Good week: Iain Duncan Smith. The former Tory leader’s 188 recommendation report into tackling the problems of ‘broken Britain’ was well received by most observers – including the centre right press. What was an eventful week for the Centre for Social Justice was summarised yesterday by our new Saturday columnist, Cameron Watt. The ConservativeHome video below captures two minutes of a performance by God’s Golden Acre – a charity awarded at the CSJ’s third annual awards evening on Wednesday night. Iain’s week ended with an after dinner speech to Grantham and Stamford Conservatives. IDS was due to celebrate twenty years of Quentin Davies’ time as an MP. Instead the event became a fundraiser for the local party.
The Tory campaign in Ealing Southall also had a good week. Today’s two Tonies photo about our candidate being photographed with Mr Blair was unhelpful for momentum but is unlikely to prevent a good result. The likelihood of an encouraging result was given a big boost at the start of the week by the defection to the blue corner of five Ealing Labour councillors.
Bad week: The gambling industry. Reacting to the family-friendly Tories’ successful wooing of The Daily Mail, Gordon Brown fought for a foothold on the moral high ground by overturning Tony Blair’s supercasino plans. More here. Brown will fight hard to prevent the Tories’ newly-arrived communications supremo, Andy Coulson, from building a good relationship with Paul Dacre’s newspaper.
Roundabout week: The transatlantic relationship. Earlier in the week Labour ministers Douglas Alexander and Mark Malloch Brown appeared to suggest that the UK-US relationship would be downplayed and institutions like the United Nations would become more important. Gordon Brown instructed his chief of staff to write to all Cabinet ministers to tell them that there would be no downplaying. David Miliband went further in today’s News of the World – promising "no change" in the special relationship.
Non-event of the week: The LibDems’ publication of their tax plans. Menzies Campbell simply isn’t box office. The next week may see a leadership challenge get underway. One journalist who had been ringing LibDem MPs for criticisms of their leader kept being told to call back after Thursday’s by-elections. If the LDs do badly in Ealing and Sedgefield expect Operation Clegg to get underway.