Politics:  Which party will win the anti-politics vote?

14 April 2012

One might think that the Cameroons would be desperate about a poll showing their leader’s personal approval rating to be the lowest it has ever been. But the Prime Minister’s… Read more

Politics: How Boris could rescue Dave

7 April 2012

Downing Street is, in the words of one senior aide, in a mood of ‘sober reflection’ about how and why so many things have gone wrong in the past fortnight.… Read more

Politics: The cost of giving

31 March 2012

David Cameron was in a foul mood on Monday night. ‘Cash for Cameron’, the scandal about a Tory treasurer trying to lure donors with the prospect of dinner in the… Read more

Politics: Osborne goes for growth

24 March 2012

This Budget was a reminder that political tactics alone are not enough to explain George Osborne’s actions. The most striking thing about it was the political risks that it took… Read more


Siege mentality

24 March 2012
The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin Masha Gessen

Granta, pp.320, 20

The Strongman: Vladimir Putin and the Struggle for Russia Angus Roxburgh

I.B. Tauris, pp.352, 20

The mirrored sunglasses worn by Putin on the cover of Angus Roxburgh’s The Strongman give the Russian president the look of a crude mafia boss, while the half-face photo on… Read more

Politics: Taking back the cities

17 March 2012

When the Prime Minister’s chief adviser, Steve Hilton, quits Downing Street in May, he’ll leave behind what he believes to be a mechanism to solve the Conservatives’ biggest electoral problem,… Read more

Politics: A struggle for the Tory soul

10 March 2012

Walking back to the Palace of Westminster the other day, I bumped into a new Tory MP. He was eager to tell me what the Chancellor should do in the… Read more

Politics: The Liberal Democrats hold the key to boundary reform – and therefore the next election

3 March 2012

The Cameroons believe they have come up with a policy that will deliver at least 20 more Tory seats at the next election. No. 10 is, understandably, determined to get… Read more

Politics: At last, we can have it both ways on Europe

25 February 2012

In all the controversy about the eurozone and Greece, it is easy to ignore one simple fact: that the bailouts and succession of crisis summits are creating an unstoppable momentum… Read more

Politics: Britain’s new gang of four

18 February 2012

We have a new system of rule in Britain: Quad government. The coalition has not, as is often claimed, restored Cabinet government after 30 years of personality-charged premierships. But the… Read more

Politics: Cameron cannot escape a verdict on Strasbourg

11 February 2012

‘I don’t really worry about David and the European Court of Human Rights,’ one right-wing member of the then shadow cabinet told me months before the last election. After a… Read more

Politics: Parliament’s power surge

4 February 2012

Bob Diamond, the chief executive of Barclays bank, is not a man inclined to bend to the public mood. ‘There was a period of remorse and apology for banks,’ he… Read more

Politics: Why a double dip won’t save Ed Miliband

28 January 2012

It wasn’t meant to be this way. The Tories used to joke that after a year and a half in office they would be the most unpopular government in history.… Read more

Politics: Is Britain ready for an optimistic Prime Minister?

21 January 2012

David Cameron is a sunny-side-up politician. At his first party conference as leader, he declared, ‘Let optimism beat pessimism. Let sunshine win the day.’ This attitude infused his approach to… Read more

Spirit of place

21 January 2012
Cairo: My City, Our Revolution Ahdaf Soueif

Bloomsbury, pp.202, 14.99

There are two ways of viewing the changes sweeping through the Arab world in general and Cairo in particular. There is the significance of individual events, such as the moment… Read more

Politics: Alex Salmond’s three-card trick

14 January 2012

Not since 1745 has the union been in such danger. It now seems certain that there’ll either be a referendum on Scotland leaving the union in 2014 or that Westminster… Read more

Politics: Who will speak for the middle 98 per cent?

7 January 2012

The year has begun with the British political class obsessing about the government’s new housing benefit cap. The cap is a sensible move to make sure that no one can… Read more

Politics: Can the coalition survive a good year for the Tories?

31 December 2011

Westminster used to think that 2012 would be the year that the ‘feel-good factor’ returned. Back in May 2010, all three parties expected the economic mood to lift. Combine that… Read more


Crusader on the attack

31 December 2011
John Bright: Statesman, Orator, Agitator Bill Cash

I.B. Tauris, pp.328, 25

Why have we forgotten John Bright? In his day he was a massive political celebrity. He could command audiences of 150,000, delivering thrilling impromptu speeches night after night. Perhaps, as… Read more

Politics: Cameron is at his best when he is boldest

17 December 2011

David Cameron must sometimes wonder if the gods are against his modernising project. Events have forced him back on to the traditional Tory territory of Europe and the economy. This… Read more

Politics: Whitehall’s own Scottish nationalist

10 December 2011

The notion of Scotland being reoriented as a ‘Scandinavian’ country, at the expense of links with England, the Commonwealth and Europe, is odd enough; but stranger still is the revelation… Read more

Politics: Osborne’s Autumn Statement was about creating more Tories

3 December 2011

It was political jujitsu. The coalition turned the public sector unions’ strike back against them. When the unions first decided to stage a walk-out the day after the government’s Autumn… Read more

Politics: When it comes to the crunch, Cameron will choose his party over Europe

26 November 2011

Downing Street’s negotiating team returned from Berlin last Friday afternoon in good spirits. Angela Merkel had accepted that Britain deserved concessions as part of Germany’s plan for a new European… Read more

Politics: Recovery begins at home

19 November 2011

There’s a pattern emerging to George Osborne’s autumn. He gives a big domestic set piece speech on growth and then immediately leaves the country for a meeting of European finance… Read more

Politics: Miliband pitches his tent with the protestors  

12 November 2011

During the Depression, tent cities sprung up across America. Today, in the second great contraction, they are appearing in the financial centres of the western world. But there is a… Read more