'Oh, so that's who Richard Morris is..." Lord Hattersley on The Daily Politics

'An influential activist' - The Guardian

'Iain Dale, without the self loathing' - Matthew Fox in The New Statesman

You are a tinker...' - Tim Farron

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Ed Stone 2: the lunacy continues...

We all remember the madness of the Ed Stone. 

Not so much the image of the Leader of the Opposition standing in a wet and windswept car park next to a giant slab of granite that had to be held up by scaffolding to prevent it crushing poor Ed.

But more the vacuousness of the 'promises' made - vague, impossible to measure, some them actually meaningless. 

They haven't learned anything.

Here are the pledges that Labour will stand on in the May Local elections

  • To invest in Britain.
  • To offer better health and social care.
  • To create educational opportunities for all.
  • To create safer neighbourhoods.
  • And to provide affordable homes, including more new-build council housing.

Now, there's nothing bad there. It's just empty. Which party wouldn't sign up to any of those and pledge to deliver them? 

I suppose we should be thankful really. Makes our job easier.

Monday, 20 March 2017

Quick Quiz: who is this man?

Remember him? Hello? Anyone?

2 weeks and 2 days ago he looked likely to resign from the US government

16 days later, most folk can't even remember his name (it's Jeff Sessions BTW)

What happened in the meantime? This tweet from Trump. Which is still dominating the news agenda

Try and find a mention of Jeff Sessions in todays's news....

Thursday, 16 March 2017

A General Election? This year? No thanks

Recent events have suggested that Theresa May would be wise to call a General Election sooner rather than later - Parliament Act not withstanding.

Word on the street is that the decision to back down on raising Class 4 NIC payments was made after the chair of the 1922 committee had a quiet word with the PM to inform her that there was no chance of forcing it through with her current, narrow majority. This demonstrates the weakness of her position - and she'll have tougher fights than this in the Brexit years ahead. Given the position of Labour, a far bigger majority seems assured if she goes to the country.

Her hand may be further forced by the police investigation into alleged election spend irregularities, that has now been passed on to the CPS.  If things go badly, the current Tory majority could melt away - making the call of a new General Election irresistible.

Now - thanks to the Parliament Act, that election will only occur with support across the political divide in the Commons - and current thinking seems to suggest that we would be delighted to acquiesce. Cheered by Richmond Park, polling (as Neil Monnery has pointed out) at 23% in London, and coming from such a low base, we can only (surely) improve our Parliamentary standing.

But, I fear it will be a case of be careful what you wish for. However well we do, a Labour implosion suggests we will see a new Tory government with a much bigger majority, and a fresh 5 year mandate. Who knows the havoc they will wreak with such a majority. And there will be little we can do to stop it.

I fear I'd rather see a Tory PM defending a wafer thin majority while she negotiated Brexit, rather than a braying mass of Brexit maniacs sitting behind her.

It seems to me to be the lesser of 2 evils.

Friday, 10 March 2017

Theresa May joins the Lib Dems

Imagine my surprise when watching Theresa May try and explain the Class 4 NIC debacle on last night's News at Ten, to hear the PM announce...

"As the Chancellor made clear yesterday, we will use this moment of change to build a stronger economy and a fairer society"

I don't know if this rings any bells with anyone...

(see it here at 2.33 in....)

Monday, 6 March 2017

Trump throws a dead cat. Everyone falls for it. What's wrong with the media?

Remember those far off days when the world was focussed on the question, did the US Attorney General mislead Congress and lie on oath in his confirmation hearings and therefore would he need to resign?

It was, um, 3 days ago in case you've forgotten.

What happened next is classic media management by the White House.

If reports are to be believed, Trump was livid that everyone was talking about Jeff Sessions and his allegedly being 'economical with the acualite' rather than how utterly brilliant his address to Congress was (or not) and how great he looked in a bomber jacket and a cap.

Indeed, we was so cross he told Bannon and Priebus that they couldn't sit on his plane on the weekend jaunt to Florida

But of course what do you do when you want folk to stop talking about something. You throw a dead cat on the table and suddenly, everyone's talking about the dead cat. Which is exactly what this tweet does...

Does anyone really believe this is true? I doubt it.

But every headline since Saturday morning has been about this. I've not read anything about Sessions since Saturday (other than, ironically, it's the Justice Department that he heads up that will have to investigate the claims).

But if I can work this out - I wonder, how come the Democrats and the media have all taken the bait?

I despair.


Oh Look. Here's the Washington Post just about 8 hours behind my little blog....

Monday, 16 January 2017

Here's a picture of the UK politician in charge of negotiating Brexit.

It's not who you were expecting is it?

Indeed, he's not currently even in any elected office. Never the less, he's not only negotiated Brexit, he's already signed all the papers

And the deal isn't soft, transitional or any of the other terms we might like. It's hard as hard can be.

So how come we don't know about it?

Well, we do. It's a matter of public record. It's called the Treaty of Lisbon and it was signed in December 2007

And as the ever thought provoking David Allen Green has pointed out it makes clear the terms of our departure from the EU. The 2 years from the triggering of Article 50 are the transitional period - and that is all about logistics, not terms of departure.

This is, I believe, the mistake made by both Leave and Remain sides (though in fairness not the most extreme end of the Leave side) - the assumption that the negotiating hasn't started yet. Whereas in fact its effectively finished - unless both sides choose otherwise.

Just because we want a further negotiation doesn't mean the other side will engage in it

Which could make for a very short meeting the day after we trigger Article 50. Aptly enough a meeting likely to take place on April 1st.