Looking at the news and opinion out of London each day.
While the Tories bask in the glory of Abu Qatada’s deportation, the progress of James Wharton’s Private Member’s Bill, and the general good atmosphere in the party, Labour is trying to work out what the best response to its terrible week is, and how to get to a situation where it is on top of the story, rather than jogging after it.
Abu Qatada could have launched a last ditch legal appeal, rather than get on that plane from RAF Northholt. Why didn’t he? Perhaps life in Belmarsh was proving unpleasant. Perhaps he and his family were slowly ground down by all the negative publicity and its consequences. Perhaps he simply thought he’d lose in court.
If reporters avoid using the word, we also risk missing out on the positive side of religious identity
MPs are incomparable. This may seem an odd thing to say in the current climate of opinion, but I mean it exactly: they cannot be compared with others. Now that a big rise is being suggested by Ipsa, the ‘independent’ body which sets their pay, people say they should be compared with local authority chief executives or head teachers, or that they are a profession.
The Labour leader has a chance of emerging stronger from his battle with the union, but only if he acts boldly
“I used to go on left-wing demonstrations against Enoch Powell in the Sixties, and I’m still glad I did. I was against racial bigotry then, and I’m against it now. So it has been an interesting experience to find myself accused of ‘racism’, in many cases by people who were not born in those days.”
By common consent, James Wharton acquitted himself extremely well yesterday – after weeks in the spotlight since he topped the Private Member’s Bill ballot, he steered his referendum proposal to a large victory, and spoke with intelligence as well as good humour.
Few of today’s statesmen, says Philip Bobbitt, deserve comparison with the ‘seriously ethical’ author of The Prince
Last month the Labour party moved two debates in the Commons pushing for Government to keep running the important East Coast Main Line (ECML) rail franchise between London King’s Cross, Newcastle and Scotland. The state has run this service since National Express East Coast was hit by the downturn in 2008 when it became unable to make the necessary government repayments for operating the franchise.
There is a double-edged case against the Government’s H2 project, whether one believes in high speed rail or not. If one doesn’t believe in it at all, it follows that the £50 billion that will be spent on the plan (or whatever the sum eventually turns out to be) would be better spent on other communications projects – including high speed broadband as well as rail.
Professor Minogue was one of a small group of thinkers who fought for individual freedom
An opposition leader could well win the next general election if the Tories let down their guard
Membership has been the base on which popular backing for the Conservative Party has been built for time out of mind. Some believe that it is indispensable to that task, together with the local Association structure. Others think that both are out of date in the age of Facebook and Twitter, and that the Party should be looking for supporters rather than members.
Just as the Church of England used to be the Conservative Party at prayer, the Daily Telegraph was at one time the Conservative Party at breakfast. Marmalade, English Breakfast tea and a hefty dose of support for the party leadership went hand in hand.