Thursday, December 27, 2007

Another Year....

After the familial joys of Christmas, with its excess food and traditional Dr. Who Christmas Special, we can expect a rash of 'Reviews of 2007' to fill those annoying blanks on the television schedules and on newspaper pages. A few commentators (Anatole Kaletsky in the Times for example) judge themselves to be so suitably mage-like that they are prepared to offer unwanted advice to Gordon Brown about how he should tackle 2008.

Well, we do at least wait to see if Gordon Brown can enter the recovery position next year. The two recent articles listed in the column opposite think not, Blairite commentator John Rentoul in particular suggesting that anyone who thinks Brown will recover is living in a parallel universe. But, of course, the pressure isn't just on Brown. David Cameron needs to show whether or not he can project the substance needed to be seen as a genuine alternative in government, while the Liberals' Nick Clegg, having won his leadership election without having made much public impact, needs to show us that he is not just another politician in the Blair, Cameron mould, but a man who can define the difficult way forward for a Lib Dem party that could well sink beneath the weight of the Tory revival.

And what of the policies for 2008? ID Cards remain a discredited part of the government's agenda; Northern Rock asked questions of the economy that have yet to be answered; the Tories today claim that too many teachers are fleeing the profession (no, sorry, but I refuse - I'm staying, so bad luck) while Ed Balls needs to make good on his stalinist central plan for schools; Gordon Brown needs to resolve his uneasy relationship with Europe; the Defence department, fighting wars on several fronts, needs to work out whether it can continue to be led by a part-time minister; and politicians of all parties, of course, have to deal with the quandry of where they get their next dollar.

2007 was, as ever, fascinating; a change of prime minister, the extraordinary transformation of Gordon Brown's fortunes, a change in the Liberal leadership, the continuing fall-out from Iraq. 2008 is shaping up to be no less so, but then, that's politics!

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