Naming the likely winners and losers in a Gordon Brown government has become a favourite parlour game among the political class. Enthusiastic supporters of Tony Blair’s agenda are routinely tipped for a long spell in political Siberia. Anyone with a Scottish accent or an aptitude for statistics is tipped for the top. Brownite MPs have found themselves being asked what the future holds — as if they were keepers of a great secret.
In an exclusive conference interview with Matthew d’Ancona, the Home Secretary sets out his manifesto for the party’s future once Tony Blair has gone‘The opportunity is that every end marks a beginning,’ John Reid says. ‘That is the nature of life, and it’s the nature of politics, and therefore we have an opportunity here to begin to shape an agenda for the next decade. People throw around this word “renewal” all the time.
Piers Paul Read says that the controversial nature of the Pope’s address has been missed in the furore over Muslim sensitivities: he was daring to equate Europe and ChristendomWhen he delivered his lecture on ‘Faith, Reason and the University’ in Regensburg last week, Pope Benedict XVI said some provocative and contentious things. His comment on Islam was only one of them, and was by no means the most significant; but quoting the judgment of the Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus that certain aspects of Islam were ‘evil and inhuman’ was the most arresting and has caused a worldwide furore.
Rod Liddle says that we should leave teaching to the professionals, however much they annoy us, and stop pretending that children benefit from learning obscure languages or how to paint like Cézanne at homeI think it was the bit about Cézanne which really got to me. It came early on in last week’s article. Perhaps you read it; my colleague James Bartholomew was explaining how he had intended to tutor his daughter Alex, now that he had taken the liberating decision to remove her from school because the teachers and everybody else were useless.
It was fun for David Cameron while it lasted but the Conservative party’s uneasy moratorium on talking about tax cuts is about to come to an abrupt end. The Tory Tax Reform Commission, launched by his predecessor Michael Howard, will shortly deliver its findings — and the prospect is causing panic in the party’s Victoria Street headquarters. Far from being the modest simplification of the tax code that the Cameroons had hoped for, I have learnt from senior sources that the current draft report includes a blueprint worth up to £19.