A Brown vs Cameron Debate? Advantage Brown!

29 July 2009 20:14

James is quite correct. Gordon Brown should certainly leap at the chance to have a live televised debate against David Cameron next year. I assume that the Tories think that… Continue reading


One Cheer for Tory Localism, But Where’s the Beef?

29 July 2009 7:27

Harry Phibbs’ piece at Comment is Free today makes the perfectly sensible point that the Tories "localism" agenda – the closest thing Cameron has to a Big Idea – is… Continue reading


Big Business & Big Government, Together Again…

28 July 2009 16:37

There are plenty of reasons to be skeptical of the Scottish government’s desire to set alcohol prices. Not the least of them is that, in addition to the usual health… Continue reading


Service Resumed

28 July 2009 15:49

So, back from a week of splendid cricket in Ireland, blessedly free from internet and email and newspapers and everything else and what do we find? Obama bogged down in… Continue reading


What Am I Supposed to Say About This?

24 July 2009 22:22

It was with great sadness that I left the New Statesman. I always said it was a privilege to work as its political editor. I wish anyone who writes about… Continue reading


Revive the Enterprise Allowance Scheme

23 July 2009 21:52

Some will see it as final proof that I have made the journey from left to right, but I have to say I don’t see it that way. In tomorrow’s… Continue reading


The Importance of Being Libelled

22 July 2009 9:02

There has been an interesting repsonse to my last post about the libel laws. "Engage", an organisation ostensibly committed to "promoting greater media awareness, political participation and civic engagement among… Continue reading


Gone Cricketing

20 July 2009 15:41

Note the jaunty attempt to emulate Gordon Greenidge; note too the lack of control which has caused the bottom hand to leave the bat, suggesting that this attempt has, alas,… Continue reading



20 July 2009 15:10

So, Iain Dale writes: It’s that time of year again, when Total Politics asks you to vote for your Top 10 favourite blogs. The votes will be compiled and included… Continue reading

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The Growing Campaign on Libel

19 July 2009 10:33

Very good to see Nick Cohen banging the drum for the reform of the libel laws in today’s Observer. He raises the case of the mathematicians who dismantled the economic… Continue reading


The New "Old Tom"

19 July 2009 1:33

Tom Watson strides up the 9th hole during round three of the 138th Open Championship. Photo: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images. This needs to be written now, not later. Because I’m still… Continue reading


The Most Influential Innings of the Decade

18 July 2009 15:26

In 132 years of test cricket a side has followed on and won on just three occasions. Despite this, enforcing the follow-on has become almost as unfashionable in the modern… Continue reading


Saturday Afternoon Country: Alison Krauss

18 July 2009 12:34

A shocking hiatus had turned this weekly tour along the dirt tracks of American folk and country music into just a more-or-less-weekly series. But we’re back this week and back… Continue reading


The Saddest Thing I Have Seen in a Long Time

17 July 2009 17:05

The moral of the story is: don’t mess with the British state. I woke up this morning to a message from my old Observer colleague Antony Barnett, who now works… Continue reading


New Tories: Eurosceptic, Gay Friendly, Barely Unionist and Definitely Not Libertarian

17 July 2009 16:40

Conservative Home’s survey of 144 of the Tory candidates most likely to enter parliament after the next election is very interesting. It’s hardly a surprise that the Tories want British… Continue reading


In Praise of Ken Clarke

17 July 2009 15:40

James’s comments on Ken’s latest are all very germane and all that. But whatever the party’s differences with Big Bluff Ken, this is a sentiment all sensible people can endorse:… Continue reading


The £64 ‘Are You A Paedophile?’ Question…

16 July 2009 20:24

Sometimes you can only despair. It seems that anyone who gives talks to schoolkids (in England, Wales and Northern Ireland) on a "regular" basis now needs to pay £64 for… Continue reading


Worst Hat-Bashing for Years: 16/7/39

16 July 2009 12:30

No-one who has done time at one of this country’s more expensive educational institutions will be surprised by this account of the aftermath of the 1939 Eton vs Harrow match… Continue reading

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Books Overboard: What Would You Throw Away?

16 July 2009 0:03

Parlour game time! The Literary Canon is an intimidating thing at the best of times but these days it’s becoming grotesquely bloated. It could do with losing some weight. So,… Continue reading


Hillary & Barack’s Conventional Hawkery

15 July 2009 20:01

The problem with Major Foreign Policy Speeches is that different folk are listening. For instance, this section from Hillary Clinton’s "Hey guys, remember me?" speech today: "…we will remain clear-eyed… Continue reading


Richard Dannatt is "playing politics" too

15 July 2009 19:18

General Richard Dannatt may well be correct to demand additional men and equipment for the Afghan campaign and the military has certainly been ill-served by this government (though not only… Continue reading


Sarah Palin’s Little Platoons

15 July 2009 17:12

Danny Finkelstein’s column today argues that Sarah Palin is the true leader of the Republican party these days. And he doesn’t mean that in a good way: There is no… Continue reading


Frustrating Change & Ignoring Public Opinion: That’s A Bad Thing?

15 July 2009 15:17

Matt Yglesias laments that American political institutions aren’t more like, well, ours: The American legislative system, however, is not a good venue in which to attempt to rip off a… Continue reading


Adventures in Defence Procurement. Plus, Do We Need the RAF?

15 July 2009 7:56

Defence procurement is difficult. It’s hard to design and build new weapons systems and predicting what kinds of equipment and force structure will be needed in 20 years time is… Continue reading


Britain: the Coming Crisis

14 July 2009 23:17

Do we really have any idea of how serious this is about to become? As I sat watching BBC 2′s recesion drama Freefall tonight I realsied that we are beginning to get an… Continue reading