January 7, 2006


If Sharon was the immovable object, who now will be the irresistible force? (Niall Ferguson, 08/01/2006, Daily Telegraph)

When the German Foreign Minister Gustav Stresemann suffered a fatal heart attack in 1929, part of his legacy was a historical riddle. Was he the one man who might have prevented the collapse of the Weimar Republic and preserved peace in Europe? Or were his efforts to bring about European reconciliation in the 1920s merely a tactical manoeuvre by an unreconstructed German nationalist?

The stroke that felled Ariel Sharon last week threatens to leave us with a similar riddle. Was Sharon the one man capable of bringing a lasting peace to the Middle East on the basis of a "two state" solution? Or were his efforts to find a modus vivendi with the Palestinians merely a Machiavellian device by an intransigent foe?

Olmert emerges as successor to Sharon (Toby Harnden and Harry de Quetteville, 08/01/2006, Daily Telegraph)
Senior advisers to Ariel Sharon, Israel's stricken prime minister, are to launch Ehud Olmert, his deputy, as the country's new leader and the only politician capable of leading Israel towards peace with the Palestinians.

Shimon Peres, the veteran elder statesman and former Labour prime minister who joined Mr Sharon's new centrist Kadima Party, has further boosted Mr Olmert's chances by giving him his personal backing.

But Israeli government insiders acknowledged that they faced a huge task in transforming the 60-year-old caretaker leader into a politician of world stature.

'I am very proud of him, personally and for what he has achieved' (Melissa Kite, 08/01/2006, Daily Telegraph)
Charles Kennedy bowed to unbearable pressure yesterday, resigning as Liberal Democrat leader two days after admitting to a drink problem.

Mr Kennedy said in a statement tinged with sadness and regret that the outpouring of support he had received from the public since revealing he was being treated for alcoholism had not been matched among his own MPs.

His decision to stand down was made after almost half of them called on him to resign and previously strong support from party activists in the country drained away. But it was the advice of his wife Sarah Gurling, who has been at his side throughout the crisis, that finally persuaded him to relinquish his leadership after days of stubbornly clinging on.

Mandelson questions Brown's fitness to be PM (Melissa Kite, 08/01/2006, Daily Telegraph)
Peter Mandelson claimed that Gordon Brown's economic record was "not all it is cracked up to be", according to an explosive new account of the animosity between the two men.

The European trade commissioner raised questions about Mr Brown's fitness to be Prime Minister at a private dinner hosted by senior journalists of the Financial Times, in July last year.

The disclosure is incendiary given that leading Blairites are increasingly mooting that Labour should appoint David Miliband, the minister of communities and local government, as Tony Blair's successor, rather than Mr Brown.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 7, 2006 8:43 PM

Via EU Referendum:

After years of being lectured by Mr Gordon "Prudence" Brown on how to run their economies, the "colleagues" are about to wreak a delicious revenge.

This is according to Reuters, which reports that it has obtained a has obtained a copy of a draft recommendation from the commission, telling Britain next week it is not doing enough to control its budget deficit

The recommendation is due to be cleared by a full meeting of the commission on Wednesday and expected to be discussed by the EU's 25 finance ministers on 24 January, when they are expected to endorse the commission's view by a qualified majority and giving him six months to spell out how he will cut the deficit....

Posted by: Sandy P at January 7, 2006 11:05 PM