Donald Macintyre

Donald Macintyre writes political sketches for The Independent, having been Jerusalem correspondent since 2004, covering Israel and the Occupied Territories, as well as travelling for the paper to Iraq, Turkey, Jordan, Libya and Egypt. As Political Editor and then Chief Political Commentator, he previously covered the John Major and early Tony Blair era. He has written for the Daily Express, Sunday Times, Times and Sunday Telegraph, and Sunday Correspondent. He is the author of Mandelson and the Making of New Labour (2000).

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Donald Macintyre's Lib Dem Conference Sketch: Nick Clegg's triumph of the uvular fricative

It was Nick Clegg’s one unexpected masterstroke especially on the eve of the Clacton by-election: pronouncing Nigel Farage’s name in French! As in Farrrrhage. From the back of the throat. This carried the heavy freight of the Ukip leader’s (albeit distant) Huguenot ancestry. “Farage is of immigrant stock,” was surely the undoubted subtext. Forget about Tony Blair’s famous glottal stop. Never has the uvular fricative been used to such deadly effect!  

Donald Macintyre's Lib Dem Conference Sketch: The party’s Likely Lad stakes his claim to be the lad most likely

Maybe only Tim Farron, the Liberal Democrats’ own Likely Lad, could have got away with it. “This is a Liberal moment,” the party’s outgoing President announced. “Let’s grab it.” This was a little on the wild side, given the Lib Dems’ dismal poll ratings. Naturally, it brought a rapturous conference to its feet.

Donald Macintyre's Lib Dem Conference Sketch: ‘In case you missed what I said:’ a note from Vince to Ed

Dear Ed

You’re probably feeling a bit down at the moment, so I thought I’d drop you a fraternal note from Glasgow, enclosing a copy of my speech, which went down very well.

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg at the annual party conference

Donald Macintyre's Lib Dem Conference Sketch: Like a band breaking up and arguing about who wrote the songs

If the Rose Garden in 2010 was the joyous wedding, this is certainly the Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? stage of a noisy marriage breakdown, with the couple for some reason determined to stay together despite irreconcilable differences.

Donald Macintyre's Tory Conference Sketch: David Cameron found both his inner rap artist and passion

Never mind whether David Cameron has discovered his inner passion; he’s certainly discovered his inner rap artist. Step forward Davey C, boss party rhymer. “History... is written... in the decisions we make today/and that starts next May/I say, let’s not go back to square one/let’s finish what we have begun/let’s build a Britain we’re proud to call home, for you, for your family, for everyone.”

Donald Macintyre's Tory Party Conference Sketch: Boris Johnson's jokes still pack a punch, but Theresa May landed the big hits

Boris Johnson had to overcome a hurdle greater than the mere defection to Ukip of his former deputy today: the earlier magisterial, grimly serious and rather scary speech by the 'Woman in Black', his sworn leadership rival, Theresa May. As she explained: “I am going to talk to you about the deadly terrorist threat we face.” Which she did. At length. How could Boris compete with her concentrated gravitas?   

Donald Macintyre's Sketch: Hobson’s choice – or is it Osborne’s?

It’s just possible that George Osborne’s peroration “Choose Jobs. Choose Enterprise. Choose Security. Choose Prosperity… Choose David Cameron… Choose the future” was a conscious, if  eccentric, homage to No-voting Scotland.

David Cameron’s decision to approve air strikes against Isis is dividing opinion

Donald Macintyre's Sketch: At least 2003’s gung-ho mood was gone from the Commons

The anxious mood in which Parliament agreed to go to war today was summed up well by Frank Dobson. “Nobody… can be certain the policies we are being asked to endorse will succeed,” said the Labour veteran, adding that given the history of Western intervention in the Middle East the “odds look as though we won’t”.

Donald Macintyre's Sketch: Fairytale of New York is a comfort to delegates

There’s a good line in the film City Hall when, just before a press conference, John Cusack tells the New York mayor, played by Al Pacino: “You look good.”

Donald Macintyre's Sketch: Ed Miliband can do anything – even bring peace to the Middle East

Here’s the thing, friends. Some people think of Ed Miliband as an ivory-tower intellectual, stuck up there in Dartmouth Park; nice guy, but lacking the common touch. Surrounded by wonks. Not a man of the people.

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