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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

Autumn Statement: Osborne's political balancing act

George Osborne

George Osborne is trying to change the subject. For months now the national conversation has been dominated by everything the Conservatives would rather avoid: defections and by-elections, Europe and UKIP, crises in A&E, immigration and yet more immigration.

These are all issues that either favour the Conservatives' opponents or stop them talking about their chosen agenda, namely the economy.

So to clear the decks, the prime minister announced his plans for immigration on Friday. The aim here was to close down the issue and give the Tory faithful something to say to UKIP.

And then on Sunday the chancellor announced his plans for more NHS spending. The aim here was to neutralise Labour's traditional comparative advantage on health. (The chancellor tried to link the economy with health, saying that only a strong economy could provide the funds needed by the NHS. For some reason, he chose not to say that it is also a strong economy that attracts so many immigrants from abroad.)

The purpose of all this, Downing Street insiders say, is "to clear the boulders out of the way" so the path is clear for the chancellor to talk about the economy and his plan, long-term or not.

Collective decisions

Read full article Autumn Statement: Osborne's political balancing act

Gordon Brown: Giant of his age or failed prime minister?

Gordon Brown
Gordon Brown is set to step down as an MP after 32 years

To his opponents, Gordon Brown was one of the worst prime ministers of the post-war era, a man whose ambition outpaced his ability.

To his supporters, he was a giant of his age, a politician who helped save the global economy and the United Kingdom. He could be brilliant and inspirational. He could be insecure and suspicious.

Read full article Gordon Brown: Giant of his age or failed prime minister?

What Scotland deal would mean for UK

Yes campaigners during the referendum
The promise made by UK politicians during the campaign is the most important commitment in recent years

If Scotland gets the powers promised to it by the Smith commission, the consequences will be felt across the whole of the United Kingdom.

First, there will be increased demands for more devolution elsewhere.

Read full article What Scotland deal would mean for UK

David Cameron and his new opponent - 'Colin the commentator'

The Chamber of the House of Commons during a recent debate on Scottish devolution
MPs have time on their hands and a lot to ruminate about as the election approaches

David Cameron has identified a new opponent and his name is Colin.

The prime minister wants Conservative MPs to stop talking about politics as if they are observers rather than participants.

Read full article David Cameron and his new opponent - 'Colin the commentator'

The future for our Parliament in an era of anti-politics

The Chamber of the House of Commons during a recent debate on Scottish devolution
MPs are counting down the clock to the general election, with key decisions put off until after the poll

Take a stroll around the corridors of Westminster these days and it will not take you long to pass a parade of gloomy faces: MPs rarely troubled by legislation in these dog days of an enforced five-year Parliament, hanging around with little to do but fret about the future.

Their fear is not just the personal uncertainty of an approaching general election. It is also the sense that the old political order is changing and they perhaps are being left behind.

Read full article The future for our Parliament in an era of anti-politics

Labour's morale problem

Ed Miliband

So what is up with Labour?

Well, here at Westminster we have a technical term for it: the party is having a wobble.

Read full article Labour's morale problem

Conservatives criticise 'two day a week' Baker

Norman Baker
The Lib Dems have defended Mr Baker's record in the Home Office

Norman Baker left office with a few passing shots at Theresa May's lack of collegiality, saying he was treated like a "cuckoo in the nest" at the Home Office where it was "like walking through mud".

He said he was resigning to take a break from all this so he could spend some more time with his family and his music.

Read full article Conservatives criticise 'two day a week' Baker

Reasons to be cheerful from Iain Duncan Smith?

Iain Duncan Smith

Borrowing may be up, immigration rising and the number of foreign prisoners stubbornly high.

But whisper it quietly: the government's plan for a new universal credit is no longer causing quite so many red faces around Whitehall.

Read full article Reasons to be cheerful from Iain Duncan Smith?

How will life change for UKIP?

Nigel Farage

UKIP has won a foothold in Westminster. This matters because it gives the party:

1) A voice in parliament. UKIP now has the chance to quiz David Cameron once a week at prime minister's questions. It can also table amendments and instigate debates. The full panoply of parliamentary pressure and publicity is now available to it.

Read full article How will life change for UKIP?

Lib Dems seek centre 'gap' as Tories and Labour shift

Political parties claim their annual conferences are a shop window to the wider world.

They speak to the country, so the jargon goes, and not to the hall.

Read full article Lib Dems seek centre 'gap' as Tories and Labour shift

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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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