Just imagine the scene when José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero of Spain called on Monday to congratulate Vicepresidente Nick Clegg.
There was the eager private secretary, listening in on the conversation, poised with pen and paper to note down important matters of state. But there was no point. He couldn’t understand a word. Clegg was chatting away in Spanish. Read more
The Labour national executive has opted for the long game: the next leader will be anointed on September 25. This is probably bad news for party’s right wing: the longer the campaign, the more pressure there will be to woo the grassroots with promises to protect spending.
It was apparently a “friendly and comradely” meeting. But the stakes were high. Those lobbying for an extended campaign wanted to stop a “coronation” and give all the outsiders (Burnham, Balls etc) time to grab the spotlight.
But I expect the bigger problem for David Miliband will be the kind of commitments that will have to be made in the leadership race.
This campaign is not only going to straddle the emergency Budget. It will end just weeks before the most austere spending review in living memory. There’s a good chance of a “cuts vs investment” auction. Read more
An interesting chart from the Institute of Government. Note the Lib Dem cabinet positions control less than 10 per cent of departmental spending (excluding the all powerful David Laws, of course).
Not sure whether this is a blessing. Axing 25 per cent of spending from transport or the police is never a career enhancing move in politics. But Vince Cable and Danny Alexander face some particularly tough choices on Scotland and student fees, which have the potential to backfire horribly on the Lib Dems. Read more