Week of June 11 – June 17

Looking at the news and opinion out of London each day.


Someone has got to win the next election

It is easy to make a case for why all three main parties should do badly at the next election.

Uniting the Conservatives

It is conventional wisdom that a party needs to be united to win an election. This bears little relationship to reality. After  all the Conservative party of Margaret Thatcher was divided between wets and dries,with very different views on the economy and public spending, yet won three big victories.

Intelligence agencies must now sift through haystacks of exhibitionist citizen data to find a few dirty terrorist needles


Both Labour and the Tories think they’re going to lose the next election. Maybe they’re both right

The parties are in the grip of pessimism about their election hopes – such negativity can be self-fulfilling

To transform schools, sack bad teachers and hire great ones. It’ll transform education – and the economy

The future of Britain won’t be decided in a battlefield. It will be decided in a classroom.

Cutting public spending

There is still intense debate in Whitehall and Westminster about how to reduce the growth in public spending in 2015-16. Groups of Conservative MPs are bubbling with ideas on how to do it. The most popular ideas remain cutting Overseas aid, cancelling HS2, reducing subsidies to expensive ways of generating electricity, and cutting the overhead of government.


Woolwich outrage: we are too weak to face up to the extremism in our midst

Despite the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby, David Cameron has failed to act against Islamist terrorism

Where the teaching unions have a good point

The teaching unions have spent a lot of this week getting angry about one thing or another, but one of their number, the National Association of Head Teachers, did make a good point yesterday when reacting to Ofsted’s report on bright kids.

In praise of Vladimir Ilyich Gove

In the latest edition of the Spectator, Toby Young studies the revolutionary tactics and moral zeal of Michael Gove. He cites the Education Secretary’s fondness for adopting the language of Communism – be it in terms of “permanent revolution” or Gramsci’s long march through the institutions – but crucially sees beyond the jokey surface of such remarks.

To draw a line between moderate and extremist Islam is to miss the point

There’s an Islamic school in Birmingham which is very highly regarded. It’s called Darul Uloom — the same name as the school in Chislehurst which was recently the subject of an arson attack. In fact, that’s how I stumbled across it.


Oborne strikes again

For the second time in a year I find myself under attack from Peter Oborne. Last June the redoubtable Telegraph columnist claimed I had been against the formation of the coalition from the start, which was wrong, and that I was trying to push the Tories to the right, which was also wrong. I was very happy to correct his misapprehensions.

Keeping Local Government Conservative

These are challenging times for local councils. They are subject to significant reductions in funding from central government due to the Spending Review while still facing pressure from local residents to do the right thing and reduce council tax.

Tories toast Labour abstention plan for EU bill

From being all over the shop in the past few months when it came to message discipline, the Tories have gone into overdrive in the last two days after the launch of the Let Britain Decide website on James Wharton’s EU referendum bill.

What’s holding Britain down isn’t benefits. It’s low pay

Our brand of capitalism has become cannibalistic. The minimum wage isn’t enough, and has become a profound drag on our economy

Chief Rabbi: atheism has failed. Only religion can defeat the new barbarians

The West is suffering for its loss of faith. Unless we rediscover religion, our civilisation is in peril


David Cameron sings the good jobs news, but can Labour deal with green shoots?

There was plenty for David Cameron to sing about at today’s PMQs when it came to the ONS’ latest labour market figures, and sing he did.

Commons sketch: Cameron wages an unEdifying war of attrition against Balls

David Cameron got the better of this bar-room brawl, but despite the involvement of the two Eds, the contest was not an Edifying one. It became all too clear from these scrappy exchanges that the Prime Minister is determined to seize every chance to kick Ed Balls, the Shadow Chancellor: to unEdify him, as it were.

Michael Gove: GCSE reforms ‘will restore confidence in exams’

GCSEs will feature more British history, a range of classic literature and an increased focus on spelling, punctuation and grammar as part of a major drive to “restore public confidence” in the exams system, it was announced today.


GCHQ not ‘trawling’ people’s emails, William Hague tells MPs

British intelligence agencies are not using information gathered by American spies to get around the UK’s anti-snooping laws, William Hague has said.

Boris Johnson’s 2020 vision: 5 key points

Boy, is Boris Johnson persuasive. Not for him the anodyne policy documents that anyone else in regional or central government prefers to produce. His 2020 Vision document, launched today, is brimming with the sort of wit and turn of phrase that he deploys in his speeches and broadcasts.

If you want more male role models, tax breaks for the rich won’t help

Plans to offer tax breaks to married couples only restigmatise single parents


A million children are growing up without a father

More than a million children are growing up without a father and numbers are set to increase, a think tank has warned.

Boris: the moral of Prism is that nothing you do on the net is private

William Hague was dispatched into the television studios yesterday to dismiss as “nonsense” claims that GCHQ has been seeking to circumvent the law by using data gathered by foreign intelligence systems, and will make a Commons statement about the matter later today.

Free votes

I do like the idea of more free votes. I explained yesterday why allowing free votes or encouraging more independence might make it impossible to construct a budget, get through tax increases or spending cuts, and do other unpopular things. There are many other issues where free votes are possible, because the outcome is not central to a government’s task or do not knock on to other policies and concerns.

Across The Pond is edited daily by Steve Parkhurst. Steve is a political consultant, a writer at his blog as well as a Senior Editor here at US Daily Review. Follow Steve on Twitter @SteveParkhurst

All opinions expressed on USDR are those of the author and not necessarily those of US Daily Review.

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