Archive for March 4th, 2009

The human condition…

So… what pleasures were to be had today from our political masters?  What twists of fate and amusing political and other pretzels brightened my day?

Several, as it happens.  Let me kick off with one of the pleasures of my week – Prime Minister’s Questions in the Commons.  Today, of course, with Gordon Brown shaking his clunking fist addressing Congress in the States, we had the Battle of The Titan – William Hague v Harriet “It isn’t going to Happen” Harman  In terms of scores on the doors, Harriet Harman probably took the session on issue matters, but Hague got the laughs by playing on the rumours of Harman jostling for the leadership role. After referring to Churchill and MacMillan as examples of politicans who replaced their leaders when the leader was ‘out of the country’, Hague quipped “I am only a Deputy now, but at least I’m a loyal one.”

Then there was the absurd news of the BNP using a picture of a Battle of Britain Spitfire to promote  “The Battle for Britain”

The Register has the full story: ” The British National Party has pulled off a bit of a blinder by fronting an anti-immigration campaign with a poster featuring a Spitfire belonging to 303 Squadron of the RAF – the “most effective Polish squadron during the Second World War”, as the Telegraph puts it….

John Hemming, MP for Yardley, Birmingham, weighed into the BNP, mocking: “The BNP often get confused and this happens because they haven’t done their research. This is just another example of them getting it wrong. They have a policy to send Polish people back to Poland – yet they are fronting their latest campaign using this plane.

But it isn’t just the people whose eyes are too close together getting it wrong. Harriet Harman managed to put her foot straight in it when she was asked by Plaid Cymru’s Elfyn Llwyd why Fred The Shred Goodwin got a knighthood and replied that it was for his work with the Prince’s Trust – not his services to banking.

The BBC reports at 1320 It’s official. “Harriet Harman has admitted she got it wrong on Sir Fred’s knighthood. Her office issued a statement shortly after PMQs saying she was “happy to correct” the record. “It was, in fact, the case that he received his honour for services to banking but no doubt his contribution to the Prince’s Trust would also have been taken into account,” it read.

Not of great national import, I accept – but ironic.

And then there was the Richard III of the Labour Party: Jack “The Lad Chancellor” Straw who gave his views, preying in aid “The Almighty”, on legal aid and the amount paid to lawyers for publicly funded work.

Jack Straw deplores ‘astonishing growth’ of legal aid
Times: Jack Straw called last night for an end to lawyers’ high earnings from legal aid as he deplored the “astonishing growth” in the numbers of lawyers paid for by the taxpayer.

The Justice Secretary said: “There is certainly nothing ordained by the Almighty which says that of those paid for by the public purse, lawyers should be any higher than in other professions.”

So, reading between the lines and putting to use 25+ years of teaching law and cynicism, Straw seems to be saying….  if you take the risks and go into private work you can have the rewards – although the economy is a bit fucked at the moment so you’ll have to cut your cloth a bit until the good times roll.  If you can’t hack it in private work, or have a conscience and try to help people by doing publicly funded work, God has certainly not told me that you deserve more than a modest living like the rest of the people in this country after twelve years of Labour Rule.. so wake up and smell the coffee/get with the programme/live with it/ etc etc etc.

Hang on… twelve years? .. next year will be 2010 and that will make it thirteen years. I’m old enough (as may some of you be) to remember the Phrase “Thirteen Years of Tory Misrule”.There is nothing new under the sun and with that I am orf for a glass of wine before some interfering busybody from the government tells me I can’t.  You laugh?  They are already doing it in Scotland where I suppose “I come from”.  The Scots plan to put the prices up in Scotland.  Clever move.  The Scots aren’t stupid.  They know how to use trains, buses and cars to get to border off licences in England and surely there will be riots in the streets of Edinburgh?

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Today I am talking to James Welch, Head of Legal for Liberty, the cross-party organization for the protection of civil liberties and human rights.  Liberty was one of the sponsors the recent Convention on Modern Liberties and Shami Chakrabati the Director of Liberty is well known through television, radio and press coverage for promoting the views and interests of Liberty.

We talk about the history, aims and objectives of Liberty and three topical and current issues of our times: ID Cards, the use of torture and freedom of speech.

Listen to the podcast with James Welch| Podcast version for iTunes

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Harriet Harman QC, MP, Deputy Leader of The Labour Party speaks to The People of Britain.

“I’ve been speaking to our ‘current’  leader, The Prime Minister,  and he has discovered that quite a lot of people in this country don’t vote in elections and don’t like them.  From this the Prime Minister has deduced that the Court of Public Opinion is not in favour of elections, and certainly Gordon shares their antipathy for these things.  So, I am pleased to announce this morning that the election due in 2010 isn’t going to happen.

If necessary I will bring in a Special Act of Parliament.  We have lawyers,  freed up from the pressures of working on mergers & acquisitions, major trade and manufacturing project contracts and removed from various panels because they charge the public purse too much, crawling all over Election Law to see if there are any loopholes which would allow us to not hold the election in 2010.  But if it should transpire that the law says we must have an election, then… as this government believes in the Rule of Law, we’ll create a new law so that we adhere to the rule of law…  fought for so hard over centuries of oppression from the then ruling class.  I’m sorry that I will not be able to take any questions. That is all. “

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