Well I see that the Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden is having talks today with football administrators and medical experts over the possibility of allowing top class English football to return next month behind closed doors and at neutral venues. Now nobody would be happier than me to see football’s return – so long as it is safe for all concerned. Indeed yesterday the Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, was gushing about how the Premier League’s return could ‘lift the spirits of the nation’. Wow it only seems a few days since Matt Hancock publicly pilloried top flight footballers for their wealthy lifestyles and shaming them into making a bigger contribution towards the cost of the NHS (that is in addition to the heavy tax they pay on their massive earnings) which many were already doing privately. It makes you laugh doesn’t it. The Government targets easy scapegoats but with 30,000 covid-19 deaths already on their watch (the largest in any country bar the USA which does have 4 times our population) they are suddenly in need of those overpaid footballers to take the attention and the pressure off them. And people accuse me of being cynical. Pah
I don’t want this blogsite to sound like I have a hate complex about Matt Hancock the Health Secretary but he’s doing his damnedest to make me react against his policies. This time he’s threatened an exercise ban if people continue to flout his directions. Whoa Mr H, can we just take a time out here to reflect on this pronouncement.
And so it’s taken just the 3 weeks for the first scandal to hit the new Government following the resignation tonight of David Laws the Chief Secretary of the Treasury. He’s been caught fiddling more than £40,000 in expenses claiming for rent from the tax-payers’ purse paid to his long-term live-in lover James Lundie, who he claims is not really his partner because they have separate bank accounts. Ah somebody should presumably tell all those married people with personal accounts that their marriages are annulled then. This guy is, er was, one of the ‘stars’ of the Lib-Dems and clearly a clever bloke having been tasked by Cameron with leading the fight on reducing Ministerial overspending to help the new coalition Government meet its budget reduction targets. It’s reasonable to assume that he understands finance and fiscal propriety and yet most of today we were being asked to believe that this guy wasn’t breaking the clear Parliamentary rules about claiming expenses from spouses, family members and partners. Yeh right. And not only has he been knowingly doing this for years, this is the Minister who over the last week or so has been telling the country how to act with more fiscal responsibility. How on earth do these people sleep at night? Continue reading →
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?
Er not really. Is it just me or was anybody else terribly shocked to hear that Prezza Prescott scoffs a lot? I know I’m not in a good position to pass judgement on people’s shapes but he’s a porker. My only surprise at the news of his bulimia problem was that he actually purged himself. Blimey he’d have been a size if he hadn’t. I’m not trying to make light of the illness – I realise many people struggle desperately with the condition – but in Prezza’s case he’s kept it quiet until his book’s launched. So his announcement, revealed exclusively via his book’s serialisation, is not an honest admission designed to help others but a cynical publicity stunt to help flog copies of the paper and the book of course. So I feel ok about poking fun at old lovehandles Prezza. I now have this weird image of him licking condensed milk off his secretary’s bits and pieces as he carried out his Whitehall ‘duties’. Eh up looks like it’s Nestle time again JP!