Tag Archives: martin kettle

The Coalition: we’re trapped in a loveless marriage with no happy ending in sight

The Guardian’s Martin Kettle has an acute analysis — This is the beginning of the end for the coalition — of what the Queen’s Speech has revealed about the Coalition Government.

It’s 20 years since Norman Lamont, smarting from being sacked as Chancellor by John Major, accused the Tories’ last majority government of ‘giving the impression of being in office but not in power’. Well, the Coalition is in office and it is in power (the big long-term reforms from Steve Webb on pensions and Norman Lamb on social care show that). But it is no longer in harmony. …

Posted in News | 29 Comments

Lords reform, Boris Johnson and Louise Mensch: Guardian podcast

This week’s Politics Weekly podcast from The Guardian features, ahem, myself alongside Martin Kettle, Nick Cohen and Tom Clark. Lords reform, Boris Johnson’s political future and the Corby by-election (so far, dreadfully lacking in jokes about trouser presses) all feature.

Nick Cohen made a particularly good provocative point about Boris Johnson – saying he’s the only Conservative in the UK to have won a major election since John Major won the 1992 general election. It makes the Tory right’s view of him rather contradictory: they really dislike some of his policy preferences (such as on immigration) yet also love him as …

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Opinion: Nanny no more – a real test of the Coalition

It was inevitable, it had to happen at some point, the honeymoon couldn’t last forever (insert any other clichés you’d like to add); the Coalition government, drenched in soft summery praise in its opening weeks – enough to spark a nauseating case of cognitive dissonance in the case of Martin Kettle’s latest offering – had to face a stern test of its unity sooner or later, and now we have it. But I’m not talking about the referendum on electoral reform, nor about cuts to public services or even the VAT rise. No, I’m talking about Turkey Twizzlers, fizzy …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 18 Comments

Opinion: The Tories are coming towards us

Martin Kettle recently wrote in the Guardian today of David Cameron:

The Tory leader is exploiting every opportunity the political situation presents him to drag his party rapidly towards the liberal centre. I believe in leading from the front, he said, and he is telling the truth. The many policy concessions to the Lib Dems, especially those which cauterise the Tory right’s pet issues like Europe, the Human Rights Act and inheritance tax only make sense in that light. The right’s indignation is eloquent proof of what is happening. The control grab over the backbench 1922 committee is the work of a

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 34 Comments

It’s not Britain that’s illiberal, Martin – it’s our political culture

Was The Guardian’s Martin Kettle right yesterday to argue, as per his article’s headline, The biggest problem for the Liberal Democrats is illiberal Britain. It was a long, thoughtful piece – and, hey, it’s much better to be talked about than not, especially if you’re a Lib Dem – but, still, it was at best a partial explanation.

Let’s start with the positive stuff. First of all, Mr Kettle acknowledges the various ways in which the party has “been right on so many issues”:

By so many yardsticks, the Lib Dems deserve to be higher in the polls than they are. Michael Meadowcroft, intermittent party loyalist and former MP for Leeds West, listed several of them in a typically forceful Guardian letter today: the economy, Europe, ID cards, Iraq and localism. On all of them, as he says, the Lib Dems have been consistently right. One can add others to the list that Meadowcroft omitted: climate change, police powers, tax, electoral reform. All big subjects on which the Lib Dems have been right most of the time in ways that put the other parties to shame.

Couldn’t have put it better myself. But then there’s the problem of the current opinion polls: the Lib Dems have been tracking in the high-teens, occasionally breaking the 20% barrier.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 14 Comments

Is Gordon safe?

Martin Kettle’s article in The Guardian – suggesting that the week beginning 12th October is make-or-break week for those Labour MPs who’d like to oust Gordon Brown – has sparked a fresh bout of Labour leadership speculation. The Economist’s Bagehot is having none of it:

Labour MPs have had their chance. And it wasn’t in June 2009 or in October 2008. It was in 2007, when almost all of them lined up, baa-ing, to endorse Mr Brown. They were too numbed by more than a decade of unthinking obedience and by cowardice to do anything else. That is a

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Is Martin Kettle right – could the Lib Dems eclipse Labour?

LDV has eschewed mention of the past week’s opinion polls, three of which have shown the Lib Dems to be the chief beneficiaries of the recent slump in Labour support. As our regular readers will know, we just don’t believe there’s anything to be gained from looking at any one individual poll in isolation – the media and blogosphere’s slavish fixation on statistically insignificant percentage changes is usually just an easy distraction from discussing substantial issues that actually matter.

But it hasn’t escaped the attention of Guardian columnist Martin Kettle, who today ponders (with all the necessary caveats) …

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 35 Comments

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