Taking stock of politics after the conferences

13 October 2012

Party conference season is over and it all felt very mid-term. It’s always best not to be swept away by the immediate reaction to leaders’ speeches. Miliband’s was surprisingly good, Cameron’s was not bad at all and Clegg’s was OK too. Where does that leave us? Just under three years until the next election with everything to play for.

At the Jewish Chronicle we planned the usual round of political interviews. Simon Hughes was admirably frank. He has not always had the best relationship with the Jewish community, especially since his involvement with the all-party parliamentary group on Islamophobia. He said he was worried the case for a two-state solution was being lost and that realists might have to countenance a one-state option. I used my Bright on Politics column to warn that Hughes is not a lone voice, but someone who sits square in the centre of liberal opinion.

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Unfortunately, we were let down at the last minute by the Labour Party, who had offered Douglas Alexander, but decided it would be better to give us Stephen Twigg instead. We know what Twigg thinks, so we declined, but Alexander remains something of a mystery. Indeed, I wondered whether Labour had a foreign policy at all under the ultra-cautious Scot.

Some thought my picture of the present political scene for Jewish politicians was too rosy. But I do believe something has shifted in the political climate even since the time Michael Howard was Conservative leader.

This week I thought the time had come to return to the subject of David Cameron’s unsavoury allies in Europe and pay tribute to Monica Lowenberg who is waging a one-woman campaign to remind Tory politicians of their moral duty.

I’m sure you will let me know what you think

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  • Douglas Carter

    Hardly ‘politics’.
    ‘Rhetoric’ more accurately. There was little or no actual substantive politics on open show, more a celebration of active concealment of intent. At least as far as the main respective conference floors were concerned. The only real scrutiny of politics which took place – it would appear – at the events were at the fringe meetings, which the press has begun to infer as ‘loon’s corner’, which is a shame.
    But we have a Labour party which has essentially adopted a strategy of ‘we’ll tell you only after the election’ and the LibDems ‘we’ll tell you when we have a new leader’. Only marginally different from Cameron’s ‘why should we tell you anything?’.

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