To encourage the boycott of the Guardian is not just stupid it is a sinister and dangerous attack on the press and the freedom of speech

28 Sep 2018 at 16:37

Sometimes I am amazed at how naive I can be. I honestly thought that Johnson would tone down his sociopathic leadership ambitions until after the party conference. I had hoped that he saw the threat of a Corbyn government as a clear and present danger to our economy, our security, our freedom and would give at least a nod to party unity. I had believed that Mogg’s inner decency would might have persuaded him to hold back any attack on May.

Oh, how wrong I was. Any inner decency that I mistakenly perceived was illusory. Fanaticism, personal ambition and revenge are the only guiding principles that these despicably dangerous men possess. Damn the party, damn the country, damn the Prime Minister. If the price of crashing out of the EU is a Britain hating, press loathing, Jew baiting, Putin loving, Venezuelan doting regime, so be it. Are the Conservative Party so obsessed, so stupid, so myopic as to believe that hand to hand combat at conference is a good idea? That the electorate will warm to us? But of course, it isn’t the Conservative party. It is the few not the many who claim to speak for me. How dare they.

What the party should be doing is warning the country what Corbyn and his mobsters have in mind. The boycotting of the Guardian is not just stupid, it’s sinister and very dangerous. Freedom of speech is under threat. Journalists are being blackmailed. If you don’t write good things about us we’ll run you out of dodge. We’ll put you out of business. We’ll only gives stories to those whom we like. Everyone else can go to hell. They want to take back control.

I’ve seen this happen with the left before. When I was a candidate in 1981 the Harlow Gazette published an interview with me with the the headline, ‘oust the deceivers.’ It was a quote from me. It was a fairly tame attack on the council who opposed the right to buy. The left wing council reacted with incandescent rage. They threatened to pull all their advertising if the Gazette gave me any more publicity. This was financially a big deal. But the paper did the right and proper thing. They stood up for good journalism and the freedom of speech. The council eventually backed down. I would be shocked if the Guardian do the same.

The last few days in Liverpool have been an eye opener. The press were treated like Lepers. We saw the aberration of Dawn Butler encouraging people to break the law and Derek Hatton rejoining the party. But worst of all was the visceral hatred of the BBC and anyone who criticised Corbyn. The outrage on Twitter about how biased Andrew Marr was was as shocking as it was incomprehensible. If this is what they do in opposition what would they do in government? Somehow I can envisage Chris Williamson presiding over the Ministry of Truth.

This is what the Tories should be shouting from the rooftops in Birmingham. In every speech in every sound bite. In every fringe. This is not a time for complacency, political assassinations and Brexit self indulgence. The warning klaxons should be sounding.
But I do want a revolution. I do want an uprising. I want the good and sensible Conservatives to rise up and tell the likes of Johnson and Mogg to abandon their selfish and twisted appetites. May has earned their loyalty and support. They should give it to her.



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Titanium Teresa has been forged from the fires of Salzburg. The lady is not for burning.

22 Sep 2018 at 12:33

Yesterday was Teresa May’s moment. It was not something that was planned. It wasn’t a stunt. It wasn’t a strategy. It was raw visceral anger. For the very first time we the public had a glimpse of the real May. Not awkward. Not shy. Not reciting some sound bite like a funereal chant. The Twenty Seven had not just humiliated her they had humiliated Great Britain. And on behalf of us all she gave the EU leaders the V sign, the English taunt to French archers before the battle of Agincourt. It will resonate with the British people. This will consolidate her position at conference. This will forestall any thought of an early leadership election. Any thought of a conference within a conference is dead in the water. The party have seen real grit and guts in adversity. They will genuinely and enthusiastically rally to her support. They wanted leadership. Now they have it. Anyone who rocks her boat (pay attention Mr. Johnson) will be held in contempt. A week is a long time in politics, so anything can happen. But this is her opportunity not to unify the party, which is impossible, but to paper over the cracks with a degree of credibility. And if anyone (pay attention Mr Mogg) challenges her to change course it will be seen as a weakness, a cave in to Brussels aggression. Although it might be helpful if the ERGs publish their barmy crash out plans because it will show that we as a nation are not going to be pushed around. “U turn if you want to but the lady is not for turning”. And I was there when Margaret Thatcher uttered those words to rapturous applause. Strange how history repeats itself in a way we never expect. It was Richard Nixon’s Chekkers speech that rescued his career, it is Madame’s Chequers plan that has breathed life into her premiership.

We are not short of analysis of what went wrong in Salzburg. But when the dust has settled it will be seen as a terrible political misjudgment by the EU elite. Like Thatcher, May had irritated them, but rather than rise above it they indulged in a collective temper tantrum. And it played into everyone’s worst preconceptions of Brussels; swaggering arrogance and a contempt for democracy. For once Brussels is on the back foot and they are going to have to make concessions.

Yesterday I had lunch with some old friends who are former Foreign Office mandarins. They are, of course, Remainers. But they are of the view that Madame is playing it right. But please let us not not delude ourselves that this is the death knell of Brexit. It isn’t. Now pay attention Ms Soubrey. Chequers is not a Dodo, it is more like a Phoenix rising from the ashes. It now has a serious chance of taking to the air in one form or another.

My mandarin chums reminded me of how the EU negotiates. Threats, bluster and finally a compromise in the early hours of the morning at the last possible moment. They called it the Brussels Dawn Wankasm. And they are right. Macron is in trouble, so a bit of Brit bashing will go down well in the short term, yet not forever. Merkel has lost her Mojo and probably will eventually lose her job. And this is Juncker’s last hurrah. He is a lame duck President and will shortly be spending more time with his wine cellar. I suspect Tusk was the unwilling message boy. But he has blown it. So it will be Barnier, with his eye firmly on the top job, who will be applying the balm.

A few years ago I was sitting in the Commons when Enoch Powell rose to ask the PM a question. It came as more of a statement. “Yesterday I received a report from a metallurgist. It confirmed beyond doubt that the Right Honourable lady is indeed made of iron”. Well, if the old boy was still around his metallurgist would probably confirm that Teresa May is indeed made of Titanium. Titanium Teresa has a ring to it. The hardest natural metal known to man. Brussels beware. The lady is not for burning.



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Tory party brokers must not allow there to be a conference within a conference. It’s time to talk tough

20 Sep 2018 at 10:59

People like me never thought that Donald Trump had a snowball’s chance in hell of being elected President of the United States. Why? Because we thought that the American people were better than that. People like me thought that Brexiteers had as much chance of winning the referendum has Boris had of keeping his fly tightly zipped. And people like me though that a second referendum would prove beyond reasonable doubt that the voters finally realised that they had got it all so horribly wrong.

So what does this prove? That people like me, the liberal elites, those whose political wisdom spans decades, are masters of self rather than mass deception. Sometimes we get so wound up in our woolly belief that the electorate by and large ‘gets its right’ that we forget the pathetically obvious truth that sometimes they don’t.

We have reached the point of no return on Brexit. A referendum is a foolish pipe dream which would do more harm than good. What happens if the Commons rejects whatever deal we are offered? Do we go to the people? And what do we ask them? That we go back to the drawing board and demand for more time? How would the question be framed? And what would be the collective policy of the government? We have to come to terms with the unpleasant reality that a second referendum is a dangerous nonsense and should be abandoned.

The Chequers proposal is not perfect, but it is the basis for squaring the circle of retaining control of our borders (as much as we ever could), keeping the pretence of Parliamentary sovereignty (it has always been Cnutian), doing trade deals and keeping the lights on.

It is a sad fact that nothing will be better than the deal we have now. But that argument is dead and buried. The time has become to cast off our widows weeds, end the mourning and get a deal that doesn’t cripple us. Let the light at the end of the tunnel not be the train.

Many of the ERGs are a really weird. Though not all of them. It’s a bit like Scientology. To be a Thetan is to believe unreservedly in the strange outpourings of that terrible old fraud and failed science fiction writer Hubbard. To be in the inner circle of ERG you have to believe unreservedly that the EU is a menace, hell bent on making us a vassal state. Nothing other than crashing out will do. It’s not so much enough is enough rather nothing will be enough. The real and present danger of the inner circle ERGS is that to them crashing out of the EU is more important than anything. Well it isn’t. The thought of a Momentum government is a far worse threat than the EU will ever be. Notice that I didn’t say a Corbyn government. I doubt that he will still be in place by the next planned election. The trouble is that we have all cried wolf so many times that once the slathering, razor toothed monster pounces it is too late. And he is approaching the village gates.

Momentum now sees its chance to force an election and some Tories are stupid enough to allow it. Justine Greening’s bare faced lie that Chequers is more unpopular than the poll tax is so dim and out of touch that it could have come from Loathsome. Some of us were in Parliament when the poll tax riots swept the country. Grow up.

So now we have entered the dream world of the nightmare scenario. Cultist ERGs will vote against anything that May comes back with. Labour, for cynical political reasons, will probably do the same. Some cult remainers like Greening might also do the same. The result? The government is defeated and there would have to be an election. But people like me think that the electorate could never vote for a Momentum government……..

But there is another dangerous delusion. Let’s have a leadership election! Let’s get rid of Madame and replace her with a true believer. Guys it’s too late. And you would lose. OK then let’s force her out after March and we start all over again with a believer. Delusional. Backbenchers don’t want to lose their seats.

So let’s go back to the run of the mill ERGS. The camp followers.Those who wanted Brexit but don’t want to crash and burn. The Andrew Percys of the back benches. Solid, pragmatic, reliable. Remember that there are far more Percys than there are Moggs.

So what do we do about Mogg and his barmy army? It is time for for the party power brokers to talk tough. Support Madame or destroy the party and let in the most dangerous and anti democratic government that this country has ever seen. Graham Brady is the most influential and powerful Chairman of the 1922 in living memory. He and Brandon Lewis must not allow there to be two party conferences. They must not allow Madame to be undermined and humiliated. There has to be tough talk. Face them down. And they must finally politically bury the overweening, self indulgent fraud which is Boris. They must thrust a wooden stake through his heart, fire a volley of silver bullets at his body, adorn his coffin with garlic and fill his grave with reinforced concrete. And that’s just a start. Because you can never tell……..

How ironic that the ERGs plan their conference within a conference at the Birmingham Institute. Birmingham has resonances of Joesph Chamberlain who split and destroyed his party. And an Institute is a place where most of the cultists belong. Strangely, way back in 2005 it was the venue of the notorious postal ballot fraud election commission where councillors were successfully accused of trying to rig an election. I was defence counsel.



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Never mind the blonde bombshells. The small but perfectly formed Alan Duncan is sharpening his enormous chopper. Boristas beware.

9 Sep 2018 at 09:50

“Look, any fool knows that all this fake news about Bozo has been dreamt up by that infamous gossip and muckraker the potty mouthed Theresa May. This poor guy has been wickedly maligned by the Number 10 rubbish machine. He may be a terrible old flirt, but come on…….would he put his family life and political career on hold for a shag; or two? And if it is true? Well, this is twenty first century Britain. Who cares. Bozo is the only man with the leadership, ability and sheer charisma to lead us to victory. The remainers are fanatics. Mad. Deluded. They want to betray the largest popular vote of all time”. Well, that’s what the Boristas seem to think.

The truth of the matter is that ‘the dirty dossier’ is nothing more than a set of press cuttings, quotes and general gossip that it well known to anyone in Fleet Street with a vague interest in politics. To suggest that Downing Street has mounted a smear campaign is daft. They don’t need to. Most people know what he has been up to. Some care very deeply one way or the other. Others don’t give a monkeys.

Let me expose the myth that senior politicians smear their opponents about their sordid sex lives. There is a deep seated horror of doing this for a whole raft of reasons. But the the most powerful one is that there is a queasiness about exposing private matters because of the fear of retaliation. Everyone has skeletons in their cupboard. I suspect that Madame might just be the exception here. Somehow I can’t picture her as a youth supplying wraps of coke and giving blow jobs behind the bike shed for a tenner. I suspect running through a wheat field is about as much titivation as the press will get. I can remember casually remarking to a chum who was running a leadership campaign about a delightfully sordid piece of gossip concerning a contender. He went as white as a sheet. “For God’s sake don’t repeat that to anyone, it’ll spread like wildfire and then he’ll think it’s come from us”. I kept my mouth shut.

So let’s be real about all of this. To many people Bozo’s dalliances make him cut a colourful figure. The blonde bombshell headlines will soon disappear. I doubt whether there will be any kiss and tell. Yet it is unlikely that there will be a leadership election this side of April simply because it won’t settle anything. And even when it comes, MPs, apart from the die hard Boristas like Mad Nad, won’t put him on the ballot. So his bid will be dead in the water. What will really kill him is incompetence. He is not up to the job. Or any job involving hard work and judgment. The most dangerous and chilling words came from a tweet by Sir Alan Duncan once his deputy at the Foreign Office. Soon he will spill the beans which will be far more explosive that the Heinz variety. My bet is that he will write a devastating hatchet job just before party conference.

Bozo may be down but he is by no means out. The Boristas want to cause trouble. The Chuck Chequers campaign is dangerous. The party faithful could be persuaded to put pressure on their spineless MPs to vote against it. Stupid, unrealistic and dangerous. But it is possible.

But we have had a glimpse of the alternative. The inhabitants of planet ERG have produced their own blueprint. Last week they put it about that they weren’t going to publish it because it would give ammunition to Number 10. They are right. It is so bonkers that not even Bozo could stomach. Task forces to protect the Falklands, a Star Wars shield to protect us from attack. And much, much more. I can’t wait to read it next week.

But Boristas beware, the small but perfectly formed Alan Duncan is sharpening his very large chopper.



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Et Tu Nick Timothy. What a squalid little man

2 Sep 2018 at 18:17

I thought that it would relaxing to have a few weeks of not writing about Bozo. And it was. Now we have migrated from the silly season to the torrid headline season. This will go on way past the conference boreathons until we know what Brussels has to offer. And there is something for everyone. According to the SUN’s ketamine induced “story” that Ruth Davidson has set her sights on Number 10, will desert Scotland to accept a cabinet post and a peerage. A great story except that how does she run the country from the Lords? The last person to do that was the Marquess of Salisbury in 1902. Nil points.

Today’s front pages are rather hysterical about Bozo running for the leadership (yawn). But hang on a minute isn’t he great mates with the Lizard of OZ, Lynton Crosby, who won him two mayoral elections? And didn’t Madame dump on him for messing up her last general election triumph. So he’s a bitter man with scores to settle so therefore he must be running Bozo’s Chuck Chequers masterplan. Except it’s Moggadon man’s plan. So the Ergs must be talking to the Lizard to highjack the conference, stir up a rebellion, force a leadership election and install the blonde bumbler into Number 10. It’s a Brexiteer premature ejaculation party. Dress code, come in your pants. And it will be touch and go.

And let us not forget that Monsieur Fromage might stand as the Mayor of London. Wow, what a shoe in as the punters are a little more pro EU than Brussels.

So what do all these stories have in common? They are toe in the water kite flyers. They are little ruses to test public reaction. All these amuse bouches have grains of truth in them. The carpet biters desperately want a no deal crash out, Bozo or Moggadon in charge and Fromage in a position of something more influential than presenting a radio show. Oh, and the likes of me would love to see Davidson leading the Tories. But…..don’t let’s hold our breaths.

It’s not much different for Labour. All moderates are praying that Frank Field’s resignation of the Whip will be the first whiff of cordite to start the war which will get rid of Corbyn and his thugs. It won’t be because it can’t be. The left have control of all the levers of power. While it may be technically possible to oust Corbyn his selectorate worship him. And if he did bite the dust don’t let’s kid ourselves that a nice moderate would be elected. It will be one of the real nasties.

Well, it all fills the pages and keeps editors reasonably happy until the next photo of Meghan or Kate.

Painfully for me back to Bozo. I always thought that he was the copper bottomed shits shit until I saw Nick Timothy in action. What a squalid little man. He owes everything to Madame and she gave him one hundred and ten percent loyalty. All he has given her in return is more knives than Wilkinsons. And all in the back But like Bozo he has a living to make writing for that sorry excuse for a broadsheet the Daily Mailograph. What a sorry state we are in.



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Boris is not Burka martyr he is just a cunning stunt. He must be disciplined or we are no better than Labour

10 Aug 2018 at 14:33

There is a great deal of miffery down in the snug at the Farage Arms. It’s bad enough having bloody (pardon my French) traitors trying to sabotage the will of the people, Johnny Frog sticking two fingers up to the British roaring lion, but this business with Boris really is the last straw. The ultimate betrayal. Colonel Mad and his lady wife Chclamydia are seriously considering the nuclear option of cancelling their annual cheese and wine Tory fund raiser at their bijou baronial home Dun Thinkin.
“It’s a terrible business Clammy,” mutters the colonel swigging back the last of his eighth sundowner.
“Boris is a fine young man. Honest, trustworthy. A man of his word. A family man. The sort of chap you can rely on. The sort that can lead Blighty back to greatness. And what’s he done wrong? He just says what most of us think. Now don’t get me wrong. Some of these darkies are perfectly fine. That chap Raj and his missus where we get our papers from? Polite. Hardworking. Know their place. They’re Indian of course. Damn good fighters. But some of the others? Dear God the towel heads are a nightmare. See one with a rucksack on a train? Mark my word you run for the hills. And their wives? Poor things. And they do look like letter boxes don’t they? Who knows, there could be bank robbers under all that clobber. The worst of it is it’s just not British. Well, English really. I don’t like to get bunched in with those bloody Scotch and Welsh whingers.
The thing about Boris is that he speaks our language. Calls a spade a shovel. Pulls no punches. None of this pinko political correctness. So they’re all out to get him. The lot of them. Big business. The Jews. Remainers. Well, they’re all the same aren’t they? If they had their way we’d have the krauts on the Mall in no time and we would be dancing to Juncker’s tunes. God, the Belgians are ghastly specimens. Fat, sweaty, bald. Reek of garlic.
It’s a bloody disgrace the way Boris is being treated. What happened to free speech? And what about Mr Mogg? Wonderful man. A proper English gentleman. The country needs men’s like these. Do you know in these desperate times a benign dictatorship would be no bad thing. Bring back national service, public flogging and of course the rope. The country’s gone soft”.

I would imagine monologues like that are happening in every pub and club in the land. What’s more it’s what Bozo wanted. It’s what he craves. He is once again the centre of attention.

What is so weird about it all is that everything is looked at, debated and decided, through the prism of Brexit. Brexiteers can do or say no wrong. They are true Brits. Plucky, outspoken and men of principle. Remainers are ghastly elitist mutineers hell bent on defeating the will of the British people. Can you imagine Mogg, Dorries, Brigden or any other member of Brexit’s barmy army coming out in support of Ken Clarke if he had written what Boris has? Don’t be daft. It wouldn’t happen.

Brexiteers have a free pass to do and say as they want. There is nothing to forgive. It’s a disgrace that May has the temerity to ask the old pretender to apologise. Mogg had the nerve to say that she has no right to discipline back benchers. Really? Quite bonkers. No surprises there then.

And now it is the turn of the amiable Brandon Lewis to receive the abuse for even considering having an Inquiry. What a wicked man.

My advice is don’t give in to these people. There must be due process. And obviously it’s only fair as we are in recess to let it begin when everyone returns. And these things take time.

There is also a blindingly obvious political point here. Labour is tearing itself apart for becoming anti Semitic apologists. Don’t let the Tories tear itself apart for being apologists for Islamophobia. Not a good idea to jump from the moral high ground into the Corbyn sewer.

What Bozo wrote wasn’t a hate crime. But it was designed to offend. And it succeeded. I don’t buy this guff that it was just some careless remarks whilst being late for a deadline. Nor the nonsense that it was brave to open the debate of the Burka. We had that years ago. The consensus is we don’t much like it, but as we live in a free country people can wear pretty much what they want provided they don’t interfere with the course of justice. And I don’t need to write two thousand words stating the bloody obvious. Like Bozo this was just a cunning stunt.



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Moggites and Momentum have a lot in common. The deselection of a decent man like Frank Field is just the beginning

29 Jul 2018 at 11:06

I have known Frank Field since my election in 1983. I sat on his select committee and I regard him as a friend and one of the most decent and honourable people who have ever set foot in the House of Commons. He has done more for the underprivileged and the vulnerable than anyone of our generation. He leaked a report, well before he was an MP, when he was chairman of the Child Poverty Action Group which showed the duplicity of the the Callaghan government over the treatment of benefit claimants. He has been fearless in the Commons in attacking the rich and powerful over their ransacking of pension funds. He has been fighting the cancer of militant tendency in his constituency at a time before most starry eyed Corbynistas were born. And now Militant tendency have won. They have control of the levers of power of the Labour Party. They are now called Momentum and they have finally deselected Frank and will replace him with one of their own. This is a terrible day for democracy and the final death knell for Labour as a party that can be trusted to govern fairly and equally.

It goes without saying that I totally disagree with Frank over the EU. For one so intelligent, so experienced and sensible I have never quite understood why he has held these long held beliefs. But I respect him and I respect his right to hold them and act on them. Representative democracy is the bedrock of our Parliamentary system. Yet it is being murdered by stealth.

Moggites and Momentum have much in common when it comes to the power of the ‘people’. Moggites claim that the people have spoken in a referendum and that is the end of the matter. There is no room for argument or compromise. Their will must be done, but not by anyone who is not a true believer. Never mind if the electorate’s instructions are opaque and not to worry if it will do untold damage to the economy. Any dissent is anti democratic. Only the true guardians of the holy flame can be trusted and everyone else are mere supplicants to Brussels, traitors, mutineers, enemies of the people. Any MP who fails to do the bidding of their constituents and their party bosses must be purified or be cast out the party. The Electoral Commission declared that agents of Vote Leave acted illegally during the referendum. The have been fined both individually and collectively. Some are being referred to the police. They claim that this was a stitch up by a biased commission. In the alternative they say that if it wasn’t it doesn’t really matter. The money that was abused wouldn’t have made any difference to the overall result. And anyway, it was a mere drop in the ocean compared to the vast influence of the EU. This is the little people standing up to the self interested elite.

For Momentum it is only slightly different. Labour MPs are merely the delegates of the thousands of new members. The many controlled by the few. They will have no say in the manifesto. They will be given their orders and obey them. Anything less is treachery and will be rewarded by deselection courts where you can see the kangaroos jumping. Websites and trolls pour out fake news and abuse and threaten anyone who is not a true believer. And if they happen to be Jewish heaven help them. After all, it was the Jews who started all this smearing of Corbyn who is doing his level best to rid the party of anti semitism. And even in the unlikely event that it does exist, it is only a tiny minority. What on earth is the matter with the Jews? It’s time for them to start building bridges.

Both Moggites and Momentum are destroying our democracy, don’t give a damn about tolerance and have promised their supporters through deception and guile, that on the one hand Brexit will lead to a land of opportunity and prosperity and on the other that the overthrow of capitalism not only is within their grasp but will radically improve our lives.

Both are dangerous fantasies the full horror of which the public has not yet clocked. The great irony is that the Moggites are threatened with the prospect of a Labour government. In many ways it is what they want. It will achieve Brexit because that what’s what Momentum wants. And it will lead to a new Tory Party made in the Moggite image.

Imagine a Parliament with two extreme parties where the moderates have been squeezed out and a Liberal Democrat Party who should not be allowed out without a carer. I have never been so worried about the safety and prosperity of our country. And yet nobody shows courage and leadership. There will be social unrest and it troubles me deeply.



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Javid has foolishly listened to his inner Daily Mail. The worst fate for the Jihadis would be a lifetime in an Alabama jail. To give them martyrdom will be a recruiting sergeant for the terrorist

24 Jul 2018 at 10:48

I would shed no tears if the two formerly British Jihadis who have wickedly wallowed in the obscenity of mindless murder were blown off the face of the earth, their ashes ground into dust and their souls cast into the pit of despair for eternity. I would have no qualms if they were shot by firing squads in Syria, perished in the heat of battle or died a painful death at the hands of the torturer.

But these are my gut and animal instincts born out of outrage and anger at the misery and horror that these two mutations of humanity took such joy. As someone who believes that the rule of law and due process is the cement that binds a civilised society I would not wish the state to facilitate the fate that my basest instincts desire. It is what separates us from them. It is that which makes us morally superior. It is what will make us victorious rather than vanquished.

I can see the dilemma that Javid faced. The public need to be assured that they will be protected from these sort of people. They need to understand that we don’t shoot first and ask questions later. They need to appreciate that we believe in due process and a fair trial for even the most flagrantly guilty. But deep down his inner Daily Mail knows that really they don’t. If these two monsters were released onto the streets of Barnsley they would be torn limb from limb and their bloodied remains paraded before the television cameras. Few would give much of a damn. A great day for British Justice. That’s if you prefer the rule of the mob to the rule of law. And if you think that I exaggerate, remember the crowds surrounding the prison van containing the two unspeakable children who murdered James Bulger. In your heart of hearts you know what would have happened if by some accident the van doors had swung open and those kids had fallen into the street.

I remember in the 1980’s the regular parliamentary debates on the death penalty. I won’t say hanging because some politicians helpfully put forward an interesting array of means of execution. One Tory backbencher, Peter Bruinvels, now a member of the Church of England Synod, was kind enough to offer his services as an executioner. These debates were depressing and unedifying spectacles. If we had a return to these grisly events under a Rees Mogg government I would expect to see Nadine Dorris doing her knitting whilst damp gussetly listening to a pro hanging speech by Boris. He would, of course, in his agony for the truth, written two different articles for the Telegraph.

Well, we abolished the death penalty in the early 1960s and the only thing that stops us re introducing it is the Human Rights Act, which Mr. Raab is very keen for us to repeal. Something to look forward to.

I am not going to argue the merit or otherwise of the death penalty, save to say that I have always voted against it despite my grand father being murdered when I was a child. Nobody is suggesting that Javid wants to restore it, although Priti Patel, that beacon of compassion, is very much in favour. The argument is whether he should have allowed the two Jihadis to be tried in an American court where the death penalty is available despite the conventions that we would only extradite if we had an assurance that there was not a chance of execution on conviction. It was an extraordinary and rather stupid decision because it actually puts British citizens at risk. The Jihadis relish martyrdom and they would be canonised by their followers. It would be portrayed as a heroes death and would be a recruiting sergeant for the terrorists. Martyrdom was always the most effective argument against the death penalty in the 80s because it would be a gift for PIRA.

Does anybody think these decisions through? Does anybody appreciate that the worst fate that we can offer these men is a lifetime in an Alabama jail? Answers on a postage stamp please.



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The chief whip is in the last chance saloon, time has been called and it’s drinking up time

22 Jul 2018 at 08:57

Apart from the space between Boris Johnson and a television crew, the unsafest place to be Westminster is the government’s whips Office in a crisis. Which is most of the time.

It is the job of the whips to bring the government’s business home. Nothing more and nothing less. They are not relationship counsellors, nor for that matter are they Stone Age thugs clubbing the weak into submission. By and large they are a decent bunch trying to do a very difficult job. Most MPs are fairly compliant on the basis that as they won on a manifesto they are duty bound to vote for it. But the biggest hold that the whips have over their little charges is mystery and myth. For the Office to work effectively the chief has to be the Prime Minister’s Beria with a vast intelligence network covering every government department, every committee and every grouping. The best whips are like sponges. They soak up everything. If there is a group in a bar, tea room or dining room the good whip will sit down, chat, listen and report back. There is always a whip on duty in the chamber. He sits opposite the senior clerk. He is armed with a folder writing everything down. Every nuance, every barb, every lickspittling creepery. They also have a panic button if things go horribly wrong. It is on the side of the table.

So their most effective weapon is having a pretty good idea of the party mindset. This is often helped by gossip, particularly by informers who want to belittle their enemies and boost their career chances.

But back to mystery and myth. They have to convince their flock that they know every grubby little secret. Of course they can’t, but nobody can be quite sure. I remember a newly appointed whip excitedly telling us what happened in the office. He was gently pulled to one side and told to never lift the veil. It is a sort of priesthood. And for it to work it has to be. That is why there is a such a camaraderie in the office.

So much of the job is routine. But in minority government, the whips don’t always have the whip hand. And when you are dealing with zealots who are unbribable, unthreatenable and who will risk anything and everything the job becomes a nightmare. But at least they are relatively predictable. People like Heidi Allen on the left of the party and Andrea Jenkyns on the right are regarded as complete nutters. They seem to regard themselves as independents floating above the party system and have no respect for their leadership, caring not a jot for the consequences of what they do or say. They revel in the fact that they are often quoted in the press and are stupid enough to think it’s because what they have said is of great moment. Poor fools. They only get their name in print because journalists love to report division. On the back benches they are treated with courtesy but are friendless.

So what happened on the night of the broken pairs? Did Julian Smith behave like a dishonourable little shit? Was it an honest mistake? We will never know. But my instincts tell me that he panicked. The vote had to go through. The pressure was enormous. He was stress tested to almost destruction and he behaved like a bloody fool. That is not an excuse because what he did was inexcusable.

Smith is very lucky that this happened just before the recess. In July, even in the calmest of times, MPs go stir crazy. A long break might just calm the other parties down. Bit they won’t forgive or forget. The whole system works on trust. If that trust breaks down government business grinds to a halt. Ministers are in lock down and will find it difficult to fly off to Brussels or anywhere else.

Smith made a terrible error of judgement and will have to throw the opposition parties some slack. He is in the last chance saloon and it’s drinking up time.



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Homage to Rudyard Kipling who will be spinning in his grave

19 Jul 2018 at 11:19

Tear down the bloody statues
of those who thought in a different way.
Take joy in reducing to rubble the heroes of yesterday.

Free speech is just a weapon of those who are born to oppress
women, blacks, students and those in tribal dress.
And welcome to a new world where we the people set the scene.
But be sure to draw the curtain that shows that the people are
really me.



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