The disgraceful BMA. Mogadon mayoral candidates. And after the referendum a government of all the talons

13 Feb 2016 at 10:10

The irresponsible, shroud waving, downright lies that have been spewing from the BMA over the junior doctors dispute makes Brexiteer professional mentalists Arron Banks and Dominic Cummings seem like paragons of truth and gentlemanly behaviour. At last the mask has finally slipped. This has absolutely nothing to do with patient safety or tired doctors, but cash. The sticking point has now become how much they should be paid on a Saturday; at what time should unsociable hours pay begin. And let me remind you of what is on offer. An increase in basic pay of 13.5%. That the new contract permits doctors to work 71 hours a week rather than the 91now. That they can only be required to work 48 hours a week. In other words doctors are more likely to be tired and patients at risk under the present contract than the new.

Last night on the NOLAN show on 5 Live we asked for junior doctors to ring in. One did. He told us that the reason patient safety was at risk is because doctors are paid more in Australia and Scotland and will leave. Well son, get over it. A large percentage of doctors leave after their first two years. It has always been thus. Who else in the public services gets paid extra for weekend work? Certainly not the police, nurses, paramedics and firefighters. Oh, and dare I mention legal aid barristers? Like most of my colleagues I will be preparing my Monday trial. Shall I tell you how much per hour we will be paid for this unsocial work? Not a bloody penny. We have to do it for free. And we don’t complain about it. It is part of the job.

It appears that NHS negotiators where within a whisker of a deal until some doctor tweeted that he was looking after 100 cancer patients on his own and couldn’t cope. The internet went into a frenzy of indignation with 45,000 hits. Negotiations collapsed. Later it transpired that the claim was untrue as there were two senior doctors on call.

The BMA are a national disgrace. And they always have been. They have vilified every health minister from Nye Bevan onwards if their mouths are not filled with gold. Decent junior doctors have been seriously mislead and patients are suffering quite needlessly. Jeremy Hunt must stand firm. If these guys once again refuse to come to the negotiating table then the contract must be imposed. Giving in to the BMA would be a disaster.

And talking of disasters, not for the first time am I delighted that I don’ t live in London. It saves me the anguish of having to choose whom to vote for as Mayor. Clearly, I hope Zac wins simply because Khan is so bloody low grade cynical and has the public speaking ability of a dyspeptic Dalek. And Zac, tall, handsome but…..sorry I am dropping off even writing about him. I wish there could have been more of a choice between dull and hopeless. Tessa Jowell would have been rather good news. Sensible, able and with a great track record on the Olympics. Sadly, like murdered members of the politburo, she has been air brushed out of political history. London needs a leader with charisma, style and daring rather than Mogadon men. Oh, for the days of Steve Norris. He ran twice and would have been brilliant if the elections had not been during the Conservative Dark Ages when we were as fashionable as flairs and vaginal deodorant. Why on earth he was never rewarded with a place in the Lords is a total mystery to me.

Which reminds me that the 19th of February is the official start of the Conservative shooting season. It always amuses me how the Brexiteers spend most of their time screaming how awful the EU is and that unless we leave our shores will be teeming with migrants taking our jobs, Health Service and women. Yet as soon as Cameron repeats the warning from the mayor of Calais that the borders deal is not set in stone and reminds us of the Polish Prime Minister’s astute observation that, ‘if you are not at the table you are on the menu’, he is accused of disgraceful scaremongering.

So, soon after the Glorious Nineteenth IDS (Bon voyage), Villiers (the name rings a vague bell) Grayling (just fuck off) and a few no hopers whom the public have never heard of and will never again, will be finally allowed to let out the primal scream they have been withholding for so long. It will make them feel so much better. Like a damn good shit after a dodgy curry. Watch out for Priti Patel, the cover girl of the of the hard right who still believes in the death penalty. Can she be bribed? Mmm, we will see. But to honest, in the grand scheme of things what she does counts for diddly squat.

But a bit of ministerial bloodletting will free up opportunities for the ambitious and the loyal. And for the shits who did not behave too shitily. It is wonderful to see the Number 10 operation in full bribe mode. Nothing promised of course. Just little whispers in journalist’s ears about the big job that Boris might get. How Foxy could be back at the big table. How after the dust has settled, the sawdust scattered and the body parts given a dignified burial we will have a reconciliation reshuffle. Or perhaps a government of all the talons.



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Even the Samaritans would hang up on Grayling but the Brexiteers are heading for Fuckmarggeddon

4 Feb 2016 at 14:29

Poor Chris Grayling. Regularly humiliated by Michael Gove (blessed be his name) and more recently in Cabinet by Cameron. Even Liam Fox didn’t bother to respond to his desperate pleas to lead the Brexiteers. I suspect even the Samaritans would hang up on him. Yet each week, those of us who are normally are revolted by blood sports, enjoy his torture by Shadow Leader of the House, cheeky chappie, Chris Bryant. Today’s torture was naming him The Prince of Darkness and the Honourable member for Mordor. Ok, he’s mixing Harry Potter with Lord of the Rings (no euphemism Chris, honest), but if Grayling quivers in unopiated agony, that’s fine by me.

I suspect that it is pretty clear that he and IDS are going to walk the plank as they are so angry with Cameron having the effrontery to tell the House the basis of his negotiations before deal. Tensions are so high I would be surprised if it is not before18th February. I would imagine IDS would then lead the OUTERs, after all, the referendum is the juddering climax of his career.

On Tuesday I attended a briefing by Pauline Neville Jones and Dominic Grieve about the security aspects of leaving the EU. The Boothroyd Room (like a dreadful unfinished Spanish Hotel foyer circa 1972) was packed with the likes of me, Nick Soames, Alan Haselhurst, Damien Green and David Curry. The audience was so refreshingly wet that you could have shot snipe off of us. But the briefing was fascinating. The 5 eyes (the main world wide intelligence services) and NATO have warned that we would be less safe if we left the EU. The European Arrest Warrant would bite the dust and we would go back to the bad old days of waiting years for criminals to be extradited. And as far as border controls we would have to abandon the controls of British officials in Calais. It would be a nightmare and the Sangette jungle would be transferred to Dover and most of the South Coast. So much for control of our own borders.

The trouble is that every rational argument about the thousands of bilateral agreements that would have to be renegotiated is met with the response from the Amish wing that ‘they need us more than we need them, so there won’t be a problem’. In other words, the Brexiteers are asking the British people to take a giant leap into the dark, when what all of us want, particularly business and security, is certainty.

There is also a lot of nonsense being talked about MEPs blocking any agreement for a ‘brake’. I say nonsense as only this morning the leader of the European Parliament’s largest grouping the EPP said that it could be put in place within two or three months after the referendum. This rather scuppers the smear put about that it would never happen or take at least eighteen months.

And then there is the benefits scare. I have been arguing for years that the best way to deal with this in a non discriminatory way is for benefits to be paid at the rate of the country where you are domiciled. It requires an easy bit of software which even the DWP could deal with.

Sovereignty still seems to be the buzzword and rightly so. But we have a head of agreement that deals with this. We will no longer be bound to work towards closer integration. Finally, the European court. As we are signed up the the EHCR in Strasbourg the EU Court in Luxembourg cannot enforce its decisions on Human Rights on us. Sensibly, Gove (blessed be his holy name) has ruled out our leaving EHCR because it only asks our Parliament to take into account their decisions. And if we keep the carpet biters on side by a British, Big Cocked, Act of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act, that’s fine by me, as it won’t be jot different from the one we have. A bit like a cigarette after a wank.

The constitutional court idea floated to deal with the supremacy of our law is not a bad one. The President of the Supreme Court is right to argue that a separate constitutional court on the German model is not wrong in principle, just impractical. We could achieve the same results by giving the same powers to our Supreme Court. Let’s do it. Oh, and let Boris take the credit or whichever SPAD clocked it in the Readers Digest.

I know that the starting gun has not officially fired but the REMAINERs are missing a trick. Nobody is talking about agricultural subsidies. Before the EEC the government paid our farmers to farm. ‘Disgrace’, scream the Brexiteers. ‘They should be in free market’. The trouble is that producing our food is seasonal and subject to the delights of the British weather. Leaving the EU would hand a British Chancellor either a blank cheque to give to our farmers (not in your dreams) or a cut in their incomes. And it is billions of pounds. So It’s about time we heard from the horny handed sons and daughters of the NFU.

Oh, and before I go back to my jury, there is some interesting stuff going on at the MAIL group. Dacre, when he is not on a baby seal clubbing holiday in Nova Scotia,, is a bit of a carpet muncher as an OUTER. His oppo on the MOS has a more sensible view. Lady Rothermere rather prefers the sensible view of Geordi at the MOS and despises Dacre. There could be a bit of a power struggle over an issue that is so important. But when push comes to shove Dacre might be spending more time with his poison ivy.


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Poor Grayling is quite delusional in his bid to lead the Brexiteers. It would be tragic if its wasn't so hilarious

14 Jan 2016 at 16:09

A simple question for you. Which has been more disastrous for Britain, the EU or Chris Grayling? Well it’s a bit of a no brainer. Dear old Grayling is not blessed with the little grey cells and has caused endless headaches for Michael Gove who is throwing overboard all Grayling’s hopeless and vindictive policies at the MOJ. This has won Gove brownie points and breathing space. The judiciary and most of the legal profession regard him as rather good news.

When you are as dim and ambitious as the Leader of the House who knows that his head will be on a spike at the next reshuffle, the bronze age brain clanks into over drive to try and dredge for a bit of honour. Boris is now wisely out of the running to lead the Breziteers, Villiers is as charismatic as a peanut and May is far too savvy to rock the boat. So swirling around the emptiness of the Grayling cranium a couple of neurones joined together and produced a plan so cunning that if you put a tail on it you could call it a fox. ’The Brexiteers need a leader and I offer myself, in all humility, to wear the mantle to save our green and pleasant land from Johnny Foreigner and all his garlic infested works. I will write a piece in the telegraph, which will piss off Cameron but not enough for him to sack me. Who could resist my leadership, my charisma, my safe pair of hands. Hear I am". Well, there he is. My advice is to not sit by the telephone.

It may well be that the Outers are so desperate for someone, anyone, to knock the stuffing out of Fromage and that appalling little yob Arron Banks, that they will call for our hero. Lawson is too old and Lamont too loyal to his former SPAD David Cameron. After that who on earth is there? Javid? Highly unlikely. Despite showing a bit of ankle he is very ambitious and would like to be Chancellor in an Osborne government. So we might have the delightful entertainment of Grayling up against Cameron. He might stage a principled resignation. The tabloids will destroy him. I can almost hear the champagne corks popping at Number 10. It would be a tragedy if it wasn’t so hilarious.

But all this is a sideshow compared to the shenanigans of the tussle for the Tory leadership. It is becoming a tad dirty. Osborne has realised that this is going to be a tough fight. He is the darling of the back benches, whilst Boris damp gussets the party faithful. His dilemma is how he can keep Boris off the two candidate ballot. This is not easy and there are manoeuvres from Graham Brady to make it a threesome ballot. This will seriously annoy May who will take her chances as the Iron Maiden candidate.

The problem is that if Boris is not on the ballot the party faithful will go into melt down. But this is all a long way off.



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Do Labour MPs have the courage to join a mass walk out and smash the left?

9 Jan 2016 at 13:27

Some interesting Wilson memorabilia has hit the news today. Mary, his widow, is a hundred years old and Joe Haines, his legendary press secretary, has written for a call to arms in the New Statesman. I’ve always rather liked Joe as an interesting teller of tales, but I am in the minority. Gerald Kaufman, who was in Wilson’s kitchen cabinet, once told me that introducing Joe to Wilson was one of the biggest mistakes of his life. The lobby hated him as a former lobby hack turned traitor, particularly as his view was that his job was to support the Prime Minister and not them. Relations were very chilly.

But like him or loath him Joe has a wealth of experience which today’s politicians would be foolish to ignore. In 1974 Wilson had a majority of three, a party horribly divided on two fronts, Europe and the left, and there was also an economic crisis to put the cherry on the top of the cake. We all are aware that in 1975 he called a referendum in which ministers were allowed to depart from collective responsibility. It all sounds a bit familiar.

So what lessons can both parties learn from these troubled times? Firstly, as we have seen in Scotland, referendums do not end with the result. If the Remains win, which I suspect that they will, it is unlikely that hardcore Brexiteers will crawl back under their stones. They will claim that the whole process was unfair, and that Brussels with the Whitehall machine loaded the dice. So if you think that whatever the result there will not be a Tory bloodbath dream on. The campaign is going to be short and brutish. Who Scares Wins. And as for Labour’s EU split, it is nothing compared the the chasm between the leadership and his MPs.

The lesson of the sixties and beyond it that you can’t compromise with the left, you have to smash them. And the longer you wait the more difficult it becomes. The Haines solution is for a mass walk out MPs taking shelter under another umbrella. This would leave Bercow with a bit of a dilemma. Who becomes the official opposition? Well it’s a no brainer; the party with the second largest majority in the House. And so, the theory goes, the wheels of Livingstone/Corbyn charabanc fall off. But it would require a lot of courage and money. I don’t think that the money will be too much of a problem as it is the only chance Labour donors have of not having a party that is totally destroyed in 2020.

So who would lead them? I see that Dan Jarvis is given quite a puff in the Guardian today. As a former soldier with a great back story, courage does not appear be too much of a problem. But timing is. It has to be after the May elections. Any fool knows that Labour will face carnage then. Any hint of a walk out will allow the Corbynista rubbish machine to place the blame on the walkers. But it would not be wise to have a major distraction just before the referendum.

The party conference in September is astrologically the best bet. Momentum would have packed the hall with its members, so Livingstone will be the back street driver of a lethal pile up. Do it the day before the conference and cause the maximum damage and give Bercow time to think as Parliament is not sitting.

Jarvis needs some big beasts in the Shadow Cabinet. Watson is dangerously quiet. There have been no speeches or interviews praising the re kerfuffle. Worse, Milne has made a terrible tactical blunder by leaking to the press that Watson was never consulted on it. It is unwise to poke a big beast with sharp sticks, particularly if it has its own mandate.

But I am not optimistic. Despite the blather, MPs can be quite timid creatures and hope that something will turn up. Well, it won’t. This is the Last Chance Saloon and its drinking up time.



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The real villain in the reshuffle is Seamus Milne. Benn should have made a principled resignation not become a lame duck

6 Jan 2016 at 11:28

The real villain in this shambles of a reshuffle is not Jeremy Corbyn but his press secretary Seamus Milne. It’s not surprising that he is known in the lobby as shameless. Corbyn should have taken a lesson from the Margaret Thatcher playbook. She inherited a shadow cabinet who by and large despised her. It was stuffed with patrician politicians who thought that her political philosophy was an aberration and was an anathema to what the Conservative party stood for. Her Shadow Cabinet meetings were hell on earth and she was known to flee to the whips office in tears. But she bided her time before she executed them one by one. The more her power and authority grew the more licence she had to have a cabinet in her own image.

The unforgivable error that the Corbyn media operation made was not imposing discipline on the hotheads who want to wreak revenge and retribution on whom they consider to be Blairite class traitors. They were given a free reign to whisper bile and poison into the eager ears of the press. ‘Revenge reshuffle…..Benn to be sacked…..Winteron to go….’ were not the machinations of a wild eyed Tory press but from briefings from sources close to the leadership. We were all wound up to believe that there was to be a bloodbath which would lead to uproar on the back benches. Well, any fool knows that if Corbyn had stamped his authority on his Shadow cabinet there would have been trouble. But we’re led to believe that this was to be a game of chicken where Corbyn would not blink first.

So now he has achieved the worst of all worlds. Indecision; weakness; the sacking of two talented and popular men. And horror on the back benches at the whole sorry mess. Worst, it has taken away from him a great tactical point. Cameron didn’t want to give his ministers a free for all on the referendum. He had no choice but to change his mind. If Corbyn had made a speedy reshuffle even with compromises, he could have accused Cameron of being running scared of his party. He would be very unwise to try that one. Cameron’s eating of humble pie has produced a warm and fuzzy feeling amongst those colleagues who would happily slot him. He will receive cheers from his backbenchers at PMQs today. Corbyn will be received in sullen silence.

I am not entirely sure that Hilary Benn has come out of all of this with a lot of honour. He has agreed to remain silent in public about policies he profoundly disagrees with. His is a delayed resignation. He would have been wise to have made a principled resignation. He is now a lame duck shadow foreign secretary who will be be made to squirm with embarrassment at any mention of the bombing of Syria and Trident.

Corbyn would have been wise to heed the words of Descartes, ‘Except in our own thoughts, there is nothing absolutely in our power. It is not enough to have a good mind; the main thing is to use it well.’

This is a rare case where Descartes should have been put before the horses



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This cut of 19% of Short money is politically inept, morally bankrupt, doomed to fail and makes the Tories look like vindictive bullies rigging the democratic process

2 Jan 2016 at 13:03

It is not often that I look at a government decision and roll my eyes heavenward in disbelief and horror at the sheer mind boggling stupidity of it. But the wheeze to cut the money given to opposition parties to fund their scrutiny of the executive by any amount, let alone 19%, is politically inept, morally bankrupt and doomed to fail. It makes the Tories look like vindictive bullies rigging the democratic system. And it is a gift that will keep on giving for Corbyn. Unless this cranky idea is buried in a lead lined coffin topped with six feet of reinforced concrete before the first PMQs of the season Cameron is going to have to defend the indefensible. And he will not like that one little bit. 2016 will be the most important year in generations for any PM and to gain the trust of the people over the EU referendum he has got to be seen playing with a straight bat. So, to pick a fight where one is unnecessary makes no political sense whatsoever.

To be honest I suspect that Cameron and Osborne hadn’t got a clue that this was buried in the fine print of the Autumn Statement until the press office was contacted and who responded with the default panic mode about ‘reducing the deficit and the cost of government’. What utter bollocks.

So what went wrong? There appears to be nobody at the Treasury with long term radar who can spot a potential fuck up flying towards them. This is potentially far worse than the pasty wars.

All parties who lose elections end up on the verge of bankruptcy. They’ve shelled out money they can’t afford on advertising, battle buses and telephone banks. The donors in an unseemly rout for gongs and influence plough their cash into what they think are more fertile fields. Can you imagine the outrage if Blair or Brown had cut the Short money? This was named after Ted Short, a rather dull and austere Leader of the House. Oh, now that may give us trail of gastropodian slime leading to a certain minister. Lumber forward Chris Grayling Leader of the House. He would have had to have been consulted on this as it is a matter that is directly in his fiefdom. But judgement, lightness of touch and an acute ear for danger are not words that come to mind with this vindictive, spiteful, political knuckle dragger. He would have though it was a brilliant idea to humiliate his opponents. And he knows that it would produce one of those guttural primal growls from the carpet munching wing of his party.

But let’s look at the political consequences. The total Short money is about £8million, which is probably less than the Foreign Office lunch bill. Labour would lose about a million and the DUP about £32k. For a small party that is serious. For a small party that by and large supports the government it is politically insane. And it’s not just the Short money that will be cut, the Policy Development Grant, which is a minuscule £2m is also going to be cut. And at a time when the number of SPADS is at an all time high.

The thinking wing of the Tory Party will hate this. There will be a rebellion. If I was in Parliament I would be raising merry hell.

This foolhardy, ill thought out, politically toxic nonsense should be strangled at birth. The British public who have penchant for fair play will not like this one little bit



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Cronyism, dishonest journalism the honours system and why Crosby deserves a Dukedom

31 Dec 2015 at 12:17

What has happened to the Independent apart from selling less copies than Goldfish Weekly? This was the paper which was to break the mould and put professional, impartial journalism at its core. That’s why it was called the Independent. But read today’s splash with care.
“Almost 30 Tory party members or supporters receive awards amid accusations of cronyism”, it screamed. And then there were the quotes from the usual suspects. Andy Burnham (yes, I thought he was dead too) was ‘outraged’ at a knighthood for Lynton Crosby and then goes onto a diatribe about the wicked Tories thinking that they can do what they like.

Well, this looks like a tale of Cameroonian baubles for the Bullers corruption unearthed by the painstaking skill of an Independent scribbler in the finest traditions of Her Majesty’s Press. But then let us read on. It is revealed by the head of the honours committee that,“26 out of 1,196 awards were for political services including Parliamentary clerks, Rosie Winterton, Ed Davey and Harriet Harman’s former adviser……”

To put it in legal terms the subheadline is complete bollocks and utterly misleading. I am not sure that we can go to journalist default mode and blame the sub editors as I thought most if not all of them had been sacked. It’s not just sloppy journalism it borders on the dishonest. It wouldn’t have happened under Andrew Marr’s editorship.

We Brits love our baubles adorned with meaningless medieval gobbledegook. And there is a modicum of cronyism from all parties. Who cares if some bag carrier from the Ministry of footpaths and dog shit gets an MBE? Who cares if Labour’s Chief Whip gets the DBE, after all she has had to put up with Gordon Brown, Ed Miliband and now Corbyn? What we do care about is when the greasers, chancers, donors and arse lickers get pushed into the Lords where they have the chance to legislate. But honours at a political level have always been a means of control. Keep your nose clean as an MP for about thirty years and you’ll get a K. If you stab a PM in the back as a senior minister forget about a peerage.

There is also a lot of press outrage at the award of gongs to civil servants. This year’s Joan of Arc is Lin Homer. I know Lin of old. I was counsel (for Labour actually) in the Birmingham postal ballot fraud when the election commissioner likened her handling of an election as ‘worthy of a banana republic’. But she was looked after and wreaked havoc and disaster at UKBA, the Department of Transport and now as chief executive of HMRC. She should have pensioned off years ago. I don’t give a toss about her DBE which comes with the rations, but I do care deeply about a charmed life and a massive pension pot worth millions.

And having a crack at Lynton Crosby is a bit like saying, ‘what have the Romans ever done for us?’. Anyone who can housetrain Boris and win an election for the Tories against all the odds deserves a Dukedom. The man has been shortchanged! And before we have another burst of sphincter rattling hypocrisy from Burnham just remember that the Lords is stuffed with Labour election gurus.

So, let’s get it all in perspective. There is a certain amount of cross party cronyism in the honours list. But it is a minority sport. The majority of gongs and baubles go to the deserving who selflessly serve their communities. And talking of sport, what happened to Andy Murray?

Lastly the Indy had a crack at Marion Little ‘an election strategist’. Too right she was. She was my splendid agent. And for that burden she deserves nothing less than a DBE.



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Unless Cameron is replaced by Boris Diane Abbott has a better chance of growing a penis than Labour ever winning an election

30 Dec 2015 at 10:39

One of the many joys of commenting on British politics is to wallow in its inherent contradictions. Jeremy Corbyn has been accused of being weak and lacking leadership for allowing his shadow cabinet a free vote over military action in Syria, yet David Cameron is being urged to show strong leadership by allowing his cabinet a free vote in an EU referendum. The truth is that both leaders would love to be in a position to assert their authority and crack the whip but have to perform a very delicate balancing act.

Cameron has to treat the Brexits with ersatz respect as they are a very chippy bunch, crying foul at every opportunity. Even if he came back from Brussels with the annexation of the the whole of Europe under British rule and Juncker to be put in charge of car parks (Belgium), O’Patz, Cash and Redwood will be squealing, “too little too late”. So Cameron will have to make a calculation. He will come back with a deal which will be better than most expected (they always dampen expectations to the press in advance) which will probably be enough to keep most of his backbenchers onside and almost certainly lead to a change resistant electorate to vote Remain. The calculation will be who will support him the Chancellor and the Foreign Secretary in selling the deal to the public and who will resign? Despite the fact that her excellent SPAD, Stephen Parkinson has moved over to advise the Brexiteers I would be surprised if May resigns. She is far to canny. And unless there is to be massive Cabinet resignations (nobody really cares about the rest) she will remain and await her reward. Perhaps the first woman Chancellor? If she stays she can write the political cheque. Gove will also stay. He is a loyal Cameroon and is trusted. He is also thoroughly enjoying being Lord Chancellor and is beginning to make a difference. On the other hand I would be amazed if IDS, who has more EU baggage than a Heathrow carousel could remain. There is talk of Theresa Villiers doing a runner. But honestly, delightful as she is nobody gives a fuck. The interesting one is Javid. He is playing a very dangerous game. But you can’t be Business Secretary and argue Leave. Oh, and how can I forget Chris Grayling? Well, everyone else has and he knows that he is already past his sack by date. He might try and be a hero and walk before he is ventilated. But when you have the charisma and brain of a peanut, not even a salted one, it won’t be a troops rallying moment. So the reality is that if the Prime Minister, the Chancellor and the Foreign Secretary are of the firm view that this is a good deal for Britain it has to become government policy. And if it is government policy you either support it or resign. And the message will be clear. Nobody will be keeping your seat warm for you and rather than being lauded as a man of conscience you will be regarded as a disloyal, boat rocking ambitious little prick who will hand the next election over to the Corbynitas. Which brings me onto Boris. I suspect that the penny dropped years ago that he will do anything and say anything to be Prime Minister, but would hate the hard, grinding, thankless slog of being leader of the Opposition. Downing Street will continue to love bomb him. Here there is another calculation. If you put him in the Cabinet, unless it is as Leader of the House, Cameron makes a mortal enemy of the displaced. And if the moment is deemed right would a dramatic exit by Boris be more harmful than not having him there at all? The helpful line that he can’t be in Cabinet whilst Mayor expires in May next year. So an early referendum, an early reshuffle or both? Tricky one. Although because of French and German elections in 2017 I would expect a referendum sometime in 2016. The Brexiteers will shout, ‘foul, we need more time’, but we have heard all that so many times before.

Now back to Labour. It is fashionable to blame the hate filled, angry, obsessive, delusional Corbynistas for the mess that the party is in. Some blame Ed Miliband. Personally, I blame his brother and the moderates. The sheer complacency and arrogance of the DM campaign was breathtaking. He assumed a coronation and so did his supporters. This was spectacularly unattractive to Labour supporters. Ed was merely the inevitable John the Baptist to Corbyn, aided and abetted by the the two Krankies, Burnham and Cooper.

Now for some political reality. There will be a purge of moderates in the Shadow Cabinet. The river Thames will foam with blood. Benn will be offered an humiliating alternative to the Foreign Office which will lead to his resignation. It could be offered to Milband, who won’t take it or even Diane Abbott who has let it be known she would prefer the Home Office. Rosie Winterton is dead in the water. The moderates will go berserk, Corbyn will have constructive debate in the Shadow Cabinet and the party will have an orgy of orgasmic joy. Even better if the moderates left Parliament in 2020. By then they would have either been deselected by Momentum or evicted by the electorate. It is time that they faced the awful truth. Unless Osborne seriously screws up the economy or after a defeat at the referendum Cameron resigns and is replaced by Boris, Diane Abbott has a better chance of growing a penis than Labour taking office ever again. It is finished as the party of power.

So what will the moderates do? I suspect nothing but moan. If they had any guts they would leave Labour and set up a new centre left party. Or join the Tories.

So 2016 will be the year of collective irresponsibility.



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President Erdogan of Turkey presents a terrible dilemma for the West

29 Dec 2015 at 10:30

If August is the silly season for journalists desperate to fill pages with surfing squirrels and singing dogs, the Christmas to New Year dead space, where hung over journalists attempt to titivate a comatose nation with quizzes and stories that would normally never see the light of day, must be the the dopey season. A few days ago the normally well informed and sharp as a tack Fraser Nelson came up with a story so bonkers that I had to check that it wasn’t April the first, namely that Cameron was considering making Boris Johnson Foreign Secretary. The Downing Street flunky who ever came up with this one must have won a bet about who could get the most un-airworthy of kites off the ground. And then in the Times this morning there are some quotes from a Tory donor called Alexander Temerko (I know, never heard of him either) who will give squillions to ensure that Boris becomes the next Tory leader as Osborne’s living wage policy will be a green light for immigrants. Mr. Temerko was born in Ukraine. The age of irony is not dead.

But apart from the terrible plight of those poor devils flooded out of their homes, the most worrying news story, which sends a shiver down the spine of an old Turkophile like me, is a piece written by Can Dundar in the Guardian. I can see your interest is waning. But be patient. He is the editor in chief of Cumhuriyet Daily, a well respected Turkish newspaper. He wrote it in solitary confinement where he awaits a trial for espionage. You may want to know what his ‘crime’ is. Sometime in 2014 a truck sent by the Turkish government carrying humanitarian aid was intercepted on its way to Syria. Turkish authorities searched the vehicle to find ammunition hidden beneath the chests of medicine. Then the security service intervened and allowed the truck safe passage. The officials, including the prosecutor, who stopped the truck were detained. Yet there was film of what had happened and Dundar and his Ankara bureau chief published the story. President Erdogan was furious. “The person who wrote this story will pay a heavy price for it. I won’t let it go unpunished.”

I accept that Turkey has some very bad neighbours. I appreciate that the border with Syria is a nightmare. I understand the long running war with the terrorist PKK. But Turkey is a democracy. It has come a long way from the terrible days of the seventies and military dictatorships. But Turkey under Erdogan masquerades under a rule of law that doesn’t exist. It’s journalists are put before kangaroo courts to be tried on trumped up charges before a suborned judiciary. Just for publishing the truth. Dundar is no Assange nor a Snowden. He is respected and responsible.

Erdogan is a very dangerous man. He has broken the fundamental principle of Attaturk that religion should be in the heart of the individual and not at the heart of the state. He is turning the presidency from that of something purely ceremonial to one of executive power. He crushes dissent. His power base is not in the relaxed and liberal towns but in the hardline Muslim villages. And the laid back, decent, Turks are worried.

But it goes further than this. Erdogan had a peace deal with the PKK which he has broken. He is using the war against ISIS as an excuse to destroy the Kurds who are fighting them. Rumours abound ( I have not seen any hard evidence) that he is buying oil from ISIS. There is great anger in the army that young Turkish conscripts are being slaughtered because of this misguided policy. Turkey is in turmoil because Erdogan, who has built himself an enormous palace, has convinced himself that he is the new father of the nation.

All this is a terrible dilemma for the West. Turkey is a valued ally and a key member of NATO. They are the gatekeepers of the flow of Syrian refugees. We want them as part of the EU. In these dark days our priority must be to defeat the death cult of ISIS. Sometimes in war principles have to be compromised. But we ignore the plight of good and decent journalists like Can Dundar at our peril. The values that our civilisation are built upon and which ISIS want to destroy are personal freedom protected by the rule of law. President Erdogan is making a half decent fist of doing their job for them



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Trump, Hopkins Stop the War & Momentum have one thing in common; intolerance

12 Dec 2015 at 10:01

I wonder what Donald Trump sees when he gazes lovingly into the mirror. I suspect it is a young, slim, virile leader of men who has the courage to say what most people really think. Oh, and with a dashing mane of hair. The poor fellow. If only he knew what we see. An overweight ego maniac with a preposterous hairdo and a mouth that pouts like a cats anus.

But according to well respected political philosopher, Katie Hopkins, he has shown great leadership despite talking ‘hot air’ and that his policies are ‘unworkable’. I sometimes wonder, although not too often, what the Hopkins mindset is before writing a piece. I suspect that it is along the lines of, ’ I am the most hated woman in Britain. This is how I earn my living. I offend the metrosexual Guardianistas and anyone who has anything to do with the biased British Bolshevik Broadcasting Corporation. I articulate what the unemployed, underachieving benefitista really thinks. Immigrants are taking their jobs, Muslims are taking over the country and let’s get out of bloody Europe. I will do anything and say anything to go that extra mile to piss off the smug, self satisfied entitled Fleet Street Bubble’.

And of course, that strange, shouty, scary lower pond life of bitter folk with dragging knuckles who infest the sewers of the Guido comments section thinks that she is wonderful. So apparently does Donald Chump. Heaven knows what they think of him in certain parts of Belfast as a former Gerry Adams fund raiser. But that is the problem with American politics. Most of them don’t have a passport. Any many think that abroad is the next county.

It is wrong to say that there is a massive Muslim problem here, or even a minor one. What puzzles us is why are so many young men and women become radicalised. There is a clue in today’s TIMES. There is a very troubling piece about how the head of Ofsted has found a number of Muslim schools in the Birmingham area who are teaching homophobia, anti semitism and a restricted Islamic curriculum. It took him a while to unravel the bureaucracy of the DFE and close them down. But parents wanted their kids to attend these schools. One has to ask why. And it was only a few months ago that we had the Trojan horse report about intolerance and segregation in schools. It shouldn’t be Ofsted closing these schools down, it should be Muslim communities forbidding them to be opened in the first place.

There are three priorities for the government on this; integration, integration, integration. The great British tradition of tolerance has been taken for a ride.

And then we spin the coin. Look at the far left, Momentum, Stop the War and all those creepy figures from Labour’s Militant past whom we thought had died. Little did we know that they have been incubating in the bodies of their hosts, Corbyn, McDonnell and Diane Abbott. We see decent people like Stella Creasy and Hilary Benn abused in the streets. Anyone who doesn’t follow the new agenda (actually, it’s rather old) are denounced as traitors, Tories or the worst insult of all, Blairites. And Corbyn’s Beria is the truly ghastly Abbott. At least some of the new intake such as Jess Phillips are standing up to this caricature of Stalin’s granny.

But will anyone of any stature have the courage to say publicly what most Labour members really think, namely that the party has been high jacked at every level and they must rebuilt from scratch. This happened in 1981 with the formation of the SDP. It is their only hope. And after the Shadow Cabinet purge which will take place in the New Year, Labour moderates will be in drinking up time in the last chance saloon.

Does anyone have the courage?



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