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Posts Tagged ‘James Forsyth’

VAL 2016 | Vill vi att det parlamentariska systemet skall urholkas? Det är den fråga som Boris Johnson vill att väljarna skall ställa sig inför folkomröstningen.

The Spectator 14 May 2016

Den populära f.d. borgmästaren i London har blivit den främsta talespersonen för Brexit, kampanjen för Storbritanniens utträde ur EU.

Han är dessutom tippad att bli nästa partiledare för Torypartiet om David Cameron inte lyckas få väljarna att rösta Ja till ett fortsatt medlemskap.

En myt som Johnson slår hål på är att EU skulle vara så bra för näringslivet och konkurrensen.

En märklighet i den politiska debatten i både Sverige och Storbritannien är att partier som i vanliga fall talar om hur viktigt det är med konkurrens på marknaden inte verkar tycka det är viktigt på den europeiska marknaden.

Hade man verkligen tyckt konkurrens var viktigt skulle man inte stillatigande acceptera all den byråkrati som hämmar just konkurrensen inom EU.

James Forsyth och Fraser Nelson på The Spectator intervjuade nyligen Johnson om folkomröstningskampanjen:

He has a book on Shakespeare to finish, a Brexit campaign to win, and, if the bookmakers are to be believed, a Tory leadership campaign to assemble. He’s currently red-hot favourite for the top job.

But Boris’s emergence as one of the leaders of the Leave campaign took many by surprise. To his critics, it was a cynical conversion and an unashamed attempt to woo Eurosceptic Tory members ahead of a leadership bid. In the thousands of articles he had written about Europe before this referendum, he had never advocated leaving. ‘It is unquestionably true that I’ve changed,’ Boris admits. ‘But so has the EU. And of the two of us, it’s the EU that has changed more than me.’

[…]

The Prime Minister, Boris says, took a ‘punt’ in calling the referendum without securing a substantial deal. ‘I think that was a mistake. I think the British public are looking at all this and thinking: “Take back £20 billion? Take back control of the borders? Run the country? Democracy? You know, it might be a good idea.”’

So what kind of relationship does Boris want with the EU after Brexit? He knows what he doesn’t want: ‘the so-called single market’, which he says is a problem rather than the solution. ‘People think the single market is a great wonderful European souk or bazaar in which you will find absolutely everything humanity could possibly desire: aubergines, derivatives, trucks, ballistic missiles…’ But, unfortunately, the single market is ‘a gigantic system’ that imposes ‘extremely detailed and onerous rules on a territory of 500 million’.

[…]

‘Dear Spectator reader: do you see Britain’s future as an open, global, free trading, dynamic economy based on confidence in tried and tested British institutions? Or do you believe that in order to survive we need to remain embedded in something that fundamentally takes away our powers? Something that, over the past 15 years or so, has been a powerful depressor of jobs and growth in our historic European home?’

[…]

He is confident that his two great historical heroes would be on his side in this struggle. Churchill would not have wanted ‘parliamentary sovereignty to have been so compromised. I think he believed in that above all else. He would have felt it had gone too far.’ And he contends that Pericles, the great Athenian statesman he so often cites, would also have been an Outer. Boris argues that ‘to stick up for democracy is entirely Periclean’ and that the referendum ultimately comes down to whether you believe in ‘rule by the many, not the few’.

If the referendum goes against Boris, he thinks that the next Conservative party manifesto should admit that EU immigration into Britain cannot be controlled: ‘They should be honest.’ He goes on: ‘One of the most corrosive things is that government won’t level with us about it.’

Still, he remains hopeful that he can help Vote Leave win this referendum. ‘We are asking the British people to be brave, to be confident in themselves and to believe in Britain,’ he says with his trademark enthusiasm. ‘We have a very good chance.’

Tidskriftsomslag: The Spectator den 14 maj 2016.

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VAL 2016 | Det kommer att bli svårare för David Cameron att få ett Ja i EU-folkomröstningen sedan Boris Johnson valt att stödja ett utträde.

The Spectator 27 February 2016

Många ifrågasätter om det var en så klok strategi från Cameron att så intensivt attackera den populära Londonborgmästaren efter hans besked om att han tänker stödja ”out”-kampanjen.

En av premiärministerns anhängare citerar t.ex. Michael Corleone: ”Never hate your enemies. It affects your judgment.”

James Forsyth, redaktör The Spectator, har beskrivit Camerons reaktion när det stod klart för honom att Johnson inte kommer att stödja premiärministerns kampanj för att Storbritannien skall stanna kvar i EU.

Many Tories had doubts about David Cameron’s EU renegotiation, but only Boris Johnson was promised a piece of legislation to assuage his particular concerns. It was quite a compliment. The so-called Sovereignty Bill was, in effect, the Get Boris Onside Act. It was designed to deal with the Mayor of London’s fears about the relationship between the British parliament and courts and the EU. It was also mooted that Boris would be offered a top cabinet job — perhaps Foreign Secretary. The Prime Minister was convinced that this combined offer would be enough to secure Boris for the ‘in’ campaign.

But a few days before the Brussels summit, when Oliver Letwin telephoned Boris to run through the Sovereignty Bill, he sensed trouble. As the conversation went on, Boris’s concerns seemed to multiply. Even if Cameron secured his deal, he said, EU law would still retain supremacy over UK law. And there was still no answer to the question, posed by Boris’s wife Marina Wheeler QC in The Spectator, about the Charter of Fundamental Rights. Then Johnson told Letwin he was going to put the call on speakerphone while he consulted his dinner guest Michael Gove. The Lord Chancellor was already known to be tending towards supporting ‘out’. When Letwin finally put down the phone, the Tory leader-ship had to face the fact that Boris might follow Gove in backing Brexit. Perhaps this episode explains why Cameron was so short with the Mayor when they met the next day to discuss the matter.

Four days later, Boris made it official. He would defy Cameron and advocate leaving the European Union. Today, the two best-known Tories in the land stand in direct opposition on the most important vote the UK has had since the second world war. Only one of them can win.

Cameron is infuriated by Boris’s decision and makes little attempt to disguise it. In the Commons he launched a thinly veiled and deeply personal attack on his fellow Old Etonian, implying that he was only backing ‘out’ to further his own career. After the exchange, one observer said Boris looked as if he had been mugged. A member of his camp said: ‘We weren’t expecting a warm reception, but we weren’t expecting that level of vitriol either.’

And it has only just begun. Cameroons claim Boris’s decision is an act of ‘naked self-interest’. A source close to the Tory leadership predicts that Boris’s decision to back ‘out’ will be a disaster: ‘He’s going to struggle in interviews as he doesn’t believe in getting out of Europe and he’ll face the kind of scrutiny he’s not faced before. He’s not good on detail.’

The personal attacks will only increase in ferocity as time goes on. ‘He was given all the time in the world to make up his mind,’ another source adds. ‘He’s made his bed, he’s now got to lie in it.’ When I asked if Boris could still serve in a Cameron cabinet, the acid reply was: ‘Boris will make a very good International Development Secretary.’

It might be satisfying to savage Boris in this fashion, but it is not entirely wise — as some cooler-headed Cameroons admit. No. 10 appears to have forgotten Michael Corleone’s dictum, ‘Never hate your enemies. It affects your judgment.’ But if it wasn’t war before, it is now. ‘Boris is going to have to come out gloves off,’ warns one minister who is backing ‘out’. The Mayor is acutely aware that he is fighting for his political Life.

Tidskriftsomslag: The Spectator, 27 februari 2016.

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LONDON | Det skall mycket till för att en kandidat från Labour skall förlora ett borgmästarval i London.

The Spectator 2 January 2016

Det är lika svårt för en konservativ politiker i London som för en republikan i New York.

Trots detta har Boris Johnson varit den perfekta konservativa borgmästaren för en storstad som London. Även om Johnson inte varit någon kopia av den tidigare republikanska borgmästaren Michael Bloomberg har de hel del gemensamt.

Båda har varit sitt eget varumärke. Båda har lyckats sälja in sin egen person snarare än deras partitillhörighet. Båda har gått sin egen väg och snarare varit pragmatiska än ideologiska.

Så när London nu skall gå till val igen i maj skall det mycket till för att Tories skall lyckas upprepa Johnsons bragd.

Den här gången kommer det att stå mellan Sadiq Khan från Labour och Zac Goldsmith från Conservative Party.

Eftersom Labour idag har en rejält impopulär partiledare i Jeremy Corbyn samtidigt som Johnson har varit mycket populär har Khan valt en strategi som går ut på att distansera sig från sin partiledare samtidigt som han talar väl om allt som det bara går att tala väl om hos sin motståndare.

James Forsyth, politisk redaktör på The Spectator, har tittat på Khan och hans kampanjstrategi.

He ran Ed Miliband’s leadership campaign in 2010 and led Labour’s fierce — and surprisingly effective —campaign in London last year. Now, his sights are set on reclaiming City Hall for Labour and persuading even those on the right that he is the natural heir to Boris Johnson.

‘I want Spectator readers to give me a second look,’ he says, when we meet in the House of Commons. He is not, he’s keen to stress, a lieutenant in Jeremy Corbyn’s army. He’s keen to ladle praise on Boris Johnson — a ‘great salesman for our city’ who made him feel ‘proud to be a Londoner’ during the Olympics. He even likes rich people. ‘I welcome the fact that we have got 140-plus billionaires in London; that’s a good thing. I welcome the fact that there are more than 400,000 millionaires; that’s a good thing.’ If you shut your eyes, it could be Peter Mandelson speaking. It is not what you would expect from someone who has always been on the soft left of Labour.

If elected mayor, he says, he would not attempt to taunt David Cameron’s government as Ken Livingstone once taunted Margaret Thatcher’s. ‘I’m not going to be somebody who puts a big banner up outside City Hall criticising the Prime Minister, he says. ‘As a Labour councillor for 12 years in Tory Wandsworth I saw the benefits of having to work with the Tories to get a good deal for my constituents.’

But this is all part of Khan’s ambitious strategy: he doesn’t just want to win, he wants to win big. He is confident about his own ability to run a campaign; to him the issue isn’t whether he’ll win — but how.

‘If we wanted to, we could just target those Labour voters and increase the turnout. We could win London just by doing that.’ But, he says, ‘That’s not the sort of mayor I want to be… I want to be everyone’s mayor.’ In particular, he wants to be that vanishingly rare thing: a Labour friend of business. ‘Bearing in mind who our leader is,’ he says, ‘it’s important to reassure the right people that he doesn’t represent all Labour thinking.’ Khan is clearly aware that his biggest vulnerability is being branded Corbyn’s candidate. He is eager to say he is not in regular contact with his party leader; the last time he saw him was when they had their photos taken together to promote the Living Wage more than a month ago.

[…]

The Tories would dearly love to turn this contest into independent-minded Zac versus Jeremy Corbyn’s man. But by love-bombing Tories and business, Khan is determined to stop them doing that. So if the Tories are to stop Labour retaking City Hall, then the Goldsmith campaign will have to match Khan’s organisation, energy and enthusiasm.

Tidskriftsomslag: The Spectator, 2 januari 2016.

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INTERVJU | David Cameron hoppas att hans eftermäle skall bli att han ”moderniserade” Conservative Party och erövrade den politiska mitten.

The Spectator 12-19-26 December 2015

I intervjunThe Spectator beskrev han också för tidskriftens medarbetare James Forsyth och Fraser Nelson sin förvåning över hur Labour utvecklats efter valförlusten och valet av Jeremy Corbyn till partiledare.

Cameron säger det inte rent ut men han tackar säkert sin lyckliga stjärna att Labour valt en partiledare långt ut på vänsterkanten samtidigt som Liberal Democrats näst intill utplånats som politisk kraft i Storbritannien.

He says he is ‘a great believer that you have got to do things properly and make sure you behave appropriately’.

[…]

Is this still the political epitaph he would like? Cameron shoots back a quick: ‘Yes, I think it is very important.’

So rather than an ‘ism’ or any great political mission, he would be content with a perhaps slightly old-fashioned sense that generally he handled events as well as he could. It is one of the curiosities of Cameron that while he is so often described as ‘a moderniser’, he actually harks back to a much earlier tradition of political leadership.

[…]

He declares that the general election was a ‘victory for Tory modernisation’ because he won votes from all manner of parties. ‘It demonstrated that you don’t have to keep tacking to the right to win votes — and, indeed, actually it’s a self-destroying ordinance if you do.’

Cameron says he is particularly proud of gay marriage, labelling it a ‘big achievement’, and talks with pride about how he still gets ‘a regular stream’ of letters. ‘As people go to get hitched, they send me a nice letter saying thank you very much.’ He is convinced that opposition to it is almost gone, remarking with great satisfaction that ‘even Nigel Farage is now in favour of gay marriage as far as I can see’. This is a change of emphasis: when he listed his proudest achievements during the Lynton Crosby-run election campaign, gay marriage didn’t feature. What a difference a majority makes.

Changing the Conservative party is something that still matters to Cameron: he wants his ‘one nation’ politics to define Conservatism even after he’s stepped down as leader. This is why he was so pleased by the speeches of his two most likely successors at Tory conference, George Osborne and Boris Johnson. ‘What surprised me, in a very positive way, was that the tone, message and overall feel of those speeches were absolutely similar. Very much that the Conservative party should be strong in the centre ground, a compassionate force.’ He says that it made him think that ‘this party really has changed in a good way. A traditionally Conservative way of responding to events and things going on in our society to make sure it is still doing a proper job.’

[…]

Ultimately, the most surprising development in British politics this year was not Cameron’s majority but Jeremy Corbyn’s election as Labour leader. Cameron admits that he ‘did not see it coming at all’. He seems genuinely puzzled — ‘I thought it was so obvious why they lost the election’ that they would plump for a ‘more sensible centre–left approach’ — but likes to credit himself with a small role in Labour’s lurch to the left. ‘One of my longstanding friends and supporters said that because the Conservatives have taken the sensible centre ground, we have left Labour with so little to camp on that they have done that classic reaction of heading off into the hills.’

Tidskrifsomslag: The Spectator den 12/19/26 december 2015.

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James Forsyth, Dan Hodges, Fraser Nelson, Isabel Hardman och Sebastian Payne, alla på The Spectator, diskuterar vad Jeremy Corbyns seger innebär för Labour och Conservative Party.

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VAL 2015 | Inte för att det märks i svensk media men nästa månad går Storbritannien till val.

The Spectator 10 January 2015

Trots att det förväntas bli en strid på kniven har vare sig partiledarna eller de etablerade partierna direkt imponerat så här långt.

Bilden på ovan säger allt om hur David Cameron, Ed Miliband och Nick Clegg uppfattas ha förvaltat sin tid vid makten alternativt i opposition.

Conservative Party borde vid det här laget knappat in betydligt mer på Labour än vad man gjort. Och till skillnad från de andra partiledarna är Miliband mer ett ankare än en tillgång för Labour

Liberal Democrats har i och med sin medverkan i regeringskoalitionen inte längre fördel av att kunna välja och vraka vad man skall ta ansvar för. Med regeringsmakten följer ansvar även för mindre populära beslut.

Även det parti som vinner förväntas göra det med så små marginaler att det kommer att kräva ännu en koalition för att kunna skapa en stabil regering. Och koalitioner är inget man i uppskattar i landet.

James Forsyth, The Spectator, skriver partiernas utmaningar:

Cameron is busy prophesying economic chaos if Labour wins; Miliband is warning that the NHS won’t survive in its current form if the Tories get back in. Nick Clegg, meanwhile, is volunteering to be either the Tories’ heart or Labour’s spine — and stressing that he’s not picky about which. He can’t afford to be. His party could lose half its seats.

As they criss-cross the country, Cameron and Miliband are both spurred on by a fear of failure. Defeat for either of them would almost certainly mark the end of their political career. Cameron’s political life would be over before he was 50. He would be remembered as the man who couldn’t beat Gordon Brown and lost to Ed Miliband. His modernisation programme would be dismissed as an outright failure and his friends and allies would be forced out of positions of influence in the Tory party.

[…]

Whoever ends up in Downing Street in May will be the weakest prime minister in living memory. They will be forced to implement the most difficult half of the austerity programme with a slim to nonexistent parliamentary majority at a time when traditional party discipline is breaking down in the House of Commons.

The best that either party can hope for is the narrowest of outright victories, even smaller than the 21-seat margin that John Major ground out in 1992. Both Cameron and Miliband face the prospect of governing with very little wriggle room.

If Miliband ends up in No. 10 with a tiny majority, he will still find himself having to impose swingeing spending cuts — something his party is just not prepared for. He can’t simply assume that Labour MPs will support a Labour PM. One of the great myths about the Tony Blair years is the idea that Labour MPs blithely went along with whatever he wanted. They didn’t — but his majorities were so large that he could overcome even sizeable rebellions.

Miliband won’t be so lucky. In Blair’s first term, there were several major revolts. In 1997, 47 Labour MPs voted against government plans to cut lone parent benefits, and another 100 abstained. In 1998, 31 rebelled on plans to introduce tuition fees. In 1999, 53 opposed changes to incapacity benefit. In 2000, 37 tried to block the privatisation of air traffic control. Any comparable rebellion would sink Miliband. To make matters worse for him, he will have to implement policies that are far less appealing to the parliamentary Labour party than the Blairite reforms. Can you really imagine the Campaign Group of Labour MPs voting to continue the public–sector pay freeze?

Tidskriftsomslag: The Spectator, 10 januari 2015.

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IMAGE | Borgerligheten i Storbritannien är idag lika splittrad som vänstern var på 1980-talet. Gör man inte något nu riskerar man en valförlust vid nästa val.

The Spectator 28 sep 2013

Om premiärminister David Cameron förlorar nästa val kommer det till stor del bero på att väljarna har övergett de konservativa för UK Independence Party och deras partiledare Nigel Farage.

Detta är anledningen till att allt fler förespråkar någon form av samarbete mellan Conservative Party och UKIP.

Problemet är bara att ingen vet hur ett sådant samarbete skall se ut. Än mindre kan någon garantera att det inte får negativa konsekvenser för Torypartiet.

James Forsyth, politisk redaktör på The Spectator tror inte att Torypartiet kan locka in UKIP i någon form av öppet samarbete.

Istället borde man satsa på att bli bättre på att locka över traditionella arbetarväljare till partiet – en målgrupp som UKIP aktivt uppvaktar.

At present, the main Tory strategy for dealing with Ukip is to hope and pray. They hope that the Ukip vote will collapse as polling day nears. They pray that ultimately Ukip voters will balk at putting the pro-Europe, pro-Human Rights Act, pro-green-energy Ed Miliband into No. 10. Tory strategists point to how Ukip polled close to 20 per cent in the European election in 2009 and then got only 3 per cent of the vote at the general election less than a year later — they see it as a soufflé party that will crumble at the first firm tap. They are confident that voters can distinguish ‘between elections that really matter and elections that don’t’.

[…]

A better solution to the Ukip problem is for Cameron to seek a pact not with the Ukip leadership but with its voters — including those who are ex-Labour. If Cameron plays this right, voting Ukip could become the gateway drug to voting Tory for disillusioned Labour voters. Having already slipped the bond of tribal allegiance, they are more likely to be open to persuasion that the Tories are capable of representing them.

To do this, Cameron doesn’t need a new European policy—the pledge of an in-out referendum has not made Ukip go away. But he does need to understand that Ukip is successfully pitching itself as a party of the working class. It now has the support of a fifth of C2DE, the groups that make up blue-collar Britain.

These voters worry that the benefits system has been corrupted. So the Tory emphasis on welfare reform does appeal to them. George Osborne’s benefits cap has addressed some of the most egregious abuses of the system, and I understand that the Tories will have more to say about tough-love welfare next week. But the same voters also think that big companies are making profits at their expense. So Ed Miliband’s new populist socialism — with its promise to cap energy bills — also strikes a chord.

Tidskriftsomslag: The Spectator, 28 september 2013.

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