Showing posts from October, 2012

Tom Watson and the Paedophile Ring

The Labour MP Tom Watson doesn't tend to say or do much that isn't calculated to bring him maximum publicity, but even in these times of Savile-hysteria it is difficult to see quite what persuaded the honourable gentleman to raise some old allegations of a paedophile ring in PMQs today.  Watson claimed to have heard something about a 1992 convicted paedophile who then made claims about yet more senior figures, including a prime-ministerial aide, being involved.  Presumably Watson is aware of the wild allegations surrounding former Tory PM Edward Heath, but this dated and outlandish allusion goes beyond even his well known capacity for shit stirring.

Watch the video on the BBC news site here, and you'll see Cameron's incredulous expression as Watson seeks to gain more publicity for himself with his tortuous question.

UPDATE:  Should have gone to the Guido Fawkes blog before writing this after all!  Turns out Watson was referring to the well known allegations against fo…

Theresa May's Reputation

The only Tory to have had a good few weeks is Home Secretary Theresa May.  Former MP and blogger Paul Goodman comments on her virtues - and prospects as a future party leader - in the Telegraph today.

But he is a bit behind the curve.  Because there was a pretty positive piece about May back in June, when few people were noticing, by a little regarded blogger here - occasionally gems emerge from the political flotsam!

Looking for Scapegoats and Rescuers

The Tories have had such a dreadful week, and on some of the thinnest stories, that the search for who to blame and, more importantly, who their white knight in shining armour might be, are on apace.

Don't imagine that this is a search amongst the elected representatives.  They are now so poorly perceived that they merely perform the role of stooges.  The search is seeking to root out those favourite villains of the political piece across the ages - the adviser!  And it just happens to be where the white knight lies too.

The history of punishing the adviser for doing the will of the master has had some prominent victims over the years.

Thomas Cromwell was Henry VIIIs most effective minister, enforcing his master's will and authority with exemplary talent and success.  Obviously he made enemies, and went to the block in 1540 while the bloated Henry carried on with his capricious reign.

No-one is suggesting current villainous advisers will head to the block, but they are certa…

Police Keep Hounding Mitchell

How he must regret that burst of bad temper.  Never has a case of serious, arrogant hubris come back to haunt someone so quickly, and in oh so drawn out a manner than it has with Andrew Mitchell.

Even the Daily Telegraph has called for his resignation, and he was notably absent from his own party conference.  If nothing else, the sense of siege around him is going to make his chief whip's job a seriously difficult one.

And yet there is also a sense of discomfort about the police federation's tactics.  If Mr. Mitchell acted like his old school's famous fictional bully Flashman for a few ill chosen minutes, it's certainly the case that the police union has given back as much as it can, and more, in much the same vein.  It has hardly been edifying to those of us who would like to maintain a sense of respect for the professionalism and impartiality of the police force to see serving officers walking round like the worst type of union loon wearing 'pleb' T-shirts. …

Cameron In Brief

David Cameron had a good line about Labour being a 'One Notion' party (see what he did there? - hilarious) and was genuinely moving when he talked about his own disabled son and how he saw the paralympics as a triumph in moving attitudes about disability forwards.  He turned the Eton issue on its head and had some good points about spreading good education, spreading privilege and being the party of the people who want to be better off.  He was prepared to be personal - talking about his son or his father.  But there was no big vision, and he got probably his biggest cheer in defending tax cuts via a simple lesson-like response to Ed Miliband. 

And that remains the Cameron problem.  His speech suggested there are still vestiges of that compassionate conservatism that made him at least a moderniser, if not a full blown One Nation Tory.  But his reshuffle showed just how much a prisoner he is of a party that simply isn't interested in One Nation values, and his speech recei…

Boris Unbound

David Cameron may have finally managed to grab the headlines today with a decent enough speech, but it's the first time he has shifted the usual occupant of those large letters and front pages, Britain's Favourite Politician, Boris Johnson.

Boris Mania gripped the Tories in Birmingham all right, but it also seems to have infected most Conservative commentators too.  Spectator editor Fraser Nelson or the folks at Conservative Home were positively swooning in print at the very idea of Boris, an unusual level of adoration for even a Tory politician from those Conservative quarters.  Ken Clarke sounded a less than sycophantic note, but the joy of Boris even found it's way into a slightly more considered column by the Telegraph's Harry Mount, who begun with a Latin quote from one of Boris's old classics tutors (translated as "He was up to the job of emperor as long as he never became emperor") and then dissected some of Boris's best lines as having a clea…

Slugger Clinton

If Obama is a bit cerebral at times, his Democratic predecessor still has some knock-out instincts.  Bill Clinton's address to the Democrat Convention was commonly reckoned to be the best advocacy of Obama's presidency that had been given.  He looks a bit older - though not in Clint Eastwood territory - but he can still deal it out.  Romney must be happy he didn't face this in the first presidential debate:

[Hat-tip: Andrew Sullivan]

Did Obama Throw Away An Election In A Single Debate?

There's been a real sense of overkill in the reactions to the first US presidential debate.  In a single debate Obama has thrown away the election and Romney is close to becoming the zaniest president they've ever had.  That's according to the commentators anyway.  Obama supporter Andrew Sullivan, normally quite level headed about these matters, went into extreme despair the-world-is-breaking-up mode in a post here; the UK Telegraph's Tim Stanley, whilst mocking Sullivan, nonetheless saw hope for his hitherto useless candidate in a post here.

I didn't watch the whole debate.  Even for a politicophile like myself a 4am start time was just not very attractive; I really didn't want to break into the marking that I normally reserve for that slot just to watch television.  But I did watch some of the highlights and, well, Obama didn't sparkle, but he didn't strike me as a disaster either.  Romney appeared human and avuncular - something of an achievement - …

The Power of One Nation

Of course Ed Miliband is not a One Nation leader.There is too much of the class warrior about him for that, even in his slightly snide reference to his own comprehensive schooling.But his high-profile use of the ‘One Nation’ idea teaches us something important about both the Labour party that he leads, and the Conservative Party that used to be the home of One Nation-ism – if I can use such a clumsy suffix.
First, the Labour Party.The reason Mr. Miliband has grasped so enthusiastically at the One Nation philosophy is that there is simply nothing left for him to plunder from Labour’s own stock of ideology.In its prime, Labour promoted a form of democratic socialism that was red-blooded in tooth and claw.It served a purpose, certainly, but gradually even the modest western form of socialism stuttered into obsolescence as its doctrines failed to really grasp the nature of liberal capitalism.Labour’s most successful leader – Tony Blair – was never much hamstrung by ideolog…