Pick of the Week

A selection of posts made on this week.

Mehdi Hasan exposes Labour's framing failures, and blogs on Islamophobia and the Leveson inquiry.

George Eaton explains why the UK's £1 trillion debt is no cause for panic, and sees Ed Miliband raise his game at PMQs.

Samira Shackle says Stephen Hester's £963,000 bonus is a distraction, and explains why the benefit cap is unfair.

Helen Lewis looks at media sexism and the Leveson inquiry.

Jonathan Derbyshire marks the arrival of Le Huff Po.

Laurie Penny says British journalists are taught to be dishonest.

Gavin Kelly explains why all three party leaders may want to avoid the subject of living standards in 2015.

Nelson Jones assesses Egypt's conservative revolution, and asks if there is a religion for atheists.

Steve Baxter argues that Leveson is right to allow anonymous witnesses, and says no politician really knows what to do about "the squeezed middle".

And Gina Allum asks if there is any stopping Downton Abbey.

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No, David Cameron’s speech was not “left wing”

Come on, guys.

There is a strange journalistic phenomenon that occurs when a party leader makes a speech. It is a blend of groupthink, relief, utter certainty, and online backslapping. It happened particularly quickly after David Cameron’s speech to Tory party conference today. A few pundits decided that – because he mentioned, like, diversity and social mobility – this was a centre-left speech. A leftwing speech, even. Or at least a clear grab for the liberal centre ground. And so that’s what everyone now believes. The analysis is decided. The commentary is written. Thank God for that.

Really? It’s quite easy, even as one of those nasty, wicked Tories, to mention that you actually don’t much like racism, and point out that you’d quite like poor children to get jobs, without moving onto Labour's "territory". Which normal person is in favour of discriminating against someone on the basis of race, or blocking opportunity on the basis of class? Of course he’s against that. He’s a politician operating in a liberal democracy. And this isn’t Ukip conference.

Looking at the whole package, it was actually quite a rightwing speech. It was a paean to defence – championing drones, protecting Britain from the evils of the world, and getting all excited about “launching the biggest aircraft carriers in our history”.

It was a festival of flagwaving guff about the British “character”, a celebration of shoehorning our history chronologically onto the curriculum, looking towards a “Greater Britain”, asking for more “national pride”. There was even a Bake Off pun.

He also deployed the illiberal device of inculcating a divide-and-rule fear of the “shadow of extremism – hanging over every single one of us”, informing us that children in UK madrassas are having their “heads filled with poison and their hearts filled with hate”, and saying Britain shouldn’t be “overwhelmed” with refugees, before quickly changing the subject to ousting Assad. How unashamedly centrist, of you, Mr Prime Minister.

Benefit cuts and a reduction of tax credits will mean the Prime Minister’s enthusiasm for “equality of opportunity, as opposed to equality of outcome” will be just that – with the outcome pretty bleak for those who end up losing any opportunity that comes with state support. And his excitement about diversity in his cabinet rings a little hollow the day following a tubthumping anti-immigration speech from his Home Secretary.

If this year's Tory conference wins the party votes, it’ll be because of its conservative commitment – not lefty love bombing.

Anoosh Chakelian is deputy web editor at the New Statesman.