Come on KIPPERS wake up and smell the fuckoffee

25 Jan 2014 at 11:05

Dear old badger watching Ron Davis had his moment of madness at Gobblers Gulch on Clapham Common. And Gerald Rattner’s witty speech at an Institute of Directors conference that his jewellery company’s products were ‘absolute crap’ went flatter than a trainer bra, destroyed his business, and his reputation. Nigel Farage is following closely in his footsteps. Gerald Rattner’s Mr. libel lawyer, not Ron Davis’s.

By confessing that the 2010 UKIP manifesto ‘was 486 pages of absolute drivel’ which neither he nor his party leader read was an act not of candid bravery but of political suicide. I suppose it is a delicious irony that what will ultimately destroy him was that his remarks were the copper bottomed truth. His problem is how he squares this with the thousands who flocked to his party, who are threatening Tory Marginals and are sending many backbenchers into a blind funk. People don’t like to be told that their hard earned money has been spent on tasteless crap and they will feel angry and humiliated that they have been stupid enough to support a party whose very foundations are laid on a mixture of bile, drivel and mindless prejudice.

It can’t be long before we have the first calls for Farage to go. Let’s wait for a serious hatchet job in the Sundays. And I can hear the whir of YOU GOV’s electoral calculator assessing the impact of it all. UKIP have been hovering around the 12 to 14% mark for over a year. I suspect that there will be a steady flattening over time.

I understand Farage’s strategy. The 2010 manifesto was dangerous and ludicrous nonsense and in the run up to the Euro and general elections the press will have a field day reminding us all of every dopey policy. It had to be jettisoned. The trouble is he wrote the forward to it. ‘Time for straight talking’ and hilariously, ‘Britain will not be fooled’. Sadly, droves of them were.

But not any more.

How can he retain a shred of credibility when he claims that he never read it? It is as if the Pope had denounced the bible and then claimed that he had never even bothered to dip in. It is an insult to our intelligence. I am not sure how long it will take to filter through to the public; but it will.

One of the many insoluble problems is that the KIPPERS are very much a one man band. He is the the ringmaster of their whole ghastly circus, trying to hold it together while the clowns are falling off ladders, throwing custard pies and the performing seals are honking out a discordant national anthem on bicycle horns. And who will take over when he is ousted? Imelda Marcos, General Pinochet or Roger Helmer?

And as for David Campbell Bannerman the author of the manifesto? I knew his was an MEP who re ratted to the Tories, but I discovered yesterday to my mild amusement that he is my MEP. I will not be voting in May.

Gerald Kaufman once said that labour’s 1983 manifesto was the ‘longest suicide note ever written’. It has now been eclipsed.

Come on UKIP voters, wake up and smell the fuckoffee. And those Tories who want to have an alliance with them might just have begun to realise that it would be a death clinch. I wonder how many of them read the manifesto. That strange whiff in the air is of YFronts beginning to fill.

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Ninety five Tory MPs write to Cameron demanding the repatriation of our weather from the EU

12 Jan 2014 at 14:52

Today the Coalition was in disarray as ninety five Tory MPs sent a letter to David Cameron demanding that Britain repatriate its glorious weather from the EU, stolen by an undemocratic conspiracy of fat sweating Belgians and Ted Heath in 1971.
‘Enough is enough’ thundered Bill Cash, veteran of the All Party Group on weather, Europe and general madness. ‘We all remember when our childhood holidays were filled with sunshine. Where is it now? I’ll tell you, it’s all been diverted to the southern part of Europe. The British people are fed up with being handed out the worst of weather when we pay the most money.’

And Nadine Dorries, tanned and fresh from appearing on the popular unreality TV show , Celebrities Bake their Pets on Ice, was incandescent with rage, ‘if only that condescending posh boy Cameron and his arrogant cronies who don’t know the price of a glass of Lambrusco would only listen to the ordinary people of Merseyside on day release. Make no mistake, we want our weather back.’

Lord chancellor Chris Grayling was not shy in coming forward. Speaking at a private dinner in Cockermouth he made it clear that if he was Prime Minister Britain would not be regarded as a business anymore, but as a private home where good God fearing Christian folk could decide whom they wanted to stay with them and not dictated to by a foreign court staffed by judges, some of whom, particularly the Frenchies, have girl’s names. It’s a bloody disgrace’.

But Ed Balls sounded a note of incaution. On a brief retreat at the Gordon Brown School for Charm and Deportment Balls, before returning to his constituency home, Dunsmearin, hit out at Cabinet colleague Douglas Alexander. Sadly the punch connected. Ed Miliband was unavailable for comment as he was awaiting instructions from Len McLuskey who is on a bonding weekend with his executive at a baby seal clubbing experience in Iceland.

However, David Cameron was laid back about it all. Chill axing at Chequers and celebrating the surgical removal of Michael Gove’s strait jacket he said this. ‘It really is nonsense to suggest that I regard a significant minority of my backbenchers as swivel eyed loons. Far from it. Some just need a little re-education. Sir George will be arranging a series of seminars at the Mandelson Institute for Truth Justice and Waterboarding’.

Note for libel lawyers. All these characters are purely fictional.

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A strange week in politics

11 Jan 2014 at 12:30

This has been a very strange week for politics. George Osborne’s careful kettling of Labour and the Lib Dems over the £25 billion black hole in public spending was either an act of strategic genius or a catastrophic political miscalculation which will wrap the Tories in the mantle of ‘the nasty party’ once again.
The politics of it all is intriguing. The Lib Dems are signed up to the fact that £25 billion is going to have to be cut but can’t quite work out where. And Labour is noisily being dragged to the bottom of the pond by the Ballsian millstone clinging to their necks. They really have lost the plot on the economy and public spending and are perceived to be party of the scroungers. Ed Balls is the explosive jacket that Miliband has foolishly chosen to don. Try and remove it and it booby traps. Keep it on and it will detonate Labour into a nuclear winter at the election.

What confuses me is that £12 billion that is to be lopped from benefits. IDS appears to slavishly following the departmental line but is being briefed against by Francis Maude over the fiasco of the roll out of the Universal Credit scheme and the predictable, ruinously expensive and wholly unnecessary IT cock up.

I can see where Osborne is coming from. There is not much else to squeeze. The NHS and Overseas Aid budget are protected, Defence is creaking and Justice is going to become very, very messy with serious toxic fall out. I suspect that is why Cameron appointed Lord Faulks and Simon Hughes to the MOJ. Both men are opponents of the disastrous Grayling legal reforms and that he will be gang banged into some form of a climb down, dressed up as a listening excercise. The next set of barmy and downright dangerous proposals were due to be announced on the seventh of January. So far a deathly silence.

So DWP is a soft target. Provided pensioners are protected, which the Treasury hates, there is a thought that as the Tories are on the right side of the benefits argument we can get away with more cuts. But £12bn is one hell of a thwack unless it is carefully managed. What concerns me is the plan to ‘look at’ removing benefits for the under twenty fives. If it means slapping the vulnerable young who have nowhere to live, this is a turkey which will have to throttled fairly quickly. The Lib Dems were right to oppose it in principle. But it is early days. But the sting in a rather sensible tail is going to have to be removed.

What is even more extraordinary is Tristram Hunt’s plans to licence teachers. He has a point. The worst really do need to be weeded out or retrained. But Gove is doing all of that. Teachers are more under surveillance than ever before. Another raft of bureaucracy will not be cheap and frustrate an already frustrated profession. The unions will be furious.

So why is Tristram on a collision course to antagonise his close allies? I have three theories all of which may well be wrong. Firstly, that he genuinely believes that this is in the best interests of children. Mmm.
Secondly he wants force Gove to say something really, really silly. As much as I like Michael and admire the job he is doing he does sometimes need to lie down in a darkened room with a wet flannel over his forehead before making pronouncements. I understand the thrust of what he meant over the teaching of the First World War, but his intervention just seemed a little quirky. Three, this is the Hunt gauntlet being thrown into the ring for a future leadership bid and showing that, unlike Miliband, he is prepared to stand up to the unions.

It will be interesting to see who briefs against him in the Sundays.

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The wonderful goatfucking Simon Hoggart

6 Jan 2014 at 18:29

Just a few brief words about the sad death of the Guardian’s Simon Hoggart. Simon was a good friend for many years. A giant amongst journalists and a truly decent, humane and kind human being. Not always qualities that are common amongst the shark pool of seasoned Lobby journalists, who circle the corridors of power in search of the heady smell of political blood.
He was in many ways a renaissance man. A brilliant sketch writer, prolific columnist, author and broadcaster. For years he was the skilful and deftly witty host of the News Quiz. His sketches were not just laugh out loud, but perceptive. Simon could prick the egotistical bubble of the the good and the great not with malice, but with a one liner reducing all of us political anoraks to hysterical laughter. And for many of the the priggish, the ghastly and the most robotic on message drones that infest the Commons, humour, particularly against them, is not a laughing matter. That’s why his Parliamentary Sketch towered above his rivals. Consistently.
He could could also be engagingly off piste. My favourite was when Margaret Thatcher was snapped off guard by a supporter planting her a drooling kiss on the cheek; with his teeth removed.This rather upset her security detail who marched the snapper way. Simon described this in his sketch which was so joyous that it was put on the front page of the Guardian. He wrote of the hapless snapper being frogmarched off from the ‘goatfuck’. Of course as you all know a ‘goatfuck’ is the collective noun for a scrum of journalists and photographers surrounding a political victim. Anyone who can write ‘Margaret Thatcher’ and ‘goatfuck’ in the same sentence on the front page of a national newspaper and get way with it deserves hero status. Although the editor might have thought that it was a famous Guardian typo. But I doubt it.
The word legend is much overused. But not with Simon Hoggart. I will miss his humour, he conviviality and delightfully long lunches. And so will the rest of Fleet Street.
As he enters the pearly gates I wonder if he will be goatfucked. Yes, of course he will.

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How the Tories can have KIPPERS for breakfast

29 Dec 2013 at 18:42

At last I have finished my book, An Unexpected MP, to be published by Biteback on the 25th March. It is now in the hands of the libel lawyers and my splendid editor, Sam Carter, so I can join the happy throng of commentators talking absolute bollocks about what next year has in store for us.

Firstly, let’s shine some light on the Stygian gloom that seems to dominate the Tory press which spends its time warning us about the horrific hordes of marauding Roma and Bulgarians who will be stealing our wallets, raiding our benefits, overcrowding our schools and having their wives’ breasts enhanced on the NHS. It goes without saying that these blonde haired, blue eyed beauties were stolen at birth from God fearing Christian European families.

But they are not the real terror that is stalking Tory politicians. What haunts their waking moments is the Cheshire Cat grin (to be fair it’s more like a camel) of Nigel Farage as he milks every Mail and Express headline of doom. I really do hope that someone brings today’s Observer to the attention of David Cameron as there are two separate polls from different organisations which are quite remarkable. According to ipsos mori 72% of 35 to 44 year olds support the right of Eastern Europeans to live and work here. And more surprisingly, you gov, have found that 81% did not feel that Cameron is talking enough about the benefits of membership of the EU. Couple this with another you gov poll a few weeks ago that 57% would wish to remain in the EU if Cameron renegotiated our position. It is all rather surprising.

This is not a time for celebration at CCHQ, but it would be wise to reassure jittery backbenchers and party workers that the world does not belong to the KIPPERS. They are in a more vulnerable position than they were at the last Euro elections. Then they were the underdogs, now they are expected to sweep the board. Farage has his own problems anyway. A party so overconfident that they are beginning to contemplate clipping his wings. A party driven by the mad, bad and inconsequential. A party not of policy nor principle, but formed out of a primal scream of outrage and venom whose sole purpose is to deliver a kick in the ballots to the political classes. It is the home of the disaffected, the ill informed and the last refuge of those who have given up on conventional politics.

It is the last category that should cause shivers to run down the spines of the Tories. Most recent polling indicates that those are the sort of people who despise everything that Miliband stands for, knows that a vote for UKIP could give him the keys to Number 10 and don’t care.

I haven’t got a clue how to deal with that lot as they are beyond reason as most of us understand it. But the hard line Tories who feel that they have been betrayed by Cameron are not beyond hope. They may whinge and whine, but voting Tory is the only way they will get a referendum, deal sensibly with immigration and eventually reduce taxes. The conundrum for Cameron is how does he woo that lot back and keep the majority happy who want to hear more positive messages about the EU. Matt D’Ancona sums it up rather well in his could in the Sunday telegraph today we should be making our pitch to Mondeo Man. He /she wants to keep their jobs, the standard of living to improve, NHS to work when they need it, their elderly loved ones to live their last few years with dignity and a good education for the kids. It’s not rocket science and all these issues are clear commitments.

The answer is not to try and steal UKIP’s territory. We can’t and wouldn’t want to compete with fascist bile that infects them. That is why I am surprised that some commentators who should know better think that Cameron has moved too far in the KIPPER direction. Not at all. The public do have concerns about immigration, benefits, and to a limited extent the EU. It would be madness not to address them. But that’s as far as it should go. Theresa May, probably the most effective Home Secretary in years was either incredibly badly advised or made an unwise judgement by suggesting a cap on internal EU movement to the UK be limited to a percentage. Unworkable, illegal and anti business. And the latest toe in the water is that we limit the number who travel to us to work be also limited to a percentage. Again, unworkable, illegal and anti business. I suppose it gives joy to certain quarters that this seriously pisses off the Lib Dems and shows clear blue water between us. And I don’t object to the strategy that the nearer the election come we should trade on our differences. But these sort of stunts make us look reactionary and unpleasant.

Although probably not so vindictive and unConservative as Chris Grayling’s repellant new regulations which prevented prisoners receiving presents, magazines and warm clothes from relatives at Christmas. Of course, he is crowing that it is only for prisoners to earn their privileges. I agree. But this is not new. I fact it has been happening since Tony Blair introduced the concept in 2005. The Grayling amendments do nothing more than pander to the worst sort of instincts of those whom I would be uncomfortable being associated with.

God, politics can be depressing from time to time.
I’m of to Genoa for the next few days to forget about it all. But when I get back I hope that the sensible elements of my party would have realised that if they play their cards right they can have the KIPPERS for breakfast.

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50 shades of Grayling and why I've had enough and going on strike.

5 Dec 2013 at 10:03

The former Lord Chief Justice, Igor Judge, has proved to be a remarkably formidable and skilled tactician. In one speech he has given the government a lifeline and Chris Grayling a death threat. The trouble is that our esteemed Lord Chancellor is so dim that he can only identify the lifeline and hasn’t yet noticed the bullet that is travelling in the direction of his head.

First, the lifeline. The government has got itself in a terrible mess over what to do about the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. Getting rid of the Human Rights Act has been a mantra for the Lederhosen wing of the Tory party. Mother Theresa promises it and Grayling screams it. But despite the obvious objections by the Lib Dems, which is a very convenient excuse for inaction, nobody has thought it through.

The European Convention on Human Rights is in itself eminently sensible. After all it was drafted by British Jurists after The Nuremberg trials. The right to a fair trial, freedom of expression and the right not to be executed or tortured was designed to prevent the rise of totalitarian regimes. The trouble is that the judges have become too political. They interfere in things that must only be the preserve of a democratically elected Sovereign Parliament. Giving prisoners the vote is a case in issue. It must be for Parliaments to decide and not judges. The Strasbourg court should only interfere where there has been an abuse of power, or there is a democratic deficit.

Well, Cameron did what all sensible politicians do when they are in a hole, he set up a commission. The trouble is, although it has not formally reported, it has come to the view that opting out of the Convention would be a disaster on top of a nightmare. We would have to withdraw from the Council of Europe and set a precedent for other less assiduous upholders of the rule of law. And then we would have the daft situation of introducing our own Human Rights Act which would be exactly the same as the one we opted out of.

So Igor Judge has come up with an ingenious solution. Firstly, stating the obvious that as Parliament makes the law it is eventually a higher authority than our Supreme Court. Secondly, stating the not so obvious, that there is no authority clearly making the Strasbourg court supreme over our law in matters that are political and not judicial.

So the answer is to pass an Act setting this out. Simples.

But to make this work and to send a clear message to Strasbourg there has to be all party support and the likes of Igor Judge would define, as a matter of law, the difference between what is judicial and what is political. Sensible and ingenious.

And now the bullet heading for Grayling’s skull. Judge made it quite clear that he has had to make numerous representations to Cameron over the concerns of the judiciary as nobody represents their interests at the top table any more. This is code for saying that Grayling has absolutely no legal qualifications nor interest and certainly won’t represent to Cabinet that his ‘reforms’ will destroy the most respected criminal justice system in the world. Nor would he warn Cameron that the judiciary are deeply concerned that removing the opportunity for the individual to judicially review ministers when they have acted unlawfully is bordering on the Mugabian.

So Judge makes another sensible proposal. Separate the role of Lord Chancellor from that of Minister of justice, and make sure that they are legally qualified. There is a very good precedent for appointing a senior judge to the job. James MacKay was a very successful Lord Chancellor.

I know that Cameron has enough on his plate, but the time will come when he is going to have to intervene to stop the collapse of our legal system, which is grinding to a halt.

The criminal Bar are portrayed as greedy fat cats. The Legal aid system the most expensive in Europe. Both are plain wrong and it is a disgrace that ministers still trot out these lies. The legal aid budget has shrunk radically over the last few years as our fees have been cut by 40%. And Grayling wants to extract a further 17%. Those of us at the upper end, despite working flat out, are finding it a struggle and those of just a few years call are finding it impossible. The criminal law has become an expensive hobby.

But soon it won’t be even that. High street solicitors will go to the wall, the independent Bar will die and our revered system of justice will be put in the hands of G4s (under investigation), Serco (under investigation), Capita (under investigation) Eddie Stobbard and the Co-op. Perhaps a job for the Reverend Flowers here?

Well, we’ve all had enough. We try to negotiate with Grayling, but he spits in our faces. So for just half a day on the 6th January we will down wigs. No doubt Grayling will relish the chance of comparing us to UNITE and put the boot in.

But we are taking action not for more money, nor to preserve pensions which we don’t have, but to protect the weakest and most vulnerable in society who one day will be represented by inexperienced,low paid youngsters, employed by corporate bloodsuckers who this government is giving a financial incentive to advise their clients to plead guilty.

What a bloody disgrace. Is anyone going to listen?

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Hair Flick, heir to Thatcher; Bozzza!!!!

28 Nov 2013 at 12:25

Good old Bozza!!!! What a man of belief, principle and er, um, um, ambition.
There could not have been a dry gusset at the Centre for Policy Studies when our hero delivered the The Annual Margaret Thatcher Lecture. Might you, they could never spell.
Oh, if only she could be leading us now. If only that pinko slick PR man without a thought in his Old Etonian head, Cameron, would just sit down with some sensible people like John Redwood and Bill Cash, touch hands and ask for advice beyond the grave. ‘What would she have done?’ He sighs? But even better, why not have the next best thing, Hair Flick, heir to Thatcher? Bozza!!!!!!!
I took the trouble of reading dear old Boris’s speech this morning. And it was a Monet or a Matisse in its crafting. Beautifully put together but very blurred and fuzzy.
I don’t want to take away anything that Thatcher achieved in the first three years of government or even beyond. Democratising the unions, rescuing the economy and healing Britain from being the sick man of Europe are just a few of her great achievements. But there are an awful lot of myths about her legacy.
Firstly, she never slashed public expenditure in the way that the Coalition has had to. It increased in real terms every year with two exceptions, Transport and defence which were cut. Precious little was done radically to improve rigour and discipline in our schools. I remember the then Secretary of State, Keith Joseph moaning to me that his civil servants wouldn’t let him reform. And there was no radical changes to the way our benefits system was paid out to to work shy. We were tinkerers not radicals.
Let us not forget either that when she left office in 1990 inflation stood at 9.7% and interest rates nudging 14%.
The most unfortunate part of his speech was when he boasted that she had unleashed the ‘animal spirit of Essex’. And we are still picking up the pieces. Not surprisingly the Guardian headline this morning was, ‘greed is good, Boris invokes the Thatcher spirit’.
No Boris, we don’t want any more Gekkos polluting our boardrooms, their greed took the western world to hell in a hand cart.
These sort of speeches are loved by the worshippers at the Blue Flame of St Margaret, but go down like a rat sandwich with the electorate who are paying the price for other people’s selfishness and greed. Interestingly, the speech came out the same day as a YOUGOV poll indicating that 45% of the electorate don’t believe that the Conservative Party has modernised.
But for Number 10 this is more than an irritation, just when Cameron has gained the moral high ground on immigration. It is a gift for an enfeebled Miliband. And sensible Tory backbenchers who have just begun to understand the meaning of self control will despair. Particularly the ones with marginal seats.
Cometh the hour Cometh the white van man.

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The crystal Methodist's real crime was trashing an ethical brand

22 Nov 2013 at 09:31

Ed Balls takes some beating as the most repulsive man in British politics. Just as I thought that he could sink no lower he now tries to twist the crystal Methodist minister scandal into a ‘did Osborne and Cameron ever take cocaine, we need to be told’ outrage. Do we need to be told? Does anyone give a toss whether any cabinet or Shadow cabinet took drugs while a student? Or did anything that they might be ashamed of now that they are in public office? Of course not. If Theresa May was, as Home Secretary, was taking part in drug fuelled orgies, then she would have to be called to account. But if she was up to naughties whilst at university is it any of our business? Certainly not.

Personally I really don’t care too much whether the not so Reverend Flowers was stuffing himself with drugs and rent boys. What does worry me is that he was arrogant enough to boast about it all on a Cooperative email address. And what makes me really angry is that he was appointed to chair a bank without any knowledge of banking. But what makes me scream with indignation is that he has trashed a brand which was rooted in humane and ethical behaviour.

Many thoroughly decent people took out accounts with the Coop because they believed that their money was going to be spent ethically and wisely. Because they believed in the ethos of the Cooperative movement. They didn’t for one moment think it was going be used as a sweet jar full of cash for the Labour Party to dip in and out of when they felt like it.

What is particularly revolting is how Balls and Miliband are now distancing themselves from Flowers. Surely it stretches credulity that the chairman of a bank that is deeply rooted in the Labour Party had hardly any contact with the leadership? That Balls had hardly any dealings with the man who provided him with fifty grand to fund his private office? Do these guys think that we are all so dim that we can’t tell a whopper when it bites us on the bum?

But Miliband and Balls have got more form than Shergar for this sort of behaviour. Remember Damian MacBride? Well, since he published his very readable but utterly poisonous book about how he headed up Gordon Brown’s black ops department, they didn’t seem to remember having much contact with him at all. Memory loss seems to be contagious in the court of Miliband. But I wonder how long it will be before a disgruntled Coop employee leaks the paper trail? I will take a close interest in this Sundays newspapers.
Flowers’ real crime is not buying class A drugs. It is betraying the trust of ordinary decent people who thought that the Cooperative movement stood out as a beacon of all that could be good in banking. They have been grievously let down. So let’s have a root and branch inquiry into how on earth this fellow glided effortlessly to the top of a bank. Let their be naming and shaming and let anyone who was involved in the appointment of this man and who was meant to keep and check on his stewardship of the bank be shown the door.

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It's the God Cameron versus the nightmare Balls show. Expecting high viewing figures.

17 Nov 2013 at 14:48

There is an eerie silence that nobody is writing about. A silence that is so significant that it could be an election game changer. It is the silence of Conservative rebels. Like turkeys finally working out that voting for Christmas is not a particularly good idea, the swivel eyed loons have declared a moratorium on swivelling.

I suspect that it may even have crossed Adam Afriyie’s mind that the game is up. He is humiliated, friendless and what is so important to any wannabe leader, has proved that he has no judgement. But what has really shocked me about him is that despite all the money he has spent on media training he is a pretty awful performer. To go up against serious attack dog like Andrew Neil and agonise about ‘wrestling with his conscience’ over his amendment was so risible that not even Neil could keep a straight face. And Question Time was even worse. He has that albatross that no politician wants to have tied round his neck; not taken seriously.

But at least he has one supporter left. Nadine Dorries.
It rather says it all.

This has been an excellent week for David Cameron. For starters being called a God by the wickedly oppressed Tamils for championing their cause rather takes the wind out the sails of those who say that he should never have gone to the Commonwealth Conference. But he must have wondered what on earth he was doing with these dreadful shysters, crooks and despots who are publicly committed to ‘good governance, democracy and human rights’ but wouldn’t know what they were if they bit them on the leg. I suspect that when HMQ finally gives up the crown the time will have come to wind up the whole corrupt hypocritical ghastliness that is most of the Commonwealth.

And then there is the economy. Mark Carney, apart from many other talents, is a lucky Governor. The growth and employment figures are remarkably good and unless there is another Eurozone crisis, which should always be in the back of a strategist’s mind, things are looking very encouraging.

But let us not overlook the talents of Jeremy Hunt. After the Treasury he has the most difficult job in government. And yet he has taken to it like a duck to water. He strikes precisely the right tone. Prosecuting staff for wilful neglect of patients, making GPs more patient friendly and shaking up A and E to make them a real emergency service rather than a dumping ground for lazy GPs and dim members of the public is long overdue. This is a good time to do all of this because when the public realise how much their GP really earns and how some A and E consultants can make a small fortune moonlighting from one hospital to another, Hunt will have the moral high ground. If doctors don’t buckle under to more realistic contract they will become the new bankers in public perception.

But of course his greatest asset is Andy Burnham the living embodiment of everything went wrong in the NHS. He is not a bad man, just horribly unlucky and trapped in the tomb of his tenure at the department.

And let’s not forget Theresa May. Unlike that drivelling idiot Grayling who makes guttural sounds to appease the right and then wonders how to translate them into action, May has become a real action heroine, the Laura Croft of the Home Office. When she sets her mind to do something by sheer tenacity and strength of will she damn well does it.

So when Cameron looks around the Cabinet table he can take heart that a few of his ministers can be left alone to get on with it; Osborne Hague , May, Hunt, Gove, Pickles, Mcloughlan and to a limited extent IDS. The rest I wouldn’t give you tuppence for. Harold Macmillan designed the cabinet table so that a Prime Minister could command it. It should not escape the attention of other members that it is in the shape of a coffin.

The cherry on the cake for David Cameron is the mutual loathing of Ed Miliband and Ed Balls. What is it about labour leaders and their Chancellors? The emails revealed in the MAIL on SUNDAY showing that Miliband’s advisors think that Balls and his policies are a ‘nightmare’ is an endless gift for PMQs. Somehow Miliband is going have to live the lie that the two Eds like each other or more important, that they are singing from the same hymn sheet. Apart from a lounging a civil partnership I haven’t a clue how he will sort this.

In a perfect world Balls would be sacked. In the bonkeroony world of Labour politics he is far too dangerous to do anything with except hug him very close and sleep with one eye open and a gun under the pillow.

So it will be ‘God’ Cameron versus ‘nightmare’ Balls. This is going to be fun.

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It is time to break up the energy companies and separate production from sale.

24 Oct 2013 at 11:48

For the very first time in my life I felt sorry for both Norman Tebbit and Simon Heffer. No doubt I will need deep therapy over the months.

What a terrible dilemma these two old Tory dinosaurs face. They despise both John Major and David Cameron and everything they stand for. Both took an almost perverted pleasure in putting the boot into Major when he was Prime Minister, with Tebbit openly campaigning for John Redwood when, in breach of his promise, he left cabinet and stood for the leadership. And they regard monstering Cameron as a scared duty. I always find the Tory loony tunes’s version of party loyalty rather confusing. It has always been a conditional loyalty, “we will support you provided that you do it our way”. In other words, leave Europe, cut taxes and bash the unions and ban the Burka. These fellows support a cult rather than a party with everything viewed through the prism of Thatcher worship. It’s a bit like those who believe in the sanctity of life opposing abortion but gagging for a return of the death penalty.

So the dilemma facing the gruesome twosome after John Major’s energy intervention is whom should the boot kick hardest?

At first I was utterly confused at Major’s press gallery speech. I have known him as a friend for nearly forty years. Although I don’t see a lot of him nowadays I have heard him offer nothing but praise for Cameron, who is doing everything that he would have wanted to do. And I have never ever heard Major be snide about class.

So when I heard his comments about a windfall tax on the energy companies I assumed that this was merely a kite flown at the behest of Number 10. It was even spun (“friends” of John Major which is often the code for what he has been briefing) that he was helping out Osborne. But the Number 10 spokesman was quick to trot out the, “we have no plans” line, which is not a slamming of the door nor leaving it slightly ajar. If you wanted to play political Kremlinology it could be argued that this was a clever Major quote when he said that there were no plans to raise VAT, which he eventually did. Too clever by half I’m afraid.

To be honest, I don’t think a windfall tax is a runner. The view from seasoned hacks at Westminster is that Major was not attacking Cameron at all, rather pointing out two areas where the Conservatives could face serious electoral trouble.

The first is reform of benefits. Have the implications been carefully thought through? The bedroom tax (or bedroom subsidy) is a disaster and apart from the obvious injustices that are bound to result, it may well drive people into the private sector with serious public expenditure hikes when housing benefit clicks in.
And as for changing the criteria for free school meals, has anyone given a thought of the reaction of those families who will lose out? And has anyone considered the cost implications of what other benefits click in with being eligible for free school meals, like free uniforms and subsidised trips? I hope someone has their eye on the ball. The subtext of what Major said is that IDS had better be a genius or very lucky. And I haven’t even mentioned the IT which is a disaster waiting to happen.

But Cameron is going to have to make some swift policy decisions over energy. The reason the public is held to ransom by the big six is that they both produce and sell. It’s an unfair cartel that cannot be effectively regulated. And it squeezes out competition. Smaller companies can’t get a look in.

The answer is to separate generation from sale. And there are two ways of doing it, nationalisation which is unthinkable for Cameron, yet something being considered by Miliband. Politically, I am not entirely sure that this would be particularly unpopular with voters, sick to death of paying enormous energy bills. But it would be a step too far for fractious backbenchers.

The only sensible option is breaking up the companies. Free marketers will go berserk. But a rigged market is hardly a free market. It would also let in smaller companies with the competition reducing prices. But they will have to be heavily regulated to stop the cowboys putting out the lights.

David Cameron is going to have to be quick about this as Miliband wanted to do it when he was energy secretary. The big six will of course howl in indignation. But there is an election riding on this. It is time for action. Now.

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