Tuesday, 31 January 2006

Your honourable blogger

Blair faces coup

Which Blair? Either, we want rid of both of them!
In this case it is policeman Blair. You're right, that still doesn't help.
Okay, Sir Ian Blair, our incompetent chief of police.

He faces a coup as reported in the Mirror today. I rarely read or agree with the Daily Mirror but credit where credit is due, today they are onto something. I have it on good authority from my own Blue Mole that morale has never been lower and deep disatisfaction spreads right down to the rats in the police station sewers.

My views on this particular Blair are well known on this blog so lets hope this coup goes somewhere. Come you boys and girls in Blue. Time to stand tall again. Get behind your senior officers and cut him loose.

Update: Sir Ian still has the full confidence of Prime Minister Tony Blair. Excellent. One big heave and they might both go.

Monday, 30 January 2006


Today my old regiment, The Highlanders, have suffered their first operational fatality. It is a terrible thing and I needn't tell you how devastating it will be for his family. Soldiers face the ultimate sacrifice with astonishing fortitude backed up with brilliant leadership and outstanding training. Please note that this regiment has been in Iraq for nearly four months without previous incident.
I served with my regiment for 8 years and, along with my family back home, I faced my own moments of danger in Northern Ireland and on the entry into Kosovo in 1999. Rest assured that their courage and determination will be unmoved. They will grieve another time. For now the team and the job take priority. They will remain professional and ever more motivated to ensure it does not happen again. You would be amazed how well they disassociate what they are there to do from the political process which sent them to do it.

Bydand, boys, Bydand.

[In gaelic this means "Standfast" and was the motto of the The Gordon Highlanders, one of the two regiments amalgamated in 1994 to form The Highlanders.]

Saturday, 28 January 2006

Going Loco

It is time to turn my attention and my Blog to the very important task of winning back my Huntingdonshire District Council ward (Buckden Diddington and Southoe) for the Conservatives.

For 14 long years it has enjoyed the services of a Liberal Democrat Councillor. I stood against him in two years ago in 2004 and reduced his majority from an unerring 450 to 96. A swing of 21% in my favour and still I lost!! I made errors, I learnt and this time I shall not return from the count to sob unconsollably into my sofa.

Over the next weeks and months until the May 4th polling day I shall post both the articles and speeches I write for distribution in my leaflets and a diary of my campaign, full with thoughts and stories from my door-to-door canvassing (anonymous of course, and most probably self-deprecating). If last time is anything to go by, it should be quite fun and I am looking forward to getting out there.

Things will get pretty local and I hope my more distant readers will forgive me if I don't explain every local issue with my usual clarity. I am hoping that the village will be tuning in aswell, so I mustn't bore them with detailed explanation they don't need.

Now for my campaign slogan - should it be "Bailey for Buckden" or "Buckden for Bailey". Perhaps I should adopt the former and let the village decide on the latter.

Happy Birthday Wolfgang!

It is this day 250 years since the birth of arguably the most prolific and gifted musician, composer and entertainer that ever lived.

The Telegraph heaped upon him this morning more eloquent and better informed praise than I ever could. But I am in awe of a composer so versatile as to be able to compose such differing pieces as Don Giovanni and Die Zauberflote, or the Figaro overture and the Requiem, with equal acclaim.

It is long been my belief that those blessed with genius are sadly also blessed in equal measure with psychosis. Only such untethered human minds can truly reach such heights and depths.

The 80's film Amadeus is no masterpiece, but it remains a movie that I can and do watch over and over without tiring. It achieves in ninety minutes what several music teachers failed to achieve in a dozen years of schooling - cement the simplest message in my mind, that classical music and its composers were as popular and celebrated in their day as Coldplay and Robbie Williams are in ours. Amadeus was no less an anti-establishment, daring, risk taking musician and showman than Freddie Mercury or Johnny Rotten.

Shame on the BBC that they clear the decks for George Best but fail to honour this wonderful anniversary - the anniversary of a man whose contribution to the world was not simply a body of music so powerful and beautiful as to illicit the heights of emotion in its audience but also the very concept that music exists to push boundaries and to sweep away the constraints of class and pomposity.

Lara and I are going to Vienna for a single weekend this summer during which we shall indulge in our favourite music - the Operas of Mozart and the modern entertainment of Robbie Williams. Cool or what!

Last word on these Liberal Democraps

I have listened to the evidence and weighed it carefully. My verdict on Hughes is that he is guilty. Guilty of pursuing a grand deceit over two decades and guilty of being a prize prat in thinking that he had too. Guilty, no less, of concealment for the purpose of retaining power and maintaining ambition.

Thankfully for him, his punishment is simply to look ridiculous for a short while. If the electorate punish him at all it will only be due to the campaign of deceit and their consequent loss of faith. The Lib Dem members won't specifically punish him now, at least not for being gay and, knowing them, not even for lying. No, Hughes will lose the leadership campaign because deep down the Lib Dems won't want to enter the 2009 election with a leader best known for stumbling into the 21st Century still thinking he had to hide his sexuality. It's 2006, Simon. Watch a bit more Trisha and Springer and you'll realise your pretty mainstream now. You'll probably catch your old mate Oaten too - re-enacting the moment when he tells his wife....!!

I will make one sympathetic observation in this case. One suspects the true story behind the Sun's chatline proof is more tawdry than at first sight. Either the Sun has obtained credit card or telephone records illegally, or someone with access has taken the necessary papers, handed them to the press and plunged the knife into Hughes. No wonder Tatchell has accepted Hughes' apology for that homophobic election campaign in Bermondsey 1983 - his own strict code of outing the hypocrites has been followed to the letter. All good things come to those who wait. Two decades, eh Tatchell. Patience of a saint!

Next case - Oaten. Again a liar and a prat. He will be punished for his deceit very directly. No-one, however Liberal, will stand the sight of a wife and family being humiliated in this way. We'll be having Winchester back then shall we.

Finally - Opik. I'm afraid this man continues to pursue a political death wish with the zeal of a moth's headlong dash for those noisy lights up ahead and he remains my prize idiot of the week.
As the self appointed chief apologist for the Party he has taken debates into unchartered waters and sunk. Make no mistake, the rest of his Party have been delighted to defer to his lead. Noticed anyone coming to his rescue. Not likely! He thinks the media invite him on for his persuasive argument. Lembit, it's because you're great entertainment. Even Lembit's fiancee, weathergirl Sian Lloyd, has better judgement - she's the one who's delayed their wedding!! Now try re-negotiating that deal with OK!!
The "fat lady" started warming up weeks ago and finally last night, as Lembit went on This Week and freely admitted to being a political kiss of death, she burst heartily into song. We'll have Montgomeryshire back too.

There are dark forces at work in Cowley Street. The Lib Dems are having a really good bath and unless I am much mistaken a certain Mr Ming is in charge of the loofer.

Friday, 27 January 2006

I'll tell you why, Ian mate

It is because two little girls, aged only 10, were deceived, captured, subjected to extreme mental and physical torment, abused, probably raped (we'll never actually know), killed and then partially cremated by a man known to be a danger to young girls; but who remained at large and free to work amongst children entirely through the incompetence, disinterest and fecklessness of your police force.

You're making a habit, like your name sake, of grabbing a few too many headlines and a few too few criminals, Mr Blair. You are also becoming a liability when placed in front of a microphone.

If you are really the quality policeman that the nation deserves to have at the head of its police force, might I suggest that you get out amongst your men and women and amongst our communities and f****ng well prove it, instead of grandstanding your ineloquence and your inability to think and speak at the same time.

Our police force is dead on its feet because another idiot named Blair invited a man called MacPherson to decimate the reputation and standing of our police without thought for consequence or purpose. He then proceeded to appoint a succession of the most uninspiring, feeble, politically correct, three-bags-full-sir Commissioners he could possibly find.

It is beyond parody that after 8 years in office, the inept words of one man called Blair heap opprobrium on the inept actions of another man called Blair.

We have sunk to a new low when our Commissioner of Police both fails to comprehend the nation's grief at the preventable slaughter of two innocent young school girls, and that he would dare to cite such a case in a wholly misconceived belief that our media discriminate in the coverage of murder.

Get on with your job, Mr Blair.

Thursday, 19 January 2006

I don't know about you but...

...isn't there something vaguely depressing and offensive about a headline in New Labour's 2006 that reads "Sex offenders banned from working in schools" (BBC). Such a proud nation we are, indeed.

And another thing.

If you bring in legislation that specifically rules out any person convicted or cautioned for a sexual offence from working in our schools and places their name on a single register through which all teacher candidates are screened, precisely what "expert" skill do you need to determine whether someone can be employed in a school? Might I suggest - the ability to read names off a list.

I despair that both Parliament and the public appear to believe our children are safer in the hands of an independent, "expert" decision making panel. Elected Ministers are precisely the people who should both take and be responsible for such decisions. After all to whom is the expert panel responsible - that's right, Ministers.

A caution or conviction for a sexual offence is a definable thing; your name then goes on a list; if your name is on the list, the law will state that you can't work in a school or with children - where is the decision in that process that requires an expensive, tax funded expert quango.

Sadly - austere and sincere as Mrs Kelly was - if the mindless slaughter of two beautiful young girls by a pervert known to the authorities but freely permitted to work and live among children doesn't spur the Government into action within two years, I am unable to invest any confidence in them to act now.

A fiver says that a year from now, still nothing will have happened.

Wednesday, 18 January 2006

The Liberal Dilemma

I have received today a very pleasant comment on a previous post concerning my (negative) views on the electability of Mr Kennedy.

Steve Guy said:

Having just attended a presentation of the 2005 British Electoral Survey (http://www.essex.ac.uk/bes) a couple of things you should know are: 1) The personal rating of Charles Kennedy was a HUGE factor in increasing Lib Dem votes, 2) It takes a swing of just 3% away from Labour to produce a hung parliament, but a massive 12% to deliver a Tory majority - so the Tories really should start being a bit nicer to the Lib Dems. The odd of the LDs holding the balance of power next time out are very high.

To which I would respond:

1. I am unable to fathom any possible way in which Kennedy inspired votes, but that's beside the point.
2. Your % swing analysis merely highlights the differing aspirations and expectations that we seek from our politics. We aim at outright Government. The Libs aspire solely to being a weak and uninfluencial partner. That really matters because majorities within electorates back winners.
3. We Tories are being kind to the Libs. We have helped motivate you to pick a better leader; we are even constantly promoting your best potential candidate - Mr Clegg (see you've got me doing it now!); and we are offering a more influencial home to your more sensible Orange Bookers.

Most modern Tories would be delighted to work a little more closely with the Liberals, but before that can happen we need to press them into defining who and what they are. For too long they have wandered about in a world of contradiction and global platitudes.

Please don't think that Cameron hasn't thought this one through - he has, and whichever way the Libs fall, he wins.

You can go East and he will pick up lots of votes and all your serious, young Orange Bookers in a stampede across the floor or you can go West and he picks up an election winning (Junior) ally, that, as you rightly observe, can influence the outcome of the next election. Which ever way you look at it, you are going to propel Cameron into Govt.

And to think that we Tories have struggled with how to deal with the Libs for all these years and the answer so simple.

Tuesday, 17 January 2006

Let me introduce you...

There is something of a debate raging on Conservative Home (a truly excellent website), as you might expect, over the tactics and strategy of a certain Mr Cameron. I can assure you this debate rages all over place!

You will know that I have supported both Cameron and his outlook on politics from the earliest moment, so it will come as no surprise to you that I might contribute to such debates. Normally, I make just short notes but this time it was a bit longer and it hit upon a thought that I might expand upon later, so for posterity's sake, here it is now, along with a link to the actual debate:

Stop berating DC over his manifesto involvement. We have all done stuff under instruction for our boss that we did'nt agree with. Its called learning.

The best politics is played out amongst the majority of voters, where-ever that happens to be at the time. And yes, good politicians should be able to anticipate where the majority can be moved to and carry it through.

Thatcher was just such a politician. Her real legacy of course was the creation of politically placid times, and thus for the last decade or so the majority of voters have occupied the political centre ground. She swam in troubled waters and made them calm. Through her kitchen table economics, defeat of the unions and house ownership policies she successfully encouraged millions of people out of the extreme edges of politics into the comfortable and aspirant middle class. She knew that the majority were ready to move and which direction they wanted to go.

So as Portillo rightly observed this weekend, "there is no sense of crisis in Britain today...and the majority of people do not believe that revolutionary change is the answer...they may be wrong but there is no future for any politician who stuffs radical ideas down unwilling throats in such placid times."

I am always amused that the Right wing fringe, so fixed on the memory of their heroine Thatcher, have forgotten who this election winning majority are and are so idealogically opposed to any policies that attract them. These people are the exact same people that Thatcher pulled from the mud. It is not their essential outlook on life that has changed, just their social and economic aspirations. They still want to be looked after and get as much as they can get for free.

The Tories mistake was to believe that all those people who bought their council houses in the eighties also converted to selfish, hard nosed, survival of the fittest, capitalism. They didn't and that's why we lost power.

So as all good and bad squash players know, it is all about dominating the T in the centre of the Court and forcing your opponent to run around behind you. If that is what politics has TEMPORARILY boiled down to, then Portillo will be wrong about one thing - Cameron will only need one leap to power and we can all raise a glass to that.


Sunday, 15 January 2006

My head has quite literally expoded!

I am so angry right now, I could scream.

I had a go at summarising my feelings for the government over their sex offender teachers scandal, but Matthew D'Ancona does so much better in today's ST in conjunction with its leading news story:

Last week, Ms Kelly announced that appropriate legislation will now be brought forward next month. "Child protection is the Government's first priority," she said. Sadly, that is not so. It took a four-day media furore to force the Government to make parliamentary time.

Here, to supply some context, are some of the public bills already before Parliament: the Borough Freedom (Family Succession) Bill, the Estate Agents (Independent Redress Scheme) Bill, the Lighter Evenings (Experiment) Bill, the Humber Bridge Bill, the Management of Energy in Buildings Bill, the Regulation of Laser Eye Surgery Bill, and the Vehicle Registration Marks Bill. Geoff Hoon, the Leader of the Commons, and his masters in Number 10, found parliamentary time for these pressing matters of state. So much for child protection being their "first priority".

She may not be alone in her guilt but I am sorry, Mrs Kelly alone must take the rap for this disgrace. That is the reality of the responsibility that comes with political office.

Cameron will win

I'm in a mean mood tonight.

I have read in full Brown's Fabian Society speech and I have read the Sunday Telegraph's leader.

Quite rightly the Telegraph concludes that the battlelines are now drawn between Brown and Cameron. Brown's desire is now naked and he will fight the most filthy and depraved battle for Number 10.

In the face of this is a Government who's incompetence and greed (Kelly and Prescott) becomes more apparent and less acceptable by the day. Read my article below and just realise that we have had enough and that it is time to do something about it.

I am preparing my own campaign to win in local elections in May and I do so now with greater motivation and impetus than ever. Cameron will not win on his own. It requires every effort from every liberal minded, conservative in the land.

All I can say, David, if you are reading this, is that if you fight, we will all fight with you.

Bring it on, boys and girls. Nothing, but nothing, would give me greater pleasure than to see Brown dismissed from power.

Saturday, 14 January 2006

Brown's sick joke

The man most responsible for irreparably damaging this country’s sense of national pride and unity, now tells us that we should have a National Day on which we celebrate our Britishness.

This shallow, transparent, cynical and downright patronising proclamation by Gordon Brown makes me sick to the core. Sorry, Gordon, but all you are doing is showing us all just how desperate you are to exercise your selfish and conceited desire to occupy Downing Street and we will not buy it.

It is shallow because it is the sort of statement so commonly issued by this wretched government. It is all about headlines and sound bites and designed only to promote the individual making the statement. Sadly this time, I fear it may happen, if only because it involves wasting a vast amount of tax payers money organising a party designed to get Labour re-elected. They have done it before and we are still paying for the Dome to this day.

It is transparent because Brown knows that in 2009 the primary obstacle to his re-election will be his Scottish-ness. He knows that by then Blair will have used Scottish MPs’ to force through unwanted legislation that affects only England. England will want revenge and he will be the loser.

It is cynical because Brown and this New Labour administration have been wholly responsible for undermining everything that makes us British. Their wholesale destruction of our constitutional pillars is enough to make you weep. They have neutered and vandalised the House of Lords; demoralised, regionalised and deceived our Armed Forces; sidelined and subverted the Monarchy; politicised the police and the civil service; marginalised parliament and taken the people of this country to war on a false prospectus. Christ knows what they are still doing in power.

The Telegraph leader today sets out the essential qualities and characteristics of being British:

“Ask any schoolboy in Banff or Bangor or Banbury what it meant to be British and he would have had a ready answer. It meant cheering for the underdog, seeing the other chap's point of view, standing up to bullies, bridling at injustice. The trouble is that, for decades, Britishness has been derided and traduced by our ruling elites. Britain's extraordinary contribution to the happiness of mankind - ending the slave trade, bringing justice to less happy continents, three times saving Europe from tyranny - is presented in our schools as something to be ashamed of.”

But they miss one very important point.

Brown’s statement is so patronising because, as a died-in-the-wool socialist (communist, frankly) he believes that the state can tell its people not just what to do and how to do it but how to feel as well. New Labour has always hated the fact that, no matter how hard it tries to bring down the old order, the people of this country have only ever really come together to celebrate or assert it national character in recent years under the banner of the Monarchy (be it funerals or anniversaries).

Brown wants to politicise this feeling as he has sought to politicise so much of British life. It is as insulting as it gets that he chooses to cite the sanctity of Remembrance Day as an option for our new politicised British Day, but in his desperation for power, his sense of decency has lost whatever boundaries it might once have had.

Brown will fail no matter how much money he throws at it, and he will fail because national pride cannot be instructed, demanded or bought. The British have never been told how to feel. National pride comes in one flavour only – natural. You either feel it or you don’t and right now, we DON’T.

Friday, 13 January 2006

Howling Howells and Protesting Prescott

10 minutes ago I sat down here genuinely believing that I was about to discover the one man in this New Labour government with moral courage and integrity.
Kim Howells had done the very decent thing and admitted that it was he who made the decision to permit a man whose name appears on the Sex Offenders List to work in schools.
So far so good, but then it falls apart.

He said: "As duty minister for the Department for Education and Skills in the first days of May 2005, it was my job to reach a decision on any cases put to me under long-standing arrangements followed by government ministers of both parties.

What exactly is the relevence of the wording in bold? Why attempt to dilute the blame and spread the responsibility?

It is virtually a decade since the last time a Conservative Minister had the opportunity to take a decision of this nature. Since then we have had an eye watering number of child abuse and paedophile stories played out in the media.

Officers working on Operation Ore have had in their possession for some years several thousand names of men (and women) taken from the subscription list of a child porn website. It is said that they know who most of them are and that many are in positions of trust and directly connected to working with children. It is also said that they have found the time and resources to prosecute only a mere 10%. while our Government sits idle. I wonder who is on that list.

Then there is Soham, the single most comprehensive failure of our police and education authorities to protect children. How dare our civil servants continue to place such mis-guided advice before our Ministers and how dare our ministers accept it without question. Sack the servant and leave the Minister to swing in the wind.

The most important message to emerge from all this is that eight years since a Tory last sat in office and with several thousands more lives ruined by this evil scourge, our cowardly, ineffective, incompetent government admits that it is still operating under a regime created in and for a different world. That is not Government by any standards I recognise.

And so briefly onto Mr Prescott.

The man whose runs our Council tax system fails to adhere to its rules and then claims that he made a mistake and was confused: "On reviewing the situation, I am now aware that an inadvertent error has occurred, based on a genuine misunderstanding."

Its pathetic really. How many more wheels are there to fall off?

Thursday, 12 January 2006

Man of Peace

It was simply a lovely piece of television on a range of levels.

Watching Jeremy Paxman trace his family history held interest on a social level and on a personal level. The camera captured a man undone by his own obstinate cynicism. Paxman laughed and cried in equal measure and, despite a regular lambasting, the narrator clearly kept his nerve and ensured that this intriguing story showed the subject to be profoundly affected by what he discovered.

The wonderful and quick witted librarian in Bradford who quipped "that doesn't happen very often" when confronted by Paxman's complete loss of words.

The brave Norfolk historian who accused the Paxman family of taking 300 yrs to travel from Kings Lynn to Framlingham (50miles??)!!

The fabulous Salvation Army officer who exposed a truly exceptional strength and duty in Paxman's grandmother and great grandmother.

Most of all was the moving and thought provoking inconsistency revealed by watching Paxman at one moment in tears over realising that his grandma's poor money had been stopped "just for having a baby" (her 11th) and then soon after, apparently mock his great grandfather for the number of times he is recorded as having "turned up with his hand out" to receive his poor money.

One senses that for once we saw Paxman responding with natural instinct to stories unfolding before his eyes and probably confront a number of personal ideals and beliefs.

It is probably very patronising to comment in this way on another's journey into their family history, but as I say, fascinating television on so many levels.
Thank you, Jeremy. My license fee earned at last.

Hold it right there, Kelly

How dare she attempt to defer and deflate criticism by implicating Ministers of all colours of making such similarly incompetent decisions over child protection over the years.

"There will be many Ministers, on both sides of the House, who will have similar experiences of this sort..."

Let us be very clear:

We now exist in a post Soham period;
The Soham case occurred under Labour's watch;
The current scandal was determined post Soham and by a Labour Minister.

I am very proud of Mr Willetts, the Shadow Education Secretary, that he has not risen to Mrs Kelly's jibes, and that he takes care not to belittle this issue by turning it into a political game.
The Minister responsible should have the decency and personal integrity to stand up, accept responsibility, apologise and take what's coming to him / her.

I had the dubious privilege of being the senior Courts press officer responsible for organising the media coverage of the Soham trial in 2003. I sat through most of the trial, walked through the scene of crime, and saw the deposition site. I was aware, long before the end of the trial, not just the extent of the failings of the system but also the lengths to which the police forces involved were going to minimise the coverage and impact of their failings post trial.

This trial rightly proved to be the straw that broke the public's acceptance of incompetence in this area, but it seems the Government has neither noticed nor acted. Some idiots out there are claiming media incitement, but as in most cases the media are reflecting public concern, not provoking it.

You and I can sit here now and visualise the meeting that we would have chaired the day after the publication of the Bichard report, we can probably state the actions that we would have demanded and authorised and we can imagine the sincerity with which we would have left no stone unturned in this area.

Can one imagine a more damning accusation than that despite all that has gone before, you, the Education Secretary, might still be failing to protect the nation's children from predatory and beguiling paedophiles.

Ruth Kelly, the now frantic and desperate Education Secretary, is clutching at straws . It is a matter of shame that she has cleared and pursued this line of defence and her tawdry inferences will backfire.

She claims that the Tories are missing the point and confusing the differences between the Sex Offenders List and List 99. But the truth is, as we all know, there should, by now, be no differences to be confused about.

Friday, 6 January 2006

Idiot of the Week

Unquestionably, this award goes to Lembit Opik, Lib Dem MP for Montgomeryshire.

For services to sinking ships.


That in January 2006, just moments after his leader, Mr Kennedy, had admitted to such a severe drink problem that he had had to seek treatment, Lembit proceeded to stick up for Mr Kennedy and, on live TV, proclaim such things as:

"Charles has been extremely brave to admit this problem to the country...he should remain as leader..."
"He is the victim of this condition..."
"He has never lied about this in the past, except when he denied it whilst he was in self denial..."

and the coup de grace -

"Charles has done some amazing things for the party..imagine what he can do without his problem..."

Who could have imagined such amusement. One almost started to wonder whether Lembit had sobered up since New Year. Such colossal lack of judgement and balls leaves one breathless.

I know Lembit well enough to call him, and had been tempted to ask him to consider Cameron's offer to cross the floor, but I am not so sure now. I think the Flip Flops can keep him.

Lembit, please stop this nonsense. You have shown admirable loyalty, but its over and you are now starting to look more crazy than your lunatic leader (that's right, the one who thought it was responsible to stand for the Premiership of this country in a General Election whilst receiving treatment for alchoholism) and that is an astonishing feat.