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Clegg should make clear he can’t support the Gove-Osborne view on Leveson

Posted on 13 June 2012 | 8:06am

Yesterday Nick Clegg tells his MPs not to support Jeremy Hunt in a Commons vote. Today the Deputy Prime Minister appears at the Leveson Inquiry. I suspect there may be a link, and I hope his distancing from David Cameron does not end there.

Mr Clegg will have been thinking about how to deal with questions from the Inquiry. He will have imagined he would be asked for his views on the handling of Vince Cable’s removal from the BSkyB brief, his replacement with Jeremy Hunt, and all that has followed, including Cameron’s immediate ‘clearing’ of the Culture Secretary after he had been before Leveson.

Put to one side the fact that Leveson had said his could not be the forum for this decision. Instead imagine QC Robert Jay asking Mr Clegg if the PM discussed this announcement with him. The answer would have to be No. Then he would have been asked what he would have said had he been consulted. The answer would be that he did not think this should have been rushed out like that, and there should have been more measured discussion. So not for the first time, Mr Cameron has made a sudden tactical move without thought for the potential strategic consequences.

Mr Clegg has gone through a fair few hoops, and endured considerable political heat, to keep the coalition together. But he is not best helped when he is cut out of the loop like this. He would have looked a complete fool if he had gone along to Leveson, said ‘well yes, I was not consulted and perhaps that was because The PM knew what I thought, but never mind, I will vote as instructed anyway.’

I hope he uses his appearance today further to establish his independence. It is clear from the evidence of Michael Gove and George Osborne that the strategy of the Tory part of the coalition is to try to avoid anything much beyond a revamped Press Complaints Commission emerging from Leveson. Clegg has to show that he sides much more with the view of three former Prime Ministers and others that that would be totally unacceptable.

Ed Miliband yesterday indicated he would support David Cameron if Leveson brought forward reasonable plans for change to the way the press is regulated, and sought to implement them. Mr Clegg could go a little further – and say he won’t support him if he tries to follow the Gove-Osborne path on this.

  • Janiete

    Clegg’s position on the Jeremy Hunt vote is utterly pathetic. Issues like this are outside the scope of the coalition agreement and we had an expectation that Lib Dems could and should oppose the Tories when they believe them to be wrong.

    To roll over and deliver exactly what the dominant party wants, as they did with the NHS, demonstrates the utter impotence of the LDs in curbing Tory excess. Clegg isn’t leading his party in coalition with the Tories, he has merged the LDs into the Tory majority vote.

    Don Foster on the Today programme inadvertently revealed the Liberal Democrat mindset saying, in effect, they wouldn’t vote with Labour because of decisions on Iraq! Principles and national interest, on any issue are apparently irrelevant.

  • reaguns

    I think I see this whole thing as at least two separate issues:

    1. Freedom of the press. I’ve not seen anything yet which makes me think that we have any troubles that are so bad they can be fixed by curtailing the press. I think I’m with Gove on that. Yes phone hacking is bad, as are many of the other things raised, but none are as bad as the sort of press that countries like Russia, China and until recently France had. And I do not agree with any step in that direction.

    2. Press ownership. Everyone can see what happened here, Cable wanted to block Murdoch, as all left wingers fear a right wing press monopoly. If it were the guardian or the mirror looking to control BskyB would they be as vocal? Obviously not as they already have BBC as a dominant left wing player, without complaint.
    Nevertheless in this case Cable was right, giving Murdoch 100% of BskyB would have been wrong. And I think Hunt did behave in a craven way, I don’t know if he broke any laws but or codes but if Cameron was the leader he thinks he is, he would have sacked him.

  • Libdem

    Don’t you think the problem is that they’re both probably sticking to some sort of understanding as well as the agreement? They seem to be able to accept an amount of opposition from each other’s party but only so much.

    The Tories have 305 seats, the LibDems 57 and Labour 253, without the LibDems it would be a minority government and the Tories would win some but would have to temper their approach to the more contentious bits of legislation. This is one of the main arguments against the coalition but I think the agreement was actually entered into with principles and the national interest at heart.

    This argument about principles and national interest was also levelled at the last government but then again it seems to be levelled at every government. Similar to the view that the BBC is set ‘against’ every government in which case they’ve probably got it about right.

  • Ehtch

    Agreed. Lib Dems being directed to abstain in this lost vote is a little bit cuckoo, when what their previously mentioned views on the matter are considered. Lib Dem MPs used to be quite maverick in voting, now they are having their hands tied behind their back. Quite disturbing, considering they should have voted for the inquiry, and not fecklessly abstain, which was ordered by Cleggy.

    It looks a vote for your local Lib Dem MP/candidate next time around is worthless. Newsnight tonight should be interesting, where they no doubt will have a good mauling, as they will be having in the media in the next few days. Lib Dems are on the skids, disappearing up their own behinds, and cannot be trusted to do the right thing – they now have totally no honour.

  • Michele

    Clegg instructing his fellow LibDems to abstain was a cheek imhoo.
    It must mean Vince Cable got the same command !!

    Aren’t MPs answerable to their voters more than to party leader?
    A vote for further investigation of Jeremy Hunt’s behaviour would not be the same as libel or slander or assumption of guilt …. it would just be about Parliament wanting everything out in the open as voters do.

    Adam Smith was drunk on power but his boss should have been ten times more aware than he was and any LibDem MP that feels the same should have been allowed to vote.

    I don’t know how the Inquiry have been able to access text messages, it’s surprising to realise my own deleteds could be stored somewhere I don’t know about (even though nobody at all is likely to be interested!).

    Even though text’s are apparently redeemable it’s too convoluted and too easy to excuse Hunt for being out of the loop, important business should be kept to emails that are cc-d / bcc-d and have to be read. 

  • Anonymous

    I think Polly Toynbee was right – Clegg knows he isn’t going to survive beyond 2015, has no intention of asserting Lib Dem ‘values’ and it’s time the Lib Dems cut away from him.  He has done nothing to indicate he has a spine and the matter of the Hulture Secretary is no exception.

    I was struck by Gordon Brown’s appearance at Leveson.  I realised that in two short years we have passed from a government that, whatever its faults, was basically honest and understood the public interest to one that doesn’t understand the idea of public service one iota.  One thing he said stood out for me – ‘We may have served up dinner [to News International] but we didn’t serve up BSkyB”.  That is the difference.  

  • Michele

     Have just heard a Tory MP saying that his and fellow Tory MPs’ retaliation to their junior partners for abstaining will be no co-operation re Lords reform, even though he and others think it’s due.

    This cannot be within their terms of employment, perhaps it’s time MPs had to sign a contract with their voters.

  • Libdem

    Don’t you think that the whole party thing is a joke? The use of whips is anachronistic and ensures that voters’ opinions are nearly always over-ridden for party benefit. When do they give the MPs their head? Only on things that don’t matter to the parties. It’s pathetic, this is not democracy, it’s government for the 2 main parties with the LibDems thrown into the recent pot like a bit of salt to add flavour!

    We’ll be wiped out at the next election and deserve to be for not sorting out the economic mess that we’re in.

  • Michele

     If your
    ” …….  the agreement was actually entered into with principles and the national interest at heart……”

    was true, Clegg would not have been as bothered about prestigious roles for himself and other front bench LibDems as he showed himself to be in May ’10 when questioned about not ‘going with’ GB.
    That, coupled with his attempt at blackmailing GB to stand down, showed him up for ideas above his station.
    He had lost 15 standing MPs their seats fhs!

    Nobody would have wanted a coalition of any type if it could have been avoided but for him to have handed Cameron a 100+ majority was tipping over the result that the country had ‘decided’.

    Had he been bothered about reflecting the country’s judgement he would have allied with Labour, stayed true to mostly-left leaning Lib Dem tendencies (we know not your own) and achieved a different coalition totalling 315 against Tories 307 and Others totalling 28. 
    Much more of a true reflection of what we voters threw up.

    Not to worry eh?  Some LibDems will have made (I only use ‘earned’ when I mean it) towards a quarter of a million on top of their MP salaries by 2015.

  • Ehtch

    Oh look, someone trying to defend the indefensible.

    See sense, will you, Libdem. Lib Dems have made themselves look like spineless cack, anyone with half a brain can see it.

  • Libdem

    Best quote of the day:

    The writer Tom Jamieson summed up the general mood on Twitter: “Nick Clegg confirms the Lib Dems will abstain from the next General Election.”

  • Michele

     Oh give up …. Gove’s support of NI pre- this Inquiry (and at it) was so biased …… his wife is still working for it and there’s the possibility his constituency don’t elect him next time, he might need any port in such a ‘storm’ and to return to journalism …… good grief which is worse? 
    Gove as hack or Gove as MofEd?

    Re my neighbour whose Primary was Academy-ised last September … there’s such a lot of funding left over, not spent on materials for surroundings or on pupils that all teachers have been supplied with iPads :-s  … no instructions yet about their 2yr-old laptops.

  • Gilliebc

    Freedom of the press in a ‘democracy’ is vital I believe.  
    Any steps to curtail what little ‘freedom’ they currently have should be vigorously opposed. 

    I certainly don’t believe they have real freedom now and never have had.  Maybe that is a factor that has contributed to the celebrity fueled bollox and non-stories the red-top newspapers in particular ply us with nowadays. 

    They can’t give us ‘real’ news of any great importance, so they fill their pages with drivel.  No wonder newspaper sales are falling.  Most people I know get the news from the WWW and RT.

  • Anonymous

    oh jeezuz beeb Newsnight has gone all daily wail tonight, sidetracking hysterical stories. 1987, for gawd sakes, a police bomber, or something. christ almighty, give me strength!

  • Libdem

    Oh stop blathering on about your ‘pinup’, you do yourself no favours lifting GB up on high. If even 10% of what we’re led to believe about GB’s scheming is true, then how on earth did he end up as Prime Minister? Easy answer is your schemers enabled it and see where we are today. 

    Just remind me how many times has he attended the HoC and how many times has he spoken since the election? How much have we paid him for doing nothing?Who in their right mind would have entered into a coalition agreement with GB and believed him to be a trustworthy partner? I guess you might have…

  • Libdem

    See quote below!

  • reaguns

    Well they certainly fill the pages with drivel, though maybe thats just because a lot of people want to read drivel.

    I do think www is the main thing, look at the FT – great paper but I usually can’t be bothered with it because it is so unwieldy. However its online website and archives are fantastic. I’ve just never decided if its worth paying for.

  • Anonymous

    What will be happy today, 14 June? Enough rain got, get us over the summer, at least. Mid summer constant light next week, dependent on latitude of imagination, sun down light true for only five hours at the most here,

    Bigger things.

  • reaguns

    Oh yeah I know Gove is biased, I just happen to think that in terms of press freedom he is right.

    If however he is one of those that thinks rupert murdoch should own 100% of satellite tv in Britain, then he is wrong.

    I was just making the point that both labour and tories in this are purely politically motivated, purely thinking of elections as usual. Their is nothing high minded. Thatcher and Co didn’t want Murdoch in the 80s because of competition, and labour and co don’t want him stopped because of phone hacking. Tories want more right wing press, labour want more left wing, thats all this is about.

  • Anonymous

    Off topic, as I normal tend to do, but, have you noticed Wales U-20 are top seed for the knockout round semis, facing NZ which we have already spooked and beat, slaughtered the others easily. The semi will be quite interesting, see what happens. Vid of Wales U-20 so far,

  • Anonymous

    blimey, disqus is cranking through my several thousand comments since early spring last year, since I registered with them earlier on this morning. But my avatar hasn’t turned out right though. Bluddy online whatevers. This is what it should have looked like, as here,

    I’ll work on it.

    Japan, or Glasgie, Simple Minds in a nighclub in Essex with a lift then, visited, Romford, Kray pathetically-like, ey? Got a problem with me, pfff, skank you do brave, these days Essex man, do not know your arse from your face, shitheads, tory Sun shit complete brainwashed shitheads. Puppets.

    Hope that does it. Sun man, Thatchers c$%nts, and look where we are now? As for Murdoch, as soon as he appears in our country again, the gibbet! Outside the Tower.

    • Nit Picker

      Romford is in London, not Essex. Don’t believe me? Do a little bit of research & you’ll know I’m not telling porkies.

  • Anonymous

    Alastair, been watching beeb news 24, followed on with their breakfast programme – to say I feel like spewing is an understatment. Absolute crap shit. Doner kebabs?!?

    I have spotted several times the race relations act can be applied against them.

    oh jezus gawd.

  • Anonymous

    changed by avatar, my daughter stood out well too much. I don’t want to startle people.

  • Anonymous

    Do you fancy Michele to register with disqus too, and upload any and absloute any photo as your avator? Got pissed off last night that someone took my name over again, so I registered it, and with my email address confirmed, it all worked through, took a couple of hours, so I am Ehtch, totally. My avatar Michele, though I have changed it a couple of times like a choice of wallpaper, is a cheap woolworths k-tel front album art from about 1981, Modern Dance – stunning art graphic, considering.

  • Ehtch

    watching on beeb telly now, know his Lace Sergeant Billy Baynham down Falklands, he was on the landing party organising, when galahad got hit, then helping arrange the rescue, getting crews paddling back and fore, Simon and wrorse burnt to bits, twitching just surviving then die, Lance Seargent welsh guards Billy Baynham, royal sigs 54 squadron  Coulsdon TA, Princess Louise Regiment – great bloke. Billy the liar. : )

  • Ehtch

    well you would say that now.

  • Nick

    I heard one Tory MP stating yesterday that he expects the coalition to fall apart within a year due to the anger felt by Tory backbenchers.Not sure if this is a wish or informed judgement.
    I  believe that it will fall apart and that we will be faced with a vote of confidence in the house.Then we will see who has the biggest balls in the Lib Dem’s .I suspect Vince Cable is is sharpening his knife on the quiet in preparation .Ed just needs to be patient and  watch the self destruction on the other side of the house.He needs to be thinking more long term and work on  convincing people that he truly is a PM in waiting .I for one still need to be totally convinced.He has done a great job thus far in getting Labour back to the top of the polls with a significant lead.Now he needs to find that aura of a national leader !

  • mightymark

    A simple and genuine enquiry to all you clever people. When the coalition was formed there was talk of a bill to enforce the life of he present parliament – which I understood as meaning no election was possible for 5 years. The idea was presumably to bind the Lib Dems to the “deal” so they couldn’t just rat on it when it suited them.

    What happened to that bill – was it passed when I wasn’t looking or was the appalling idea dropped? (I realise of course that given Parliamentary Sovreignty, parliament could unmake the law if law it is.)

    if the Lib Dems get a bit frisky (and don’t risk suicide – as the polls currently suggest they would) the question of whether a vote of on confidence over “Leveson” related or any other issues could force a General Election, seems relevant.

  • Libdem

    Actually, I’ve always said it.

  • Chris lancashire

    Looking forward to your review of Gordon Brown’s evidence.

    Oh, and Gove/Osborne are exactly right – the last thing we want are politicians deciding on press regulation.

  • reaguns

    Can’t answer re the bill.

    Do you think Leveson is a big enough issue to force a general election? I think the economy is a bigger issue.

    I agree that fixed term parliaments are a bad idea, we should import the good ideas from the US, like open primaries, not the bad ones. Our govts should know they risk being booted out at all times. In fact I would have a constitution with a series of clauses, events that would automatically force a general election, for example if debt/deficit/inflation/growth/tax/spending/crime/hospital waiting times etc hit certain limits!

    This came from my belief that if any government ever implements a military draft, then the prime minister should not only lose his job, but should be the first man conscripted, and the first man over the top. See if the next pm allows defences to be weakened sufficiently to cause a war.

  • Michele

     I think everyone has talked ever since that 5yr promise (or threat) as if it’s a done deal.
    I could never understand what might be advantageous with it.

    Cynics have always complained about Govts being able to call an early / snap election when the general situation is good, presumably because it’s thought they’re more likely to get back in.

    However, surely with fixed terms it would be just as possible to skew things to the incumbents’ i/o public’s advantage ….. postpone / slow down release of info about improving economic situations for example, hold good things back till closer to that fixed date.  Not sure how that would be good for the public!


    As to calling an early election, wouldn’t that need a No Confidence Vote and weren’t the regulations about those changed too? 

    I remember mid ’10 discussions about a NCV no longer being satisfactory with a straight majority.
    ie:  51% or more would no longer be enough to win it.
    The new system being proposed would need 55% min for a proven NC situation.

    It would mean that even if every single MP to the left of Speaker voted against Govt on his right they still could not win a NCV.
    It would need members of this Govt to vote against themselves.

    HoC    = 650 seats

    Lab    = 258

    DUP   =     8

    SNP   =     6

    Others=  14     Total = 286  or 44%

    Cons = 307
    LDs   =   57      Total = 364    or 56%

    If this did go through it happened very quietly.
    Perhaps it wasn’t proposed in the house, surely it would have received tons of mockery and cartoons?

  • Michele

     It’s not necessary for a PM to be likeable imhoo.
    Is it even possible for everyone to agree re who is?
    Are you happy in lalalalaland?
    Some thought they’d got ‘likeable’ when they swallowed Clegg’s waffle and yet others thought the same re Cam’s schmoozy sales pitches.

    A PM needs to be efficient, super-intelligent, have overview, be able to devise interlocking systems and not to worrry about the shade of  moisturiser (can someone please give Ernest Cam something matt or at least an absorbent wipe?).

    Why don’t you compare GB’s performance to your own MP’s?
    Are they a Lib~Dem or anOther? 
    If the former I daresay they can see the point in voting. 
    If the latter they can probably see NO point at all, given the overall majority Nick Clegg gave to Shiny Ernie.
    Coalesced mess = 364
    ALL Others combined = 286

    I do feel sorry for you, lumbered with that medallion and absolutely having to defend everything the wimp has done.
    It’s not about me.

  • Michele

    You chose a funny word to use LD but heck, he was a bit of a pin up wasn’t he !?

    I can hear you grinding your teeth 🙂

  • Michele

     Further to my last …… I’d rattled on about 51% under the old system whereas the situation was actually simply a single vote!
    It looks as if the change to 55% has gone through ………

    Absolutely shocking.

  • mightymark

    I agree about the primaries though there should be provison to ensure that people voting for a candidate are genuine supporters of the party. The rest is bonkers and based on the mistaken idea that Government is solely about consumer satisfaction.  

    On your PM over the top what haappens if the PM is a coward but the war is generally thought right? Do we for example, just let ourselves be invaded because we happen to have a PM who is a bit queasy?

    Back to the drawing board I think!

  • Michele

     The change we need is about the misuse of ‘protest votes’.
    That is what lost KL the mayoralty again.

    It’s only vanity or negativity that causes a person to start a new ‘party’ rather than working to change an existing one with consensus from within.

    National ballot papers need 4 boxes if that. 
    All the potty people wasting their votes could be grouped in one box called simply ‘none of the above’, that would stop them considering themselves yoof-ful rebels by opting for oddly named monster raving  loonies etc 🙂

  • Michele

    My response to this, about fixed terms and NCVs has for some reason appeared as a solo post rather than in reply …. I must have come back to it later and posted it from the top box rather than its intended one.

  • Michele

     What is meant by the term ‘open primaries’?
    Voting in them is restricted to party members isn’t it?

  • Michele

     Was watching yesterday’s ceremony and thinking OMG they’re having an even worse summer than we are …. then realised it’s their winter  durrrrr.
    There’ve been some fabulous documentaries re Antarctica and Scott / Shackleton and their obsessions

    Shackleton’s little boat …. he didn’t lose any of his party xxx

  • mightymark

    I’ve done some digging (but not “dirty digging”!) and it looks like its not 55% – but 66%. Its main purpoe is to set stautory 5 yr  – Parliaments sso none of that “waitng at the church” stuff that Callaghan went in for in 1979 – anyone here old enough to remember that?

    Nick Clegg who fathered (I think that’s the right word) the original bill – it IS now an Act – is quoted as saying:

    “First, traditional powers of no confidence will be put into law, and a vote of no confidence will still require only a simple majority. Secondly, if after a vote of no confidence a government cannot be formed within 14 days, Parliament will be dissolved and a general election will be held. Let me be clear: these steps will strengthen Parliament’s power over the executive. Thirdly, there will be an additional power for Parliament to vote for an early and immediate dissolution. We have decided that a majority of two thirds will be needed to carry the vote, as opposed to the 55% first suggested, as is the case in the Scottish Parliament.

    These changes will make it impossible for any government to force a dissolution for their own purposes.”

    In the piece I quote from the last lines are in heavy type though whether that’s editorial or because Nick shouted them triumphantly is unclear.

    Its called the “Fixed Term Parliaments (Save Cleggie From Having the Rug Pulled From Under Him By Cameron) Act 2011” – oh – and I made the parenthesis up! Awwww.

  • mightymark

    No – I think in the US you register as a party “supporter” and get a primary vote. You don’t have to be a member and that I have always understood, is what is meant by “open”.

    Presumably (and logically) you can only register as a supporter of one party which is I suppose, some defence against someone registering just to “spoil” the chances of the strongest candidate off the party they oppose. Actually I think if we had the system we would need stronger defences against that, though I havn’t worked out what these migh be – work in progress.

  • mightymark

    Don’t agree on para 2. If that were th case Labour would still be part of the Liberal Party (and it WOULD still be the “Liberal Party”) which, it will be recalled, Keir Hardy expressly warned against saying it would leave Labour a “helpless, impotent and bedraggled mass”.

    Moroever (and I have to shake myself out of disbelief that I could ever write anything in his defence – see what you drive me to Michele!) someone like Galloway who is expelled from one party surely has the right to form another.

    Why do you have a problem with people spoiling ballot papers? If they don’t dutifully tick your “none of the above” box what are you going to do? – allocate their “”non vote” to a party? Which one?

    Finally KL lost for the old fashioned reason that he didn’t get enough votes to win. That was his own fault, especially given that Labour won everywhere else – including the London Assembly – quite handsomely.

  • reaguns

    I’m not sure, there seem to be numerous ways of doing this in america, ie caucuses, primaries, open primaries, I think there are different rules, different ways of doing it. Almost any would be preferable to top brass picking candidates.

    I assumed it was party members, but I have heard supporters of the idea claim that it is even good when it is totally open because all candidates then get closer to majority approval. I can see the point, but I’d prefer a bit more clarity so I think I’d prefer party member only votes.

    Maybe I should have said “primaries” rather than “open primaries”.

    Both parties, and both their current leades, claim to be in favour of distributing power to the people, away from central control – well this is the best way I’ve heard to do so.

  • reaguns

    Its not bonkers, though of course everyone who disagrees with me tells me it is. Its bonkers isn’t a great argument usually, so I’m glad you elaborated!

    Ok first point re setting limits I think this is a great idea. It would make politicians think twice about building up debt, or applying too much austerity, whatever. I have long believed that labour need to follow their fiscally conservative chancellors of the past (oh yes they had them) or similar in terms of US democrats who refused to borrow on our scale. I have heard it suggested, and I agree, that one surefire way back to power would be for labour to put some kind of constitutional gdp linked spending limit in their manifesto.

    Though I think that is not the bit you take exception to most of all.

    Regarding war, I am specifically talking about conscription, ie the institution of a military draft where we force ordinary people to fight in a war. Especially if is not a defensive war, Vietnam being the perfect example.
    So there would be no need for Tony Blair, Margaret Thatcher or David Cameron to go over the top, because they had sufficiently paid, trained and armed professional forces to do the job.

    There are only broadly two ways that a draft can be instituted:
    1. If we allow ourselves to become sufficiently weak and poorly armed that enemies think attacking us is feasible. Any pm who presides over such a scenario deserves to be held accountable. Why should he be less accountable than they young men he has effectively sentenced to death? So WW2 is a perfect example, ie if people had chosen the path of common sense we would have ensured we remained better armed than germany, and would have smashed the 3rd reich while it was the 2.01 reich.
    2. If unpreventable geopolitical events force us into a terrible conflict – well it might be all hands to the pump – and why on earth shouldn’t the prime minister be one of those hands? That would be leadership. Its one thing I like about the royals, they have to serve in the army.
    Now, how likely this is in nuclear times is of course very debatable – which is as good a reason as any for having it as a rule, to make sure we stay nuclear armed.

    In your two examples, we can still fight a war if its right, but with professional armed forces, and we can stop ourselves being invaded: with professional armed forces. Only if these have been neglected will our dear leader be forced to fight. The more cowardly the pm the better, because the better our professional defences will be.

  • Michele

    It’s completely bizarre.
    I remember hearing about the fixed 5yr proposals just after Dave and Nick pacted their ‘civil’ partnership (along with hearing around the same time, May ’10, about the 55% idea re NCV).

    I’ve not heard anything about it being discussed in HoC since then and certainly had no idea it was a done thing, an actual Bill.

    It just doesn’t make sense, it puts Govt on different life spans than any other administrative body at all.

    The change to NCVs is also through at 55% as opposed to a simple majority of one; hardly necessary for this lot anyway since they have 56% of seats between them, not counting a single Opposition or Other that shares their persuasion (or the NI MPs that I don’t suppose can vote anyway and doubt have been able to pair themselves).

    LDs are constantly whining about why they did the initial dirty, the partnership, I’ve not heard them boasting about any of this. 
    The refrain of ‘without us the Govt would be harsher than it is’ is horrendously cynical, without them aTory-only govt would not have been able to manipulate NCVs and with them …… the LDs need to change their denomination and get honest now.

  • Michele

     Ken lost because he had all the right wing forces of the Spectator against him and for one of their own.

  • Michele

     See what I’ve made you do?
    You should see the steam coming out of my ears!
    Further to my last re mayoralty / Spec, Johnson won c/o second choice votes so it’s kind of ironic that Ken got 20,000 more of those than did his rival.

    It looks to me as if, due to the plethora of candidates (another 5 fhs, including’Fresh Choice for London’ – eh? – and ‘BNP’, there was only one reason for so many first choice votes being of the unconstructive ‘protest’ variety).

    Have a good weekend TTFN

  • Ehtch

    changed it back to plain – I stood out like a sore Tom Thumb. I’m conservative like that see….

  • Ehtch

    Alastair, the tide could be turning in world rugby, there is something happening down by ‘ere. But we will see better on sunday, with the semi of Cymru vee Kiwi, again. Hard cheese England by the way, against Saffa the other day… : )

    England and France throwing their toys out of the cradle with the European club Heineken Cup at the moment, all due to Cymru up and coming giving them the willies internationally, and as well Irish provinces winning the HC cup so many times, also in the RabaDirect celtic league. It’s all sporting politics see. They need to ask themselves if there is something wrong with their setups, I do think.

  • Anonymous

    Might as well post of lady behind above of Grimes, quite refreshing. Can’t remember whether she is canadian, or north western Us or a scandanavian, but I hope you agree that is not important.

    I just like her spirit. Good clips of her in sports stadiums in the interview, which is a nice touch. gawd knows what message that is supposed to pass, but I can guess, tribalism? But there again, maybe not.

  • Anonymous

    ….yeh, just checked, from Vancover, Canadian, knew it, twenty four years old,

  • Ehtch

    yeh, but not the same what Billy quietly shared with me – Scott/Shacklton went for his own reasons, and fucked up.

    Billy is still traumatised, battling in his mind if his mob were dispendable planned. You know shit, Michele, sorry to say.

  • Michele

     Could Nick Clegg be about to find out that his assistance in getting the NCV changes through will force the LibDems to renege on their promises about nuclear weaponry–finance.html

    OR will enough Labour members vote for these changes to save their faces?

    Tories alone are 47%

  • mightymark

    Yup – they all read the Speccie religiously in Hackney and Plaistow. The newsagents round there order as many as they do of the Sun as they get complaints if people can’t buy both together.

  • Michele

     We have ‘approved candidates’ lists agreed nationally but then a selected/voted on locally by party members.
    It makes sense to me for a candidate’s credentials or history and real allegiance to be approved at a senior level (your ‘top brass’ insinuation is silly).

  • Anonymous

    If you didn’t click on above, the vid from there, British Columbia US-esque nearby neighbour cultural fade into sports scenes from stadiaa from Vancover, or some Canadian city – securiatate back of security or something, Montreal?

  • reaguns

    This is one of the fundamental disputes of politics and whether you realise it or not those who claim to believe in distributing power (as many people in Labour genuinely do) are not doing so by letting candidates be decided at “senior level” or “top brass”.

    It is the antithesis of the famous left wing motto “Power to the people.”

    When “senior level” approve candidates, regardless be they labour or tory, the candidates become apologists for the top brass as that is who they must impress. When the people select the candidates, they must take the people’s concerns and make the top brass accountable to them, changes the direction of power – in the right direction.

    I think this is a good answer… but there is someone who gives a better answer on this very page… yourself! I believe a scroll down will reveal a post from you berating Nick Clegg and people in his party for not doing what their voters wanted them to, undoubtedly true – would Nick Clegg or his allies get re-elected to lead the lib dems if we held lib dem primaries?

  • Anonymous

    I am privileged with my bedroom, eastern facing on a hill, lasered mornings already, building up to the big. Over seening Black hills, local hills between, in Cross Hands Mynydd Mawr, practising a Merlin for now, Pen Y Fan I see, highest hill in southern GB, stone circles I can see, old faded to be, song must be,

    don’t ask, the first that turns up I search I post, schizle, that is my rule, you tube, with it’s shit… More tea Vicar?

  • Michele

     Not sure what brought all that on Ehtch.
    You know someone deployed in Sth Atlantic, I had a brother deployed in NI, are we in competition about it all anyway?
    You can’t exploit other people’s exploitation for you own ends so pls stop doing so.
    Shackleton went back for his men, not knowing if they could possibly even still be alive, but he went back – they were all rescued.


    However, back to my reason for looking back in to this thread re Gove …. last week I heard a fabulously funny description of Gove’s demeanour at the Inquiry.  As he was so antagonistic his posture and mannerisms apparently resembled a cross between Niles (Frasier’s brother), a praying mantis and a fruit ninja ….. it’s not on iPlayer 🙁
    …..  but this programme about Leveson, with AC’s contact from Kingston Uni who did the Motorman thread, is :

  • Michele

    I don’t mind the idea that constituencies are offered a selection of people that are already deemed the best of the best and have ‘qualified’ as potential candidates. 
    Without that system those people would have to be dashing around all over the country, trying here there and everywhere, hoping to be chosen/selected.
    As it is they can carry on in other work till chosen (and hopefully elected).
    It seems much more organised and less dependent on someone being able to afford to stand.

  • Ehtch

    Brian Hibbard in above film as working with Fatty, the fecking works van driver, better remembered as lead singer of The Flying Pickets, and also on Corrie and Emmerdale and Pobl y Cwm soap operas, died earlier this week.

    Victor Spinetti the great also, earlier this week.

    Vid for each,

    Victor as an Italian cop in The Italian Job, the 1969 original with Cameron’s mate Michael Caine….

    NOOOO! only joking, an italian actor that looked like him, what with footie coming up sunday, vee the ities…. MR BRIDGER!!!

    HERE is the actual Victor Spinetti at his best,

  • Anonymous

    Think that is detail, as long as the people they must impress, and are held accountable by, are the people and not the party leadership. Any deviation from that is authoritarian, fascist (oh yes it is, not an exaggeration)
    and makes MPs apologists for party leadership.

    MPs should not think it is their job to explain to people why the leadership says yes to europe or austerity or whatever, it should be their job to tell their leaders that the people demand no austerity, or no europe, or whatever it is.

    Support anything else and you are a shill, its that simple.

    This should be labour’s domain. Tories talk about distributing power, but seeing as they are the power class, why would they want to?
    Yet tories have stolen a march, with a few more open primaries and also the brilliant decision by 80 mps to disagree with cameron on europe, because they felt their constituents would not vote for them if they did not. But you could see how many correctly feared for their careers, as they will now be sidelinded from cabinet jobs. Again – it shouldnt be up to cameron to do that, it should be up to the voters.

    Where have the chartists, the levellers, the Tony Benns, the democrats, where have they gone?!

    Only to be replaced by Tony/Gordon/David/Nanny knows best – know your place little people.

  • Anonymous

    Suppose what I am saying is, the Falklands could have been avoided, and some people think it was foreign office tactically arranged, to help the Thatch in political terms. Which is quite ironic, because that is why the Argies invaded, for same reasons.

    Do you remember Nationwide, the beeb tv early evening programme? Well, a year or two before, maybe three, they did a story on the Falklands, and saying it was not defended well, suggesting that it was open to invasion by the then Argi junter.

    I think the FO put a carrot on a stick to the Argies, and the rest is history, you could say. The FO giving out signals to the mad junta that we are not bothered about the Falklands, but actually were, to help the Thatch. It is strange what people will do to sub-consciously arrange things to get a situation that they know they can win, arranged, to help any hopeless situation they get into at home, politically. Suppose there is no need to mention the Thatch and Chile then, too, or have I?

    But above is my view on it, it made me want to reach the sick bag, from start to finish of the whole affair, in how it occurred, but in absolutely total respect for the ones at the sharp end that had to actually sort it out in the end, due to total FO strange going ons then.

  • Anonymous

    Alastair, you might want to look at this episode of Two in Clover, guest starring Fred Trueman yorkie England fast bowler, with Sid and Victor. Also first tv appearance it is said of John Inman the umm, nice boy, : ) Some of these long lost sit coms are fascinating, he says… 1970, I was eight then – my brain memory is full of such -there must be something wrong with me, maybe.