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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The scandal that undermines our once great system of justice

10 May 2017 at 07:09

I never blog on cases, but today I must break my rule. Yesterday I discovered a scandalous state of affairs which could have led to an innocent man going to jail for a substantial period of time. I will not name the defendant nor the court for obvious reasons. In forty years of practice at the bar this shook my faith in what was once the finest and fairest justice system in the world. Read this and weep. And mourn for British justice.

Yesterday I was sent to the Crown Court to offer no evidence in a firearms case. I had been instructed some weeks ago as Prosecution counsel. Let me give you a thumbnail sketch. Last year the police searched a van. In this van was a tool box and in this tool box were founds guns and ammunition. This comprised of an 8mm blank firing pistol converted to be a lethal weapon. An empty magazine belonging to that hand gun. A Glock self loading hand gun. The magazine from this handgun contained two live rounds. And three further live rounds were found in a knotted bag. It goes without saying that the possession of these items is a very serious offence and carries a minimum sentence of five years for the guns and a consecutive sentence for the ammunition. Anyone convicted potentially faces a sentence of imprisonment of seven years upwards.

The guns and ammunition were forensically examined. The laboratory gave the police what is called a Streamlined Forensic Report (SFR). It came to this conclusion, ‘a match exists between the defendant and the sample’. In other words the defendant’s DNA was found on one of the magazines.

This was served on the CPS and duly uploaded onto the digital case system, effectively serving this on the court and the defence. An SFR is precisely that, and both prosecution and defence are entitled to see the full report. But very often it is taken at face value. As there was no other evidence the CPS reviewing lawyer wanted further information. He asked for more information. Was there a mixed profile? How strong was the DNA? He received obfuscation from the lab. ‘The SFR provided indicated that a number of results were subject to progress.’ But the lawyer was dogged in his determination and finally received this bombshell. ‘The lab confirms due to confusion they have never compared mixed profiles against the defendant.’ They also stated that ‘progress means there are no additional findings’. Then came this chilling line. ‘The lab refused to elaborate any further……’

The reviewing lawyer reported the following,‘I am concerned that the language used in the SFR appears to assert positive and ongoing actions when they are clearly negative. I have requested the OIC to obtain an email from the forensic officer confirming the phone communication and what is implied in the SFR…..he confirmed that the report was misleading.’

The CPS, underfunded, overworked and creaking at the seams comes in for a lot of criticism. In this case the reviewing lawyer deserves a herogram.

Yesterday when I offered no evidence I explained to the judge in detail what had happened. I will never forget the look of horror on his face. There will be a thorough judicial investigation.

And yesterday SKY NEWS reported that a private forensic laboratory had ‘manipulated data.’ What the hell is happening? I will tell you. In 2010 the government announced that the national forensic service (the FSS) was to be closed down and forensic analysis would be privatised. Let me be clear that the FSS has had its fair share of cock ups. But the government announcement prompted horror from professionals. The National Audit Office warned, ‘this could spark a crisis within the justice system.’ They were right. Soon the court of appeal will be swamped. Will someone, somewhere listen? I won’t hold my breath.



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The two parties have become a bunch of cults. But the country is worshiping at the court of Good Queen Tess

9 May 2017 at 08:46

Dear God another month to go. How much more can a sentient being take? Oh, I forgot. This is a aimed at voters. It is strange how the two parties have turned into cults. The Corbynistas genuinely worship him. He has come down from the mountain with his slab of granite and ten democratically curated composite motions. The trouble is that they are the playbook from another forgotten and rejected era. Big business bad, workers good. Anyone earning over £80,000 is rich, so tax them until their pips squeak. Tell that to hardworking head teachers and doctors. It is all wonderful worthy stuff. The sort of fluffy, warm, dreamy idealism that Swampy and his chums would debate hanging from their trees the night before laying in front of bulldozers. The trick in politics, if you want to win, is not just to make yourself feel great but to make those you want to vote for you feel even better.

But it would be foolish to deny the genuine affection that Corbyn’s followers have for him. For the first time in years they have been given a voice. The sneering middle classes, the Westminster effete, the once rulers of the galaxy have been cast into eternal darkness. In short, Labour enthusiasts are having fun. ‘People are listening to us’, they cry in misty eyed disbelief. ‘If it wasn’t for the wicked, biased, enemy of the people, the Tory bloody media led by the fascist BBC, our message would get across.’ What they don’t seem to have realised is that their message has got across and people don’t much care for it.

In times of crisis the British like strength. They didn’t love Thatcher. But they believed she could sort out our mess. She was humourless, had a voice that could curdle cream and wasn’t particularly bright. But she surrounded herself with intelligent people who could translate her instincts into policy. And her instincts were mostly in tune with the public. Most important of all she transcended party. She had a direct line to the public. Her party was merely the apparatus for getting her message through. And for a while it was very effective. But when trust transformed into worship and worship demanded loyalty, disobedience led to punishment. And the realisation that she was a mere mortal after all.

I am not trying to make too much of a comparison between May and Thatcher. They are both very different people. Although I don’t know May at all, despite her clankyness and horror of the media her instincts tend to be right and I detect a genuine sense of warmth. Tonight on the One Show we will see her with her husband Philip. My advice is to forget the slogans the petty party politics and show the real May, which I suspect is far softer than we think.

But back to the campaign. The Crosby playbook is breathtakingly simple. Find the strengths of your candidate and bang over the message over and over again. Then some more. Be relentless. Keep every spokesman on message. Allow no dissent. So far it has worked very well. This has become a Presidential campaign. The Conservative Party is merely the structure for getting her elected. The interminable Strong and Stable may drive us scribblers insane, but it is effective. What is the Labour message in a sound bite? None of us have a clue. Who Cares Wins might work. But it’s too late. Nobody is listening. It’s worship at the court of Good Queen Tess.

And the Lib Dems? Farron has been a disappointment. His message of attracting the 48 per cent is not translating into the polls; yet. His personal campaigning skills are not as effective on the media as I expected. But anecdotally I am utterly convinced that they will do much better than the pollsters think. Iain Dale is right to predict that the Tory majority will not be a landslide but about seventy. We will see.

So when will May’s wobbly Thursday be? To find the answer look at where she is most vulnerable. Answering probing questions. She will survive the Question Time approach, although expect a small bounce for Corbyn and Farron. But if I was Crosby I would be particularly concerned about Andrew Neil. He is far more forensic than Paxo ever was. He interviews like a top barrister cross examines, with the golden rule of never ask a question unless you know the answer. Stable and Strong sound bites won’t work here. She really needs a day of someone playing the role of Neil roughing her up.

It is now the Theresa May show. All Tories will have to remain on message. They must be like the Borg (Star Trek) collective hive. They have one thought, one direction, one personality. ‘You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.’ And for heaven’s sake keep Bozo in the attic. He is like Roger Rabbit. He can’t help himself from saying or doing something really, really stupid. On the other hand release him for just one day. Just to break up the boredom.



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