What's on the PM's mind?

The cosy-up between Brown and Thatcher gets a mixed response from political bloggers as some ask if

As news broke this week that Margaret Thatcher was returning to Downing Street to take tea with the present incumbent, Benedict
Brogan
wondered – in the light of Gordon Brown’s recent appointments – whether there was an ulterior motive: "Mr Brown has already riled the Tories by claiming that he – and not David Cameron – is a conviction politician of the Iron Lady mold. Might he go one step further today and find a task force for her to chair?"

While, The
Huntsman
wondered if the meeting of minds was not for a simpler reason: "Perhaps he is asking what he should do with those pesky unions as he faces his very own ‘Winter of Discontent’."

The cosying-up of Thatcher and Brown was seen by some on the Right as a rallying call to a damning indictment of Cameron. Many on the left saw it as a betrayal of Old Labour by Brown, but Snowflake5
was more philosophical: "Some in Labour will raise eyebrows at this, given the hurt she inflicted on the country in the early 80s. But we’re comfortably in power now, and vengeance isn’t part of the Labour character.

"We can afford to be magnanimous and kind to a very old lady who is clearly still upset at events of the past."

In an interesting analysis of the political tactics at the heart of the meeting between the two "conviction politicians", Dizzy
Thinks
began: "The master strategist and tactician Brown does it again and has turned the lady who was not for turning they say. Brown has played Cameron for the pygmy chump that he is."

But concluded: "Gordon Brown may very well be a master strategist and tactician, but yesterday his ego and overriding desire to destabilise Cameron exposed his flank, and a superior master of the game exploited it savagely."

In a two-pronged attack on the Conservatives on the day they launched the Blueprint for a Green Economy, Labour announced they would be hiring Saatchi & Saatchi (of "Labour isn’t working" fame) for their election campaign.

href="http://www.order-order.com/2007/09/saatchi-saatchi-win-labour-advertisin...">Guido
Fawkes saw the move as a cynical reaction to the perception of modern
politics: “The Times reports Populus research which shows that Brown is perceived by voters to have moved to the right and Cameron’s Conservatives are perceived to have moved to the left. So with increasingly little difference between the brands, it may all come down to marketing.”

Meanwhile, Will
Howells
has suggested a couple of failed Saatchi & Saatchi campaigns which may have been taken to LDHQ (“Not merciless, just Ming”) and CCHQ (“Not anything really. Just Dave”).

Owen Walker is a journalist for a number of titles within Financial Times Business, primarily focussing on pensions. He recently graduated from Cardiff University’s newspaper journalism post-graduate course and is cursed by a passion for Crystal Palace FC.
Steve Garry
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The footie is back. Three weeks in and what have we learned so far?

Barcleys, boots and big names... the Prem is back.

Another season, another reason for making whoopee cushions and giving them to Spurs fans to cheer them up during the long winter afternoons ahead. What have we learned so far?

Big names are vital. Just ask the manager of the Man United shop. The arrival of Schneiderlin and Schweinsteiger has done wonders for the sale of repro tops and they’ve run out of letters. Benedict Cumberbatch, please join Carlisle United. They’re desperate for some extra income.

Beards are still in. The whole Prem is bristling with them, the skinniest, weediest player convinced he’s Andrea Pirlo. Even my young friend and neighbour Ed Miliband has grown a beard, according to his holiday snaps. Sign him.

Boots Not always had my best specs on, but here and abroad I detect a new form of bootee creeping in – slightly higher on the ankle, not heavy-plated as in the old days but very light, probably made from the bums of newborn babies.

Barclays Still driving me mad. Now it’s screaming from the perimeter boards that it’s “Championing the true Spirit of the Game”. What the hell does that mean? Thank God this is its last season as proud sponsor of the Prem.

Pitches Some groundsmen have clearly been on the weeds. How else can you explain the Stoke pitch suddenly having concentric circles, while Southampton and Portsmouth have acquired tartan stripes? Go easy on the mowers, chaps. Footballers find it hard enough to pass in straight lines.

Strips Have you seen the Everton third kit top? Like a cheap market-stall T-shirt, but the colour, my dears, the colour is gorgeous – it’s Thames green. Yes, the very same we painted our front door back in the Seventies. The whole street copied, then le toot middle classes everywhere.

Scott Spedding Which international team do you think he plays for? I switched on the telly to find it was rugby, heard his name and thought, goodo, must be Scotland, come on, Scotland. Turned out to be the England-France game. Hmm, must be a member of that famous Cumbrian family, the Speddings from Mirehouse, where Tennyson imagined King Arthur’s Excalibur coming out the lake. Blow me, Scott Spedding turns out to be a Frenchman. Though he only acquired French citizenship last year, having been born and bred in South Africa. What’s in a name, eh?

Footballers are just so last season. Wayne Rooney and Harry Kane can’t score. The really good ones won’t come here – all we get is the crocks, the elderly, the bench-warmers, yet still we look to them to be our saviour. Oh my God, let’s hope we sign Falcao, he’s a genius, will make all the difference, so prayed all the Man United fans. Hold on: Chelsea fans. I’ve forgotten now where he went. They seek him here, they seek him there, is he alive or on the stairs, who feckin’ cares?

John Stones of Everton – brilliant season so far, now he is a genius, the solution to all of Chelsea’s problems, the heir to John Terry, captain of England for decades. Once he gets out of short trousers and learns to tie his own laces . . .

Managers are the real interest. So refreshing to have three young British managers in the Prem – Alex Neil at Norwich (34), Eddie Howe at Bournemouth (37) and that old hand at Swansea, Garry Monk, (36). Young Master Howe looks like a ball boy. Or a tea boy.

Mourinho is, of course, the main attraction. He has given us the best start to any of his seasons on this planet. Can you ever take your eyes off him? That handsome hooded look, that sarcastic sneer, the imperious hand in the air – and in his hair – all those languages, he’s so clearly brilliant, and yet, like many clever people, often lacking in common sense. How could he come down so heavily on Eva Carneiro, his Chelsea doctor? Just because you’re losing? Yes, José has been the best fun so far – plus Chelsea’s poor start. God, please don’t let him fall out with Abramovich. José, we need you.

Hunter Davies is a journalist, broadcaster and profilic author perhaps best known for writing about the Beatles. He is an ardent Tottenham fan and writes a regular column on football for the New Statesman.

This article first appeared in the 27 August 2015 issue of the New Statesman, Isis and the new barbarism