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Brown and Friends

David Runciman, 3 January 2008

... Party in Scotland. Balls’s wife, Yvette Cooper, sits with him in cabinet. Miliband’s brother, David, is foreign secretary. Brothers and sisters, husbands and wives: the Brown government is a family affair, and it marks a shift to ever more intimate political relationships at the centre of power, even compared to the days when Tony Blair was ruling the ...

Short Cuts

Nick Richardson: Lord High Spanker, 7 October 2015

... I was​ the head of the Piers Gaveston Society, which is the society that David Cameron allegedly stuck his dick in a pig for. I never did that. According to Lord Ashcroft’s unofficial biography of the prime minister, Cameron did what he did as part of an initiation ritual, but the society in my day (late 2000s) didn’t have initiation rituals because it wasn’t a proper society ...

Short Cuts

John Lanchester: Climate Change, 5 April 2007

... the last issue, climate change has made one of its periodic appearances in the headlines, with David Cameron and Gordon Brown each making announcements about what he will do when in office. This amounts to a green beauty contest, with the public in the position of the pen-sucking judges. Cameron first. The Tory ...

Notes on the Election

David Runciman, 20 May 2015

... be messy too. Commentators are already pointing out that if this is 1992 all over again then David Cameron is going to have a hellish time with the rebellious fringe of his own party, just as John Major did back then. But this is the wrong sort of mess. It is not compromise and accommodation in the name of defending politics against the forces of ...

Short Cuts

David Runciman: Shuffling Off into Obscurity, 4 May 2016

... David Laws​ ’s memoir of his time in government ends with everything in tatters: he has lost his seemingly safe seat, his party has gone from being a full partner in government to having the same number of MPs as the Democratic Unionists, his leader is shell-shocked and barely able to appear in public without breaking down ...

At the Tory Conference

Ross McKibbin, 22 October 2009

... The most enthusiastic moment came when David Cameron promised to end poverty and pronounced the Tories the real party of the poor. The Conservatives have, of course, always thought themselves the real party of the poor but this time the claim was accompanied by some genuine rhetoric about inequality which they may come to regret ...

Is this the end of the UK?

David Runciman: The End of the UK?, 27 May 2010

... goodwill to see them home. Yet in the cold light of morning, once the dust had settled, and before Cameron and Clegg decided to stir it all up again, this looked like a pretty conventional sort of result. A tough economic climate, and a general weariness with and inside the governing party, was enough to produce a solid but hardly exceptional swing towards the ...

Progressive, like the 1980s

John Gray: Farewell Welfare State, 21 October 2010

... Though few anticipated the agreement, it is not difficult to understand why David Cameron and Nick Clegg should have made a bargain to share power. By forming a coalition Cameron secured protection from his mutinous right wing, while Clegg became the pivotal player in British politics ...

The Destruction of the Public Sphere

Ross McKibbin: Brown v. Cameron, 5 January 2006

... next general election will be fought by Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Leader of the Opposition David Cameron we do know; but how it will be fought we don’t, in part because the present prime minister will not disclose when he intends to go. Furthermore, both Cameron and Brown are in some senses, but for different ...

Short Cuts

David Runciman: The Dirtiest Player Around, 9 October 2013

... claims it was because he was good at his job. He compares himself to Andy Coulson, whose time with David Cameron coincided with the most successful phase of Cameron’s leadership. This is bravado. McBride’s performance was too full of cock-ups and drunken mishaps to serve as a model of cut-throat professionalism. He ...

Do your homework

David Runciman: What’s Wrong with Theresa May, 16 March 2017

Theresa May: The Enigmatic Prime Minister 
by Rosa Prince.
Biteback, 402 pp., £20, February 2017, 978 1 78590 145 4
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... This​ is a dry and dutiful book which reads like a ghost story. The person being haunted is David Cameron. Theresa May grew up in a Cotswolds village called Church Enstone, where her father was vicar for much of the 1960s. The vicarage is within five miles of what became Cameron’s constituency home when he was MP for Witney and is roughly the same distance from what is now Soho Farmhouse, a members’ club, a little piece of the metropolis that is a haven for the Chipping Norton set ...

After the Referendum

LRB Contributors, 8 October 2014

... of the voters had left their quiet houses, voted ‘No’, gone home and shut the door. At seven David Cameron was on the radio. He intoned the words ‘our United Kingdom’ so many times I thought I’d be sick. Whose United Kingdom? Theirs. The Eton Mess and their cronies. Big Business. Neocons. The warmongers. Not ours. We left Edinburgh at ...

Short Cuts

Paul Laity: Hanging out at River Cottage HQ, 14 December 2006

... foraging in the hedgerows, ethical food shopping – that would seriously trouble Gordon Brown or David Cameron, both happy to make green gestures but steadfastly wary of state action to enforce restrictions on personal freedom or curb corporate power. ‘We’ve all got our roles to play, in terms of the choices we make as individuals, as businesses, as ...

Triumph of the Termites

Tom Nairn: Gordon Brown, 8 April 2010

The End of the Party: The Rise and Fall of New Labour 
by Andrew Rawnsley.
Viking, 802 pp., £25, March 2010, 978 0 670 91851 5
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What Went Wrong, Gordon Brown?: How the Dream Job Turned Sour 
edited by Colin Hughes.
Guardian, 294 pp., £8.99, January 2010, 978 0 85265 219 0
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Broonland: The Last Days of Gordon Brown 
by Christopher Harvie.
Verso, 206 pp., £8.99, February 2010, 978 1 84467 439 8
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... book features a cartoon from the Independent: an apocalyptic lightning flash strikes and anoints David Cameron, while Brown and Alistair Darling flee London as Parliament quakes against the background of a setting sun. Andrew Rawnsley’s The End of the Party is less dramatic: we see Brown, Mandelson and Blair in a morning-after sprawl; Brown’s big ...

The Irresistible Itch

Colin Kidd: Vandals in Bow Ties, 3 December 2009

Personal Responsibility: Why It Matters 
by Alexander Brown.
Continuum, 214 pp., £12.99, September 2009, 978 1 84706 399 1
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... of uncharismatic right-wing leaders came to an end with the accession to the party leadership of David Cameron, a smoother, less straightforward kind of Conservative. Cameron recognised that if he was to ‘detoxify’ the Tory brand, loosen its association with uncaring Thatcherite economics, then he needed to ...

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