James Forsyth

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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

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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

The Price of Civilization by Jeffrey Sachs

29 October 2011
The Price of Civilization Jeffrey Sachs

The Bodley Head, pp.322, 20

Half a century ago J.K. Galbraith’s The Affluent Society changed the political consciousness of a generation in the English- speaking world and beyond. It vividly re-established in the minds of… Read more

Politics: Nick Clegg is in better political shape than anyone would have guessed

17 September 2011

It is too early to call him the comeback kid of British politics, but Nick Clegg enters the party conference season in better shape than anyone expected him to be… Read more

Politics: Can the coalition survive the crises ahead?

10 September 2011

Can the coalition survive the crises ahead? For something cobbled together by eight sleep-deprived men over four days, the coalition agreement has proved remarkably durable. Even now, with relations between… Read more

Michael Gove’s free schools are a triumph – but can they keep up with the baby boom?

3 September 2011

When Michael Gove first proposed ‘free schools’ four years ago, he could have been written off as another Tory daydreamer. The idea of creating an education market, with independent state… Read more

Politics: Will Gaddafi’s fall go to Cameron’s head?

27 August 2011

David Cameron’s public utterances often appear to have been crafted to make him sound as much like Tony Blair as possible. David Cameron’s public utterances often appear to have been… Read more

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Politics: Euroscepticism isn’t just for Tories any more

13 August 2011

When Ed Balls lists the greatest accomplishments of his career, he does so with a wonderful lack of modesty. He may have been a mere Treasury adviser when Labour came… Read more

Politics: An economy killed with kindness

6 August 2011

About ten thousand years ago, man learned to control fire. That was one of the most important events in pre-history: a crucial part of the transition from a humanoid past… Read more

Politics: Ed Miliband has given himself a chance to be heard, but he won’t take it

30 July 2011

After the carnival barking of the phone-hacking saga, the long break beckons for Parliament. For the party leaders, though, there will be little rest. Against the advice of their entourages,… Read more

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Politics: The people Cameron should be shmoozing

23 July 2011

David Cameron has just passed through his first full-blown crisis as Prime Minister. He may have been a bit-part player in this Murdoch drama, but he has remarked to those… Read more

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Bookends: Scourge of New Labour

9 July 2011

Like all politicians, Bob Marshall-Andrews is fond of quoting himself, and Off Message (Profile Books, £16.99) includes a generous selection of his speeches and articles on such topics as Tony… Read more

Politics: ‘Best in Europe’ is no longer good enough

2 July 2011

If there’s one phrase that infuriates Tory radicals more than any other, it’s ‘We’re the best in Europe at …’. If there’s one phrase that infuriates Tory radicals more than… Read more