'Oh, so that's who Richard Morris is..." Lord Hattersley on The Daily Politics

'An influential activist' - The Guardian

'Iain Dale, without the self loathing' - Matthew Fox in The New Statesman

You are a tinker...' - Tim Farron

Sunday, 29 September 2013

10 things I learned about the Tories today

1.     The Tories lost the 2010 General Election. I know we all knew this before – but Cameron actually said it on Marr, which is, I think, the first time he has ever said it publicly (I stand to be corrected but no one has yet).
2.     The most successful policy this government has enacted so far (at least, I imagine, in Tory focus groups) is… taking 2 million people out of tax altogether and reducing taxes for 25 million others. I know this because Cameron said it twice in the Marr interview, Hammond said it on WATO and it’s on the front page of the Tory Website – in fact it’s the first thing. Pity Cameron said it was impossible in the leaders debates…
3.     Philip Hammond on the World at One refused to deny the Marriage Tax allowance would be paid for by tax rises elsewhere. It does increasingly look like a very badly thought through piece of nonsense.
4.     David Cameron didn’t deny he had worked out weeks before the last general election, through a seat by seat analysis, that they were not going to win an overall majority. When asked the question he said ‘that’s not how I remember it’. A non-denial denial. Damien Mcbride must have smiling approvingly.
5.     The Tories are taking up my suggestion of renaming HS2; however I said that as the main argument was shifting from speed to capacity, it should now be called HC2 (or perhaps HC1, as HS1 – the line from St Pancras to Paris – has always been about speed and nothing else). However it seems they are to rechristen it the North South Line – which is ironic as, if the North is SO important to them you would have thought they would have started building it there. Or else they have so little concept of what constitutes the North that they think Birmingham is part of it.
6.     Cameron also committed to HS2– so no backing down from the Tories going forward. Although Cameron did say there was a choice here – between HS2 or building a Victorian type railway instead. He appears to think we still have steam engines. Maybe they do in Chipping Norton.
7.     Michael Gove and William Hague both unequivocally ruled out ever standing for the leadership of the Tory party today. Which means there is still a lot of talk about the leadership – and presumably their names are being mentioned. Wait for the line “I have no desire to do this, but I have been persuaded by colleagues that it is my duty, for the good of the country, yada yada yada…”
8.     Want more proof? Andrew Mitchell started talking up George Osborne today, saying his share price was very underpriced (and channeling Stephen Tall in the process). So Osborne vs. Boris pre 2015? It’ll happen – if Labour maintain an 11 point lead in the polls
9.     Cameron also came out against not just the Mansion tax – but wealth taxes per se. As one person on Twitter put it to me… He seemed to be making a Mansion Tax a red line issue going forward. A marker for future negotiations me thinks.
10. They still don’t seem to see there’s a contradiction in saying that they are incentivising hard work over not working – and incentivizing one person in a marriage to stay at home through the Marriage Tax Allowance. (However paltry an incentive that is). It’s clumsy thinking. As well as a really stupid idea anyway

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