likely to be only negative.
  • User AvatarEddie Sammon 27th May - 1:18am
    I must agree with David-1: those with the most power have the most opportunity. I don't think it can be separated. However Richard S does...
  • User AvatarSammy O'Neill 27th May - 1:06am
    I can't help but feel that Nick Clegg needs to take a bit of advice from John Major on this one and realise that "when...
  • User AvatarSammy O'Neill 27th May - 12:58am
    @Tony To me the core electorate in a lot of our former urban seats were students and young professionals/aspiring professionals under 35 reinforced by a...
  • User AvatarDavid-1 27th May - 12:52am
    The idea that there is some sort of opposition between "equality of opportunity" and "equality of outcomes" is absurd. The only way that you can...
  • User AvatarPaul Pettinger 27th May - 12:41am
    You seek to speak on behalf of new members, but dismiss the message of 4.4 million former voters. I thought LDV required people to be...
Wed 27th May 2015
Thu 28th May 2015
Fri 29th May 2015
19:30
Sat 30th May 2015
Sun 31st May 2015
Mon 1st Jun 2015
Tue 2nd Jun 2015
Wed 3rd Jun 2015
Thu 4th Jun 2015
Fri 5th Jun 2015
Sat 6th Jun 2015
Tue 9th Jun 2015
Wed 10th Jun 2015
Thu 11th Jun 2015
19:00
Fri 12th Jun 2015
Sat 13th Jun 2015
Wed 17th Jun 2015
Thu 18th Jun 2015
Sat 20th Jun 2015
Sun 21st Jun 2015