Week of Sept 30 – Oct 6

Read Time:5 Minute, 3 Second

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



Clegg got lucky in 2010 – a 2015 coalition negotiation will be a much tougher business

Like a gambler who won big on his first flutter, the Lib Dem leader is overconfident. In reality, his hand is weak.


Why David Cameron’s tax reform won’t break the bank

It’s odd to see David Cameron’s tax pledge being denounced as profligate, even in publications like the Financial Times. The Prime Minister has always been a moderate on tax, and remains one now. He has astutely positioned his promise to rise the 40p threshold as a giveaway, which makes sense politically.

The Conservatives need to win in Cities. Here’s how they can

The Conservatives do not have a problem in the North. As Policy Exchange’s report, Northern Lights, highlighted if you took the TransPennine Express train from Liverpool to Newcastle you would find that 13 of the stops are in Conservative held seats and 19 in seats held by Labour. The Tories’ real problem is in attracting support from urban voters, especially those living in inner city areas.


Are press cheerleaders for Cameron’s tax cuts being fiscal hypocrites?

How do we answer charges that if Miliband announced a policy like this he would be accused of gross irresponsibility?

David Cameron’s tax pledge won’t break the bank – but his NHS one might

Health spending and pensioners’ benefits will be ringfenced, while others feel the crunch. Unprotected departments will see their budgets cut by a third


The PM has led his party through a conference troubled by defections but there is much still to do

Ukip’s attempt to sabotage the end of the Tory conference has backfired

When press officers from Ukip enticed journalists along to a press conference at the end of the summer by promising that it would definitely be worth their while, they showed they weren’t exaggerating. That press conference was where Douglas Carswell defected. So today when Ukip told hacks that it would definitely be worth their while travelling from the final day of the Tory conference to a Gloucestershire country home for a 5pm press conference, everyone assumed there would be another defection.

Why are the Tory party in such a good mood?

Two things have been puzzling Tory high-ups in Birmingham this week: does Nigel Farage have another defector in his back pocket, and why is the Tory party in such a good mood? Many expected that a second MP defecting to Ukip would have plunged the party into the slough of despond.

Ed Miliband is toast. Only Nigel Farage can stop David Cameron now

That should be it. Anyone objectively assessing where British politics stands after David Cameron’s speech to the Conservative Party conference could only reach one logical conclusion. It is him, rather than Ed Miliband, who will be Britain’s Prime Minister after May next year.

The Conservatives should help poorer taxpayers first

The 40p tax reduction plan fits uneasily both with deficit reduction and smart politics.


Leaked lines to take for Tory MPs show party nerves about Ukip

Tory conference has been much more upbeat than last week’s gloomy offer from Labour. But just in case the party had turned up in a bad mood after the defection of Mark Reckless, MPs were given a series of lines to take which involved them telling any broadcaster unfortunate to ask that the gathering in Birmingham was demonstrating ‘energy’ and ‘positivity’.

Cameron is, deep down, a Tory radical cutting back the state. It’s time he admitted it

It’s time for the Prime Minister to make up his mind. Will he seize the chance to reshape British politics?

Cameron’s warning about our safety as he takes action against Islamic State is just needless scaremongering


George Osborne forgot something important in his speech, too

The Chancellor should have mentioned that leaving the EU would be a disaster for Britain

Business and politics 

I awoke this morning to a garbled version of my views on the BBC  on why big business should stay out of referendum debates . They did not phone me to check my views, nor invite me on to explain them. Readers of this site will remember my advice to big business to keep out of the Scottish referendum campaign, where I was on the same side as most of the businesses. Let me have another go at explaining it.

The capacity of the modern Conservative party to generate fear takes many forms

Is London’s Richard Barnes the final Ukip defector?

The gossip here in Birmingham is that there is a third defector from the Tories to Ukip, that David Cameron knows his name and isn’t too bothered. But if that person is Richard Barnes, a former deputy Mayor of London who has announced his defection today, you can see why the PM is quite chillaxed about it.

Ukip defections: the only question being asked in Birmingham is ‘who’s next?’

The law of diminishing returns applies in politics as well as economics. Douglas Carswell’s defection to Ukip stunned the Tories. Mark Reckless startled them, but only briefly. Richard Barnes (a former member of the London Assembly, as if you didn’t know) merits a philosophical shrug. When his name started doing the rounds of parties and bars in Birmingham last night, the general feeling was of mild relief that “the next one” was not someone famous or significant.

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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

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