Spider boy is running rings round Hammond. Such dark arts are a joy to behold

7 Dec 2017 at 11:45

When Gavin Williamson was made defence secretary to squeals of derision, envy and bile I warned that he would be a force to be reckoned with if he picked a fight with Hammond. I am delighted to say that spider boy is playing a blinder. Hammond’s hounds were arrogantly mad to brief that the top brass regarded their new boss as a private Pike tribute act. They calculated that because of the outcry at his appointment the Dad’s Army taunt would be greeted with a snigger, a wink and would turn the boy into a national joke. And it would stick. What fools. Hammond has some real enemies from all wings of the party, not just because he’s a boring old fart but because he suffers from a severe case of foot and mouth. The unemployment blunder was pretty bad, but yesterday’s comments on the disabled was crass, insensitive and wrong.

There is no love lost between Madame and her Chancellor. The whips are fed up with hauling him out of the shit, the Brexiteers despise him and all wings of the Tory party are horrified at his emasculation of our defence capability. Then today he dismisses Williamson in a patronising manner about his lack of understanding of defence budgeting. He understands it only too well matey. But he is not going to come over for a friendly chat until all his ducks are lined up. When Hammond is belittled, beleaguered and politically buggered. And to have the nerve to say that when at Defence he championed our armed forces is nothing more than a sick joke. Hammond crawled his way so far up the Treasury’s arse that they needed a team of sniffer dogs to remove him.

Spidy’s Black ops have been a joy to behold. The grounding of the Queen’s flight. “Technical issues” which made him late for a meeting. And expect a lot more japes. Perhaps the odd spill of scalding soup on the Chancellor’s crotch, “sorry sir, it was turbulence.” Perhaps on the way to an important meeting the pilot would crackle over the PA, “we regret to announce that traffic control have diverted us to Shetland. Sorry for the inconvenience.”

The joy about being Chief whip is that you have a spy in every department. The whip is told that they are representing the whips office not the department and they are regularly rotated so that they don’t go native. It means that the whips office know all the little ruses, nasty secrets and the areas where backbenchers are likely to rebel. And they will rebel if the treasury screws defence. Mutterings are reaching a crescendo. We may have some unholy alliances. Soames and the Moggmeister could be fun. And lethal. This could be the one issue that would unite the Tories.

Expect more diary stories from the brass. Expect damaging leaks from the Treasury too. Hammond is in a far far weaker position than May. He could be gone in the New Year. No party splits over that. Just a sigh of relief. She will stay.

So if the number 11 bus knocks down Hammond expect a lad in a red suit to be at the wheel. Watch out for Michael Gove too. He has many faults, but competence is not one of them.

But Spidy old boy, you need some voice coaching. Better to be William Hague then Alan Bennett. Being master of the dark arts is not enough for the top job. And don’t worry about being unpopular. Its no bad thing to be feared as long as you are competent. Something which is as rare a Corbyn victim to Israel.

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My shameful past. When I watched porn with a minister, MPS and his private secretary

2 Dec 2017 at 12:31

I suppose it has always been a golden rule in politics that you never kick a politician when he is down unless there are about a dozen of you. So why not put the boot in to Damian Green then as all’s fair in war and politics? A fair point, if you want to abandon the rule of law and the right to a fair trial. But just a moment Green doesn’t need to have a fair trial because he hasn’t been charged or for that matter even been accused of a criminal offence. So anybody can say what they like about him with impunity. Well, not quite. We do have a robust law of libel. But as Andrew Mitchell will attest, no politician should ever sue. It’s far too risky and expensive even if some legal eagle with eyes lit up like cash registers advises that you have a water tight case.

So Green just has to try and weather the shit storm. It is quite disgraceful, sinister and against everything we stand for in this country that former police officers can suddenly appear out of obscurity and make accusations. Particularly when they have an axe to grind. But what is the crime he has meant to have committed? Basically, having a wank in the office. The original Bob Quick Line was that the porn found was extreme and would have been illegal if it had been found a couple of years later. This has now proved to be wrong or put less politely, a damnable lie. Now this fellow Lewis is in no doubt that it must have been Green using the laptop at the time porn was being accessed. How can we trust a word of what these people say? And how on earth can Green defend himself apart from saying this is a fit up?

Provided there is nothing of substance that we don’t know about but Sue Gray does, Green must not be hung out to dry. To sack him would be a stain on this government, a disgrace and an act of supine, lily livered cowardice from Number 10. May is better than that I hope.

So far only David Davis has the courage and decency to say he would resign if Green was sacked. Good for him. As soon as the Sue Gray report hits the desk May must make a decision. If it’s just a bit of porn on a computer in his office, who cares? And if it’s just that ghastly, psychotically ambitious, gossip monger Maltby’s flaky allegation then can we please carry on with some semblance of normality? Don’t hold your breath.

But the idea that MPs can do a quick bit of bishop bashing in between votes is rather fanciful. Offices are now shared with researchers, general staff and secretaries nowadays. At any moment someone can walk in. But Lewis goes even further. Evidently Green was watching porn whilst tapping out emails. The worst kind of one handed typing. What dexterity the man has! It would be a Whitehall Theatre farce if it wasn’t taken so seriously by people who should know better.

But I have a confession. I have watched extreme videos, with a Minister, his private secretary and a whole group of MPs. In the Department. Paid for by the taxpayer. What filthy little beasts we were in those days. Couldn’t we have just popped down to a grubby little cinema in Soho?. Now before Paul Dacre becomes tumescent, I should put this in context. We were doing research for Graham Bright’s Video Recordings Bill. And we had to watch a hell of a lot of filth to protect the public. At one stage there was some very worrying heavy breathing from Bright. We thought he was going to snuff it. It was his turn to have a nurse talk dirty to him on a chat line. This induced rather a severe asthma attack. Like they say at the Premature Ejaculation clinic, we thought that it was going to be touch and go.

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The Amazing Spiderman. The Tories will have a new super hero at Defence questions on Monday

25 Nov 2017 at 14:10

Why is it always the Tories who get into a terrible mess over defence spending? Back in 1981 the splendid Keith Speed was sacked as Navy Minister because of his stalwart opposition to some swingeing cuts imposed by the Treasury and and accepted by the Defence Secretary, John Nott. Thatcher sacked Speed because he refused to resign. There was a popular saying in the Navy at that time ‘less Knotts and more Speed.’ In those days there was a minister for each branch of the services. Thatcher was of the view that they all went native and were merely mouthpieces for their service. She therefore abolished them and replaced them with just one Minister of State for the armed forces. But Speed was proved to be right. Within a few weeks the Falklands war kicked off and the cuts were put off for another day. For those of you who believe all the guff about Thatcher the slasher may I remind you that the only two departments she cut in real terms were Defence and Transport.

Hopefully, we won’t have a ground war none too soon as we wouldn’t have the resources to fight one let alone win it. And the cuts that that have been bubbling along for months look as if they are about to be set in stone. But watch the rear guard action of Gavin Williamson. I warned that he would pick a fight with Hammond the day after he was appointed. And I predicted that he will win. And he will.

It may not have escaped your attention that it is Defence questions next Monday. Williamson’s debut. Quite a lot of jealous colleagues want him to fail. They seem to think that ministerial promotion should be based on Buggin’s turn and a pathological hatred of the EU. The news today that Williamson was ‘shocked’ at the size of the cuts his department faces, sets up the Sunday newspapers for a good old Tory rebellion. I wonder who leaked that little gem? Couple this with that other little leak that Tobias Ellwood, who is universally regarded as a hero, as well as a good egg, might resign over the cuts, sets the scene for the perfect storm. Firstly, it embarrasses Labour, who are no friends of the military and it gives the right an opportunity to be patriotic and give Hammond a damn good kicking. Plus…..oh, I can also here the carpet biters creaming in their wyfronts over this, Brussels has resurrected the barmy notion of a European defence force. I can see the red mist rising, and the languid drawl of Moggy, despairing, ‘ and how are these foreigners going to put the fear of God into Mr Putin? Breathe on the Russian hordes?’

So back to Monday. Question two on the order paper is from a chap called Bambos Charalambous, not the favourite of headline writers.‘What recent discussions has he had with the chancellor on the adequacy of funding for his department?’ A plant if ever there was except that he is Labour. Just good fortune.The beauty of it all is that by the time that question is put Hammond is going to have to dig himself out of the shit. Or maybe this this is all a delightful piece of sleight of hand to make Williamson look good. Whatever it is, this a slick and professional operation. What was the name of that block buster movie? The Amazing Spiderman. The headline writers will have some fun. And I predict that Tory backbenchers will have a new superhero on Monday

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Expectations are so low of Hammond that provided he doesn’t fall over, the ceiling doesn’t collapse and a Juncker impersonator doesn’t storm the chamber with a £60bn bill, it will be a triumph

21 Nov 2017 at 08:35

Philip Hammond is an odd chap. Despised by his civil servants at defence and the foreign office, the charisma of a bag of pork scratchings and the bonus of being blessed with the emotional intelligence of a tub of pot noodle. Worse, his Budget speech will be delivered with all the warmth and excitement of a speak your weight machine. So don’t expect Johnsonian virtuosity. Thank heavens for small mercies.

At least Hammond would have read and understood his brief. At least he knows where he is going, even if he is not entirely sure how he will get there let alone when. His problem will not be those in front of him, but a lot of those who sit behind. The carpet biters hate him. They want to see him gone. Yesterday. They have a venomous, bile soaked, psychotic hatred of anyone who doesn’t deeply believe, not just say, that Brexit will lead to an Utopian miracle of economic success and prosperity. They desperately want him to fail and want him replaced by a member of their cult. Leadsom, Gove. Anyone who is a true believer. That is why it is so important that he succeeds on Wednesday.

I suspect that unless he has a Greggs moment he will more likely do a Corbyn. Expectations are so low that as long he doesn’t fall over, the ceiling cave in or a Juncker impersonator storm the chamber and hand him a bill for £60 billion, he will survive. His trick will be to play the swivelled eyed game and muse at the wonders and opportunities of a post Brexit Britain. Nobody will believe a word of it, but needs must. He must then give a nod to the city and business that he will be responsible and not steer the government towards the cliff edge. And for heaven’s sake take more than a brief interest in enterprise which has has been lamentably ignored by the government. Housing is rightly top of the agenda. Who can afford a flat even in a dodgy part of London apart from bankers and hedge fund managers? But don’t kid yourself that we are going to win the youth vote with a £300 bribe. If Hammond takes away concessions that people my age have paid a lot of hard earned tax for, there will be serious trouble. We all pray that any eye catching initiatives will not fall apart after a week because they haven’t been properly costed or sold. And if the rumours are true, the whips have been doing an operation to put the kibosh on some of the madder ideas coming from the Treasury. But the fact that this has been ‘leaked’ suggests that this is probably a black ops bit of disinformation.

Sadly, Grieve is right. Some of the Brexiteers have become unhinged. For Cash to say that flotillas of slaughtered British youth died in two World Wars because they wanted Brexit is not just unhinged but damn insulting. And I still can’t quite work out why the government wants to set in stone that we must leave the EU at 11pm on the 29th March 2019 precisely. Madness. It can’t possible be passed and they know it. Was it designed to fail to keep the Brexiteers happy? I really don’t know. I am not a psychiatrist.
So this budget is meant to give the government a boost in the opinion polls. To show confidence, competence and imagination. Oh dear, I fear I must retire to my bed for all of tomorrow. The excitement of a Hammond budget is just too much. But if he pisses too many people off he will be gone by Christmas.

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I suppose we should be grateful that Priti Patel didn’t holiday in North Korea. But the Ratcliffe affair shows Boris as a lazy, careless, incompetent oaf. Madame must be bold and sack him

9 Nov 2017 at 11:25

Well, I suppose we can all sigh with relief that Priti Patel didn’t holiday in North Korea. But my mind is in turmoil. I just can’t make up my mind who is more ghastly, her or Boris. Both are hopelessly over promoted, over rated and over exposed. Both are headline chasers. And both don’t give a damn about anything other than a delusional sense of entitlement to the keys of Downing Street. They really are quite awful people. Never mind nearly throwing a spanner in the works of Middle Eastern diplomacy. Never mind not bothering to read your brief about a woman languishing in an Iranian hell hole jail and doubling her sentence with a few lazy, ill chosen remarks. But probably their worst crime is that they probably don’t think that they have done anything particularly wrong. Worse, that they don’t even care. She returns to the backbenches with the Disneyland belief that the troops will rally behind her. They won’t. And remarkably he is still there. Not a blush of humility, a whiff off remorse nor even a snigger of apology.

Poor Mrs Ratcliffe, as if she hadn’t got enough trouble without the assistance of Bozo. He has given the largest exporters of terror a wonderful propaganda tool. They now say that this is an ‘unintended confession’ by Britain. And what does the little creep do? Pull out all the stops to get her released? Of course not. He just rings up the Iranians and asked for an assurance that his slack mouthed incompetence wasn’t responsible for adding to her troubles. And then he tells us that he received that assurance. We now know that that is a lie. As if we couldn’t guess.

This really is a turning point for Boris. The public can put up with his capers, his disloyalty, his Janus faced promises, but will not stand for his cavalier treatment of an innocent. He has morphed from a rather bad joke wearing thin, to a menace. A clear and present danger. Madame can really show strength by sacking him. He is no longer the useful human shield against the carpet biters. He has become a serious liability to foreign policy at a time when the well oiled Rolls Royce of the Foreign Office is in despair. And she could get away with it. The longer she leaves him in post the worse it will become. Sadly, the Ratcliffe saga will run and run. This is the beginning of the Christmas season. The country turns their thoughts to family. Mrs.Ratcliffe will be alone and afraid. Her family will in bits. It will not escape the attention of the media.

May can risk sacking Boris. The party have no desire to be led by an ageing Lothario anymore. They can sniff young blood. His following is diminishing. The joke has worn off. This is a rare window of opportunity to show she can be strong and in control if she really puts her mind to it.

I am not convinced that there is any merit in the current fantasy that the government will fall by Christmas or that Madame will soon be ushered out of the door. It may be Christmas, but Tory turkeys won’t vote for it. Madame should be known as Tina, as Thatcher was at the height of her pomp. Tina? There Is No Alternative. Oh, and don’t give me all that Moggmentum moonshine. One day Guido will reveal that Mogg doesn’t really exist and that he’s really Sasha Baron Cohen making a movie. Surely, it cannot be possible that he is real.

So now is the time to be bold. While Boris is taking a wrecking ball to diplomacy Brussels is in total confusion. We don’t seem to have a coherent Foreign policy just a series of back drops for a few Bozo one liners. We are in a very bad place. He has to go. Soon. The government needs to be reborn. The hopeless and clueless have to be culled. There are plenty of able youngsters who could rejuvenate the government. Who knows, we might see Tom Tugendhat in the Cabinet before long. Now he is classy.

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This is not a good start for the new chief whip.he is meant to be calm under fire & sound in judgment, not behave like a panicky little shit. The treatment of Charlie Elphicke is a disgrace. Such treachery will destroy whatever morale is left

4 Nov 2017 at 09:35

The hysteria, blind panic and the whiff of McCarthyism that has gripped all political parties in Westminster is unedifying and deeply damaging to all politicians. Two news items this morning that sent shivers down my spine and put anger in my belly was the way the Whips Office have treated Charlie Elphike and Anna Soubrey’s interview in the Times.

Let’s deal with Charlie first. A serious accusation has been made and rightly referred to the police. It is now entirely a matter for them. At some stage the usual, ‘a forty five year old man is assisting us with our enquiries’, statement will appear. The press get a tip off and the horror of photographers camping out side his house begins. The accused at least knows what he has been accused of and can take advice, preferably from a solicitor rather than some dodgy ‘ reputation damage limitation expert’, on how to deal with it. My simple advice would be make a denial and say nothing more. Never give a story legs. But the Tory whips office took it upon themselves to brief the press. They didn’t warn Elphicke. They didn’t even tell him what had happened. He didn’t even know that he had been suspended until he saw it on the news. He has been publicly accused, and until the police interview the complainant and then knock on Elphicke’s door in the early hours, he won’t have a clue what his crime is meant to have been or even who his accuser is. That not rough justice. It’s no justice at all. He has been tainted. He has been tried, convicted and sentenced in the highest court of the land. The most unpredictable and unfair. The court of public opinion.

This is not a good start for our new chief whip. He is meant to be calm under fire and sound in judgment. Not to behave like a panicky little shit.

So before the police bang on his door in the full glare of the cameras, Elphicke will be asked by his wife, his kids, his friends, his constituency association and his local newspapers, what the hell this is all about. He won’t be able to answer. And that in the court of public opinion is a clear sign of guilt. But if he hasn’t been told how can he know? Utterly disgraceful and a terrible stain on the whips office.

What are colleagues going to think? The whips are going to expect them to jump through hoops, vote on ludicrous party lines, be encouraged to support a policy one day and denounce it the next and be general lobby fodder for a government who couldn’t arrange a piss up in the Sports and Social. If backbenchers think that they will be shafted by them at the drop of a hand on knee accusation which could destroy their careers and everything they hold dear, why should they bother? This McCarthyite treachery is terrible for what ever morale is left.

Whilst mentioning the Sports and Social, I do wish John Mann would shut up. He’s a decent and well meaning old cove, but the idea of safe places, banning MPs from this bar and suggesting that no employee to be in Parliament after six pm is a naivety to the point of drivelling.

And now for Anna Soubry. I know it’s terribly flattering to be feted and interviewed by two of Fleet Street’s finest, but the reason they are so good is because they always get a story, and poor boobies like her and Loathesome don’t realise How good it is until they see it in cold print.

Anna, your heart is in the right place, but as I have been told by senior civil servants that used to work for you, you don’t all ways engage mouth and brain in an orderly fashion. A throwaway remark in a tea shop about a sexual assault by Fallon, a criminal offence, would normally be libellous. But as a lawyer you know that once a man has had his reputation destroyed he will never sue. So you took advantage for a cheap headline that Fallon hasn’t got a clue how to defend because he doesn’t know what the accusation is. Kicking a man when he is down is appalling, reprehensible, unforgivable, beyond shitty, behaviour. And your comments that Green should be suspended on the flimsiest of evidence from the flakiest of sources was incomprehensible, deeply damaging and unnecessary. Your defence of Loathesome? Bordering on the deranged.

Who on earth would want to be an MP? People think that you are corrupt, lying, sex pests. And today is going to be hell. Awaiting for that dreaded five PM call from Simon Walters or Nigel Nelson. But at least they will tell you what you are accused of unlike a treacherous whips office and slack mouthed MPs on the make. Thanks God I am no longer part of this vile pantomime.

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A clever move to promote Williamson. She has effectively named her skip a generation successor. There will be more blood but it will be manageable

2 Nov 2017 at 11:36

Only time will tell if it was a misjudgment of biblical proportions to allow Michael Fallon to resign. There may be further allegations against him of a similar nature. There may not be. Most of us haven’t got a clue. But for allegations that go well short of sexual abuse, misuse of power, bullying or degrading women, ministers should remain in office. And he was a damn good minister

Sometimes Madame just doesn’t think things through. I would imagine in most matters sexual outside marriage she is a bit of an innocent. When she first heard about Fallon and Green she is meant to have remarked, ‘why don’t they just get on with the job?’ I suspect that in the Prime Minister’s study there is a big red button under a smashable glass lid emblazoned with the legend ‘only press when something needs to be done’. So when a crisis happens the glass is broken, the button is pressed. But magic solution there is none. Just klaxons, sirens, flashing red lights and a robotic voice warning, ‘crisis! Crisis! Something must be done!’ In rush the advisors. ‘Well Gavins how do we handle this?’
‘Easy Prime Minister’, they shout in unison. ‘Something must be done’. And so the Tories do what they are so good at. They panic.

It is a dangerous and contagious disease in politics to chase headlines. They all say they’ll never do it, but by and large they can’t help themselves. They should have read the runes. The Tory press are not too exercised about low level pass making. In the Mail Jane Moir had a crack at Kate Maltby. And even the saintly Michael White poured cold water over it all. But Michael old chum, best you don’t do interviews after lunch. Saying that female political journalists are predictors is a terrible travesty of the truth and has just lost you a hell of a lot of street cred. Such as it was. Which was not a lot.

I suppose the great irony of this whole sorry tale is that old goat Boris, who appears to have a nineteenth century squirearchy attitude to women, walks unscathed through this sewer of suspicion. You’d picture him pimp rolling his was across the chequered flagstones of his bijou baronial hall in full riding gear with whip in hand shouting to his butler, ‘Grayling, get me our finest bottle of breakfast claret and some cold grouse. Just horse whipped the game keeper, shagged his wife and the tweeny maid. Now need to build up strength to bugger the stable boy’.

The appointment of Gavin Williamson as Defence Secretary is actually a stroke of genius. It means that Green is dispensable. It means that any ministerial departures will be finessed by him. And there will be few scandalous surprises. He knows all their little ways. It will restore stability. And she knows she can trust him as an ally and a formidable operator. He has been appointed Secretary of State for the Defence of the Government. That is his prime directive. To keep the ship of state afloat and ensure a frictionless transition to a new leader when the time arises. And it could well be him. She has effectively named her successor.
Without blowing my own trumpet too much……well sod it🎶🎶🎶🎶. I was the first commentator to say that he could be the future. And I may be right.

Much about politics is about luck as well as ability. Gavin has been a lucky guy. Chief whip at a time of turmoil. Brokering the DUP deal. And realising that the only way to stop government defeat is a mass abstention. Not a stroke of genius, but just a way for them all to survive for a little longer. So he will have appointed Julian Smith as Chief whip. Another May Trusty. He helped Williamson run her leadership campaign. And then Esther McVey as his deputy is a clever move. A permanent visual reminder to that horrible old Trot McDonnell, who still hasn’t apologised for calling her a bastard who should be lynched.

So Williamson is a close confidante not just of Madame but Gavin Barwell, a popular and slick operator. All that he needs to do now is appoint a charismatic party chairman who can modernise and enthuse the party. It won’t be long.

This is straight from the ‘skip a generation’ play book.

So Williamson has now to prove himself at defence at a difficult time with budget cuts and an insane proposal to cut the £29 per diem active service pay. This is a gift for him if played right. He can wrap himself in Kkaki. Do a deal with the Chancellor and be lauded by the Tory press as a fighter for our brave boys and girls. A good showcase for the next move.

Interesting that his pet Tarantula is called Cronus. The Greek myth might be instructive. There was a prophecy that Cronus was going to be overthrown by his sons, so he sired sons with the Gods. To prevent the prophecy from coming true he devoured them all at birth.

There will be some more blood sacrifices. But we can rest assured that normal service has been restored. This is good news for the party and the end of the road for Boris. Expect a resignation in a fit of pique sooner rather than later.

For the first time in a long while I am beginning to feel a glimmer of optimism.

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It won’t be long before the Piety Police turn us into a nation of wankers

1 Nov 2017 at 10:06

Like the rest of the world I have pawed through the ‘dirty dossier’. And what a disappointment it proved to be. Because it is not very dirty at all. There were no great revelations. Just a dreary catalogue of ‘inappropriate behaviour’. Shock horror, gays have liaisons with other gay men. And heterosexuals have liaisons with other heterosexuals. This is hardly front page News of the Screws material. So fifteen years ago Michael Fallon put his hand on Julia Hartley Brewer’s knee. If she could see the funny side of it why can’t everyone else. And Kate Maltby’s allegations against Damian Green are bizarrely tame. What is so disgraceful about this little tale is that if she is telling the truth she is breaching a very personal and very private conversation. Unless there are allegations of sexual assault which should be reported to the police, the public are going to tire of this sad litany of lonely, pissed, middle aged men trying it on in the Sports and Social.

Years ago I was having a drink with Sir Robin Day and a very famous and very attractive television presenter. He just couldn’t take his hands off of her. I was very embarrassed and was just about to intervene when she just calmly looked him in the eye and just said, ‘oh, just fuck off Robin’. The wandering hands ended their journey.

True to form Fleet Street is putting the dick into predictability and moving into full feeding frenzy mode. And it will backfire. People were rightly furious about MPs trousering their hard earned cash, but they really don’t give a damn about their sexual habits unless they are illegal, particularly perverted or bizarre. And do we know who has drawn up this list? Do we know on what evidence it is based? Or is it just a compendium of gossip and rumour picked up in the bars and tea rooms by the prurient bored and mischievous. And how do they define ‘inappropriate behaviour’. It’s pretty clear that unwanted sexual demands are. Butwhat about the lead up to them? Is it inappropriate to drop a note to a pretty girl inviting her for a drink? And after a fun evening ask if she fancies a shag? Of course not. But it would be inappropriate to inundate her with offers of drinks and sex if she has said no. Its pretty obvious. It’s the grey areas which will be confusing to some. Is it acceptable to kiss someone on both cheeks at first meeting? Is it acceptable to put a friendly, non sexual, hand on a knee? Well, I bloody hope so because I do it all the time.

Now every bar and restaurant within groping distance of Westminster will be full of informers and spies, trying to make political capital, cash from the papers or just cause trouble. If you are a single politician just how are you meant to get any sex? There is now such a climate of fear that these guys will turn into the wankers we always thought they were. It’s all rather sad.

Of course, we must expose the sex pests. Of course, we must give vulnerable employees an independent body who can discreetly deal with grievances. But now there is talk amongst some lawyers, who should know better, to embrace a culture of putting the onus of proof on the accused. This is very dangerous. A man accused of touching someone up in a bar having to prove his innocence? Have we really come to this? I pray we won’t.

We expect far too much of our politicians. To work long hours for less pay than they would expect on the open market. To be insulted, assaulted and sometimes killed. To always be available. To follow a party line that is sometimes ludicrous. To intone that the electorate always knows best whilst keeping a straight face. To be pillars of sobriety and continent is sexual behaviour. In other words we demand the impossible. Of course politicians should do their best to have higher standards than the rest of us but it must be a hope rather than an expectation. We haven’t asked them to join holy orders. Or maybe we have. When the Piety Police start to patrol the corridors of power it will will be a sad day for politics. And it’s only just beginning.

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My journey. When I was ravished propositioned and groped at Westminster

29 Oct 2017 at 16:02

I really do think that we should all take a deep breath and put the sexual harassment stories at Westminster into some sort of sane perspective. Westminster is no different from anywhere else when it comes to the beery breathed office groper. There are no less ageing lothsarios with badly dyed hair, tight suits, creepy smiles, cringing chat up lines and wandering hands. There are no less men of a certain age who will put a hopeful arm around a pretty boy. And no less predatory females who can sniff out a willing young cock at fifty paces. In my time, we all knew who they were and sniggered at their exploits which usually ended in failure. Many of them would have been horrified if anyone would have said yes to their cheesy demands. Over the years I have been, propositioned, touched up and ravished in the corridors of power. It is neither a boast nor a moan and I don’t need treatment nor go on a journey. But at least I was in a position where if things got a little too frisky I could make my excuses and leave or deliver a swift kick in the bollocks. Nowadays not all youngsters are in that sort of position. They can be overawed, scared and not quite sure how to handle things. These are the ones we must protect.

I remember a very prominent Loyalist MP was so desperate for a shag and knowing that I liked a stiff gin and tonic ensured that a flunky was always on hand with chilled glass when I visited Stormont. Well, the only stiff I ever had in my hand was the gin. And I remember fighting off a mauling from an ageing South American diplomat at a Foreign Office lunch that I was hosting. It first started with a stockinged foot probing my groin under the table and an assumption that I would return to her hotel room for some reciprocal Parliamentary rumpy pumpy in the interests of the friendship of our great nations. The list is endless and this was pretty harmless stuff which I dined out on for years. But these were the days of a culture of endless late night sittings, drunken brawls and very, very bad behaviour. In many ways the women were safer then than they are now. Because they were so bloody tough. Put a hand on Edwina Currie, Dame Elaine Kellett Bowman, Dame Jill knight and a host of battle hardened women who had fought their way to the top would lead to…..well, nothing actually. Nobody would dare.

But let’s get things into perspective. There is absolutely nothing wrong with flirting. We all do it and if done tastefully, reciprocated and clearly innocent, it is harmless fun. The trick is not to make anybody feel uncomfortable. There is an invisible line which should never be crossed. Most people know where it is. The moment it is ignored you cease to be a genial flirt and turn into a predator. Forbidden territory. And that is when action has to be taken.

It goes without saying that no man or woman should take advantage of their position and prey on the young, vulnerable and ambitious. In the courts the dilemma for the jury is often confronted with is two young people under the influence of drink, but not drunk enough to make consent impossible. There are no witnesses and no supporting medical evidence (there rarely is) to say whether the sexual act was consensual or not. The difficulty for those of us who prosecute and defend these sorts cases is that the accuser rightly has the right to be believed, but so does the defendant. So how can a jury be sure of guilt?

Let’s try and translate this to Westminster. But let me make it clear that I am not talking about sexual assault. Unless the alleged predatory behaviour is in a public place with witnesses, or there is a history between the two, who do the authorities believe?

The casting couch, the power shag, the office groper have never left us and sadly probably never will. What we have to do is ensure that men and women who are put in potentially dangerous and uncomfortable positions can have the confidence to come forward. And be listened too.

The press are going to have a feeding frenzy over the Sodom and Gomorrah that Westminster will be wrongly depicted as. Oh, but the stories I could tell you about journalists! The editor who sexually assaulted the wife of a prominent MP in the ladies loo. The guy who shagged a secretary in the grounds of the MOD and was caught on CCTV. The endless gropings with interns and the long lists of editors and their mistresses are the low hanging fruit. So although I have signed the Fleet Street Omarta, MPs under threat may not be so fussy and rush to Guido Fawkes. Guys, if there is going to be a war on MP sleaze it will be a blood bath for everybody.

The danger is that the Thought Police who have given us safe places and jazz handing are on patrol. Let’s be honest, Michael Gove’s comments on the Today programme were neither offensive nor would deter people from complaining about sexual misconduct. Why on earth did he have to apologise? Similarly, Clive Lewis’s remark in jest to a man “on your knees bitch” is hardly degrading to women. Jared O’Mara’s conduct is rather sinister though. I suspect that he has some serious and very unpleasant demons to deal with. He will have to go on another journey. The last train out of Westminster.

But I too have been on a journey. On a train back from Westminster to my home. I wanted to be left in peace to read my Evening Standard when two young girls a little the worse for wear for drink wanted my autograph as a Z list celebrity. I obliged. I whipped out my pen which they exchanged for lipstick. “Nah Jerry we want it on our tits”. And as the fool that I am, I signed them. The writing is a little wobbly though.

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The Tories have morphed from the nasty to the nutty and soon will be as intolerant, purist and out of touch as Labour

14 Oct 2017 at 10:38

The crimes of the traitor Hammond seem to know no bounds. Not only is he sabotaging the God ordained Utopia of Brexit, but he has been spotted dining with that anti Christ Juncker running dog, Euro stooge, May hater and baiter in chief, George Osborne. On Lobster! The sheer wickedness of their meal has sent the Brextards into a frothing, snarling frenzy of bitterness and bile. The great Lobster Plot will go down in the annals of betrayal as the proof that Hammy is an enemy of the people and must be sacked. First the execution and then the show trial. It is proof that the the traitor Cameron is running a Commission funded counter offensive to bring our great and free country back under the control and tyranny of the jackboot of Juncker. All from his shepherd’s hut, where he receives orders on an encrypted communications device from the war monger and traitor Blair.

What is so remarkable is that those who won the referendum have so little confidence in themselves or their project. They see betrayal around every corner and regard anyone who doesn’t scream that Brexit is going to be a phenomenal success with suspicion based on a deep seated fear that everyone is out to get them. A paranoia has gripped them. That’s the problem. Deep in the dark tea time of their souls there is a tiny sliver of doubt. By repeating the mantra that Britain is going to be running barefoot through the wheat fields of prosperity and opportunity it will magically come true. So the Party must be purified. Only true believers can worship at the shine. And only the high priests can be trusted to to deliver. Purge. Repent. Burn at the stake. Purge. Not even David Davis is safe. They want him to fail.

My once tolerant broad churched party is now being run as a cult. We are becoming a Borg collective where everyone has to be assimilated and resistance is futile. Brexit is all that matters. May is merely the midwife. She will be disposed of if she wavers or if she is less than pure in her beliefs and actions. And she will be cast aside the moment we formally leave and replaced by a true believer.

We have lost the will to govern. We have forgotten the people we were elected to serve. We have lost our edge and are losing our humanity. What sort of twisted thinking allows a system to withhold money from those genuinely most in need and then charge them 55p per minute for a phone call to try and feed their starving families? What sort of Tory minister warns that ‘homes are not chattels to be passed on to their children’? We were once the party of fiscal responsibility, but now the Chancellor is being pilloried for not spending billions on window dressing. For a deception that no deal is better than a bad deal. And there lies the problem. The truth is that the purists don’t want a deal at all. Not even a good one. They want out. Now. Pull up the drawbridge. Fuck the world. They need us. We certainly don’t need them. Soon they will be swarming to our battlements for deals. And if we feel like it and on our own terms, we might deign to throw them a few crumbs. Now breathe in and inhale the heady oxygen of freedom.

The sadness is that we have morphed from the nasty to the nutty party. And with all the betrayals, the treachery the purges, the show trials, the lists of dissenters and the sheer intolerance we are now morphing into the Labour Party. We have much in common. Moderates who are vilified and excluded. Everything viewed though the prism of a dogma. The purity of thought and ideas. Will nobody stand up and be counted from moderate wings of both parties? Or are they such spineless cowards they that will just wait at home for the inevitable early morning knock on the door? You either religiously worship at the altar of Momentum or Brexit. Any dissent is ruthlessly crushed.

This country is best governed from the centre. Yet the two major parties are hell bent on a race to the extremes which will soon repulse voters. Is there anybody who has the courage to show leadership? Who can wake their parties from sleep walking into extremism? Or is it time to found a new party of the centre? Of Pragmatism. Of moderation. Of common sense. Of compassion. Is it really to much to ask? Because people like me and there are millions of us, are feeling politically homeless. If not totally abandoned.

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