Tag Archives: philip stephens

“An inept negotiating strategy placed in the hands of an inexperienced prime minister” – behind the scenes of Cameron’s ‘veto’

“An avoidable disaster”: that is the verdict of the Financial Times’s Philip Stephens in a must-read article examining what went on behind the scenes of the Coalition’s strategy for approaching last week’s failed European summit. And his verdict on the Prime Minister and his advisers could scarcely be more scathing:

There was no great plan for a rupture. What some Tories now see as Mr Cameron’s Churchillian moment was rather the result of an inept negotiating strategy placed in the hands of an inexperienced prime minister.

So what did happen? On last night’s Newsnight former Lib Dem leader Lord Ashdown set …

Posted in Europe / International and News | Also tagged , , , , , and | 38 Comments

The Coalition’s Political Plan B, Mrs T, and TINA: what does this spell out for the Lib Dems?

The political aftershock of George Osborne’s autumn statement is just beginning to sink in: the Coalition’s 5-year austerity programme, designed to end in 2015 by the time of the next general election, is now a 7-year programme straddling two parliaments.

This poses problems for the future of the Coalition, and for the Lib Dems in particular, encapsulated here by the FT’s Philip Stephens:

Here’s the paradox. The effect of sticking to economic plan A has been to shred the coalition government’s original political strategy. In the heady days after the 2010 election the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats signed up to

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 15 Comments

Gordon Brown’s election pledge: I will not make the tax system fairer

Gordon Brown has today announced one of his election pledges: Labour has no plans to make our tax system fairer. Or has he put it: Labour will hold the basic income tax rate at 20 pence in the pound.

Lib Dems, too, are committed to keeping the basic rate of income tax at 20p. But, unlike Labour, the party would make a priority of lifting the personal tax allowance to £10,000, ensuring millions of low-earners and pensioners will stop paying taxes altogether.

As Danny Alexander emphasised in an article for Left Foot Forward last week, this would cut …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 3 Comments

FT’s Philip Stephens attacks “sainted” Vince – here’s my reply

From: [email protected]
To: [email protected]
Date: 30 March, 2010
Subject: ‘Honest Vince’ yes; fast and loose no

Dear Philip,

Thank you for your article in today’s FT, Now ‘Honest Vince’ plays fast and loose. It was very much a column of two halves, the first praising Lib Dem shadow chancellor Vince Cable, the second seeking to bury him.

I’m guessing the source for most of your attacks on the Lib Dems’ pledge to cut taxes by lifting the personal allowance to £10,000 was the Fabian Society’s recent hatchet-job, published via Left Foot Forward. A number of Lib Dem bloggers took its tendentious claims

Posted in News | Also tagged | 3 Comments

Was 6th October the day it started going awry for the Tories?

The opinion polls are up-and-down day-in-day-out at the moment, making it almost impossible to say with any confidence whether we are firmly in hung parliament territory, or whether the most likely result is still a Tory victory at the coming general election. But one thing is beyond doubt: the last six months has seen a substantial narrowing in the Tories’ opinion poll lead.

In October 2009, the Tories were polling at around 42%, Labour at 28% – a convincing Tory lead of 14%. Last month, the Tories were at 39%, Labour at 31%, a 3% swing from the …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , and | 4 Comments

What ‘Smeargate’ tells us about media news reporting

The last couple of days have seen a flurry of new, post-Easter weekend polls. As LDV’s regular readers will know, we don’t cover individual polls, preferring to round them up on a monthly basis rather than become over-excited by any one dire/fantastic survey which turns out to be a rogue. Brushing to one side the usual caveats for a moment, though, it does seem that the political situation has been left largely untouched by last week’s ‘Smeargate’ row over Damian McBride emails.

The Times’s Sam Coates is not alone amongst the media in expressing some bafflement: ‘broadly Smeargate has …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 5 Comments
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