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Read Hot Takes #6
Samantha Cameron is not Michelle Obama
Josh Tuck – @JoshLeNeveu
So we discovered this week that Samantha Cameron pays a ‘special fashion adviser’ up to £53,000 to tell her what to wear. Usually, special advisers are only permitted for government ministers, and they usually don’t give fashion tips. Samantha Cameron is not a government minister and frankly is one half of one of Britain’s most reviled couples after this week.
Perhaps, like her husband, she’s as lacking in common sense and real world intelligence. David's government is responsible for brutal cuts to public services and yet Samantha uses the money of ‘hard working families’ to buy nice clothes. Wonderful. All this without even bringing a contribution to the public realm. At least, in return for the public finance she receives, Michelle Obama is an influential campaigner and a vocal beacon for women’s rights.
It is difficult to believe that Samantha Cameron – a descendant of Charles II who grew up on a 300-acre estate – needs to use taxpayers’ money to employ a fashion adviser. This insidious exploitation of public finances epitomises an elite that believes it is entitled to everything, at the expense of ordinary people.
Behind every strong leader is a strong partner. And behind our Prime Minister is a person who can’t even dress herself.
The rise of the Tartan Tories
Luke Lancaster – @PopeLancaster
After three successive general election losses, the Conservative Party looked to a different direction and, in late 2005, elected David Cameron as leader.
He was thought to be the fresh young face in British politics who could unite the various ideological wings of his party and bring about electoral success. In many respects, much of his early promise has now been fulfilled. However, in my opinion, the real ‘New Tories’ of recent times are those proud followers of Ruth Davidson north of the border.
Davidson isn’t a typical Tory – there’s nothing privileged about her upbringing; Buckhaven High School is quite the contrast to Eton College. She’s a strong woman who is unafraid to defend the Union and promote compassionate conservatism. On countless occasions, she has told the First Minister to respect that her fellow Scots resoundingly said ‘No, thanks’ to independence and, for two consecutive national budgets, has urged the Chancellor of the Exchequer to drop his cuts to tax credits and PIP payments respectively.
Her style of leadership is winning much praise and, according to polling, is putting her party on course to make significant gains in the Scottish Parliament election. Many of her Holyrood candidates are cut from the same cloth also. Just last week the Scottish Daily Mail wrote an article about Annie Wells, the party’s working-class candidate in Glasgow Provan, who had deferred to Labour for many years, but had returned to the Conservative Party to fight for the values of creation and opportunity.
This new coalition of modern, down-to-earth Conservatives may yet sweep Davidson and her colleagues to second place and displace Scottish Labour as the Official Opposition. Such a thought would have previously been inconceivable, but Team Ruth have no interest in capping their ambitions, electorally or otherwise.
Liberated from the Labour Party: Why I have defected to the Liberal Democrats
Jack Worrall – @WorrallJack
As some of you might know, I recently defected from the once great Labour Party to the Liberal Democrats.
Having been a member of the Lib Dems for a few weeks now, I have noticed some remarkable differences to Labour.
The first thing you notice when you make the jump from Labour to the Lib Dems is that you don't get abused by your own party. Yes, gone are the days where I had to sit quietly, listening to the son of Harry Leslie-Smith calling my ideas "compromises" and "Tory-lite".
Instead, I was overwhelmed by the support I received from Liberal Democrats who welcomed me with open arms and an open heart. Young Labour is like a mafia club. It's almost impossible to get invited to a campaigning event but, when you do, you are in for good.
In all my months of Labour Party membership I was not asked once by anyone outside of my university party to attend a campaigning event. This is in stark contrast to my current party. Indeed, as soon as I stepped foot in the Liberal Democrats I was asked to put my talents to good use.
Having cancelled my membership of Labour and joined the Liberal Democrats I can say this: I have no regrets whatsoever. No regrets that I don't have to deal with anti-Semitism. No regrets that I don't have to deal with abuse. And no regrets that I can actually do what I love: campaigning for a fairer, more democratic Britain.
Two scandals and a strong whiff of inevitability
Kishan Koria – @Kishan_Koria
Spare a thought for the Sunday Times. When their ‘insight’ team last week delivered an exposé on doping in sport they perhaps justifiably thought it would set the agenda. Little did they know that by the evening #panamapapers would start trending worldwide. It has barely since stopped.
But there is a notable similarity between the Sunday Times scoop and the furore surrounding the leak of documents from Mossack Fonseca.
Neither doping nor tax avoidance are new revelations. Had you asked the public prior to the developments of this week whether they believed athletes engaged in illegal use of performance enhancing drugs, or whether they suspected the world’s super-rich engaged in elaborate schemes to keep their fortunes out of the taxman’s hands, the response would have been unanimously in the affirmative.
Our appetite for outrage often seems limited by a sense of inevitability that these practices occur. Perhaps such resignation is justified. The lack of power nation-states have to unilaterally prevent tax avoidance is seemingly as evident as the impotence of the various sporting authorities to stamp out doping, despite their claims to the contrary.
The world’s wealthiest individuals and high-flying athletes amass between them considerable power. Whether it’s doping or offshore hoarding, as particular forms of cheating the system are cracked down on new practices are established, making impropriety increasingly hard to trace. We can only watch and wonder whether any exposure will spark the discovery of a solution. I wouldn’t hold your breath.