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    Thursday, 28 May 2009

    Quote of the Day - 28th May

    "Politics, as politicians well know, is largely a matter of giving names to what is happening anyway and persuding people to vote for it."
    - Christopher Hollis

    Wednesday, 27 May 2009

    Quote of the Day - 27th May

    "It's not Brown, it's Balls"
    - Michael Heseltine offers his opinion on a speech given by Brown on endogenous growth. The speech was written by Ed Balls.

    Saturday, 23 May 2009

    Funny old thing...

    The Telegraph has compiled a list of MPs' 10 favourite shops.

    At 5 they have Oka:

    "Designer furnishers co-founded by by Lady Annabel Astor, David Cameron's mother-in-law. Michael Gove - £238.50 for birdcage coffee table, March 2006 - Ed Vaizey, £671 Dordogne table, February 2007."

    Highly amusing that the Telegraph's example consists of two ShadCab members. Funny old thing.

    See the top 10 here.

    Wednesday, 20 May 2009

    Condescensions with Nick Clegg – A Lib Dem Party Election Broadcast

    “Please tell me you’ve watched this” the email read. I hadn’t. I was watching a very important patch of recently applied viscous wall covering, dry. Still, it had to be worth a watch? And the wall was pretty much dry by this point.

    I should have known better when the ‘change’ music came on. The violins a-chirped and up popped Clegg, face equally a-chirpy (he always looks so cheerful – he tried to get angry over the Ghurkas but only succeeded to look as though he was smiling through a bout of particularly bad heartburn).

    “Well I’ve been doing town hall meetings for….” Oh God. We’re in patronising territory here, please don’t mention the ‘ordinary people’. Too late. Clegg was telling us that it wasn’t a policy… patronising pause, not a number, not a statistic. Close up on an ordinary person. Apparently it’s just doing things differently – ironic, this format seemed suspiciously familiar. The violins were still going like mad. We weren’t told what exactly ‘it’ was.

    The cameraman clearly had no idea either, he’d clearly fallen asleep. Clegg was suddenly standing at a forty five degree angle. Close up on Clegg’s hands and an ‘ordinary person’ grinning like, well, Gordon Brown. There were many ‘special effects’. Perhaps the intern had found the ‘FX’ menu on Microsoft Movie Maker?

    Clegg urged us to ‘just come and talk to him’, ask him anything. Hang on a minute. This is familiar. Clegg Direct anyone? No? Oh right, sorry, this was ‘Conversations with Nick Clegg’ (Part 1 – which means we have more of this to ‘look forward’ to). The Lib Dems must be keen on radical language reform because the last time I looked, conversation involved a little more than have someone answer a question. Tea and biscuits are definitely required. As is less of standing in the middle of what can only be described as a nuclear bunker, wafting your arms. Where were they filming this anyway? Turnstile!?

    ‘Conversations with Nick Clegg’ faded into black (I told you they’d found the ‘FX’) and then Nick Clegg faded back in again. We even got a helpful banner. “Nick Clegg – Leader of the Liberal Democrats”. Really? Lib Dem election broadcast with Nick Clegg? Wouldn’t have arrived at that conclusion on my own.

    The violins had stopped. Clegg was getting serious – I’d turned off, it was dull now and we were only one minute in. It was like watching the head prefect in the school play. He was talking about swiss cheese and tax cuts. Tax cuts paid for by swiss cheese? Had I fallen asleep. Was this real? The Violins were going again as the text faded in (getting a bit advanced!). Tax cuts. Swiss Cheese. Lib Dems. The whole thing was cheesy – a bad imitation of a certain other election broadcast. This wasn’t conversation but condescension with Nick Clegg. I felt cheesed.

    As I type, Dave has popped up, on the train, signing papers, in the car, touring the country doing Cameron Direct. Out of the main party leaders, so far it seems that he’s the only one who can see daylight.

    Monday, 18 May 2009

    10 Things You Didn't Hear MPs Say...

    1. “Moat? I didn’t claim for dredging my moat. That was the estuary. I couldn’t get the yacht up to the mooring.”

    2. “Manure is utterly essential to carrying out my duties as an MP. It greases the cogs of the political system.”

    3. “Using taxpayer’s money to build my property portfolio was a selfless attempt to kick start the housing market.”

    4. “The bathplug was doing the taxpayer a favour. Since I’ve started claiming for my water bill, I hadn’t been bothering with a plug.”

    5. “Dog food was a legitimate expense, Corby is employed as my parliamentary assistant. It comes under staff costs.”

    6. “My gardening expenses may appear extravagant, but Prince Charles doesn’t come cheap and I have excellent vegetables.”

    7. “They were energy saving light bulbs. That’s more an investment than an expense.”

    8. “I don’t know what my constituents are complaining about. My planters give them something nice to look at.”

    9. “Maintaining my estate is at the taxpayer’s expense is just fiscal stimulus. I am helping fight off the recession by contributing greatly to local employment.”

    10. “You’re right. I defrauded the taxpayer. I’ll be handing myself in to the police.”

    Tuesday, 12 May 2009

    Whose Website Is This?

    I count 10 mentions, just on the homepage!

    Any ideas?  

    Monday, 11 May 2009

    An Apology from the Rt. “Hon.” John ‘Seven Homes’ Lewis MP

    Dear Constituents,
    I feel that, following revelations in the Telegraph regarding the expenses of MPs, I should issue a statement on the matter. It is damaging for trust, for the House and for our political system in general.
    Some have commented that my seven homes are indefensible. I have also attracted criticism for supposedly ‘flipping’ my second home between them over the past year. This was not a matter of personal profit, but personal security. If I had the choice, I’d have only one home, but, as it stands, I have to have seven for security purposes. These ‘decoy homes’ are a means of ensuring my security so that I am fully able to execute my parliamentary and constituency business. As for the flipping, this was not because I wished to decorate my homes at the taxpayer’s expense before selling them for a profit. It was merely to protect the identity of my primary residence, and to ensure that terrorists could not work out which of my homes were mere ‘decoy homes’. The trauma of having to move between seven homes, including one in Tuscany, has been a burden I was willing to carry to fully serve my constituents.
    The furnishing of these decoy homes is integral to this security strategy. It is also essential that they are furnished in keeping with the area. If I were to paint a Notting Hill home in anything other than Farrow and Ball it would be obvious to any terrorist that such a home could not be real. I have been forced to sell homes and purchase new ones due to intelligence that they had been compromised. Any profit made was not actually profit, but “profit” designed to give the appearance of profit, normalising the rapid and suspicious sale of the house. As “profit” is not actually profit, it is exempt from CGT.
    All the above claims were made within the rules and all were granted by the fees office. I, however, accept that this isn’t enough, which is why I must apologise. I am most awfully sorry that I have been caught following the rules. In future I shall be certain to ensure that this does not happen again.
    Yours in dutiful service,
    Rt. Hon. J. Lewis MP

    P.S. Must dash - doorbell. That will be the furniture delivery.

    Thursday, 7 May 2009

    Dave the Matador and his Cuadrilla of Red Tories

    The (proverbial) sun was shining brightly in the Chamber today. Gordon listed his engagements, lips curling into a.. oh no! A smile. And it all went downhill from there, for his outer smile may be all smiley (or should that be scary), but his inner smile is but a grimace of rage (as Prescott demonstrated). Dave was confident, dancing around, red cape a-swishing, remarkably upbeat for someone whose bike had been stolen. Again. At least it was chained to something other than a bollard this time. He really has developed into a PM in waiting.

    Dave wanted to know about (rub in) Gordon’s apocalyptic week. The cape a-swished, the trumpet a-sounded. Gordon was released into the ring, unimpressed, for he wanted a good old crisis. Gordon likes crises, he can do ‘swine flu’ – the jury’s still out on the ‘economy’ and the ‘difficult decisions’, my guess is it won’t be favourable. All he’s managed to do is to take some very simple decisions, make them very difficult, and then announce the resulting disaster on youtube.

    “We’re getting on with the business of governing”, insisted Gordy. There is clearly some disparity in what constitutes ‘governing’. Dave gave another swish of the cloak, wafting it around the chamber towards the Communities Secretary who sensibly hid behind the Speaker’s chair. Hazel wasn’t getting involved, she’d already stuck her knife in. Gordon gurned (sorry, smiled) like an idiot. Out came the old ‘do nothing’ jibe, Dave wafted the cape a bit more. Wafty-waft, “youtube if you want to”, waft, waft. Gordon began to see red.

    “We are taking action…” He was interrupted by gales of laughter from the Tory Cuadrilla poised to gallop in, lances ready. Tory cuts, u-turns, hug a hoodie. “Compassionate Conservatism has gone, gone…” err, Gordon hesitated, where was this going again? “Gone?”. Dave drew his sword. “I’m sure that sounded just great in the bunker, whilst the mobile phones and printers were flying”. Dave was now flying, back and forth, around and around, red cape a-swishing. Gordy stormed after him. Dave wanted a general election. Gordon charged. Gordon wanted to talk about issues, not listen to jibes from a party “in the dark ages”. The whole exchange was getting more like the dark ages by the minute. When was the last time swords were drawn and blood shed in parliament? Must be a t least three weeks. Dave sidestepped, but Gordon was not giving up. He lined up for one last charge. “He is completely out of his depth when it comes to the big issues in this country.” Ouch! Matador Dave had been speared on a horn and retired to the front bench to nurse the wound. Gordon did a victory circuit around a planted question.

    Time for the Lib Dem interval, but this was not the usual funny dancing, or naff 80s music. Clegg entered the ring, knife already drawn. “There comes a point when stubbornness is not leadership; it is stupidity.” Dust was already appearing around Gordon’s feet. Clegg taunted him with “vacuous”, and then with “saving his own skin”. Gordy charged again, straight onto the outstretched knife, then blamed Clegg for attacking him. A bit rich from the man who once owned Damian MacBride.

    Dave was bloody, but still fighting strong to orchestrate the final Tory push. Every Tory in the chamber was red to the PM (not in a Guardian-esque sense of the word I must assert). Question after question Dave’s Cuadrilla of Red Tories came galloping in on horseback, swords drawn, and question after question repeatedly stuck them into the Prime Minister. Petitions, elections, Gurkhas, they all drew blood. Gordon charged around after them. The Labour benches had given up - retiring to the proverbial greenhouse to cultivate a series of plants. Mighty Dave handed the sword to Stephen Crabb. Crabb stepped forward, sword in one hand, muleta in the other. “What does the Prime Minister intend to do about the important issue of bullying in the workplace, given the reliable reports of a senior Whitehall boss throwing around mobile phones and printers and swearing at switchboard operators?” Brown was no longer seeing red, he was seeing blue. He stormed towards Crabb in rage. “Any complaints are dealt with in the usual manner.” Crabb had plunged the great sword of Dave the Mighty Matador straight into Gordy’s one ‘nerve’. The Tory benches took cover in case the PM had a Nokia or two on him. The crowd cheered. Labour fell silent. Johnson risked a smile. Dave had better be careful not to kill this weak bull, for that risks the possibility of a much stronger replacement.