Archive for the 'David Cameron' Category


Methinks that Dave has made a mistake on the TV debates

Thursday, January 8th, 2015


The early front pages look good for Dave

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

But YouGov gives a Lab 2% boost.

I’d remember the two usual caveats, polling during conference season can be erratic, and most of the fieldwork would have been carried out before Dave’s speech.



As Dave’s big speech begins – Rumour has it the third defection is expected at 5pm

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014



Will UKIP overshadow Cameron’s big day?

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

As the focus is on a defector, Dave is set to make the NHS the centre piece of the election.

Coupled with the seven day a week GP promise announced yesterday, it is clear what the Tories will be focussing upon. I suspect the NHS will form a key part of the election battle. It will be risky business for both the Blues and Reds. David Cameron will constantly have the breaking of his “no more top down reorganisation” promise being referenced by his opponents, whilst the Blues will undoubtedly mention the events in Stafford and the Labour run NHS in Wales.

This may also be an attempt to blunt any UKIP defection. Nigel Lawson famously said “The NHS is the closest thing the English have to a religion.” Cameron may well argue, that whilst UKIP talk about all things Europe, he is talking about the things matter to key voters.

One of David Cameron’s most impressive achievements was to make the Tories the most trusted with the NHS. He may well be attempting a repeat performance.

On the defection front, The Times are reporting (££)

Nigel Farage stoked rumours of further defections to Ukip last night by announcing a mysterious event timed to coincide with David Cameron’s conference speech.

The Ukip leader would meet “somebody of interest” today in Bristol, sources said. The party promised to reveal the news this morning before holding a press conference just before evening news bulletins.

As Corporeal noted on twitter yesterday.

Unfortunately Ladbrokes have pulled their next MP to defect market, but William Hill have on how many MPs will defect.

Note, the terms of this bet How many sitting MP’s will defect to UKIP between the dates of the Clacton By Election and the UK General Election due in May 2015.

So any MP who defects today won’t count for the purposes of this bet.



English votes for English laws (EV4EL) – the question is whether Cameron is able to deliver

Saturday, September 20th, 2014

Election pledges won’t count after the Lisbon Treaty experience

In 1787, a group of Americans came together and wrote a whole new constitution for their country from scratch in the space of four hot and humid months.  Two and a quarter centuries later, it’s still going strong.  True, they didn’t have the complicating factors of histories and traditions or established institutions that the UK has now but they did have to contend with other barriers to success, perhaps at least as high.  There is absolutely no reason why Westminster cannot resolve the West Lothian Question between now and April, if it has a mind to.

That David Cameron has placed that question centre-stage, linked to the issue of greater fiscal autonomy for the Scottish parliament, is both just and prudent.  The unfairness giving rise to the question has lingered far too long and tensions within the Union should be reduced if some parts are not given preferential treatment.  On the other hand, linking the two issues – when the Scottish one is a matter of honour for all three leaders – does as much as possible to ensure it’ll be addressed.

What is lacking is urgency.  Considering how little else parliament has to do in what remains of its time, that’s not good enough.  Never mind a draft bill; Westminster should pass a full Act by the dissolution.  That is the only guarantee that it won’t renege on the vow made by Cameron, Miliband and Clegg – a suspicion Scots could justifiably hold were nothing done beforehand given the experience of 1979.  After the more recent ‘cast iron’ promise Cameron made on the Lisbon Treaty , many might also be sceptical of his word if nothing’s done beforehand having had the chance to do so (unlike Lisbon, it has to be said, where Cameron couldn’t meaningfully deliver).

Dealing with the Question now also removes the possibility that a future different government might choose not to act.  After all, no parliament can bind its successor (nor, for that matter can any group of party leaders bind their current parliament without its consent), and one of the reasons the Question has lain unaddressed since 1999 is that it wasn’t in Labour’s interest to do so.  Already, Miliband is making sceptical noises but that shouldn’t stop the government putting legislation forward.  Much louder noises may come from behind the PM if he doesn’t.

What form that legislation should take is another matter – though determining that is precisely what parliament’s supposed to be there for.  The simplest solution of banning MPs from voting on matters that are not applicable to their constituents brings its own problems.  For example, there’d be multiple majorities in the Commons, potentially leading to gridlock if a government had an overall majority, so could decide how to raise the money to be spent on a service but not how to spend it.  It would also mean that England would still share its government with the UK, unlike any other component country of the UK: the same ministers (some perhaps from Wales or Scotland), and the same civil service.

As a first and immediate step, that might still be the best option and perhaps the only one that could be agreed by April next year, preferably with all-party support but by majority if necessary.  Nonetheless, it would still be a second-class resolution and would do little to address the disparity in the distribution of power and spending within England.  Some favour a full English parliament (and, presumably, government), but that would look too much like duplication with Westminster, leading to inevitable rivalry.

Regional parliaments and governments, on the other hand, with similar powers to that enjoyed by Holyrood, would bring greater equality in spending as well as (one would hope) more responsive government and greater diversity of policy.  Some would argue that such a move would merely produce local fiefdoms to be controlled by one party or another but the nature of politics is that opposition always finds a way.  Labour dreamed of Scotland being theirs forever, likewise London.  At some point there’ll be a non-Labour First Minister of Wales.

That, however, is for the future.  Now is the time to make good on the promise to Scotland, and to make good the democratic deficit to England.

David Herdson


Will Parliament next Saturday end Cameron’s Premiership?

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014


The knee-jerk response to a YES vote?

A couple of days ago the Sunday Times reports (££) Informal soundings have been taken about recalling parliament on Saturday, the first Saturday sitting since the Falklands War, if there is a “yes” victory.

I know there’s been a lot of debate on pb and elsewhere, about David Cameron resigning in the event of Scotland voting to secede from the United Kingdom, whilst I’ve been in the camp, that he wouldn’t resign, I’m ever more convinced it won’t be his decision.

As a keen studier of history because history has a tendency to repeat itself, I wonder if we do have a Saturday debate, the Opposition will force a vote, which effectively becomes a vote of no confidence in David Cameron, as happened in the Norway Debate of 1940, which forced Neville Chamberlain out as Prime Minister. Chamberlain won the vote but with a quarter of his party abstaining or voting against the Government, his position became untenable.

The Sunday Times report, there’s enough Tory MPs to trigger a vote of no confidence in Cameron, and probably 100 would vote against Cameron, which means some could vote against Cameron in any vote.

Will we have a Leo Amery des nos jour, and utter to the Prime Minister

I have quoted certain words of Oliver Cromwell. I will quote certain other words. I do it with great reluctance, because I am speaking of those who are old friends and associates of mine, but they are words which, I think, are applicable to the present situation. This is what Cromwell said to the Long Parliament when he thought it was no longer fit to conduct the affairs of the nation: “You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go.”. 

If we do have a Norway debate moment, then well, who will be the modern day Sir Winston Churchill to Cameron’s Neville Chamberlain? I wonder if this scenario favours William Hague, widely liked across the House, experienced and strong character to take the country through a very difficult phase. At the time of writing, you can get 40/1 as next Prime Minister.




Will the polling on air strikes against ISIS persuade Dave to intervene?

Sunday, August 17th, 2014

August is supposed to be the silly season,  but for the second consecutive August, it appears Britain may intervene militarily in the Middle East.

Last year, parliament ended that expedition before it even began. But in today’s Telegraph, Cameron writes 

Isil poses a direct and deadly threat to Britain. The poisonous extremism on the march in Iraq and Syria affects us all – and we have no choice but to rise to the challenge.

YouGov over the last few days have been tracking how the British public feel about military action against ISIS, the trend is in favour of those who approve of the RAF partaking in action against ISIS.

How will intervention effect domestic politics?

I know in the past, the SNP have mentioned the 2003 invasion of Iraq being another reason for Independence. Military intervention could affect the Indyref, as any military intervention in Iraq is bound to bring up memories and a re-examination of our invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq, as the polling doesn’t favour the decision to invade Iraq in 2003.

Over the last few days on PB there are those who also think the rise of ISIS will lead to a boost for UKIP. I’m not so sure how you harness the rise of ISIS into support for UKIP.



David Herdson says “Britain’s EU exit is now when, not if”

Saturday, June 28th, 2014

eu flag

The Juncker class are the problem not the solution

The nomination of Jean-Claude Juncker as next EU Commission President has moved Britain substantially closer to leaving the Union.  On the one hand, Britain was marginalised in a process that has traditionally been built on consensus; on the other, the attitude of the Euro-elite – including Juncker – to the European Parliament election results has been to ignore the opposition to the EU direction of travel and carry on as normal.

The justification from Juncker and his allies is a simple one: his party group won the election and therefore as their nominee, he has the right to the job.  It’s an argument the Socialists back, though as the only other group who could benefit from it, their support is hardly disinterested.  Even so, they’re both wrong.  The EPP did not win the election.  They might have ended with most seats but were 155 seats short of a majority; in terms of dynamics, they went rapidly backwards.  If the leaders were really taking account of the EP results, they would nominate someone pledged to reform rather than more of the same but it’s clear that’s not what they want.

Consequently, both the fact of Juncker’s nomination and the reasons for it mean that Cameron’s stated objective of achieving EU reform is now very visibly more difficult than ever.  Not only will there be little support for it from the Commission or many other leaders but it will be a tougher domestic sell too: if he can’t win this fight, how can he win the much more difficult one he’d like to take on?  It’s a question UKIP will no doubt keep raising and which could well make a small but not insignificant impact at the 2015 election – which of course Cameron has to win if negotiations are even to start.

There have always been three likely medium-term routes to UK exit.  The first is that a Cameron-led government negotiates but fails to convince the UK electorate in the ensuing referendum; the second is that such a government fails to even win an agreement it can itself back (or which the Tory Party and MPs force it to refuse to back), and so supports Out; the third is that Labour form the next government, for both the Tories and the country move to even more Eurosceptic positions during that parliament and then for the Tories return to office in 2020 with EU exit on their platform.  All three have become more likely these last few days to the extent that I’d make it odds-on that Britain leaves sometime within the next decade.

The analysis, vision and principles that Cameron laid out in his speech on the EU in January 2013 remain as valid now as then, particularly his explicit rejection of the ‘ever closer union’ commitment.  What’s clear is that the European Council has, by nominating someone so bound up in and committed to the EuroProject as Juncker, chosen to reject both that alternative route and the surge of opinion across the EU opposed to the status quo that the Juncker class represents.

If that is so, then there doesn’t seem any obvious reason why they should change their mind or attitude after 2015.  As such, reform may be all but impossible.  In which case, British exit is merely a question of when, not if.

David Herdson