Showing posts from May, 2012

France's Left Turn

I think the Daily Mail adds considerably to the jollity of our lives.  This staunch opponent of the euro suddenly finds itself expressing outrage at the possibility that the new leftie in the Elysee might now ruin everything, as its incandescent headline screams this morning!  This, at its most vigorous, is the right-wing mantra today, but the real fear for governments still practising austerity must surely be if the French and Greek abandonments of that programme start to, er, work.  The idea that more government spending might kick start the economy, bring a bit of a boost back to people's spending power and even create more jobs would surely be intolerable in Britain and Germany at the moment.

Otherwise, Francois Hollande's victory could be used as a case study in the triumph of being boring over being charismatic, having a 'partner' rather than a glamorous model wife; it could be used to illustrate the enduring power of France's natural political elite, the &#…

The Tories' Historic Problem

The Conservative Party returned to form in the wake of the local election results.  The always fragile veneer of unity, that has been cracking regularly pretty well since the last general election, took a few more seismic hits.  Back out of their holes were the right-wing backbenchers and leader writers prescribing another dose of rightism, or “authentic conservatism” to use its current parlance, as a solution to the Tories’ electoral ills.  Most laughable of all was the elevation of Boris Johnson – the one bright spot in the Tories’ election misery – as the champion of this authenticity.  Yes indeed, the Gay Pride marcher, serial adulterer and bike fanatic is, apparently, just the man to return us to those stoical social values of old.  Get thee behind us, evil modernising Dave Cameron and make way for Boris!
Well, Boris’s election victory as the triumph of personality over politics has been well commented on elsewhere – entertainingly by Jerry Hayes on Dale and Company, and percept…

Boris, Charisma and an Overblown Fuss Amongst Tories

I do sometimes wonder whether it is a good trend that intelligent and able political minds head into the world of the media, leaving grunt politics to those of a distinctly more mediocre cast.  Thus, in the aftermath of the local elections - key point, a very low turnout all round - we get nonsense in hot air from elected representatives, mainly Tory backbenchers, and some genuinely illuminating commentary from media commentators. 

Tory backbenchers - or at least a noisy few - were amongst the worst offenders.  A lethal combination of them and the right-wing sounding board that is the website Conservative Home served to create the impression of a Tory crisis, echoed now by nearly all media reports and headlined by this morning's Telegraph.  Yet, of course, if this is a crisis (and yes, it was hardly a great day for the Tories) then it is as much about the absolute dis-connection by the average voter from all of the political parties as it is about the present government's fail…