coffee house

Coffee Houserss

Is Brown the heir to Blair?

27 January 2008 13:59

James Purnell’s clearly trying to set some Stakhanovite record for delivering soundbites today.  After the “full employment” claim on Marr this morning, he issues an even-more-startling declaration in today’s Observer –… Continue reading


The slow erosion of government

27 January 2008 12:32

Black Wednesday exercises such a grip over our imagination that we sometimes forget that governments collapse because of the slow erosion that precedes the big storms. It is the drip-drip,… Continue reading


Purnell’s deceiving himself over "full employment"

27 January 2008 11:17

James Purnell made his Marr debut today, filled with the Brownite script. Our new Work & Pensions Secretary should have looked more closely at those fake statistics he was given… Continue reading


Clegg and spending

27 January 2008 9:22

Nick Clegg continues to say the right things. This passage from Steve Richards’s interview on GMTV Sunday Programme this morning: "We understand that the years of unprecedented increase in public… Continue reading


The dangers of a lifestyle culture

26 January 2008 16:40

On the day that the Treasury Select Committee skewered the FSA for its role in the Northern Rock crisis, the Telegraph features a thought-provoking article by Charles Moore – suggesting that consumers join the financial regulators… Continue reading


Maybe Hain’s the lucky one

26 January 2008 14:00

Matthew Parris’ lucid article in the Times fuels my suspicion that Gordon Brown will come out of the past week in worse shape than Peter Hain.  Media outlets may have given Hain… Continue reading


Punctuating politics

26 January 2008 11:27

The always-incisive Martin Kettle has a fascinating piece in today’s Guardian, in which he assesses Peter Hain’s exit not as a "sleaze" story or a test of Gordon’s moral fibre,… Continue reading


A roman holiday for Prodi

25 January 2008 18:04

If you think that Gordon Brown’s having a tough time of things at the moment, then spare a thought for Romano Prodi.  For - following defeat in a vote of no confidence… Continue reading


Weekend Culture

25 January 2008 15:56

This weekend, the title of must-see cultural monolith belongs to the From Russia exhibition at the Royal Academy.  After much political wrangling, artworks from the the leading galleries of Moscow and St Petersburg have… Continue reading


Iraq revisited

25 January 2008 15:12

This caught my eye in today’s Guardian: "The BBC is planning a controversial dramatisation of the run-up to the war in Iraq, to be broadcast over 10 days in March,… Continue reading


Silver linings and bankers whining

25 January 2008 14:08

Recent events have been as nectar for the political blogosphere (no more so than for Guido – who’s claiming credit for Hain’s downfall), and Michael White has tackled them all with typical… Continue reading


How to cook your Burns Night haggis

25 January 2008 12:26

I’ve just bought my Burns Night Haggis, and it’s currently winking up at me cheekily from the kitchen table.  For those of you who claim not to like it, I… Continue reading


Where now for Gordon Brown?

25 January 2008 10:49

I wrote yesterday that Gordon Brown’s New Year relaunch is in tatters.  Now he’s in the uneviable position of having to relaunch the relaunch.  How should he go about it?… Continue reading


The high cost of energy

25 January 2008 8:39

According to a new Ofgem report, rising fuel prices are behind a trebling in the number of homes disconnected by power companies over the past two years.  And what lies… Continue reading


From the other side of the pond

25 January 2008 1:50

I’ll be live blogging tonight’s crucial Republican debate in Florida over on Ameircano.


Drafting in the youngsters

25 January 2008 0:48

Andy Burnham was named “minister to watch” at the Spectator/Threadneedle parliamentarian of the years awards 2006. He has not disappointed us, replacing Purnell as Commissar of Culture. He reacted as… Continue reading


Brown misses an opportuntiy

24 January 2008 21:21

A quick check on the health of a party is whether there is more talent on the back benches than the front bench. Labour are close to that tipping point… Continue reading


The strange conversion (and eventual downfall) of a cabinet minister

24 January 2008 17:36

Call it incompetence, if you like – it may turn out to be criminality – but Peter Hain’s clearly underperformed as a Cabinet minister.  After his resignation today, blogs, newspapers… Continue reading


Join us on the campaign trail

24 January 2008 16:52

Columbia, South Carolina As the 2008 presidential primaries enter their decisive phase, we’ve launched a new blog to keep you up to date with all the latest developments. “Americano” will… Continue reading

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James Purnell is the new Work and Pensions Secretary

24 January 2008 16:30

For the three hours after Hain resigned, several names flew – none James Purnell. But thinking about it, his appointment makes sense. Aged 37 he will add zest to Brown’s… Continue reading


Who will step into the breach at the DWP?

24 January 2008 15:23

The last thing Gordon Brown can afford is to dither over the reshuffle. I hear he will, indeed, name a new Work and Pensions Secretary today – so the story… Continue reading


Peter Hain resigns

24 January 2008 13:24

Peter Hain has resigned as the donations made to his deputy leader campaign have been referred to the police.   There’s no doubting that this will be extremely damaging for the Government.  Whether or not… Continue reading


Boos, wine and tax cuts at the Channel 4 political awards

24 January 2008 10:45

I was at the Channel Four political awards last night, where the strangest thing happened. Their main award – (most inspiring political figure of the last decade) – was given to… Continue reading


Ken’s personal fiefdom

24 January 2008 9:12

If you missed the Today programme’s interview with Ken Livingstone, make sure you tune in when it’s available on Listen Again – some quite startling revelations were made. When asked… Continue reading


What to do about Iran?

23 January 2008 16:59

Last night, The Spectator and Intelligence Squared hosted a debate on whether it would be better to bomb Iran than let it develop nuclear weapons. The speakers for the motion… Continue reading