Friday, 30 April 2010


Once again, I didn’t watch last night’s debate. I just couldn’t be bothered.

Clearly they were going to lie through their teeth. It was out of the question that they would tell us the between 70 and 80% of cuts that they would have to make, as estimated by the Institute for Fiscal Studies. They wouldn’t even say they would hurt the unemployed, usually a popular target to abuse, but there are a lot of them... and even unemployed people have votes....

The Governor of the Bank of England, who might be assumed to
know a bit about the economy, says that the party that wins this election will have to do things so horrific that they will be out of power for a generation.

Anyway, I’ve read and heard about it all day and it seems like everyone was expecting that Brown would win this because it was on the economy (not to mention he was with the BBC, Labour’s friend) and the economy is Brown’s strongest suite. Well, if the economy in Brown’s strongest suite, I’d not like to see his weak ones.

This is the man who:

* sold the gold at the bottom of the market;

* wrecked the UK’s world beating company pension schemes;

* didn’t regulate the banks, so that they had to be bailed out;

* didn’t limit credit, so that he could preside over his never ending boom and tell us how clever he was;

* allowed everyone to borrow and borrow no matter how uncreditworthy, so that individually Brits are up to their eyes in credit.

* allowed banks to operate as both high street facilities (which we are all now obliged to use) and merchant banks;

* allowed banks to be so big that they couldn’t fail without bankrupting a large section of the population and the business community;

* encouraged the housing price boom, making everyone feel rich. (People earned more a year from the increase in value of their houses than they did from working.) People re mortgaged, based on the collateral that they had in their grossly inflated properties. Instead of paying their debts off, they borrowed more money and spent it... in the main on products manufactured outside the country.

* mortgaged the future with his unimaginably stupid PFI to build hospitals and schools, so that the government would look good at the same time as taxes were held reasonably low;

* allowed, encouraged or even forced students to build up £30,000+ debt before they even started their working lives;

* did nothing about the public sector pension debt, now so enormous that it can’t be contemplated;

* failed, during 10 years of unstoppable “growth” to overturn Thatcher’s linking of pensions to inflation rather than wages, which along with his wrecking of the private pension scheme, left the poorer OAPs living a third world life in their later years;

* doubled the bottom rate of tax.

He seems to have the idea that when you borrow money you never have to pay it back. A weird idea for the much vaunted son of the Presbyterian Manse.

Really what a failure Brown has been, as chancellor and as prime minister. Britain would be a far better place today if he'd taken up work as a cobbler.

Thursday, 29 April 2010


A while ago I mentioned a case where Twiggy was using a heavily air brushed photograph to sell Oil of Olay. Someone had complained to the Advertising Standards Agency. They found no case to answer; no one, they thought, would believe that a 60 year old woman could have a complexion like that from using the product alone.

I disagreed. Some people are so desperate for youth that they will believe anything at all to achieve the perfect and flawless youth that the advertisement appeared to offer. They spend money they can't afford and end up disappointed when it makes no difference.

To be fair to Proctor & Gamble they did change the photograph that was used in the ad for something slightly less unrealistic.

I made the point then that if someone is selling oven chips, or
holidays in Majorca and they want to use an airbrushed photograph then that is perfectly OK. I had no problem, for example, when David Cameron’s photo was airbrushed for one of the campaign posters...and to be honest I couldn’t see why other people did.

But I felt and still feel that, if you are selling a product that claims some sort of youth-giving properties, then you should be honest about the effects of the results of the produ
ct on regime and you shouldn't try to mislead with photographs so heavily airbrushed.

So why revisit the subject? Well, the other day my eye was caught in Sainsbury by a book by one time Scottish pop singer Lulu. I imagined it to be a biography, so I had a closer look (you know, Scottish lassie done well) and it turns out it is “Lulu’s Secrets to Looking Good”, so I put it back on the shelf. (Yes, I do want to look good, but I doubt Lulu’s book’s gonna be much good to me. Anyway, I'm pretty lovely without tips!!)

Once again though, I was struck by the photo on the cover. Now I’ve seen her from time to time on telly, and there is no doubt about it, Lulu looks fantastic for her age. At 61 she has a figure and face of a much younger woman, maybe of around 40, but look at the book's photograph. She looks around 20. If this were a publicity photograph for a tour, or an album cover, it would be mildly misleading but of no real importance.

But this photograph is trying to sell women a book of secrets to stay young.

It's not illegal and the Advertising Standards Agency would undoubtedly have no problem with it but I’m disappointed that the Scottish lassie from the tenements of Glasgow would use this kind of ploy to make money out of a gullible public.

Pics: Lulu's book photograph and one taken a couple of years ago, still gorgeous but not 20!


What is it with people who get promoted into “self important” positions and suddenly think that we couldn’t do without them; that they are so special they can’t travel like the rest of us?

We’ve had all the MPs who thought that, in the spirit of the Green Book, it was absolutely necessary for them to have duck houses, manure, hanging baskets, Tudor beams and first class rail travel, etc, etc in older for them to carry out their duties. Then we had aristocrats’ house with its nonsenses.

Now we have this knob Alan Yentob, the BBC Creative Director darling (what on earth is that?), who couldn’t possibly do his job if he didn’t travel business class.

He was defending his claim for a return to New York which cost licence fee payers £3,381.

He pointed out that he had been with the BBC for 40 years and that he was quite a senior figure at the organization. On arriving in New York he gave a talk to an organization (he didn’t say which), then he was filming in the afternoon, then he returned within about 24 hours to London to work straight away.

“Now do you think I should have travelled economy to do that? Because I wouldn’t have been capable of doing the job. I am not quite capable of doing all those things at once.” he said.

What? I know people on a tenth of what you earn who could do that easily.

OK Alan, you poor old thing. Here’s a wee tip, just between you and me. You need to learn to plan your time a little bit more effectively and delegate more.

Why did YOU have to give that talk? Was it an ego thing? Could you have recorded it and sent the video across the internet?

Why were you filming? You are the Creative Director? Why does the Creative Director film? Is that not the job of your vast raft of underlings? If you want to keep your hand in did you need to go all the way to New York? Nothing for the BBC to film in London?

If you HAVE to go to New York, because nothing else will do, arrange for a day off when you come back. You must realize that you are not indispensible. The BBC managed the day you were in New York, it'll manage the next day too. So get over yourself and your big head.

You are so lucky to have a job you clearly like and which pays you £183,000 a year. There are cuts being made all over the country, and bigger ones, between 4 and 8 times the size of the ones promised, just waiting to appear in the next year, if we don’t want to be in the same boat as Greece.

The BBC and your soft feather bed ass are going to have to join the real world. In your case it may be that you have to travel cattle class like the rest of us. Thank your lucky stars. In some people’s cases, it’s the help they need to get out of bed in the morning that is being removed.

Put that in your creative pipe and smoke it, you self important muppet.

Pics: Alan Yentob and Alan Yentob’s living room. Very creative. But when is he going to get that door fitted, the pictures hung and the books put away?

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

BIGOTGATE- (Gordon Brown thinks voters are bigots.)

Oh Dear! Does anything this man does, turn out right? He asked for the microphone so that he could be heard mixing with ordinary people, talking to them just as if they were equals. And it worked well, until it all went wrong.

It’s up there with the best: Bastardgate when John Major described his uppity Eurosceptic cabinet members with little affection as “bastards”; Ronald Regan said to an aid that bombing of Russia (he meant the USSR) began in 5 minutes or worst of all Bloody People Gate when The Duke of Rothsay smiling and through gritted teeth whispered to Wills and Harry that Nicholas Witchell was a awful man whom he couldn’t stand.

You’d think that these people would have a bit more nous.

Remember that’s what they REALLY think of us.

Plaid makes a fool of Paxman

Truly hilarious as Paxo the arch Celto-phope starts of in his usual condescending manner, but soon finds he has bitten off more than he can chew with Eurfyl ap Gwilym Palid's economics advisor. "Do your homework Paxman!"

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Hurrah for strong government: We should be the best run country in the world

David Cameron says that Nick Clegg wants to “hold the country to ransom” over his party’s desire for a proportional voting system. This would lead to a “permanent hung parliament” he said.

The Tories seem to be absolutely determined to push the point that ‘strong’ government is the only form of government the UK can have. Without it we would go belly up. I even heard someone say yesterday, when faced with the fact that Germany has coalition government that they are ‘different’.

Different in what way, I thought. ‘Different’ like Mr Winterton pointed out people who travel ‘First’ were? What absolute rubbish.

Strong government can be a good thing, but not at the price of democracy.

Taken to its obvious conclusion ‘strong’ being equated with ‘good’ government implies that the previous regime in Iraq or the current regimes in Saudi Arabia or China are good. After all they do not come much stronger. Do we think of them as being good? We see that they produce a society with little crime; a society which is regimented and orderly. But is it one any of us would care to live in.

In the past, for as long as I can remember we have had ‘strong’ government. Strong in that it the governing party required no partner to command majority in the House of Commons and a large enough majority to pass their legislation without any help. Strong in that they had a whipping system which meant that even if their own members disliked the legislation, disobedience could mean the end of a promising career, the telling of tales to wives and families and disintegration of family life and perhaps disgrace and humiliation.

Strong in that the revising chamber had very limited powers to interfere with government legislation, and strong in that the head of state had only an advisory role in government. I’ve never known a weak government.

This government was often conducted away from the House of Commons. It was frequently conducted with people who had not been elected; in the ‘kitchen cabinet’ of Margaret Thatcher where decisions were well after midnight in Thatcher’s flat. The same thing with Blair and his mates, often nothing to do with people we’d elected.

So ‘Strong’ government has brought us to where exactly?

Well, roughly speaking, from statistics I’ve seen, or my own experience........we had the deepest recession, and came out of it more slowly than the rest of Europe; we have more criminals and recidivism; we go to war more often; we have among the biggest debts as a government and individually; our children can barely speak English never mind compete with foreign kids who learn 2 or 3 languages; our railways are the most expensive and worst in Europe; our health service is in the bottom half of the European tables; our children are amongst the least happy; our pensioners are amongst the poorest; our roads are the most pot holed; our troops are the worst supplied; we have the most old people’s homes; we have the most teenage pregnancies; we have the biggest drug problem; our houses are the smallest and the most expensive; our dental services are the worst; our petrol is the most expensive; we start paying income tax at around the lowest amount. Our cancer rates are horrific and we produce almost NOTHING

Jeez that’s depressing.

It’s not, in short, done much for us all this strong government. Whereas Germany, Canada, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, etc, etc have coalition, balanced parliaments and........... better lives.

Don’t listen to the scare stories about weak government. It’s all lies. You wouldn’t call Angela Merkel weak would you?

Finnish 'Hung' Parliament Building in Helsinki: Nick Clegg who wants PR.

Monday, 26 April 2010

There are alternatives to the cuts that they will bring down on us

There is a very interesting post across at Forfar Loon’s place. The FT has predicted a certain number of cuts that will have to be made to persuade the money markets of the next government’s good faith, and we wouldn’t want to upset the money markets.

Here are some alternative ideas. Clearly I can’t cost them; I don’t have the means, but they would make a big cut. Are they unthinkable? To them, yes. Is cutting pensioners’ benefits unthinkable? To me, yes. What’s the difference? Them and me.

We could take at least a third of the MPs out of the Commons. They have time for other jobs, as many as 10, so clearly they are under employed. If my boss thought that I had time to do 10 part time jobs, and earn far more from them than I do with my “job”, I’d be given a choice.

We can get rid of the House of Lords and sell off all the artwork to the rich. ‘Oh, but it must be kept for the state’, they will moan. So how many of us get to see the artwork in the House of Lords, remind me.

We can sell off the royal palaces bar one. There must be rich people for whom the dream of living in a royal palace would mean more than holding on to a couple of billion pounds. If they keep Windsor Castle, there is plenty of room for all the many and various royals for whom we are obliged to find luxury accommodation.

We can sell Chequers, Chevening, etc. I know, they were le
ft to the state, and where would the politicos entertain? Well, lawyers can find a way round anything if they have a mind to. Goldsmith certainly could, get him on the job. And as for entertaining, there is space in the ex-House of Lords for a dining room to be made over to politicians for such occasions. No need for them to have country estates.

We can slim down the BBC selling off the nonsense bits and retaining that which a state broadcaster needs to retain. People on nearly a million a year at our expense, who believe that taxis are to be treated like chauffer driven cars, building up massive bills of thousands of pounds per day, are nothing more or less than a joke when we are talking about cutting ordinary people’s jobs and benefits.

Scrap id cards. No, it won’t cause a rise in terrorism. Don’t be silly. Whatever the government does that will cost billions, the crooks will be able
to copy within a year, and the government will have to start all over again. You think crooks never heard of biometrics?

Get rid of Trident and don’t replace it. The Generals don’t want it. They have to fight a war on the ground in Afghanistan. They know what they need. Brown, Cameron and Clegg don’t know jack s*** about fighting wars. The nuclear weapon thing is a vanity thing designed to please America and keep these little islands at the top table where they long ago ceased to merit a place. We don’t need them. Germany doesn’t have them and it’s safe; Poland, Italy, Spain, Norway..... and on and on....

Close up all the redundant embassies. I read the other day that we have an Ambassador to the Holy See. What in the same of goodness does he have to do all day with his staff? Apologising for stupid imbeciles in the Foreign Office is not, or at least shouldn’t be, a full time job. Close them down and sell them off. We need embassies in the big and important countries where we do a lot of business and diplomatic work. We do not need them elsewhere. Consulates will do. Remove the massive houses and Rolls Royces from the ones that remain. Sell them. Ambassadors and their staffs are Civil Servants, not royalty.

Empty the cellars of wine in the palaces and government departments. When foreign dignitaries come here it is for business. Of course we need to feed them and feed them well, but the wine could easily be limited and there is no need to be serving stuff that costs hundreds of pounds a bottle.

It’s not 1875. The world has changed.

Pictured: A banquet at Windsor Castle; Chevening, (Miliband's country place); St James's Palace (Home of Princess Beatrice)

Postman Pat Positions Himself for Leadership

It’s been clear for ages that the anointed leader of Labour was the wrong one.

Pretty much a matter of two weeks into the reign, the wheels started to come off. For all his many faults Blair was popular within at least a certain faction of the Labour Party, having made them electable, and kept them in power. Brown’s sect was much smaller and less fashionable. So from the moment he took over there were those out to get him.

Everything has gone wrong, from outbreaks of pestilence to economic meltdown, it’s all happened under the touch of Midas in reverse. Of course some of it is not his fault. The election of the first ever SNP government in Scotland was nothing to do with him; nor was the election of a less pro “Anglo” president of the USA. Volcanic eruptions in Iceland can hardly be laid at his door and he could never have guessed that just as his cunning plan to buy some Catholic votes came to fruition that the cloud over the involveme
nt of the Pope himself in child abuse scandals, would break.

But he doesn’t handle stuff well. His snub of our duly elected government and refusal to talk to them was plain childish; his creeping around desperately trying to be seen with Obama belittled the UK, and the dithering that accompanies everything else he does combine to show that he is not a suitable man to be a First or Prime Minister. The tragedy for Brown is that his overriding ambition was to be what he can never be. A leader.

For a long time Labour has known that he was their biggest liability. Election leaflets here show the local Tory candidate and a picture of David Cameron; the Liberal candidate’s own picture is relatively small, but there are two pictures of Nick Clegg, one with Vince Cable, far more prominent. But, despite the fact that the Labour candidate here has been parachuted in from Glasgow, is not known at all, and, in the
circumstances could have done with some support in this highly marginal seat, Gordon is nowhere to be seen.

In an age of wall to wall 24 x 7 television, like it or not the image of ministers is important. How you come over always mattered but it matters more than ever now.

So given that he must know he has an image problem and both David Cameron and Nick Clegg are younger, fresher, more telegenic and better communicators, it was a brave, or a foolish move to agree to debate with them on live tv, not once but three times.

Since the first tv debate the polls have consistently shown Brown in third place. The looks on some of his colleagues’ faces (most noticeably Peter Mandleson’s) tell the story that it is over for Brown. The debates that he need not have had have done for him.

And so it would seen the first of his internal opponents has already come out and following Mr Clegg’s assertion that, if Labour comes third he will not support Brown “squatting” at No 10, Alan Johnson has talked up what he is now calling a “balanced” (not hung) parliament and his belief in PR.

I wonder how long it will be before the Milibands and his dear close friend Balls start setting out their stalls.

Pics: Alan Johnson and David Miliband, Gordon Brown at the famous door (how do they keep it so shiny?)

Downing Street may be a two horse race, but Labour fell at the first fence

IN England it’s a two-horse race. And let’s be honest, that’s where UK elections are lost and won.

According to another Yougov poll, this time for the Sun, the Tories are on 34% and the Liberals are on 30%.

Of course, there are issues with Yougov and the way that they weight their responses, and of course the questions might be those that would suit the management and editorial policy of the Sun. However, they are broadly in line with the figures of other polls over the last week and a half.

Race to No 10 latest:

Conservatives 34% (no change)
Lib Dems 30% (up 1%)
Others 36% (down 1%)

Following on from the first two election debates, the poll also shows 80% say they are interested in the campaign:

How interested are you in the election?
Very interested - 36%
Fairly interested - 46%

Not very interested - 14%
Not at all interested - 4%

*1,466 adults were polled on 24th and 25th April

Of course The Sun interests itself only in England.

I just watched the debate on BBC 1 of Scottish MPs. David Mundell accused the Liberals (who, in the form of Malcolm Bruce had just proposed that a win for the Tories was the worst thing that could happen) of wanting a Labour Government. Malcolm Bruce replied that he wanted a Liberal Democrat win, Mr Mundell obviously now having awakened to the new politics, and pointed out that it was possible.

Overall trying hard not to be biased, I’d say Stuart Hosie won the day. I’m proud to be stuffing envelopes for the man. I had no idea he was such a competent performer.

Without a doubt the next man was Malcolm Bruce. He proved to be a very competent performer and I’d have to say he spoke a lot of sense.

Jim Murphy comes over as a soundbite man. I’ve heard him over and over again saying the same things in the same way. “It gives me no pleasure as a Murphy to say....” when he's pulling Ireland to pieces. And he has no answer when Stuart puts to him the question...."So Britain's massive deficit is OK Jim?.......Grrrrrr.

Last and absolutely least was David Mundell. If Cameron is the next Prime Minster he MUST get someone better than Mundell for Scotland’s man in London. I don’t care if it is a Lord. Just get us someone more competent than Mundell. He's scary.

In Scotland it’s a three horse race. No one could deny Labour has the lead here, but the Tories are nowhere. In England, quite reasonably it is the reverse. A two horse race between the Tories and the Liberals who have everything to play for.

If I were English I would be very angry if Scotland forced a Labour government with a Scottish PM on me.

Pics: Stuart Hosie, Yellow seems to be a lucky colour; Malcolm Bruce

Sunday, 25 April 2010


The hypocrisy of the Vatican!

I feel I should apologise for blogging on the same subject twice in succession, but I had a quick glance at the papers this evening and I really began to wonder if we’d stepped back in time to All Fools’ Day.

It seems that the Vatican has taken the insulting proposals for the Pope’s visit very seriously and mutterings in Holy See are that the Pope may cancel his state visit to Scotland and England. Apparently the British Ambassador to the Vatican City State was summoned this afternoon to see the Secretary of State, the man in the Vatican who deals with Foreign Affairs and is the de facto Deputy Pope. The matter will now be discussed with the Pope himself.

It appears that this, on top of other matters such as Richard Dawkins’ threat to have the Pope arrested, persuaded officials at the Vatican, that acceptance of the invitation delivered by Jim Murphy on behalf of the Queen was a big mistake.

The Daily Telegraph reports that Senior Papal aides suggested the Foreign Office had not taken strong enough disciplinary action against those responsible for the document.

Now I’m not making excuses for the idiot employee who wrote this rubbish, but what was it that the FCO did to the guy? Oh yes. He was reprimanded and transferred to other duties.

Now then, what was it that these bishops did, sometimes with the good Cardinal Ratzinger’s knowledge when they discovered a priest had been abusing people in his care? Oh yes. They reprimanded him and transferred him to other duties.

See the connection there?

The only conclusion that I can draw from this is that a stupid, childish and disrespectful prank is, in the eyes of the Vatican, on the same level of severity as the hideous crime of child abuse. Would that be about right?

Or is it, to be totally honest, that anticipating an embarrassingly hostile reception when he landed in Edinburgh, and realising that he had only been invited as part of a pre election publicity stunt by the Labour Party, the Pope was desperately looking for a good excuse not to make the visit? And we handed him one on a plate.

Whatever, it’s not looking good for Spud.

Pics: Foreign Office and The Vatican


What in the name of...well... I suppose, in the name of God, do the staff in our Foreign and Commonwealth Office get to do with themselves all day?

Well for one thing changing the font on the FCO logo. Yes, for a mere £80 000 the FCO got consultants redesign the logo from the top to the bottom example.

We all have to make sacrifices because of the greed and stupidity of the financial sector and the government, all except the FCO, which needs a new logo. Desperately.

It’s the FCO’s new “brand” you see. I’m sure you’ll have guessed it, but if not, the new “brand” represents: Empowering; Insightful; Principled; Persuasive; Strategic; Intelligent. (You knew it all along.)


So, if they are intelligent, why on earth were they wasting their time... no, our time, with a brain storming (or I was once told by a council official “thought showering... as brain storming might be offensive to people who suffer from epilepsy”. Can you imagine the look I gave her?) on the subject of suitable activities f
or Pope Benedict’s state visit to the UK.

Some half wit wrote a report suggesting all manner of idiotic things like launching an eponymous condom brand, opening an abortion clinic, singing a charity song with the Queen and doing forward rolls with school children.

In fairness there was one very interesting proposal, that he spend the night in a council flat...why not? If he has come to see how his people live in this country, the palaces of the Cardinal Archbishops in Glasgow or London are not likely to give him any indications at all. And it included the suggestion that he should sack some “dodgy bishops”, with which I have a deal of sympathy.

But these two proposals aside, surely the rest of the document is some sort of joke. And in these straitened times, if we have staff with time to produce joke documents, then it is high time we lost them.

For the rest of us there is little time to joke, and frequently little to laugh about.

The British government has of course been fulsome in its apologies to the Vatican State.

The Bishop of Nottingham called the report appalling and Cardinal Renato Martino, former head of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace said: “The British government has invited the Pope as its guest and he should be treated with respect. To make a mockery of his beliefs and the beliefs of millions of Catholics, not just in Britain but across the world, is very offensive indeed.”

Actually I agree with him. Right now I have no time at all for the Pope. It appears that he has covered up numerous cases of child abuse and has taken a light hand with others who have done the same thing. Saying he is sorry and weeping and praying may be considered to be justice enough in the Vatican State, but it sure as hell (literally) isn’t in Scotland. In my opinion the invitation to visit should be withdrawn until such time as we have a Pope unscarred by any association with this filthy crime.

However, I am also concerned that we are employing, presumably at considerable expense, Oxbridge educated (educated?) staff to write this drivel. And as punishment the writer has been transferred to other duties! Maybe he’ll be redesigning the logo, or weeping with the Pope.

Incidentally, this is the first ever state visit of a Pope to Scotland and England. Pope John-Paul II’s visit in 1982 was financed by the Vatican; this one is costing us millions.

Pics: Old Logo; New logo; Pope Benedict in a red hat

Saturday, 24 April 2010


All the way through the presidential election process which lasted over a year, my mate in the States kept me up to date with what was going on in the election. He sent me videos, reports and cuttings, and I was fascinated.... but of course I could turn on the radio or pick up a paper without having it rammed down my throat. Heaven help us, we can’t do that when it’s happening in our own country.... Even at the weekend, it’s business as usual.

So today the First Lord of the Treasury pretended he was a normal human and made an appearance with an Elvis impersonator. Right. Good idea. He then gave us a long story about what the Tories will do to the health service. Except the Tories won’t be running the health service; the SNP will be. So we are not interested. It was more relevant that he was seen, apparently smiling, with this singer blokey. (That is a smile, right?)

Dave pretended he was an ordinary person by going to his sister’s wedding. But he was only normal for half the day. The rest of the time he was telling us that Brown was “the prime minister nobody voted for”. He promised to change a system which allowed him to take over from Tony Blair in 2007, as indeed it had with John Major in 1990. Remember him Dave? That’s fair enough and it’s welcome but he added that a coalition government could also result in a prime minister who wasn’t voted for by the public.

“You should hold office because the people vote for you, not because your party has stitched up some deal”. Hoy Mr Cameron. No one votes for a Prime Minister in this union. We vote for the local MP, one of them will be the prime minister, the party decided who leads it, and technically the Queen decides whom she will send for. So you’re not going to be the president. You’ll be the prime minister (maybe). I hope you enjoyed the wedding.

Nick’s kids had been on holiday and got caught in Spain because of the flight problems, so he maybe was the one that came out closest to being a human being, by taking the day off to spend it with his family, thereby giving us a day free of his pronouncements as a bit of a bonus.

So, that’s what they were doing in England. In Scotland they were fighting about a wee tiny logo on a brilliant poster and Iain Gray saying that he didn’t know why Alex Salmond was “so desperate to get into an election where is not standing that he is willing to stoop to try and smear the Prime Minister of our country”.

Quite apart from the sickening sycophancy, wasn’t it Iain Gray who was standing on a platform only last week launching a manifesto for an election that HE’s not standing in? As so often when trying to work out the goings on in Labour’s hierarchy my only reaction is... DUH!

And then there’s the broadcast... I wonder why they didn’t ask me to be in it.

Friday, 23 April 2010


Thank you, Gordon Brown. Thank you very, very much indeed.

Scotland faces five years of real-terms cuts in public spending and may not get back to today’s levels until 2025.

According to a forecast made by the Scottish Government an incredible £35 billion of public spending could be lost over the next 15 years. That is more than the entire budget for a year.

The government’s chief economic advisor Dr Andrew Goudie estimated average cuts to expenditure will be 3% a year until 2014-15 and it could take between 12 and 15 years before spending returns to levels in the last financial year.

The Scottish Parliament officials are already preparing for 15% cuts over the next three years.

Of course no one wants to talk about that kind of cut before the election, do they? They’ll argue about all manner of other stuff but no one will tell us the truth about just how hard the axe will fall on May 7. But this time, I feel sure, we are going to really notice savage and swinging cuts. We will pay for the bankers’ greed, while their bonuses go up again.

The trouble with this kind of cut (for they can call it efficiency till they are blue in the face; it will remain a cut. Pigs and lipstick come to mind) is that it inevitably means vast numbers of redundancies, and that adds to already massive unemployment. A few more on the dole may not make too much difference, but large numbers on the dole and you have depressed areas. Shops close, pubs, sports and leisure facilities. That, in turn, causes more unemployment and it’s not hard to see the spiral of depression.

In this atmosphere Mr Brown says he is going to provide jobs for anyone who has been unemployed for a year. Yeah right. Let me tell you he hasn’t a hope in hell. It’s all talk. It won’t happen.

You can only make so many cuts to staff before the public starts to notice that the quality of service, not high at the moment, has become even worse. What will he do, replace all the sacked public sector workers with his new scheme workers on minimum wage and with attitude.

Cutting public services is all very well, but that means fewer libraries, fewer sports facilities for kids, just when old Tessa Jowell told us that we were going to benefit from the London Olympics with more sporting opportunities. It means longer waits for services already stretched and it means fewer things for kids to do; fewer facilities for pensioners.

The government report says, “While exact details of the size and composition of tightening in the UK are not yet known, it is clear that public spending will be subject to a period of significant constraint in the years ahead. Scottish Government expenditure will not be immune from these pressures.”

What a bloody future. An oil rich nation like no other. How they must laugh at us in Norway.


Last night Gordon Brown was caught out lying in the TV debates when he said that he had never authorised a leaflet scaremongering over bus passes for the elderly.

Incredibly, this very claim is made on his own constituency flyer.

Challenged by David Cameron on Labour's scaremongering tactics in relation to cuts in concessionary travel for pensioners, Brown said that he had not authorised any leaflets saying that.

His own leaflet in Fife states he will fight against "cuts to concessionary travel" as you can see from the illustration. Now I accept that Cameron would have no authority over cuts or otherwise in Scotland and that Brown may have been talking specifically about leaflets in England warn
ing that the Tories would cut these benefits for English people, but it was a pretty stupid thing to say. Incidentally Cameron gave a reassurance that he would not cut these benefits, so some good has come out of it for English pensioners.

In Scotland the SNP has actually expanded the concessionary travel scheme to include disabled veterans from April 2011 and has guaranteed concessionary travel for the elderly.

As Angus Robertson said: "If he can't be trusted on his own leaflets then what can he be trusted on?

I’m interested in two things. Firstly, the Prime Minister was caught lying last night on tv. (He MUST have authorised the leaflets in his own constituency). This is a big story. He lied. So why can’t I find a story about it in either the Herald or the Scotsman?

Secondly, when you look at the things that he’s fighting the election on, why does he mention things over which Westminster parliament will have no control? Is there not an MSP for these things? As well as the pensioners’ concessionary travel, which he denies having on his flyer, he talks crime and supporting the police. Does he not know that that is nothing to do with him or his parliament? Is he THAT out of touch with what’s going on?

Pics: Gordon Brown with an advisor, twice... and Gordon's flyer.

Thursday, 22 April 2010


The BBC Trust has rejected the SNP/Plaid Cymru appeal against their exclusion from the leaders' debate. And it looks like, at this late stage the two parties will not go to court over it.

I suspect that there may not be enough money for the fight, or at least that, with two debates down and one to go, the leadership of the two parties just don't feel that the game's worth the candle.

It's too late. The money could be better spent than keeping English barristers in port and stilton.

Forfar Loon has an excellent article
here on the subject of the debates. It’s well worth the read.

Anyone, as he points out, who suggests that these debates were not significant should look at the 10 point rise in the polls of one of the parties, the rise that party from “also ran” to the status of challenger in their smug so-called two horse race.... and then repeat their assertion. The debates have indeed been ground breaking. They have completely shaken the whole political system in the UK in more ways than one.

Of course, the insult to people in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland should not be underestimated. All the debates were held in England, and participants had to live within a 30 mile radius of the debate location, ergo no one who is resident in Scotland was allowed to participate in this exercise in democracy. It was, therefore, an exercise in democracy in England. Can we then assume that the election is an English one? The Scots, Irish and Welsh matter so little that they have been excluded in more ways than that their Nationalist Parties’ leaders have been excluded from the debate platforms. They, themselves have been excluded from participation in the actual debates.

But the whole essence of it is wrong anyway. We do not elect Prime Ministers here. And, in any case, as the Loon points out, the assumption has been made that Cameron, Clegg and Brown will be re-elected. Oh, we know that are in safe seats, but surely our democracy can’t be taken for granted like that...or at least it shouldn’t.

It has been said that the pressure for these debates has been strong from the Press for decades and wiser prime ministers have resisted, seeing more problems that advantages in them... not just for themselves, but for the already dubious version of democracy that we have in the UK (with FPTP and whipping, an unelected chamber and hereditary head of state).

Wiser prime ministers said no. Then along came King Midas in reverse.

Tories employ damage limitation to get pink vote.

The Guardian reports that David Cameron will sent Nick Herbert (shadow environment secretary) to Poland to attend a gay rights march in Warsaw in July. Nick is David’s most senior gay member of his frontbench team

The move is yet another cynical ploy intended to defuse criticism in tonight's leaders' television debate that the Tories have allied themselves with extremists with homophobic views in the EU. Nick Clegg and Gordon Brown are expected to use the second TV debate to embarrass the Tories by highlighting their links with hard-right groups in the European parliament. These include the Czech ODS party, whose founder, Vaclav Klaus, has questioned global warming, and Roberts Zile, of Latvia's Fatherland and Freedom party, some of whose members attend a ceremony to commemorate members of the Latvian legion of the Waffen-SS. And the highly conservative Law and Justice party of Poland founded by the late President Lech Kaczynski, who died earlier this month in a plane crash in western Russia. Kaczynski banned gay rights marches in Warsaw when he was the city's mayor.

David Miliband, today accuses Cameron of adopting an "isolated and weak" position on Europe after abandoning the main centre-right grouping in Strasbourg to sit in the new European Conservatives and Reformists group. We all remember them and DC's hopeless interview with the Gay Times where he thought he need not bother to even attempt a justification of this. Where his performance was so bad he asked to stop the cameras at one point so he could compose an answer. No insult to gay people there then.

Cameron claims the Tories have responded to these concerns by asking Herbert to travel to Poland. He said: "We would not join with parties that had unacceptable views. But we do recognise that, particularly in central and eastern Europe, there are parties that have still got some way to go on the journey of recognising full rights for gay people. We are helping them make that journey." Really, have you told Chris Grayling about that yet Dave? He’s not terribly keen on gay people being treated like normal is he as he is on record as saying that guest house owners should be able to discriminate on this sort of basis. Why not send Chris to Poland Dave he would go down much better with you so called allies.

Cameron added that Labour and the Lib Dems were in no position to lecture the Tories about their new group. "I would say there are partners of the Liberal Democrats who refer to homosexuality as a plague. How many times have you read that in the Guardian? There are partners of Labour that were collaborators with the communist regime in Poland that locked people up and was responsible for appalling human rights abuses. That is a bit disingenuous to say the least coming from the party that brought us Section 28. Whatever you can say about Labour they have done more that anyone to equalise rights for gay people. Indeed Nick himself would know all about that as he was able to utilise laws brought in by Labour to enter into a civil partnership with his partner of 10 years in January 2009.

Dave went on "Our point is that it is good to have a new group that is against a federal Europe, that wants free trade, co-operation and progress in Europe. And yes, some countries, particularly some of the Catholic countries, do have very conservative social views. They are on a journey in respect of that and it is a journey we can help them with." I see then so that’s ok, they can be as homophobic and extremist as they like as long as they are against a federal Europe. Why didn’t you tell the Gay Times that Dave when you wanted to get gay people to vote for you?

But Miliband will warn that Cameron's stance on Europe shows he is incapable of leading change. "Since they have failed to change themselves they have little hope of changing the country, or reforming Europe," he will say in a speech in Bristol. "The Tories are frightened of Europe which makes them isolated and therefore weak in Europe. They want to retreat and defend, not engage and lead. They have outlined a policy plan based on isolation, confrontation and weakness." I must admit that Miliband has a point here. Thanks to the disastrous attempts by the New Tories to woo the pink vote this seems to be a yawning open goal.

I frankly don’t see how sending the token gay in the shadow cabinet (possibly the cabinet by July) will in any way change these peoples mindset. Nor do I see how this will be seen as anything except what it is, damage limitation.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010


I was trawling around on the computer tonight looking for something interesting and different to write about: something more relaxing than politics, when lo and behold I came upon the Daily Star, that organ of record.... or something. Well obviously most of the paper is given over to the antics of Peter André and Katie Price, and how their daughter “Princess” (OMG) turned up at Pete’s house with bruises all over her, and so Pete phoned Katie to ask her what it was, and she said it was mascara. So Pete phoned his solicitor (instead of just getting a cloth and trying to wipe off the mascara) and then he wrote about it in his magazine column (yes, he’s a journalist now as well as a mega pop star).

So, it seems that someone in the police reads Mr André’s column because the police came round.... and Pete just can’t understand it.... Well of course he can’t. His brain cell was probably working on something else at that moment.

For how long will this ghastly pair continue to use their kids to get themselves in the papers and buoy up their totally talentless superstardom?

Another story that caught my eye was one about a swan, who has been causing grief to some rowers on the River Cam near Cambridge. It seems that the bird, whom they have dubbed “Mr Asbo” (Lord aren’t they clever!) has been “terrorising the river”. Appeals have been made to the Queen, aski
ng her to remove the swan on the grounds that all swans in England are the property of the monarch, which, of course, is not true. Not that the Daily Star could be bothered finding that out.

Dinghy sailor Ashley Sparkes, 27, said: “He came at us full speed, flapping his wings.” Oh dear Ashley. That’s erm....ever so....erm.....interesting....zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Put your brain into gear Ashley... What time of year is it? Yes, It’s Spring. And what happens in Spring Ashley? Yes, animals and birds have young. So the likelihood is that the swan is guarding its nest.

Try not rowing for a few weeks while the eggs are vulnerable. Or row somewhere else. Pfffffff.

Right, that was supposed to take my mind off politics and make me smile.... but it didn’t work.

Pics: Asbo, the good looking swan, and Peter Andre


A Manifesto For Scotland: More Nats, Less Cuts

This morning, before the launch in Glasgow of the SNP manifesto, Alex did a great interview with the “Today” journalist Justin Webb and set out his stall. He has not given his support to any of the parties in England, but he has indicated that his preference was for a big rise in the size and influence of the smaller parties everywhere.

He believes that a ‘balanced’ parliament (which is a better name for it than a ‘hung’ parliament and more appropriate too) would give the SNP a chance to influence policy and push for Scotland’s rights for a change. He’s repeated that he has no wish to tell the English how to run their country. He simply wants Scots to have the right to run theirs.

Alex repeated that he would not go into coalition with anyone. Well, he can’t, can he? He only has the moral authority to vote on matters that affect Scotland. Nothing else! He has the greatest knowledge of any of the politicians of working with a balanced parliament, and he would look for the SNP to approach the post-election landscape on a “vote by vote” basis, securing concessions in return for supporting key pieces of government legislation.

One example would be the money from the fossil fuel levy, £200 million sitting in a London bank. It can only be used for renewable in Scotland if there is a corresponding £200 million cut in the Scottish grant. How ridiculous is that?

He wants to see the UK ditch Trident, with a saving of £2b+ a year and more when the replacement for Trident is axed. Also on the scrap heap would go the House of Lords, Scotland Office and the daft ID cards.

Alex did a Gordon and “agreed with Nick” when he indicated that he wanted an end to the old two party system. He said that a “balanced parliament will be the people’s parliament”.

The rest of the manifesto concerns itself with details of fighting cuts imposed by Westminster and creating green jobs in Scotland.

It’s a manifesto for Scotland. It gets my vote.


John Mason has been out campaigning in Glasgow for something that he should not even need to campaign for. It should be there as a matter of course.

The Independent Living Fund offers additional financial assistance to people already in receipt of support from social services to provide them with sufficient funds to access essential support. It does what it says on the tin. It helps people to go on living independently when the alternative might be to live in a home, or hostel of some sort.

However, in Labour’s proposed savage Thatcherite cuts, the number of Scots eligible for the benefit will drop from 3,645 to ....wait for it....4

Qualifying conditions have always ensured that ILF payments are targeted at those adults with the severest disabilities and those in the greatest need. However, the UK government has now tightened its financial eligibility and is only accepting applications from people in paid employment of 16 or more hours per week. In effect this will mean that as of May 1, that’s only a couple of weeks away, the ILF will be entirely closed to new applicants throughout the UK, apart from those very few in paid employment.

That is how Labour wants to repay the massive debt it has run up after allowing the likes of SIR Fred Goodwin (for services to banking... imagine) free range to make money and make more money for with not a thought to the consequences.

So Fred pops off with his knighthood and his immense pension and some poor person relying on the Independent Living Fund, can no longer afford the help that allows them to live in their own home.

Of course providing the places for these people in homes across Scotland will not be the problem of the Labour government in London. No. That will fall on the Scottish Government in Edinburgh.

Savage and Thatcherite.

John Mason said: Alistair Darling has already said Labour's cuts will be 'tougher and
deeper' than those of Margaret Thatcher. By slashing funding for a vital support scheme for some of the most vulnerable people in Scotland, Labour has demonstrated there is no difference between them and the Tories.

"Instead of cutting vital support schemes, Labour should scrap their obscene vanity project, Trident. Spending £100bn on nuclear weapons which the people of Scotland do not want, whilst slashing benefits for the most vulnerable, is indefensible.

And he’s right. Is this the kind of Scotland we want? It’s certainly not the kind I want, where the Fred Goodwins of this world wreck the economy and waltz into new jobs with obscene pensions with money aplenty like Hollywood movie stars. And disabled people are herded off into homes to pay for it. It makes me want to vomit.

Thank heavens we have some local champions to vote for.


Alex Salmond with his successor as candidate for Banff and Buchan, Eilidh Whiteford, and Gordon constituency candidate, Richard Thomson, were at a rally of local supporters. In a speech, Alex said:

"For 23 years, I have been a Member of a Parliament dominated by a cosy Westminster arrangement among the London parties.

"All three want to waste billions on obscene nuclear weapons - stored here in Scotland - as they slash Scotland's budget, putting at risk Scottish jobs and our cherished public services.

"All three London parties have played starring roles in the scandals which have totally discredited the Westminster parliament. From dodgy donors to duck houses and cash for access to cash for peerages, the UK parties are implicated.

"And all three are denying the people of Scotland a say over their own constitutional future - despite backing referendums for just about everything else.

"People are raging against the tired, grubby Westminster machine, but Scotland doesn't have to be a cog in that machine. A vote fo
r the SNP can change the system and make it work for the people of Scotland, not against them.

"Westminster has failed us and that is why we need a fresh start - a new approach that will allow us to make the most of the opportunities that exist in such abundance for our nation.

"In the past few days the prospect of a balanced parliament has come to dominate the political agenda. Labour and Tory are now in a state of panic. They fear this outcome because they fear the people.

"This weekend, David Cameron looked close to hysteria as he realised his chances of a Tory majority was slipping away.

"For the old and tired parties, a balanced parliament is a difficult. For Scotland, it is an opportunity.

"The success of the Scottish Parliament demonstrated that a balanced parliament can achieve far more than unbalanced one party rule at Westminster.

"On polling day it is the people not the politicians who have the power and at this election the people can give real power to Scotland by voting SNP. A vote for the SNP here, and Plaid Cymru in Wales, is what will help create the balanced parliament - and what will open the door for big wins for the people of Scotland in that parliament.

"The opportunities for
Scotland are not with a vote for the London parties - Tweedledee, Tweedledum or for that matter the Tweedledems - they are with the local and national SNP champions who will always put Scotland first.

"The people want an alternative to the cosy London consensus. In Scotland, the way to achieve this is with the SNP and in Wales with Plaid Cymru.

"The London parties think they can keep the SNP off the television debates, but they cannot keep us out of the election. From our activists at grassroots level to our high profile media appearances, we will make this an election about what Scottish votes can achieve.

"Working in a Celtic Alliance with Plaid Cymru, we can secure a better deal for Scotland and Wales.

"For too long Scotland has been short changed by the London parties. But with a balanced parliament the issues that matter most to the people here will come centre stage. The tide of this election is now moving towards Scotland. Scotland can be the real winner of this election with the SNP."

Pics: Alex Salmond, Eilidh Whiteford, Richard Thomson

Monday, 19 April 2010


There was a worrying development today when Norman Tebbit got involved in the election campaign for the Tories. He seemed to want to put a bit of old fashioned Tory backbone into David Cameron, and tell him he needed to do something about Nick Clegg and sharpish!

In an interview for The World at One, old Norman said that the Conservatives needed to ask some “searching questions” about Liberal policies. Well thanks Norman. David would never have worked that out on his own.

But the frightening thing is that he may have let the cat out of the bag. He suggested that Cameron was “shy” about talking up his own proposals “for fear that it would frighten the electors”.

For fear that it would frighten the electors! Wait a minute. What was in that manifesto? Does Norman mean that the manifesto and reality are two different things? That sounds pretty scary doesn’t it?

If there’s more, maybe we should know about it before we vote? I bet they are trying at this very moment to put Norman back in his box before he gives the whole game away.

Tebbit has often put down Cameron’s “inclusive” form of Conservativism. His is an altogether harsher form based very closely on the teachings of his beloved leader and mad old woman Margaret Hilda. If what Cameron has up his sleeve is a return to THAT sort of Conservativism, then there will be no need to worry about immigration. It will be emigration that will cause the problem.

Norman Tebbit never held seriously high office but he was slave like at Thatcher’s side all the way through the ‘80s. He was once described in a parliamentary debate as a “semi-house-trained polecat”. His Spitting Image puppet was a leather-clad skinhead who was loyal to Thatcher, referring to her as "Leader". Scary old man.

Anyway, on orders from Old Norman it seems, Cameron got stuck into Clegg and the Liberals warning that the public would be cheated if they voted Liberal Democrat out of dissatisfaction with Brown and his bedraggled crew of no hopers. Well, they’re my words, not exactly his. (Actually he might have done better if he'd gone with my words.)

Meanwhile Brown has been sucking up to the Liberals promising to back their calls for electoral reform, just like they did in 1997 and promptly ditched when they got in with a big majority. Never ever believe a politician Mr Clegg.... ah, but you’d know that, being one.

On the other hand Mandleson predicted that support for the Liberals would fade once the public came to understand their policy agenda, including plans to cut child tax credits and child trust funds and an amnesty for illegal immigrants. He didn’t think that the public would “follow through” with their “flirtation” with Nick Clegg.

Of course Mandleson will be really in touch with the man on the street so we can believe him. But I'm suspecting that the questions covering foreign policy in this week's debate are going to favour Nick and his opposition to "the war".

Jeez Nick, it must be hard to be the centre of so much attention. I bet Gladstone was the last Liberal leader to make such a splash!

Pics: Norman Tebbit and Nick Clegg


I’m not at all sure why the British cannot cope with minority governments or hung parliaments or with coalitions. Mrs Thatcher apparently said that it resulted in weak and ineffectual government and people believed her. Now it seems Ken Clarke, a man I admire, has warned of market problems if there is not a strong government with a comfortable majority.

I’m dubious about this. Why should it be? Germany, the world’s 3rd largest and strongest economy is run by a coalition. Other European countries like Denmark and Holland have coalitions and yet are strong and well run. Scotland had a coalition for 8 years and now a minority government, but everything has gone well enough. Sure Bills have been lost, and compromises made, but that is the will of parliament and parliament is the will of the population.

That is what we, the people, voted for. So be it. It means of course that politicians have to work together for the good of the country. Live with it.

I was cheered then by the remarks in the “Caledonian Mercury” of a reader J R Tomlin, who points out that the experience of Canada also suggests that coalition government may not necessarily be weak government.

She points out that Canada for the past 3 years has been run by a minority government with a hung Parliament. They have exactly the same voting system as the UK.

She goes on to say that the country recovered from the recession fastest, that no Canadian banks had to be bailed out and that the predicted growth rate for the economy is greater than any other G7 country this year. The Canadian $, she points out, has reached parity with the US$ and is still going up. Additionally unemployment is down.

No two countries are the same. Their economies are based on different employment, different materials and different demands. It is hard to transfer economic predictions of one to another. Even within the UK there are vast differences. But the Canadian system is close in many ways to the UK system (except for their willingness to treat small parties with respect. Their debates include ALL parties and, of course, entail two languages). If they can cope 3 years into minority gove
rnment doing better than any other G7 country, why oh why can’t Britain?

Ms Tomlin concludes that all the nonsense about the pound and markets going into freefall due to a hung parliament are just plain old lies.

Yes. I agree Ms Tomlin. And, if that is what we vote for, then that is what we should get. No running to Buckingham Palace to ask the Queen for another election after 6 months, because they are not sufficiently good at coping with not getting all their own way all the time. They are always telling us that we must learn to cope with change. It may be that they will have to as well.

Pics: The 'Three "Wise" Men'; 'The Three "Wise" Monkeys'; or is it 'Dumb, Dumber, and Dumbest'

Sunday, 18 April 2010

The Third Party Surge Continues: Clegg More Popular Than Churchill

Following on from the Nick Clegg phenomenon the Sunday Times reports today that the Liberal Democrat leader is now the most popular party leader since Winston Churchill. So more than the blessed Margaret as well then? Following his victory in the so called Prime Ministerial debate, Clegg has surged to a higher approval rating than Tony Blair at his peak of popularity.

A YouGov survey showed the three parties neck and neck. While Labour and the Tories desperately tried to respond to the Clegg surge. The election in England has become a three-way contest with the Lib Dems, on 29%, enjoying their strongest support in almost 30 years, one point behind Labour on 30%, with the Tories having a slender lead of three points on 33%. The poll suggests David Cameron’s Tories are on course to secure 239 seats, only 46 more than they have now.

The ridiculous first past the post system means that Labour, despite being second in terms of the popular vote, would get the most seats, with about 287 MPs, allowing Gordon Brown a desperate chance of clinging on as prime minister despite having an at best dubious electoral mandate.

The number of Lib Dem MPs would increase from 63 to 93, giving them the whip hand in a hung parliament. Clegg himself has an unprecedented approval rating of 72%, ahead of Cameron on 19% and Brown on minus 18%. Clearly I was wrong yesterday when I suggested that their poll could not cope with negative numbers.

The Tories, the biggest victims of the Clegg surge, last night sent out another of their big guns to attack the Lib Dems policies and leadership. William Hague, shadow foreign secretary, claimed that a vote for Clegg was a vote for the “European super-state”.

The Tories are clearly rattled hence wee Wullie’s outspoken attack on Clegg. A shallow attempt to discredit the Lib Dem leaders European credentials saw him claiming that the former EU official and MEP was ready to “sign up for anything that has ever been on offer or proposed from the European Union”. “It is their policy to join the euro,” he added. “That is completely out of step with the majority of people in the country.” Or not as the case may be. Did anyone mention to Wullie Cleggs popularity rating? He also appealed for voters to switch back to the Conservatives, claiming a hung parliament would lead to an unpopular second general election. How pathetic is that? But don’t mention Lord Ashcroft will you!

The Sunday Times poll suggests Hague’s appeal may fall on deaf ears. With many people unexcited by the two main parties, a total of 53% say that a hung parliament with the Lib Dems holding the balance of power would be a “good thing”. And who can blame them when the best the Tories can do when faced with a really popular leader instead of a stuffed shirt with a silver spoon in his gob is trot out this claptrap.

Meanwhile, Dave went on the campaign trail yesterday and pleaded with voters not to snub the Tories. “A hung parliament would be a bunch of politicians haggling, not deciding,” he said. Not haggling? Is he not aware that we can watch them deciding on TV? Looks more like a beer garden than a parliament to me.

Labour on the other hand stepped up its charm offensive with Peter Hain saying the party was ready to do deals on controversial issues such as tax and nuclear weapons.

The strategy is designed to persuade Lib Dem supporters in Labour-Tory marginals to vote tactically for Labour while by emphasising the similar agendas of the two parties, Labour also hopes to coax Lib Dem MPs into backing Brown in a future hung parliament. Hain called on Clegg to set aside his personal hostility towards Brown and to prepare to work with Labour after the election. “Personal chemistry should not get in the way of the national interest,” he said.

“Their particular policies on tax do not add up at the present time,” said Hain. “However, our ambition would be to lift the burden on the lowest paid and to do it over time when it is affordable, so there is a common agenda.” He added: “We are absolutely firmly committed to a nuclear deterrent. Within that, time scales, affordability and all of that agenda, there is scope to negotiate.”

Also pretty pathetic. They want Nick to support a lame duck of the first water but the best they can trot out at the moment is Peter Hain the Welsh Secretary. Where is Petronella Voldermort, the real decision maker?

The Lib Dems, however are having none of it and said they would resist the squeeze from the two main parties while revealing a surge in donations, with £120,000, mainly in small sums, coming in during the 24 hours after the debate. There has also been an eight-fold increase in visits to the party’s website, with Lib Dem strategists plotting how to capitalise on the new interest in their leader.

Clegg, speaking yesterday on a visit to the London hospital where his third son was born recently, said: “A growing number of people are starting to hope that real change and real fairness is finally possible in Britain.”

In the past week the Lib Dems have risen by 11 points from 18%, the Tories have slipped by seven points from 40% and Labour has fallen by two points from 32%.

Other polls confirmed the Lib Dem bounce, with one by BPIX for The Mail on Sunday putting the party in the lead on 32%, ahead of the Tories on 31% and Labour on 28%. A ComRes poll for the Sunday Mirror put the Lib Dems on 29%, Labour on 27% and the Conservatives in the lead on 31%.

Saturday, 17 April 2010


I pinched this beauty, with permission, from Independence Cymru blog at

Thanks Alan

While walking down the street one day a "Member of Parliament" is tragically hit by a truck and dies.

His soul arrives in heaven and is met by St. Peter at the entrance.

'Welcome to heaven,' says St. Peter.

'Before you settle in, it seems there is a problem. We seldom see a high official around these parts, you see, so we're not sure what to do with you.'

'No problem, just let me in,' says the man.

'Well, I'd like to, but I have orders from higher up. What we'll do is have you spend one day in hell and one in heaven. Then you can choose where to spend eternity.'

'Really, I've made up my mind. I want to be in heaven,' says the MP.

'I'm sorry, but we have our rules.'

And with that, St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell. The doors open and he finds himself in the middle of a green golf course. In the distance is a clubhouse and standing in front of it are all his friends and other politicians who had worked with him.

Everyone is very happy and in evening dress. They run to greet him, shake his hand, and reminisce about the good times they had while getting rich at the expense of the people.

They play a friendly game of golf and then dine on lobster, caviar and champagne.

Also present is the devil, who really is a very friendly & nice guy who has a good time dancing and telling jokes. They are having such a good time that before he realizes it, it is time to go.

Everyone gives him a hearty farewell and waves while the elevator rises....

The elevator goes up, up, up and the door reopens on heaven where St. Peter is waiting for him.

'Now it's time to visit heaven.'

So, 24 hours pass with the MP joining a group of contented souls moving from cloud to cloud, playing the harp and singing. They have a good time and, before he realizes it, the 24 hours have gone by and St. Peter returns.

'Well, then, you've spent a day in hell and another in heaven. Now choose your eternity.'

The MP reflects for a minute, then he answers: 'Well, I would never have said it before, I mean heaven has been delightful, but I think I would be better off in hell.'

So St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell.

Now the doors of the elevator open and he's in the middle of a barren land covered with waste and garbage.

He sees all his friends, dressed in rags, picking up the trash and putting it in black bags as more trash falls from above.

The devil comes over to him and puts his arm around his shoulder. ‘I don't understand,' stammers the MP.

'Yesterday I was here and there was a golf course and clubhouse, and we ate lobster and caviar, drank champagne, and danced and had a great time. Now there's just a wasteland full of garbage and my friends look miserable.

What happened?

Yesterday we were campaigning" said the Devil.

"Today you voted!"