Filed: Politics

Truth is a Dangerous Precedent

Political campaigning is knockabout at best and downright dirty dealing at worst, and those of a gentle disposition are best advised to avoid it As far as egos and reputations go, this is by no means a non-contact sport.

Even so, Phil Woolas was sailing pretty close to the wind when he implied that his LibDem opponent at the general election was supported by muslim extremists. Read more ›››

Divine Nonintervention

I bumped into the pastor of the local Congregational Church on Tuesday evening. He was busy getting the place ready because he said they had a service at 7am the following morning.

This seemed rather early for midweek religious devotion and I racked my brains to see if I could recall the significance of 20 October in the Christian calendar. I couldn’t think of one and so I asked, to be told that it was an inter-church service of prayer ahead of Axe Wednesday. Read more ›››

Child’s Play

Like most political pronouncements, the one today about cutting child benefits for high-earners came as no surprise at all given that it had been telegraphed through the media over the weekend.

The government says it is stupid to take tax off higher earners on the one hand while giving it back through a universal benefit on the other. This argument falls down because the aim is to cut a billion a year of public spending, not as a way of reducing tax. There is an unholy alliance of Red Ed Labour and the likes of the Daily Mail saying it is yet another burden for the middle class to carry. Read more ›››


You’d think that Labour would have learned its lesson having a leader whose surname was a handy nearly anagram of liar and another where “…is a moron” naturally follows his first. So if f you must choose a new leader, why plump for someone whose first name rhymes with red?

Miliband major wouldn’t have been much better. I’m sure he would have been Rabid David in the letters page of the Daily Mail before the week was out. Read more ›››


Have you noticed that thing about politicians? I mean their absolute, nailed on rightness. Not right as in not left or centrist, but their sincere certainty that their ideas are the right ones.

I use the word ‘sincere’ with some trepidation because faking that is top of the list of desirable qualifications for an aspiring politico. At the very least they must have unquestioning belief in what they are saying and it usually helps if they have only a passing acquaintance with whatever subject they are talking about. Read more ›››

ECDL Desirable, Not Essential

Further to my post about Tony Blair yesterday, I haven’t been able to read any of his memoirs as yet because a) I haven’t bought it and b) I’m busy working my way through Decline and Fall.

Published at the same time, Chris Mullin’s diaries might not be the absolute inside track, but is probably more entertaining. Read more ›››

Goodbye Mr Chips

It came as something of a surprise to hear of Cyril Smith’s death today. Not that he should have succumbed at the age of 82, but the reverse really.

How had he lived to such a good age when we’re told that obesity is the curse that will put us into an early grave?

I suppose that like most northerners, I had a sneaky affection for Cyril. He had that bluff, no-nonsense approach that suited him as mayor of Rochdale, but I’m not sure it translated easily to national politics. Read more ›››

When Did You Last See Your Father?

I watched Tony Blair being interviewed by Andrew Marr the other night, and I listened to his recorded interview with Richard Bacon on FiveLive yesterday, and you have to admit that he has still got it, whether you define ‘it’ as charisma, self-belief, spin or egomania.

Whatever ‘it’ is, he knocks Gordon Brown, David Cameron, Nick Clegg, David Miliband and Ed Balls into a cocked hat. Read more ›››