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Tony Blair takes a dig at chillaxing Cameron

11 June 2015 12:17
Tony Blair speaking at a meeting of The Strand Group at King's College London this morning. Photo: @JohnRentoul.

Tony Blair popped into King’s College London this morning to discuss ‘how to run a government’ with his former adviser Michael Barber. Amongst other things, the former Prime Minister discussed David… Continue reading


Numbers, not arguments about legitimacy, will decide who enters No.10 after May 7

28 April 2015 15:42
Who will enter No.10 after 7 May 2015? Photo: Getty Images.

Lyndon Johnson’s first lesson of politics was to be able to count. It’s something that many of those commenting on the various post-election scenarios could do with remembering. Let’s start… Continue reading


Why George Osborne wants to be the new Tarzan

9 March 2015 17:37

There is a subtle ideological shift going on in the Tory party. At the top of the party, there is an increasing appetite for a modern form of industrial strategy.… Continue reading


If government doesn’t work, whose fault is it?

9 September 2014 10:00
Image: Getty

The apparently eternal battle between politicians and bureaucrats for control of the government machine has been better for TV comedy writers than for the governance of Britain. Ministers complain that… Continue reading


Curious lack of support for Miller in Cabinet

8 April 2014 13:53
Image: Getty

Senior 1922 Committee members are quite surprised by the suggestion that tomorrow’s end-of-term meeting with the Prime Minister represents the deadline for the Maria Miller problem to be resolved. But… Continue reading


The German Greens might do so badly they end up getting in

20 September 2013 10:27
German Greens' campaign poster: 'Germany is renewable'. Image: Getty

The German Green Party is having a torrid time. In an election campaign remarkable for static polls, come what may, the collapse of a third of the Green vote has been… Continue reading


Jeremy Heywood, just call him very influential

7 December 2012 19:43
The 'very influential' Sir Jeremy Heywood

The main topic of conversation in Whitehall today has been The Guardian’s profile of the Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood. One particular passage has raised some eyebrows in several ministerial… Continue reading


Hodge’s new nemesis: Sir Jeremy Heywood

15 March 2012 16:33

Margaret Hodge subjected senior civil servants to a fierce ear-boxing this morning. She accused them of trying to avoid the scrutiny of her Public Accounts Committee, and declared the current… Continue reading


Uncivil service

12 January 2012 18:38

Political cultures differ. In Iran, for example, hyperbole is expected in all political conversations. So slogans always call for ‘Death to the US’, and nothing less. In Britain, of course,… Continue reading


Overreacting to Werritty

17 October 2011 11:34

The Werritty case has made everyone who believes that government is controlled by lobbyists and tycoons slaver. The Guardian screams that Ministers held more than 1,500 meetings with corporate representatives… Continue reading


Cameron makes poor start on the long road back

8 July 2011 10:59

This was David Cameron’s most difficult press conference since becoming Tory leader. The Prime Minister refused to distance himself from Andy Coulson, a man he said was still his friend.… Continue reading


Treasury notes reveal Osborne’s position on euro bailouts

1 July 2011 17:23

There has been much talk about what George Osborne told Alistair Darling about the EU bailout mechanism during those days in May between the election and the coalition being formed.… Continue reading


Tax versus philanthropy 

25 June 2011 9:45

I was on the panel of Any Questions last night in Saltaire, the most beautiful town I’ve seen outside of the Highlands. Jonathan Dimbleby always warms everyone up with a… Continue reading


Britain makes new senior diplomatic appointments

24 June 2011 14:53

From the Number 10 website: The Prime Minister is pleased to confirm the following senior appointments: Sir Peter Ricketts, currently the Prime Minister’s National Security Advisor, to become HM Ambassador… Continue reading


Britain’s other, bigger debt problem

31 May 2011 11:16

And what about the other sort of debt? We spend so much time harrumphing about the national debt that an important point is obscured: personal debt, the amount owed by… Continue reading


The Portuguese fallout

7 April 2011 10:50

How much are we in for? That is the question that springs most readily to mind after Portugal’s request for fiscal aid from the EU. And, sadly, the answer is… Continue reading


What were the SAS doing in the eastern desert?

8 March 2011 9:01

When the official files are opened in 30 years time, we will see what series of decisions led the government to send a helicopter-born SAS team into eastern Libya when… Continue reading


Government to appeal on prisoner votes

2 March 2011 17:58

PoliticsHome reports that the government is to ask the ECHR to reconsider its verdict in the prisoner voting rights case. The website says: ‘In a response to a parliamentary question… Continue reading


From the archives: The resignation of Alastair Campbell

21 January 2011 18:04

No need to explain why we’re looking back on the resignation of Alastair Campbell for this week’s entry from The Spectator archives. The piece itself is merciless stuff from the… Continue reading


What’s with the Wiki-fuss?

29 November 2010 13:02

The whole Wikileaks scandal reminds me of a recent conversation I had, at his request, with a member of a foreign diplomatic service. The country he represented is a long-standing… Continue reading


What the new peerages tell us about the party leaders

19 November 2010 13:00

Today’s peerage list contains more interesting names than usual. Jullian Fellowes — Downton Abbey, Gosford Park, Snobs — is the one who will get the most attention. It is a… Continue reading


Stop dreaming of Leo McGarry

9 November 2010 18:03

The West Wing has an amazing hold over Fleet Street. The TV series has not only taught a generation of British reporters about US politics but even influenced the way… Continue reading


Gordon Brown speaks out about not speaking out

9 November 2010 11:46

Courtesy of Andrew Sparrow’s ever-superb live blog of the political day, from Brown’s appearance before the Commons development committee: "Let’s not get into this in any detail because it’s a… Continue reading


Bringing Arcadia to Whitehall

11 October 2010 16:39

Philip Green’s business background is writ plain across his review of government waste – right down to its PowerPoint style layout. Many of its recommendations reduce down to a claim… Continue reading


Finding a narrative of hope

16 September 2010 18:32

In these grim dark days of austerity and cuts, the coalition urgently needs to find a compelling political narrative of hope and optimism. David Cameron’s Big Society rhetoric occasionally threatens… Continue reading