Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Wherefore have we fought for so long, that we may destroy in an instant?

How this appalling government should be entrusted with such draconian legislation, I do not know. Why on earth does the [ConservativeHome] editorship trust this government to use these powers sensibly? I do not know. Why do MPs glibly afford themselves the right to vote in favour of this bill for the sole purpose of protecting an utterly useless Prime Minister? Again, I don't know.

Our ancestors have paid, time and time again, often with their lives, to protect our cherished freedoms, and yet a government with not a shred of credibility; not an iota of decency; and still less competence is allowed and IS CHAMPIONED to take a despicable retrograde step such as this.

What ARE those people thinking? It is truly a shaming moment in the history of, not only our 'liberal' democracy, but ALL liberal democracies.

The evidence is non-existent, the concessions were pathetic, the legislation made exponentially worse by each compromise, and the outcome is one of rank political expediency. This government and this Prime Minister survives to do us more damage.

The Lords will now do what they do best - with a level-headed, measured and reasonable approach, vote this abhorrent bill down and return it to the Commons.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Spelman may have to go

The revelation that Caroline Spelman, the Conservative Party Chairman, used public money for to pay a nanny for secretarial work done in 1997-8 is hardly earth-shattering. This is, after all, over ten years ago, at a time when the Conservative Party was still reeling from an historic election defeat. It may have been considered at the time that nobody would notice such an indiscretion, and yet this mistake (if that it what it was) may prove to be a resigning matter - or, perhaps more tangibly, a matter of dismissal.

Cameron may feel that he needs to replace Spelman as chairman anyway. I, for one, have not been a fan. Many others in the Party agree with me that she seems to be ineffective and that there are far better candidates available to take over - a certain Mr. Eric Pickles MP is surely the hot favourite to take over should she have to go/be sacked/be shuffled away.

The reshuffle is another option available to Cameron, should Spelman be exonerated. It would be considered a tough, but expedient move to take the chairmanship away from her. Many have suggested she is one of the most overrated and over-promoted members of the Party. I agree. The appointment of Eric Pickles as Chairman would be a highly popular move from Cameron, given the massive success of the Crewe and Nantiwich by-election campaign, so shrewdly managed by the brilliant Mr. Pickles.

It has to be shown that the Conservative Party will deal with MPs and MEPs who abuse their expenses in an effective and decisive manner. It remains to be seen what the ultimate damage will be to the House as a whole; whether or not individual cases will spark a move away from any particular Party, or if all MPs will be tarred with the same brush.

If, as is widely speculated, the Party hierarchy is organising a 'blitz' of new policies this Summer, it would be wise to carry out a reshuffle before this starts in earnest. There are certain members of the shadow cabinet who cannot consider themselves safe in their jobs, Spelman among them. My personal selection is:


It might be considered that those in fairly minor roles (Mundell, Gillan, Mitchell) might not be shuffled this time, but there is plenty of talent elsewhere on the Tory benches, some of whom may be ready for the shadow cabinet. Theresa May and David Willetts can consider themselves, in the grand scheme of things, unfortunate. Both could, potentially, have been important players in a Conservative government, had the political climate over the last ten years been different. Instead, their political decline has begun shortly before what will be, in all probability, a new and exciting period of Conservative government. Although some might argue that Willetts' influence has be prevalent over many years, having been a member of Margaret Thatcher's Policy Unit before becoming an MP, New Labour's recent dominance has denied him the opportunity to use his enormous intelligence to its best effect.

But who are the potential candidates to replace shadow cabinet drop-outs? What about:

Greg Clark
Michael Fallon
Nick Gibb
Ed Vaizey?

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Winnick needs to convince Labour

The Today programme held a short telephone conversation with David Winnick MP (Walsall North) this morning. He said that he remained unconvinced by the government's argument to extend detention without trial to 42 days. This is despite reports that many Labour rebels have now been won over by the government, due to concessions being made.

Mr. Winnick was one of the most passionate performers in the Commons when the 90-day detention bill was lost. I think he may have the ability to convert some former rebels back, and return Labour MPs to the fold, and I hope that he will try to do so. If the government wins 42 days, it is a dark and deeply illiberal day from Britain.