The Conservative Party has recently won considerable publicity by renewing a pledge to allow workers' co-operatives to own and run public services.In so doing, the party has been accused of 'stealing political clothes that will never fit them'. Co-operatives, it is alleged, are an intrinsically left-wing concept and will never be natural Conservative terrain - despite claims to the contrary by Jesse Norman, founder of the Conservative Co-operative Movement, and Phillip Blond, the 'Red Tory'.
Friday, 26 February 2010
Saturday, 20 February 2010
The MPs’ expenses ‘scandal’ of 2009 created an unprecedented moral panic about the shortcomings of our political representatives. However, while some MPs had clearly taken advantage of a flawed claims system, the public’s reaction owed its origins to a wider mistrust of how we are governed.
Tuesday, 16 February 2010
One story at the forthcoming general election will be the performance of the far right, specifically the BNP. Following gains in local elections, the Greater London Assembly (GLA) and the European elections, all eyes will focus on Barking where the not-so-charismatic BNP leader Nick Griffin will attempt to achieve something hitherto unknown on the British far right: representation in the House of Commons.
Why does a huge image of David Cameron dominate the Conservative's new election poster? Is it because, with his shirt-unbuttoned, this Man of Action is telling us that he personally will crack the deficit problem? Or is this just another example of Cameron aping the former Labour leader Tony Blair, another instance in which he wants to be the heir to Blair and continue his supposedly presidential style of politics? Or is this style of leadership marketing part of a longer, political tradition?
Tuesday, 9 February 2010
We’ve been running a project, at Nottingham, looking at backbench dissent for the last seven years. Late last year, it revealed that Labour MPs were on course to be the most rebellious group of parliamentarians in the post-war era (anyone who can’t face the full report can read this summary, from Progress). And, in January, we showed how the Conservatives were much less likely to vote against government legislation than people thought (again, anyone who doesn’t want to read the report can read its coverage in the Times or on ConservativeHome). And occasionally, it’s even benefitted charities, when people are prepared to bet their opinions against our evidence.
If journalism is the first draft of history the biopic is now a close second, having become the staple output of many television drama departments. Recently figures as diverse as the Queen, Margaret Thatcher and Winnie Mandela have been given the treatment.
Thursday, 4 February 2010
Nobody likes the know-all who says ‘I told you so’ but in my book The Labour Party (2003) I really did write (on page 53 if you want to look) that Labour would change the electoral system for MPs only ‘when it was absolutely necessary’ to sustain the party in power.
So it has proved.