Tag Archives: iain dale

I know I’m on a loser here…

… but Cameron is dead wrong in calling for a reduction in the number of MPs.

There, I’ve said it – do your worst…

This kind of promise – like the one made by his predecessor, Michael Howard, before the 2005 election – is lazy and cynical. Also popular, which is why he made it.

But we’re an easy target, aren’t we? No-one’s going to get shouted down for proposing a cut in the number of MPs, or a cut in our salaries, or by demanding we travel everywhere in standard class. A colleague once bitterly said to me: “If the only reward for public service was to be put in the stocks and pelted with rotten fruit every month, there would be public demand for it to happen every fortnight.”

Nevertheless, Cameron’s wrong on this. And he’s not doing it out of any kind of principle, other than the principle that whatever benefits his party is a good thing. Yes, there is a pro-Labour bias in the current pattern of seat boundaries, just as there was a pro-Conservative bias in the 1980s (though I don’t remember any Tories complaining about that at the time…). And the reason that bias has developed is because it is actually quite difficult to draw a boundary that will contain a specific number of voters as well as accurately represent and reflect a particular community.

Any perceived bias could just as easily be sorted out by a redrawing of the existing number of seats. Iain Dale points out that while some inner city seats have electorates of about 50,000 (he doesn’t say which, incidentally), the Isle of Wight has about 100,000. So, in the new set up, would there be an Isle of Wight East and an Isle of Wight West, each with 50,000 electors? And if the two Isle of Wight seats have 50,000 electors, does that mean every seat on the mainland should have the same number? Or should 100,000 be the figure we’re aiming at for every seat? You can see where simplistic arguments start to fall down when it comes to the unexpectedly complicated area of boundary maps.

If Cameron wants to make a case for fewer MPs on the basis that we don’t need our current 646, then let him do so. But he shouldn’t simply be calling for an entirely arbitrary just because some seats have more electors than others. 

And he certainly shouldn’t be trying to score cheap political points by having a go at an easy target, made all the more easy by the fact that no bugger ever raises his heads above the parapet to defend us.

More seriously, any political leader may come to regret fueling the already absurdly high levels of anti-politics sentiment in this country.



Filed under Conservative Party, David Cameron, Parliament

Fair comment

I RAISED an eyebrow on reading Guido today. His blog, though the most popular political one in the country, is used by many strange individuals to post the most offensive and defamatory comments about politicians.

Now even Guido himself seems to be losing patience with the foamers and in the new year will introduce a new system whereby the most brainless and half-witted comments, though still to be published, will have less prominence than those comments which have had some intelligent thought put into them.

Given that I have only a fraction of the traffic that Guido and Iain Dale get, the moderation of comments on this blog doesn’t take up any significant amount of time at all. Nevertheless, there still has to be a policy. Lately I’ve been a bit more ruthless in deleting comments which have no relevance to the original post but are obviously being submitted by visitors with a bone to pick with the government.

But WordPress’s spam filter has proved invaluable. One person whose comments used to be published quite regularly recently submitted a blatantly racist comment, presumably in the hope of shocking as well as offending. I stopped publishing any comments submitted by him, so he changed his name. When I noticed the IP address matched exactly with the original racist comment, I spammed his comment. Now anything submitted by that particular racist gets automatically spammed and deleted without my even seeing it.

But despite a clear comments policy, I am amazed by those who still submit comments with swearing or personal insults – against me or other MPs – and who still expect to be published. They aren’t and they won’t be.


Filed under Blogging

Amphibians of the world, unite!

I’M LOOKING for votes again. This time it’s the Government Toady of the Year award, organised by Iain Dale.

I think I’ve earned it, don’t you?


A toad yesterday


Filed under Blogging, Government, Whimsy

We all make mistakes

The Week

SEEMS I’m not the only one who spent the first half of “Greengate” misspelling Damian’s name. They better not let Iain Dale see this – he gets very angry at this sort of thing.


Filed under Blogging, Media, Parliament

Why, oh why, oh why..?

WHY am I forced to agree with Boris, of all people?

If Iain Dale has got it right, then I’m afraid I have to declare on Boris’s side. If we’re going to take every Christian symbol out of Christmas, what’s the point in having it at all?

And do any of the PC officials at City Hall have any evidence at all that Christian symbolism at Christmas is remotely offensive to minorities?

Ronnie and Reggie have their prerequisite advent calendars this year: a Winnie the Pooh and a Thomas the Tank Engine one. But you have no idea how difficult it is to source a traditional advent calendar with a nativity scene. Fortunately Carolyn managed to buy one last year, which is now on display at Casa Harris.

Anyone who is offended at this can file their complaint in the nearest bin.


Filed under Blogging, Church, Family life

Green agenda: Tory emissions increase

I’M A BIT suspicious of the spin the Tories have managed to attach to the so-called “leaked” email sent by mistake to Philip Hammond MP’s office by Harriet Harman.

According to Iain Dale, Harriet says in the memo: “the meeting will discuss considerations in advance of the Speakers (sic) statement on Police action and Parliament.”

The duplicitous bastards! How dare they discuss considerations in advance of the Speakers (sic) statement? They might as well be ordering the tanks into New Palace Yard…
And from this, Iain concludes: “What is improper is for Harriet Harman to call a meeting seeking to influence the content of that Statement by the Speaker…”

Why hasn’t the part of the memo declaring the government’s intent to “influence” the Speaker’s statement been revealed? I agree that such an attempt would be wrong, although I would expect the Speaker’s office to seek advice from the Leader of the House in any event.

In fact, all this hysteria looks completely unjustified when you consider this agenda attached to the memo, which, to Iain’s credit, he has published himself:


I wonder which parts of this the Tories disagree with?

This is all part of a very dangerous Tory strategy to persuade the public that Damien Green was arrested because he was the recipient of government leaks – in other words, for political reasons. Iain repeats this tonight. Do-Nothing did the same yesterday.

It’s a clever strategy, though lacking in all principle. It is utterly cynical and dishonest, and therefore entirely expected of the Tory Party.

Incidentally, Hammond has form when it comes to deliberately misinterpreting and misrepresenting what Labour MPs say for his political advantage.


Filed under Blogging, Conservative Party, Labour, Media, Parliament, Politics

Lost in translation

I ONLY hope that Jose Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, didn’t intend to sound as arrogant as he did when he dismissed the views of the majority of Britons by saying that he had been talking about Euro membership to “the people who matter in Britain.”

Iain Dale and the Tories are having a field day with it, and you have to ask of Barroso: with friends like these…?

There is already a damaging disconnect between the British public and European institutions. The last thing we need is Mr Barroso reinforcing the view that Europe’s elite is dismissive of public opinion and will listen only to “the people that matter”. 

Perhaps one of his aides should explain to him that, in a democracy, the people that matter includes everyone with the right to vote. Or that maybe he needs a new English-Portugese phrasebook.


Filed under Blogging, Conservative Party, Economy, Europe