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Posts Tagged ‘James Forsyth’

MEDIA | Det bådar illa för Labour att deras partiledare karikeras på nästan identiskt sätt av två konkurrerande nyhetsmagasin.

The Spectator 21 sep 2013

New Statesman 20-26 sep 2013

Både den konservativa tidskriften The Spectator och den till Labour närstående New Statesman har använt figurerna Wallace & Gromit för att ifrågasätta Ed Milibands ledarskap.

Detta är lite märkligt med tanke på att Labour, precis som Socialdemokraterna i Sverige, alltid har en hyfsad ledning i opinionsundersökningarna.

Men till skillnad från Stefan Löfven är Ed Miliband inte lika respekterad, vare sig bland opinionsbildare eller bland politiska motståndare.

Och även inom det egna partiet är det mer än en som tvekar om han är rätt person att leverera en valseger över David Camerons regeringskoalitionen.

Men James Forsyth, politisk redaktör på The Spectator, påpekar att även om Miliband är mer hånad än fruktad gör motståndare ett misstag om man undervärderar Miliband.

A Tory MP bobbed up at Prime Minister’s Questions recently to ask David Cameron whether he was ‘aware that 4 per cent of people believe that Elvis is still alive? That is double the number, we hear today, who think that Edward Miliband is a natural leader?’ The Tory benches tittered, Labour MPs slumped into their seats as if this was a depressingly fair point,  and the Labour leader himself tried not to look too hurt.

[…]

For decades now the Westminster voting system has been unfair to the Tories. Boundary changes lag population movements, corralling Tories into larger constituencies. As a result, Labour can win on a far smaller share of the vote than the Tories. Tony Blair secured a comfortable majority in 2005 with 35 per cent of the vote, while David Cameron fell short of one with 36 per cent in 2010. Cameron tried to address this imbalance by reducing the number of MPs and equalising constituency sizes, but the Liberal Democrats — aware of the electoral harm this would do to them — killed the idea off.

Compounding this Tory problem is the rise of Ukip. In effect British elections are decided not by a mass popular vote, but by a handful of swing voters in swing seats. Lord Ashcroft last weekend released a poll of these marginal constituencies which said that Labour’s lead has widened to an almighty 17 points. This was not because Labour has become more popular, but because so many Tory supporters have defected to Ukip. Miliband is also buoyed by the fact that the British left, which split in the 1980s with the creation of the SDP, has reunited. When Clegg jumped into bed with Cameron, just under half of his erstwhile supporters leapt into Labour’s arms.

Tidskriftsomslag: The Spectator (där skuggfinansministern Ed Balls i rollen som Gromit på omslaget), 21 september 2013. New Statesman den 20-26 september 2013. Lägg märke till ordet ”predistribution” – det nya modeordet inom Labour – på sidovagnen.

rå sidovagnen –

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STRATEGI | Storbritannien går till val i maj 2015. Men redan nu kan vi se hur partierna förbereder sig inför valrörelsen.

David Cameron - Foto Getty Images

Alla tecken tyder på att nästa val kommer att bli än mer presidentlikt än förra.

Conservative Party har insett att så länge som David Cameron inger större förtroende bland väljarna än övriga partiledare är det naturligt att se premiärministern som sin största strategiska tillgång.

Så länge som han är (relativt) populärare än huvudmotståndarna Nick Clegg och Ed Miliband framstår det som ett naturligt vägval.

Men att framhäva Cameron i tid och otid fungerar naturligtvis bara så länge han inte begår några större politiska misstag.

Oavsett vilket är skulle det vara svårt att inte bygga upp valrörelsen kring premiärministern när partiet innehar posten. (Vi kommer knappast se Moderaterna tona ner Fredrik Reinfeldt inför valet. Snarare tvärt om.)

James Forsyth, politisk redaktör på The Spectator, skriver:

The outlines of the Tory campaign are already visible. One thing that stands out is that it will rely on David Cameron even more than it did at the last election. Some will question the wisdom of this, pointing out that the big billboard posters of him in 2010 backfired badly. Others will wonder what more there is to say about Cameron given that by 2015 he’ll have been leading the party for nearly ten years. But in Downing Street they are unmoved by these arguments. To their minds, the party would be mad not to rely on him given that he polls 18 points ahead of it.

People in the Liberal Democrat constituencies that the Conservatives need to take are going to hear a Cameron-centred message again and again. The emphasis will be that Tory candidates can offer what Liberal Democrat MPs cannot: a vote for them is a vote for Cameron to be returned to No. 10.

[…]

It is already apparent how the Lib Dems will respond to this Conservative approach. They’ll claim that without them, this would have been a government of the super-rich for the super-rich. One Lib Dem Cabinet minister told me recently, with visible excitement, that he has a drawer in his desk where he puts every potentially unpopular idea proposed by Conservatives. At the next election, he says, he’s going to take them all out and say to people if it wasn’t for us, you’d all have been fired at will and the rich would have had all the tax cuts. They’ll also argue that, without them, Cameron would have been held hostage by his ‘tea-party’ tendency. They’ll take the most outlandish statements made by Conservative MPs — putting all benefit claimants on food stamps, reintroducing Section 28 and the rest — and claim  that Cameron would have been forced into doing this if he was governing with his party alone.

[…]

Those around Ed Miliband dispute the idea that the Conservatives are really that confident about their leader’s appeal, pointing to Tory scepticism about televised leaders’ debates. They also emphasise that Cameron’s popularity is about half what it was when Miliband became Labour leader.

[…]

The irony of the Cameroons continuing reliance on Cameron is that it is an admission of failure. If they had genuinely succeeded in changing voters’ perceptions of the party, they wouldn’t have to rely on the leader so much. But that is where they are and the reason why the next campaign will be the most presidential yet.

Bild: David Cameron – Getty Images.

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POLITIK | Storbritanniens ekonomi kunde vara bättre. Och situationen i EU är inte mycket till hjälp för premiärminister David Cameron.

The Spectator den 15-22 december 2012

Inom det konservativa partiet är stämningen mer anti-EU än vad den har varit på länge. Och inte bara p.g.a. av ekonomin.

Många anser att Storbritannien har lämnat ifrån sig allför mycket makt till Bryssel. Om Cameron inte lyckas plocka tillbaka maktbefogenheter riskerar partiet dessutom förlora väljare till UKIP i nästa val.

Camerons balansgång mellan pro- och anti-EU strömningar är inte den lättaste. I näringslivet är man för EU medan stora delar av väljarkåren, inte minst bland de partitrogna, är man negativt inställda till det brittiska medlemskapet.

James Forsyth skriver i The Spectator:

Several new European treaties will be needed in the next few years as eurozone governments seek ever closer integration. Cameron believes that, should he win the next election outright, he’ll be able to use these negotiations to refashion Britain’s relationship with the EU. The plan is to win the changes Britain needs to stay inside the union in exchange for not blocking closer integration between the core countries.

This, the Prime Minister’s friends say, is why Boris Johnson is wrong when he argues that Britain should oppose a eurozone fiscal union. The recent budget negotiations left Cameron convinced that when push comes to shove, the more liberal, northern European countries — including Germany — really do want Britain to stay in.

His plan is to offer the British electorate a choice between staying in on these new terms or leaving. It will be a considerable risk. To be confident of public support, him, he must secure a genuinely new form of membership. More difficult still, if not impossible, will be avoiding a split in the Tory party. If Cameron is to persuade his party to campaign in favour of EU membership, the new terms will have to be so different from the present ones as to be almost unrecognisable.

Bild: Tidskriftsomslaget är The Spectator den 15-22 december 2012. Själva bilden – ”Austerity Christmas Feast” – är tecknad av Peter Brookes (fritt efter Pieter Bruegel den äldres ”Bondbröllop”). På tallrikarna, som bärs fram av Cameron och finansiminster George Osborne, ligger en liten morot och en ärta.)

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LEDARSKAP | Koalitionen i Storbritannien har likande problem som den svenska alliansregeringen.

Trots att den engelska alliansen bara består av två partier – Conservatives och Liberal Democrats – har man liknande problem både internt och vad gäller opinionssiffrorna.

Inte minst det lilla liberala partiet har problem att hävda sig i skuggan av det stora konservativa partiet.

Och precis som i Sverige leder Labour över de konservativa i opinionsmätningar.

Trots sina problem har liberaldemokraternas partiledare Nick Clegg valt att satsa allt på ett kort. Hans strategi är att ett fördjupat samarbetet med premiärminister David Cameron kommer att leda till väljarframgångar längre fram.

Det spekuleras ständig om detta är en självmordsstrategi för Clegg och hans parti.

En som tror att detta innebär slutet för åtminstone Clegg själv är James Forsyth, politisk redaktör, på konservativa The Spectator.

Now, the Deputy Prime Minister has decided to double down on coalition. He has concluded that the Lib Dems, rather than blocking Conservative ideas, must help push through bold solutions to big problems. It is a brave path to take — but Clegg’s reward will not come in this political life. Whether he knows it or not, his fate is to become a martyr to the coalition.

Perhaps the key to understanding Clegg is that he never quite expected the dark side of being in power: he lacks the coping mechanisms of his Conservative colleagues. When the financial crisis hit, and spending cuts became essential, David Cameron and George Osborne steeled themselves to wear unpopularity as a badge of honour in the same way Margaret Thatcher had done.

[…]

This decision to revivify the coalition is motivated both by a desire to govern effectively and by a belief that public argument has only helped Labour, which leads by 15 points according to one survey this week.

Those around Clegg are unwilling to accept that he’ll be a martyr. The newly united government, they hope, will start not only to get things done but to get credit for doing them; and a recovering economy will restore their leader’s fortunes. The Lib Dems’ polling shows they are finally getting credit from the voters for the cut in the basic rate of income tax. This gives them hope that things are beginning to turn for the party.

[…]

Even so, Clegg is doomed. The problem was identified at the start of the year by Andrew Cooper, the Prime Minister’s director of strategy, in a private presentation to the trustees of Policy Exchange. Clegg’s brand is poisoned; his party’s isn’t. The compromises and broken promises of coalition have, according to Cooper’s exhaustive number-crunching, done irreparable damage to the Deputy Prime Minister’s reputation. Other polling makes the point even clearer. Ask people how they would vote if Vince Cable, not Clegg, was Liberal Democrat leader and the ratings jump three or four points. This might not seem much. But for a party struggling to break double digits in the polls, it is a transformation. This is why Clegg’s martyrdom is inevitable. However loyal his Commons army is, they will eventually have to sacrifice him for the good of the party.

Bild: Tidskriftsomslaget är The Spectator den 22 september 2012.

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LONDON | Katten Larry (inofficiellt Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office) har stött på en ”urban fox”.

Bruce Anderson skriver i sin krönika i The Spectator:

The other night, a terrible yowling had the Downing St doorkeepers rushing to action stations. There was Larry, the No. 10 moggy, tail up, back arched, girt for combat. His foe: an urban fox, already in full retreat. Memo to PM: 1) crack on with repealing the hunting ban. Why should Larry be the only No. 10 inmate who chases foxes? 2) Learn from that feline’s fortitude. Larry Would not be trucking to Liberals on Lords reform.

Läs mer: Premiärminister David Cameron och koalitionsregeringens är splittrad när det gäller reformeringen av House of Lords. Se ledarartikeln The Tories are back i The Spectator samt ”Does the end of Lords reform mean the end of coalition?” av James Forsyth. Önskas mer om Larry? Se då här och här.

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ALLIANSER | En jämförelse mellan småpartier i olika koalitionsregeringar visar på intressanta strategiska vägval.

Småpartierna inom Alliansen har mer eller mindre accepterat att leva i skuggan av Moderaterna. Man hoppas att respektive ansvarsområde inom regeringen skall räcka för valframgångar.

Medan man i Sverige har anammat denna sitta-stilla-i-båten-strategi har Liberal Democrats i Storbritannien valt det diametralt motsatta.

I den konservativa-liberala koalitionen i London är det liberaldemokraterna som är minst. Och precis som småpartierna i Alliansen har man svårt att imponera på väljarna när allt fokus är på premiärminister David Cameron och Tory partiet.

James Forsyth, politsik redaktör på The Spectator, skriver:

Stoking this ill-feeling is the Liberal Democrats’ public negotiating strategy. Nick Clegg’s office has decided that it is imperative they show the public that they are fighting their corner in government, standing up for what they believe in. But to the Tories this is an immature way to do business. They complain that the Liberal Democrats’ megaphone diplomacy forces everyone to take public positions early and makes compromise impossible, turning coalition into a zero-sum game.

The Liberal Democrats are unapologetic about their new approach. For the first time in ages, they are enjoying themselves. It is as though the more they wind up the Tories, the more fun they have. They boast that they are making all the intellectual running on the Budget with their plans to cut taxes for low-paid workers by raising taxes on affluent savers. One senior Liberal Democrat remarks that this ‘might be the tail wagging the dog. But at least somebody is wagging something’.

This pre-Budget briefing is a particular source of Tory irritation. After all the leaks that surrounded last year’s autumn statement, the Tories secured an agreement to limit the number of people able to attend the most important meetings. This has been adhered to. But the Liberal Democrats are, to Downing Street’s fury, still using those known to be close to Clegg to make their Budget case.

Övrigt: Artikeln och tidskriftsomslaget är från The Spectator den 25 februari 2012.

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STRATEGI: Valet i Storbritannien handlar alltmer om folkomröstningen och altmindre om lokalvalen. Åtminstone för premiärminister David Cameron.

Vinner nejsidan är det ett stort slag mot Nick Cleggs Liberal Democrats. Vinner jasidan är det en prestigeförlust för Cameron och de konservativa.

Alla förväntar sig dessutom att Liberaldemokraterna kommer att tappa mycket i lokalvalen. Så här skriver James Forsyth i The Spectator;

Cameron has realised just how vulnerable a yes vote would make him. Last year, his plan was to stay above the fray during the referendum campaign. Back then, the Tory leadership seemed positively relaxed about the result. Donors were told that they should give to the party rather than the No campaign.

But by February, Cameron had changed course. He told Conservative Campaign Headquarters to give all possible support to the No campaign. He personally raised money for the cause, agreed to the No campaign’s targeting of Nick Clegg and made the Conservatives’ local election campaigns subordinate to the AV battle. One senior Central Office source says that ‘no one at CCHQ cares about the local elections. It is all about AV.’

Cameron, far from remaining above the fray, has been the most active of the three party leaders, making regular and effective speeches denouncing AV.

För Labour och Ed Miliband har folkomröstningen förvandlats till en vinn-vinn situation. Hur det än går drabbar det primärt den konservativa-liberala regeringskoalitionen.

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