If you’ve tuned out of politics since 23rd December you have missed a great deal but here is a three minute summary…
Oliver Letwin got nearly every 23rd December visitor to this site dizzy with remarks on redistribution. I was one of very few people to defend his basic position. Given that every Tory government does redistribute I was reminded of Chris Patten’s famous words about Mrs Thatcher’s first administration and its rhetoric on public spending: “Why do we talk as if we were Count Dracula when we are actually running a blood transfusion service?”
Labour’s Peter Hain attacked the Tories for breaking the consensus on Northern Ireland but, as David Lidington pointed out in an excellent article for the Belfast Telegraph, "bi-partisanship does not mean giving ministers a blank cheque" to give amnesties to the on-the-run murderers of Enniskillen:
"The Bill is horribly flawed. It would allow people who had committed some of the worst atrocities of the Troubles to walk free without serving a day in prison or even appearing in court. A loyalist murderer could benefit without his organisation decommissioning one bullet of its arsenal."
Peter Lilley was appointed to chair the new policy group on globalisation and global poverty but the headlines (and there were lots of them) were all won by Bob Geldof’s advisory involvement. Mr Geldof later texted The Times to say that he only intended to give three hours to his Tory role.
David Cameron’s rapid moves to the political centre caused some concern within the right-wing press. That concern was first voiced by The Spectator and The Sun. The Daily Mail followed. None of this amounts to serious opposition but we saw the first signs that some observers thought that David Cameron was neglecting core Tory beliefs. In today’s Sun Irwin Stelzer says the nation deserves an alternative to Blairism; not an echo. This blog called for ‘The And Theory of Conservatism‘ to act as a discipline on evolving Tory strategy and tactics.
Gordon Brown (punched rather hard by David Cameron on Sunday) looks set to attempt to pre-empt Tory attacks on him as ‘the roadblock to reform’ by embracing a LibDem-friendly package of constitutional reforms.
The Telegraph leader writers went OTT with an editorial that said that David Cameron’s "talk of tackling poverty" would hopefully not amount to "more than a few cuddly platitudes designed to win back the middle ground". IDS responded to that editorial today.
And Chris Patten talked some sense… on Russia. The former Tory Chairman urged the west to stand up to Russia as Putin backtracked on democracy and bullied its neighbours.
ConservativeHome is also launching a vote on ‘Who is the biggest influence on David Cameron?’ We are still in the nominations phase at the moment and you can have your say by clicking here.
If you would like to hear David Cameron speak to the Centre for Social Justice on 18th January click here for more information.