Harold Macmillan

Rab Butler: The Best Prime Minister We Never Had?

Lewis Baston  |  12 November 2015

George Osborne would probably not appreciate being compared to RA Butler, but reviewing a new biography of ‘Rab’ in current circumstances makes it inevitable. Cynical, clever, elusive, perhaps more cutting and abrasive than he meant to be, from being seen as a rightwinger Butler modernised and repositioned his party in opposition, then took over as …

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British Labour and Conservative Leaders

Richard Carr  |  2 October 2015

At the last five general elections the British public has voted in favour of a prime minister who offers centrism, charisma, competence and confidence. Labour’s response to this has been to replace Ed Miliband with Jeremy Corbyn. For some it may be difficult to know where to begin with that. Fortunately BiteBack’s edited volumes on …

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Enoch at 100

Lewis Baston  |  9 October 2014

Enoch at 100 is not really, as its subtitle claims, ‘a re-evaluation of the life, politics and philosophy of Enoch Powell’, more a rather belated Festschrift. It is an overwhelmingly friendly assessment of its subject. While Tom Bower in his chapter on immigration does not shy away from the necessary criticisms of ‘Rivers of Blood’, …

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The reshuffle is not important – but it is interesting

Hopi Sen  |  15 July 2014

We don’t like to talk about reshuffle insignificance, because it rather rubs people’s face in it. If Andrea Backbench-Marginal has devoted her entire adult life to the cause, and finally makes it all the way to cabinet, and is glimpsed, modest smile on face, slipping into the Ministerial Prius, it seems a little rude to …

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March of the modernisers

Patrick Diamond and Ryan Shorthouse  |  15 July 2014

Has Conservative modernisation stalled? Patrick Diamond and Ryan Shorthouse go head to head Dear Ryan Past Conservative leaders have demonstrated a ruthless ability to reinvent and modernise their party as times changed. Defeat in 1945 heralded ‘the forward march of Labour’; many expected Clement Attlee’s party to govern for a generation. By 1951, however, the …

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The modernisers’ manifesto

Patrick Diamond  |  13 May 2014

Conservatives still lack a strategy for the future John Stuart Mill once described the Tories as ‘the stupid party’. On the evidence of The Modernisers’ Manifesto, published last month by Bright Blue, a self-described pressure group for liberal conservatism, the party is not dead from the neck upwards. However, the ‘modernisers’ have some way to …

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The myth of the modern Labour party

Stephen Bush  |  25 February 2014

If Clement Attlee was so great, then why is This Boy so sad? Alan Johnson’s memoir – out in paperback later this week – is a book of almost unbearable sorrow. Reading it was like unpacking a series of heavy crates; I kept having to stop and take a breath every few pages. Billed as …

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A very modern policy

Nick Thomas-Symonds MP  |  8 October 2013

Ed Miliband’s promise to freeze gas and electricity prices until the start of 2017 made the political weather during the 2013 party conference season. It is a policy aimed at assisting people with the cost-of-living crisis that they face, and has had the Conservatives on the back foot since it was announced. Energy prices have …

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Poll position

Lewis Baston  |  21 September 2013

The new territory of a fixed-term parliament means Labour should hold its nerve as 2015 draws near, writes Lewis Baston In years gone by, the fourth party conference season of a parliament would have been heavy with speculation about the timing of the next election. Even if the parliament ran into a fifth year, all …

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Northern blues

Hopi Sen  |  1 July 2013

David Skelton thinks he can revive the Tories’ fortunes in the north. Hopi Sen assesses his chances It is early morning on 8 May 2020. The re-elected Conservative MP for Halifax is recovering in bed. It was a long count last night, but already she must get back to work. Watching the politics news stream …

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