Looking at the news and opinion out of London each day.
All departments have now reached agreement with the Treasury in the spending review. Vince Cable’s Business Department, which was not expected to settle until the last possible moment, settled earlier this evening bringing the round to a conclusion.
Once the poster boy for David Cameron’s ‘vote blue, go green’ campaign, the pin-up turned rebel might not even be a Conservative MP after the next election.
Both Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg delivered speeches to their party faithful today about being realistic about 2015. Miliband’s speech, briefed as ‘tough’, was the latest in his series of attempts to tell voters that they can trust him: he wouldn’t borrow more than this government… well, no more ‘day-to-day spending’, which is his way of saying he would actually borrow more for capital projects.
Six out of ten people don’t trust the NHS, according to today’s Sunday Times. So why doesn’t David Cameron tear up his commitment to the service, as its critics urge, and commit the Party to ushering in a system based on insurance or payment – like some of those used by other European countries which yield better results?
A few weeks ago I drove to Market Harborough for my test as a potential Ukip candidate. The process was very thorough. There was a media interview section, where one of my examiners did a bravura impersonation of a tricksy local radio presenter (he even did the traffic bulletin beforehand).
Today’s Telegraph reports that, having camped out in the Public Bill Office for several days, a group of Conservative MPs have tabled a raft of Bills intended to form an Alternative Queen’s Speech. The backbenchers involved are all familiar rebel faces – Chris Chope, Peter Bone, Philip Hollobone and David Nuttall.
The splash in The Times this morning is taken from their interview with the Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, who is shelving the plans of his predecessor, Philip Hammond, who said that raising the speed limit “would bring hundreds of millions of pounds of economic benefits from faster journey times.”
Back, back before the last election, David Cameron seemed rather like Bruce Dern’s Lowell in Silent Running (1972) – he’d kill for those trees. You could put him in a spaceship, with only some flora and a pair of huskies for company, and he’d hightail it to Saturn and beyond in the name of the environment. “They’re not replaceable!”
Yesterday in Parliament several weighty EU documents were considered by the Commons. It was a timely reminder of the huge scope and breadth of the EU project. It underlined how much power has already gone to Brussels, and how much more they need and want to complete their Euro union.
The Tory party is currently offering a campaigning masterclass on James Wharton’s Private Member’s Bill. As Coffee House revealed last night, any member of the public can sign up to co-sponsor the backbench legislation, and the party has spent a great deal of time squaring backbenchers on the wording of the bill to prevent further amendments clogging it up unnecessarily.
The party organisation is a total mess – but London Mayor Boris Johnson could restore clarity
The Conservatives will table James Wharton’s Private Member’s Bill for an EU referendum tonight for publication tomorrow. Coffee House has exclusive details of the changes to this piece of legislation, and a clever new plan by the party to make the most of this backbench bill as possible.
Data is a useful tool, but over-reliance on it means major problems are too often ignored
Michael Gove is naturally having some fun with Stephen Twigg’s schools speech. The Education Secretary has responded to Twigg’s plan for ‘parent academies.’
David Cameron is offering £1 million of taxpayer’s cash to anyone who can solve the world’s biggest problem – whatever that might be.
Tory MPs have long assumed that Sir George Young would be shuffled out of the job of chief whip at the next reshuffle. The 71 year old had, after all, been retired from the Cabinet with honours last September only to be recalled and made chief whip following Andrew Mitchell’s resignation.
Borisstan: the independent city state and docking station for global wealth formerly known as London
What would the British capital look like in the future if it broke away from the rest of the country?
Do the maths. It will be quite hard for Labour not to be the largest party after the next election, says Stefan Stern.