Web Only: the best of the blogs

The five must-read blogs from today, including the best on the Oldham by-election and local Lib Dem

1. David Cameron made a fundamental mistake in fighting this by-election

Peter Oborne argues that the Tories should either have fought a strong by-election campaign or not have run a candidate at all. In the end, they fell beween two stools.

2. Local Lib Dem tactics? Blame Labour

LabourList's Mark Ferguson blogs on a leaked Lib Dem document suggesting that local campaigners should repeat the mantra "it's the Labour Party's fault".

3. The BNP's big decline in Oldham

The BBC's Michael Crick notes that the far-right party's vote share declined in Oldham, historically one of its strongest areas.

4. It's time to end Rose Garden politics

At ConservativeHome, Paul Goodman argues that cooler, clearer dealings between the two parties would help to calm the government.

5. Simon Hughes's progressive claims don't stack up

Over at Left Foot Forward, Will Straw says there is little evidence of the Lib Dems' "progressive influence" when it comes to the economy.

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The Brexit deal and all the other things Liam Fox finds “easiest in human history”

The international trade secretary is an experienced man. 

On the day of a report warning a no deal Brexit could result in prices rises, blocked ports and legal chaos, international trade secretary Liam Fox emerged to reassure the nation. 

He told BBC Radio 4: "If you think about it, the free trade agreement that we will have to come to with the European Union should be one of the easiest in human history.” 

Since his colleague, Brexit secretary David Davis, described Brexit negotiations as more complicated than the moon landings, this suggests we are truly lucky in the calibre of our top negotiating team. 

Just for clarification, here is the full Davis-Fox definition of easy:

Super easy: Tudor divorce

All Henry VIII had to do was break away from the Catholic Church, kickstart the Reformation, fuel religious wars in Europe, and he was married to his second wife. And his third, fourth, fifth and sixth. Plus the Henry VIII clauses are really handy for bypassing parliament in 2017.

Easy: Tea Act 1773

American colonialists were buying smuggled tea, when they could have bought East India tea instead. Luckily, the British Prime Minister Lord North, found a way to deal with the problem in a single bill. Sorted.

Bit tricky: Appeasement

So what if Neville Chamberlain had never been on an airplane before? It's hardly a moon landing. And he got peace in our time. Although he was forced to resign in 1940. Not quite as easy as he thought. 

Julia Rampen is the digital news editor of the New Statesman (previously editor of The Staggers, The New Statesman's online rolling politics blog). She has also been deputy editor at Mirror Money Online and has worked as a financial journalist for several trade magazines. 

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