Showing posts from April, 2009

David Cameron's Right-Wing Government

As Labour circles increasingly engage in talk about the demise of Gordon Brown - and some are suggesting before rather than after the next election - attention is turning towards the likely make-up and intentions of a new Cameron-led Tory government. And for those who thought we might be able to look forward to a new era of cuddly conservatism, the results of extensive research done by the distinctly right-wing Conservative Home website seem to show otherwise.

While Cameron and his leadership team appear to be committed to a programme of progressive, socially aware conservatism (within whatever strictures provided by the budget crisis), the new Tory MPs that will accompany them into power, and populate their lobby fodder on the backbenches, appear to be committed to a return to more full-blooded Thatcherism. These are men and women who are the disciples of Thatcher, who see Cameron's Green agenda as a red herring, are overwhelmingly eurosceptic, want more restrictive abortion la…

Gaining the Gurkhas Their Victory

It continues to be a torrid political week for Gordon Brown. He'd barely stepped off the plane before he had to face the first parliamentary defeat of his premiership. Parliamentary defeats are not a novelty for New Labour in government - Tony Blair faced four, casting the role of the House of Commons as a genuine check upon a potentially powerful executive into sharp relief. Ironically, there was always a degree of ambiguity about the then Chancellor's role in fomenting some useful backbench dissent. How the now prime minister must wonder why he bothered, as he too sees a House of Commons willing to assert its virility.

The problem for Gordon Brown is that today's defeat was on an issue powered in part by a strong sentiment of attachment to a legendary British regiment, whose campaign has been spear-headed by a still popular and very presentable actress. One has the vague impression that Tony Blair, ever attuned to public feeling as he was, would never have allowed th…

Opposing a Bad Leader

Inspired by my recent visit to a Russia that was far more laid back and cosmopolitan than when I last visited, back in the dying days of communism, I began reading the campaigning journalist Anna Politkovskaya's "Russian Diary". Her diary casts a pall over post-communist Russia, as she reveals the increasing levels of corruption and the authoritarianised 'democracy' that Russia now has in place. Opposition becomes a rarely heard voice, limited to a few brave souls risking life and limb to criticise the policies of the Dear Leader, Comrade Putin himself. He may have inherited the ashes of the communist state, but he has been happy to learn his political lessons from Lenin and Stalin, this former director of the FSB. Politkovskaya is relentless in her expose of the inadequacies and harshness of the Russian political system, and equally damning of the wretchedly inadequate opposition. Not surprisingly, hers was a lonely voice, and also not surprisingly, she was…

Bloggers' Triumph?

Not much time to comment on the weekend's story about Damian McBride, except to observe that it might be the first time in this country that political bloggers - in this case Guido Fawkes - have managed to break a story. Even here, though, there is a little murkiness, as Fawkes apparently went to the mainstream press with his revelation rather than simply break it on his website. According to the Telegraph, he was looking for a bit of cash to accompany his scoop, although he denies it.

As for McBride, he's every bit as posionous as he's made out to be, but why is anyone surprised that a Downing Street politico might be looking at ways to smear his opponents. The depths of the smears may be distasteful, but the practice is as old as politics.

Back to blogging more regularly after the Easter break - having trekked across the Pennines last week (well, bits of), am currently in Mother Russia getting the feel of a slightly different political temperature!