Archive for February 14th, 2010

May the farce be with you….

Sometimes…having a few glasses of Rioja at lunch on Sundays isn’t a great idea? Osbore doesn’t seem to be too keen to answer questions about Ashcroft, some say.

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A pleasant start to the day at Mazar, a Lebanese cafe in Battersea Square, with strong black Americano coffee and a few fully leaded Marlboros while reading first the News of The Screws and then a bit of Rawnsley in The Observer.

Why master juggler Cameron is suddenly dropping the balls

Andrew Rawnsley writes: “The unresolved contradictions and tensions within the Conservatives are being exposed even before they have made it to power….concept from both his friends and foes for a Channel 4 documentary about the Tory leader. Opponents to his left say it is no more than putting lipstick on a pig, a cosmetic make-over on Thatcherism. Critics to his right see a convictionless PR man who will come rapidly unstuck in government. The answers of his friends are more illuminating. Their explanations of Cameronism rarely progress further than a clutch of cliches about “compassionate Conservatism”, “the post-bureaucratic age” and “social responsibility”, as if a handful of adjectives is the same as a philosophy. When I sought a definition from the man himself, he shuddered that anyone should think that there ought to be such a thing as Cameronism.”

I read most of the Tory blogs on a daily basis. Few are any more objective than Labour and Lib-Dem blogs.  It was ever thus – the willingness to adhere blindly to a party or policy line at the expense of common sense, fair appraisal and analysis seems to be endemic in the political writing world.  We are all at times, I am sure, guilty of ignoring other points of view.

I watch the political point scoring in Parliament and now on Twitter with pleasure – most of it is fairly meaningless but occasionally it strikes home.

There is an open goal at the moment. Gordon Brown is a very unpopular prime minister.  Cunningly, he set up the Iraq Inquiry, some say to get back at Blair, but all he has done with that is remind people how chaotic were the plans for post-invasion Iraq and how duplicitous the dealing pre-invasion.  Brown may yet be skewered by the Grand Inquisitioners at the Iraq Inquiry who will know that he does not have the slick eloquence of Tony Blair, the smooth lawyer skills of Lord Goldsmith or the King Richard III cunning of Jack Straw. I can see Brown having a difficult time when he faces the Inquisitioners.  Piers Morgan is not on that panel.
Despite there being an open goal, Cameron and his increasingly confused election campaign doesn’t seem to be registering with voters beyond the possibility of a hung parliament.  The red meat eaters on the Tory back benchers do not like losers…. and being unable to get more than a hung parliament out of British voters in a few weeks time will not, pundits say, be regarded as a Victory. Cameron is trying to be all things to too many men and women. That suits me just fine – for while I am none too impressed with Labour at present, I cannot, after 30 years bring myself to even think about voting Tory!  I could, of course, vote for a Monster Raving Loony…. but I fear that we may well have such a resident in Number 10 at present.

Rawnsley adds the comment…“This tendency gets additional amplification because it is noisily represented in the Tory press and blogosphere, where the constant clamour is for much stronger, more right-wing meat.”

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Tory top brass frustrated by mystery over Michael Ashcroft’s tax status

The Observer wonders…… “The Conservative party chairman, Eric Pickles, has revealed his frustration over Lord Ashcroft’s tax status, as pressure grows on the party to come clean over the peer’s finances. In an interview to be broadcast tomorrow, Pickles admits that he does not know the financial arrangements of the peer, who has funded the party’s campaigns in dozens of marginal seats and is also a deputy party chairman.

Asked if Ashcroft was a “non-dom” – someone who pays UK tax only on their earnings in this country – Pickles says he is in the dark on the issue: “I’m not in a position to be able to tell you.”

Pickles also hints that he is irritated by the secrecy surrounding Ashcroft and the constant media demands for clarity. “I do not know what his tax status is. If I did, I would certainly tell you,” he says.”

UPDATE:  Guido Fawkes makes a fair point with his questions about Lord Paul and Labourworth a read.

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