It won’t be long before the Piety Police turn us into a nation of wankers

1 Nov 2017 at 10:06

Like the rest of the world I have pawed through the ‘dirty dossier’. And what a disappointment it proved to be. Because it is not very dirty at all. There were no great revelations. Just a dreary catalogue of ‘inappropriate behaviour’. Shock horror, gays have liaisons with other gay men. And heterosexuals have liaisons with other heterosexuals. This is hardly front page News of the Screws material. So fifteen years ago Michael Fallon put his hand on Julia Hartley Brewer’s knee. If she could see the funny side of it why can’t everyone else. And Kate Maltby’s allegations against Damian Green are bizarrely tame. What is so disgraceful about this little tale is that if she is telling the truth she is breaching a very personal and very private conversation. Unless there are allegations of sexual assault which should be reported to the police, the public are going to tire of this sad litany of lonely, pissed, middle aged men trying it on in the Sports and Social.

Years ago I was having a drink with Sir Robin Day and a very famous and very attractive television presenter. He just couldn’t take his hands off of her. I was very embarrassed and was just about to intervene when she just calmly looked him in the eye and just said, ‘oh, just fuck off Robin’. The wandering hands ended their journey.

True to form Fleet Street is putting the dick into predictability and moving into full feeding frenzy mode. And it will backfire. People were rightly furious about MPs trousering their hard earned cash, but they really don’t give a damn about their sexual habits unless they are illegal, particularly perverted or bizarre. And do we know who has drawn up this list? Do we know on what evidence it is based? Or is it just a compendium of gossip and rumour picked up in the bars and tea rooms by the prurient bored and mischievous. And how do they define ‘inappropriate behaviour’. It’s pretty clear that unwanted sexual demands are. Butwhat about the lead up to them? Is it inappropriate to drop a note to a pretty girl inviting her for a drink? And after a fun evening ask if she fancies a shag? Of course not. But it would be inappropriate to inundate her with offers of drinks and sex if she has said no. Its pretty obvious. It’s the grey areas which will be confusing to some. Is it acceptable to kiss someone on both cheeks at first meeting? Is it acceptable to put a friendly, non sexual, hand on a knee? Well, I bloody hope so because I do it all the time.

Now every bar and restaurant within groping distance of Westminster will be full of informers and spies, trying to make political capital, cash from the papers or just cause trouble. If you are a single politician just how are you meant to get any sex? There is now such a climate of fear that these guys will turn into the wankers we always thought they were. It’s all rather sad.

Of course, we must expose the sex pests. Of course, we must give vulnerable employees an independent body who can discreetly deal with grievances. But now there is talk amongst some lawyers, who should know better, to embrace a culture of putting the onus of proof on the accused. This is very dangerous. A man accused of touching someone up in a bar having to prove his innocence? Have we really come to this? I pray we won’t.

We expect far too much of our politicians. To work long hours for less pay than they would expect on the open market. To be insulted, assaulted and sometimes killed. To always be available. To follow a party line that is sometimes ludicrous. To intone that the electorate always knows best whilst keeping a straight face. To be pillars of sobriety and continent is sexual behaviour. In other words we demand the impossible. Of course politicians should do their best to have higher standards than the rest of us but it must be a hope rather than an expectation. We haven’t asked them to join holy orders. Or maybe we have. When the Piety Police start to patrol the corridors of power it will will be a sad day for politics. And it’s only just beginning.


My journey. When I was ravished propositioned and groped at Westminster

29 Oct 2017 at 16:02

I really do think that we should all take a deep breath and put the sexual harassment stories at Westminster into some sort of sane perspective. Westminster is no different from anywhere else when it comes to the beery breathed office groper. There are no less ageing lothsarios with badly dyed hair, tight suits, creepy smiles, cringing chat up lines and wandering hands. There are no less men of a certain age who will put a hopeful arm around a pretty boy. And no less predatory females who can sniff out a willing young cock at fifty paces. In my time, we all knew who they were and sniggered at their exploits which usually ended in failure. Many of them would have been horrified if anyone would have said yes to their cheesy demands. Over the years I have been, propositioned, touched up and ravished in the corridors of power. It is neither a boast nor a moan and I don’t need treatment nor go on a journey. But at least I was in a position where if things got a little too frisky I could make my excuses and leave or deliver a swift kick in the bollocks. Nowadays not all youngsters are in that sort of position. They can be overawed, scared and not quite sure how to handle things. These are the ones we must protect.

I remember a very prominent Loyalist MP was so desperate for a shag and knowing that I liked a stiff gin and tonic ensured that a flunky was always on hand with chilled glass when I visited Stormont. Well, the only stiff I ever had in my hand was the gin. And I remember fighting off a mauling from an ageing South American diplomat at a Foreign Office lunch that I was hosting. It first started with a stockinged foot probing my groin under the table and an assumption that I would return to her hotel room for some reciprocal Parliamentary rumpy pumpy in the interests of the friendship of our great nations. The list is endless and this was pretty harmless stuff which I dined out on for years. But these were the days of a culture of endless late night sittings, drunken brawls and very, very bad behaviour. In many ways the women were safer then than they are now. Because they were so bloody tough. Put a hand on Edwina Currie, Dame Elaine Kellett Bowman, Dame Jill knight and a host of battle hardened women who had fought their way to the top would lead to…..well, nothing actually. Nobody would dare.

But let’s get things into perspective. There is absolutely nothing wrong with flirting. We all do it and if done tastefully, reciprocated and clearly innocent, it is harmless fun. The trick is not to make anybody feel uncomfortable. There is an invisible line which should never be crossed. Most people know where it is. The moment it is ignored you cease to be a genial flirt and turn into a predator. Forbidden territory. And that is when action has to be taken.

It goes without saying that no man or woman should take advantage of their position and prey on the young, vulnerable and ambitious. In the courts the dilemma for the jury is often confronted with is two young people under the influence of drink, but not drunk enough to make consent impossible. There are no witnesses and no supporting medical evidence (there rarely is) to say whether the sexual act was consensual or not. The difficulty for those of us who prosecute and defend these sorts cases is that the accuser rightly has the right to be believed, but so does the defendant. So how can a jury be sure of guilt?

Let’s try and translate this to Westminster. But let me make it clear that I am not talking about sexual assault. Unless the alleged predatory behaviour is in a public place with witnesses, or there is a history between the two, who do the authorities believe?

The casting couch, the power shag, the office groper have never left us and sadly probably never will. What we have to do is ensure that men and women who are put in potentially dangerous and uncomfortable positions can have the confidence to come forward. And be listened too.

The press are going to have a feeding frenzy over the Sodom and Gomorrah that Westminster will be wrongly depicted as. Oh, but the stories I could tell you about journalists! The editor who sexually assaulted the wife of a prominent MP in the ladies loo. The guy who shagged a secretary in the grounds of the MOD and was caught on CCTV. The endless gropings with interns and the long lists of editors and their mistresses are the low hanging fruit. So although I have signed the Fleet Street Omarta, MPs under threat may not be so fussy and rush to Guido Fawkes. Guys, if there is going to be a war on MP sleaze it will be a blood bath for everybody.

The danger is that the Thought Police who have given us safe places and jazz handing are on patrol. Let’s be honest, Michael Gove’s comments on the Today programme were neither offensive nor would deter people from complaining about sexual misconduct. Why on earth did he have to apologise? Similarly, Clive Lewis’s remark in jest to a man “on your knees bitch” is hardly degrading to women. Jared O’Mara’s conduct is rather sinister though. I suspect that he has some serious and very unpleasant demons to deal with. He will have to go on another journey. The last train out of Westminster.

But I too have been on a journey. On a train back from Westminster to my home. I wanted to be left in peace to read my Evening Standard when two young girls a little the worse for wear for drink wanted my autograph as a Z list celebrity. I obliged. I whipped out my pen which they exchanged for lipstick. “Nah Jerry we want it on our tits”. And as the fool that I am, I signed them. The writing is a little wobbly though.


The Tories have morphed from the nasty to the nutty and soon will be as intolerant, purist and out of touch as Labour

14 Oct 2017 at 10:38

The crimes of the traitor Hammond seem to know no bounds. Not only is he sabotaging the God ordained Utopia of Brexit, but he has been spotted dining with that anti Christ Juncker running dog, Euro stooge, May hater and baiter in chief, George Osborne. On Lobster! The sheer wickedness of their meal has sent the Brextards into a frothing, snarling frenzy of bitterness and bile. The great Lobster Plot will go down in the annals of betrayal as the proof that Hammy is an enemy of the people and must be sacked. First the execution and then the show trial. It is proof that the the traitor Cameron is running a Commission funded counter offensive to bring our great and free country back under the control and tyranny of the jackboot of Juncker. All from his shepherd’s hut, where he receives orders on an encrypted communications device from the war monger and traitor Blair.

What is so remarkable is that those who won the referendum have so little confidence in themselves or their project. They see betrayal around every corner and regard anyone who doesn’t scream that Brexit is going to be a phenomenal success with suspicion based on a deep seated fear that everyone is out to get them. A paranoia has gripped them. That’s the problem. Deep in the dark tea time of their souls there is a tiny sliver of doubt. By repeating the mantra that Britain is going to be running barefoot through the wheat fields of prosperity and opportunity it will magically come true. So the Party must be purified. Only true believers can worship at the shine. And only the high priests can be trusted to to deliver. Purge. Repent. Burn at the stake. Purge. Not even David Davis is safe. They want him to fail.

My once tolerant broad churched party is now being run as a cult. We are becoming a Borg collective where everyone has to be assimilated and resistance is futile. Brexit is all that matters. May is merely the midwife. She will be disposed of if she wavers or if she is less than pure in her beliefs and actions. And she will be cast aside the moment we formally leave and replaced by a true believer.

We have lost the will to govern. We have forgotten the people we were elected to serve. We have lost our edge and are losing our humanity. What sort of twisted thinking allows a system to withhold money from those genuinely most in need and then charge them 55p per minute for a phone call to try and feed their starving families? What sort of Tory minister warns that ‘homes are not chattels to be passed on to their children’? We were once the party of fiscal responsibility, but now the Chancellor is being pilloried for not spending billions on window dressing. For a deception that no deal is better than a bad deal. And there lies the problem. The truth is that the purists don’t want a deal at all. Not even a good one. They want out. Now. Pull up the drawbridge. Fuck the world. They need us. We certainly don’t need them. Soon they will be swarming to our battlements for deals. And if we feel like it and on our own terms, we might deign to throw them a few crumbs. Now breathe in and inhale the heady oxygen of freedom.

The sadness is that we have morphed from the nasty to the nutty party. And with all the betrayals, the treachery the purges, the show trials, the lists of dissenters and the sheer intolerance we are now morphing into the Labour Party. We have much in common. Moderates who are vilified and excluded. Everything viewed though the prism of a dogma. The purity of thought and ideas. Will nobody stand up and be counted from moderate wings of both parties? Or are they such spineless cowards they that will just wait at home for the inevitable early morning knock on the door? You either religiously worship at the altar of Momentum or Brexit. Any dissent is ruthlessly crushed.

This country is best governed from the centre. Yet the two major parties are hell bent on a race to the extremes which will soon repulse voters. Is there anybody who has the courage to show leadership? Who can wake their parties from sleep walking into extremism? Or is it time to found a new party of the centre? Of Pragmatism. Of moderation. Of common sense. Of compassion. Is it really to much to ask? Because people like me and there are millions of us, are feeling politically homeless. If not totally abandoned.


Gavin Williamson has enhanced his reputation as the Party's Beria by ruthlessly demolishing the Coup de Twat

9 Oct 2017 at 11:18

I am not entirely sure that the nation is holding its breath for the fantasied reshuffle which is destined to show that Madame is in charge. The problem is that the real crap in the cabinet, the sort of politicians who shouldn’t be let out without a carer, tend to be cult Brexiteers. Chris Grayling, Priti Patel and Andrea Loathesome spring to mind. But if you replace them with someone who has once been on a continental holiday there will be howls from the carpet biters. Then we really trip out into Disneyland. Brexiteers are quite happy to throw Boris to the lions in return for the sacking of that traitor, Hammond. Now, I hold no candle for him, in fact my friends who as senior civil servants have worked for him, are of the view that he is a total shit. But cometh the hour cometh the shit. And his hour has come. Good God, not as Prime Minister, but as someone who who can steer us through this toxic swamp. Ah, squeal the carpet biters, blame the Treasury, it’s a plot to keep us in the EU. Well, it is a Treasury plot, but not to keep us in the EU, just to smooth our exit without causing catastrophic damage to the economy. As a well known permanent secretary once said, ‘the Treasury is there to stop politicians doing wicked things’. Clearly they can’t stop them doing stupid things. There aren’t enough hours in the day. Wicked is good enough for me.

So let’s try and share in the cult Brexiteer’s wet dream. Sack Hammond and put in Er, Loathsome, Redwood or James not so Cleverly? They would ignore all the advice the mandarins gave, so much so that their desks would be littered with letters warning the Chancellor of the consequences. And demanding explicit written authority. But if Hammond has to go you do have a safe pair of hands in Michael Fallon. The policies would be similar but he will do it with measured charm. And Madame can trust him. There would be no shame in appointing Bernard Jenkin to Defence. Decent guy, knows his brief and might keep him out of harms way. Of course, dear old Bernard is sensible in everything except Europe.

To be honest I don’t expect too much. Boris probably can’t be made a martyr, but his friends with exception of not so Cleverly and Mad Nad, are in retreat. So I suspect that it will be a tinkering round the ages at Minister of State level. And who gives a damn about them?

So we limp on. Putting off the day of the mercy killing. My heart raced a little when I saw Ruth Davidson say both on Marr and Peston that she wouldn’t rule out Westminster after the Scottish Parliamentary elections in 2021. I fear that it may be too late.

I am rather pleased that I was the first commentator to spot the talents of Gavin Williamson. His demolition of the Coup de Twat has enhanced his reputation as a ruthless fixer. I haven’t a clue whether he will ever become leader. But having a reputation as a Beria in politics, even if it’s overblown, can be tremendous asset. If not the king, he will be the kingmaker.

So we are where we are. Wherever that may be, It’s not a good place. For as my party fixates, plots, panics and finally implodes John McDonnell draws up punishment lists for after the revolution. In a saner political world this would concentrate and unite minds.


The Tories are a Ruth less party. Here's how we can get her to Number 10

5 Oct 2017 at 07:45

A few weeks ago I wrote about the three stages that result in the fall of a Prime Minister. Anger, ridicule and Pity. I should have added humiliation. The real tragedy of yesterday’s slow motion, white knuckled ride to imminent political oblivion is that none of it was Madame’s fault. It was if the Gods atop Mount Olympus decided to play a few games. It was not her fault that she had a rotten cough, nor that some twat in charge of vetting didn’t, well, vet. Nor that some bellend in charge of scenery hadn’t appreciated that as lettering tends to fall off under heat and strong light you need apply a really strong adhesive. My heart went out to her. It was deeply, deeply uncomfortable viewing. How life can be so cruel. Politics so unforgiving. This will be her footnote in history.

She will, for the time being, get the sympathy vote. But this is only temporary. The two Gavins and Graham Brady, the real power brokers, will be strategising a smooth transition. But to whom? And how? And how do they prevent the party going into meltdown when the freak circus of leadership hopefuls comes to town? And how do they avoid an election and ushering in the most dangerously left wing government that this country has ever seen?

People have been asking for the last few days what the Conservative party is for. I’ll tell you. Winning elections. It has always had an adapt or die ethos. And unless it does the former it will suffer the latter. Sensible party elders have got to knock some sense into the selectorate. Brexit is here. It won’t go away, but it has to be managed. For the benefit of the country. If they pick a leader who is an obsessive, if they refuse to pick a leader because of some strange self destructive cult, then the party is finished. Already the delusionists are at play. Loathesome, Patel and a group of clowns are plotting. There may be resignations. Mercifully Boris has been sidelined. He will never be forgiven for his treachery. And Moggy? A splendid diversion. He has given the party wonder. Like when you see a bear riding a unicycle. The novelty will wear off. Anyhow, this is really his bid for the Speakership.

The party has to be detoxified. Those under the age of forty need to be energised. Have something to cheer. Have someone to believe in. Have a leader they believe can win. They have to be young. They have to be fresh. They have to be a total break from the past and present. Just a future.

The Tories have always been the Ruth less party. And they are. Davidson is our only hope. But it can’t be done, some say. Oh, yes it can. Now I’ll tell you how.

There has to be a secret cabal of the power brokers and May. She knows that every day she remains the chances of a sensible Brexit deal diminishes with the government, like some out of control dodgem car, smashing into everything, with Labour looking like a credible alternative. Davidson must be persuaded to stand in a by election. But where? She is desperately needed in Scotland, so a safe English seat would be unwise. She could be accused of desertion. But David Mundell’s seat, with a majority of 9,400, is the safest Tory seat in Scotland. Shove him in the Lords, but with a place at the power broker’s table. Make Davidson Secretary of State for Scotland. And then, after an election machine has been put in place, May steps down.

Yes,I know, it’s bloody risky. The SNP and Labour would mount a massive campaign in the by election. But the Scots love her. Having her as Prime Minister can only help Scotland. She is a force of nature. Charismatic. A breath of fresh air. Untainted by obsessionism. A bruiser. The only person who can win a term for the Tories. If May secretly agrees to this that may be her alternative footnote in history. Saving the Conservative Party.


The horror movie IT now has a sequel. It stars Boris as the evil clown. It's called SHIT

16 Sep 2017 at 10:12

Last week I went to the cinema and watched one of the scariest horror movies that I have ever seen. Every few years a clown would terrorise a small town. At first he appears to be cuddly and charming, making promises that everyone wants to hear. But as the story continues we realise that he is an evil entity who will say anything and do anything to lure you into his terrifying lair. Worse, his very existence, his very survival depends on feeding on people’s worst fears. The film is called IT.

This morning I noticed that a sequel has been released by Daily Telegraph productions. It stars Boris as the evil clown. The film is called SHIT.

This dreadful little man will say anything, do anything, promise anything and manipulate our hopes and terrors to seize the keys to Number 10. He feeds on our fears of foreigners. Fear is his life blood, without it he would wither and die.

Poor old Bozo has been out of sorts of late. His creatures have been putting it about that he is frustrated in his role as Foreign Secretary. That he may be centre stage but is only allowed to say the line, ‘dinner is being served.’ There has been talk of him being on the brink of resignation. Worse, he is no longer the darling of the party faithful. They are in love with Ruth Davidson.

If anyone has the stomach to read his thoroughly dishonest Ten Point Plan in the Telegraph this morning you will find the comments by Charles Moore and Tim Stanley the perfect emetic. They guarantee an unpleasant fit of vomiting. Good God Charles and Tim. You are good guys. Intelligent guys. You have respect. Surely you don’t believe this half baked crap?

Well, it appears they do. Moore, ‘is it time to place our future in Boris’s hands and prepare for new leadership.’ Stanley, ‘Boris has laid out an exciting, liberal future for Britain. He must challenge May.’ Or perhaps they are under pressure to write this mindless and dangerous drivel from their paymasters. Look at the Telegraph comment, ‘at last a positive and bold vision for Brexit’.

This isn’t a toe in the water for a leadership battle. He has seriously undermined Davis and Fox. He has re ratted on his downright lie that the NHS will get £350 million a week from Brexit. This is an all out war against May and her government. And there is no going back. He has to resign and challenge her or just resign. His position is disloyal, dishonest and detestable. It will throw the party into meltdown just before the conference. Whatever he does now he will never been forgiven for this. The assassin rarely wins the crown.

And spare us from all from the faux loyalty. These are the first stages of a coup. He has the backing of the Telegraph. This is serious. And planned. There was even a Matt cartoon. It may not have been too helpful. It involved Boris being compared to Kim Wrong ‘Un. Mmm. Two tubby, ruthless crazy guys with bad hair. This might stick.

Well let’s see how he tries to smarm his way out of this one. He either resigns and challenges or just resigns. Number 10 must be robust. Madame should sack him. Let’s see what he is made of. But I think that we know. Flies buzz round it.

So Bozo take your Circus off of May’s lawn and fuck off out of town. Though there is something you can look forward to. There will always be a special place in George Osborne’s freezer just for you.


If you knew sushi like she knew sushi

1 Sep 2017 at 10:40

If the Number 10 operation resembles Fawlty Towers on a bad day the upcoming party conference will be a bit like Titus Andronicus without the jokes.

There are four stages in the downfall of a Prime Minister. Arrogance, incompetence, ridicule and pity. Madame has the gift of being able to portray all four simultaneously. It is quite an art and must have taken years of practice. Her trip to Japan has been a masterclass of how not to behave in front of the Japanese. She was surprised that she was served sushi rather than steak. After all you don’t go to Japan to eat their bloody foreign food do you? And then she told the press that she doesn’t go too much on Karaoke either and has NEVER performed. That’s almost as bad as telling Mr. Abe that she has never dated a Japanese man because she was of the belief that they had small penises. But traveller beware. Penises are a particularly no go topic of conversation in Japan. A friend once went into a gay bar in Tokyo, sat next to a thong of pretty boys and raised his glass in salute in anticipation of a night of unbridled debauchery. “Chin, chin,” he leered. Well, the reaction was not one that he expected. The crowd went mad and beat the crap out of him. You see, chin chin means small cock in Japanese. I do hope someone has warned Madame. On the other hand it will be fun if they haven’t. It reminds me of Thatcher’s disastrous trip to Turkey where her speech writers had put in a couple of lines from Bryon where he said how much he loved the Turks. The poor scribbler hadn’t read the rest of the poem which went onto explain why Byron loved the Turks, which was basically that the boys were a great shag. This didn’t go down at all well and Thatcher’s bid to build the new Bosporus bridge went to Japan.

Anyhow, Madame braved her sushi and ate an urchin. No doubt this was a subtle signal to the carpet biting wing of the Conservative party that she was launching a new, radical, child poverty initiative. Eating an urchin cleverly solves two problems. It culls those awful chavs that those delightful people in Activate seem to despise and will provide a vital source of food after we have left the EU and the starving roam the streets. Splendid. A stroke of genius.

But of course the real highlight of her trip was her announcement that the British public want her to fight the next election. This is probably the best joke she has ever told, but the bar is not high.

Well, thank the lord she didn’t have a cold. Blowing your nose in public is regarded as grotesque as someone laying a steamin turd on your best Wilton.

Tonight I expect another U turn. Madame will perform karaoke after all. Whilst swigging from a bottle of Johnny Walker Black label she will do a passable cover of that well known Japanese song ‘if you knew sushi like I knew sushi’. But she will never ever say the words chin chin. Never. Although she might have had it on the tip of her tongue once or twice.


If you want to understand the moral depravity of Trump & his contempt of the rule of law look no further than the pardon of Sheriff Arpaio

26 Aug 2017 at 09:53

Just about everything about the Trump administration fills me with a sense of despair. He seems to have no concept or care for the rule of law. I thought it was deeply troubling when he made a speech to police officers encouraging them to to break the law and rough up suspects. Jeff Sessions’s abuse of his position as Attorney General to indicate that gay people have no protection against discrimination is scandalous. And just as I thought things couldn’t get much worse, Trump announced his plan to sack eleven thousand transgender patriots from the armed services. But surely we had hit rock bottom with his defence of Nazis and White Supremacists in Charlottesville because they had a permit, whereas the other protester’s didn’t? Not quite. If you really want to understand, if you haven’t already, the moral and social depravity of this man, look no further than the Pardon yesterday of Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County in Arizona.

The Sheriff looks and sounds like a character out of that ground breaking 1960s film about racial discrimination, In the Heat of the Night. He was proud of his twenty five year record of law and order, or as Trump crowed, “keeping people safe”. The trouble is that the this good ‘ol boy didn’t trouble too much for the law and seemed to think he was above it. Or rather he was the law. He took great pride in how tough it was in his county jail. The inmates were made to wear pink underwear and the food served was inedible. And that’s just the humane side of it. Murder gangs ruled the roost. Anyone accused of crimes against women and children are given a KOS designation. Kill On Sight. And they were. While the ‘guards’ place bets. But it was his policy towards the Latino community that quite rightly brought him before the courts and found him in criminal contempt. Old Joe would round up anyone who he thought fitted the racial profile of a Latino and assume they were illegals. Well, he certainly took back control of Maricopa County. Now the poor fellow is trying to crowd fund his legal costs. Depressingly, he won’t find that too difficult.

The real question is what if anything the Republicans are going to do about Trump. They always had an uneasy relationship with Tea Party fundamentalism, but now things are different. Both Houses come up for election in 6 November 2018. The Democrats need 24 seats to win back the House and 3 seats to win back the Senate. And Trump’s polling is at a record low. The GOP are becoming very twitchy indeed. But don’t worry. A Trump supporter sidled over to me the other day and with a wink and a leer he uttered these cheering words, “we’ll keep control of both Houses because we’ve Gerrymandered the seats.”

That pretty well sums up the moral depravity of this once great party. Is anyone actually going to do anything?


Baroness Hale will be a formidable President of the Supreme Court but she is playing with fire offering politicians a role in judicial appointments

23 Aug 2017 at 08:33

Baroness Hale is the new President of the Supreme Court. She is an excellent jurist, a first class judge and a deservedly popular figure throughout the legal profession. But she should know better than to cosy up to politicians. Because they will eat her alive. Of course, her intentions are honourable. She wants politicians to understand the independence of our judiciary. She wants them to understand that they are not an elite cosy club. She wants them to understand that they not aloof, out of touch pillars of the establishment. And she wants to avoid another political row prompted by the sinister ‘Enemies Of The People’, headline in that great organ of truth, diversity and compassion, the Daily Mail. Mind you, the Daily Telegraph wasn’t that much better.

I don’t intend to replay the whole sorry saga, but I will embark on a thumbnail sketch. The headlines, basically attacking judges for their ‘pro’ Eu views caused the lower pond life of politics and the press to slither from their fetid swamp and go on manoeuvres. Submarine May dived out of sight and it was left to the hapless Secretary of State for Justice, Liz Truss, to discharge her constitutional duty to protect the judiciary. Needless to say she was about as much use as a cat flap in the May submersible. Paralysed by the fear of the press and her own right wing, her disgraceful inaction left judges feeling under threat. And then there were calls for Parliamentary scrutiny of the appointment of judges which would have cheered Senator McCarthy on his long vacation in the fires of hades. Eventually the voices of common sense prevailed and a new Secretary of State, the splendid David Liddington, was appointed. His first act was to phone the Lord Chief Justice and offer his one hundred per cent support. So apart from the Lederhosen wing of the Conservatives and the Venezuelan branch of Labour, which is most of the Shadow Cabinet, political input on the selection of judges was thrown into the long grass. Until yesterday.

Baroness Hale made a measured and sensible speech in Belfast. But there were a few paragraphs which will send shockwaves and cause anger throughout the judiciary and hope in the authoritarian wings of our political parties. Let me give you a taster.
“We have gone too far……in excluding virtually all political involvement in the process of selecting individuals especially for the most senior (judicial) appointments.”
She also quoted Charles Moore, “if judges are to decree what is right and apply slippery concepts like proportionality rather than sticking to the strictly legal issues, we need to know their politics”.

Do we really want to go down the slippery slope of the USA where Federal and Supreme Court judges are appointed by a politician and vetted by others? Where judges at a county level are elected and pander to their voters? If you do, forget about the independence of the judiciary. And forget about fair trials.

That is not what Baroness Hale is suggesting. If I understand her correctly she is merely putting the case for politicians to be part of the process of selection. This is a mistake and let me explain why.

In 2005 Tony Blair introduced the Constitutional Reform Act which rightly stripped the Lord Chancellor of archaic practices like sitting as a judge in the House of Lords. He was formally shut out of judicial selection but would expected to be consulted on the most senior judicial appointments. The Judicial Appointments Commission, with not a politician in sight, appoints judges. Their statutory duty is clear:
To select candidates on merit.
To select only people of good character.
To have regard to the need to encourage diversity in the range of persons available for judicial selection.

Call me old fashioned, but this seems eminently sensible and wise. An independent judiciary is the final safeguard of our rights which an over powerful executive may want to take away. They will always have an excuse, of course. “We are in a state of emergency and we must give the forces of law and order a free reign to keep you safe.” Was is our democratically elected tribunes who saved those three men in the Super gun trial who would have been sent to prison on charges which were deeply suspect? Of course not. It was the judges.

All governments have a fractious relationship with the judges. They want to get on and govern. They don’t like being told that they had no legal power to act in a certain way. But that is what judges are for. To interpret the law freely and fairly. I don’t give a damn what their private political views are so long as they remain private. I just want them to be fair and not be put under any political pressure.

This is what we have at the moment. It is as necessary as it is noble. Let’s keep the politicians at arms length from judicial appointments. I can see where Baroness Hale is coming from. Her proposal in theory is sensible and reasonable. But it will just be the start. Feeding politicians is like feeding sharks. Once they smell blood they will go in for the kill. Now you may find this hard to believe, but you can’t always trust a politician.


May's campaign to cling on to power is a national embarrassment. Disloyalty is the secret weapon of the Conservative party

22 Aug 2017 at 09:23

Dear God, the desperation of Madame to breathe a few more months of the toxic and polluting Downing Street air is becoming a national embarrassment. The first briefing that she was going to apologise to conference for the election was a disaster. Conference wants to cheer their leader even when they don’t care to. It is a display of faux party unity which has become a Tory fetish. The rule of thumb is that the more plaudits that are lavished the more vulnerable the receipient becomes. Remember Thatcher’s comment about her Chancellor Nigel Lawson, that his position was ‘unassailable’? Well, he didn’t last last much longer after that. And David Maxwell Fife, who coined the phrase, “Loyalty is the secret weapon of the Conservative Party”? Harold Macmillan sacked him a couple of weeks later. So Tories will promise 110% loyalty to Madame until the day of treachery dawns.

But an apology to conference is merely a very public reminder of her catastrophic error of judgement in calling an unnecessary election which has trashed the Tory brand and was the midwife to Corbyn. Corbyn may head a deranged, dangerous and anti Parliamentary democracy party, yet his personal emotional intelligence is a niggling reminder of that which May doesn’t possess. Judgement is what party leaders are paid for. So it’s no good saying “trust me to sort out Brexit”, because they won’t .

And now she has weaponised Chequers. Evidently the Tory party is forking out a few squid for Mr and Mrs Backbencher to come and have a sniff round the country pile. Look, let’s be realistic. They will drink her booze and guzzle her canapés but that doesn’t buy loyalty. Loyalty is a marriage made out of necessity. Win us an election and don’t fuck up Brexit is the price. Sadly, Madame can’t guarantee either. Interestingly, the last politician to weaponise Something with a similar name was Richard Nixon in 1952. He was on Eisenhower’s presidential ticket and was caught up in a election gift scandal which could have destroyed him. He saved the day by making a cheesy television address when he said that the one gift he would keep was a black and white dog beloved of his children. They called him Checkers. Nixon won the election.

So are we going to see a television address with Madame stroking Larry, the Downing Street mouser, in an an affectionate and endearing way? The thought of it. She’d either look like a Bond villain or Larry would jump on her lap with a bleeding and flapping bird between its jaws. Not perhaps the image we would like.

So I’m sorry guys. The Tory party, if it is going to survive, it is going to have to regenerate like Doctor Who into something new, lively and appealing. And most important of all; competent. It’s time for a Night of the Long Knives. Sooner rather than later. As David Maxwell Fife may not have said, ‘disloyalty is the secret weapon of the Conservative party’.