January 22, 2006


Scandal-hit Lib Dems in freefall (Brendan Carlin, 23/01/2006, Daily Telegraph)

Sir Menzies Campbell appeared last night to be the Liberal Democrats' only hope of restoring their battered credibility after Mark Oaten's resignation plunged the party into its worst crisis for a generation. [...]

The resignation, on the heels of Mr Kennedy's ousting over drink problems, coincided with the Lib Dems' worst polls in five years.

A Mori poll for The Sun put the party on 15 per cent, down from its general election height of 22 per cent and its average of 20 per cent between 2001 and 2005.

Right-winger set to smash the mould in Canada (Francis Harris, 23/01/2006, Daily Telegraph)
An unashamedly Right-wing politician is poised to shatter decades of middle-ground consensus in Canada's general election today.

The emergence of Conservative leader Stephen Harper has panicked opponents and cheered those demanding a radical change of direction for a country they describe as vanquished by the adherents of political correctness. [...]

Mr Harper, 46, an economist, has been very careful not to threaten too much change. But most who have watched him during 20 years in politics say he is far from the typical Canadian consensus-seeking mould that has typified leaders of both Left and Right for decades.

According to his biographer, William Johnson, the country has never had a leader like him in the 139 years since Britain handed over power.

The biography, Stephen Harper and the future of Canada, describes him as a brilliant conviction politician who admired the no-nonsense styles of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan.

An introverted policy wonk, he distrusts the Canadian political elite and has a taste for necessary but unpopular policies. Many Canadians, including some on his own side, say this mix will make the sparks fly if he becomes prime minister. [...]

In the run-up to war in Iraq, Mr Harper gave voice to the minority who were uneasy that Canada's old allies in America, Britain and Australia were about to engage in a conflict without Canadian units at their side.

On the day war broke out, he berated Canada's Liberal government for its "insecure anti-Americanism".

Once again David Cameron stands to have a good day even without doing anything himself.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 22, 2006 11:13 PM
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