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Showing posts from September, 2013

McBride's Self-Deprecating Memoirs

Damian McBride, former spinner to Gordon Brown, has received a great deal of publicity of course, but his book is well worth reading.  Or at least it looks as if it will be from the perspective of starting chapter 3!  I think it's the sharp turn of phrase and witty self-deprecation that's winning me over.

Here's how he ends chapter 1, having described his desperate escape from the media scrum in the boot of his girlfriend's car:

"Alone with my thoughts in the darkness, one word came to my mind: 'Twat.' "

And no sooner have we chortled over that, than the second chapter gives us:

" I wasn't always a nasty bastard, but you could argue the signs were there."

If Mr. McBride does decide to return to the political arena, there's no reason why his writing shouldn't enliven our reading of it in the press on a regular basis.

Red Ed?

Has Ed Miliband committed Labour to a sharp leftward move?  The Spectator's Fraser Nelson thinks so, in this piece analysing the new Ed, taking credit for the 'Red Ed' label (really? that needs crediting?) and suggesting that Milband's sharp left turn might be just what's needed to wean Tories off UKIP.

Personality Politics Ousts Policy This Weekend

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We love gossip, and we love reading or hearing about the outrageous goings on of our political masters.  For public consumption, of course, we all say we're fed up with personality politics, and attacks upon politicians by their enemies.  The media is with us.  They too hate the sordid world of personality politics and would much rather the political classes concentrated on good, hard policy.  Which is presumably why so much of today's political coverage is devoted to the distinctly gossip based revelations of Gordon Brown's former spin doctor, Damian McBride.  And why yesterday, so much time was spent showing and discussing the laughably neanderthal views of an MEP for a minor party.

Godfrey Bloom (I keep wanting to call him Orlando, bizarrely) is a largely joke figure who seeks - genuinely it would appear - to reinforce his image as a caricature blunt speaking, offence giving politician.  He probably sees himself as "telling it like it is".  Most people see hi…

Michael Le Vell's Hell and the Daily Mail

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The Daily Mail was all sympathy and outrage on behalf of 'Corrie' star Micahel Le Vell yesterday, headlining the question "Why Was He Ever Charged?".  But as the Media Blog points out, the good journos at the Mail might not need to look much further than their own and their fellow tabloids' efforts over the past few months.  Yet another triumph for the unregulated press!

Politician 'Boring' Shock

And today's shock revelation is that even television news editors think that their politician guests are boring.  Ian Katz, who has admittedly only been editing Newsnight for a week, was caught out with a tweet - intended to be a direct message, but these things can be so difficult to work out - that described last night's guest, Labour front bencher Rachel Reeves, as 'snoring boring'.  This can hardly come as a revelation to anyone who has bothered sitting through a Rachel Reeves interview, but an offended Labour hierarchy has forced him to apologise for his undeniably accurate comment.

Several Labour nonentities have already announced that they might not appear on the programme, which can only enhance the prospect for some more energising news viewing.  The Telegraph's Michael Deacon has a great take on the whole affair here, while the rest of us live in hope that the unfortunate Mr. Katz's indiscretion might just wake MPs up to the need to stop reading part…

Previewing Obama's Speech...And a Housekeeping Notice!

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Barack Obama's move to refer the decision for a military strike against Syria was an extraordinary one, and gave the impression that this president, at least, didn't want the burden of what he considered necessary but unpleasant action to be placed on him alone.  Was it an abdication of leadership?  His opponents would argue so, but as we look back at the last half century or so of American foreign policy there have been times when such an abdication might have spared the US some truly disastrous interventions.

Meanwhile, Mr. Obama's speech to his country tonight may presage some further backing off from military strikes in the light of the recent Russian diplomacy and Syrian government response about its chemical weapons.

Ronald Reagan's former speech-writer, Peggy Noonan, has a forthright and - of course - elegantly expressed view about Obama's dilemma in her Wall Street Journal blog.  She holds no candle for a president she clearly despises, describing him as &…