Voices Labour leader Ed Miliband during a Q&A session at the Standard Life building in Edinburgh, Thursday 7 November

Some Labour figures worry that the party leader is overdoing the anti-business rhetoric

Tory Europhiles may be heroic but they are stuck in a terrible hole

IT CANNOT be much fun being a pro-European Conservative at the moment. Probably it has not been a bundle of laughs for many years, but at least until the last election the Tory Europhiles occupied some of the big offices in government. Now the leadership, with the support of most members, marches the party further towards an unswerving Euroscepticism. What is more, the most likely successor, when not charming television viewers on the joys of Spanish railways, takes an even more inflexible position on Europe, accompanied by the doting approval of the newspapers. The present is bad, but the future looks even worse.

What this Government needs is a whole lot more of Tony's cronies

SINCE THE election, one Tory attack on the government has hit home. Utter the two dreaded words "Tony's cronies" and ministers shiver, Tories cheer, and journalists exchange knowing nods. To the left of us, to the right of us and down the middle Tony's mates are meant to be everywhere.

Ready To Pounce

Michael Heseltine, once described as 'the biggest beast in the Tory jungle', has gone to ground. But according to his friend and former colleague, it is only a matter of time before he emerges from his lair

Declare for the euro now, Mr Blair. But, above all, stop the dithering

The euro will quickly emerge as a major reserve currency and world trade denominator

Mandelson and the Ministry of Sorrows

WHEN PETER MANDELSON was appointed Secretary of State for Trade and Industry in July this column said he would not last very long. That was not to denigrate his abilities or doubt his capacity to handle the brief. Rather, it was a recognition of the fact that the Department of Trade and Industry has become the most accident-prone department in Whitehall.

Outlook: Business already has the knowledge

PETER MANDELSON asks us to put aside our cynicism and embrace his vision of the "knowledge-driven economy" with the same gusto that accompanied its unveiling in the House of Commons yesterday. The problem is we have been here before - with Lord Young a decade ago, with Michael Heseltine in the more recent past and just a month ago with the Chancellor, who appears to have stolen much of Mr Mandelson's thunder in his pre-Budget statement.

At last, good old anger is back with us

THE SHOCK is almost too much. On Wednesday afternoon, after a long period of the most anodyne politics I can recall in this country, normal service was suddenly resumed. A senior government minister took a decision that outraged the Leader of the Opposition, sent Baroness Thatcher into near-apoplexy and infuriated headline writers in what we used fondly to call "the Tory press". They all raged impotently but there was nothing they could do - short of hiring a helicopter and organising an Entebbe- style raid on Virginia Water, which would surely give pause even to Lady Thatcher - to prevent General Augusto Pinochet, late of the 1st Torturers, Santiago Division, being hauled before Belmarsh magistrates' court on Friday afternoon.

Net Gains: Let Noel eat "cake"

www.rethink.demon.co.uk/ laugh.htm

Three Who Spilled Official Secrets

SARAH TISDALL

Portillo forced to pledge his loyalty

THE TORY leader, William Hague, forced Michael Portillo to make a pledge of loyalty yesterday after the former cabinet minister was accused of plotting against him.

Suddenly it's no longer whether we embrace the euro, but when

Pennies are beginning to drop in Whitehall about the exchange rate at which Britain would go in

Tories lost touch with business, says Norman

ARCHIE NORMAN, the Asda supermarket chief and vice-chairman of the Conservative Party, yesterday apologised for the way the previous Government had lost touch with its business supporters and urged them to join an "enterprise alliance" to fight back against New Labour.

Blair insider's middle-class revolution

PHILIP GOULD, one of the main architects of New Labour, isdrawing up the next phase of the "Blair project". It would amount to a revolution in British politics, with Labour merging with the Liberal Democrats to form a governing coalition based unashamedly on the support of Britain's middle classes.

Post Office sell-off is abandoned

THE GOVERNMENT is to reject proposals to privatise the Post Office and will instead allow the organisation greater commercial freedom in the public sector.

Blair loyalist set to challenge Livingstone in mayoralty race

PAULINE GREEN, a Labour Euro MP, may emerge as Tony Blair's preferred candidate as Mayor of London in an attempt to stop Ken Livingstone winning the nomination.
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