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7th December 2010
If the headline sounds, as they unkindly say, ‘Irish’ to you, it probably is.
One, tweeted by Paul Waugh
Paddy Ashdown on BBCNews: “Preserving an agreement to disagree is preserving the unity of the party”.
But just in case you think it’s only the Liberal Democrats who are in some state of confusion over education policy, take a look at this from Hopi Sen. (Yes, as he says at his site, that is his name.)
“The Prime Minister wishes his government to introduce a policy which is a major extension of a policy he voted against in opposition.The Deputy Prime Minister would like to vote for the government’s proposals, but is considering abstaining because he promised to vote against them.
The opposition are opposing what the government proposes, because the government proposes going further than the opposition proposed when they were the government, when the then opposition opposed what the then government proposed.
Excerpt: “This is the politics of infantilism. But instead of telling his party to grow up, Mr Clegg is apparently consulting his rank-and-file — before deciding whether or not to vote for a policy put together by one of his party’s own ministers. Barmy or what? The really perplexing thing is that — unlike his party members who are famously away with the fairies — Mr Clegg is supposed to be the realist who understands that political power necessarily entails hard choices. The source of the problem would seem to be that Mr Clegg has experienced a political panic attack.
We are told that he’s been having a terrible time over the student protests. The police have advised him to stop cycling for fear of his personal safety; excrement has been pushed through his letterbox.
He is said to be shell-shocked by the personal abuse. Of course, this sounds extraordinarily unpleasant. But students are always revolting.
So what sort of a politician is knocked off course by such protests — other than one who has never managed to leave his own college scarf in the drawer?
‘Nick hasn’t been in front-line politics that long,’ explained one source close to Mr Clegg, who became an MP in 2005. ‘He is not battle-hardened and was not prepared for being so unpopular.’
Diddums! But this man is Deputy Prime Minister, for heaven’s sake. What would he do if he were faced with a really hard and unpopular decision — like committing troops to war in the national interest — in light of the fact that, faced merely with the inevitable compromises involved in coalition politics, he dissolves into a quivering orange jelly?
The problem for Mr Clegg is that he burned his party’s electoral boats by going in with the Tories in the first place.
Suppose the Coalition broke down and a new election was called. Why should anyone vote for the Lib Dems, since any attempt to pretend to be opposed to the Tory Party would be met with howls of derision?”
Melanie Phillips is right, of course. As for her last sentence above, can we expect the Labour Party (New – REALLY NEWish, Young Generation, Same-old Problems, Oldish Labour) to benefit? I don’t think so somehow. They’re panicking so much over Mili-E’s disastrous first few months as leader there is talk they are preparing this man to take over. The one who knew his limits in the days when leadership was a valued commodity.
‘Mr Johnson ruled himself out of the race to succeed Tony Blair by claiming that he ‘wasn’t up to it’.’
Alan Johnson was right then, of course. He knew his limits. Is he now up to it? After the last two disastrous leaders for Labour, in the last three years or so – Gordon Brown and Ed Miliband, he might fancy his chances. The bar has been lowered. And how. And Mr Johnson probably knows THIS little fact, anyway.
Not that the Conservatives are riding high in the ‘doing the right thing’ political Vs popularity stakes. Senior Tory MP (and thorn in Cameron’s side) David Davis has announced he will vote against his own government’s raised tuition fees vote on Thursday.
Even more senior Tory front-bencher Ken Clarke is proving his party “soft on knife crime and the sanctions against knife crime”. He has now rowed the Tories back from their manifesto promise to “lock ’em up”.
The monarchs of the various political glens in this snowy land of ours won’t let their various and sometimes varied principles melt away in the winter snow, now, will they? Not that we’d notice. This week the big news is that Coronation Street is about to lose some of its main characters. Awww. Sad. It’s like political assassination, only quicker. And more people care.
Latest Poll – On the regular weekly trackers of the leaders’ approval, David Cameron is up slightly at plus 5 (from +2 a week ago), Ed Miliband continues downwards at minus 14 (from minus 9 a week ago), Nick Clegg remains pretty much unchanged with minus 23 (from minus 24 a week ago). YouGov also repeated a question on support for the government’s policy on tuition fees, originally asked 3 weeks ago. The debate since then doesn’t seem to have changed much – in November 35% of people supported the policy, that has now risen very marginally to 38%.
- Nick Clegg’s desperate plea to rebel MPs on student tuition fees vote (dailymail.co.uk)
- MP ‘could quit over tuition fees’ (mirror.co.uk)
- Nick Clegg facing mounting pressure over tuition fees (independent.co.uk)
- Clegg faces more pressure on fees (mirror.co.uk)
- Lord Ashdown urges wavering colleagues to support ‘wise Clegg’ as Lib Dems face crisis over university tuition fee reform (dailymail.co.uk)
- Ashdown backs Clegg over tuition fees (guardian.co.uk)
- Norman Baker threatens to resign over tuition fee rise (telegraph.co.uk) Best news I’ve heard all day. Can we also get him to resign from politics – or whatever game he thinks he’s playing?
Sign the Ban Blair-Baiting petition here
“All countries need a leader who isn’t afraid to fight terrorism. I believe Mr. Blair did a necessary job in helping his allies. Are we all just supposed to lie down and wait for them to come for us, I don’t think so.”
And – “Mr. Blair is one of the finest politicians to have had the privilege of serving the United Kingdom, and Britons are fortunate to have had him as their Prime Minister. Time will show that Mr. Blair’s approach to affairs in the Middle East were and remain correct. From a member of the Commonwealth, thank you, Mr. Blair, for your continued service to legitimate and lasting (and not convenient or politically expedient) freedom.”
AND – “Tony Blair was the greatest Prime Minister since Winston Churchill and the only regret I have he didn’t get my vote as I live in Canada.”
AND – “I am sick and tired of television and radio interviewers asking the same old questions over and over, regarding the decision to go to war in Iraq, presumably they hope Mr Blair will let slip some secret information which they would then use against him. History will show if the decision was the right one, (I believe it was) but people must accept that Tony Blair is an honourable man, and made his decision based on the known facts and not with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight.”
Tags: Coronation Street, David Davis, Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, education policy, Greg Mulholland, Hopi Sen, Ken Clarke, Lib Dem, liberal democrats, Melanie Phillips, Member of Parliament, Menzies Campbell, nick clegg, Norman Baker resign, Paddy Ashdown, students, Tony Blair