With some talking of an 'informal alliance' between David Cameron and Tony Blair I wrote this post for Liberal Conspiracy where I asked what was in such an 'alliance' for Blair and Cameron.
As the above picture indicates, there have been other unlikely 'allies' in the recent past!Read More
Whenever Tony Blair returns to Britain and is interviewed by journalists the blogosphere and Twitter explode with fury, vengeance and vituperation: it’s like Middlesbrough on a Friday night.
The former Prime Minister has recently come back to the UK to publicise the publication of the paperback version of his autobiography. This is a fascinating document – if you want to understand Blair’s perspective then it is a must-read.
When it comes to Blair, however, empathy is in short supply. Reaction to his latest visit has been predictable. Those who think of themselves as being on the left condemn Blair for his role in the Iraq War; others, some of whom might also think of themselves as being on the left – but a very different kind of left – counter by pointing out his sheer political ‘class’.Read More
According to political journalists Ed Miliband is in a crisis. In the political equivalent of a cop movie cliche he has until the next Labour conference to fix things – or else. Labour has no direction, its poll ratings are poor and all because Miliband’s leadership credentials have got lost in the post. Labour elected the wrong Miliband and brother David is hovering in the wings impatiently waiting to take centre stage.
There’s another school of thought that points to the fact that there’s new book out on Ed and journalists are just looking for a story. That Ed beat David for the leadership fascinates political editors looking for a narrative that will beguile punters who have no interest in politics but love soap opera. There are also numerous Blairite Ultras in the party and in the press – as well as Conservatives of course – who want to cause trouble for Ed no matter how well he might be doing.Read More
The Sky News presenter Kay Burley wrote that rare thing, a 'chick-lit' novel about politics.
Even Louise Mensch who churned out such novels before becoming a Conservative MP in 2010 failed to put politics into any of her stories.
Here I look at the novel in relation to other novels by women about politics.Read More
While Ed Miliband came out in favour of the Alternative Vote in the run up to the May 2011 referendum, many in his own party opposed reform.
In this post for History and Politics, I look at Labour's mixed record on electoral reform.Read More
Winifred Holtby’s South Riding (1936) was that rare literary beast, a novel about, as the author put it, ‘the drama of English local government’; she dedicated it to her mother, Alderman Mrs. Holtby. Unfortunately, its recent television adaptation – which finished this Sunday – turned Holtby’s novel into something far more conventional and much less interesting.
South Riding was about more than local government, including feminism, the battle between progress and tradition, the transforming power of education – and a doomed romance. But Holtby’s main intention, as I pointed out in this article, was to show readers what local government – and politics more broadly – could do in the messy, troubled world in which they lived.Read More
During research for my forthcoming book A State of Play on how UK politics has been depicted on the stage, page and screen I have come across plenty of Top Ten lists compiled by bloggers like Iain Dale that rank the best television political comedies.
The popularity of these lists shows the scale of interest in the subject. But for understandable generational reasons many compilers are unaware of comedies broadcast before Yes, Minister in 1980.Read More