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James Landale

James Landale Deputy political editor

Come here to find out who is saying what to whom at Westminster and what it may mean for you

The self-doubter behind Thatcherism

4 April 2014
Keith Joseph and Margaret Thatcher in 1976

Forty years ago a man called Keith Joseph had what alcoholics call a moment of clarity.

After years as a typical big-spending, intervene-at-all-times-of-day Conservative Cabinet minister, he suddenly changed his mind. "I have never really been a Conservative," he declared.

Electoral defeat in 1974 lifted the shutters from his eyes and allowed him to reconsider his entire approach to politics and economics. The ailing British economy, he decided, needed more enterprise and less inflation, more freedom and less government.

And so began Joseph's campaign to change the so-called post-war consensus of British politics, where ministers, unions and businessmen collaborated in the public good and used government cash to intervene in the economy to boost demand and jobs as inflation grew ever higher.

It was a campaign that ultimately helped change the way everyone thought about politics and led directly to Margaret Thatcher's transformation of the United Kingdom.

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Unite's Len McCluskey warns over Labour 'defeat' in 2015

1 April 2014
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey
The Unite leader said Labour lacked a "coherent vision"

The leader of Britain's biggest trade union has warned Ed Miliband Unite could break its links with Labour if the party loses the next election.

Len McCluskey told reporters he could see the union voting to disaffiliate from a defeated Labour if it ceased to be the voice of working people.

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Labour is nervous

25 March 2014

Like a breeze on an open sea, ripples of uncertainty are spreading across Labour's ranks at Westminster.

Labour MPs know that if the opinion polls stay roughly the same as they are now then the party should win a majority at the general election.

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Budget highlights philosophical divide

20 March 2014
Budget debate

The irony of the Budget is that it touched on one of the core philosophical differences between Labour and the Conservatives and yet few seem to have noticed.

The central idea in George Osborne's reform is that people should have greater choice over how they spend their pension savings.

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EU poll talk puts smile on PM's face

12 March 2014

When prime ministers travel abroad, more often than not crises blow up at home.

There then ensues a frantic process whereby Downing Street officials desperately try to find out what is happening.

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Prime minister's belief in Israel 'unbreakable'

12 March 2014

David Cameron came to the Middle East to encourage the Israelis and Palestinians to sign up to a US diplomatic process designed to get both sides talking.

Yet his speech to the Israeli parliament was notable for its lack of edge.

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Questions over Labour jobs plan

10 March 2014

Labour's jobs guarantee is the kind of policy that gets party strategists weak at the knees.

Not only is it designed to tackle long term unemployment but it also hopes to cut welfare spending too.

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UKIP: 'No skeletons in my cupboard'

28 February 2014

If you want evidence of how UKIP is trying to become more professional, look no further than the form potential candidates have to fill out, a copy of which I have obtained at the party's conference in Torquay.

Wannabe UKIP candidates have to declare the following:

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Floods: Are politicians more Canute than can-do?

11 February 2014
David Cameron
David Cameron has admitted that extreme weather events are hard to overcome

It was on the marshy banks of the Thames at what would subsequently become Westminster that King Canute supposedly battled the incoming flood tide.

He placed his throne on the beach and commanded the rising waters to halt to show his impotence at the face of the elements.

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Good signs for UKIP in Wythenshawe?

6 February 2014
Nigel Farage
Nigel Farage's party has had much to cheer after recent by-elections

The Wythenshawe and Sale East by- election is dull.

There is no getting away from it. I have spent a day driving round this corner of southern Manchester and there is hardly a poster to be seen. The streets do not heave with canvassers.

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About James

James has been walking the streets and corridors of Westminster for almost two decades. He has worked in his current role as the BBC's deputy political editor since July 2009. Before that he spent five years as chief political correspondent leading all 24-hour news coverage from Westminster.

He has presented programmes such as The Andrew Marr Show, The Westminster Hour, The World This Weekend, Broadcasting House, Daily Politics and Straight Talk.

James joined the BBC in 2003 after a spending a decade at The Times newspaper, primarily as a political correspondent in the Westminster lobby. He also worked as the paper's Brussels correspondent and assistant foreign news editor.

He has written two books, Duel: A True Story of Death and Honour and Landale's Cautionary Tales: Comic Verse for the 21st Century.

He lives with his family in Hampshire.

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