It will be, for Gordon Brown, a sweet irony. For years he has longed to address Labour conference as its leader. Now, when it is finally his turn, he can no longer do so — at least not in the way that he had foreseen. His mission is to stand at the podium in Bournemouth as a national leader, a statesman who has transcended tribalism and soars above party political divides. He no longer wants to be simply chieftain of the tribe gathered in front of him but a kind of father figure encompassing Labour, Tory and everyone else.
Not even his severest critics doubt Gordon Brown’s intelligence. They might object to the causes in which it has been enlisted, but they knew that it is both formidable and restless. Nor do the Prime Minister’s critics doubt that he has a coherent vision of where he wants to take Great Britain, what sort of society he would like to create (the assumption being that it is in his power to do just that).
An interview with Mark Penn, Hillary Clinton’s chief strategistIf Hillary Clinton is sworn in as 44th President of the United States in January 2009, the man sitting opposite me in the bar of the Dorchester will become one of the most powerful people in the world. Mark Penn, pollster extraordinaire, adviser to Tony Blair in the 2005 election, and legendary number-cruncher to Bill Clinton is now chief strategist to the Democrat frontrunner and, it is widely believed, Hillary’s alter ego, the man she calls at 7 a.
It’s Sunday evening, and John Hutton has just come back from one of his regular weekend in Ypres. The Secretary of State for Business and Enterprise is an enthusiastic first world war amateur historian and is currently writing a play based on one of the stories he’s unearthed. It’s about John Elkington, a British colonel who surrendered without permission in the Somme in chaotic circumstances. He was court-marshalled and cashiered, but was so determined to keep fighting he joined the French Foreign Legion.
‘If someone in the UK is calling for a referendum, that is not because the text we have in front of us is a Constitution.’ Not my words. They belong to Giuliano Amato, vice chairman of the Convention that drafted the old Constitutional Treaty.Last week in the Spectator the government was accused of being dishonest regarding the European Reform Treaty (‘Vote for honesty’, 15 September). We are not. We did indeed promise a referendum on the old Constitutional Treaty.
Less a rage against the dying of the light, more a prolonged, high-pitched whine of complaint and self-justification, the sound of a swarm of badly earthed strimmers, heard from a distance on an early autumn morning. The Commission for Racial Equality has issued its valedictory press release before its duties are acquired by the Commission for Equality and Human Rights next month. The new organisation, headed by Trevor Phillips, will co-ordinate all manner of whining on behalf of absolutely anybody who considers him- or herself to be oppressed and victimised and discriminated against by the vindictive white male hegemony.
As a study published the other day showed, the equality gap is far from sewn up. Despite the fact that women managers climb the career ladder faster than men and reach positions of responsibility five years earlier than their male counterparts, they are still paid less ...an average of 12 per cent less, rising to 23 per cent at senior level.Are you still there? Because if I were you I would have wandered off by now, perhaps to tidy my sock drawer, or empty the bins — or perform any number of more fascinating tasks; anything apart from listening to yet another whingeing career woman bleating on about the unfairness of it all.