Daily Archives: October 8, 2009

George Parker, FT political editor, analyses David Cameron’s last conference speech before the general election.

Follow on the link below: Read more

Brian Groom, FT business editor, assesses the reaction of business to the conference after a year of financial crisis.

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Jim Pickard

David Cameron said he was horrified by the fact that young mums trying to go back to work only keep 4p in the £1 that they earn because of the withdrawal of benefits and additional taxes.

Labour has just pointed out that in 1998 (a year after the Tories were removed from power) there were 130,000 families facing marginal deduction rates (the technical definition) of over 90 per cent. Read more

Jim Pickard

Our north-east correspondent, Andy Bounds, points me towards a letter in the Manchester Evening News from a Janet Higgins of  West Didsbury.

“I went into Manchester city centre on Tuesday and found the place crawling with Tories. I wasn’t prepared for the shock of seeing so many en masse, as Manchester has been a Tory free zone for decades. Seeing them walking the streets as if they owned the place felt like an invasion of alien beings.”

Jim Pickard

David Blanchflower has criticised the Tories before, claiming their policies would accentuate unemployment in Britain. Now his language has spiralled into the realms of hyperbole…

Oct. 8 (Bloomberg) — Former Bank of England policy maker David Blanchflower said Conservative leader David Cameron’s criticism of the central bank’s asset purchase program is “dangerous” and “bizarre.”
     “This is the most wildly dangerous thing I have seen in a hundred years of economic policy in Britain,” Blanchflower said in an interview today. He said the Conservative opposition is “showing no understanding of economics. To remove QE and cut public spending is like a return to 1937 — it could drive the economy into depression. This is the most bizzare set of economic policies I have ever heard.”

More vintage 1980s behaviour to report. First we heard that a Tory has been banned from future conferences after being arrested on suspicion of nicking a champagne bottle. Then a reader sent us this. We don’t think it is Dave’s, which makes it even more worrying.

Jim Pickard

15.33 (Jim) The crowd are spilling out. They love Cam and they love the speech, it seems (will research this in more detail in a minute for the newspaper). Vintage stuff. But the jaded hacks feel they have seen similar performances before. Not sure what tonight’s news line is. We had the sunny uplands stuff this morning.

15.30 (Jim) Is conference season finally over? Can it be?! Not sure my liver can handle another week.

15.29 (Alex) Cam sweeps down to Sam Cam — “I’ve come to get you”. Big kiss. Swoon. Audience palpitates. There’s a mike on him as he walks through the crowd. He tells Sam how much he enjoyed making the speech. “I had so much to say.” “I’m a believer” is belting out in the background. Buckets please.

15.26 (Alex) He has reached the “summit”. No shining City on top of the hill. Just a view of a progressive, freedom loving country, entrepreneurs everywhere, secure children, more choice, communities governing themselves, entrepreneurs who are not afraid to walk home alone and Arlene Philips back as a judge on Strictly. We’re holding back the tears. Read more

Jim Pickard, FT political correspondent, travelled to marginal Labour seat Bury North near Manchester to see how much of a chance the Tories have.  Follow the link below to watch the video.

Jim Pickard

Courtesy of the FT’s ever-excellent Charlie Bibby (copyright etc)

Jim Pickard

Sam Coates in the Times has the story this morning that Boris Johnson tried to appoint a key ally to run London’s Arts Council despite (according to Liz Forgan, chair of England’s Arts Council) the shortlisting panel judging that she was insufficiently qualified to take it.

The candidate was Veronica Wadley, who was editor of the Evening Standard at a time when the newspaper helped destroy former mayor Ken Livingstone with a high-profile investigation into cronyism. Read more

Jim Pickard

It was 1am at the Policy Exchange party and the venue was brimming with young Tory thinkers. One member of the research team had just passed me his business card when it was snatched from my hand by an eagle-eyed press officer. At first I thought she was joking. But a farcical tug of war then ensued.

Letting reporters talk to members of CCHQ is apparently forbidden these days. Read more