October 31, 2017

Fallon shouldn't be sacked for touching JHB's knees

Fallon shouldn't be sacked because he touched Julia Hartley-Brewer's knees all those years ago.

I don't know whether there is a Mrs Fallon now, or if there was one then. That isn't my concern.

MPs' expenses are more important to me as a voter than MPs' conduct with their staff. When MPs fiddle their expenses, that is a crime against me as a taxpayer. When they fondle an assistant, that is between them, and I do not see that as a taxpayer or voter I am harmed.

MPs are getting excited about sexual misconduct. It's easy for them to understand, much easier than say getting to grips with Brexit, or thinking of spending cuts to pay for the tax reductions they call for in the budget.

By making much of MPs' sexual conduct, Theresa May loses control of events. Just as Rajoy is at the mercy now of events in Catalonia after taking over the reins of government, so May's options in keeping or firing ministers may be dictated by disclosures in the tabloids.

It's only proper, then, to be amused by the emergence of the name of Damian Green today. He is after all her lieutenant, the man she leans on most in her hapless attempt to look even remotely in control at Number Ten.

Should Damian Green be sacked for being frisky in the back of taxis? I don't care about that. I would, though, like to see him sacked for being a useless immigration minister under Theresa May, and for being perfectly open that he would still vote Remain if the referendum were rerun now.

Just as Fallon should not be sacked for touching Julia Hartley-Brewer's knees (even though he seems to have done it several times). Fallon should be sacked because he is a useless minister, time expired, failed, the Defence Ministry under him out of control.

It is long past time for Fallon to be replaced with one of the up-and-coming younger Ministers who should be given a chance to show their paces. (Though dull leaders are more at ease with dull subordinates.)

That - and only that - is why Fallon should go, and go now.

October 29, 2017

The Remainer Rage of Nick Cohen

We have seen the Labour MP Barry Sheerman claiming that Remain voters were more educated than Leave voters. Would that be all Remain voters versus all Leave voters, or would Barry concede some overlap? Anyway, quite what conclusion he would draw from this I don't know. In a democracy are the votes of the more educated to be treasured more highly than the votes of those with fewer educational qualifications? Does lack of further or higher education somehow invalidate a vote in a democracy? Long gone are the days when graduates of Oxford and Cambridge had a second vote. Judging by Chris Bickerton's article in the Sunday Times today (£), a good thing too.

Incidentally, one wonders if Barry Sneerman Sheerman has looked at the educational qualifications of those who voted for him in the general election, rather than for his opponents. The snooty snobbery of this Labour MP - yes, a Labour MP - is a wonder to behold.

The Guardian has served us up an ant-Brexit article by Nick Cohen. Usually a controlled writer, he has dived off the deep end and the result is a splenetic Remain piece which can only trouble Leavers’ funny bones. What intellectual snobbery is on display as he looks down his nose at those prejudiced Leavers, who had the effrontery to reject his world-view.

It is an article any troubled Leavers should tuck away. Should you in the future start to doubt yourself, or wonder if Remainers really did have cool logic on their side after all, dig out this article again, and be reassured that being highly educated is not a guarantee of talking coherent sense.

Where, he asks,  are Britain’s leaders who will tell 17.4m voters that the Brexit they were promised cannot be cashed? Oh yes, that would be the unemployment, the recession that the great and the good promised us, economic promises that have not been delivered.

Hand-wringing Remainers like Philip Hammond assert that we did not Vote Leave in order to be poorer. Actually, yes we did. You told us we would be poorer but we still voted to leave, because we wanted our democracy back. Democracy. Get that, Philip?

Meanwhile, on a Sunday morning to make you smile, enjoy the sight of Nick Cohen incoherent with Remainer Rage.

Enjoying Catalonia

What has happened to Catalan public opinion since the leaders of Spain and Catalonia started squaring up to each other?

Today we have some opinion poll data.

The BBC reports that 52% (against 43%) favour the dissolution of the regional parliament and the holding of elections. 55% of Catalan respondents opposed the declaration of independence, with 41% in favour.

The question is: can Rajoy’s heavy-handedness snatch defeat from  the jaws of victory?

Enthralling though the present standoff is, one can imagine that in twelve months’ time it may look like a storm in a teacup.

But meanwhile let us be honest - the squirming of the EU is a joy to watch. As is the embarrassment of the SNP.

October 12, 2017

A sleb ventilates

Oh it was horrible. I literally cannot describe what he did. But it was horrible. It scarred me. I went on to have a husband and family, but what he did scarred me.

(Publicist: Yes, Ms Sleb will take questions)

Who did you tell?

Obviously I couldn't tell my parents. They would have been so upset. It was important to me that my boyfriends and my husbands saw me as the whole, normal person that I am, so I hid my scars from them, even though those wounds festered deep inside me. My analysts said I should do whatever was right for me, and try to come to terms with my deep hurt, and, you know, I tried. But I couldn't, I just couldn't.

Did he help you become famous and make a lot of money?

That is not what this is about! It is about my integrity as a person, as a human being.

When did you decide that you had to speak out about your hurt?

Well, I saw others talking about their hurts, and I thought, yes, I have bottled it up all these years, I am hurting so much, it is time for me to be brave and speak out. I mean, nothing has happened to them, so I can talk about myself too. The sympathy and the love and the publicity they are getting ...

(Publicist whispers to sleb)

It was so nasty. It was so horrible. How could I not speak out? You can all see now what a vile person he is.

You kept it quiet all these years. If he is so bad, how many more women do you think your silence has put in harm's way? How can someone so wonderful live with that?

(Publicist: Thank you all for coming)

October 11, 2017

The plumptious smugness of Dame Jenni Murray

Can Dame Jenni Murray be as self-satisfied as she seems?

According to The Times diary, Jenni Murray once asked Margaret Thatcher what it was like to be a woman Prime Minister. There was an icy pause before she replied that she was not a woman Prime Minister but the Prime Minister. “One reviewer, Murray fondly recalled, described it as the only time his radio had frozen over.”

At the Durham book festival Murray said this was one of her greatest achievements - to silence Margaret Thatcher.

Did the Dame not understand what was going on here? Margaret Thatcher was being the true feminist. She was actually correcting the Dame. But the Dame was too self-regarding to notice.

And so she evidently remains.

October 09, 2017

The scandalous Heath "investigation" raises more questions

Mark Wallace has written about the scandalous Wiltshire police investigation into Edward Heath, which is looking increasingly flawed.

"The decision to investigate such serious claims, against Heath or anyone else, is not in question", he writes. Indeed it is. The accused was already dead. The police should have better things to do with our money.

Where is the Police and Crime Commissioner in all this? Just sitting on his hands?

Is anyone trying to discover whether this is the force's view or whether Veale is out on his own here?

And - given the huge flaws emerging - is this Wiltshire Police's standard level of competence?

Veale is overdue to be sacked, and journalists should be digging deeper.