You once described yourself as “the quiet man”. It didn't quite work for you at the time, which is a pity, because quietness implies a capacity for reflection, listening and, in the words of our Quaker 'Advices and Queries', for finding space to “consider it possible you may be mistaken”. These are not qualities which are much in evidence among our noisier politicians.
The Welfare Reform Bill debate has now given way to open warfare, says Simon Barrow. These latest battles are as much about the soul (or lack of it) of the coalition project as they are about money or the demographics of power. The government can command majorities in both Houses. But it is losing the argument, losing good will and storing up massive costs - financial and political - for the future.
The political ride in Britain, in Europe and more widely is set to get bumpier, sometimes alarming, and never less than fascinating, says Simon Barrow. But the key question remains: who does (and who should?) call the shots in shaping the capacity of our key institutions both to respond to popular pressures and to ride the economic tiger?