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How Eastleigh will show Labour is working

Politics offers few greater pleasures than watching a by-election candidate self-immolate. Not a day goes by without Maria Hutchings, the Conservative party’s prospective MP for Eastleigh (so plainly hating the whole thing), tossing another match on the pyre of her electoral credibility. But beyond the enjoyable barbarism of democracy, an important question is emerging from

Have the Tories lost Eastleigh?

Monday morning. Grant Shapps, the enthusiastic Tory party chairman, is sitting in a people-carrier, putting the final touches to a scathing press release attacking his Cabinet colleague, the Deputy Prime Minister. Press release dispatched, Shapps gets out of the car and embraces his candidate, Maria Hutchings, and the pair set off to canvass. On this

David Cameron’s sex problem

This week David Cameron lectured a business audience in India on how far Britain has yet to go in getting women into the boardroom. ‘My wife likes to say,’ he said, ‘that if you don’t have women in 50 per cent of the top positions you are not missing out on 50 per cent of

Pining for the Brecon Beacons

Pommies, in Australia, are famous for what the Aussies call ‘whinging’. Whether this is born of character or homesickness is debatable but, in the past, I have gone out of my way to resist the affliction. Returning to England this winter, however, my resolve was undone and I’ve been ‘whinging’ for Britain ever since. My

Laws, laws everywhere and not a drop of common sense

It might sound like an Ealing comedy. But it is not funny. It illustrates the fact that law-making in Britain has lost all contact with common sense. The town of Deal in Kent has a heraldic crest. Some local vigilante has pointed out that since the grant of arms was made, the local government boundaries

Free riding foreigners: the next NHS scandal

A fundamental and enduring principle of the NHS is that it is ‘free at the point of use’. All major political parties subscribe to this mantra and none dare challenge it. Herein lies the problem. The consequence of such altruism — all at the UK taxpayer’s expense — is health tourism and abuse of the

Investment: Will bonds crash as shares rise?

Tim Price: In a normal market, maybe. But not in this one UK base rate squats at 0.5 per cent, its lowest level in history — or since the formation of the Bank of England in 1694, which is much the same thing. With sporadic signs of inflation and patchy evidence of recovery, plus a new

Travel: Notes from a boom town

Why hasn’t Morocco had an Arab Spring? On the one hand, history; on the other, the vision of the present king, Mohammed VI. Throughout the colonial era, when France and Spain each had a slice of the country, Morocco retained its identity, its cities, its culture and its monarchy — which stretches back for centuries,

‘Morocco is a diabetic’s nightmare’

Fleeing streets of slush, we touch down in a north African spring, where we are driven through the desert scrub outside Marrakech, passing dusty ochre expanses filled with old plastic containers and half-built hotels and the odd donkey before turning down a track which runs alongside a walled garden. Tantalising green fronds poke above the