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WEB EXCLUSIVE: Inside the Chilcot Inquiry

Alastair Campbell emerged from that kind of shining silver limo more accustomed to transporting the likes of Jordan and Paris Hilton than former directors of communications. He got their entourage too: a vicious ‘pap’ scrum so tight that The Chilcot Inqury’s latest star witness required the assistance of four burly coppers to get to the

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Cameron’s big idea is simple: he doesn’t need one

The Tories have opened the new year in a blaze of speeches and promises. But what does it all add up to? Nothing, says James Forsyth — and that’s deliberate. There will never be such a thing as Cameronism Once more, search parties are being sent out to look for David Cameron’s big idea. They

Little platoons online

Cameron’s ‘big idea’ is for a ‘Post-Bureaucratic Age’ enabled by the internet. Will it work? Peter Hoskin and Neil O’Brien aren’t sure The future: it’s all about computers. Anyone could tell you that. But not everyone gets quite as evangelical about it as David Cameron. Put the Conservative leader in a room full of tech-heads,

Cameron is our Disraeli

There is a certain type of bovine political intelligence which hates David Cameron. It cannot forgive the Tory leader his popularity, his beautiful wife, his upper-middle-class ease —  and above all his astonishing success in rebuilding the Conservative party. The core criticism works like this: David Cameron is an empty and opportunistic former PR executive,

Charlie Whelan’s war

Gordon Brown’s chief fixer is ensconced in Unite, the increasingly militant union. Iain Martin asks if the comrades can be persuaded to hold back a wave of strikes Where is Charlie Whelan these days? What’s the old rascal up to? The trade union fixer, spin-doctoring confidant and close friend of the Prime Minister was on

There’s something rotten in the state of Russia

There is a chilling sequence in Tsar, Pavel Lungin’s dark and brilliant new film about Ivan the Terrible. Ivan, played by the mercurial rock musician Pyotr Mamonov, steps out of his private chapel wild-eyed after a long session of wheedling and bargaining with his God. The Tsar walks, lost in thought, through a series of

Bullseye Britain

It’s been a depressing few months, hasn’t it? The papers are full of stories about British decline. In such trying times it’s a comfort to turn to an activity in which Britain still rules. I speak, of course, of darts. Most of the world’s greatest games were made and built in Britain but in football

The death of ‘shabby chic’

After more than 200 years, a uniquely British taste is on the way out. Shabby chic has been vacuumed, whitewashed and dry-cleaned out of existence. Frayed shirt collars, egg yolk on the tie, soup stain on the crotch, roses rambling out of control over the crumbling terrace flagstones, walls cluttered with pictures, tables covered with