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Jerry Hayes


November 6th, 2010 by Jerry Hayes

The Woolas affair is all a bit rum. The Lib Dems behaved to form and did what they always do when they’ve just lost a seat they thought they should have won: cry foul. Usually it’s trawling through election expenses to find where the anomalies lurk. And there is always a lot of scope. Election expenses are the Turner Prize winners of election art as they are as shocking as they are creative. You’ll find more pork pies here than in Tescos.

In 1979 the Tories had a potential disaster on their hands. Thatcher’s Shadow Education Secretary, Norman St John Stevas ,was hanging on to his Chelmsford seat by a thread. The Liberal candidate, the splendid Stuart Mole, was destined to win. So the Tories did what they always do when faced with disaster. They panicked.

Chelmsford was invaded by a blue army. No resident was left undisturbed and the amount of money being spent would have done justice to Robert Mugabe’s printing presses. Well, Stevas won and the Liberals started to rummage through the accounts to discover spending that would make the Greeks blush. There was a court case and a deal where the agent took the blame, was hung out to dry and sent to prison.  A decision which was, squalid, unfair and taken within the bounds of morality of  a hedge fund manager. I always thought that, “the secret weapon of the Tories is loyalty”, was meant to be ironic.

So there is nothing new in using dirty tricks to win seats. And anyone who has ever stood will agree on one thing. The Liberal Democrats are the masters of it. Each election night the Tory and Labour candidates would compare notes on the utterly ruthless and cynical leaflets with the vilest of claims and  fictional opinion polls. Whilst the Lib Dem opponent would be weeping  in the corner for the victory he had convinced himself was his.

So nobody comes to this debate with clean hands. Although, I did shed tears of laughter when I heard Harriet Harman say with a straight face that, “it is no part of Labour’s politics to win elections by telling lies”. No dear.  Now you just toddle off with nice Lord Mandelson, who, after a few days relaxing water boarding will put you right.

What struck me about the Woolas election was that his cardinal sin was not smearing his opponent, which was not very bright, but by acknowledging his very existence by mentioning him. You just don’t give them publicity. And certainly don’t churn out leaflets telling everyone how to spell the bloody man’s name. That was one of the first ground rules that was drummed into me 1980s.

If there is going to a by election and I expect the Speaker to announce that there won’t be one until all avenues of  appeal are exhausted, how are the Tories and the Lib Dems going to play it? They can try and pretend that they are fighting it on local issues and that this is not a judgement on the Coalition. But it will be. The Lib Dem vote is falling through the floor at the moment and the Conservatives are only noticeable in this neck of the woods by the bells they wear round their necks. Perhaps, it’s time to take a deep breath and field a Coalition candidate. It will have to be the Lib Dem who was beaten at the last election. And the Tories would hardly be losing out. Or, if we are being really cynical, the Tories could withdraw out of, ” gentlemanly fair play” and let the other two parties slug it out. All parties are going to think this one through very carefully indeed.

I am very fond of Phil Woolas. He is a thoroughly decent man with a self-deprecatory sense of humour, which is rare for someone who has been a minister for so long. And he was rather a good minister. One of the stories he used to dine out on was when he was on the same platform as Edwina Currie. She, as a junior Health Minister had just finished her speech and it was time for Phil to wow the crowd. Slowly, he rose to his feet, surveying the throng. But before words could quiver from his lips he felt an excruciating pain in his nether regions. Out of the view of the audience a grinning Edwina  had reached under the table and squeezed his bollocks in a vice like grip. Poor Phil never recovered his composure.

Dear old Phil. A really nice guy.  I really do wish him well.

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Votes for prisoners is insane, another tier of corruption on a rotten system.

November 2nd, 2010 by Jerry Hayes

With a clank, the ancient prison door opened. Two burly warders deferentially saluted as Mr. Bridger slowly entouraged his wayonto the landing to the sound of fists on tables and cheering. With a regal waive he surveyed the massed ranks of prisoners. He paused, raising his hands for their full attention. There was an expectant silence as the great man began to speak. The atmosphere could have been cut with the knives that all had hidden within their prison issue trackies. 

“Gentlemen, or should I say messieurs and mien Herren (laughter). We are blessed to have the most corrupt postal voting in Europe (cheers)and today our friends across the water have given us a wondrous gift: the right to vote. This is a great opportunity for us all to make money (more table banging) and perhaps change the course of history. I have arranged for representatives of all the political parties to visit me to arrange terms. Certain former Members of Parliament, who have had to suffer certain indignities of late, will be on hand to advise, for a fee.”

“ This will not be without its little inconveniences. Once a year our printing presses will have to be diverted from making passports, benefit applications and travel documents. But the production of postal ballot forms will reap dividends for us all. In the meantime life will go on as normal.”

Mr. Bridger turns to one of his captors. “I take it that the next delivery of mobile phones and narcotics is on time. I would hate to disoblige the boys”. There is a curt nod and a whisper. Mr. Bridges smiles. To cheers he announces in hushed tones, ”I understand that the consignment of Romanian girls will be here for your entertainment tonight in Wing A”. One or two inmates wriggle uncomfortably. ”But for those of more refined tastes the usual Thai boys will be available on Wing B”.

 Of course, this is a grotesque fantasy, but the decision to allow prisoners to vote to ensure that their Human Right are not infringed, borders on the insane. And there is absolutely nothing the government can do about it except delay.

Apart from giving more opportunities forcorruption in a system that stinks of rotteness already, this is an administrative nightmare that could sway councils and perhaps even governments. Eighty thousand new votes may not seem a lot, but their skillful deployment in council and marginal seats with wafer thin majorities, is the stuff of political nightmares.

How will it be operated? It can’t be on the present electoral roll system as there is a residency qualification. But if  the rules are changed for more flexibility, the consequences could be catestrophic for a free democracy. The Isle of Sheppey has three prisons. A few thousand extra votes could make one hell of a difference.  And in Woolwich where Bellmarsh is situated. And Brixton. And Wandsworth. The list is endless right across the length and breadth of Britain.

I suppose the Westminster view will be that most convicts are not the slightest bit interested in voting. And they are probably right. However, bitter experience over the years, has taught us that there are widespread abuses in some ethnic communities and retirement homes. So the prisons are easy territory for the vote sharks. I suspect that even now unscrupulous party organisers are surveying constituency boundaries with beady eyes glinting with corruption.

The answer is incredibly simple. The Coalition is going to have to sit down with the Electoral Commission and all party leaders to totally reform the way our postal ballot system works. I represented three Labour councillors in Birmingham some years ago in the Yardley Petition, the first Election Commission to sit in on hundred years. Richard Maury QC, the Election Commissioner, described our system as so corrupt that we were worthy of being  a, “banana republic”. Well, unless the system is radically reformed a lot of thoroughly dishonest monkeys will be having a feast.

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Brace yourself and prepare to be treated to the Barmy Boris & Desperate Dan Show.

October 30th, 2010 by Jerry Hayes

The trouble with Boris Johnson is that he puts the dick into unpredictability. But his latest broadside against Cameron and all his works was so obvious it could have even been forecast by Michael Fish. To get re elected as Mayor of London Boris has no choice but to show that he is his own man, not a creature of Conservatism, not an acolyte of Cameron and not too closely associated with the Coalition. By distancing himself from Blair and New Labour Ken romped home. He set the ground rules.

Unfortunately,  Boris has picked the right issue to irritate Ken, but the wrong one to win over voters. Ken can wail that the Housing Benefit changes will lead to thousands  being  thrown out of their homes and onto the streets. But they won’t be. People will be decanted into cheaper homes in different areas. This is not social cleansing, just restoring a sense of fairness that has tapped into the psyche of hard working taxpayers who bitterly resent those who have chosen to sire large families, and a benefit lifestyle choice living in mansions in expensive areas. At their expense.

Things are going to be tough for everyone and having the work-shy living in homes that the family on average wages could never afford in a life time of hard work, enrages. To be told that they are paying for it as well,  just incenses people even more. Cameron knows this and although the policy might be finessed, it won’t be changed.

Boris may have made a grave error of political judgement. His main area of support is in the outer London boroughs, just the sort of people who deeply resent having the piss ripped out of them in the name of political correctness. If he’s going to pick a fight,  for heaven’s sake pick one he has at least a slim chance of wining and one that resonates with the hardworking poor. So for his next outburst I hope Boris, pauses, counts to ten and thinks.

Oh, and just in case some of you swivel eyed rightwingers sniff the air and think that this is his marker for being leader of the Tories, forget it. People rather like having a  charming , witty, eccentric, disorganised and Priapic Mayor of London. Once again, Ken set the ground rules. But they would be horrified if it commuted to Number Ten.

And talking of swivel eyed right wingers, it’s good to see dear old Norman Tebbit , Douglas Carswell and Dan Hannan are off their medication and allowed to walk the streets unchaperoned for a while. Although it is rather worrying, considering it’s Halloween.

Not surprisingly, they are getting all tumescent  about the latest European Budget row. Except,  it was wasn’t a row at all. It didn’t take Cameron long to point out that a massive hike in expenditure at a time when the rest of us are likely to be living in mud huts won’t go down well with the natives.

For a British Prime Minister to get Johnny Frog and Helmut BMU to agree to  loosing a  few carriages from their gravy train is nothing short of a miracle. Cameron was correct not to over hype it. But the right are getting a little hot and bothered, demanding renegotiation, that all foreigners should drive on the left and play cricket. Of course it’s barmy.

The Coalition is not going to be side tracked at a time of economic crisis into lengthy and acrimonious rows which will enrage our European partners at a time when we need them on side to make sensible decisions on banking regulations and deficit reductions. There is no possibility of any more powers going to the EU without a referendum. So why the rage?  Why the accusations of a return to Vichy?

I’ll give you a clue. Tim Kirkhope, the Leader of the Tories in Europe has triggered an election as he wants to spend more time with the strange groupings the Conservatives are sharing a duvet with. He wants to spend more time with his family. Sadly, it’s the Addams Family. So guess who has set his  disturbingly piercing eyes of being the Conservative Grand Fromage in Europe? Step forward Mr Dan Hannan.

Dan is bright, articulate and knows out to stimulate the collective clitoris of the right. His problem is the toxic mix of a burning ambition coupled with no political judgement. The scariest one of all was in the run  up to the last election, when, to boost  the Neo-Cons who were attacking Obama’s health reforms, he appeared on Fox Television denouncing the NHS as something , ” he wouldn’t wish on anyone.” Oh, dear.

Hannan reminds me of that remark Lord Birkenhead made about Baldwin, “I think he has gone mad. He simply just takes on jump in the dark: looks round and then takes another. And all around him their are yawning pitfalls in which he may find his own destruction, which would matter little at any time. What is serious is that he takes our fortunes with him”.

So, is young Hannan touched with greatness or just touched? Only time will tell. But one thing is certain, we are all going to be treated to the Barmy Boris and Desperate Dan show for the next few months. I can’t wait.

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Cameron and Osborne at war? How a Telegraph column might be written.

October 24th, 2010 by Jerry Hayes

The security guard nods his head, puts down the telephone and grunts an order, “It’s time”. Two burly men in white coats lumber towards a large iron door, armed with a syringe, an electric cattle prod and a cosh; just in case. God knows what could happen  when room 101 is opened. Nervously, they peer through the peep hole and stare at a large man with a  florid face looking very angry, but sedated enough not to be too dangerous. There is a scraping of a key, a clank of  a latch and the door is open. They survey with some resentment a room plushly decorated with fine hunting scenes, cases of ancient malts and empty Jereboams of the finest Pol Roger. One of the burly men places a laptop on a Louis XIV desk (sadly from Maples), and cranks it into life. The other begins unlocking the curiously tight leather straps that hold the man’s arms tightly behind his back. Carefully he is sat down in front of the glowering screen. At first, the stiffened fingers tap gently on the keyboard. But soon, his face becomes more crimson with rage and flecks of spittle splatter onto the screen. Crazed words such as, “Osborne, cunt, disgrace, I hate you”, screech from his cracked lips. The first burly man speaks quietly into his transceiver, “Sir, Mr Peter Oborne is now writing his column”.

Maybe this is an ever so slight exaggeration as to how dear old Peter writes  a piece, but even after all the years of cynicism and disbelief that politics and journalism has rendered me, I really could not comprehend his latest outpouring that Osborne is at odds with Cameron.

Oborne, for reasons beyond my comprehension, is always hugely angry about something or other. And this is not the ersatz anger that columnists have to feign in order to keep their little tongues titivating the orifices of the worst prejudices of their proprietors to keep in work. Oh no. Oborne is the sort of journalistic pressure cooker that will never under cook the vegetables and is always ready to explode when you least expect it.

So, let’s examine the latest rant. That Osborne is a Neo-Thatcherite, that his agenda is totally different to Cameron’s, that he’s been briefing the press against the PM and that there will be tears before bedtime.

But what is so insane about this is that there is not a shred of evidence for a word of it. If ever there are two men who are almost psychotically aware of what happens when a Chancellor and a Prime Minister seriously fall out, it is those Blair and Brown watchers Cameron and Osborne. So acutely were they aware of the importance of being at one, that they even shared an office in Opposition. And since the election they have the closest working relationship of any Prime Minister and Chancellor in living memory.

Cameron and Osborne are forged and tempered out of the furnace which was the hell of Blair and Brown. This is one mistake they are almost physically incapable of making.

So what has got Oborne’s goat? Difficult to tell really. Of course, the Right have always wanted to play one off of the the other. Remember all those pre election tales of disharmony? How the city hated Osborne and how Ken Clarke was going to take over? And remember the post election stories about how Cameron was going to overrule him over defence? Well, they came from all the usual suspects and didn’t count for a row of beans.

Maybe Oborne was just fed up with the way the cuts were implemented. He felt “ashamed” to be a Conservative when backbenchers cheered Osborne announcing four hundred and Ninety public sector job losses. But they didn’t. They just cheered their Chancellor for putting the grim reality lucidly and fairly.

So maybe it is some personal slight that we are blissfully unaware of. An unintentional snub at a reception? Someone pouring poison into his ear about the Chancellor slagging him off in private? God knows. The trouble is Oborne is so easily wound up. All a mischievous soul has to do is light the blue touchpaper and whooosh, off he goes into the stratosphere. All this is rather a shame. Irritating as he can be, usually he is on the side of the angels. I would hate for him to be frozen out of heaven.

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Murdoch anoints the Coalition and old men not in a hurry.

October 22nd, 2010 by Jerry Hayes

Yesterday an elderly man in a faded uniform, his breast clanking with medals of past triumphs, creeked his way to the podium. There was a hushed and expectant silence as he surveyed the massed ranks of his followers. Wrinkled and dewy eyed former comrades in arms fondly remembered past victories. Behind him ancient standards fluttered in the breeze. The names of fallen enemies, engraved in gold on granite tombstones, rekindled the glories of battles from a bygone age. Natsopa, NGA, Scargill, Galtieri, Major, Brown. All of them gone.

The ancient, but proud man, conqueror of the largest empire the world has ever  seen, is flanked by an adoring, flame haired woman. “Oh, Rebecca, if only I had been younger”, he thinks wistfully. An elderly woman cackles dementedly in a corner, whilst a cadaverous old man glares at the the blonde blue eyed young men for any signs of disloyalty or imperfection, with rheumy eyes. “Ah, Thatcher and Tebbit, my ablest of generals, together we ruled the continents”.

In the front row, two young men shift nervously in their seats. “But I see the future”, the old man muses, “and it is Cameron and Osborne and perhaps, in the fullness of time, young Clegg”. With fear in their bellies and joy in their hearts, Cameron and Osborne are assisted by a grinning Blair and sombre Mandelson to the Podium in the white robes of innocence, to be anointed with chrism and printer’s ink. For on this great day Rupert Murdoch gave his blessing to the Coalition.

Well, this is how I imagine the Guardianistas and the ghastly trolls of the left imagine it. A squalid little deal has been done with Cameron whereby Murdoch’s empire devours the British Media with the speed and compassion of a swarm of locusts in return for the slavering support of News International.

Of course, it is utter bollocks. Newspapers, despite the hype, never win elections and rarely change minds. All they do is tap into to the primal  urges of their readers; a wonderful inkstained comfort blanket. Murdoch hasn’t warped the minds of the public to favour the cuts. They are just hefted by bitter and weary experience of being lied and cheated to by governments of all colours for generations. The left have never forgiven him for breaking the power of the print unions, who at a whim would down tools if any of their Spanish practices were under threat. Ironically, Murdoch only finished the job started by Eddie Shah.

This may not last. The spending review will not be lauded or destroyed by the views of worthy think tanks. Whether it is progressive or regressive. Or in the fine details. But by the countless human lives it touches. If the public regard  it as as fair as any adjusting of any complicated labyrinthe of regulations can be, the coalition will survive. If not, it will be time to start readjusting the deckchairs.

The argument that is so hogg-whimperingly banal, is the squeal that these cuts are in some way ideological. As necessity was the midwife of this Coalition and pragmatism is it’s godfather, such a charge flies in the face of reality. Perhaps a clue is that the Tory right don’t think Osborne has gone far enough, whilst the LibDem’s representaive on Earth, Simon Hughes, has said that the cuts  are as fair as they can be.

But I can understand why an opposition that has presented no credible alternative, wants to give traction to the idealogical narrative. Dear old Alan Johnson can’t joke his way out of this one. The real difficulty for Miliband is that he cannot answer a simple question as to why they are reticent about explaining where Darling and Byrnes’s axe would have fallen had they won the last election. There must have been a plan and it must be in writing or in cyber space. I’m just amazed that nobody has leaked it yet. But it can’t be long.

Sadly, like so many of the middle aged men who inhabit the Commons the argument is all about the size of their respective choppers. The new generation. Pleeeease. It’s old men not in a hurry

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The coalition formed not out of principle but blind panic and naked ambition is falling apart. Expect resignations, for Polly Toynbee & Simon Jenkins are at war.

October 16th, 2010 by Jerry Hayes

Well, at last it has happened. It had to. This coalition, conceived not out of principle, but  blind panic and naked ambition, is beginning to fall apart. Expect resignations. Expect bitter recriminations. Expect heads to roll at the very top. This is a national catastrophe. Polly Toynbee and Simon Jenkins have  fallen out in public.

For now it is just the fur beginning to fly, but soon it will be the full Halal. A slaughter of a blood splattering, goat bleating horror performed ritualistically by strange men in beards, otherwise  known as Guardian readers. The fight for the hearts, souls and wallets of this once great newspaper has begun.

Simon Jenkins’ s crime, according to Polly in her column today, is a piece he wrote a couple of days ago saying that the Coalition, “is the most left wing British government since the war”. But it gets worse. He compounds his crime by applauding the Browne report on Higher Education, as ” highly progressive” and then adds that, ” it will make university education more expensive for the rich and less for the poor”. Of course, he is correct, but the trade of running a newspapers has been corrupted from being the purveyors of accurate news to being professional reinforcers of reader’s prejudices for fear that they may jump ship. There is nothing new in this. Before the election a senior hack at the Independent was moaning to me that a perfectly accurate piece about some Green lunacy had been spiked by the editor, “as it would only upset our readers”.

The schizophrenic hell that  the Guardian now inhabits is because it panicked itself in a readership grab to support the Lib Dems, as no one with half a brain cell or an ounce of decency could possibly justify the return of a Brown Government. But now they are marooned in no man’s land. The wicked Tories are being sensibly progressive with the Lib Dems and Ed Miliband’s Labour Party stricken without a fiscal policy or how an earth to deal with the forthcoming cuts.The collective wail from the Guardian backbench is simply, “What can we doooooooo?”

Well, Captain Toynbee has blown the whistle, rallied the troops and is leading them over the top. I could almost hear the clatter of keyboard keys and smell that  toxic mixture of expensive scent, sulphur, brimstone and sheer bloody rage as her words machine-gunned from the page. Simon Jenkins is “beguiled by tokenism while ignoring unavoidable iron laws:cuts will fall unfairly”. I can’t wait for the counter attack by the delightfully mild mannered, but dangerously bright, Jenkins. He once asked the slightly bonkers, right wing Daily Mail historian, Paul Johnson,why it was that the older he gets the more radically left wing he has become. “Perhaps”, snorted Johnson, “it’s because you are a cunt”.  Not words that would quiver from the beautifully formed Toynbee lips. Yet.

But the sheer theatrical choreography of the way the the cuts are to be announced has been a joy to behold. Little teasers of rows. The possibility of resignations. The iron like grip of Osborne’s rugged determination coupled with plucky little ministers fighting their corners, has been seriously impressive. And everyones a winner. Foxy emerges as a fighter, Cameron as a conciliator and Ian Duncan Smith a cross between Mother Theresa and Albert Sweitzer.

And the Lib Dems can have their cake and it eat it. Yes, they will have to eat crow about their broken promise not to raise tuition fees. But everyone, even the students, realise that it was a daft promise. Yet a sensible and progressive compromise has been pulled from the hat. “Anyhow, chaps” says Cameron,” we have provided you with a lifeboat, you can vote against if you wish and we will still love you! But we would prefer, if it’s not too much trouble, if you didn’t”. And cocktails will be served at the Captains party when it’s all over.

But the masterstroke was to give Lib Dem MPs something for the weekend. They can claim , as Cleggy announced it, that they have wrung out of the the wicked Tories, a policy rooted in fairness, a whopping great £7 billion pounds to help the poorest of kids. And there will be more sweeties for the troops in the Sunday papers.

Fairness, fairness, fairness. All the fun of the fair. Funny how everyone has forgotten that that was the essence of Gordon Brown’s election campaign. But who cares?

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There was jubilation at Westminster today as the first of the Liberal Democrat MPs, Trapped in total darkness since May, were hauled to safety. But there were grave fears that, Hughes, Kennedy and Russell would not make it. t

October 13th, 2010 by Jerry Hayes

There was jubilation at Westminster today as the first of the 54 Liberal Democrat MP’s, Los 54, were hauled to safety. At a make shift media village named Camp Hope, Deputy Minister for Mines, Nicholas Clegg, embraced the first survivor, the foreman, Dr Cable.  Cable has been trapped underground with fellow Liberal Democrat MPs  since May, without heat, light and minimal contact with the outside world.

Said Dr. Cable, “In May we were working away at the coal face firm in our belief that tuition fees should not be raised. Then suddenly the roof caved in and we were trapped. Days and weeks passed in total darkness. Many had to drink their own urine for survival, but we Lib Dems have been taking the piss for years, we knew we would win through. It was a fight between God and the Devil down there , but God won”. Dr Cable is 103 today.

Mining Minister, David Cameron, was also there, hugging and kissing those brave men and women who are now seeing the light for the first time in months, and had to shield their eyes with dark glasses from the harsh glare of realism. But Cameron, his voice quaking with emotion, made this heartfelt pledge to the British people. “For years I have been deeply concerned about the safety of the Liberal Democrats. Standards have been at rock bottom for far too long. There has been too much light touch regulation of these people. Reckless and uncosted promises have been made purely to pander to the whims of  an acned bunch of drunken wasters, sometimes known as students. This will have to stop. A lot of them have never even voted Conservative. It is this government’s top priority put the safety of the Liberal Democrats first”.

One by one, the shocked, scared and sometimes delusional MPs were taken to makeshift television studios, chanting, “Fee, fees, fees, up, up, up”. The more confused were medicated by Dr Willetts, Minister for Health and Re education, until their happy, smiling faces could be presented to the world.

With tears of emotion coursing down his cheeks, Dr Cable, winner of the Mother Teresa medal of Pious Compassion, spoke to reporters, saying that he did not want to be a celebrity, “I would like you to treat me as what I am”. At that, a scary man, now known to the police as Edward Balls, broke through police cordons screaming, “Die bitches, die!”  Sources close to Mr. Cameron, say that he has been placed in the protective custody of Lord Mandelson for psychological tests and genital realignment.

But it is not all joy and jubilation at Camp Hope. There is a fear that Bob Russell, Simon Hughes and Charles Kennedy may not be saved. Says Nicholas Clegg, “God, these men are family. These are hard times and cuts have got to be made and if that means the cable to Phoenix 1, so be it. Sometimes sacrifices have to be made for the greater good. Hell, I love those guys.”

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After the Mail on Sunday scoop that the entire Defence team might resign, Fox hunting may be moving up the agenda.

October 10th, 2010 by Jerry Hayes

Either Liam Fox is playing a very stupid game or else one of his team is out of control. Today’s story in the Mail on Sunday, that he and his Defence team, dubbed the Three Musketeers, will resign unless they get their way on the spending review is a problem. Of course, this is the Mail on Sunday and written by one of Fleet Street’s most able polisher of turds, Simon Walters. But to be a page two lead, this has to be is more than the feverish lunacy that engulfs Red Top newsrooms on a Saturday evening. Walters is an old pro. He doesn’t just gild the lily; he  smothers it in gold leaf and passes it off as bullion. But he is not a fool.  One of the Ministerial team, has whispered something in his ear. Probably at conference and probably a little pissed. It doesn’t matter, it is a serious story.

Unlike Brown, Cameron won’t howl at the moon nor Nokia his civil servants. He won’t call Foxy in for a bollocking. He will do what he normally does when displeased; become steely. Cameron does not micro manage. He is chairman of the board. He trusts his ministers to get on with the job and gives them plenty of slack. But he demands competence and loyalty. If Fox is not careful that slack will turn into a rope. And that rope into a noose.

Of course he is not going to resign, nor, unless he drops his trews and moons outside Number Ten, will he be sacked. But there will be a feeling that he is not a team player. That he might be a David Davies in the making. And look what happened to him.

The last time a ministerial team  resigned en masse was on January 6th 1958. Harold Macmillan, a Prime Minister, despite the hang ups, not dissimilar to Cameron, was having heated discussions with his Chancellor, Peter Thornycroft. It was over cuts in public expenditure, but slightly different to the arguments that are happening now. Thorneycroft believed in sound money, whereas Macmillan was a ruthless populist who wanted to spend more on the middle classes to secure another term in office. In the end, the row was all about £50 million (although purists will argue that it was more about the balance of trade and currency). Thorneycroft lost in Cabinet and the next day the entire Treasury team resigned, which included Enoch Powell.

Macmillan was petrified that this was the end. But being of the manager actor school, hopped onto a plane to a conference far away, with the languid comment, “just a little local difficulty”. And it was. The government survived survived until 1963 and Thorneycroft and Powell eventually brought back to government. Although Macmillan never placed Powell anywhere near him at the Cabinet table, “because of his piercing eyes”. In his diaries he noted that there was something, “of the Fakir” about him.

I suppose there is a lesson here. Quite what it is I’m not entirely sure, but I suspect it might be along the lines of , “Foxy old son, it’s time to eat that shit sandwich that lays at  the bottom of  every red box or else love will be withdrawn”. I think we will be hearing quite a lot of munching at the MOD on the 20th October.

Now there’s a weird date. On the 19th October 1922 Tory backbenchers met at the Carlton Club and voted to bring down the Liberal Tory Coalition. As Thatcher  said after being turfed out of Number Ten, “Funny old world isn’t it?”  Yes it is old girl.

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Depriving family Balls of an economic brief has isolated Miliband. He is hated by the Blairites and distrusted by the left. It’s not Game On, It’s Game for a Laugh.

October 8th, 2010 by Jerry Hayes

If there is interference with your television set, don’t be troubled, it will be coming from Number Ten. A heady mix of hysterical laughter and incredulity can play havoc with the electrics and the neutering of Labour’s two most effective economic troublemaker’s, Balls and Cooper is taking a joke a little too far.

The one message that rather edgy Cabinet Ministers whispered to me this week, was that although Balls is a repulsive little shit and his wife gives the impression of being the pantomime boy, both would be deadly with economic briefs. “Very effective”, was the consensus. Putting them in at any combination of Treasury and Business would not be fatal for the Coalition, but would have caused some very serious injuries. And a great deal of anxiety.  So, on the 20th October, when the government would be at it’s most vulnerable since the election, Alan Johnson, bright, charming and a gifted Commons operator, but never the owner of Treasury brief, will lead the fight back without the advantage of a shield of a fiscal policy, nor a deep understanding of Economics.

What does it tell us? Firstly, that MiliEd doesn’t trust Balls, because he knows that his thuggish determination would hijack the Shadow Cabinet and undermine his authority. Secondly, that by appointing the wife to any economic brief, it would give the impression that there was a very powerful back seat driver guiding the controls.

For Miliband’s short political survival this was a shrewd move. For making a fist of defeating the Coalition it is insane. It also shows that Johnson is merely going to be an economic fig leaf, and the real Shadow Chancellor is going to be one Ed Miliband. In government, this was last attempted by Ted Heath, who totally controlled Tony Barber.  He engineered a U turn which led to his party’s extinction at the polls and spawned Margaret Thatcher and all her works. Oh, and nobody has been daft enough to try it in Opposition. Until today.

So what has Miliband achieved?  The making of two powerful mortal enemies for a start. Two Balls are more useful than one. The Ballette is not to be underestimated. After all, she garnered the highest Shadow Cabinet vote. Putting Balls in a downgraded Shadow department leaving him just to attack May on such delights as ASBOS, and Dangerous Dogs, is both incomprehensible and a total waste of his considerable talents. Giving the Foreign Office, a non job in Opposition, to Ballette  is just a criminal waste. And  imagine the secret discussions that are taking place with another Miliband casualty, former Chief Whip and Brown fixer extraordinaire, Nick Brown. The fightback has begun, but it will Balls’ not Ed’s.

But the abject stupidity and sheer political naivety of these appointments is how isolated Miliband has become. The majority of the PLP and grass roots didn’t vote for him the Blairites are bitter and briefing against him. Now, he has upset the left and the Unions because he is adopting the Darling approach of halving the deficit in four years, a sort of Osborne lite.

This is not Game on. It’s Game for a laugh.

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Prime Ministerial Priapsy, Hague’s goatfuck & the Tories at play.

October 5th, 2010 by Jerry Hayes

The Conservative conference in Birmingham is a strange affair. Wild eyed spotty youths of the right battle with Europhiles attired in flashing blue lights to hand out leaflets that nobody reads. And who is that strange man whose hair looks as if he had been plugged into the mains wearing a yellow rosette embossed with the Elvis Presley Party?  Go to a fringe meeting on Europe? I’d rather eat my own spleen.

But I do feel sorry for William Hague. The poor fellow is in a state of perpetual goatfucking. No, no, not the four legged furry kind, who are warm cuddly and very obliging. I mean that he is constantly besieged by a drunk of reporters and camera crews, desperate for him to shake hands with some pretty boy and start the whole sordid rumour mill grinding away at his reputation. It is horribly unfair, but the press are of the view that by ignoring advice and publicly denying the rumours, he has stalled the squalid  allegations diappearing down into the sewers from whence they came. I fear this “story” will run for a little while longer and William is going to have to face a few more weeks of misery. It is both grim and unfair on both him and Ffion, who sensibly has not made an appearance in Birmingham, for fear, I suspect, of the press snapping her at her most unflattering and then speculating on “how strained”, she looks. This is not politics, but a witch hunt with William seated on the ducking stool of the Red Tops. He just can’t win.

What is causing amusement is the photo you will never see in print. I was having a drink last night with the Guardian’s brilliant cartoonist, Steve Bell and a photographer friend, who claims to have snapped a positively priapic Prime Minister. The cheeky snapper told me that he noticed a rather large bulge in the Cameron trouser department. At the moment editors don’t seem to be interested, but I have no doubt it will be appearing on the internet shortly. Poor MiliEd may have to borrow one of his brother’s bananas for the fight back. Life can be so cruel.

Last time the press indulged in Prime Ministerial todger gazing was when my old chum, Nigel Nelson, heard that Tony Blair was hung like a donkey and had the nickname Dobbin  at Oxford. So, bravely, he rang Alastair Campbell for a few choice words. Well, he got them in a hair dryer diatribe peppered with such terms of endearment in his charm offensive as, “fuck off cunt”. But Cambell is no fool. He can sniff out an angle quicker than a flasher can spot a school bus. Three weeks later Nelson got his reply. “Dobbin has no comment to make”. Clever.

My heart goes out to my friend and blogbrother, Rene Kinzett. Over a refreshing lunch, he told me he was to be debating the joys of AV with Douglas Carswell and Dan Hannan at a fringe meeting. Not exactly a barrel load of laughs, particularly as  Rene, a recovering Liberal Democrat, who still attends LibDems Anonymous to keep him on the straight and narrow, hadn’t realised that the event was being organised by The Freedom Association, which is not unlike care in the community for the Third Reich. Rene was greeted with the warmth afforded to a pork pie in Tehran.

The trouble with this conference is that it is just so large, bordering on the unmanageable. The intimacy of the old days is gone, which is rather sad. MiliEd may bang on about the New Generation, which I thought was an aging troupe of 1970s dancers, but what is so unerving is how young everyone is at the Tory Party conference. The new intake of MPs resemble a gaggle of Tesco management trainees cowering in fear at the horror of bumping into a member of Her Majesty’s Press. And you have as much chance of spotting Colonel and Mrs Mad of the blue rinse brigade as finding a pubic hair on Justin Bieber.

But what send a chill down my spine was an invitation to an Ulster fry and listen to Martin McGuiness at the Copthorne Hotel. Now tolerance is my middle name, but total bloody hypocrisy is not. Some of us lost friends at the Grand Hotel in Brighton.

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