Hammond the gelding Chancellor & Stugeon's bad case of premature ejockulation

17 Mar 2017 at 08:21

I am a Tory. I want them to do well. I want May and Davis to negotiate a fantastic deal with Brussels. But I am beginning to to have more faith in Santa Claus, the tooth fairy and the Easter bunny. I won’t add Andrea Leadsom as she is a fictional character. Nobody that stupid could possibly exist.

The depressing reality is that this government is the most shambolic excuse for a train crash that it has ever been my misfortune to witness. Body parts and mangled carriages litter the track, whilst ministers wander aimlessly around like extras from Shaun of the Dead, but without the menace and sense of purpose. Even more depressing is that Labour is even worse. Rather than condemn the crash they bang on about the inconvenience to railway workers who have to clean up the mess made by the boss class. Give them a pay rise and a day off in lieu. The end.

This government has no sense of timing or irony. Was it such a brilliant idea for May to humiliate Hammond into a sphincter clenching, gonad rattling, climb down on the Ides of March? Well, we will know in about six months time. The briefing against Hammond by Number 10 was predictably disgraceful, but unnervingly effective. May rides high in the opinion polls whilst stocks in the Chancellor are in a death spin. And as for his opposite number John McDonnell? The only politician who is flesh creepingly sinister and makes Gerry Adams look kind and avuncular. McDonnell is like the nasty old uncle who is kept in the attic chained to the bed and only wheeled into the chamber if he wearing one of those Hannibal Lecter masks.

Whether Hammond survives is neither here nor there. Oh, if he goes there will be an orgasmic beltway feeding frenzy, but it will have no lasting implications. The staggering stupidity of Nicgate is the albatross around his neck. If he goes it will not be like Lawson or Howe on a point of principle, but with his tail between his legs. It was skilfully leaked that he was reluctant to reveal the details of his budget until the last moment. And this was his dream job. He will not be an irritant to May and has no following. May has taken over economic policy. Hammond is the gelding Chancellor.

The trouble with this government is that there are no Big Beasts. There are no great apes swinging though the trees and banging their chests. No roaring lions. Not even a stampeding elephant. It’s more like a petting zoo. Sit back, shut your eyes, and think of a really impressive Cabinet minister. Alright, you can wake up now, although you have been asleep for a day. There lies the problem. The only way to grade ministers is by who hasn’t screwed up on major issue. Who could be be a serious contender for the keys of Number 10? Oh, bugger off Bozo. I said serious contender. Go start a war or something.

But if you think Westminster is a palace of inadequacy just have a look at the rest of the UK. Let’s start with Ulster. Dear God, isn’t Arlene Foster a disaster? When Martin McGuiness becomes the voice of reason it’s time to run for the hills. To keep the power sharing executive running and avoid direct rule she will have to stand aside until she is cleared by the inquiry into the Ash for Cash scandal. But will she? Heaven help us if she doesn’t. I hope DUP grey beards will hand her the pearl handled revolver and a bottle of Bushmills.

And what about Scotland? Sturgeon is a loathesome little greaser. She is even more delusional than the Brexiteers. She has a budget deficit of 9.5 % of GDP whilst public spending is £1,200.00 per head more than England and Wales. So the economy is in a nosedive. And if you think you can remain in the EU dear, dream on. You are regarded as separatists. And you have been told by Spain that they would veto Scotland’s application. So just tell the people the truth. Thank heavens for Ruth Davidson, she really is a Big Beast and a delight. All this talk of a referendum is nothing more than premature ejockulation.

Oh, I mustn’t forget Wales. But everyone else has and there lies the problem.

Lastly, the non story of the year. Tories bus in supporters and don’t declare it on local election expenses. All the parties have done that since the dinosaurs roamed the earth. Unless Tower Hamlets style corruption in unearthed there will be no prosecutions. And the public really don’t give a flying fuck



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The NIC omnibollocks and the firing of Hezza. 'Me Tarzan you Pain'

10 Mar 2017 at 10:55

Oh, God they are at it again. Hammond announces that he is going to raise NIC on the self employed, a clear breach of an election pledge. There is shock horror that back benchers think that this a terrible idea. There is panic at Number 10 and now talk of a review. This is the situation that we had with business revaluation. And expect another whiff of burning rubber from the hopeless Liz Truss with her re jigging of injury compensation which will cost the NHS about £6billion. She should expect to get one of those very annoying phone calls. ‘Good afternoon Miss Truss. Our records reveal that you have been involved in a serious accident. Compensation is expected to be in the region of £6 billion’. Sometimes I just want to weep.

The really stupid thing about the NIC omnibollocks is that it hits at small businesses who are the the engines of growth driving the economy and the pinups of Tory party economic philosophy. The twisted treasury logic is that they do not pay the same rate of NIC as those on PAYE. Of course not you bell ends. The self employed don’t get paid leave, maternity/paternity pay, child care allowances and sick pay. They are also the risk takers. They are the plumbers, the plasterers, the carpenters, the hairdressers and the web site designers. The actual amount they will pay extra is not a lot. At the moment. But we all know it will the thin edge of the wedgie. The self employed like pensions funds will be the new milch cow. All this trouble for £2 billion? Why didn’t these jokers see it coming? And there lies the problem. There seems to be no emotional intelligence on display. No political nous. No understanding of the consequences of their acts. This government’s economic policy is popping into the Last Chance Saloon and shooting everything that moves. And whilst the undertaker measures the dead for their coffins, they find the bodies of the sherif and his family, the pastor and the bank manager. ‘Oh fuck, we’ve accidentally killed the good guys,’ they squeal. Well, time has been called and it’s past drinking up time. Get a grip.

If we had an opposition which was worthy of its name they would accuse the government of mind boggling incompetence. But as they would make the word blush it’s a total waste of time. The trouble is that these are the guys who are negotiating our withdrawal from the EU. It doesn’t fill me with confidence.

Then there is the problem of Philip Hammond. As I have warned before May must not be seen to humiliate or undermine him. She is just as responsible for this mess as he is. And it was trailed in the press. To be honest I just thought that it was an aunt Sally to be knocked down. Like the £300 million for new grammar schools. Totally bonkers and politically poison. But if May falls out with Hammond and gets her elves to do a ‘slap down’ briefing he will walk. And then we have a crisis turning into a catastrophe. Remember two words, Nigel Lawson. Oh, and another couple of words to keep in mind about parties who break clear manifesto commitments are, Liberal Democrats.

And then the sacking of Hezza. What a stupid waste of talent and a petty, vindictive show of spite. It’s a bit like the Pope holding a referendum amongst Catholics asking if they would like to convert to Islam. And if a small majority thought it would be a good idea quite a few clergy would be entitled to continue believe what they have done for the last 2000 years. In many ways the problem with Brexiteerism is that it is a faith based religion set in stone. It is the Bill Cash version of the book of Leviticus.

I am surprised nobody resurrected the old cartoon of Hezza flying though the jungle in a loin cloth with a speech bubble directed at a loin cloth clad Thatcher, ’me Tarzan you Pain



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The Tory Taliban under Abu Rees Moggadon have declared Brexaria law and deemed Clarke Heseltine and Major nodus totus pudedendarum

1 Mar 2017 at 10:58

So the Tory Taliban under the Grand Mufti, Ayatollah Abu Rees Moggadon have officially declared Brexaria law. Speaking from his mountain retreat Moggadon, Lion of the dessert (nanny’s spotted dick is something to behold), made the following statement.
“It is with great joy that I pronounce Brexaria law as God made and therefore supersedes all else before it. The scholarly interpretation of the book of St Margaret is made by her representative on earth, Mullah Abu Carpet Burns, Great Inquisitor and Guardian of the Seas, gleaned out of his deep and learned study of her dinner parties and soirées. He is assisted by clairvoyant and soothsayer Oracle Madame Nadine , whose legendary visions are inspired by her perpetual suspension over hallucinogenic gases in the sacred grounds of the Bedford Poundland and her close study of the entrails of goats. The irrevocable and unappealable decision of the court has therefore been made namely: that the craven, bitter, disloyal apostates, Clarke, Heseltine and Major be deemed nodus totus pudendarum (a bunch of total cunts) and will be exiled to Brussels in perpetual communion with Juncker and his garlic breathing lickspittles after a brief spell of political education at the Bill Cash school of water boarding. A close study of his many speeches will be a requirement of their release and transportation "

Well, perhaps this is a bit of fake news. But the Brexiteers have a McCarthyite zeal to root out all vaguely pro EU thoughts. We haven’t quite got to the creation of the Ministry of Truth yet or even Think Crime, but we are on our way. All Major was saying was the bleeding obvious. A man who successfully negotiated a good deal for Britain and still bears the scars on his back from the Amish wing of the Tories who are now breeding to an alarming degree. Soon they will want to tear down monuments. And it won’t be long before some metric martyr dickweed will be demanding that we go back to the glorious days of Imperial measures. So who will raise this little beauty in the Commons? I bet it will be out of that pool of well known carpet biters like Peter Bone, Philip Davies or Andrew Brigden. A nation holds its breath.

I can understand why the mood music of the government is delusionally optimistic. We have to show those pesky Eurocrats that eating us for breakfast means eating us for Breakfast. But what if it all goes pear shaped? What if Britain is transformed into a 1950’s golf club where only the right sort of chaps are admitted? What if all the promises turn out to be a cracked tombstone in a graveyard of expectations? David Davis has sensibly warned that there is not too much we can do about immigration for many years. But what should send a shiver down our spines is the promise of a multi million pound IT system which will revolutionise border control. Has any government IT scheme not been a total shambles? Discuss.
And then there are the Kippers. What will happen to them? The answer is follow the money. Which means look carefully at the manoeuvres of Arron Banks. He is going to pull the plug and will stand against Carswell. Although politically Banks and I are on different planets I would rather go out for a drink with him than the other worldly Dr.Beaker. He will be having fevered discussions with Gavin Williamson whom I hope tells him to fuck off and spend more time with his tarantula. So UKIP is finished. Professor Sir Paul Nuttall VC is not so much of a busted flush as flushed down the Armitage Shanks. There will be a realignment of some sorts.

Now a word about Gerald Kaufman. A great man and a friend. I will never forget when we visited the maritime museum in Salem and listened with straightish faces as an eager intern waxed lyrical about an enormous ear trumpet on display. It was made out of a whale’s penis. But he gave me some wise advice when he knew that when I lost my seat I intended to be a newspaper columnist. “If you do, ensure that you use it to promote your friends and destroy your enemies”. I’ve done my best



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The hopeless Truss is merely representative of senior ministers who are barely adequate and should not be let out without carers

19 Feb 2017 at 11:04

I have just had a very troubling experience. I watched Mandy on Marr and apart from his predictable, smug, gastropodic arrogance tended to agree with him. And then was the unsettling experience of watching our esteemed Secretary of State for Justice and Lord High Chancellor, Liz Truss, staring like a rabbit in the headlights before being turned into ministerial roadkill by the Marr Ford Transit van. I am still in therapy as I have never seen her in action before. It’s like watching the principal boy in Aladdin failing an audition for the Halifax advert. That probably explains why she is so wishy washy. And the voice is so weird. I can’t work out whether it is posh trying to do mockney or estuary trying to become a tinkling stream of Home Counties. At least Emily Thornberry, a woman so aloof that she needs an oxygen mask, has the bearing of master of the hunt willing to give those common little sabs a damn good thrashing for their impertinence. But Truss? The poor thing looked terrified of being thrown soft balls by far the nicest man in broadcasting. If it had been Andrew Neil she would have probably shat herself and done a Basil Fawlty by pretending to faint.

And who on earth briefed her? Basil Brush? The questions were proceeded by bells, klaxons and flashing red lights. Surely she should have prepared a snappy little answer to, ‘you have a statutory duty to protect the judiciary, and you have been slagged off by the President of the Supreme Court and a former Lord Chief Justice for having the moral fibre of Bambi. Have you learned from your experience of shoving your head so far up Paul Dacre’s arse that Downing Street had to train a team of sniffer dogs to remove it?’ All that she could muster was that she would never attack newspapers for what they write. Never? When the MAIL called three High Court judges Enemies of the People? When that bloody Captain Mainwearing of the backbenches, IDS, is reported as saying that British Judges should be selected by politicians? And those were her finest moments. Her answers to the fact that our prisons have become unsafe, riddled with drugs and sometimes controlled by thugs was intriguing. She was going to ‘digitise’ it. Someone please tell me what the fuck that means. What she would have said was that that low grade tosser Grayling had cut prison officer numbers and we are now reaping the whirlwind. Anyhow enough of Truss. It is just too depressing.

But Truss is just representative of a government where so many of its senior ministers are barely adequate. Policy making, as it is whimsically called, nowadays fits into a pattern. A bold announcement is made. Back benchers parrot its success. Back benchers then realise that it is a toxic turkey that is going to cause hardship to their constituents. Back benchers call for reform. The government stands firm. Backbenchers threaten to revolt. The government says that the policy is right in principle but will think again. There is then a U turn. The latest example of this is the revaluation of business rates. Again this was proceeded by klaxons, flashing lights, men with hoods and scythes and chap with a white flowing beard coming down from a mountain with a tablet of stone engraved, ‘are you fucking mad?’

Why don’t these jokers think before they make policy?



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My Parliamentary pimping and other trivia

9 Feb 2017 at 14:46

As John Gummer once said, ‘the weak are a long time in politics.’ And the last few days have been spectacularly intriguing. First the mystery of John Bercow. Just what is he playing at? I rather like John in an odd sort of way and once set him up for a shag when I was a journalist. I was having a few drinks in the press bar (in those glorious days of journalists consuming alcohol rather than bloody skinny lattes) when a rather pretty friend remarked to me that she rather fancied him but wasn’t quite sure which side he batted on. So I offered to play Cupid. I trotted down to the Strangers Bar, found young Bercow and suggested that if he wasn’t gay a pretty girl (I’ll call her Chlamydia to save her blushes) was up for a bit of jigga jigga. He smiled and I gave him her number. I never enquired as to what happened. Come to think of it I did the same for Gordon Brown with a young journo who had the hots for him. He smiled and again I never bothered to find out if anything happened. It’s hard to think of those two as sex Gods even then. But enough of my Parliamentary pimping. Let’s try and work out why Bercow gave his extraordinary outburst about Trump. It must have been carefully planned as our Speaker never does anything without deliberation. One theory is that this was a ruse to piss off theTories (success) and smarm up to Labour and the SNP (yay) to secure another glorious term of office. I doubt it, particularly as Number 10 side stepped giving him the merest flicker of confidence. I suspect that Bercow is just bored and wants to make a spectacular exit earlier than we thought. After all there is no way he would want to be on the guest list for the State Banquet for Trump that Bercow would be obliged to attend. Doing an Abbott would be unthinkable. So my guess is that he will jump ship before the Donald has a white knuckled ride down the steps of Hair Force One.

And then there is the ridiculous rumour that Corbyn will step down in 2019 and make way for Clive Lewis. Why Lewis is seen a leadership contender is beyond sentient thought. His only claim is that he was once a television reporter for BBC Norwich. The Alan Partridge of the backbenches. But for Labour it would be deserting the Titanic for the Marie Celeste. Lewis jumped ship because he is thoroughly fed up by being undermined by the poisonous Shameless Milne. So it’s business as usual.
It was interesting to read that Diane Abbott, who has just returned from a miraculous cure from Lourdes, told David Davis, a dead ringer for Judge Deed, to fuck off after he offered her a smacker after the Brexit vote. She has more form than Shergar for this. When she was first elected she told Terry Wogan that she might consider pairing with a Tory. As quick as a flasher’s mac I sent her a personal photo and offered my hand in a beautiful partnership. Sadly, it came back with ‘fuck off’ scrawled across my beaming visage. I was heart broken.



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Welcome to Malice in Wonderland where the Tories have become the Mad Hatter's Party.

2 Feb 2017 at 15:42

Welcome to the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. Bozo is the white rabbit always scuttling off to to a very important date. Liam Fox is the dormouse and the Red Queen is clearly Theresa May. ‘Off with their heads’, she screams if anyone contradicts her. The Mad Hatter is a tricky one to cast as there are so many of them. Yet the lasting image, hanging over the whole wonderland of Brexit is the rictus smile of Andrea Loathsome, which makes the Cheshire Cat look rather miserable. Her perpetual grin reminds me of Princess Christina’s first attempt at a face lift. This was just before the First World War when plastic surgery was in its infancy and left her with a permanent smile. The poor thing had to have it let down for her husband’s funeral.

The popular question that is often asked by those who should know better is, ‘why did a sensible popular and pragmatic fellow like Ken Clarke never become Conservative Leader?’. You might as well ask why a sensible, popular and pragmatic fellow like Sir Alan Haselhurst was not supported in his bid to become Speaker. And if you are really feeling dopey ask yourself why a complete fuckwit like Andrea Loathsome nearly became Leader. The answer is simple. A significant proportion of our backbenchers border on the deranged, viewing every issue and every person through the damaged prism of Europe. And with some notable exceptions the rest are a supine bunch of greasers and chancers terrified of their constituency associations who are run by Colonel and Mrs Mad.

It is convenient to blame Cameron for the referendum, but most people forget the febrile state of the party at the time. Most people were demanding a referendum. Many backbenchers were running around like headless chickens because of what was thought to be the unstoppable juggernaut of UKIP. Some were in secret talks with Fromage and quite a few were demanding deals with him. And look at the Kippers now. A rag tag army without any sense of direction. A wasted vote.

There is a lot of talk about Stoke Central and there is a fighting chance that the Tories will win. Unthinkable a year ago. But what about Copeland? Let me give you a bit of history. When I was elected in 1983 one of the first people I met was a man in an abject state of misery. He was Cecil Franks, the Tory member of Barrow in Furness. I know it’s hard to believe and he only lasted one Parliament. The reason for his misery was that he stood as a paper candidate without a hope in hell of winning. He now had to move to London as the victor. Why did he win? Because they make nuclear submarines in Barrow and dear old Albert Booth led a CND march through the town. An act of political self harm. And Copeland? Sellafield, the guys who process nuclear waste are the biggest employer. Oops. The Tories have a chance of winning this one too. I would imagine UKIP will be knocked for six.

But back to Malice in Wonderland. I’ve just read the the White Paper. A good workmanlike set of aspirations. So what is our policy? Shut your eyes, jump out of the window and you will be saved from being smashed into a bleeding pulp by an enormous white bunny who will cushion your fall. And when you land there will be rainbows, butterflies. And the lingering grin of Loathsome. As that great philosopher Donald Trump would say, ‘it will be beautiful’. Well, bloody good luck.



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In Good We Trust. I really hope hope that Trump has some sense of his duty to do something to heal his divided nation. If not we are rather fucked

30 Jan 2017 at 18:06

I really do think it is about time that we all grew up. Trump made some inflammatory, hotheaded, promises on the stump to tickle the collective clitorides (its Greek) of the howling contorted masses of the dispossessed most of which are unworkable. But, shock horror, the President has kept to his word and has launched flotillas of Executive Orders most of which will have a rough ride on the Hill. The Wall is in theory up and running. But Congress might have qualms about the $20 billion price tag. Now we come to the to the banning of people from entering the USA from certain countries. This is repulsive, immoral and probably unconstitutional. Already a Federal judge has placed a temporary stay on it. This will go all the way to the Supreme Court and might even be watered down or abandoned at some stage by Congress. To be honest, it’s a policy that is destined to create rather than hinder terrorist attacks. And over here what to we do? Sign a dopey petition saying that we should abandon his state visit. For heaven’s sake. Trump may be a monster spawned out of the bitteratti and harddonebyists but it is better to engage and try and tame the beast rather than keep him in his White House lair licking his wounds and dreaming of a revenge which he is temperamentally capable of. Isolate him and the world will be a less safer place. Anyhow, whether it be us, European leaders, the courts or Congress who hector and lecture him it will be the proof that his rag bag of despicables want that the political elites are out to get them.

Nobody can seriously doubt that the May visit was not so much a triumph as a diplomatic coup for Number 10 and the Foreign Office. And today, for once in his life, Bozo was on message. Of course he should have a State visit. Nothing is more powerful than weaponising the Windsors. And don’t think that HMQ will be the slightest bit fazed. After all in her many years on the throne she has wined and dined and shaken the hands of some seriously blood soaked tyrants. Its all part of the job. As of yet Trump is not bloodstained. And she can give him something no other woman can. The faint whiff of respectability. Riding down the Mall in an open carriage to the bling gaudiness of a Buckingham Palace which makes Trump Tower look rather understated and middle class. The Royal children will be on parade whilst the President could be forgiven for giving a momentary letch at the Duchess of Cambridge. He may be a monster, but he is nearly our monster. There will be demonstrations and candle lit vigils, but by the time he comes to us he should be used to it. What he has to do is is realise that it’s best not to declare war on the press. They will always win. He has to realise that his relationship with them will always be dog and lamp post. And the roles are interchangeable. He really ought to dump his spokesman Sean Spicer. No doubt he regards himself as rather swashbuckling. But he has more buckle than swash. He really needs a CJ Craig figure.

What sent a shiver down my spine at the joint press conference with May was how a democratically elected leader of the free world could, in an off handed manner extol the ‘virtues’ of torture. It must have made her mentally have a sheep intake of breath. Although not so much as the hand grabbing bathophobic episode. As always May was unfazed. I suspect she was given a briefing about his horror of slopes and stairs.

What is fascinating about Trump is that he defies all the rules of diplomacy and how to run a government. Maybe he will learn or maybe he doesn’t want to. After all, that has always been his USP. Deep down, whether you agree with them or not, most, if not all democratically elected leaders have a sense of their duty to do good. Does Trump? I really don’t know. But I hope he does. He presides over a toxically divided nation.In Good We Trust? Deep in the dark tea time of his soul surely there must be an ounce of decency lurking there somewhere. If not we are all rather fucked.



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This is May's moment to talk turkey over the pork barrel. Bozo must be left at home and muzzled

22 Jan 2017 at 13:02

I think that it is time for all of us to join Post Realism Politics. I am a passionate Remainer, but is delusional to convince myself that Brexit will never happen. It will. May gave us a pragmatic road plan of where she wants to lead us. It is strewn with potholes, land mines and ravines that have as yet to be crossed. But as imperfect as it is it gives the country focus. For fellow Remainers in Parliament I would urge them not to vote against the triggering of article 50. Hold the government to account by all means. Argue, debate, vote. But just try and get it right. The Lib Dem position is rather patronising. It’s basically that ‘a load of ill educated working class xenophobes got it horribly wrong due to the mendacity and down right lies of politicians egged on by the right wing press. We will now educate them and given them another vote to correct the error of their ways’.
Oh, for God’s sake grow up.

The burning and drifting hulk of what was Labour is both sad and bad. Sad, because although I am not a socialist, the Labour movement had its heart if not always it’s head in the right place. Bad, because although I am a Conservative, a massive Tory landslide and the total destruction of Labour would be a democratic disaster. Labour backbenchers will probably be given a free vote on Article 50 simply because the PLP is out of control.

The Kippers are interesting. They could win Stoke Central but I think that it is unlikely. All their foxes have been shot by May. Just what are they for? Fromage tried to position them as the nation’s conscience holding May’s feet to the fire on Brexit. Politics abhors a vacuum and the Tories have filled the void. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Douglas Carswell re rats and campaigns for the Tories.

After a refreshing lunch at the Savile Club, I watched (in the bar of course) the Trump inauguration. I, like the rest of the world, expected something unifying, healing, magnanimous and a glimpse of something Presidential. Instead, we were treated to a rust belt stump rant. A shiver would have ran down my spine had I not realised that the whole point of the American Constitution is to prevent dictators doing what they want. But there is absolutely nothing we can do about him. He is there. If Americans want to hobble him start fighting to take back control of both houses. Candle lit vigils and women’s marches won’t help them to do that.

But May has a unique opportunity. A bit of flattery goes a very long way with the Donald. She should lay it on with a trowel with a cement mixer chugging away in the background. However, the big question is what to do with Bozo. Easy, leave him at home. Keep him off the airwaves. The man is a dangerous distraction. He will say something stupid. It will be the Bozo show and a reminder to Trump of all the insults that have been hurled at him. And a little humiliation of our Foreign Secretary will go down well at the White House. This is all about two world leaders talking turkey over the pork barrel. It mustn’t be fucked up.

This must be May’s moment while the rest of Europe looks on in envious horror.

The real winner is Philip May. His role is to be entertained by the First Lady who scrubs up well.



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Trump should make it clear that NATO means Nato and decide whether Putin is a psychopath or a sociopath

15 Jan 2017 at 20:43

Great Britain and the western world is sailing in perilous waters. More perilous than I can ever remember. And I go back to the days of the Cold War, the Bay of Pigs, the assassination of Kennedy. I remember the grainy public information adverts that were to be shown in the advent of a nuclear attack. Protect and Survive is well worth digging out of the archives. The idea was to soothe the British people into the laughable belief that they would not be fried to a crisp or die a lingering death from radioactive fallout if they taped their windows and hid under the kitchen table. In village pubs there was a discreet grey box which emitted continuous beeps. If they stopped it meant last orders. Forever.

Then, almost by accident, two political giants emerged. I say by accident as Ronald Reagan was always scoffed at as a rather dim B movie actor and Margaret Thatcher a prim grocer’s daughter. They understood the meaning of freedom and set about freeing the Soviet bloc counties from the tyranny of Moscow. I remember the sheer elation at the fall of the Berlin Wall (I still have a piece as my researcher was there by chance when it happened). Gradually country after country was liberated. They are all now part of the EU.

But the monster of European nationalism has once more been unleashed and could sweep through the continent. These dangerous tendencies led to dictatorship in Spain, Portugal, Greece and the then Yugoslavia and of course Germany. With the exception of Germany all this is all in my living memory.

The founding fathers of the EU understood this so they wanted to subsume national pride into a European ideal of oneness. It was noble, but doomed to failure because the gradual stupidification, arrogance and other worldliness of the Commission. Juncker and his crew have a lot to answer for. They float on a tax free cloud above mount Olympus. They are rightly terrified that a successful British Brexit will lead to the rest following suit. These people have no imagination nor leadership. They don’t realise that times have changed. They just dig in their heels and will do their best to punish us. To make us an example of what will happen if any other state dares to challenge them. But time is running out. Theirs.

New EU elections happen in 2019 and the Commission is replaced. If Merkel is still in post and we have a sensible government in France a new blueprint for the EU must be drawn up. The crisis in the Middle East has made the free movement of people a nightmare. But the Treaty of Rome deals with the free movement of workers. There has to be central reforms which benefit the whole of Europe. Cameron understood this, but because of the intransigence of Juncker he failed. This is a time for courage and imagination. It is Europe’s last chance.

Perhaps this is why May will be revealing that it is her plan to remove us from the single Market and the customs Union. At first I recoiled in horror. I still think that it would be very bad for British business. I would imagine that her speech will nuance this a little to give her a bit of wriggle room. But to get results from the Commission a gun has to held to their heads. They must be in no doubt that we mean what we say. There can be no room for that great Brussels delicacy, Euro fudge. But this is a high wire act without a safety net. There will be consequences in the markets and a fear of relocation of some major banks.

The uncertainty and chaos that will soon grip Europe is meat and drink to Putin who is a very dangerous man. He wants us divided. He wants to drive a wedge through NATO. Trump has got to understand that the only way to deal with him is through strength. Putin is the master of manipulation. He can sniff out a weakness at fifty metres. He can outstare and abuse an opponent and then shower them in flattery. He successfully unnerved Merkel by bringing his dog to a meeting. She has a phobia about them. He is massing troops and tactical nuclear weapons along the borders of the Baltic states who are terrified. He is constantly aggressively probing British air space and is adept has cyber disruption. For generations Russia has been the experts of camouflage and misinformation. For the latter they have a doctrine and a name for it, Maskirovka.

So this is the scenario. Putin has cleverly sowed distrust amongst American intelligence agencies and Trump. It means that they will be loathe to brief him fully in case they are compromised.It means that British intelligence will be reluctant to cooperate fully with them for fear of us being compromised. It means that the Five Eyes will be constantly fretting how much information that they should give to the Americans. Putin must be grinning from ear to ear. Five Eyes keep us safe. They have been successful in helping us keep terrorist operations off of our shores. Trump’s election has made the world a more dangerous place. The first thing he must do is reassure the Baltic States that NATO mean NATO.

But how strong will Trump allowed to be? Of course we have to work with him as closely as we can. Yet his Presidency will be hobbled from the start. The American people and both Houses will worry if his business links to Putin are true and damaging. In the light of the resignation of some of his staff because of their Moscow connections and the comments by his son about business interests, there is enough to keep bitter Democrats causing trouble for years to come. One American intelligence source said to me the other day that he would be surprised if Trump survives a full term and that there is a very real chance that impeachment proceedings will be instigated. But the next in line is Pence. To my mind he is far more dangerous just as a creationist.

The first issue for Trump is to decide whether Putin is a sociopath or a psychopath. It might be time for me to dust down Protect and Survive and reinforce the kitchen table.



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It's time to take the politics out of the NHS. HMS Make My May should unload her torpedo tubes

12 Jan 2017 at 20:55

There is nothing particularly new in the NHS winter crisis meltdown. In the early eighties there were no hospital budgets nor targets. Regional health authorities were given a load of cash from the government who then gave it to district health authorities who then distributed amongst hospitals. By September klaxons began blaring, red lights flashing as hospitals realised that they would soon run out of cash. The Christmas crisis was on its way. So backbenchers would lead delegations to ministers with the begging bowl. The argument would always be that NHS inflation was higher than normal inflation, that elderly people were blocking beds, that there was a lot of waste. We were always given some more cash, but not enough. ‘Too little to late’, Labour would scream. And we would loyally parrot that there were more doctors and nurses than ever before and that we were cutting waste and managers. Things improved a bit under major. Still more doctors and nurses than ever before. Still not enough money to meet demand, still the elderly were blocking beds and there was a new phenomenon. Bottomley beds. People dumped on trolleys because of lack of beds. Labour gave us a ‘twenty five days to save the NHS’ election and they swept into power. In the early days they poured money into the system. But……it was not enough to meet demand. Labour loyalists took over from us chanting that there are more doctors and nurses than ever before etc.

The truth is that there will never be enough money to meet demand. And the crisis will get worse. The NHS as we know it is flatlining. In a few years, unless there is radical reform, it will die a horrible death.

Sadly, the Number 10 approach is to shoot the messengers or rather the off messagers. Submarine May has upped periscope and doesn’t like what she sees. She certainly doesn’t like the cut of Simon Stevens’s jib. So true to form HMS Make my May has plunged back to the depths to reload her torpedo tubes. You’ll be surprised to learn that the government line is more doctors and nurses, cutting waste, sacking managers. But with one particular Mayan spin, ‘the NHS has been given more money than it asked for, get on with it’. Everyone knows that this is manifest bollocks but is treasonable so say anything else. The last health secretary to boast to a Prime Minister that money is not the problem was dear old John Moore. The strain of this serious error of judgment nearly killed him. The NHS is not like any other government department. It is a sacred and mystical entity in the eyes of the public. To radically reform it would be seen as tantamount to slaughtering Peppa Pig and turning her into bacon butties. But the winds of change will have to blow away the cobwebs of system that can no longer effectively function.

All the health secretaries I have known over the year have been decent men and women. And I go back to Norman Fowler. I’ve never met Hunt, but he is no different. He is doing his best in impossible circumstances. He like the rest, is a good guy.

May does have a get out of jail card. There is a growing view from all parties that we have to take the politics out of healthcare. It is the only way. But will she and Corbyn have the courage to do it? Because what needs to happen is a commission with a clean sheet of paper to look at all the options. And I mean all of them. However, there must be two principles set in stone. Healthcare must to open to all and free at the point of delivery. Nobody should have the terror of having to pay for their or their families’ healthcare.

And after the commission has reached its conclusions there is no reason why the Department of Health cannot be depoliticised. Why not have the Secretary of State from the governing party with two ministers of state from the other parties? The health of our people is far to important to be left to grubby and meaningless party slogans sniffing for cheap votes. This is the only way to avoid a real humanitarian crisis. Norman Lamb could be the midwife to a mould breaking idea. I just hope that politicians have to courage not to take him to the slaughter


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