Posts Tagged ‘Tory’

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.

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

EU | Catherine Mayer har skrivit en intressant artikel i Time om David Camerons vånda över Storbritanniens medlemskap i EU.

Time (Europa upplagan) 3 juni 2013

Mayer Skriver:

Cameron says on Europe he’s ”been pretty consistent. Hardheaded, practical engagement-not [a] starry-eyed dreamer about the European Union, but recognizing it is in Britain’s interest to get the best out of this organization.” Euroskeptic Tories have cause to disagree. They remember the smooth young orator who gave a bravura speech at the party’s 2005 annual convention. Cameron won the Tory leadership in no small part because of his undertaking to withdraw the Conservative Party from the EPP, the grouping of moderate, center-right parties in the European Parliament, the EU’s legislative arm. That decision caused him problems later, when he led the Tories out of EPP in 2009, straining relations with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other EPP members just when he needed a close working relationship with them.


Another of his decisions could lead to the downsizing of the United Kingdom itself: a plebiscite next year will allow Scotland to choose wheter to stay in the U.K. In agreeing to that vote, Cameron gambled that Scots will see that their interests lie in remaining part of a union that provides access to a big internal market and more heft and profile in international affairs than a small country could achieve on its own. Now, if only he can persuade his countrymen-and more immediately, his party-to think that way about Europe.

Tidskriftsomslag: Time – europeiska upplagan – den 2 juni 2013.

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

POLITIK | David Cameron måste ta tag i en lång rad problem om han vill att Conservative Party återigen skall bli ett majoritetsparti.

New Statesman 11-17 januari 2013

Ett av de riktigt stora problemen är att man är näst intill utplånade i Skottland. Ävven i norra Englands städer har man stora problem.

Ett exempel är Liverpool. Här hamnade partiets kandidat först på sjunde (!) plats i förra årets borgmästarval.

Förutom Labour och Liberal Democrats gick det även bättre för de grönas kandidat, och för en som definierade sig som ”Trade Unionist and Socialist” samt en liberal och en ”independent”.

David Skelton, deputy director på idéinstitutet Policy Exchange, en think tank till höger, skriver i New Statesman vad förnyarna måste ta itu med om man vill stävja ”dinosaurierna” inom partiet.

Last year, Policy Exchange and YouGov carried out a major polling exercise about what voters want, and there are lessons from it for all the main parties. For the Conservatives, it highlights four (overlapping) ways in which the party needs to do better.

First, they need to do better outside their southern heartland. In the south and the east of England the Tories have nine out of every ten seats. In the Midlands they have about half, and in the north less than a third. In Scotland they hold a single seat.

Second, they need to do better in urban areas. The Tory problem in the north and Midlands is a specifically urban one. There are 80 rural seats in the north and the Midlands. The Conservatives hold 57 of them (or 71 per cent). But there are 124 urban parliamentary seats in cities in the north and Midlands, of which the Conservatives hold just 20 – or 16 per cent.


Third, the Conservatives do badly among ethnic minorities. Fewer than one in eight voters of Pakistani origin voted Tory, while nearly six out of ten voted Labour. Among black voters, fewer than one in ten voted Tory and eight out of ten voted Labour. Brit – ain’s ethnic-minority voters are usually concentrated in urban areas.

Finally, the Conservatives need to do better among ordinary working people. Polls show two-thirds of voters agree that “the Conservative Party looks after the interests of the rich, not ordinary people”. Even among Conservative voters, more than a quarter agree. They are voting for the party despite this problem. (And no, that isn’t because these people think they are rich and that they will benefit.)

Although class differences in voting patterns have declined, there are still large numbers of people who think that the party is “not for people like them”. This is a problem for the party everywhere, but particularly outside the south-east. People in the north are more likely to perceive themselves as working class than people doing the same jobs in the south.

So was Tory modernisation off target? What was the first phase of Tory modernisation? Ask a Westminster journalist and he would talk about hugging huskies, promoting greenery and not wearing shoes.

That’s a misleading stereotype. In reality, efforts to reassure voters about the National Health Service and economic competence were much more important. That first phase of modernisation succeeded far enough to make David Cameron Prime Minister, but not to get him a majority. That is because the most important part of the modernisers’ agenda isn’t done yet.


The modernisers “get” the problem, but efforts to address it have been uneven and too limited. The deficit makes it tougher.

Läs mer: Ledaren ”The Tory modernisers cannot allow the dinosaurs to win”.

Bild: Tidskriftsomslaget är New Statesman den 11-17 januari 2012 (Lägg märke till dinosauriens monokel. Nice touch!)

Read Full Post »

MÅLGRUPPER | När ett parti radikalt förändras finns det alltid en risk att en grupp trogna, ideologiskt övertygade väljare går förlorade.

The Specator december 2012

Efter förlusten till Labour och Tony Blair 1997 påbörjade Conservative Party ett segdraget arbete med att försöka göra sig själva valbara igen i väljarnas ögon.

Och precis som Fredrik Reinfeldt med Moderaterna valde premiärminister David Cameron att distansera sig från vissa väljare och attityder som förknippats med partiet. Båda partierna har gått mot mitten.

Medan Reinfeldt valde att bl.a. markera mot näringslivet som ”särintresse”, valde Cameron att inte låta sig förknippas med något som doftar aristokrati eller godsägare.

Sinnebilden av en sådan konservativ livsstil är den traditionella rävjakten till häst. På grund av ett förbud kan jaktlagen idag bara simulera en sådan jakt med hjälp av ett i förhand utlagt doftspår.  

Påtryckargrupper som Countryside Alliance, som värnar den traditionella livstilen på landet, är idag besvikna på Cameron för att han inte driver på för att få lagen upphävd – en lag som han tidigare sagt sig vara emot. Till och med Blair har i efterhand sagt sig ångra förbudet.

Melissa Kite skriver i The Spectator om besvikelsen bland dessa typiska Toryväljare.

On a perfect winter morning, I mount a dapple grey horse in an icy farmyard a few minutes from the Prime Minister’s country home and prepare to go hunting with the Chipping Norton set. David Cameron’s local hunt, the Heythrop, is meeting just round the corner from where the PM lives, in the Oxfordshire village of Dean, and the Cotswold elite are out in force.


The numbers of pro- and anti-hunt MPs do not stack up well for repeal. But it does not help that no one in government is making the case for hunting, or for any traditional countryside cause for that matter. While Labour is as urban as ever, the Tories are turning away from the shires to try to win suburban votes with policies supporting rural house-building and high-speed rail. Gay marriage is being steamrollered through. Yet no political will apparently exists to support the millions of people like me who regard field sports as integral to their identity. The countryside has been politcally orphaned, and hunting is the most visible sign of it.


Meanwhile, [Cameron’s] modish new-look MPs are in no mood to listen to the countryside. When Tracey Crouch, an A-list candidate, talks about the ‘barbaric sport of hunting’, she speaks for several of the new intake, who, disappointingly enough, seem to have swallowed whole the animal rights lobby’s twisted and ignorant view of what hunting a fox with a pack of hounds really entails, the need for pest control, the risk of wounding when dealing with vermin only with a gun.

Could it be that the values of rural types and urbanites are so now divorced from each other that a reversal of the hunting ban is impossible?

En av tidskriftens krönikörer, Charles Moore, och en av dess tidigare redaktörer, är inne på samma tema i ett senare nummer:

[P]erhaps I am sitting and brooding too much; but it does seem to me that David Cameron is losing rural support at quite a rate and not realising. In this, the failure to repeal the hunting ban is significant. The Conservatives are, in fact, right, not to press for a vote now — because they failed to win the election, they do not have the numbers to carry repeal. But the situation exposes the problem. Pro-hunting people were the mainstay of Tory activism in a great many seats in the last election. It is calculated that 94 currently sitting Conservative MPs were substantially helped by the ‘Vote OK’ campaign that mobilised hunting people. Unless something happens, they will not get that support next time. A patronising and ignorant leader in the Times last week said that ‘the compromise arrived at seems to be working pretty well’. What compromise would that be? People whose livelihood depends on hunting suffer constant surveillance by ill-natured extremists. Men leading tough and often solitary lives on low wages are harassed by a well-funded charity, the RSPCA, which spends enormous sums on prosecutions, but cannot afford to keep thousands of the animals entrusted to its care and puts them down instead. Hunt staff face the threat of prosecution under a law which is shockingly uncertain in its application. Uncompromisingly bad laws should not survive unaltered. Mr Cameron owes it to his supporters to work out a better legal way through this.

Bild: Tidskriftsomslaget är The Spectator den 29 december 2012.

Read Full Post »

VAL | Boris Johnsons seger i Londons borgmästarval var en av få ljuspunkter för premiärminister David Cameron och de konservativa i lokalvalen.

För koalitionspartnern Liberal Democrats blev valet en än större förlust. Daniel Boffey och Toby Helm i The Observer skriver:

Thursday’s local elections and a string of referendums in cities up and down the country, which saw Cameron’s flagship plan for elected mayors rejected, were shocking for both the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats. While the Tories lost 405 seats, the Liberal Democrats had an equally, if not more, disastrous night, shedding more than 300 seats and sinking under a national total of 3,000 for the first time in their history. Boris Johnson’s victory against Ken Livingstone in the race for mayor of London offered some relief to the Conservatives, but Tory celebrations were muted because the contest turned out to be far closer than had been expected.

It is not just the fact that Tories and Lib Dems fared badly themselves that is alarming activists and MPs of both parties – and raising doubts in the minds of many about the electoral effects of being in coalition. It is also that Labour – dismissed by the coalition as moribund and lacking in ideas under Ed Miliband – outperformed everyone’s expectations, most of all its own. ”Labour thrive on bad day for Tories” was yesterday’s front-page headline in the normally Cameron-supporting Times.

As well as the symbolic gain from a Tory-Lib Dem coalition of Birmingham, Britain’s second largest city, Labour made progress in many former Tory strongolds across the south, raising hopes that the ”southern discomfort” that prevented it from forming a government from 1979 until the arrival of Tony Blair is easing again. Exeter and coastal towns such as Great Yarmouth, Southampton and Plymouth were claimed by the supposedly ineffectual Miliband’s party.

In all, Labour added 823 seats, way beyond its most optimistic estimates. In Wales, Labour retook control of 10 councils, including Cardiff, Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Caerphilly, Merthyr Tydfil, Newport and Swansea, recording its best results since local government was reorganised in 1996. And in Scotland it did far better than it expected, holding on to Glasgow city council, where it saw off the SNP, and capturing Edinburgh. London was a blot, but one that Labour passed off on the candidate.

Bild: Grafik från The Observer den 6 maj 2012. (The Guardian publicerar allt material från The Observer på sin hemsida.)

Read Full Post »

LONDON | I dag väljer London borgmästare. Kommer väljarna straffa den sittande borgmästaren för regeringens misstag?

När regeringen nu tappar i opinionen seglar Labour automatiskt upp som ett attraktivt alternativ för väljarna.

Det har därför blivit av yttersta viktig för premiärministern och det konservativa partiet att borgmästaren Boris Johnson inte förlorar mot Ken Livingstone.

Idag avgörs även om man skall införa direkta borgmästarval i tio andra städer. Resultatet av dessa val är av stor vikt för de konservativa.

Direktvalda borgmästarval ses som strategiskt viktigt för partiet om man skall lyckas vinna tillbaka städer och områden utanför sina traditionella kärnområden.

Och skulle Johnson förlora i London (och partiet lokalt) kommer resultatet spilla över på regeringen. En förlust kommer att tolkas som det första tecknet på en kommande valförlust nationellt för partiet och koalitionsregeringen.

Fraser Nelson, redaktör på The Spectator, skriver:

A pile-up of government errors has followed and, now, confirmation that we are in a double-dip recession. Labour is ten percentage points ahead nationally, and a stunning 19 points in London. The election would be a walkover for Labour were it not for Boris’s popularity among non-Tories, and the contempt which so many Labour voters have for Ken. The question in this election is how fast Boris can swim against the anti-Tory tide.


Boris’s aides have watched aghast as the government has muddled its way into disaster after disaster. On Friday, Britain loaned £10 billion to the IMF. This was followed on Monday by headlines about even deeper cuts to government in Britain.


The Mayor matters because he represents a certain strand of Conservatism, unashamed about Tory principles and unafraid of making unpopular arguments. His Toryism is one of tax cuts, standing up for British bankers and defying the European Union when it threatens our prosperity. Boris embodies the rejection of the Blair/Clinton ‘triangulation’ politics, where the least offensive politician is deemed the most successful.

This election was always about more than just London. It is about how we do politics, who fights and who wins. Over the last 20 years, our politics has been reduced into a battle for swing voters in swing seats. This has led our political class in a certain direction, directed by the sat-navs of the opinion polls and focus groups. Boris has defiantly set off in another direction, guided by instinct and brio. And this is why his victory matters so much.

Text och tidskriftsomslaget ovan från The Spectator den 28 april 2012.

Read Full Post »

LONDON | Valkampanjen i London är i full gång. Striden står mellan nuvarande borgmästaren Boris Johnson och utmanaren Ken Livingstone.

Till skillnad från så många andra valkampanjer i Storbritannien (eller i Sverige) står striden mellan två ideologiskt tydliga alternativ. Här handlar det inte bara om att trängas i mitten.

Johnson, mannen med frisyren endast en mor kan älska, är betydligt tydligare i sin konservatism (eller snarare libertarianism) än premiärminister David Cameron. Och Ken Livingston tillhör vänstern inom Labour.

Jemima Khan intervjuade de två kandidaterna för New Statesman.  Här ett utdrag från intervjun med Johnson:

“My kind of Toryism,” he continues, ”is about allowing people to get on and do what they are capable of doing, liberating talent and allowing people to prosper and flourish. What I find maddening about the left and socialists generally is that they are all about trying to restrain people and keep them in their boxes.

“Conservative politics, properly done, is a massive liberating force. The wealth gap in this country hugely opened up under Labour and social mobility froze in the last 20 years. It was during that epoch of Blair and Livingstone and the whole boom in credit that things started to go wrong for this country, and what they forgot about was what was really happening to the bottom 20 per cent.


“I’ll tell you what makes me angry – lefty crap,” he thunders in response. Like? ”Well, like spending £20,000 on a dinner at the Dorchester for Sinn Fein!” Take that, Ken.


“I am the guy who has concentrated on spending their [the taxpayers’] money where it really counts for Londoners,” he says. ”I haven’t been so arrogant as to squander it on things that would bring no benefit to the people of this city at all, like flying off to bloody Havana and shacking up with Fidel Castro for a while. What is the point of that; how does that help Londoners? Show me the jobs that brought to London. The difference between him and me is that he used huge sums of taxpayers’ money for his own self-publicity – he spent £12m on a freesheet he used to shove through people’s letter boxes, proclaiming his achievements.”


“I think it is the big things that I am proud of: reducing the cost of London government and focusing the money where it matters. From that flows everything else – delivering the best car scheme in the world, cutting people’s council tax, giving them a 24-hour Freedom Pass.

“We’ve greatly reduced crime, and it hasn’t been easy because it has been a tough period to be mayor. We have still got crime down by 10 per cent; the murder rate is down by about 25 per cent, and you can’t fudge that – so, great credit to the Met and to law enforcement generally. Bus crime is massively down, by 30 per cent; people were getting really hassled on the Tube. We have got a 40 per cent reduction in delays in my four years compared to the previous four years. I am proud of this.”

Läs mer: ”The world is run by monsters” är Khans intervju med Livingstone. Se även ”Ken vs Boris: my verdict”, Boris: quick-fire questions” och “Ken: quick-fire questions”. (Tidskriftsomslaget och alla artiklar är från New Statesman den 13 februari 2012.)

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »