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Simon Carr

Simon Carr

The Independent's parliamentary sketch writer and columnist since 2000, Simon Carr was described by Tony Blair as "the most vicious sketch writer working in Britain today". "Poison," said Charles Clarke.

In the 1980s he helped launch The Independent, and was a speech writer for the prime minister of New Zealand from 1992 to 1994. His working principle is "Indignation keeps us young."

The Sketch: The denial of a man who cannot accept being wrong

"Remember," one Labour backbencher murmured to me yesterday, "it's his finger on the nuclear button." He meant the actual nuclear button, not some other sanction of vast destructive power and unlimited casualties, like calling a general election. We were considering, I'm sorry to say, the possibility of a total psychological collapse in the Prime Minister.

Recently by Simon Carr

The Sketch: Tired and lonely gorilla is an endangered species

Thursday, 8 May 2008

But everything the poor fellow does now will be mocked, discounted and twisted (see below). If he puts his hand over his eyes in a public meeting, a storm of flash guns will go off and the next day's headlines will blaze: "He just can't face it!"

The Sketch: Tired Labour gazes into the abyss

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

The world is changed, our political world at least, but it was hard in the House to tell the survivors from the victims.

The Sketch: Gordon may be listening – but he's not really hearing

Monday, 5 May 2008

Poor Gordon. He's got to be contrite but purposeful, chastened but confident, unbending but flexible, learning but leading. It needs a suite of skills that he's a bit too old to pick up quickly.

The Sketch: Whether or not Boris wins, the gentlemen are back in the game

Friday, 2 May 2008

It's amateurs vs professionals. That's the current theme, or narrative of politics just now.

The Sketch: Punchy PM may have boxed himself into a corner over dodgy campaign loans

Thursday, 1 May 2008

There was Judy from Cameron, but from Brown it was Punch and Punch again. Cameron was "a shallow salesman" and nice young Nick was "Calamity Clegg". But the Speaker had called for more decorum, and in the quieter exchanges the arguments came through even to us, the easily distracted.

The Sketch: You need an ice pick to get an apology out of the PM

Wednesday, 30 April 2008

It was William Hague's deft phrase when our main contender was feeling out support for the EU presidency. Tony Blair was "on manoeuvres". So it is for Jack Straw. He is out and about. It is all to play for. He is a one-man masterclass in manoeuvrability.

The Sketch: Frankly, it's Field who has solution to Gordon's woes

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Is it cynical to think this is sensible? Or sensible to think it cynical? It's probably cynical to think it cynical but then it's the way they do things round here.

The Sketch: No letters left to describe Brown's U-turns

Friday, 25 April 2008

All Gordon's recent problems are self-inflicted. Even the premiership is self-inflicted. It's marvellous to have such a coherent storyline. Every month we enter a new phase of self-infliction. As we've been pointing out for a year now, these tax changes and much else originated in Gordon's desire to wrong-foot the Tories. The "long-term decisions" have been quickly replaced by long-term decisions going the other way. After so many U-turns our alphabet is unable to describe what is happening. We wentbeyond U in December, beyond double-U in January, beyond treble-U in April, and there are no letters left for the summer.

The Sketch: He demonstrated the strength of ten lunatics

Thursday, 24 April 2008

They are amazing, in their way. Admirable, even. The sheer intestinal fortitude it must take to appear in public after all that international humiliation. And then to come back and be humiliated at home. How to go through all that humiliation without being humbled! What a package of qualities you need for public life at this highest level. Of course, lunacy helps and, yesterday, Gordon Brown displayed the strength of 10 lunatics. It is his greatest asset.

The Sketch: When a professional decision is designed to conceal political betrayal

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

These evidence sessions for the new Public Bill committees – they might be a great adornment to the process. That's most unusual for innovation. "What do we need change for, aren't things bad enough already?" as the great Conservative adage had it, in the days of real financial stability (1815-1914).

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