Stop all this hypocritical crap about grubby and shameful deals. Elections are about bribes and deals. And I think I've seen the future. He's called Gavin

27 Jun 2017 at 08:31

Oh, can’t we all grow up a bit over the DUP deal? They may be a fairly ghastly bunch, but like the leaders of Scotland and Wales they want to screw as much money out of the government as they can for their own patch. They just have the opportunity. If you’ve got it flaunt it. And if you flaunt it abuse it. Even Gerry Adams had to admit that it was good news that £1bn is on its way to Ulster. And we might just get Stormont and power sharing back on track. It is a condition of payment. Who is daft enough to block that? As Claud Cockburn used to say, there is nothing more effective than a cash bribe.

I spent three happy years in Northern Ireland as a bag carrier in Paddy Mayhew’s team. The truth is we have been bribing them for years. They have a seriously good education system, public housing which is built to a far better specification than over here and if a medium sized town wanted a leisure centre in the nineties, they’d get it. It was one of the price tags of peace. I always got on well with the Ulster Unionists and actually took a member of the DUP round the Vatican. I even have the odd drink with Ian Paisley junior. But as a culture they are a little odd. But so is the Province. Last year I popped over to appear on Stephen Nolan’s television show. As I was sitting alone in my dressing room bored out of my skull I thought I’d pop into the green room for a drink and have a banter with some of the other guests. Firstly, I’d forgotten that the green rooms over there are dry, which was a terrible shock to the system. Secondly, there was a segment about a comedy play mildly taking the piss out of the bible that a DUP council had tried to ban. Not that they’d taken the time or trouble to go and see it. From what I’d heard it was all pretty tame stuff with reworked jokes like Moses coming down with the 10 commandments he had negotiated with God and saying the bad news was that adultery was still in. Gentle Two Ronnies stuff. So in I strolled in and sidled up to a kindly old boy. ‘What are you here for?’ ‘That play.’ ‘Can’t see what the fuss is all about.’ ‘So you think adultery is hilarious do you?’ Needless, to say I slagged him off to a supportive audience. The next morning I was recognised at the airport. To a man and a woman (there must have been about 20 of them) they said how nice it was to see me on Nolan, but how much they disagreed with me over the play. It’s a very different place.

So is this deal shabby and shameful? No more than any other political deal is. We had to ditch parts of the manifesto when we did deals with the Lib Dems in coalition. And it worked rather well. People, mostly of the Lederhosen persuasion, thought it was a disaster, but compared to today’s clusterfuck omnishambles those were the days of milk and honey. At least the DUP have buried the toxic rantings of the manifesto and will, with Ruth Davidson and her hit squad give us a fighting chance of realistic Brexit.

So everyone, let’s cut the hypocritical crap. All elections are about seeking power. All manifestos contain bribes. This deal is neither grubby nor shameful. It’s just practical. How long it will last is another matter. But with Alene Foster’s family history with PIRA I can’t see her breaking bread with Corbyn and his mob. This is personal.

In the last few days I have been pondering who should take over from May. Some commentators were saying we should skip a generation, but never made any serious suggestions. But this morning it dawned on me. It’s glaringly obvious. Who has had experience in Number 10? Who is popular with all sides of the party? Who comes from humble beginnings? Who has negotiated a deal that could save the skin of the Tories? Chief Whip, Gavin Williamson. And he has all the powers of patronage and the whips office machinery behind him. He could be formidable.This is early days and I have never even met him. I don’t even know if he is remotely charismatic. I’ve never even heard him speak. We will see. But I am am going to google William Hill and have a flutter. And don’t underestimate Green. A good man who did well at the dispatch box yesterday. And that wily old fox Davis comes over well. I could happily vote for any of those three. But buy shares in Williamson. A man to be watched.



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It's time for a parliamentary revolution. Sovereignty must be restored. A deal with EU is dead. Brexit must be buried

24 Jun 2017 at 09:00

An interesting constitutional question. At what stage does parliament have an over riding duty to protect the economy from disaster? I suppose it depends what you are over riding. The result of a general election? Never. A referendum? Perhaps. The irony is that for those, like myself, whose bedrock of political beliefs is founded upon Parliamentary sovereignty, referendums are dangerous sideshows designed to make things easier for weak politicians. Cameron was in a weak position when he promised one on Brexit. God how I miss him.

I wonder how many Tories who were screaming for a deal with the KIPPERS have any sense of remorse at what whirlwind of destruction they have unleashed? And I wonder how many really want to destroy their constituents jobs, living standards and the hopes and dreams of their children. There will be a day of reckoning. It may be sooner than they think.

At the moment there are sixty hard core Tory MPs. They are in a parallel universe, a different reality from the rest of us. The toothsome Loathesome’s manic optimism borders on the psychotic. The FT is biased. Carney is wrong. And everyone who tries to protect jobs an the economy is a traitor to the people. Matt Paris is quite right in the Times today. There are now just two choices. Remain or get out. The soft options are undeliverable. I had hopes that they could be until yesterday. The easiest settlement was a deal on Eu citizens in the U.K and ours overseas. We couldn’t even get that right. Juncker sees May as weak and outgunned and will toy with her before she is hounded out. Nothing much will be achieved. But if we can’t get citizens rights sorted what hope do we have to protect the city of London, free trade and migration? The answer is simple. None. So we will limp on until Juncker goes in November and May September. And in September Merkel either returns triumphant, is defeated or weakened. Whatever happens the dynamics will have changed. The Germans and the French will be running the show. Nothing much will happen in ‘negotiations’ until we have clear leadership and a policy that will not trash the economy. At the moment we have neither. We will just drift as lonely as a cloud until, at best, we have a transitional deal which will last for a generation. A generation where we will have no say in the shaping of Europe when it is at peril. We will become a diplomatic irrelevance, a laughing stock, a tin pot little country pretending to be a leading role on the world stage when we are merely an extra.

This is what we have come to. This is how serious it is. It’s time for a revolution. Not the agit prop of McDonnell, but in Parliament. Parliamentary sovereignty must be resumed. The Brexiteers have had their chance and they have failed miserably. Misplaced, delusional optimism is not a policy, it is a religion. Who is going to have the courage in government to say that Brexit is dead and now must be buried? The Parliamentary arithmetic is there. It’s time to show courage. The hour has cometh but all they do is simper platitudes and give us a hope that is false in every word and deed. I fear for the country I love. And I fear for my children.



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As the May Celeste drifts aimlessly on the currents Bozo, unfit for office and a national disgrace schemes

22 Jun 2017 at 06:55

When the Mail online gives George Soros space to write a piece about how Brexit is going to be a catastrophe and Britain will be forced to change its mind, you know that something very unusual is happening. And when the Chancellor slags off his Prime Minister on national television on Sunday and then hints at a soft Brexit at the Mansion House breakfast on Tuesday, you have a feeling that there is going to be a continental Brexit rather than a full English after all.

Then there is Bozo. Unfit for office, lazy, scheming and a national disgrace. If you think May is bloody awful, this thoroughly dishonest tub of lard is in a league of his own. His Eddie Mair interview was typically slap dash and unprepared. He hadn’t a clue what was in the Queen’s speech and didn’t much care. But what I find so ghastly about this pustule on the sphincter of government is his shameless pursuit of Number 10. At any cost. He gets his people to brief against May and take soundings on the back benches. He then denies any plotting and urges his backbenchers to be loyal to her. Now, he has announced that he will not stand for the leadership until 2019. How very generous. But it doesn’t stop there. He is now briefing against David Davis. ‘Too old…..beaten by Cameron’, followed by pics of him with two busty girls with DD slogans on their breasts. The sheer hypocrisy of Bozo trying smear Davis with bit of mild sexism is breathtaking. But predictable. Yet I have some very sad news. Bozo’s seat disappears in boundary changes. If I wasn’t on the wagon (temporary measure to get beach body fit for hols) I’d crack open the prosecco.

The sheer mind boggling incompetence of Number 10 is breathtaking. For months we have been treated to little homilies about how the SNP can’t veto Brexit. It appears now that they might be able to. Dear God where were the bloody lawyers? Or maybe they did advise and the gruesome twosome kept it under wraps.

The cabinet is out of control. There is no discipline. Enter number 10 and it’s like the May Celeste. Plates are laid out for a meal and computers hum. But what happened to the crew? There is no sign of human life. Where have they gone?

We just can’t go on like this. Didn’t anyone realise that although the DUP are a pretty cranky bunch they are tough, ruthless and experienced negotiators.Remember the Good Friday Agreement? An accommodation will be reached. Thank heavens they want a soft Brexit.

So what do we Tories who care about our country and are terrified that by some terrible act of criminal negligence we are complicit in putting Corbyn and his bully boys into power? I’ll repeat what I wrote a couple of weeks ago. She has to be gone by the party conference. There doesn’t need to be an election. The people are fed up with them. In a sick twist of fate they actually want strong and stable government. Corbyn’s mob will moan groan and take to the streets, but it will make no difference. Labour are in a hyped up Disneyland of delusion. Corbynistas really do think that they are waiting in the shadows to form a government. The arithmetic isn’t there unless we make it so.

So what do we do with Madame? A few years ago when David Tennant was playing Doctor Who he was very angry with a female Prime Minister. ‘I can destroy you with just four words.’ She looked puzzled. He then whispered to an aide, ’Doesn’t she look tired?’ That was the end of her.

And Madame does look tired and emotionally drained. Who wouldn’t after all she has been though? She has a medical condition. Does she have the mental stamina to go though this heavy pounding? Perhaps. Does she want to? I doubt it. But the Tories and the country need leadership. We just don’t have it. No amount of makeovers and humility will make Madame the leader we all hoped she would be. So make it swift and make it bloodless and for God’s sake keep the party faithful at arms length. And make it either Damian or David.



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Is Grenfell Tower a metaphor for our divided society?

16 Jun 2017 at 07:39

If I hear another politician recite the mantra ‘lessons must be learned’ after a tragedy, I will scream. The lesson that has been learned over the years by the political classes is that they have learned nothing at all.

No words can express the horror of the Grenfell Tower conflagration, so I am not going to try. May was right to order a full public inquiry. It must be swift, decisive and if need be, brutal. If there is evidence of corporate manslaughter it must be put in the hands of the CPS.

What causes me anguish is that someone or some body decided not to install a sprinkler system which would have cost £200,000 and prevented the fire spreading. What causes me rage is that cladding the building cost £3m. It was filled with combustible material that has been banned in the USA for buildings over 30 feet tall. It would have cost an extra £5000 to install cladding that was safe and stop the spread of fire. Someone is going to have to explain the decision making progress and the advice that was given.

Now let me give you a truly terrifying statistic. There are 2,925 Tower blocks in Britain. Do you know how many have sprinkler systems? Sit down and pour yourself a stiff drink. The answer is eighteen.

We hear about a report reviewing building regulations that the government initiated which a coroner recommended years ago. It hasn’t come to light. Yet. Let me give give you a clue as to why not. Tower blocks built post 1974 have to have a sprinkler system. Multiply 2,907 by £200,000 and you get £581,400,000. That’s the cost of ensuring that the tragedy of Grenfell doesn’t happen any where else. Perhaps ministers and officials were told that the risk of a fire was tiny. Perhaps local authorities and housing associations came to the same conclusions. And did Kensington and Chelsea really ignore warnings of the residents association? Is the leader of the council really saying that residents didn’t want a sprinkler system? There are going to be some very uncomfortable questions. They must be answered honestly. But how on earth do those people who live in these other blocks feel? How can any of them believe a word of reassurance? From anyone.

In many ways this tragedy appears to be a metaphor for how some perceive Britain. A divided society where the rich live side by side with the poor, but don’t even notice them. Where the rich want to prettify a grim tower block so they don’t have to have the indignity of having to have it scar their multi million pound vistas. Where greedy landlords cut costs oblivious to whether the poor huddled masses in their charge live or die. Where government’s austerity programmes hit the poorest. Where white goods manufacturers ignore calls to make their products safer.

There are seeds of truth in all of of those comments. But the sense of community, compassion and generosity from the richest to the poorest gives me a sense of optimism. There are many many problems in our society. But there is an inherent sense of decency and goodwill which lays deep not just in the in the people of London but of Great Britain. The residents of Grenfell tower had little and now have nothing. All of us must act.

So perhaps Grenfell Tower is a metaphor after all. One of hope for our divided society.



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MPs are like Meerkats. They look soft and cuddly but are deadly killers who hunt in packs

13 Jun 2017 at 08:18

MP’s are like Meerkats. They look soft and cuddly, but in reality they are deadly killers who hunt in packs. At the moment all eyes are on the carnage in the Tory party. It won’t be too long before Labour’s own bloodbath hits the front pages. Moderates are horrified at Corbyn’s success. A wipe out would have been the perfect excuse to ventilate him and his ghastly crew. This is now the time for a breakaway. Despite the toothsome smiles, the mea culpa’s and the cheers they will give Corbyn at the Queen’s Speech, plotting and unease is bubbling away under the surface. Timing is the key. If they don’t act soon Momentum will have stuffed the party conference by the end of the year. And an electable Labour Party will turn to dust. The Labour Party has been hijacked. It’s time to move on.

But the turmoil that will erupt in Labour is a story for another day. May is a triumph of the mortician’s art. There only only three people she can really trust are Damian Green, Stephen Parkinson, and her husband Philip. They will tell her when to depart with the minimum of humiliation. Real power lies with Graham Brady, who has emerged as a big beast, and the two Gavins who have rebooted the Maybot into humility mode. It’s a holding operation. Nothing more. The Cabinet despise each other, but her even more. Ignore the gibberings of loyalty and support from the meerkats. They are just sniffing the air for personal opportunity. They don’t want an early election and neither do the people.

There is a golden rule in politics that as soon as a Prime Minister falls out with her Chancellor over policy it’s curtains. Hammond will never forgive her. He is in alliance with Ruth Davidson. Both will get a more sensible Brexit. And Davidson has her shock troops in Scotland. Don’t think that they will slavishly follow the Westminster whip. They won’t.

What has to be done is put down the destructive demands of the Amish wing with their puritanical demands over Brexit. They must be crushed. They destroyed Major, Cameron and May with their swivel eyed views. It’s pointless parroting the line about obeying the voice of the people on 23 June. The people have spoken again and they don’t much care for a negotiating position which will screw their jobs and living standards.

But what is our negotiating position? At the moment I haven’t a clue, save that the article 50 letter and white paper have been reduced to chip paper. And who is Barnier negotiating with? May is not going to be there for too much longer. Who is calling the shots now? The answer is Hammond. He will take the lead role. You can almost smell the burning rubber of the multiple U turns which will be performed. Poor Theresa. There is nothing more humiliating than a politician eating her own words. This is going to be a banquet.

In many ways the electorate got it right. They are not keen on more grammar schools, the dementia tax and getting rid of free lunches at primary schools. And they are not going to get them.

But we must stop patronising the young. We have been cynically counting on them not to vote. Well, they did. They have an appetite for it. This is good news. Corbyn gave them hope. It may have been a very cynical false hope, but hope nevertheless. It’s time for a Minister for the young. I’m not suggesting votes for sixteen year olds. But the Tories ignore the young at their peril. We must give them hope that is deliverable.

This afternoon May starts talks with the DUP. Well, good luck matey. It will be a very weird experience. Northern Ireland is a strange place. Everything is looked at through the prism of betrayals, territorial rights, flags and cultural identity. And there is a primal mistrust of perfidious Albion. By all means bribe them with cash and investment. We’ve been doing it for years. But she must be even handed. Introducing legislation to ban Sinn Fein MPs from their allowances and cutting off political donations from abroad would derail the peace process. The Republican community is nervous. We must give them a real future that is not a present which is often an ever recurring past.



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Selling your soul to the DUP is an abomination. Leviticus means Leviticus. Time for a deal with Farron. The price. A referendum

10 Jun 2017 at 08:43

Selling your soul to the devil is unwise, even for a politician. But to sell your soul to the DUP is an abomination. A word that they are rather proud of. It is the first step on the escalator to eternal political damnation. If you thought that the KIPPERS were an odd ball bunch of fruit cakes you ain’t seen nothing yet. They were merely gifted amateurs. Fire up the horse and trap as we are heading back to the eighteenth century.

If you think that there are a few right wing nutters on the Tory benches I can assure you they look quite sane when compered to Arlene Foster and her clutch of bigots, homophobes and creationists. One thing is sure. Leviticus means Leviticus.

I can understand May wanting to cling onto her Premiership with the illusion that this little covern of self righteous piousdom will deliver Brexit. Insanity. The EU negotiators will spot a weakness and exploit it. Northern Ireland wants to be treated as a special case rather than as a basket case. But if Northern Ireland has special treatment, what about London and Scotland? A mess. And undeliverable.

I am beginning to wonder if May is real and not some sort of Stepford granny. The last survivor of a failed CIA cyber experiment to frighten children into obedience. That speech on the steps of Number 10 yesterday was from a parallel universe. Does she honestly believe that she can deliver? Anything?
She has chosen to ally herself with a band of nutters, political assassins and those obsessed with betrayal. And then there is the DUP.

I was wrong yesterday. She will be gone in days. The recess is looming like a toxic black cloud. The knives are out. There will be rumour and counter rumour, briefing and counter rumour. Rather than take a knife to her cabinet as planned they will take one to her. It will be like Murder on the Orient Express. They will all want a crack at it. All over, done and dusted by the party conference. Another coronation. But what of the Kingdom? May took us into an election where the Tories were cock of the walk and Labour facing extinction. She will never be forgiven for breathing new life into them. She is presiding over a shambles. It is even time to bring back Gove. But once the blood has been cleared from the streets a deal with have to be done. With the Lib Dems. The price will be high but not unaffordable. A referendum on access to the single market. It is the only way the country can buy it way out of this mess.



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If you are going to run an election on the cult of personality it's a good idea to have one

9 Jun 2017 at 10:54

If you are going to run an election on the cult of personality it’s a good idea to have a personality. Some of us warned that this was a misguided election and fraught with danger. And some of us warned that Corbyn would do far better than the polls suggested. But I certainly didn’t think for one moment that we would be in a worse position than we started this foolish fiasco. I am not sure whether May can survive this. Her authority is haemorrhaging. She has no mandate to speak of. The Lords will have fun and games with Brexit. And the Eurocrats will delight in her humiliation. Well at least ‘strong and stable’ has been replaced by ‘fuck up means fuck up’.

It won’t be long before the recriminations start. Crosby will need to clear his reputation. Winning elections is his business. Prepare for a bloodbath in the Sundays. The gruesome twosome will be much diminished and we might just have some collective decision making for a change. Although, as we will be propped up by the ghastly DUP, I just wonder what can fly in the Queen’s speech. Not a lot. Five years of doing bugger all is not exactly something to sell to the electorate. Oh, one thing you can be sure of, May will never be allowed to fight another election.

At least I got two predictions right. Ruth Davidson would give Sturgeon a bloody nose. And the Lib Dems would gain some seats. Ruth is a human whirlwind as well as a very human being. She is now in a very powerful position. She has saved May’s bacon. Anything she wants for Scotland she will get. If only she was leading the Conservatives. It’s a pipe dream, but she would be wonderful. Like May, Sturgeon’s authority is draining away. Forget about another referendum. It’s dead in the water. The union is safe. God bless Queen Ruth.

So let’s see whose tanks are on May’s lawn. Davis and Fallon will be giving interviews all over the weekend. Bozo will stay at the FO. She needs him onside.

The other interesting thing about the election is that the Tory press were ignored by the punters. Perhaps proprietors might appreciate that they don’t have as much influence as they think. No, of course they won’t. But the Mail will start gunning for May, the Telegraph will fall out of love and the Speccy will become very sniffy. It really is the beginning of the end for her. Six months tops.

I remember asking Merlyn Rees (former Labour Home Secretary) how he and Callaghan kept their minority government afloat. ‘Me and Jim just toured the tearoom and bars and asked the boys what they wanted.’ So if you see a white van outside Number 10 you can be assured that it contains the pork barrel. Cash will be thrown at Ulster like confetti. And Brexit? I suspect that the end is nigh.



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The car crash election. Herewith the roadkill

8 Jun 2017 at 13:51

God, what an election. Only fifty days? It seems like an eternity in purgatory. I’ve hated every moment. Vile abuse from trolls on all sides, coupled with debilitating incompetence. It’s a little late in the day to chain the awful Diane Abbott to the bedpost in the attic like a mad and incontinent aunt. The damage has been done. She has been found out as serially dim, arrogant and even unfitted to be in a bathroom cabinet. And let’s be balanced. Karen Bradley’s interview with Piers Morgan was cringeworthy. You underestimate Piers at your peril. He can be as much of an attack dog as Andrew Neil. Both had brilliant elections. My favourite comment from Andrew was to Tim Farron. ’You’re a populist but not very popular.’ And poor old Tim. I rather like him. A decent enough fellow, but somehow he came over as a cross between a Sunday school teacher and an under fifteen football team manager. However, I just don’t believe the polls. I have a bottle of champagne on the Lib Dems will gaining a few seats.

So what will happen tomorrow? Tricky one. I’d be amazed if Madame didn’t win. But I hope it’s a working majority and that the Tory benches are not stuffed full of yapping, nodding dogs who would kill, cook and eat their grannies for a job. Brexit is going to be bloody difficult. So we want enquiring minds challenging the executive to get the best possible deal for us. I won’t hold my breath.

So who are the winners and losers? Amber Rudd (would she let Bojo drive her home now?) has had a good war. I don’t quite buy that she will be a shoe in for Chancellor just yet, but she is going to be a powerful figure. Good. She is one of the few members of Cabinet with emotional intelligence. Hammond has pissed off the gruesome twosome, so if it’s a working majority he will be off. Boris is the tricky one. If she has a good majority she can offer him Leader of the House which he would turn down. But madame’s position will not be as strong as it was. Is it worth the risk of having him with time on his hands when the wheels fall off the Brexit negotiations? I suspect he will hang on. Just. Truss? Dead meat. Bradley? Might survive. But what’s the point? Loathesome? Dead meat. Fox? Will probably hang on. Not as bad as he is billed. And the big beasts? Rudd, Davis, Damian Green, Fallon. And watch out for Gummer. As bright as a button. Hunt? A good man who will be probably be given something else. The others? I really don’t care, with the exception of David Liddington. He might just get a promotion. His problem is that he is far too sensible and pragmatic.

So the result? Mmm. Tricky. My instincts are a Tory majority of between forty and seventy. We will see. And if it’s Corbyn? Well, I will expect a knock on the door at 5am on Saturday with a warrant for my arrest signed by John McDonnell ordering me to appear before the People’s court, trial and summary execution.



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The the sky is black with Mayan chickens coming home to roost. The big beasts must clip the wings of Timothy and Hill

27 May 2017 at 08:26

Those of us who warned that calling an election may not have been an act of political genius see ominous black clouds billowing over the horizon. It is not a thunderstorm. It is not the seven horsemen of the apocalypse popping out for a pint. The sky is blackening with Mayan chickens coming home to roost.

The coronation has been cancelled, the dainty sandwiches are curling at the ends, the beer is going flat and the bunting in tatters. Tomorrow will be crunch day. The first opinion polls since the wickedness of Manchester will be pawed over. If there is not a marked improvement there is a distinct possibility of a Corbyn government. Writing, let alone reading those words, fills me with a primal sense of dread. Yet all we comfortable middle classes do is float around in our cosy little echo chamber of, ‘well, of course she’ll win…….er…..won’t she?’

I hope that the polling nose dive may stir the Remainers to abandon their guilty little secret of wanting to vote Lib Dem. Farron has been surprisingly hopeless. Maybe stay at homers will be encouraged to get out and vote. Some of us warned that Corbyn, despite his many faults, has a sense of innocence and decency about him. He has had a great campaign. Mobbed by adoring fans. Surrounded by bright eyed youngsters. If I was Lynton Crosby I would focus on his team. Bill boards of Abbott, ‘your next Home Secretary.’ Thornberry, ‘your next Foreign Secretary.’ And that nasty old man McDonnell. Well I’d just have him depicted with horns and cloven feet, drawing up lists of who will be shot after the revolution. In fact, anyold holiday snap will do. Whatever happens, and I predict a smallish May majority, there will be two consequences. Corbyn will be cemented in place as the eternal leader and moderate Labour will form a new party. This will be very dangerous for the Conservatives. Ah, yes, the C word will come back into fashion. The kid’s chemistry set experiment of Mayan adoration is making an eggy gas smell and is in danger of blowing up. They won’t try that little wheeze for a while.

But May is not so much damaged goods as just shown to be mortal. The party will demand changes. The big beasts of Fallon, Davis, Green and McLoughlin will exert more of an influence. She will be told that the wings of Timothy and Hill must be clipped. That there must be more of a collegiate approach. That there must be more consultation. Perhaps even make Davis deputy prime minister. It’s a bit like Thatcher before the fall. Ministers were queuing up to tell her that she should be in listening mode, more collegiate and less arrogant. She just slipped them the birdie. The end was swift and bloody.

I do hope May listens. She is basically a decent person with good instincts. I am told that when she relaxes with friends she can be warm. I suspect that there is an inherent shyness and insecurity which gives the impression of glacial indifference to others. That her dread of getting it wrong makes her look stilted and awkward. It’s time she became more relaxed in her own skin.

We can’t afford any more mistakes. This election has become interesting. And utterly terrifying.



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The knuckle draggers hate May's manifesto. Splendid. You can't teach an old dogma new tricks, just send it to the vet

21 May 2017 at 05:39

Like the overwhelming majority of the voting public I haven’t read the Conservative or for that matter, any, election manifesto. They are window dressing. The various bribes and threats will be spun to destruction by all sides of whatever the argument is. Which is basically, Corbyn is dangerously crap and May dully adequate. That’s probably a little unkind, but it’s mood music and flavour that counts. This election is about leadership and nothing else.

I do feel a bit sorry for the press. Weeks of being corralled into soulless factories. Rehearsed and reheated questions. With North Korean applause from ministers desperate to keep their shared mid range family saloons and wide eyed Teenage Tory Mutants whom one day might just make it to the heady heights of the Parish Council.

Another reason a try and avoid reading manifestos is because it’s far more fruitful to see what is on offer through the eyes of the media. It’s a waste of time reading the fine print, because unless there is a hidden pledge to put to the sword the first male born child, it’s contents are not going adorn the Mail or the Sun. But the Mayan manifesto, or the bits of it that have surfaced, is rather cheering. I don’t mean in policy terms, but in mood music. The knuckle draggers of the right are very confused. Cavemen brains can only take so much detail before they have to go out into the jungle and kill tea for the lady wife. They have a simple test. Would St Margaret have approved? Is May one of us? Is she sound? And the poor dears just can’t work it out. They are horrified at what they think is statism by stealth. Caps on energy prices? That’s anti business. Let the market rip. Interfere in people’s lives? Let them fuck it up. It’s not a matter for government. One permanent secretary told me that he thought she was a Heathite. And now the press have coined the phrase, Red Tory. Both very wide of the mark.

I just don’t think you can pigeon hole May. What I found most enlightening about her latest speech is that she condemned looking at issues though the prism of an ism. You can’t teach and old dogma new tricks, so put it quietly and respectfully to sleep. To my mind this is proper political pragmatism. Many more people than we think find things more of a struggle than we middle classes are aware of. They work hard. They love their kids. They respect their partners. But still somehow they manage to be screwed by someone. Usually a faceless entity. The Philip Greenian doctrine of company management. Banks who make it more and more difficult to get a mortgage. Pay day loans at deeply immoral rates of interests. Crap schools. And energy companies who just take the piss as well as your money. What May is saying is, ‘I get it. Trust me and I will fight for you.’ People resonate with that. It is a powerful message if it is sincere. And I believe that she is.

Well, she has had her wobbly weekend. Lynton Crosby will be making it brutally clear that the party must stay on message and stop going into panic and self doubt the moment there is the first whiff of cordite. So forget the manifesto. It’s served its purpose and is yesterday’s chip paper. Back to the message. Leadership, leadership, leadership.

Oh, and thank you Pippa. The tabloids are far more interested in your bum then they are about opinion polls. With a bit of luck Harry will announce his engagement to whomsoever he is currently shagging and Katie Price might just have another divorce,/marriage/visit to rehab or a baby. Probably the bloody lot.



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