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James Forsyth

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Politics: The rose garden romance is well and truly over

7 May 2011

A little under a year ago, David Cameron held a party at Downing Street to thank all of those who had helped the Tory general election campaign. A little under… Read more

Go out and govern New South Wales

23 April 2011
Running the Show: Governors of the British Empire Stephanie Williams

Viking, pp.493, 20

‘In the mists and damp of the Scottish Highlands, 61-year-old Sir Bartle Frere was writing a letter. ‘In the mists and damp of the Scottish Highlands, 61-year-old Sir Bartle Frere… Read more

Politics: This referendum will destroy a party leader. But which one?

23 April 2011

The next general election may seem a long way away. The next general election may seem a long way away. But for all three parties, the run-up to the local… Read more

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Politics: Just tiffs – or is the coalition headed for divorce?

16 April 2011

When one half of a couple threatens to walk out if he doesn’t get his way and the other responds by threatening to call in the lawyers, it’s obvious that… Read more

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Politics: Time for Cameron to do some pruning

9 April 2011

When spring arrives in England, the Prime Minister likes to roll up his sleeves and do a spot of gardening at his constituency home. When spring arrives in England, the… Read more

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Politics: The Lib Dems are sensing that it’s time to get hostile

2 April 2011

There are few things that irritate an MP in the chamber of the House of Commons more than the sight of all the journalists in the press gallery walking out… Read more

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Politics: Can Osborne make Britain right again?

26 March 2011

George Osborne is using his budgets not only to get the economy moving but to make Britain a centre-right country once more. George Osborne is using his budgets not only… Read more

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Politics: Is Cameron having a Jimmy Carter moment?

12 March 2011

The government is struggling to retain its reputation for competence. The government is struggling to retain its reputation for competence. Ministerial ineptitude has become a dangerously large part of the… Read more

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Politics: Cameron is good in a crisis – but bad at avoiding them

5 March 2011

David Cameron was two years old when Muammar Muhammad al-Gaddafi seized power in Libya. David Cameron was two years old when Muammar Muhammad al-Gaddafi seized power in Libya. Forty-one years… Read more

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Politics: Europe poisons the lot of the minister

26 February 2011

Have the Tories rediscovered the Right instincts? If power without responsibility has been the prerogative of the harlot throughout the ages, then the lot of a government minister can seem… Read more

Politics: Cameron is betting it all on BS

19 February 2011

Those who hoped they had heard the last of ‘the big society’ should look away now. Those who hoped they had heard the last of ‘the big society’ should look… Read more

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Tibet should not despair

12 February 2011
Tragedy In Crimson Tim Johnson

Perseus, pp.320, 18.99

Surely no political process in the modern world is more shrouded in mystery than the way the Chinese select a new supreme leader — except perhaps the occult divination practised… Read more

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Politics: Does Cameron actually oppose AV? He should

12 February 2011

Referendums are a very un-British device. Referendums are a very un-British device. They are, as Clement Attlee said, ‘alien to all our traditions’ of parliamentary democracy. Yet in 12 weeks’… Read more

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Politics: In times such as these, a government needs a proper strategic foreign policy

5 February 2011

The coalition’s approach to foreign policy is not to have a foreign policy. The coalition’s approach to foreign policy is not to have a foreign policy. There is no Cameron… Read more

Palace intrigue

29 January 2011
The Alastair Campbell Diaries, Vol 2: Power and the People Alastair Campbell

Hutchinson, pp.320, 25

Plunging into the second volume of Alastair Campbell’s diaries is like opening a Samuel Richardson novel. Plunging into the second volume of Alastair Campbell’s diaries is like opening a Samuel… Read more

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Politics: Westminster just isn’t built for coalitions

15 January 2011

The Liberal Democrats’ current problems can be traced back to 28 October 1943. The Liberal Democrats’ current problems can be traced back to 28 October 1943. On that day, the… Read more

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Politics: From Red Ed to Steady Eddie

8 January 2011

Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband are locked in a political duel, and only one of them can survive. Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband are locked in a political duel, and… Read more

Politics: Get ready for a year of upheavals

1 January 2011

This will be the year of the political identity crisis. This will be the year of the political identity crisis. As we enter 2011, all three major parties are having… Read more

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Politics: Nick Clegg must reform his party for the sake of democracy – and survival

11 December 2010

Nick Clegg’s tuition fees nightmare was never going to be over after the Commons vote. Nick Clegg’s tuition fees nightmare was never going to be over after the Commons vote.… Read more

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Politics: The right way to help Ireland

27 November 2010

Why is Britain committing £7 billion to a bailout which will trap Ireland in its present discontents? Would you trust an economic forecaster who had recently said this? The euro has done… Read more

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Politics: Miliband’s Labour is in danger of becoming invisible

20 November 2010

It is hard not to feel sorry for the ex-Cabinet ministers who have stayed on the Labour front bench. It is hard not to feel sorry for the ex-Cabinet ministers… Read more

A going-away present

13 November 2010
Parting Shots: The Undiplomatic Final Words of Our Departing Ambassadors edited by Matthew Parris and Andrew Bryson

Penguin/Viking, pp.400, 16.99

A great time ago when the world was young there was a pleasant and harmless custom by which a British ambassador when leaving his post could sit down and write… Read more

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Politics: What Dubya taught Dave

13 November 2010

When you think of George W. Bush, ‘philosophical influence’ isn’t the first phrase that springs to mind. When you think of George W. Bush, ‘philosophical influence’ isn’t the first phrase… Read more

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Let councils take the decisions – and the blame

6 November 2010

Let councils take the decisions – and the blame If there’s something strange in your neighbourhood, the coalition wants you to call ‘bureaucracy busters’. This may sound like an irritating… Read more

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Politics: The coalition gets away with a sneaky power grab

30 October 2010

On Monday night, David Cameron and Nick Clegg succumbed to the temptations of power. On Monday night, David Cameron and Nick Clegg succumbed to the temptations of power. They went… Read more