In politics always shoot to kill and never to wound

10 Nov 2014 at 09:03

In the early eighties as a young and foolish backbencher I was accused of plotting to oust Margaret Thatcher. It was, of course, nonsense. Francis Pym, a sacked and bitter Foreign Secretary, gathered a group of wets together to try and put a more compassionate and human face on Thatcherism. We called ourselves Centre Forward. Needless to say the Number 10 rubbish machine blew us out of the water. We were not so much strangled at birth as aborted.

A few days after termination I was invited to drinks with uber Thatcherite Nick Ridley. He gave me some very wise advice. ‘Always shoot to kill, never to wound. There is nothing more dangerous than a wounded politician’. He was right. And in 1990 that advice was successfully implemented.

It is pretty obvious that it much easier to butcher a Tory Leader than a Labour one. We are swift and brutal executioners. Labour can’t be because of the Byzantine methods of elections. To keep Miliband would be a disaster, but to get rid of him a catastrophe. Weeks of infighting between Brownites and Blairites would wreck any chance of taking power.

There are some fundamental differences between the defenestration of Thatcher and the amateurish attempts to oust Miliband. The main reason he will stay is because the electorate are blissfully unaware who the main contenders for the crown are. In 1989 Michael Heseltine and John Major were household names. By 1990 the polls indicated that if Thatcher was replaced by any of the contenders there would be a massive swing to the Conservatives. Remember that Thatcher was trailing Kinnock by about 25%. So backbenchers like me made a calculation. Would we have more of a chance of saving the government and our seats with or without her? The rest is history.

But today Labour does not have that luxury of a swing of any sort, let alone a game changing one should the Number 11 bus come careering towards Ed. In the next few days Labour MPs will have to make the same calculation as we did. I would be amazed if they didn’t just grit their teeth mumble that ‘they need to listen more’ and quietly tell those ambitious members of the Shadow Cabinet to shut up.

Ironically, Miliband’s real problem isn’t that he looks like the chairman of the school chemistry club and is not a very good communicator, its that the public don’t like his policies. The current line to take that this is all drummed up by the right wing press is laughable nonsense. The New Statesman is hardly a Thatcherite think tank.

No, Miliband’s problem is baggage. Ed Balls created Gordon Brown and cannot bring himself to accept that they trashed the economy. The Mansion tax is a disaster and will have be binned, or changed out of all recognition. And Andy Burnham knows that his claim that the Tories are out to destroy the NHS by handing it over to their fat cat friends is a dangerous lie. The public are not fools. Provided care is of a good quality and free at the point of delivery they don’t care if some of it comes from the private sector. Never forget that the horror of Mid Staffs was on his watch. He really is going to be slaughtered at the general election over this.

There is only one way Milband can hope to capture the imagination of the people, dump his baggage. But he can’t sack Ed Balls and order a U turn on economic policy. It is far too late and the Unions would go berserk. And there is the other problem, the likes of Len McLusky have more influence than ever before as private donors evaporate like snowballs in hell.

It is a popular myth that a lot of political capital rests on the Rochester and Strood by election. In reality it means very little. If UKIP wins will this be the end of Cameron? Good heavens no. It will be a couple of days of bad publicity a few grumbles from the usual suspects arguing for a some sort of pact. They will, of course, be ignored. Rochester is far more damaging to Labour. If they lose their deposit all hell will break lose, resurrecting all the old Miliband leadership hand wringing.

So their are two messages here. It would be helpful if those Tory rebels put aside their ill informed views of the European Arrest Warrant and actually listen to the powerful arguments in favour. As Labour is seriously on the run they would be insane to allow the headlines to change back to ‘Tories Split on Europe’. But they are just manic enough to do it.

And the message to Milband? You can’t teach an old dogma new tricks. Don’t even try. Run for office not for cover.

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Grayling is a menace. His department is frighteningly Kafkaesque

4 Nov 2014 at 16:21

In that great Palais de Wankerdom, the Ministry of Justice, Grayling’s peculiars have been up to their usual tricks. A few months ago I was defence counsel for one of the defendants in the Leicester fire bombing. This was the case where an innocent family were burned to death. This was an emotive, high profile and complex case which needed specialist and senior counsel. A High Court judge granted a certificate for two counsel per defendant. He also granted us our hotel expenses, which nowadays is a rarity. After a long trial, which was considerably shortened by the cooperation of the bar, we put in our bills. And this is where the trouble began.

Let me take you down a little trip down memory lane. A few years ago Jack Straw came up with a brainwave. Rather than the trial court computing and paying counsel, which was free, fraudless and quick, it was taken out of their hands and put into the paws of a new tier of bureaucracy now called the Legal Aid Authority. Needless to say the system is a fiasco. Whereas we were obliged to be paid within 28 days (we took a fee cut to secure this) it can take up to three months or longer. I would love to know how much extra this bureaucracy costs the taxpayer. The LAA is a dysfunctional, hopeless organisation who will use any excuse not to pay us for work done.

Now back to my Leicester case. I submitted my bill with the order by a High Court judge for a certificate for two counsel. Several weeks later the LAA were of the view that this was not valid. ‘But it is an order given and signed by a High Court judge. What do you think that we were doing for 9 weeks?’
‘Ah’, came the response, ‘it should have been headed In the Birmingham Crown Court. It is headed In the High Court of Justice’.
‘Of course it is, he is a High Court Judge’.
‘That may well be, but it doesn’t accord with our audit’.

So for weeks they refused to pay, until the High Court judge personally intervened. I was paid a couple of weeks ago. But they are still refusing to pay my hotel bill (no booze allowed) despite a schedule and receipts. This is not just nod and a wink to Kafka but a disgrace. As each counsel’s bill is ‘audited’ by a separate pointy head the same argument is on going with other counsel in the same case. And this is happening all the time.

Another little trick is putting evidence on disc. We are not paid to look at evidence on disc, like CCTV. But they have moved the goal posts. Now, telephone raw material is put on disc. I have one case that I have finished where there is the equivalent of 4000 pages they are refusing to pay. Despite that inconvenient fact there is legal authority to say that they must pay us it, is ignored. In large conspiracies where there are many defendants and flotillas of telephones the raw material has to be cross referenced and checked for accuracy. This evidence is vital, it can either destroy a defence or undermine the prosecution case. It is very often inaccurate. I would be rightly disciplined if I didn’t read it as I would be failing in my duty to my lay client. But despite courts saying that we must be paid, the LAA ignores them.

Can you imagine what the reaction if a consultant surgeon or a GP was treated like this? There would be an outcry. But we are just ‘fat cat lawyers’ (I bloody wish) representing alleged criminals. Who cares? Well, we do. Even the most wicked deserve a competent defence. That is why our system of justice is the envy of the world. Until Grayling vandalises and finally destroys it.

You may remember a few weeks ago Grayling was judicially reviewed over suppressing a report that undermined his plans to destroy the High Street solicitor and replace them with the likes of G4s and Serco. The latter, you may recall, is being investigated for claiming for tags of those who have died and were in prison. The money extracted from the taxpayer is over £100 million. The review was I the middle of a ‘consultation’. But an MOJ pointy head who gave evidence said that the suppression of the report didn’t matter as the decision had already been made! It is no surprise that Grayling wants to seriously curb judicial review. Mr. Putin would be so proud.

But there are no votes in lawyers. They can do what they like to us and the red tops will cheer. Until one of their own is accused of a crime. But then they can afford to pay privately. Grayling is a menace and the end of our cherished system of justice is nearly nigh.

Will nobody act?

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Carswell and Raab are hopelessly wrong about the European Extradition Warrant

28 Oct 2014 at 15:10

I sincerely hope that no sentient Tory backbencher is going to be so craven and frit as to submit to Douglas Carswell’s blackmail about the vote on the European Extradition Warrant.
In yesterday’s Telegraph he gave them a sinister message.
‘Any Tory MP who fails to vote against the EAW cannot make any credible claims to be Eurosceptic’

Oh really? Are backbenchers (Labour beware) going to have to jump through hoops to be awarded some barmy KIPPER kitemark so save their seats from Farage’s representative on earth? if I was still in the Commons I would be rather insulted. But more worrying than this little hissy fit is that Carswell clearly hasn’t a clue about what the EAW is all about.

‘Why are we prepared to have someone carted off to another country without giving a UK court the chance to have a look at the basic evidence?’ he screeches.
‘The process rolls on more or less automatically.’ he booms with all the authority of a Readers Digest affectionado.

It will shock you to know that the Carswell analysis is sphincter rattlingly. bollock clenchingly wrong. The reason why in opposition the Tories voted against the EAW was that labour swallowed the Brussels line hook line and sinker. The EAW, thanks to some deft political footwork from Theresa May is now a very different creature.

Now nobody can be extradited for minor offences. Before a warrant can be granted a British judge considers proportionality. Between July and October British judges have thrown out 21 warrants on these grounds. So if you nick a bottle of Bolly from the Paris Ritz nobody is going to bang on your door in this country. But it would be wise to steer clear of France.

Now nobody can be extradited if the offence is not an offence in the UK. From July to October British judges have thrown out 34 warrants on these grounds.

Now nobody has to languish in a foreign jail whist awaiting their fate. No British judge will issue a warrant unless there has been a decision to charge. And there are many more safeguards. From British judges.

Probably the most bonkers part of the Carswell analysis is that we should go back to the good old days of the 1957 European convention on warrants which was an unworkable fiasco. Many EU countries refuse to extradite their nationals under the convention. They include France, Germany and Spain. And you can’t extradite those accused of fraud and tax evasion. So not only have UKIP cosied up to the holocaust deniers and wife beater of Europe, they are now the fraudersters’ friends.

But Carswell is not alone in his delusion. Dominic Raab argues in the Independent on the same day that the EAW is the beginning of the stampede to harmonised European Justice. Not even the utterly hopeless Chris Grayling wants to dismantle our cherished jury system. Raab even prays in aid the awful case of the young lad whose parents were arrested in Spain because they sought alternative treatment for their young son. But this was the fault of a terrible decision by our own CPS.

We need to argue for a reformed Europe. More transparent, more democratic,more in touch. To vote against an EAW reformed by a British government is something that even the Rampton wing of the Conservative party should steer well clear of.

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The shocking truth about EU migration is that Farage is hopelessly wrong. And it's all in a government paper.

20 Oct 2014 at 11:08

Over the last few months I have been rather perplexed about the stampede of the main parties towards the general perception that EU migration is undercutting British jobs. There seems to be a popular view that once the people have spoken politicians should listen and have a duty to act. And any real democrat would be believe in this. But what after listening and analysing the evidence politicians come to the conclusion that the people are talking dangerous bollocks? Don’t they have a duty to tell them the truth and do their best to educate them about the realities and assuage their fears? Or do they just cower in front of the pitch forked mob and promise to ‘do something’ about the hordes of Ebolans who are coming over here, taking our jobs and over stretching our health service?

So I thought that I would scour the internet and try and find the truth about the true effects of EU migration on British jobs. To be honest, I thought that this was going to be an Herculian task, grappling with a myriad of contradictory statistics. I was quite wrong. There is a document setting out a statistical analysis which popped up almost immediately. From a right wing think tank? From a left wing think tank? From that fount of all knowledge, the KIPPERS? No. It is a joint paper written by Amanda Rowlatt and Sam Brand. And who the bloody hell are they you might ask. Rowlatt is the Chief Analyst at the Department for Business Innovation and Skills and Brand is the Chief Economist at the Home Office. The paper is called Impacts of Migration on UK native employment: An analytical review of the evidence.
For you searchers after the truth and not the political wind and piss which is filling the sails of HMS Great Britain and is in danger of running us aground I would urge you to read it.

I am sorry, but to be fair I will need to quote great chunks of the Executive summary. It will shock you.

“The purpose of this review, carried out by government analysts, has been to consider comprehensively the evidence in this area and to reconcile the wide ranging conclusions from the economic literature, in order to set out the agreed cross government view. Importantly, it is recognised that the impacts on migration on the Labour market depend on a range of factors that vary over time, and therefore the impact of migration on the Labour market cannot be condensed into a ‘one size fits all’ answer.

…… Overall, our assessment is that there is relatively little evidence that migration has caused statistically significant displacement of UK natives from the Labour market in periods when the economy has been strong. However, in line with some recent studies, there is evidence for some labour market displacement in recent years when the economy is in recession.

…….this suggests that the labour market adjusts to increased net migration when economic conditions are good. But during a recession and when net migration volumes are high as in recent years, it appears that the Labour market adjusts at a slower rate and some short term impacts are observed.

………to date there has been little evidence in the literature of a statistically significant impact from EU migration on native employment outcomes, although significant EU migration is still a relatively recent phenomenon and this does not imply that impacts do not occur in some circumstances.

…….the evidence also suggests that where there has been a displacement effect from a particular cohort of migrants, this dissipates over time, that is, any displacement impacts from one set of new arrivals gradually decline as the labour market adjusts, as predicted by economic theory".

The interesting thing about this report is that it is the policy of the government and was published last March. Yet, I don’t recall any ministers quoting it, let alone trying to explain to the public that their fears that this country is being swamped by EU immigrants under cutting their jobs is just plain wrong.

Of course, there are problems in relation to benefit misuse and other related issues that have to be dealt with. According to Barosso on Marr yesterday Cameron is pushing at an open door.

The trouble is the political agenda appears to be being set by the wilful ignorance of the Faragistas conjuring up a terror which in reality is nothing more than a cyclical problem. Of course politicians must listen to the concerns of the public. And if they are founded on real evidence they are duty bound to act. But if the KIPPERS managed to convince the public that the earth was flat and the moon was made of cheese wouldn’t they be under a duty to advise them that this is the most dangerous nonsense?

I fear that as the election is only 200 days away that anyone who tries to have a fact based debate on EU migration will be regarded as mentally unstable or an Immigration Denier. How desperately sad.

Not for the first time Ken Clarke has got it right. We can’t out KIPPER UKIP. And it is dishonest to try.

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It's about time that Farage was exposed at the cynical Westminster operator that he is

10 Oct 2014 at 12:04

Despite all the hype from the Faragistas, no mould has been broken and nothing much has changed. The Kippers have just officially replaced the Lib Dems as the spittoon for the aggrieved, the nutters the no hopers and thoroughly pissed off from Jaywick. It is scary for the Tories but terrifying for Labour who narrowly missed losing one of their safest seats. Now let’s see what happens in Rochester. This one is very difficult to call. The genteel poverty of the Daily Express reading crumblies were always ripe for Farage and dear old Carswell was regarded as a rather decent oddball. But Reckless has a reputation as being a bit of a shit and hasn’t had his feet under the desk for very long. If I was him I would be very worried about the Sundays as there are a lot of very aggrieved back benchers who will be keen to dig the dirt.

But whatever happens I would be amazed if the kippers win or retain a single seat at the general. The Lib Dems were always regarded as a wasted vote, but UKIP is a positively dangerous one. The mantra that if you spend the night with Farage you’ll end up waking up with Miliband cannot be repeated too often as it is so toxic and true. The awful thing is that Farage really doesn’t care if Labour wreckers trash the economy and throw thousands onto the dole. In fact he rather welcomes it. He wants to destroy the Tories and lead the right. But at what a cost. And he has the nerve to accuse the Westminster ruling elite of cynicism. The man is an utter disgrace. It really is time that the gloves came off and that all sensible parties unite in revealing him as a wolf in a jester’s clothes.

What will be interesting is how Carswell will be received in the Commons next week. Labour would be mad to cheer him as they were hurt more than the Tories. The whips will be interested to watch which Tories pat him on the back and which ones cheer him. I would be amazed if he is not put under 24 hour surveillance. I do feel rather sorry for him though. The matey support system of colleagues will not be there for him any more. And anyone seen within ten feet of him will be suspected of plotting. The poor fellow will find the Commons a very hostile environment. The sharks are circling even now, sniffing for the first sign of blood. It will get very, very dirty. He really has made a terrible mistake on both a personal and political level.

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For the police to hack the Mail on Sunday is a national disgrace and an affront to the freedom of the press

5 Oct 2014 at 10:24

Apart from the appalling news of the savage and senseless murder of a thoroughly decent man and the more encouraging reportage of British Imams speaking with one voice in condemnation, there is a worrying news story which is not being picked up. It is the Mail on Sunday splash that during the investigation of Chris Huhne’s perversion of the course of justice and against the order of a judge the police hacked into a Mail on Sunday telephone. ‘So what?’ Some might say. ’What’s the big deal?’ Enquire others.

Well, the deal is very big indeed. It is an affront to the freedom of the press that the police use legislation (the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act) designed to combat terrorism and organised crime to trawl through contact numbers and hack phone calls to worm out a source that a judge ordered should be protected. Sensibly, Keith Vaz, chairman of the Home Affairs Select committee is equally outraged and will investigate. Keith is nobody’s fool. He knows when to smell a rat and will run it to ground.

But do the general public care? Probably not. We live in an age where we imagine a paedophile on every corner and a terrorist in every mosque. But they should be very worried indeed. An election is looming. Politicians throw common sense to the wind and surf on a tsunami of hyperbole. And it will get worse as the polls narrow and the parties become more panicked and jittery. And desperate.

Theresa May is a great Home Secretary and a shrewd politician who deserves credit for keeping us safe. She has deservedly become a Big Beast. But I do worry about the the resurrection of the Data and Communications Bill dubbed the snoopers charter. We are told that it is vital for national security that our guardians are able collect all of our emails, our texts, our phone calls and our web browsing. They won’t be able to use them, of course, unless a judge rules that they should be. Nothing to worry about then.

Well if you believe that you might as well prepare a note for Father Christmas and a carrot for the Easter Bunny. Just look at what has happened to the Mail on Sunday. Just look at the actions of some local authorities who have used anti terrorist legislation to spy on those wicked parents who may have told a few porkies about where they live to get their kids into a better school. Hardly matters of national security and these abuses were not by the shadowy figures who run our security services.

The Mail on Sunday hacking story should send alarm bells ringing for anyone who believes that our love of freedom and democracy gives us the moral high ground over those who are dedicated to destroying our way of life. I hope a few other papers pick it up tomorrow.

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If only Cameron could tell the Rampton Wing of the Tory party to fuck off and join UKIP

1 Oct 2014 at 08:39

Why anybody wants to be leader of a party, let alone Prime Minister is beyond my comprehension. Your private life is subjected to an unhealthy scrutiny by a carnivorous and mischievous media. You have to react immediately to a crisis with an instant and popular plan. You are obliged come up with vote winning policies which will please all the wings of your party. And whatever you say, do, or even think, you will either be accused of dithering, being too weak or too strident. You are out of touch, in touch, man of the people and devoid of reality all at once. There are those who hate you because you haven’t promoted them. Those who despise you because to sacked them and those who harbour grudges because of some perceived slight years ago.

But the worst part of the job must be having a quiet chat with a Cabinet colleague whom you know is whispering vitriol into the ears of the press and would dance on your political grave. So you realise that you can’t trust most of your Cabinet and surround yourself with a few close friends who would lay down their lives for you. This is denounced as a Chumocracy and those who wouldn’t piss on you if you were on fire resent the fact that they are not included in your inner circle. And when you hold your nose and wine, dine and listen attentively to the cranks, greasers and chancers who infect your party, rather than be thanked and given a little credit for having to put up with their ghastliness you are accused of being patronising.

So today David Cameron will try and unite the warring tribes that make up the Conservative Party. Whatever, he says he will either be accused of lurching to the right, pandering to the Kippers or not being robust enough on the EU. But nothing he says or does will satisfy the Rampton Wing of the Tory party. John Major once said that it was like feeding crocodiles. You throw them a bun and they still slither in the swamps demanding more. These people are a lost cause. They don’t represent the majority of decent people who swell the ranks of the party. Today Cameron must talk to the nation not to his party. He must not make the mistake of Miliband whipping up cheap applause from the converted. He should speak to those having their tea who are worried about jobs, security, their children’s education and whether their parents will be treated with dignity and compassion in their final years. That should be his audience.

I wouldn’t have David Cameron’s job if you paid me a kings ransom. As he looks round his audience this afternoon I wish he could say to those Cabinet Ministers who brief against him, those backbenchers who despise him and those fickle donors desperate for gongs, influence and prestige, ‘and as for you lot why don’t you just fuck off and join UKIP. Be gone and good bloody riddance’. There would be an outcry. Owen Patterson, Chris Grayling and Iain Duncan Smith would go into meltdown. But the Tory Party would return to being the decent, caring, competent Party that used to win elections.

David Cameron is a great Prime Minister who wants to do ‘the right thing’. His instincts are right. He could win the next election if only his party would let him. Whether they have the collective good sense to unite against the real enemy is something that delights Ed Miliband and terrifies me.

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Self Control is always more satisfying than premature ejockulation. Time for a Royal Commission to look at the collective whinges of the UK

19 Sep 2014 at 06:36

Well, they think it’s all over; but it has just began. All party leaders have been damaged by this. Cameron is accused by the usual suspects of selling out England. Miliband of being as of much use as a cat flap in a submarine. And Salmond of conducting one of the most bad tempered and dishonest political campaigns in living memory. Only one politician crawls out of this cess pit with an enhanced reputation and that is Gordon Brown. I wish he could have been as magnificent, passionate and compelling when he was Prime Minister. The saving of the Union will be his footnote in history. And he deserves it.

But now we have to pick up the pieces. For Cameron it will be easier than Miliband whose ratings in Scotland are even lower than they are down south. There will be anger and despair that the working class vote are now deserting to the SNP. There is nothing new in this since Socialism was killed off by new Labour. But yesterday’s vote merely rubbed salt into the wound. And a new enemy was born. Not the Tories. Not the English. But that evil and mythical beast called Westminster. Westminster has caused the poverty. Westminster has wrecked the health service. Westminster is a poison that is causing the great democratic deficit that the public feel so bitter about. Listening to Salmond you could be forgiven for forgetting that he has been running Scotland for the last seven years. He has successfully created a new windmill to tilt at. But now he is at risk. The SNP adopted an iron discipline during the campaign because they thought that they were going to win. Their conference is in November. There will be one question. Is he a lame duck First Minister or a dead one?

So what is meant by the democratic deficit? I suspect that it means that some parts of the UK are better able to screw more money out of the Treasury than others. The total hypocrisy of the Lederhosen Wing of the Tory Party has amazed even me. Are they really telling us that they have just heard of the Barnett formula of redistribution of taxpayers’s money on the basis of population? The little dears have been voting in favour of it since the 1970s. The formula was no more than a clever bribe to the nationalist parties to prop up Calaghan’s minority government fiasco. It didn’t work as they predictably stabbed him in the back. Even Joel Barenett thinks that his formula Is outdated.
And Devo Max than Cameron is accused of writing on the back of a fag packet has been knocking around for years.

The sad truth is that there are a myriad of pockets of disgruntlement spread across the UK. Just about every community one hundred miles from Westminster feels that it is not getting their fare share of the cake. How on earth do we satisfy them all? The sad truth is that we can’t. The old chestnut of an English Parliament is a wonderfully warm and fuzzy idea, but that is as far as it goes. A family in Cornwall doesn’t stand shoulder to shoulder with a family in Sunderland in terms of sharing the same problems.

And it is just another talking shop, another expensive tier of bureaucracy. If politicians are the problem why create more of them? And don’t we have an English Parliament already? Out of 650 MPs only 118 aren’t English.

My only criticism of Gordon Brown is that he promised a Command Paper and legislation to deal with Devo Max by January (and there is still no agreement as what this really means). Rushed legislation is usually bad legislation. The most sensible solution is a Royal Commission. This will take time but it must address the collective whines of the UK as a whole. Self control is always more satisfying than premature ejockulation.

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Who will speak up for the raving bonkers?

17 Sep 2014 at 11:55

These are joyous times for all Cameron haters. Andrew Rosindell, Graham Brady and that towering interlectual that is Owen Patterson must be creaming in their cavalry twills. Tomorrow is their big day because whatever the result that wicked, stuck up wealthy toff and his chums are to blame!! If it’s a YES Cameron must do the honourable thing and resign. He should have told that slimy little Jocko Salmond to shove his referendum up his kilt. If it’s a NO Cameron must do the honourable thing and resign. Those bloody layabout obese, Scots with their disgusting smoking, drinking and eating habits are costing the hardworking English taxpayers a small fortune. This is a national disgrace. The good, struggling people of Clacton are fed up with the Scots eating into their hard earned savings. Enough is enough. That Bastard Cameron after selling us out to the garlic reeking scum of Brussels is now filling the ungrateful Scot sporran with gold. Our gold. Will nobody speak up for England? Why can’t we have our own Parliament and tell Johnny Foreigner to scuttle back though the tunnel. And don’t talk to me about the Welsh. Come to think of it that channel tunnel is a disgrace. We are an island nation. We should never have built the damn thing in the first place. Poor Maggie was forced to agree to it by the Foreign Office, the French and traitors like Clark and Heseltine. Any sensible Englishman would brick it up. Will nobody speak up for the raving bonkers? That Cameron should do the honourable thing and resign. If only Enoch was alive today.

Whatever the result tomorrow certain Tories will be frothing at the mouth, biting the carpet and blaming Cameron. If they had any sense they would carefully contemplate where the real blame lays. And it’s not the Tories. Labour has treated Scotland as it’s personal fiefdom with them as it’s Sepp Blatter. They have been responsible for a sustained scare campaign over the privatisation of the NHS and the destruction of the benefit system. All Salmond has done is exaggerate these false claims even more. Labour is now in the embarrassing position of having to admit that what they have been saying is simply untrue. When the dust has settled and national politics resumes Andy Burnam is going to find himself in a more difficult position than he is now. Miliband has shown him the yellow card already I just wonder how long he can remain in post.

Now what of David Cameron? The right have had a fatwa out on him for so long that I suspect he really doesn’t care anymore. To be honest I am not sure what more he could have done. Tory leaders in Scotland tend to be the kiss of death for any campaign. So he was wise to limit his public involvement and let Labour and the ethnics sort it out. But this has been a bitter and divisive campaign which has opened deep wounds and sectarianism. Whichever side loses is going to cry foul. And if it is going to be as close as many predict the lawyers will have a field day. But what will forever stick in my mind are the beery Nat faces contorted with hatred and rage, shouting down opponents and spitting venom at any journalist who dares question the Dear Leader. These wounds will take a long time to heal.
It will be interesting to see how the Kippers play the English Parliament card. My gut reaction is that they will milk it for all it is worth, particularly in Clacton. It is one of those delightfully attractive concepts which is difficult to argue against until you start measuring the cost and effectiveness of it all. Dear old Redwood is gloriously predictable.

And the West Lothian question? It will never be solved unless the Scots do it for us. So on Friday the United Kingdom will know which of the two outcomes the people have chosen. Will it be disaster or catestrophe ?

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When my family go to Aberdeenshire at Christmas to lay flowers on my father's grave and visit my mother at her care home will we be viewed as Foreigners in a strange land?

14 Sep 2014 at 11:01

For the very first time in all the years that I have been involved in politics I am scared. Scared that on Thursday the good people of Scotland will vote with their hearts rather than their heads. Well, how does it affect we English? Will it be along the lines of the politically illiterate rantings of that great Tory thinker Nadine Dorries of ‘why should be pay for them to eat their deep fried Mars bars’ ? I suspect that these sort of views will be held by a vociferous minority. The majority down south will shrug their shoulders in sorrow rather than anger and as the months roll on will witness Scotland descend from prosperity to a ghetto of unemployment, spiralling debts and failing public services. But it will not just be capital that will be evaporating faster than a snowball in hell, but that amazing pool of talent that has made the Scots one of the most innovative and talented people in the world.

This has been the the most ill tempered political debates that I have ever witnessed. The SNP leadership and their outriders are a deeply unpleasant bunch. The chilling words of former SNP deputy leader Jim Sillars about a day of reckoning, although disassociated by the leadership, lifts the veil over the dark reality of Salmond and his cronies; they are very, very left wing and vindictive. To see the delightfully reasonable Jim Murphy being shouted down on the stump as a traitor, a paedophile and every other revolting insult they could muster was troubling. The nationalist agit prop have cast a dark stain over this debate which will be remembered for years.

It is not worth rehearsing the arguments of the the improbability of Scotland keeping the pound, joining the EU and NATO. Nor the flight of capital, jobs and aspiration. Does Scotland really want to be transformed into an intolerant Socialist state, where there will be hardly any rich left to make their pips squeak? If so fire up the Quattro now and send for President Hollande. Or maybe they could be a client state of Russia.

What saddens me is that when my family visit Aberdeenshire this Christmas to put flowers on my father’s grave and visit my mother in her care home will be be foreigners in a strange land?

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