Posts Tagged ‘John McTernan’

Farewell to blogging

13/05/2013, 01:45:47 PM

by Peter Watt

Well it had to happen at some point I guess.  After nearly three years and (I think) just under 150 posts I am giving up political blogging.  I have in all honesty been treading a fine line for a while now as I have tried to balance the competing pressures of my “day job” and my blogging.  It seems a long time ago now but the person who asked me to write for Uncut first was John McTernan; but I said no as I was still unsure as to whether or not I wanted to raise my head above the parapet.

My book had caused a bit of a stir earlier that year and I decided to keep my head down.  But then Tom Watson asked me to write a post when he was guest editing the site.  My first post was during the leadership contest and was advice for the incoming leader – something of a recurring theme!

Originally I wrote the occasional post and then one every other week before finally agreeing with Sion Simon that I would write a weekly post for Thursday mornings.  Sometimes they flowed easily and at others they were a complete nightmare.  At times I felt I could’ve written on a whole range of issues and at times I struggled to find any subject at all.  But I am pleased to say that I have not missed a post since; and that includes writing posts on holiday and over Christmas.   I’m not absolutely sure that my wife Vilma is as pleased about this as I am.

I have enjoyed the variety of people from across the political spectrum that have commented on, tweeted or messaged me about my posts.  It’s funny how sometimes I wrote things that I was really pleased with and no one seemed to notice.  At other times I would rush off something that I was unsure of and it would seem to hit the mark.  Occasionally people seem to feel that they could be rude as opposed to simply disagreeing with me.  It bothered me a bit at first but not anymore.


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Ed’s team: the argument for greybeards

01/12/2010, 12:00:54 PM

by John McTernan

What does Ed most need? A double dip recession? No, the cost to our people would be so great that any political benefit would surely not be worth while. A catastrophic error on the part of the government? Well, first – it’s not in his hands. And, second, there are too many to choose from – benefit cuts, NHS reorganisation, the so-called strategic defence review (aircraft carriers without any aircraft), housing policy, the list just goes on.

No, he needs luck. Napoleon was right when he said that the most important quality he demanded from generals was that they were lucky. How do you get lucky? In the immortal words of Arnold Palmer, you practise. So, how does Ed practise for luck? He plans. And he staffs.

Staff. The most underestimated element of any political machine [disclosure: I am a recovering staffer]. But the flurry of speculation around the promotion of Stewart Wood and the move of Katy Myler back to the private sector speak to a truth. A good team is so often the difference between success and failure for politicians (as, in truth, for leaders in almost any setting.) (more…)

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The Tories are handing defence to Jim Murphy, says John McTernan

18/10/2010, 04:00:08 PM

The first rule of spin club is that there’s no such thing as spin club. The
second rule of spin club is that there’s no such thing as spin. Why? Because
the members of spin club, if such a thing existed (which it doesn’t), know that spin never stays spun. It always unravels.

David Cameron and Liam Fox are going to find this out the hard way this
week. Presentationally, the run-up to the strategic defence and security review (SDSR) has been almost perfect. Liam Fox’s leaked letter set out the
prospect of cuts that would be so deep they would devastate our forces.
It also set up a villain – the treasury. With the scene set, the prime minister was able to ride to the rescue. And briefings over the weekend suggested that the defence budget had got a great deal – only an eight per cent cut. (more…)

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The week Uncut

18/07/2010, 07:06:04 PM

Are we nearly there yet? The road trip to party conference in Manchester rolls on and the kids have started to get a bit tetchy in the back. 

This week Ed M made some newfriends, Ed B kept his aim firmly on Gove, Andy went after Lansley, David came out as anti-zombie, Diane picked on the boys (again). And Peter managed to upset just about everyone else.

In case you missed them, here are half a dozen of Uncut’s best read pieces of the last seven days:

Dan Hodges defends the man we love to blame

Guest editor John McTernan stirs it up

Sadiq Khan rebutts John Woodcock’s critique of Ed Miliband’s labour market views

Kevin Meagher predicts tears for the Yes campaign

Sunny Hundal says we should play to win

Tory sub editors make £200 million vanish without a trace… almost

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The week Uncut

26/06/2010, 01:37:54 PM

A fullish week for June: a big Commons debate on the strategic defence review, an ‘emergency’ budget, the first ever select committee elections and David Miliband’s desert island discs.

The most important thing in all of which was George Osborne’s demeanour. It was a political coming of age. An uncertain boy made man by the advantages of office. For the first time in his Parliamentary career, he knew what he was talking about.  He had the facts at his fingertips; the fat ballast of her majesty’s treasury behind him. (more…)

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John McTernan on Militant, muppets and the coalition budget

22/06/2010, 05:51:09 PM

Some commentators compare Danny Alexander to a missing member of the Sesame Street cast. While such disrespect may annoy and upset him, he’s lucky to be described in such cuddly terms. For when I listen to him and his Lib Dem colleagues, I hear echoes of something far worse and far more sinister – the Militant Tendency.

Admittedly there aren’t the hand gestures, but there is the absolute conviction of the convert to a totalising ideology. By which I mean an ideology that can offer an explanation for every woe. For Trotskyists, it’s capitalist monopolies that wreck lives; the solution: nationalisation. For the coalition, it’s debt; the solution – deep cuts in spending. (more…)

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Stop speaking with forked tongues on Trident, says John McTernan

11/06/2010, 06:46:12 AM

So the 80s revival doesn’t only stretch to big hair and cheesy music. Unilateralism is back and it’s just as toxic as that other political revival, mass unemployment (coming to a community near you shortly.)

It is a real shame that the entry of Diane Abbott into the Labour leadership race has pulled the centre of gravity of the debate to the left. (Indeed it’s a real shame that Abbott has entered the race. Just what we didn’t need – another Oxbridge graduate, though this time one with a track record of voting with the Tories.) (more…)

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John McTernan on Scottish reaction to Danny Alexander’s razor gang

03/06/2010, 04:51:47 PM

A cruel truth of politics is that it is not enough to succeed; truly to get ahead one’s friends must fail. The extraordinarily swift fall of David Laws has ended whatever honeymoon the coalition might have had, but has accelerated the rise of Danny Alexander. His talent combined with his closeness to Nick Clegg have marked Alexander for long-term success. He now has one of the highest offices of state, at the most testing of times and faces the most difficult challenge within his own party – the Scottish Question.

The frame for next year’s Scottish Parliamentary elections is being constructed at the moment. For the SNP it will be a return to the general election claim that “more Nats means less cuts”. An unlikely proposition last month, it will seem even less persuasive next year. The eurozone’s struggles, coming so soon after  Ireland’s retrenchment and austerity, give the lie to the notion that there is an easy bolt hole anywhere outside the UK. (more…)

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