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Did you tire of television reporters finding ever more extravagant ways to express their ill-disguised pleasure at the election of Barack Obama?

There's been nothing like it since the scantily clad Egyptian queen clasped the viper to her ample bosom. I refer of course to the craggy Heathcliff's embrace of the smooth Peter Mandelson in the recent Cabinet reshuffle.

Sir Howard Bernstein is a man who likes to get his way. He also has acute political antennae. How else could
he have stayed at the head of Manchester's officer corps for so long?

So, when the city council's chief executive looked me in the eye and said with supreme confidence "We will win the congestion charge referendum", I was taken aback.

Have the Tories peaked too soon? What can the Prime Minister do to save himself at his autumn conference in Manchester? And, if your politics are to the right, who will you hear backing tax cuts at their September gathering? It's the Lib Dems!

Jack Straw still uses an oldfashioned soapbox to deliver his pearls of wisdom to passing shoppers outside Blackburn Town Hall.

The revelation that Digby Jones is set to leave the government before the next general election will come as no surprise to those who saw his virtuoso performance in Manchester recently. The former director general of the CBI, now minister of state for trade and investment, showed that Gordon Brown’s decision to bring nonpoliticians

Oh wad some Power the giftie gie us To see oursels as others see us!

If only Gorbals Mick (as some Tories refer to the Speaker of the House of Commons), could heed the words of his fellow countryman Robert Burns. And not only Michael Martin, what about the Speaker’s toady, John Spellar?

Tories in the North West have just benefited from two high profile defections by Asian Liberal Democrats. Manchester has its first Conservative councillor in over a decade. The "Tory free zone" is no more – so why are some Conservatives not rejoicing?

EN's political editor explores party funding and Brown's prospects

Our political editor examines the prospects for the contenders in the Liberal Democrats' leadership election

  • Kathryn Parsons, co-founder of Decoded, started with little more than faith and determination, but four years later it’s grown into a global business. Ahead of her appearance at Accelerate 2015 in...

  • Author, writer and marketer Ryan Holiday on how entrepreneurs need to interpret failure.

  • Sue Vizard, business coach and author of Jump Start: The Start-up Book for Your Dream Business, looks at some of the questions solo entrepreneurs should ask themselves.

  • Ian Wright, founder and chief executive of, is bringing together SMEs and NEDs - without the hefty recruitment fees.

  • Former professional golfer turned entrepreneur Colin Stevens has had a busy 18 months. The Better Bathrooms founder has increased turnover at the firm, secured a multi-million pound investment and...

Five Minutes With

Like Sir Richard Branson, entrepreneur Eric Everard's first business was a student magazine.

It took Richard Shonn, managing director of 151 Products, three years to find a warehouse big enough for his requirements.