Last week Andrew Tyrie told The Times the government’s growth strategy was not coherent or consistent. In remarkably outspoken comments, the chairman of the Treasury select committee said policies such as the Big Society or the green agenda were “at best irrelevant to the task in hand, if not downright contradictory to it”.
His reaction to George Osborne’s speech on Monday however had a very different flavour: Read more
One of the striking themes of the Lib Dem conference two weeks ago was the many attacks on their own Tory coalition partners. There was Chris Huhne attacking Conservatives who “slaver over tax cuts for the rich.”And Tim Farron saying his party had been “tainted” by its association with David Cameron’s party. And so on.
Now at the Tory event in Manchester there is the reverse; a mood of benevolent (if slightly patronising) friendliness is emanating from senior Conservatives towards their allies. There is the occasional dig; George Osborne pointed out that the Liberals, in the late 19th century, opposed attempts to stop people sending children up chimneys. But otherwise it is all bonhomie, and references to “Nick” and “Vince” and so on. As Michael White at the Guardian suggests; they are “killing” the Lib Dems with kindness.
One Tory cabinet minister says that it is all about being “magnanimous in victory“. He is referring not only to the AV result but also to the truth that Conservative polling remains as Read more
A young Tory who works for David Cameron asked me on Sunday night whether I thought the prime minister was “genuine”. Up to a point, was my answer, within the usual political realities.
The example I gave was that Cameron probably believed himself when he pledged several years ago to be “green” and to commit himself to an environmental agenda. (Of course it also had the upside of helping to rebrand the Tory party). In today’s economic climate, however, many green initiatives are being toned down or thrown out of the window in the drive for growth at almost any cost. Does that mean that the prime minister was insincere? It is a moot point.
I asked a senior cabinet minister what he thought about the Tories and their drift away from the green agenda. His view was that with the economy in the doldrums the government would not be thanked for sticking rigidly to its green promises. It was not that David Read more