London illustrates what a bold, Conservative administration can do
I’m a one-nation Tory
He believes in the capacity of human ingenuity
Dave, he says, will be seen in a completely different light
Benedict Brogan interview with Boris
Boris Johnson was at work on Wednesday when Gordon Brown crashed into the northern rock that is Gillian Duffy. As a connoisseur of forced apologies – Michael Howard once sent him to Liverpool to grovel for criticising the city’s “mawkish sentimentality” – the Mayor of London is forgiving. “If we judged everybody by the stupid, unguarded things they blurt out to their nearest and dearest, then we wouldn’t ever get anywhere.”
Apart from the obvious lesson about never allowing anyone near you with a clip-on microphone, he is more interested in the subtext of the blunder than the mechanics. “The thing I thought was revealing, and went to the way he runs things, was the instant blaming of Sue Nye [Mr Brown’s long-serving sidekick whom he held responsible for introducing him to Mrs Duffy]. It’s always someone’s fault and the world is always organised by a hidden hand to conspire against him. It’s a slightly paranoid view of the universe. But it’s fundamentally insignificant. What matters is his stewardship of the country and the complete mess that he has made.”
Which is why Boris, as he is known from Bromley to Beijing, is more interested in the crisis engulfing Greece and the ramifications for Europe’s financial capital. We are in his office to mark his second anniversary as mayor, which falls tomorrow. It is no surprise that a classicist who is also a big fan of the City is keeping a worried eye on the drama unfolding in Athens. He fears we could be next if we end up with an indecisive result next week. “If we get things wrong next Thursday, this could be something that we have to face in this country. That’s why I worry about a hung parliament. If all we get is drift and indecision, then we will get the same response we have seen in Greece.”
Continue reading Boris’s Second Anniversary as Mayor on 1st May
The plan was to boost Clegg, take the gilt off the Cameron gingerbread, and wreck Tory hopes of achieving a majority government
what you will never succeed in doing, either in Britain or in any other political environment, is creating three-party politics
But look at what is happening to Labour! Look at the great humming, purring spin machine that propelled the People's Party to three election victories and humiliated a succession of Tory leaders. They are doing worse than under Kinnock. They are down to levels not seen since M Foot appeared in his donkey jacket; and with H Harman's teeth locked in Mandy's throat we are beginning to detect the gurgling sound of meltdown.
Continue reading Election Fever and Cleggmania
The British began to make the big subconscious assumption that there would be a change of government in 2010
I am certain that the Tories will win
What crouton of substance did Nick Clegg offer last Thursday?
It must have been a couple of years ago that I was having dinner with the great Max Hastings, former editor of this paper, and he was being so gloomy about Conservative prospects that I scented a financial opportunity. Tell you what, I said, let's have a bet. A thousand pounds says the Tories will win the next election. How about that?
Continue reading Nick Clegg’s Message
Boris to Dave: "You have got to run for this thing ... or else I will!"
GENERAL ELECTION: Parliament Dissolves today and the General Election campaign begins officially today with the Dissolution of Parliament - and the publication of the first of the party manifestos.
It is almost exactly five years ago that the Tories experienced yet another election defeat and Michael Howard unexpectedly decided – after a valiant campaign – to step down as leader of the Conservative Party. I remember staggering back to my office at The Spectator and wondering what should happen next. After about ten seconds' reflection, I picked up the phone.
"Dave," I said to the future Prime Minister, "you have got to run for this thing." With his customary politeness David Cameron thanked me and said that a couple of other people had mentioned the same idea. In fact he was so polite I wasn't quite sure that he was going to strike with the mamba-like swiftness required. I decided to raise the stakes. "You have got to run for this thing, Dave," I said, "or else I will!"
At which point, as he later told Tory audiences, David Cameron was seized with the full urgency of the situation and the need to save his party and his country. He has done a fantastic job in the last five years, and triumphantly vindicated that small group of us who first supported him in 2005.
Continue reading Dave’s Ambitious Message
I tell you it's enough to shake a chap's confidence in Her Majesty's Press. It was barely a month ago that my trembling fingers reached for a Sunday paper proclaiming in huge type, all over the front page, that Gordon Brown was "on course" to win the election. So imagine my feelings of bewilderment yesterday morning when I went to the same newsagent to buy the very same newspaper. And there – on the same front page, in the same supersized font – was the news that David Cameron was "set to claim victory" in the very same general election.
What is going on with these headline-writers? Isn't there some law against this kind of thing? One or other of these headlines must be false, and you would have thought that we innocent consumers were protected from such blatant deceptions. The reality is that Gordon Brown was never on course to win the election, as I pointed out at the time, any more than he is on course to win a gold medal for rhythmic gymnastics in the 2012 Olympics. Gordon Brown remains where he has been for the past two years, firmly on course to lose the general election, and lose it big.
Continue reading For wealth creation cut National Insurance