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David Blackburn rssDavid_Blackburn

David Blackburn is the Spectator’s Online Comment and Books editor.

The Conservative Party Annual Conference

View from 22 Special: Grant Shapps interview

19 April 2014 10:00

listen to ‘Podcast special: Grant Shapps interview’ on Audioboo Conservative Party Chairman Grant Shapps is never off-message, knowingly or otherwise. He gave an interview to The Spectator earlier this week… Continue reading

30 Comments
The Labour Party Annual Conference

There’s supposed to be a ‘cost of living crisis’, Ed. Will free gym use solve it?

17 April 2014 13:03

There was much excitement on Tuesday night when Labour’s Pat McFadden, a former business and employment minister, appeared on Newsnight and said: ‘I want to see a Labour Party that… Continue reading

29 Comments
Putin-cover_se-474x413

Would the word ‘NATO’ make Vladimir Putin think twice?

17 April 2014 9:05

Russia, Ukraine, the European Union and the United States will meet in Geneva later today in order to find a solution to the confrontation in eastern Ukraine. There is not… Continue reading

91 Comments
Rochdale Foodbank Use Triples In A Year

Foodbank statistics present problems for the coalition – and for Labour

16 April 2014 11:47

Despite the stream of very good economic news (as described by Fraser and James), you won’t catch ministers saying that the crisis in living standards is ‘over’ because there is… Continue reading

33 Comments
Ukip leader Nigel Farage. Image: Getty

Nigel Farage faces down ‘Establishment’ plot

15 April 2014 12:49

This morning’s edition of The Times reported (£) that Nigel Farage could face a probe into claims, apparently lodged by a former UKIP official, that nearly £60,000 of ‘missing’ European Union… Continue reading

157 Comments
AUSTRALIA-NAVY-MILITARY

Will Philip Hammond challenge the SNP’s conceits?

15 April 2014 8:51

First Sea Lord Admiral Sir George Zambellas has said, in the Telegraph, that the sum of the Royal Navy’s parts is not greater than its whole. Scottish independence, he says,… Continue reading

123 Comments
David Cameron tours a Total shale site in Lincolnshire. (AFP PHOTO/Lindsey Parnaby.)

The potential of shale – in the fight against climate change…

14 April 2014 18:27

The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published a report earlier this morning which contains a remarkable insight. Ottmar Edenhofer, head of the IPCC working group, told a press… Continue reading

42 Comments
Philip Hammond and David Mundell are odds over where Trident would stand in discussions with an independent Scotland. (Andy Buchanan/AFP/Getty Images)

Philip Hammond and David Mundell expose lack of political grip at heart of government

14 April 2014 12:59

Was it Philip Hammond who told the Guardian that Britain would discuss a currency union with an independent Scotland? Fleet Street is asking that question after the Defence Secretary said:… Continue reading

76 Comments
World Leaders Meet For G8 Summit AT Lough Erne

Ukraine increases mistrust and misinformation between Russia and the West

14 April 2014 8:48

The tense situation in Ukraine has escalated overnight. A deadline has passed for pro-Russian agitators to vacate government buildings in eastern Ukraine or face military action. There is no indication… Continue reading

73 Comments
Image: Getty

Downing Street has forgotten that its business is politics

13 April 2014 11:03

The Sunday papers resound with the sound of Tory MPs thinking aloud about how to deal with ill-discipline: principally expenses and harassment. On harassment, the Sunday Times reports the 1922… Continue reading

66 Comments
SajidJavidF

Sajid Javid’s first task is to recognise that the price of a cultural asset lies in its value as art

12 April 2014 10:30

The suggestion, made by the poet Michael Rosen and others, that Sajid Javid is not sufficiently cultured to be Culture Secretary is as ludicrous as it is pompous. The secretary… Continue reading

59 Comments
The Good Wife (CBS/More 4)

Silk vs The Good Wife

24 March 2014 17:40

American TV drama trumps British TV drama – it’s a well-worn but unfair cliché. It’s not that British drama is necessarily bad – some of it is very good –… Continue reading

7 Comments
Tax Breaks For Bingo Announced In The Budget

#ToryBingo could still benefit the Conservatives

22 March 2014 16:45

Isabel and Sebastian are right: #ToryBingo is embarrassing. The advert was crass to the point of being idiotic. The use of the word ‘they’ rather than ‘you’ to describe ‘hardworking… Continue reading

22 Comments
Image: Getty

George Osborne and Ed Balls play it like it’s 2010

16 March 2014 10:06

George Osborne and Ed Balls have gone head-to-head in the media – the former in The Sun on Sunday and the latter in The Sunday Mirror. The two also appeared… Continue reading

13 Comments
What would you like to see in this year's Budget?

George Osborne’s last chance: 40p…or childcare?

14 March 2014 17:27

Next week’s Budget is the last chance for George Osborne to make a ‘game-changing reform’. Backbench Tories have been clamouring for Osborne to reduce the number of people paying the… Continue reading

53 Comments
These gentlemen have much to talk about concerning the latest polls. (Image: OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images)

Polling worries for Miliband – and for Cameron

14 March 2014 17:17

There’s been much hullaballoo this afternoon over a Populus poll that shows a Labour lead of one point. The usual caveats apply (it’s just one poll!); but, nevertheless, this sample… Continue reading

119 Comments
Labour Party Leader Ed Miliband Focuses On The Economy

Ed Miliband’s non-policy EU policy

13 March 2014 17:16

‘You only offer a referendum if you want to ratify your existing policy,’ a Tory veteran told me this morning while discussing Ed Miliband’s recent referendum announcement. The Tory illustrated… Continue reading

25 Comments
Three Powers

Our own folly may yet lead us to a second dishonourable Yalta

13 March 2014 10:39

‘He was back after less than two years’ pilgrimage in a Holy Land of illusion in the old ambiguous world, where priests were spies and gallant friends proved traitors and… Continue reading

56 Comments
Unidentified armed men patrol outside of the Simferopol airport. (GENYA SAVILOV/AFP/Getty Images)

Crimea, Russia and the power of ‘provokatsiya’

28 February 2014 14:14

What to make of the appearance at two airports in Crimea of armed men wearing uniforms without insignia? The airports are strategically placed – Belbek near Sevastopol, and the main airport outside Simferopol, the… Continue reading

36 Comments
Libya has been rocked by weeks of unrest. But is the country really in danger of falling into civil war? (ABDULLAH DOMA/AFP/Getty Images)

Does Libya need a lesson in devolved government?

24 November 2013 11:00

Recent news from Libya has not inspired confidence. Terrorism, riots, murder, a temporarily kidnapped prime minster, oil stuck at export terminals – it’s a dispiriting litany of apparently unconnected events.… Continue reading

17 Comments
Slavery has not yet been abolished in England. Photo: Getty Images.

Did slavery never go away?

22 November 2013 9:22

There is blanket media coverage of ‘London’s shame’ – the news of the escape of three women who had been held as slaves in Lambeth for 30 years. The women… Continue reading

55 Comments
Philip Hammond turned in an excellent performance in the House this afternoon.

Philip Hammond sees off John Baron’s Army Reserve amendment

20 November 2013 18:07

As was to be expected, the debate on the Defence Reform Bill extended far beyond the proposed amendments. There was much discussion about the future of the armed forces, both regular and… Continue reading

12 Comments
The Tories need to make the likes of Rachel Reeves and Ed Balls run for cover on welfare.

Labour’s welfare worries exposed by one cheeky headline. The Tories should exploit this

20 November 2013 10:54

The Telegraph carries a story under the title ‘Labour: We’ll scrap benefits for under 25s’. This has sent Labour supporters into mild panic. The party’s welfare spokesman, Rachel Reeves has… Continue reading

36 Comments
British soldiers inspect a 'Snatch' Land Rover vehicle outside Basra in September 2006. (ESSAM AL-SUDANI/AFP/Getty Images)

Tory rebels and government are fighting yesterday’s wars

20 November 2013 9:27

Philip Hammond, the defence secretary, has a battle on his hands. 20 or so Tory MPs have signed John Baron’s amendment to the Defence Reform Bill. The bill aims to… Continue reading

39 Comments
David Cameron And Jeremy Hunt Visit A Hospital To Mark The 65th Anniversary Of The NHS

Jeremy Hunt calls for a ‘profound transformation in the culture’ of the NHS

19 November 2013 14:01

Jeremy Hunt has delivered his response to the Francis Report. It was as expected: monthly staffing figures on a ward-by-ward basis, minimum standards of safety for staff levels, a national… Continue reading

53 Comments