David Cameron's caution is weakening the Conservatives

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Opinion digest: David Cameron and Tory re-branding, a tip for England at Euro 2012 and Europe's impending dark age

LAST UPDATED AT 10:16 ON Mon 18 Jun 2012

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CAMERON FIDDLES WHILE TORY BRAND BURNS
TIM MONTGOMERY ON A NEW CONSERVATIVE DIRECTION
The Conservative Party faces defeat at the next general election and Prime Minister David Cameron needs to set a new, robust direction if this is to be avoided, writes ConservativeHome editor Tim Montgomery in The Times. The Government's caution on big decisions is not the result of being in a coalition; it "goes to the heart of Mr  Cameron's personality". He leaves critical policy until the last minute and has surrounded himself by politicians who "aren't the most talented people in the Conservative Party". On the NHS, climate change and Big Society, Cameron has not offered any clear lead, and the consequences "are serious". Cameron must "allow someone of the calibre of Mr Gove to plot a different path", or the Tory party may start acting self-destructively.
 
STOP STUMBLING, ENGLAND, TRY THE GERMAN ROUTE
MARTIN SAMUEL ON TACTICS FOR EURO 2012
Instead of stumbling through major tournaments, England should follow Germany's lead and plot a path that might lead to more favourable games in the knockout rounds, writes Martin Samuel in the Daily Mail. "Germany know how to plot a path to a final: it is not just about having good players, it's about avoiding them too." Historically, Germany have faired better than England by winning their groups, and thereby playing easier opposition in the knockout stages. Germany have won five groups since 1996 at major tournaments, compared to England's one, and England's three second-place finishes in the group stages mean, for example, that while Germany played the USA in the knockout stages of Japan 2002, England had to face Brazil. That's why England should go all out to top Group D: if they do, they sidestep Spain, and will probably have a much more favourable match against Italy in the knockout round.
 
EUROPE IS HEADING FOR THE DARK AGES
BORIS JOHNSON ON ECONOMIC RULE FROM BRUSSELS
A Greek economy run from Brussels will ignore the lessons of history and lead to more misery, writes Boris Johnson in The Daily Telegraph. "When things go backwards, they can go backwards fast. Technology, liberty, democracy, comfort – they can all go out of the window." And nowhere is this more obvious at the moment than in Greece. Living standards are falling, pensions have been cut and the suicide rate has gone from one of the lowest in Europe to one of the highest. Despite all this, we seem determined to make matters worse. "For the sake of bubble-gumming the euro together, we are willing to slaughter democracy in the very place where it was born." There is no point to the Greek elections if their economic programme is to be decided in Brussels or "in reality, Germany". The suffering will go on until Greece leaves the euro: until then "we delay the prospect of a global recovery; while the approved solution – fiscal and political union – will consign the continent to a democratic dark ages."
 
ARMANDO IANUCCI SHOULD NOT HAVE TAKEN HIS OBE
ALASTAIR CAMPBELL ON A SATIRIST'S HYPOCRICY
Armando Ianucci is a very funny man, but he should not have accepted the OBE awarded to him in the Queen's birthday honours list, writes Alastair Campbell. Ianucci may compare his award with that of cyclist Chris Hoy and bullishly suggest that an award for excellent work doesn't effect that work, but "there is a big difference". Hoy is a superb cyclist but has never "set himself up as a tail-tweaker of the establishment". Ianucci has, and has "made his name and considerable deserved wealth on the back of it". The OBE award "was a bad one for him to accept, and [could] blunt his impact as a satirist". This attack on Ianucci is not sour grapes: The Thick of It, and Malcolm Tucker, are "brilliant". The twitter spat yesterday suggests that Ianucci is a "tad thin-skinned when he finds it is he, rather than people in politics, who are on the receiving end of accusations of hypocrisy and difficult direct questions". · 

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