Smile and shoeshine get you only so far in any business, says Irwin Stelzer. But Labour is still vulnerable if the Tory leader produces solid conservative policies David Cameron is confused. Understandably. For two reasons. First, those who are urging him to abandon policy-lite in favour of more heft are the very same who favour policies that would lead to disaster at the polls. The result is confusion between the need to reject the specific policies they propose, and the need to offer voters something more than a smile and shoeshine, to borrow from Arthur Miller.
William Shawcross denounces those who say we must stand firm in Afghanistan but flee the country we liberated from Saddam Hussein. The US ‘surge’ is beginning to work, and Gordon Brown must grasp that the war against Islamism is indivisibleThe new comfort zone for many politicians and leader-writers appears to be the notion that if Britain withdraws its troops from Iraq and sends all the freed-up forces to Afghanistan, then all will be well.
It is time someone spoke out against the vicious discrimination casually meted out to blonde women in all areas of life. Attractive blonde women are especially liable to be subject to open and unapologetic abuse in the most ordinary of circumstances. Somehow, in this dark corner where the exposing floodlight of feminism has yet to shine, it is still acceptable to make sexist ‘jokes’ and it is still acceptable to state that a person’s appearance makes them unsuitable for the job.
Enlisting the help of ‘moderate’ Muslims is pointlessFunny the difference a few weeks can make. When I went away for an extended holiday, the subtle but unmistakable consensus on the threat to life and limb was more or less as it had been for some years: that jihadists are rotten fellows, but only small in number when compared with the ‘vast majority’ of ‘moderate Muslims’ who are, of course, not culpable.
I am presently mulling over the idea of taking the next three years off from this journalism lark and spending the time instead on ‘paternity leave’. This is a new proposal by some Tory think tank so I am assuming that a) Cameron will win the next election and b) adopt the idea and c) have the grace to backdate it to the birth of my daughter, Emmeline, two years ago. Better still, he could backdate it to cover the birth of my two sons as well, thus giving me a total of nine years’ paid leave, which should comfortably see me through until the old liver packs up.
It is 11 p.m. on Saturday night and I am way out of my comfort zone. With my husband, two young children and dog, I have spent the day with 1,300 climate campaigners, none of whom I knew before, in a sodden field near Heathrow’s second runway. Now the five of us are squeezed into a three-man tent, rain seeping through the sides, listening to the roar of planes taking off and landing. It’s not exactly summer camp.