last night….first night

And so we are having our final night here in Italy. Boy we’ve been busy here trying to get the place readied for the first folks coming out in a few weeks time to lease the place. I’m not sure we’re going to have everything ready especially in the garden where we have lots of work still to do. But hey… And tonight I’ve been watching news of Brown’s departure and Cameron’s appointment as the new British Prime Minister after, seemingly, days of political haggling with the bloody Lib-Dems.

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get clegg

It looks like a Welsh language interjection but it’s actually an instruction that might have gone out from the Conservative Party HQ to the right wing press yesterday because look at today’s front pages:

I’ve not been able to show the Sun’s front page but safe to say it wasn’t supportive.

Now I guess you could assume that last week’s no-mark Clegg did huge damage  to both of the leading parties’ prospects following the first debate  but especially to the Tories given this massive press blitzkrieg on the morning of debate day 2. About the only thing they didn’t accuse him of was gross moral turpitude with an alsatian dog. I didn’t see tonight’s debate live as C and I went out for dinner but from the highlights and poll results it seems that marginally Cameron did best, just ahead of Clegg. And yet another poll says that Cleggy did as well as Campo. Poor old Gordo was last on all polls. It’s getting hot this election isn’t it? Tony Blair must be kissing the Middle East sky that he isn’t still there as he would walk this televisual challenge by a country mile. Next week’s debate could and should be a real bare fists fight but Brown needs to get his knuckle dusters out methinks to rescue things.

What do you think?


three men in a debate

So were you one of the 9.4m people who watched last night’s televised debate, otherwise known as the First of the Summer Lies, featuring those three irascible rascals Cleggy, Campo and Gordo? It was, incredibly,  the first such debate featuring the leaders of the main political parties in the UK and it attracted the night’s largest tv audience. We watched it and it wasn’t too bad. The 76 (!!) rules made it a little unatmospheric (no applause permitted, no follow-up questions etc) and the interventions of the facilitator, ‘Stewpot’ Stewart, were a little annoying but it was certainly interesting. Cleggy did best by a country mile – I especially liked his summation where he name-checked all the question setters. That was very cute.  Campo I thought did least well and Gordo, well, it was a valiant effort. I liked it when he tried to land his two obviously-prepared cutting remarks – ‘this isn’t Question Time David; it’s answer time’ and ‘you can’t airbrush your policies like you airbrush your posters’ but he’s hopeless at timing and they got almost totally lost beneath Stewpot’s interjections. But he tried to smile as he delivered the lines and, bless him, for a few seconds he looked almost human.

But the best bit of the night was when my daughter R (regular readers will know she’s Down’s syndrome) asked afterwards how I’ll vote in the election. Rather neatly I turned the question back and asked who she’s thinking of backing and immediately she replied Lionel. My wife and I looked at each other quizzically and asked who? Lionel she said, Lionel Blair. It’s moments like that that bring a lump to our throats and a smile to our faces. We explained that Tony Blair (or Foggy as he’s affectionately remembered) was no longer leader of New Labour but the thought of the nation being led by one of our campest hoofers started to take root in my mind. Wayne Sleep could be Minister for Internal Affairs (ooh matron), Arlene Philips Leader of the Commons and Brendon Cole, Chief Whip. Or as we better know them… the Liberal Democrats front bench. Morning Jeremy!



The man who wrote the words for the great communicator was answering questions before the Iraq Inquiry yesterday and gave nothing away. Well Alistair Campbell did reveal that PM Tony Blair had written to President Bush before the invasion of Iraq to pledge his country’s support, militarily and diplomatically, to ensure the removal of Saddam Hussein. Well talk about a shock revelation. Who’da thunk it? How surprising that the former Director of Communications to the PM’s office was able to answer questions for hours on end without saying anything which could be regarded as even remotely incriminating. What were they expecting – that Campbell would speak with complete honesty and openness? What is it about politicians and their advisers that prevents them from every answering a question directly?

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smile…. though your heart is aching


As far as the fortunes of two Prime Ministers are concerned, I don’t think Nat King Cole could have phrased it any better. Take poor old Silvio. All he does – allegedly – is have countless affairs and very public dalliances over the years with a succession of very pretty young girls, buy them trinkets and turn up to their 18th birthday parties (having failed to attend any of his own children’s 18ths) in Napoli (he was just passing by) and appoint them to senior positions in his Government. And what happens? His exasperated, long-suffering and no doubt humiliated  wife Veronica only goes and calls the media (the one bit not controlled by her husband) and publicly demands a divorce. Who’da thunk it?   Continue reading



What were your impressions of the visit to the UK of President Sarkozy and his stunning new wife Carla Bruni? I listened to the end of visit statements from the Emirates stadium (unusual venue for a summit?) but there seemed little of substance to me. A new ‘entente formidable’ and a vision of a ‘global europe’ whatever that means. New task forces to be created and sharing of thinking etc but that seemed about it to me. Did I miss the really substantial bits?

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Blair and Brown cut duet album

I was reading in the Independent today that the President of Indonesia, one Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (top name!), has composed a whole album of romantic ballads, entitled My Longing for You. How cool is that? What’s more his anticipated opponent at the next General election, the former army chief General Wiranto, has also recorded an album. Now it got me thinking that we should have more of this in British politics. How much less bitter would it have been if Tony and Gordon had recorded an album of songs to celebrate their political fortunes over the last 12 years or so. It’d be a cracker ….

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Does the PM get PMT before PMQ?

Is it just me or is Gordon Brown hopeless at PM’s question time? It’s a half hour opportunity every Wednesday for MPs to question the Prime Minister on policy or other key issues of the day, and it is broadcast. I bet the PM wishes it wasn’t. He’s done it a few times now and you would have expected a consummate political heavyweight like Gordon Brown to have got over his first day nerves now. But he seems wracked with tension as he steps up to the despatch box.

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