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Showing posts from May 30, 2013

Margaret Thatcher dies: The woman who saved Britain - verdict of 3 historians

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1.9k shares 414 View comments Britain was on its knees on May 3, 1979 when Margaret Thatcher was elected prime minister. Ever since World War II, politicians had made it their priority to manage what they considered to be its inevitable decline. Mrs Thatcher was having none of that. Her priority was to make Britain powerful again, economically, if not strategically. And by 1983 — the end of her first term — it was clear she had succeeded. It is hard to exaggerate the pitiful state of Britain in the Seventies. The reckless economic policy of Mrs Thatcher’s predecessor as Tory leader, Ted Heath, who between 1970 and 1974 printed money as though it were going out of fashion, had left a legacy of high inflation, peaking at 27 per cent in 1975. Scroll down for video Mrs Thatcher's priority was to make Britain powerful again, economically, if not strategically. And by 1983 - the end of her first term - it was clear she had succeeded But the Labour administrations o

The nasty side of Labour that proves it's unfit to govern

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513 shares 87 View comments Tony Blair’s broadside in the New Statesman magazine against Ed Miliband for being out of touch with mainstream opinion could not be more timely, given the distasteful, ungenerous and unChristian attacks on Lady Thatcher by so many on the Left. In his article, the former Prime Minister identified one key reason for the Labour Party’s current failings: its bovine adherence to the out-of-date and dangerous policies that were destroying Britain before Mrs Thatcher became Premier. Blair understands how her brave and imaginative ideas rescued the country by destroying the power of the unions, encouraging aspiration — and helping to liberate millions of people from state control. Write caption here He appreciates that Lady Thatcher understood the values of the British nation — a people inherently conservative and who abhor the undemocratic, anti-aspirational aspects of socialism. He can see, too, that Miliband is reverting to old Lab

SIMON HEFFER: The week he woke up to the folly of the modernisers

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0 shares 108 View comments Normal politics is slowly resuming after the death of Lady Thatcher, and things are looking pretty grim for her old party. Tories canvassing ahead of the local government elections on Thursday week indicate they will be thrashed. Although Labour will score some big wins, the Conservatives' most worrying threat comes from Ukip. Right across the South of England, traditional Tory voters are turning to the fringe party, attracted by its Thatcherite policies. While its anti-Europeanism is a major factor (particularly considering the prospect of a new, uncontrolled influx of immigrants from Romania and Bulgaria in the new year), UKIP is also offering more grammar schools, lower taxes, tougher public spending cuts, fewer wind farms and more defence funding. David Cameron is under increasing pressure to embark on a radical, more Thatcherite agenda Indeed, UKIP leader Nigel Farage mischievously claimed this week that his party would never h

Vote Red Ed, get Red Len as the Labour dinosaurs roar back to life

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0 shares 271 View comments The Labour Party would like us to think that, ever since Tony Blair sanitised it nearly 20 years ago, it has been perfectly reasonable, sensible and fit for human consumption. But Red Len McCluskey, leader of the Unite union and the party’s principal paymaster, seems determined to make us revise that view. In an interview in this week’s New Statesman — which a fortnight ago ran a piece by Mr Blair warning Ed Miliband not to move Left and to stop opposing moderate Coalition policies — Mr McCluskey has let rip. Mr McCluskey is a copybook hard Leftist. A native of Liverpool, he supported the Militant Tendency at the height of its extremist activities in the Eighties The roar of the dinosaur, which we imagined extinct by the mid-1980s, echoes again. Mr McCluskey has just been re-elected leader of his union, and will serve until 2018. This victory, it must be stressed, was based on the backing of just 10 per cent of his members. Although

Could he trigger a snap general election?

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0 shares 60 View comments According to every opinion poll, the Lib Dems are a shadow of the party that fought the last general election. It now appears only a small number of deluded die-hards are prepared to vote for them — and I suspect even some of these will change their minds. This is not surprising, considering the views of party leader Nick Clegg, which are completely out of tune with voters. For example, this week he refused to countenance any temporary withdrawal from the European Convention of Human Rights to enable the deportation of hate preacher Abu Qatada. Tipping point? The Coalition is badly split over Abu Qatada Mr Clegg threatens that if David Cameron pulls out of the convention to allow the extremist Islamist to be sent to Jordan, the Coalition could collapse. Of course, as a result of the insidious Fixed-Term Parliaments Act, there isn’t due to be a general election until May 2015. But there are possibilities that could mean that one is held m

Why Bryan Forbes was a cruelly unsung genius - Simon Heffer

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0 shares 6 View comments To some film fans, he was an actor of sublime talent. To others, he will be remembered as a writer and director of great insight and psychological power. What is beyond doubt is that Bryan Forbes, who died this week aged 86, made some of the most intelligent, compelling and thoughtful films in British cinema. Indeed, it is fair to say he played a role in the industry that possibly only his former business partner Richard Attenborough could rival. Towering talent: Bryan Forbes with wife Nanette Newman and daughter Sarah in 1960 His best-known films, many of them from the golden age of the black-and-white features in the late Fifties and early Sixties, are still often seen on TV, so enduring is their appeal. The League Of Gentlemen and Whistle Down The Wind pushed the boundaries of cinema with their style and panache, and are as fresh today as when they were made more than half a century ago. As with so many careers in films, his had its up

SIMON HEFFER: Think they can't axe David Cameron? Don't bet on it

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197 shares 159 View comments These are particularly turbulent times for the Tories. Despite claiming to have learned from the defection of many thousands of their traditional voters to UKIP in the council elections, the party’s leadership has failed to act. As a result, frustration is boiling over, with many backbenchers in open revolt. It is likely that the Commons Speaker will accept an amendment from them next week that condemns the absence of an in/out referendum on the EU from the Queen’s Speech.  This will bring divisions into the open and fuel the mood of sedition stoked by party grandees Lord Lawson and Michael Portillo, who have attacked David Cameron for his prevarications on the EU. Losing voters: Despite claiming to have learned from the defection of many thousands of their traditional voters to UKIP in the council elections, the party's leadership has failed to act Both men say the PM’s hopes for a renegotiation on Europe either won’t be successf

SIMON HEFFER: Philip Hammond, a serious contender? The grey man who could be David Cameron's nemesis

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35 shares 253 View comments Quiet determination: Behind Mr Hammond's bank-manager-style exterior lies a man of considerable accomplishment You may not have heard of Philip Hammond — there’s little reason why you should. After all, the Defence Secretary is not the most charismatic politician. Grey both literally and metaphorically, he has an unfortunate knack of reminding people of John Major.  In public appearances he is always competent, but often sets new standards for dreariness. However, behind Mr Hammond’s bank-manager-style exterior lies a man of considerable accomplishment.  Unlike most of his colleagues, he has  had a proper job — he was a successful businessman in property and manufacturing before joining the Tory front bench, and has made a reputed £9 million fortune. Some of his friends say that, keenly aware of his own abilities, he harbours a quiet determination to lead his party — which is reason enough to pay particular attention to his public p

Nick Harris: £5.5bn TV pays to screen Premier League

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6 View comments One of the world's poorest countries, Burma, where workers earn an average of just £819 a year, has splashed out £25million to buy the rights to show Premier League football on television. With Burma's current TV contract worth a mere £200,000 over three years, the new deal represents an astonishing 12,400 per cent hike in rights fees. The deal, involving a pay-TV company called Sky Net, is just one example of the extraordinarily successful way the Premier League have sold their worldwide broadcasting rights for 2013-2016. Star of Africa: Manchester City's Ivorian midfielder Yaya Toure In the last round of overseas rights sales, for 2010-13, the League earned £1.437bn from all foreign broadcasters combined. But overseas deals for 2013-16 will surge past £2bn in value, which, when added to domestic deals for live rights (£3bn from Sky and BT), Match of the Day highlights (£178m from the BBC) and near-live rights and internet r