Web Only: the best of the blogs

The five must-read blogs from today, on left-wing bloggers, Nigel Farage and Charles Clarke

1. The online left thinks 2010 will be their year

Guido Fawkes blogs on James Crabtree's NS piece and predicts that the growth of the online left could help "consign the Labour Party to irrelevance for a good while".

2. The Noughties were Britain's first Tory-free decade

Over at Next Left, Sunder Katwala notes that the Noughties were only the second decade in modern British political history (after the Eighties) of one-party rule.

3. Buckingham Tories ordered by CCHQ to campaign for John Bercow or stay silent

ConservativeHome's Tim Montgomerie blogs on David Cameron's warning that he will eject anyone found campaigning for Ukip's Nigel Farage at the next election.

4. 10 key Lib Dem questions for 2010

Over at Liberal Democrat Voice, Stephen Tall lists the ten key questions his party must answer next year.

5. No ifs, no buts: Gordon is here to stay -- so let's get on with it

LabourList's Jack Scott says that Charles Clarke has made a fool of himself by calling for Gordon Brown to resign (again). He warns: "Changing the leader doesn't make it any easier to change our country."

 

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Our new relationship with the EU may be a lot like the old one

For all the tough mood music, Theresa May has left room for concessions.

I'm sad and dismayed, but that's democracy for you.

The Mail is in a cheerier mood. "Freedom!" is their splash. "Dear EU, We're Leaving You" cheers the Express' while "Dear EU, it's time to go" is the Mirror's splash. "Dover & Out!" roars the Sun, who have projected those same words on the white cliffs of, you guessed it, Dover. "May Signs Us Out!" is the Metro's take.

"Brexit begins" is the i's more equivocal splash, "The eyes of history are watching" is the Times' take, while the Guardian opts for "Today Britain steps into the unknown".

The bigger story isn't the letter but its content, which leads the FT: "May signs historic Brexit letter and opens way for compromise". The government is finessing its red line on the competence of the European Court of Justice. (The word in Whitehall is that Theresa May hadn't grasped the importance of the ECJ as an arbitration mechanism after Brexit and for cross-border matters such as flights when she made her conference speech.)  And the PM has done a good job of not ruling out continuing payments to the European Union, her best path to the deal Britain needs.

A lot depends on what happens to the British economy between now and March 2019. The pound is down still further today but whether that's a minor eruption or the start of sustained losses will have significant consequences on how painful Britain's best path to the access we need to the single market - paying over the odds for the parts of membership that the British government wants to keep and swallowing that £50bn divorce bill - is doable or not.

For all the mood music emanating from May, she's quietly done a good job of clearing the obstacles to a deal where Britain controls its own immigration policy, continues to staff Europol and to participate in European-wide research, the bulk of our regulation is set by Brussels de facto if not de jure and we pay, say £250m a week into Brussels.

Our new relationship with the EU may be rather closer to our old one than we currently expect.

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to British politics.