In Praise of the Civil Service

A secret: politicians don’t know what they’re talking about. I don’t mean that we are all stupid, or lazy (I can sense my father’s arched eye-brows, as I make that claim). But I mean that it is impossible for politicians to know enough. The most successful ones, of course, are brilliant at concealing this: they […]

referendum on the eu

Last Monday was the first revolt I have seen in Parliament. It broke almost without warning. Things had seemed calm until then: three and a half years to the election, the conference tranquil, the Prime Minister popular, Gaddafi dead, the Foreign Secretary on his way to the  Commonwealth meeting in Australia. Then the back-bench business […]


cameron in cumbria

The last time David Cameron came to Penrith and the Border, it was 48 hours before the 2010 election. Just before eleven o’clock, I was outside the Border Cod in Longtown. And then, in an instant, young special advisers were spilling from hire cars; plain-clothes policeman materialised behind bus-stops, ear-pieces crackling; and a giant purple […]