And another Clegg-up...
..from Iain Dale. Breaking a Home Office embargo. Opportunism...
An Englishman who went to live in Philadelphia only to be amazed on his return at how little Britain seemed to trust people. Now back rambling, ranting and winding up lefties...
An interesting email from the LibDems falls into Trust People's inbox this morning. Nick Clegg declares
Well, what a torrid time for the Government. I'm not one who is keen to overstate whether yesterday's events are uniquely significant; it's easy to let individual events assume greater importance than they'll ever actually have whilst they're being experienced. Nonetheless it does signal an increasingly desperate turn in the fortunes of New Labour.
ChameleonArmy.com has now launched. Check it out and put your thinking caps on.
So the so-called Criminal Justice System can see sense after all and respond to public needs when it has to. The CPS has announced that it is dropping the prosecution against the boy who called an Asian friend a "Paki" and "Bin Laden" in their school playground. Trust People reported on the sterling response of the district judge hearing the case earlier in the month.
This story was always going to run and run but now it just defies belief. Charles Clarke knew about the more than 1,000 prisoners released into the British community who should have been deported before Christmas and the news of it has only just been released now. It says it all about Blair's Britain that prisoners are being released into society more lightly than adverse information, doesn't it?
You can read my inaugural post over at The Touchline Bawler here.
The Home Secretary has released over 1000 foreign criminals into our country who should have been deported at the end of their sentence. He has, however, apologised. That is supposed to be enough.
Bar exams done and dusted then, only "so-called" "vocational assessments" to go. Bliss.
Crisis? What crisis? As the NHS lays off more staff, it becomes clear that there has been massive and profligate overspending on salaries and it is even more apparent that nobody in Government has the faintest idea what's going on Patricia Hewitt declares this as the "best ever" year in the history of the NHS. Who is she kidding? I know it is textbook Labour territory to "make it so" by "pretending it's so", I know that many will believe the woman too but surely, now, after all we've seen from this Government people can see this for the ridiculous fatuous blather that it really is? The Government is meant to have come up with new structures for better and more efficient health provision. Those structures are creaking at the seams as they clearly don't have the capacity to exert sufficient restraint on PCTs without ministerial intervention. Whose fault is that? Labour really should pay heavily for this.
As Newcastle have struggled to really impose themselves on the Premiership in recent years and as he refused to allow himself to be dragged back on to the international stage he quit in 2000 it's been easy to forget Alan Shearer. Now his career has been ended three games before the end of his last season in professional football we ought to look back on a stellar career and a great, classic English centre forward.
I've said before that Bernard Jenkin's heart doesn't seem to be with the Tory Party's positive discrimination "Priority List" and today there's yet more evidence that's the case. In the Guardian he opines that
I'm sure it's a nice stunt for the LibDems in advance of the local elections for Ming to harp on about his great sacrifice for the environment - selling his gas-guzzling Jaguar - but this is far from news. Anybody with a memory longer than a goldfish will recall that he was pledging to sell it, saying it had gone into a barn over four months ago. Nick Assinder's article on the BBC website (linked above) at the time - that being 16 January - was titled "Words that may come back to haunt". Isn't it time they came back to haunt Ming?
This potential explanation from a Guardian article looking at the increase in unemployment:
According to Hamas the suicide bomber who killed six people in a falafel restaurant in Tel Aviv earlier today was acting in "self defence". Their spokesman even went so far as saying "Our people... have every right to use all means to defend themselves". Even if you take as given the assumption that some Palestinians are being heavily oppressed, the doctrine of self-defence cannot be stretched to permit any attacks of whatever brutality against anyone.
The Labour Party have launched another serious, considered and mature website concerning Mr Cameron's supposed and so-called "flip-flops". Aside from being annoyed at the way this term has seaped into national political consciousness I'd rather be a flip-flopper than a liar. Does anyone remember Labour's 2001 manifesto? "We will not introduce top-up fees and have legislated to prevent them?" I'm sure Labour students will be able to remind you what happened...
The Pope dispells rumours he has converted to Judaism and the Tories are a right-wing party apparently... He'd have been better off staying asleep surely?
So the LibDems are bickering over Ming's nervousness on big occasions. Simon Hughes has commented on it as part, I have to say, of a broadly complimentary statement about him but has in turn been leapt upon by others in the front bench team. You'd have thought that their last bout of blood letting would have got it out of their system wouldn't you? Nonetheless, Hughes clearly has to learn that in the LibDems it's de rigeur to lie to cover up for your leader's failings...
With the recent news that the police investigation into the "loans for peerages" scandal has yielded its first arrest, those who rubbished the inquiry, most notably Alastair Campbell called it "ridiculous", have plenty of egg on their faces. The big question now is how many more arrests are to come. Surely Lord Levy must be feeling distinctly uncomfortable this afternoon; the challenge for the police is whether or not they have enough hard evidence to get him. Des Smith, the former head arrested today, was stung by the Sunday Times back in January which no doubt gave the police a start. If he is guilty, however, of obtaining financial gain in return for peerages surely the rot must go right to the top...who else can give out peerages after all? For a detailed and apparently fairly accurate analysis of what he's been nicked for, check out this post Guido made a few weeks back.
My critique of the EU for a long while has focussed around the risk of it becoming a barrier to greater integration around the world rather than helping it, despite the fact that the Euromaniacs want it to lead to greater integration within its borders. For me the building blocks of global interactions should be nation states, not continent-wide bargaining blocks which could hold back consensus. Against this background this story from EU Serf is fascinating. Some in the US are waking up to the barrier the EU could present. Let us hope this is not a portent of things to come.
Tim Montgomerie over at ConHome has launched the inaugural Conservative Movement awards. The idea is well worth checking out and could well grow to help cement together a non-party-political movement which can bring pressure to bear outside the conventional Westminster political system. This is the greatest lesson I believe we can learn from the States as I will say in the article I'm drafting about what I picked up whilst living over there. Definitely worth some time, Tim's keen for it to work and wants help pushing it. Trust People is happy to support it fully. You can make suggestions for categories or the way it should work over at his excellent site.
Bar finals coming up so I shall be blogging-lite for the next week or so. Apologies for not being here since Saturday; been busy in the factory! I have been disappointed for Don Berlusconi. I'd rather hoped his flair would come through better than it did. Nonetheless, I have a feeling he'll hope to live to fight another day...
A boy has been prosecuted by the CPS for calling a child in the playground the "n word" and "Paki". Read what the judge has to say though.
Conservative values are all about trusting people: Cameron
"The childish tactics of the Conservative leadership demonstrate only too well why they remain a party of opposition and not one of government" says the party which is parking a single Saracen armoured car outside the Tories' Spring Forum as a publicity stunt. The same party which remains firmly an opposition protest group on every council and body in the country.
Of course, Ukip say, the parking of the single car will be symbolic of the way they are supposedly parking their tanks on Mr Cameron's lawn. Ignoring the fact that they're only using one armoured car, ignoring the fact it won't be on a lawn and ignoring the dodgy aspect of using military vehicles won't it just suggest that they're clapped-out, old, fairly useless, out-of-date and rather isolated?
I must be famous! For months now I have been bemused, whilst walking up Chancery Lane each morning, at a sign paying homage to my wit, sagacity and intelligence. There is a stationers and printing shop partway up which offers on its street sign detailing its services "Let us quote you". Whether they will quote me to anyone in particular or just to other customers remains a mystery!
Mr Justice Mitting made just the right call, I hear, and decided there was no basis on which to sustain the injunction against the publication of the Mazher Mahmood pictures. Apparently the News of the Screws are now appealing to the Court of Appeal. I'd be surprised if the Court of Appeal didn't make the same apparently sound decision as was made in the High Court.
Two words I'm sure you never thought you'd see on this blog in that order I'm sure! Nonetheless, although not fully aware of all the facts involved, I am instinctively firmly on George Galloway's side, as well as other realms of the blogosphere, in his battle to unmask the "fake sheikh" reporter for the News of the World, Mazher Mahmood.
Guido covers some of the story here, but it's set out more clearly in the Grauniad here and the Times (another News International publication, mind) here. News International yesterday got a court order to restrain publication of his picture until the resolution of a full hearing today, scheduled for 4pm. That, in the High Court, just over the road from here, has yet to finish so I understand the order has been extended to 5pm. If he wishes to try stings on with politicians and even football managers then he has to run the risk of the tables being turned in this way. He will no doubt argue his safety is in danger if pictures are published of him as he has been involved, allegedly, in crime-busting undercover work. Shouldn't he have thought of this before he turned, maliciously, to more spurious targets though? How is his picture alone, readily available anyway on the internet, going to allow him to be tracked down?
Surely any criminals he has stitched up are going to know what he looks like anyway?
We'll really see now just how easily News International will throw around legal proceedings themselves...
UPDATE: And an oblique reference in the Guardian.
This article of Iain Dale's is well worth a read regarding Roger Helmer MEP who was kicked out of the Tory Group in the European Parliament after supporting a motion which was hostile to the freebies received by the Commission President. I've heard snippets about this story but haven't really followed it before now but Roger Helmer does seem a thoroughly impressive character who was doing his job. The "Reinstate Roger" website is here. The sooner we can get talent like Roger back onside and resolve, one way or another, this issue with the EPP then the better.
No wonder they're in favour of votes at 16. The Liberal Democrat's latest campaign manual contains an outrageous piece of advice for candidates in the forthcoming elections advising them to dole out "badges and toffees" as incentives for any children on an estate to help hand out leaflets. I am staggered that the party can condone exploiting children in this manner at the same time as encouraging them to accept sweets from strangers. This bribery could, after all, be their first and formative experience of the political process. Sadly, it's just another example of shameless and cheap LibDem campaigning.
Are Nigel Farage, sometime commentator over at ConHome, formerly of David Cameron's office & debater, and, Alex Deane, leader of UKIP, in some way related? We must be told.
Here's an amusingly grey blog about Conservative involvement with the EPP-ED in the European Parliament. Do they really think it will make much or any difference?At least the Party can still say it caters for a broad church on Europe....
I'm not too enamoured with David Cameron's condemnation of UKIP as "fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists, mostly". There are a fair few cretins amongst them too... Michael Howard's description of them as "cranks and political gadflies" was much more on point. I am very wary of the bandying round of "racist" as a political insult. I said during the last General Election campaign that I found it most unhelpful to debate in general as rather than discussing substantive issues we instead bicker over pejorative tags which are, in essence, pretty meaningless. By all means criticise, by all means discuss how UKIP really are an odd bunch who seem to want a "stop the world to get off here" party, but playing the "racist card" is, in my book, a bit cheap.
I was at the Boat Race yesterday and was staggered to see two boats crammed with what appeared to be Special Branch officers following the main race as well as a police boat. Was it really necessary? Or was it to cement the feeling of a threat? I can't really see what they'd hope to do even if someone did launch something questionable at either boat! Given the apparent lack of security at many Oxbridge colleges I suspect there are probably easier and more high-profile Oxbridge targets.
You'd think this were an April fool were it not so tragically infuriating.