Filed: Politics

A Very British Coup

I’m in the process of re-reading A Very British Coup by Chris Mullin who stood down as an MP this year. I’d forgotten what a well-written book it was and quite prescient too in describing the causes of many of the of both country and politics that have befallen us since it was published in 1982.

The reason I’m reading it is as a prelude to the second volume of Mullin’s diaries which lays bare the terminal stages of the Labour government. An email from Amazon tells me it was despatched today. Read more ›››

Fat Chance

Phone-in producers are usually scratching around for subject matter at this time of year — the silly season. You only have to have listened to the amount of airtime to the ‘controversy’ over Fabio Capello’s pronouncement that David Beckham’s England days are over.

The latter’s absence from the World Cup squad was a bit of a giveaway. Read more ›››

Citizens’ Chartist

Another exerpt from An Utterly Exasperated Hsitory and there is a purpose:

…he {John Major} saw clearly that what was needed was for people who served you in the Post Office to wear clearly legible name badges. Major’s Citizens’ Charter was his first big idea in government; a collection of guarantees about service standards and accountability that would make you slightly less cross when you tried to get through to someone at the local council. Read more ›››

Cut Down Jungles or Irrigate Deserts?

Running a country is an absolute doddle, or at least you’d think so if the politicians are to be believed. No matter the party colours, they all have the answer to the perceived ills of the world.

Of course, they can’t make it look too easy or what’s the point of government, so they dress it up first in the gloomiest rags they can find. Read more ›››

Promise Little, Deliver Much

“Underpromise and overdeliver” is one of the simple maxims of business and all other walks of life that is often the hardest to grasp as Nick Clegg demonstrated today, promising the “biggest shake-up of our democracy” since 1832.

Setting aside the populist chaff of scrapping ID cards, biometric passports, CCTV cameras and the DNA database, what this amounted to was: Read more ›››

“A functioning police state needs no police”

I don’t generally subscribe to those “we’re sleepwalking into a police state” opinions that you often read in the letters page of the Daily Mail.

Apart from the ban on smoking in public places, I haven’t felt that my civil liberties have been especially eroded. Or is it that I haven’t noticed because I really am sleepwalking? Read more ›››

Labour Losership Election

I well remember where I was and what I was doing the day that David Miliband confessed to giving succour to the Taliban in Afghanistan. I was in my garden mowing the lawn on a warm August afternoon and listening to that despised organ of religious fundamental terrorism, Radio 4.

Miliband Major was speaking on Great Lives and his chosen subject was Joe Slovo, a communist and one of the leaders of Umkhonto we Sizwe, the military wing of the African National Congress that was declared a terrorist organisation by the South African and US governments in the early 1960s. Read more ›››

The Unusual Suspects

The BBC’s cut-out-and-keep wallchart of World Cup Cabinet Stars stickers is a useful reminder of who is now who and what shade of blue they are.

The concession to Nick Clegg’s new elevated position is that he gets more white space around him than his colleagues, but no-one’s image is larger than Dave’s. Read more ›››