The Last Word

Just because ‘red’ rhymes with ‘Ed’ …

John McTernan  |  2 May 2014

Labour want to implement ‘Vietnamese’ rent controls spluttered one Tory opponent on the ‘World at One’. Goodness, I thought, that’s a new line. Then I realised it was a mistake, a half-remembered line to take. Still it showed the absurdity of the Tory position. Vietnamese, Venezuelan, even Venusian – the attacks bounce off because they …

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Letter from Amsterdam

John McTernan  |  25 April 2014

‘Populism is now mainstream in right-wing politics’. That is the clear-sighted view of Gordon Bajnai, the former prime minister of Hungary who has emerged bloodied, but unbowed, from a brutal general election that was won by the right. It is an unashamedly European perspective, but one that is useful for looking at the United Kingdom …

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A dozen reasons to be cheerful

John McTernan  |  18 April 2014

In his weekly column, the Last Word, John McTernan shares a dozen reasons to be cheerful. One, Labour has had a poll lead in YouGov for 29 months. Of course, no one pays attention to the day-to-day polls. The only poll that matters is the general election etc. etc. Still, a lead is a lead, and …

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David Cameron the Bevanite

John McTernan  |  11 April 2014

Political management has had a bad name. ‘Control-freakery’, ‘Spin’, ‘Stalinism’. I know, I know – I don’t get, they’re not insults to me either, but they have been to the political classes at large. It was one of David Cameron’s oddest ambitions to be both the ‘heir to Blair’ but also the ‘anti-Blair’. Perversely for …

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Time to finally expose Lib Dem hypocrisy

John McTernan  |  4 April 2014

This week a cross-party commission to look at civil service reform was launched. Former ministers John Healey and Nick Herbert have established GovernUp – ridiculous name, I know, sorry but it seems to come with the territory – as ‘an independent, non-party project to consider the far-reaching reforms needed in Whitehall and beyond to enable …

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Maoist Tories and the BBC licence fee

John McTernan  |  28 March 2014

It’s been welfare week. The ‘benefits cap’ was a sideshow. George Osborne really needs to get better at politics. The key to tricking your opponents is not to smirk at the same time. If you want Labour to become unpopular on welfare then don’t erect a large sign saying ‘Political Trap ahead, Tee Hee.’ Yes, …

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King for a day, but schmuck for a lifetime

John McTernan  |  21 March 2014

The Lamborghini Reforms. It’s got a ring about it, hasn’t it? The Liberal Democrat pensions minister Steve Webb has said he is relaxed about the prospect of people cashing in their pension pot and buying an expensive fast car. What is telling is the flippancy. We’re not talking about the lottery, we’re talking about people’s …

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The ‘thud factor’ has arrived

John McTernan  |  14 March 2014

Ed Miliband’s announcement on the referendum question has in equal parts been been overanalysed and misinterpreted. Strategically he has no interest in, and no intention of, holding an in-out vote on the European Union. Why on earth should he? This issue splits the Tories, not Labour. It is totally in his interest to leave the …

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