Entries from September 2009 ↓

Good on John Bercow

Cabinet Ministers in the Lords should face questions in the Commons, says the new Speaker, John Bercow. Good on him. September recess should not be sacred, he adds. I agree with that too – my committee has met twice in the last month.

Joe Murphy with an Evening Standard “Exclusive”

“In an exclusive Evening Standard interview, the former home secretary said Mr Brown should consider standing down, perhaps citing ill health, adding: “I think his own dignity ought to look to that kind f solution.” says Joe Murphy in the Evening Standard.

I don’t want to disappoint Joe but the only thing that would actually make this story a;news and b; exclusive, would be if Charles had given an interview begging Gordon Brown to stay.

The first date I could find an newspaper story that had Charlie calling on Gordon to go was 9th April 2008. Incidentally, it was a news story by James Kirkup in the Telegraph. James seems to have dusted down exactly the same story today. It’s made the front page lead story on the Telegraph web site (again).

A quick Google news search for the phrase ‘”charles clarke” “gordon brown” resign’ yields a mere 15,700 news stories relating to Charles Clarke calling on Gordon Brown to resign. I am not sure how many of these stories were exclusive.

Only 3020 of these news stories relate to Charles calling on Gordon resigning with dignity. 5,140 Charles Clarke/Gordon Brown stories mention resigning for the “good of the party”. 5,300 stories relate to Charles calling on Gordon to resign because “he’s not my friend”. I made that last one up.

I think it is fair to say that Charles Clarke would like Gordon Brown to resign.

PoliticsHome

It’s such a shame that the first genuine website to take the daily cross-party temperature on the issues of the day has had to effectively end this way. PoliticsHome has been bought by Conservative Party vice-chairman Lord Ashcroft, prompting the resignation, with honour, of Editor-in-Chief Andrew Rawnsley.

In Andrew’s words:

“I became editor-in-chief on the basis that PoliticsHome was dedicated to being a non-partisan site clearly independent of any party both editorially and financially,” said Rawnsley, who is associate editor and chief political commentator of the Observer.

“It was essential for users of the site that they could feel absolute confidence in the political independence of PoliticsHome. I do not believe that can be compatible with being under the ownership of the deputy chairman of the Conservative party.”

“I therefore greatly regret the decision made by Stephan Shakespeare, the chairman, to do a deal which places PoliticsHome under the ownership of Michael Ashcroft, the deputy chairman of the Conservative party. The site has been folded along with ConservativeHome into a new entity in which Lord Ashcroft is the majority shareholder.”

I’ve resigned as a panel member too. I’m certain that I won’t be the only one. What a great shame.

See also, Sunny at Liberal Conspiracy.
Tom Harris
Martin Bright, who recruited me to the PoliticsHome panel has made a statement too.

Alan Watkins, Brief Lives (Auberon Waugh)

I think I may have mentioned Brief Lives by Alan Watkins before.

There’s an hilarious passage on Auberon Waugh that I must share with you.

“He did his national service as a subaltern in the Royal Horse Guards and was sent to Cyprus. One day he noticed and impediment in the elevation of the Browning machine gun in his armoured car, and resolved to investigate it. He moved to the front of the gun, seized it and wiggled it up and down, whereupon it started to fire bullets into him. He survived, but lost a lung, his spleen, several ribs and a finger. As he was lying on the ground, waiting for the ambulance, he said to his platoon sergeant, a parachutist from Bristol called Chudleigh: ‘kiss me, Chudleigh.’ Chudleigh, however, did not spot the reference, and afterwards treated Waugh with suspicion and reserve…..It was believed by some that he had been fired on by his own troops – similar stories were told about his father – and also that he had lost a testicle, but both these tails were convincingly denied by Waugh”

I’m still laughing, days after reading that passage.