Posts Tagged ‘Prince Charles’

3 REAL reasons Tony Blair was not at William & Kate’s wedding: Diana, Diana, Diana

May 1, 2011

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Or –

1st May 2011

In all the kerfuffle over the Royal wedding (pictures – Daily Mail) including some rightful indignation over the guest list,  commenters have all missed the obvious.

Death-mask of Oliver Cromwell, hero/villain. During the English Civil War he led calls for the trial & execution of King Charles 1st, which was carried out in 1649. Briefly republicanism ruled

Even my good friend John Rentoul who is getting in touch with his inner Cromwell  hasn’t mentioned the extent of these particular elements. (Oliver Cromwell was a prime mover in the execution of Charles 1st, since when other monarchs have dropped that unlucky name on ascending to the throne.)

Rentoul is spot-on in that today’s royal family could never forgive Blair for being right when they were all wrong on Diana’s death. But I hope to show that that is only a third of the story at most.

Execution by a thousand cuts?

Despite being in some state of terror as the repercussions of their silence on Diana’s death became clear, it is hardly likely that the royal family saw Blair as their likely executioner. Rightly too, as he was one of the most royalist Labour prime ministers ever. But the Royals are presently doing an execution double-airbrush job on Blair and on Diana’s memory for their own reasons.

Tony Blair was not invited to the wedding because his very presence would have reminded us of three things.

Reason 1

1. Diana’s Death

A few hours after the announcement of the death of Diana Princess of Wales the country’s new prime minister Tony Blair stood outside his church in Sedgefield and spoke to the country:

“She was the people’s princess. And that’s how she will stay, how she will remain, in our hearts and in our memories, forever.”

In our hearts and in our memories, forever?

“Forever” is clearly too long for Charles, Camilla his second wife and the real love of his life, and perhaps even the rest of the royals including Diana’s sons. They now have a new member of the firm. A woman who will, it is expected and hoped, be Queen one day. Before that day, the idea is to airbrush Diana from public memory.

Too cynical of me? I think not.

Kate Middleton, now Catherine Countess of Cambridge, is now, they hope the new "People's Princess"

Kate Middleton, now Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, is now, it is hoped, the new "People's Princess" for the "new", post-New Labour, generation.

Can you imagine what it would have been like if Tony Blair had been at the Abbey? The cameras would have alighted on him, even putting this in the minds of the worldwide audience – “I wonder what Mr Blair is thinking as he watches Diana’s eldest son being married. Probably, as we all are – the ‘People’s Princess’ would have been very proud.”

Sounds innocent enough to you? It isn’t.

It wouldn’t be to the monarchy either. It would be a reminder of the part that Tony Blair took in rescuing the royals from their own inaction when a member of their family – possibly the most famous woman in the world at that time – had been killed in a car crash.

The royals who decided on this disgraceful omission of Tony Blair and as a result Brown – and it was the royals deciding, not their courtiers or the  present government – would have realised there would be some flak over this. However they also knew that the pictures and memories of the wedding would make more impact than the fact that the two most recent former prime ministers – two former Labour prime ministers – had not been invited, though two former Conservative PMs had;  Major & Thatcher.

That day in August 1997 Tony Blair spoke for the country. Like it or not, she was the People’s Princess. He said what any one of them could and should have said.


Several days after Diana died the Royals had still not publicly mentioned her passing or the accident, even as thousands mourned and gathered outside the Palace waiting for them to speak. No flags had been lowered as a mark of respect or momentous happening. It was as though nothing significant had occurred. The first reaction was almost a week later on September 4th and was by the Queen’s press secretary, Geoffrey Crawford. Not by Prince Charles. Nor by Her Majesty the Queen.

See – Queen’s spokesman speaks on Diana’s death, on behalf of royal family and here – Excerpt –

“The princess was a much-loved national figure, but she was also a mother whose sons miss her deeply. Prince William and Prince Harry themselves want to be with their father and their grandparents at this time in the quiet haven of Balmoral, the queens press secretary, Geoffrey Crawford, said.  It was the first royal reaction to public suggestions that the family should do more to help the country grieve. The queen also plans to make a broadcast to the nation on Friday, Buckingham Palace said.”

Eventually, several days after her death came a royal public appearance. Probably only because the future star of The Queen had warned them of this:

‘One of the Queen’s most trusted former advisers has disclosed that she feared that republican MPs would call for an end to the monarchy because of public anger at the Royal Family’s initial reaction to the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. As the clamour for the Royal Family to leave Balmoral intensified, amid rows over whether the Union flag should be flown at half mast at Buckingham Palace, the “ferocity” of the media criticism stung even the most seasoned advisers. Mrs Francis said that harsh lessons were learned by the Royal Family and its advisers about the need to respond to public opinion.

“If the response had not been made we might have seen events develop in a different way and even political calls for some kind of republican action,” she said.

Penny Junor, a royal biographer, tells the programme: “The whole family was in danger. The minute Prince Charles heard Diana had been killed his first words were: ‘They are going to blame me”.’

Really? Were those Charles’ s first words? For himself? Not for his sons? [See lessons learnt]

Blair was credited with having encouraged the Royal Family in responding, even if belatedly. It was clearly no longer possible for them not to speak. Those who distrust or dislike Tony Blair will maintain that he muscled in where it was none of his business. Most of the country will not see it that way. Without him the royal family could easily have been sunk in 1997.

Interestingly the Wikipedia entry on the death of Diana, Princess of Wales fails to mention the name of Tony Blair. In fact that entry seems to have been compiled  by those who attribute her death to a conspiracy. Presumably they conclude that Blair was in on this “murder plot”.

As we all know, there was no-one else, commoner or royalty who responded to her death more appropriately than Tony Blair. No-one.

At another Wikipedia page on Diana Tony Blair’s name is mentioned; once.

Posthumously, as in life, she is most popularly referred to as “Princess Diana”, a title she never held.[N 4] Still, she is sometimes referred to (according to the tradition of using maiden names after death) in the media as “Lady Diana Spencer”, or simply as “Lady Di”. After Tony Blair’s famous speech she was also often referred to as the People’s Princess.[74]

Reaction to Diana’s death here, Wikipedia


The year following, on the date of her death, royal flags were allowed to fly at half mast. For no subsequent years, just 1998. A sop to a still grieving public, imho.

At the time it took a public press furore for the flag to be lowered and this only happened as the Queen went to Diana’s funeral a week after her death.


Flags at royal residences will fly at half-mast in respect for Diana, Princess of Wales on the first anniversary of the death.  The Queen has ruled that all flags at royal residences will be lowered to half-mast on Monday August 31, Buckingham Palace has announced. The government has decided to follow suit, ordering the move at public buildings.

The announcement follows the angry public response to the royal family’s initial refusal to lower the flag at Buckingham Palace after Diana died. Tradition demands the Royal Standard flag is never flown at half-mast, even on the death of a monarch. But protocol was finally broken when the Queen left the palace to attend the princess’s funeral a week after her death.

The decision to fly flags at half-mast applies only to the first anniversary of Diana’s death, Buckingham Palace said.

It might be worth a mention that protocol, as it would be expected to apply, was also “broken” when Blair and Brown were not invited to the wedding of Prince William.

Aside: I happened to drive round Horseguards Parade at around midnight on the day Diana died. Ours was the only car passing the vehicle carrying Diana’s coffin. We realised what was passing us by, and came to a near stop. The coffin was covered by the Royal Standard.

Just as a by the way, the Moral Maze last night on BBC Radio 4 discussed the monarchy. One supporter of the monarchy said that it played a necessary part in keeping over-powerful politicians in their place (presumably down here with the rest of us?!)

The problem for Tony Blair (often cited as an over-powerful politician) was that in 1997 HE kept the monarchy in THEIR place.

Perhaps he should have let them drown in their own mire.


For the historians amongst us – (not that I’m suggesting anything, mind you. I very much admire The Queen.)

Charles 1st’s trial and beheading

Charles 1st's execution. A depiction of the death of a king, and of the monarchy. The latter to be later resurrected.

Quotes as ascribed to the Charles 1st court case and his execution:

Trial commencement, Jan 1st 1649, Charles was accused of being –

“tyrant, traitor and murderer; and a public and implacable enemy to the Commonwealth of England.”

Judge John Bradshaw said of Charles 1st –

“out of a wicked design to erect and uphold in himself an unlimited and tyrannical power to rule according to his will, and to overthrow the rights and liberties of the people of England.”

Bradshaw anounced the judgement of the court –

“he, the said Charles Stuart, as a tyrant, traitor, murderer and public enemy to the good of this nation, shall be put to death by severing of his head from his body.”

Charles’ last words to the crowd as he was taken to be exucuted at the end of the month-long trial –

“I have delivered to my conscience; I pray God you do take those courses that are best for the good of the kingdom and your own.”

It is said that when he was beheaded a large groan went up throughout the crowd. One observer in the crowd described it as “such a groan by the thousands then present, as I never heard before and I desire I may never hear again.”

Even in death, Charles found no dignity. Spectators were allowed to go up to the scaffold and, after paying, dip handkerchiefs in his blood as it was felt that the blood of a king when wiped onto a wound, illness etc. would cure that illness.

On the 6th February, 1649, the monarchy was abolished. Parliament stated that –

“the office of the king in this nation is unnecessary, burdensome and dangerous to the liberty, society and public interest of the people.”

More on the history of King Charles 1st


Since this little bit of recent royal history augmented by more ancient but perhaps equally interesting royal history has gone on a bit, reasons 2 & 3 on the failure to invite Tony Blair will follow.

Go to The Telegraph here to see 30 of the best royal wedding pictures. You know you want to.


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Recent comments:

I am staggered by all the hate directed towards our former Prime Minister. I believe that Tony Blair made the Iraq decision in good faith and is most certainly NOT a war criminal. If anyone should be tried at the Hague it should be those in the media for totally misrepresenting the information and facts. The media are to blame for fuelling this hatred as it is purely driven by them. (UK)

The greatest and most successful leader the Labour Party has ever had with the courage to fight the Islamist terrorists who really would like to kill us all, and you never hear a good word about him. The herd of independent minds, commentators, activists etc who have never had to make a difficult decision in their lives drown out all debate with their inane chants of war crimes and blood on his hands. Defend him at every chance. I just wish more people would do it. (Glasgow, UK)
Blair was the greatest Labour Prime Minister. It is a disgrace that the party has turned away from his legacy. Shame on Ed Miliband and his so-called ‘new generation’.


A right Royal snub for the People’s Prime Minister: Pt 1 “The People’s Princess”

April 26, 2011

Comment at end

Or –

26th April 2011

Part 1: The Whys and Wherefores as to the failure to invite Blair and Brown to William and Kate’s wedding

Blair shunned as not “one of us” by the royalyou won’t get us we’re part of the unionfamily

Is this why the former Labour Prime Minister, the most successful election winner for his party ever, was not included on the tiny guest list of almost 2,000?

Tony Blair on the morning of Diana’s death: “You know how difficult things were for her from time to time, I’m sure we can only guess at. But, the people everywhere, not just here in Britain, everywhere, they kept faith with Princess Diana. They liked her, they loved her, they regarded her as one of the people. She was the people’s princess. And that’s how she will stay, how she will remain, in our hearts and in our memories, forever.”

This would not have gone down too well with the Royals, especially Prince Charles. Even if most of us saw the paparazzi as the main culprits in her difficulties, and even if that is what Tony Blair meant.

“That bally man! Who does he think he is?”, I can imagine Charles growl at his mother.

But yes, we did know how difficult things were for her.  Memories are short too as to how Blair rescued the royal family from itself in the days following Princess Diana’s death.  Charles also knows that some even reduce his and Diana’s marriage to this –

A pretty, young, innocent virgin had married a man who did not love her and who used her as little more than a trophy wife and the heir-bearing means to an end.

The People’s Prince is a moniker Charles will never have attached to his name, in life or afterwards. Something it seems he will always blame on the People’s Prime Minister.



Part 2  to follow – Something Blue? A Garter?


Update: Julie has tweeted this –

The Daily Mail has done something I thought I would never witness in my lifetime. Scary. Really. Anyone knows if Paul Dacre is fine?!
Looks like the basis of Part 3 of The Whys & Wherefores of excluding Blair (and Brown) from the royal wedding.

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Recent comments:

I am staggered by all the hate directed towards our former Prime Minister. I believe that Tony Blair made the Iraq decision in good faith and is most certainly NOT a war criminal. If anyone should be tried at the Hague it should be those in the media for totally misrepresenting the information and facts. The media are to blame for fuelling this hatred as it is purely driven by them. (UK)

The greatest and most successful leader the Labour Party has ever had with the courage to fight the Islamist terrorists who really would like to kill us all, and you never hear a good word about him. The herd of independent minds, commentators, activists etc who have never had to make a difficult decision in their lives drown out all debate with their inane chants of war crimes and blood on his hands. Defend him at every chance. I just wish more people would do it. (Glasgow, UK)
Blair was the greatest Labour Prime Minister. It is a disgrace that the party has turned away from his legacy. Shame on Ed Miliband and his so-called ‘new generation’.

Videos: ‘Student’ scum to Charles & Camilla- “Off with their heads”

December 11, 2010
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    11th December 2010

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    whose regent street? our regent street! charles and camilla on the student demo 9-12-10 (1:07)

    “Off with their heads”?

    WHY? What have the non-politically involved heir to the throne, Prince Charles and his wife Camilla done or said to deserve this? Oh hang on a minute, I get it – they’re “Tory Scum”.

    This Regent Street is NOT YOURS, violent scumbags.  It is ours.  The rest of us. The quiet majority. Those of us who support democracy NOT anarchy as you lot clearly do. Even when we don’t necessarily agree with political decisions or the party(ies) imposing them. That’s DEMOCRACY, you fools.

    Try living – SURVIVING – in this country without it.

    Longer video here of the Student Riots, (Sky report videoed from TV screen, so bad sound):

    Prince Charles and Camilla’s Car Violently Attacked Tuition Fees Protests Riots UK Live Footage (13:27)

    This was NOT Police Violence. It was STUDENT violence. It was Police Response to violence;  Police Protection FROM violence.

    No policeman got up that morning in order to attack the country’s peace-keeping forces and buildings in London. Nor to pick on poor innocent students. That is utter tripe and a shameful claim by those who make it. On the other hand many, many of these so-called democracy-loving students did.

    Proud of this feral behaviour, eh, Peter? ( Still determined to side with the ‘stoodent mindless’? (Present family members excluded from this description, of course!)

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    Recent comments:

    “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.”

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    Two Royal Stories – Princes Charles & William

    January 3, 2010
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    3rd January, 2010

    Updates, 5th Jan – Just HAD to add this picture of our Great Heir/Reaper to the Throne.  Don’t ask me! Ask them! And according to The Express, the story is “nonsense” anyway. So don’t bother to read any of the below, because…

    ‘Paddy Harverson, Prince Charles’s communications secretary denied claims that Charles had waged a campaign against the 2003 invasion. “The story is nonsense,” he said. “How can it be true when it is based on hearsay?”’

    What? But Tony Blair is GUILTY, isn’t he? All based on hearsay. Ask the press, the great keeper of the ‘troof’.

    Prince Charles and straw hat paying due homage to ... oh, I give up! He looks more kindly on that piece of wood than he does on his 'political enemy' in the picture beow. We, the people... we will remember ...

    Back to where we were –

    Coincidental? Or trouble at ‘ mill?


    PRINCE Charles was so convinced Tony Blair was WRONG to take Britain to war in Iraq he broke Royal tradition and actively campaigned against the invasion, the News of the World can reveal.

    Behind closed doors, the heir to the throne voiced his fears to senior politicians and mounted a staunch anti-war crusade.

    If looks could kill...? Prince Charles and ("our glorious leader") Tony Blair . WHO has the power?Who SHOULD have the power?

    Story source – News of the World

    Prince Charles, it seems, and this doesn’t surprise me, did NOT agree with Tony Blair on the Iraq invasion. In fact he tried to stop the war!

    What? An interfering heir to the throne? Just as well HE’S not yet constitutionally Head of the Armed Forces. Hopefully, he never will be.


    What utter codswallop!

    This ‘Defender of Faith’, his new, hoped-for title, if and when he becomes king (LONG LIVE THE QUEEN!) means that such as me will NOT be under his ‘defence’. I do not subscribe to a religious faith, but only to my country’s Christian liberal secularism. The Queen DOES speak for me. She continues to uphold hard-fought traditions of liberal British democracy, even though nominally “defending” the Church of England. She does NOT feel the need to stretch out to “defend” incomers’ faiths, changing our unwritten constitution in the process, although she has been monarch since the early 1950s when immigration began seriously.

    Thus, another reason I have faith in OUR form of democracy. An elected political leader and government – OF the people, FOR the people, BY the people – and removable democratically BY the people, will always be those in whom I invest my trust.

    I did not, as it happens, vote for the present government. That is not an issue for me. Their election was democratically mandated in the way it has always been in Britain. But I most certainly did NOT vote for the monarchy. None of us did. The monarchy still has its place, and the Queen has been the perfect example of its place. It is not Prince Charles’s place to try to overturn the elected government’s position on war or, to be frank, on any other issue, lobby as he might.

    Peaceniks may cheer at Charles’s position. They would not cheer  so loudly if it had been the opposite position and he was a monarch with many decades to reign and this kind of political interference as a legacy.

    I find Charles’s ‘defender’ re-writing utterly objectionable, even treacherous. I also find his interference over a political decision, even failing as it ultimately did, equally offensive.

    So, Your Highness, please go practise your form of ‘defence’ elsewhere and do take your little tools for the wreckage of the British constitution with you, kind Sir. I am suddenly cooling substantially in my support for the monarchy.

    I can just hear Charles now in the parlour with Ma & Pa:

    ‘Great-great-great-grandpapa had the answer, Mother! “Off with his head”, he’d have said, faced with such a bally decision from an upstart of a “glorious leader” like that Blair man.  I tell you, it’s a disgrace, Papa! Who does he think he is? An elected representative of the people or something?’


    Perhaps I am being over-sensitive. I have some personal, perhaps familial sympathy with this Scottish politician, Archibald, 9th Earl of Argyll who was executed in 1685 by a displeased monarch. The monarch who beheaded Campbell AND his father the Marquess of Argyll was James II/VII (England/Scotland.)

    James is best known for his belief in absolute monarchy and his attempts to create religious liberty for his subjects. Both of these went against the wishes of the English Parliament and of most of his subjects. Parliament, opposed to the growth of absolutism that was occurring in other European countries, as well as to the loss of legal supremacy for the Church of England, saw their opposition as a way to preserve what they regarded as traditional English liberties. This tension made James’s four-year reign a struggle for supremacy between the English Parliament and the Crown, resulting in his deposition, the passage of the English Bill of Rights, and the Hanoverian succession.


    Prince Charles’s name when/if he takes the throne is still hotly debated. Kings Charles have NOT had a happy history in this country. I have heard the suggestion that Prince Charles may take the name of “James”. Hmmm… will he refer to the Bible – the King James (1st) version – as his moral compass?

    The convention that the monarch “asks” a politician to become Prime Minister following an election might stretch the meaning of the word “ask”. In a hung parliament situation would Charles prefer a Liberal Democrat PM, for political reasons, rather than one from one of the other main parties? These concerns need to be addressed prior to his becoming king. (See Monarchy)


    Prince Charles, although admired for his environmental concerns is treading on dangerous ground.

    Since the reign of James’ successor, William of Orange, there has been detachment of political influence from government. We recognise no “divine right of kings” to impart their wisdom to the elected politicians, expecting a positive response (See Independent and The Guardian.)

    Independent, excerpt:

    ‘When he becomes King, Prince Charles could well cause a constitutional crisis. For he is likely to find irksome the convention that the sovereign must act on the advice of ministers alone. This doctrine is at the heart of Britain’s uncodified constitution.

    What gives rise to these doubts is the regular bombardment of memos and letters to which the Prince subjects government ministers. These cover issues close to his heart such as the built environment, architecture, housing, agriculture and the protection of the environment.’


    Meanwhile, at The Telegraph, Charles’s son, Prince William (and with a bit of luck the next reigning monarch) says he is NOT about to become “shadow king”.

    Prince William, RAF pilot training

    The spokesman for St James’s Palace told The Sunday Telegraph: “Prince William will not be a ‘shadow king’ – the possibility is not even being considered. Over the next few years, Prince William will be concentrating primarily on a military career while also slightly increasing his [charity] patronages and the other interests that he pursues.”

    Who am I to suggest that the Royal family may be split on the justification, need or success of the Iraq campaign? William and his brother have been involved recently in the Middle East arena, William, for obvious reasons remaining at home, disappointed by all reports, while his younger brother Harry tasted real action.  See – ‘The Regal has landed: Harry’s home from Afghanistan’

    Who am I indeed?

    Prince Harry, returning from service in the army in Afghanistan

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    7/7 2005 – Memorial to the Victims of Terror Attacks – Unveiled in London’s Hyde Park

    July 7, 2009

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    7th July, 2009 

    Hyde Park Memorial to the victims of the 7/7 terror attacks on London  – FOUR YEARS ON

    Read The Telegraph report, including 1 minute video


    The columns comprising the memorial bear the date, times and locations of the attacks.


    A permanent memorial has been unveiled in London's Hyde Park to the victims of the bomb attacks on the city's transport system on 7th July, 2005


    The memorial consists of 52 stainless steel columns - or stelae - one for each of the people who died after suicide bombers detonated explosives on three Underground stations and a bus. They are grouped to represent those killed in each of the four sites.


    Prince Charles said the families had endured unutterable misery because of the cruel and mindless carnage.


    The unveiling ceremony, carried out in torrential rain, was attended by the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall and Prime Minister Gordon Brown.


    Relatives of the victims laid roses at the memorial - red ones for love and white for peace.

    The names of the victims are listed on a separate plaque nearby.

    The names of the victims are listed on a separate plaque nearby.


    Source: In pictures – Hyde Park , 7th July, 2009 – Memorial unveiled to those killed in 7th July, 2005 Terror Attacks on London


    Mail: 7th July London bombings. Four years on – Hell on EArth. Never before seen pictures inside Russell Square underground train


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    Brown on “Obama Beach” today in Normandy. PURLEASE Gordon …

    June 6, 2009
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    6th June, 2009

    Some will forgive the present British Prime Minister this error because of his tough week, and some will tear him to bits over it, given the errors already made over omitting to invite the Queen t the 65th D-Day Anniversary in Normandy.

    For me – well, sorry, this bloomer is stretching my usual tolerance and patience. (What do you mean WHAT t & p?)

    Omaha Beach Renamed “Obama Beach” by Gordon Brown

    Prince Charles didn’t flinch, but he MUST have noticed. I can only imagine his report back to mother on this.

    Yes, I know it was a slip of the tongue, and Mr Obama was in Normandy too, so obviously on Brown’s exhausted mind.  But these slips have become too habitual, and not only when he’s tired. I’m struggling to remember one of Blair’s in all those years.  Oh yes, there was THIS one:

    “And I’m The Guy Running The Country”

    In typical self-deprecating mode (something beyond Brown’s wit) Blair defused his mistake and had his audience eating out of his hand.

    What if Brown slips up again when he’s talking, organising or moving around millions erm … billions?

    Brown seems to have lost it.

    Perhaps it IS time for the men in white coats… grey suits.


    RELATED – sort of …

    Spectator on Brown reshuffle: As Tony Blair Would Say ‘Weak-weak-weak’

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    British Identity – Who The He** Are We?

    October 14, 2008

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    14th October, 2008

    Today I received the e-mail below (here) on one of these round-robin things that flood our e-mail. I agree with its tenor, of course, except for ONE little inexactitude.

    And this little error, which is actually quite a BIG one, if you think about it, got me thinking.

    The British people’s biggest problem in knowing how to deal with today’s issues on such issues as immigration/integration/Muslims/Islamists/terrorism is quite simple:


    That leaves us highly susceptible and in many ways at the mercy of those who DO know who and what they are.

    It isn’t helped by such oddball votes as have been made in the House of Lords last night by those whose main concern seems to be that by making today’s decisions for today’s world we are somehow upsetting some ancient apple-cart of, in this instance the Magna Carta – The MAGNA CARTA(?!) Read the comments at The Times to understand that we have issues with the meaning of our own identity and with trust in the strength and adaptability of our own democracy.

    [The 42 Days’ detention vote was a dreadful decision, in my humble opinion. But I believe it will come back to haunt the Conservatives. It will also be left on the back-burner for the Home Secretary to look at again, when the time is right. And the time will be right, one day, I am convinced.]

    I don’t know about you, but to me the Magna Carta reference is a straw man. Personally I feel that our democracy is strong enough to bend with the wind, and to bend right back again as and when required. (I don’t need protecting from my better judgement by the unelected Lords.)

    Like an ancient oak tree our unwritten constitution will withstand the buffeting as long as we have enough self-confidence to trust its roots. At the same time we should understand that there is more to any living organism than just its roots. The trunk, the branches and the leaves are just as important.

    And the one little inexactitude?

    “In God we trust” is NOT the British motto.

    It is America’s – yes, the great, and oft-derided, and sometimes hated USA. The land which some of us in recent years have been persuaded is no longer on our side. In that judgement, of course, those ‘some of us’ are VERY wrong. But that’s another matter.

    If we Brits trust anyone, or any entity, it is the Monarch – as “Defender of the Faith” (the Christian faith.) Interesting that we haven’t heard much recently from Prince Charles about being “Defender of ALL faiths”.

    But perhaps more than anything else, this confusion as to our motto, should focus our minds.

    We should recognise our friends, our culture, our values and our history. And we should know ourselves, and determine our own future before some other entity, group or body shapes it for us.

    Amazing and depressing that I should have to write this, since it seems self-evident. Perhaps this signifies that our identity is already too diluted, even polluted, for us to see our way through the haze.

    The e-mail:


    I think this really sums it all up.

    After hearing that many cities did not want to offend other cultures by putting up Xmas lights, so DIDN’T!

    After hearing that the Birmingham council changed its opinion and let a Muslim woman have her picture on her driver’s licence with her face covered.

    After hearing of a Primary School in Birmingham where a boy was told that for PE they could wear Football League shirts (Aston Villa, Birmingham, West Brom etc) but NOT an England shirt as it could offend others !

    This prompted the editorial below written by a UK citizen. Published in a British tabloid newspaper.


    Take It Or Leave It. I am tired of this nation worrying about whether we are offending some individual or their culture. Since the terrorist attacks on London, we have experienced a surge in patriotism by the majority of Brits.

    However, the dust from the attacks has barely settled and the ‘politically correct’ crowd begin complaining about the possibility that our patriotism is offending others.

    I am not against immigration, nor do I hold a grudge against anyone who is seeking a better life by coming to Britain. However, there are a few things that those who have recently come to our country, and apparently some born here, need to understand.

    This idea of London being a multicultural centre for community has served only to dilute our sovereignty and our national identity. As Britons, we have our own culture, our own society, our own language and our own lifestyle. This culture has been developed over centuries of wars, struggles, trials and victories fought by the untold masses of men and women who laid down their lives and one of the millions of men and women who have sought freedom.

    We speak ENGLISH, not Spanish, Lebanese, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, or any other language. Therefore, if you wish to become part of our society, learn the language!

    ‘In God We Trust’ is our National Motto.

    This is not some Christian, right wing, political slogan. We adopted this motto because Christian men and women, on Christian principles, founded this nation, and this is clearly documented. It is certainly appropriate to display it on the walls of our schools.

    If God offends you, then I suggest you consider another part of the world as your new home, because God is part of our culture. If St. George’s cross offends you, or you don’t like ‘ A Fair Go’, then you should seriously consider a move to another part of this planet.

    We are happy with our culture and have no desire to change, and we really don’t care how you did things where you came from. This is OUR COUNTRY, OUR LAND, and OUR LIFESTYLE, and we will allow you every opportunity to enjoy all this.

    But once you are done complaining, whining, and griping about Our Flag, Our Pledge, Our National Motto, or Our Way of Life, I highly encourage you take advantage of one other great British freedom, ‘THE RIGHT TO LEAVE’.

    We didn’t force you to come here.  If you don’t like it GO HOME!!

    You asked to be here. So accept the country YOU accepted. Pretty easy really, when you think about it. I figure if we all keep passing this to our friends (and enemies) it will also, sooner or later get back to the complainers. Let’s all try, please.

    No matter how many times you receive it … please forward it to all you know.


    • Following the murders of Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn and filmmaker Theo Van Gogh, Holland changed its immigration rules. But the results have been mixed, with ghetto-isation of Muslims, and younger females choosing to wear head scarves shunned by their mothers.

    Van Gogh’s brutal killing prodded a fundamental change in the Netherlands’ immigration laws. It came just two years after another convulsive event—the murder of populist politician Pim Fortuyn, who had advocated halting all immigration into the Netherlands. It was the first political assassination in Holland in more than 300 years, and it deeply shook Dutch society. Conservative parties were swept into power in the national election immediately after the killing of Fortuyn. The vicious attack on van Gogh bolstered the government’s mandate to crack down—and former Minister for Immigration and Integration Rita Verdonk (popularly known as “Iron Rita”) made the most of the opportunity.

    Submission Part 1 – What Theo van Gogh was murdered for –

    WHY did Van Gogh have to die? Because he made this 10 minute film. He was murdered before he got around to making Part 2.





    Point of correction – AGAIN – IT WAS NOT “YO, BLAIR”! It was “YEAH, BLAIR”

    Got it?  Watch it here and LISTEN!

    Ask yourself how many more LIES the Daily Mail is going to tell us in their search for “THE TRUTH”! It’s a dishonest newspaper, imho, and we should understand that before we swallow ANYTHING they tell us, especially anything about Tony Blair.

    Oh, by the way, this Mail rag is SO biased and such an instrument for brainwashing the gullible, that it refuses to publish ANY comment in favour of Mr Blair as a human being, much less a politician. I sent this comment to them earlier on their article on Blair & Ecclestone. Since I know they won’t publish it, I have pasted it here for you:


    You know nothing about anything and are determined to spread the sticky mud on Blair for the ‘benefif’ of a gullible and biased readership. That has been your aim for years. I know you won’t print this. Your paper never prints my comments and seldom prints anything in support of Tony Blair. But compared to such as you, with your CONSTANT and determined twisting of the facts, Blair has nothing on you.

    This paper is the University of Lying.’

    I really DO wish that Mr Blair would sue these people.

    15th October, 3:35pm: I’ve checked the Daily Mail article by the way, and as I suspected, they STILL haven’t published my comment above. So much for “freedom of speech”!

    What a mendacious crowd!

    Free Hit Counter

    Brown & The Undead Government

    January 27, 2008

    Original Home Page

    Alan Johnson
    Brown in China
    Peter Hain
    Ashdown & Afghanistan – A DIS-Honourable Withdrawal
    Levy & Cherie Books
    EU Treaty of Lisbon vote
    Prince Charles’ support for ‘fundamentalism’
    Calling a spade a spade – PC Gone MAD

    Comment at end

    27th January, 2008



    Or is the present PM just unlucky?


    I’m not given to superstition. But I AM just beginning to wonder. Certainly, in comparison, “Teflon” Tony still seems to have a lucky charm secreted about his person. But on Brown’s recent trip to China (see here) my suspicions were raised.

    So just in case of the worst scenario, I am advised that this handy kit is just the thing for really deading the undead. A cross, a silver bullet, garlic and a wooden stake.



    Now let me think. Who might have these items to hand? The cross shouldn’t be difficult; the bullet … well … will a used one do, still implanted where it landed, but retrievable?; the garlic … anyone been to France recently?; as for the stake … hhmmm … I’ll have to give that some thought.

    But Ive just had another thought. You’ll remember that day in September 2006, when push came to shove, and Blair & Brown had a loud conversation in Number 10? You remember? The threats that Blair said emanated from Brown? You don’t think that the “assassination” implement could have bounced back off the teflon? Nah! Sorry, some say I do have a bit of a wild imagination. That would mean that whoever wielded the weapon could well have been undead for the last 16 months! Surely we’d have noticed THAT?

    Time for a song. If you were around in the early 1960s, you might remember this little rendition by The Zombies. I must admit I don’t recall it, just found it on my ‘zombie’ search. Its lyrics are … interesting, in the prescient way of songs and poetry.




    Alan Johnson, the jovial, guitar-playing Health Secretary is now in donations hot water too over his deputy leadership bid. HOW MANY MORE? And this a few hours after Des Browne said, in a pre-recorded message for a Scottish broadcast, that he was sure there would be no more such revelations.

    But now, Johnson seems to be another victim of unintended consequences. He was the man standing at Blair’s side on the day he said he would stand down ‘within a year’ following the attempted coup. “I’ve got one (friend)”, quipped Blair.

    Mr Johnson will know that he is now on his own, as Mr Brown tries to scrape his party’s credibility off the floor, by doing … who knows!

    It seems Mr Johnson received £3,334 from a man who wrote a cheque on behalf of his brother. This is against the law as all donors’ names should be clear and unambiguous. And the proxy donor was an immigrant, though I don’t think illegal, and between April and July last year, four donations were not declared on time. Mr Johnson vehemently denies returning his forms late and says the Electoral Commission have got it wrong.


    gordon_biting_nails.jpgAnd, according to this report the present prime minister forgot a return for the 2005 general election and duly received a court summons. The official court papers seem to be dated January 2006. Interesting that we haven’t heard of this before. It is hardly in the same category as the present predicaments of his colleagues, but it might explain why he did not push Peter Hain. Still, at that time, 2005, the chancellor had been looking after the country’s accounts for 8 years. “Prudence”, now running our country, but then possibly losing his papers under his piles of books and papers … well, many of us can sympathise with THAT.

    But it does raise some questions about structure, systems and support mechanisms within Labour, which they need to address.


    Here are my thoughts on this. Despite my jibes, I don’t actually see any of this stuff as evidence of real criminality, as we understand it. You know, murder, violence, drug dealing, theft, corruption for personal gain.

    However, it is probably true that at least in some ways, the individuals who stood for the Deputy Leadership may well have broken the law. Of course, if they’d listened to me and others like me, and not pushed Mr Blair out before he needed to go, none of this untidy mess would have happened. The Abrahams affair, the Scottish Leader being pilloried over less than £1,000, Hain’s resignation, Harman’s pickle, the Johnson mystery, and all the Deputy Leadership candidates spending their weekend searching around for anything ELSE they might have missed.

    gb4b_cancelled.jpgAnd many must be wishing the Political Parties, Elections & Referendums Act 2000 had been given greater scrutiny. Meant to catch sleazy Tories after cash-in-brown-envelope misdemeanours, and lying under oath, where at least two Conservatives ended up in prison, it has become a bar too high. If you are by virtue of this Act catching the late form-filler, or highlighting the inadequacies of staff, and then hanging ministers out to dry and landing them with a criminal record for this, there’s clearly something wrong.


    Still, on his recent visit to China Mr Brown was being interviewed when a machine in the background, remarkably like a life-support system, suddenly seemed to flatline.

    What?Had GB/PM popped his clogs and none of us had noticed, least of all him? He didn’t physically collapse, so we couldn’t be sure.

    But was he now a member of the undead, fated to be around for eternity, or at least until somebody (can’t imagine who) puts the wooden stake in? And to rub it in, (no, not the garlic), the Labour Party’s YouTube site has some idiot dropping a stake … er … piece of wood in the background while Brown talks to camera! Can just imagine his word in the ear afterwards:


    [Glad they managed to find the missing stake anyway. I was racking my brains about who’d have one of those. Should have known it would have been Downing Street.]

    You’d think they could have afforded to re-do the video. After all, it’s only 76 seconds long. Or were they finally happy with the Gordo-smile, so left the clanging in, as the better option? Well, if that’s the case, imho, they’ve dropped a clanger.

    Watch the video and listen out at around 55 seconds.


    Who told Brown he needs to smile more? Well, sack that guy. It doesn’t work for Brown and it never will. He ain’t Tony Blair. Mr Blair knew when to keep the smile off his face. This video is not the place to be struggling with the unnatural false smile just because some voice training/PR person told you that your voice would be less solemn and your face more friendly with a turned up mouth. Honestly, Gordon. It doesn’t work for you, the ‘conviction’ and deadly serious politician.


    You get the clear feeling panic’s setting in when this kind of article appears in the papers. (Goodness, if we’re not careful he’ll be using the words “islamist terrorist” next!)

    Perhaps this was the only way he could get the two post-Hain ministerial promotions, Blairites both, to help bail him out! Or perhaps he really meant it. Just wish I knew.


    Excerpts:Today’s Mail:


    “Gordon Brown will today position himself as the ‘heir to Blair’ on welfare reform by embracing plans to open up back-to-work schemes to private firms and charities.

    The Blairite blueprint for reform of the welfare state was dismissed by the Treasury before Mr Brown became Prime Minister.

    But Mr Purnell made the extraordinary claim that Mr Brown should now be seen as a true ‘heir to Blair’.

    ‘Gordon Brown is clearly the heir to Blair,’ he said. ‘They created New Labour together and he is building on the reforms of the last ten years but there is unfinished business.'”

    A little clue, Mr GB/PM. You don’t do away with Britannia on the back of the pound coin if you want the voters to believe that you believe in Britain. Yes, I know it’s the Daily Mail, but the poll there today says that less than 10% of those polled think ditching the symbol of our sea-faring past is a good idea.


    And meanwhile Lord Levy (of the cash for honours inquiry) and Cherie, (of the TBPAC – Tony Blair Protection & Appreciation Corporation), are due to complete their books by the autumn. Lord Levy, no fan of GB/PM, is promising a warts and all account of his time as a government and party adviser. He might even criticise Mr Blair. Who knows? And Cherie? Well, I wonder how many beans she’ll spill? Neither of them will show their manuscripts to the cabinet office for approval, (as employees would be required to do), as neither was on the government payroll. Can hardly wait.





    Not sure what to make of this. It does make me wonder if things are right in how we structure and organise politics. All right, some have been wondering that for years.

    I have no axe to grind, unlike Guido Fawkes, on whose site the picture below appeared. But there seems little doubt that Peter Hain broke the law.


    But if the law is an ass, are we allowed to kick it on this occasion? Or do we ignore it because it’s a nasty scheming corrupt politician who is suffering? And what’s more, hoist on his own petard, since Labour brought in the 2000 law which Hain is said to have broken.

    There’s no easy answer. And perhaps I’m too soft in thinking that politicians are people too, and not necessarily corrupt when this kind of thing happens. After all, wasn’t the law brought in to discourage corruption, cash-for-questions, back-pocketing and funding from foreign nationals?

    But it raises some questions about the Labour party’s procedures for checking donations/loans at ANY time. You’d think they’d have a roomful of legal beavers checking all the financial ins and outs of any leadership or election campaign especially after the year they had had previously. Or didn’t they notice the discomfiture when Blair was the one under the spotlight – because it was only Blair & friends being pilloried, and not them?


    I read somewhere that Mr Hain, if questioned by police as seems likely, will be the first cabinet minister to be investigated as a suspect by the Police in a criminal case. Not sure if this is correct; but if so, it could be an ignominious end to what has been a career devoted to causes in which he strongly believed.

    We can all be clever and throw dozens of reasons at our computers as to why this come-uppance is deserved. But, all in all, I still feel sorry for Peter Hain.

    Meanwhile the other two in the (possible) firing line – Harriet Harman (Deputy PM) and Wendy Alexander (Scotland) have yet to hear if they are to be charged. The News of The World says in an ‘exclusive’, that the Deputy PM WILL be questioned by the police.

    A police investigation per se, and being questioned by the Police as a suspect in a criminal matter, are two very different things.

    Although the amounts involved are smaller, one of them, can’t recall which, according to a Radio 4 report, could end up in prison for up to 12 months! Surely, THIS cannot be right?

    Who’d be a politician? It all ends in tears.

    See BBC report

    What do others say? The first one to comment here is, as it happens, Alan Johnson.



    THOUSANDS STILL ON EGYPT DAY TRIPS:Israel, given no option, has agreed to restore supplies to Gaza, after thousands of Gazans were taking regular day trips to Egypt for the shopping! Quite a way to go for a bottle of milk. The sanctions lasted ten days only, and after five days, the wall was breached. What WERE the Israelis thinking? Didn’t they realise there was another way out of Gaza? A wall in the way! So WHAT? To the terrorists working under the guise or protection of Hamas, blowing up a wall is childsplay. Israel was left today with no choice but to agree to Egyptian demands. They have now agreed to allow fuel in for power stations. I’m not quite sure yet about other supplies … ancillaries like … food! In any case it was the lesser of two evils. Control and restrict imports from Israel OR allow shipments of arms to cross back into Gaza from Egypt. The reason Israel closed their own borders with Gaza was the relentless attacks from within Gaza. But now, the heroes of the hour may well prove to be Hamas. Whoever puts food in the bellies of its people have gone a long way to winning the hearts and minds argument. Will this be a step forward or backwards? We can be sure the situation will not remain static for long.Continuing to stand back from talking to Hamas will likely prove difficult for Israel and Fatah now.


    There certainly is!

    At Davos, Tony Blair (watch video) said that the international community should not start communicating with Hamas as a result of the present situation. But he said it was clear that a new strategy was needed. He said that he hoped to isolate the leadership from the people and that the present position was extremely dangerous. The Fatah and Israeli leaders would have made their position clear to the envoy.

     Whether this line can be held is another matter entirely.

    The “new strategy” will be awaited by many.


    DISASTROUS DECISION FOR AFGHANISTANashdown_sarajevo_jan30_2006.jpg!

    How daft of President Karzai. Does he really think that Paddy Ashdown is desperate to leave his comfortable English garden to put himself in the firing line, literally as well as metaphorically in Afghanistan? Yesterday, after a few weeks testy negotiations, the Afghan government made it clear that they’d prefer the British General, John McColl as UN envoy. And in Davos President Karzai criticised the allies, in particular the British, for something that happened four years ago!Why criticise now? It must be internal politics pushing him to a position which he must surely know is an unwise one. Our soldiers and envoys are putting their lives at risk for THEM. For the sake of democracy and a settled Middle East. To help rid their land of the Taleban and stabilise the region.

     But this move seems to be symptomatic of wider tensions between President Karzai, some within his government and Britain. It is suggested that Ashdown would be considered too strong a figure and even threaten President Karzai’s position. Highly unlikely.

     This article described his appointment yesterday as “toast”, quoting unnamed sources.

    Excerpt:”Karzai does not want Paddy Ashdown in the job because Ashdown, the international community’s representative in Bosnia from 2002 to 2005, wanted too much power, the paper said, quoting unnamed diplomats.”

    That remark proved too much for Lord Ashdown and last night he stood out of the reckoning for this very important position.

    That is a great pity. They have lost an honourable man who would have done taken this difficult task VERY seriously. His work in Bosnia for Tony Blair after Kosovo was intense and committed. He cares deeply for people in need and their interests would quickly become his. Karzai has been foolish to turn him down.

    Today Mr Ashdown said that it seems to be part of the pressure including remarks made a few days ago on the British role in Afghanistan. He said he did not want to be an instrument used by others to make further trouble for this country’s position in that country. Well said, Lord Ashdown.

    So, if Mr Karzai only wants to appoint someone he can manipulate, does that send out the right vibes to those who are still working hard to cleanse his country of terrorists? He should understand that this country’s support for Middle East involvement is on a knife edge.

    Much of the time the articulate Afghan leader has seemed a voice of sense and moderation. I wonder quite what’s happened here?

    “MINGIN’ PRESS” says Sir Ming Campbell

    And talking about former Liberal Democrat leaders, Sir Menzies Campbell has been throwing a well-deserved blow at our press. It seems he blames them for his demise. Their constant remarks about his age was destructive, he believes. He’s right, of course. As I have said here on many occasions, the press will traduce anyone’s reputation for any reason, as they have done with Blair. But he is young and tough enough to survive regardless, even if in another guise. But for Sir Ming, it is now too late. Not that I’d absolve all of his colleagues of at least some responsibility. Nevertheless, the British press are largely run by a bunch of juveniles who make Guido Fawkes’s blog look mature.

    I’ve heard Brown called all sorts of things in relation to Blair but never this as on the Norwich University Foreign Policy page (Blogging Davos)

    “And many of the usual Davos suspects are returning: Microsoft’s Bill Gates, Larry Page and Sergey Brin of Google, Tony Blair and his protégé, Gordon Brown, not to mention former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, fresh from winning the Nobel Peace Prize.”


    Hhmmm …

    “THERE IS MUCH TO BE DONE” (on fundamentalism’s future, said Charles!)

    Prince Charles’ Support of Fundamentalism – Did he REALLY write this?

    I saw this reference to a newly disclosed letter Prince Charles wrote to Mahathir Mohamed, the former prime minister of Malaysia in 1996. As I have found before on the internet, it was of the sort I would initially interpret as a spoof. Or perhaps an April Fools’ Day prank. But since it’s January, and it was September (11 years ago) when he wrote it, it must be for real.



    Mahathir Mohamad is famously anti-west, anti Israel, and was pro-remaining in power for as long as possible. Indeed, he was prime minister of Malaysia for 22 years (July 1981 – October 2003), which makes Tony Blair’s ten look like a warm-up (well, perhaps it was). In fact when the former Malaysian PM announced he was going to stand down in June of 2002, it upset him so much he broke down in tears at the realisation that he was going before his time.


    Prince Charles said in conversation with this man that he was – “determined to continue the battle to spread the message that proper fundamentalism is in the best interest of the future of our world.”


    It was written in September 1996. That was eight months before Tony Blair’s first government was elected. Eleven months before Princess Diana died. And five years prior to 9/11.

    Perhaps the passage of time and events since have taught our future king something. We can only hope so.

    NO religious/political fundamentalism has a place in today’s world.

    By Tim Walker and Richard Eden, excerpt:

    Charles’s letter in support of Islamic ‘fundamentalism’

    “Demonstrating the extent to which he sees himself as “defender of faith”, the Prince of Wales wrote to Mahathir Mohamad, the former prime minister of Malaysia, saying that he was “determined to continue the battle to spread the message that proper fundamentalism is in the best interest of the future of our world.”

    Charles told Mahathir, who later claimed that Jews “rule the world by proxy”, he understood the “frustrations” Muslims experience “as a result of apparent Western misunderstanding and misrepresentation. I have, for a long time, despaired of the ignorant and thoroughly evil ‘role’ of the tabloid media in deliberately misrepresenting Islam and reducing everything to the level of the absurd.”

    The hitherto private letter, which Charles wrote in September 1996 after Mahathir had given a lecture to the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, of which the prince is patron, has just been published in Malaysia in Dr Mahathir’s Selected Letters to World Leaders.

    “We now live in a Press State where everything is dominated by the lowest common denominator and by the most ludicrous of ’sound bites’,” Charles also told Mahathir. Relations between countries seem to be decided by tabloid newspapers nowadays and I resent it deeply. Important issues are reduced to the level of farce, as I know to my cost having expressed an interest in the contribution made to this country by ethnic and religious minorities and by my desire to include other faiths, such as Islam, in the celebrations surrounding the forthcoming Millennium. In an attempt to show how much we share in common and how much we can learn from each other, I have discovered how easy it is to be misunderstood and misrepresented. I have even received several letters accusing me of becoming a Muslim!”

    Charles said he saw the appeal of “proper fundamentalism” in “a world, in my part of it at any rate, which is increasingly without meaning, without roots, without a spiritual dimension and which worships the God of Technology.” He finished his letter with the rallying cry: “There is much to be done…!”


    The House of Commons has been ordered to release a detailed breakdown of expenses claimed by six MPs including Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Tony Blair. The ruling by Information Commissioner Richard Thomas is likely to set a precedent for all MPs. He said that headline figures for claims under a series of headings, including staffing allowances, incidental expenses and stationery, should be broken down for publication. In a statement, Mr Thomas’s office said: “In the Commissioner’s view the legitimate public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the prejudice to the rights, freedom and legitimate interests of MPs.”The decision, based on the Freedom of Information Act, follows a request for the detailed spending between April 2003 and March 2004 of Mr Blair, Mr Brown, John Prescott, Michael Howard, Charles Kennedy and Jonathan Sayeed. It goes much further than previous rulings by the Information Commissioner for the details of spending on travel and the costs of staying away from home to be released. A source said that while the ruling applied to only six people, it was indicative of how Mr Thomas was likely to treat requests applying to all MPs. His decision is made on the grounds that such expenses arose from MPs’ role as public representatives and were reimbursed by the taxpayer.”The Information Commissioner has ruled that a breakdown of the total amounts claimed by some individual MPs for travel, incidental expenses, staffing, central IT provision, centrally purchased stationery and additional cost allowance should be released under the Freedom of Information Act,” the statement added.Far be it for me to suggest anything politically motivated here, but isn’t this the Richard Thomas who said that the country risks sleepwalking into a surveillance society” because of government plans for identity cards and a population register?He said that there is a growing danger of East German Stasi-style snooping if the State gathers too much information about individual citizens.

     The (pdf) report of the original hearing dismissing charges against one of the above named can be read here. Excerpt:
    “Item 14. If the Committee, too, accepts my analysis of the wider position as set out above, there is no reason why it should not dispose of the matter now.”

    14 July 2005 Sir Philip Mawer
    So why now?

    What is it about the 2003/04 year that is of such great interest in this regard? A House of Commons report in October 2007 reported that in the last financial year Tony Blair’s expenses were £97,000

    “Then chancellor Gordon Brown, Tory leader David Cameron and then Lib Dem leader Sir Menzies Campbell’s claims were all around the average – at £135,525, £143,385 and £142,810 respectively.

    But claims by Tony Blair, who was prime minister at the time, were comparatively low – amounting to £97,084.”


     The Lib Dems allied with the Government over the EU vote last week. Landing a blow against those calling for a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty (or Constitution as those against describe it) the Liberal Democrats voted with the government so ensuring its passage through the Commons. The House of Lords may be a different matter.Interesting though that the Liberal Democrats, who often scream about civil rights and listening to the people, on this occasion have turned a deaf ear.That may be because, to them, the issue of Europe is strong on their Positive List. Principle before expediency? Is it fine when the Lib Dems are standing on principle, but not always so acceptable when others do? Or am I being just too cynical? Still, I congratulate them on this, if not much else. A referendum as called for by the antis, would be a rag to the rags … bull, in the hands of our newpapers. Of that we can have little doubt.


    Here is a list of the MPs who voted this week for the Treaty of Lisbon to be taken to the next stage of ratification, so that you can write to congratulate or reprimand them:

    Ainger, NickAinsworth, rh Mr. BobAlexander, DannyAlexander, rh Mr. DouglasAllen, Mr. GrahamAnderson, Mr. DavidAnderson, JanetArmstrong, rh HilaryAtkins, CharlotteAustin, Mr. IanAustin, JohnBailey, Mr. AdrianBaird, VeraBaker, NormanBalls, rh EdBanks, GordonBarlow, Ms CeliaBarrett, JohnBarron, rh Mr. KevinBattle, rh JohnBayley, HughBeckett, rh MargaretBegg, Miss AnneBeith, rh Mr. AlanBell, Sir StuartBenn, rh HilaryBenton, Mr. JoeBerry, RogerBetts, Mr. CliveBlackman, LizBlackman-Woods, Dr. RobertaBlears, rh HazelBlizzard, Mr. BobBlunkett, rh Mr. DavidBorrow, Mr. David S.Bradshaw, Mr. BenBrake, TomBreed, Mr. ColinBrennan, KevinBrown, LynBrown, rh Mr. NicholasBrown, Mr. RussellBrowne, rh DesBrowne, Mr. JeremyBruce, rh MalcolmBryant, ChrisBuck, Ms KarenBurden, RichardBurnham, rh AndyBurstow, Mr. PaulButler, Ms DawnByers, rh Mr. StephenByrne, Mr. LiamCable, Dr. VincentCaborn, rh Mr. RichardCairns, DavidCampbell, Mr. AlanCampbell, rh Sir MenziesCaton, Mr. MartinCawsey, Mr. IanChallen, ColinChaytor, Mr. DavidClark, Ms KatyClark, PaulClarke, rh Mr. CharlesClarke, rh Mr. KennethClarke, rh Mr. TomClegg, Mr. NickClelland, Mr. DavidClwyd, rh AnnCoaker, Mr. VernonCoffey, AnnCohen, HarryConnarty, MichaelCook, FrankCooper, RosieCooper, rh YvetteCousins, JimCrausby, Mr. DavidCruddas, JonCunningham, Mr. JimCunningham, TonyCurry, rh Mr. DavidCurtis-Thomas, Mrs. ClaireDarling, rh Mr. AlistairDavey, Mr. EdwardDavid, Mr. WayneDean, Mrs. JanetDenham, rh Mr. JohnDevine, Mr. JimDhanda, Mr. ParmjitDismore, Mr. AndrewDobbin, JimDobson, rh FrankDonohoe, Mr. Brian H.Doran, Mr. FrankDowd, JimDurkan, MarkEagle, AngelaEagle, MariaEfford, CliveEllman, Mrs. LouiseEnnis, JeffEtherington, BillFarrelly, PaulFeatherstone, LynneFisher, MarkFitzpatrick, JimFlello, Mr. RobertFlint, CarolineFollett, BarbaraFoster, Mr. DonFoster, Mr. Michael (Worcester)Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings and Rye)Francis, Dr. HywelGapes, MikeGeorge, AndrewGeorge, rh Mr. BruceGerrard, Mr. NeilGibson, Dr. IanGidley, SandraGilroy, LindaGoggins, PaulGoldsworthy, JuliaGoodman, HelenGriffith, NiaGriffiths, NigelGrogan, Mr. JohnGwynne, AndrewHain, rh Mr. PeterHall, Mr. MikeHall, PatrickHamilton, Mr. DavidHamilton, Mr. FabianHanson, rh Mr. DavidHarman, rh Ms HarrietHarris, Dr. EvanHarris, Mr. TomHavard, Mr. DaiHealey, JohnHenderson, Mr. DougHendrick, Mr. MarkHepburn, Mr. StephenHeppell, Mr. JohnHesford, StephenHewitt, rh Ms PatriciaHeyes, DavidHill, rh KeithHillier, MegHodge, rh MargaretHodgson, Mrs. SharonHolmes, PaulHood, Mr. JimHoon, rh Mr. GeoffreyHope, PhilHorwood, MartinHowarth, DavidHowarth, rh Mr. GeorgeHowells, Dr. KimHughes, rh BeverleyHughes, SimonHuhne, ChrisHumble, Mrs. JoanHunter, MarkHutton, rh Mr. JohnIddon, Dr. BrianIllsley, Mr. EricIngram, rh Mr. AdamIrranca-Davies, HuwJames, Mrs. Siân C.Jenkins, Mr. BrianJohnson, rh AlanJohnson, Ms Diana R.Jones, HelenJones, Mr. KevanJones, LynneJones, Mr. MartynJoyce, Mr. EricKaufman, rh Sir GeraldKeeble, Ms SallyKeeley, BarbaraKeen, AlanKeen, AnnKeetch, Mr. PaulKelly, rh RuthKemp, Mr. FraserKennedy, rh Mr. CharlesKennedy, rh JaneKhan, Mr. SadiqKidney, Mr. DavidKnight, JimKramer, SusanKumar, Dr. AshokLadyman, Dr. StephenLamb, NormanLammy, Mr. DavidLaws, Mr. DavidLaxton, Mr. BobLazarowicz, MarkLeech, Mr. JohnLepper, DavidLevitt, TomLewis, Mr. IvanLinton, MartinLloyd, TonyLove, Mr. AndrewLucas, IanMackinlay, AndrewMacShane, rh Mr. DenisMactaggart, FionaMalik, Mr. ShahidMallaber, JudyMann, JohnMarris, RobMarsden, Mr. GordonMarshall-Andrews, Mr. RobertMcAvoy, rh Mr. ThomasMcCabe, SteveMcCafferty, ChrisMcCarthy, KerryMcCarthy-Fry, SarahMcCartney, rh Mr. IanMcDonagh, SiobhainMcFadden, Mr. PatMcFall, rh JohnMcGovern, Mr. JimMcGuire, Mrs. AnneMcIsaac, ShonaMcKechin, AnnMcKenna, RosemaryMcNulty, rh Mr. TonyMeacher, rh Mr. MichaelMerron, GillianMichael, rh AlunMilburn, rh Mr. AlanMiliband, rh DavidMiliband, rh EdwardMiller, AndrewMoffat, AnneMoffatt, LauraMole, ChrisMoon, Mrs. MadeleineMoore, Mr. MichaelMoran, MargaretMorden, JessicaMorgan, JulieMorley, rh Mr. ElliotMountford, KaliMudie, Mr. GeorgeMulholland, GregMullin, Mr. ChrisMunn, MegMurphy, Mr. DenisMurphy, Mr. JimMurphy, rh Mr. PaulNaysmith, Dr. DougO’Brien, Mr. MikeO’Hara, Mr. EdwardOlner, Mr. BillÖpik, LembitOsborne, SandraOwen, AlbertPalmer, Dr. NickPearson, IanPlaskitt, Mr. JamesPope, Mr. GregPound, StephenPrentice, BridgetPrentice, Mr. GordonPrescott, rh Mr. JohnPrimarolo, rh DawnProsser, GwynPurchase, Mr. KenPurnell, rh JamesRammell, BillRaynsford, rh Mr. NickReed, Mr. AndyReed, Mr. JamieReid, rh JohnRennie, WillieRiordan, Mrs. LindaRobertson, JohnRobinson, Mr. GeoffreyRogerson, DanRooney, Mr. TerryRuane, ChrisRuddock, JoanRussell, BobRussell, ChristineRyan, rh JoanSalter, MartinSanders, Mr. AdrianSarwar, Mr. MohammadSeabeck, AlisonSharma, Mr. VirendraShaw, JonathanSheerman, Mr. BarrySheridan, JimShort, rh ClareSimon, Mr. SiônSingh, Mr. MarshaSlaughter, Mr. AndySmith, rh Mr. AndrewSmith, Ms Angela C. (Sheffield, Hillsborough)Smith, Angela E. (Basildon)Smith, GeraldineSmith, rh JacquiSmith, JohnSmith, Sir RobertSnelgrove, AnneSoulsby, Sir PeterSouthworth, HelenSpellar, rh Mr. JohnStarkey, Dr. PhyllisStewart, IanStoate, Dr. HowardStrang, rh Dr. GavinStraw, rh Mr. JackStunell, AndrewSutcliffe, Mr. GerrySwinson, JoTami, MarkTaylor, Ms DariTaylor, Mr. IanTaylor, MatthewTeather, SarahThomas, Mr. GarethThornberry, EmilyTimms, rh Mr. StephenTipping, PaddyTodd, Mr. MarkTouhig, rh Mr. DonTurner, Dr. DesmondTurner, Mr. NeilTwigg, DerekVaz, rh KeithWalley, JoanWaltho, LyndaWard, ClaireWatts, Mr. DaveWebb, SteveWhitehead, Dr. AlanWicks, MalcolmWilliams, rh Mr. AlanWilliams, Mrs. BettyWilliams, MarkWilliams, Mr. RogerWilliams, StephenWillis, Mr. PhilWillott, JennyWills, Mr. MichaelWilson, PhilWinnick, Mr. DavidWinterton, rh Ms RosieWoodward, rh Mr. ShaunWoolas, Mr. PhilWright, Mr. AnthonyWright, DavidWright, Mr. IainWright, Dr. TonyWyatt, DerekYounger-Ross, RichardTellers for the Ayes:Mr. Tom Watson andMr. Frank Roy.


    And in case you missed it – what’s wrong with our leaders? I mean – what else is wrong with them? The American internet press has grabbed the story of our Home Secretary’s Threat to Islam stuff and run with it. I liked the angle at this one, despite its title, mainly discussing the anti-Islamic Activity tag from the government – “First they came for Piglet”

    The Americans despair of us, my compatriates; they really do.

    And as for the Three Little Builders nonsense!!!Come on, come ON, come ON!!!


    The sliding stock markets worldwide and President Bush’s cash injection into the economy were the issues focusing minds here. It might have put GB/PM’s Northern Rock worries into context and perspective on his visit. And at the end of the week the Hero of France (no, not Blair), the man who messed about with a few euros in his bank’s backroom, had them all talking in Davos.

    I tell you – these computers can be dangerous in the wrong hands!

    America watches Blair:I’ll write a Davos page soon, to follow this one.

    I’ve decided against writing a Davos page. A bit busy right now. Instead I’ll provide links below for you to go and see what they were up to in the Swiss Alps. And perhaps a few snippets of after-thoughts. Later.

    DAVOS Blair’s Middle East videoFaith & Modernisation videoWorld Economic Forum on YouTube
    DAVOS WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM – A WEEK OF POLITICAL BUSINESSkarzai-davos.jpgKarzai says: “Britain To Blame”Afghanistan’s President Karzai criticised the British today for their decisions. Excerpt follows:

    ‘Speaking to a group of journalists at the Davos Economic Forum on Thursday, Karzai said he shouldn’t have listened to British and U.S. officials who said he should remove the local security forces that were already in place in Helmand province, The Times reported.’

    Opening plenary with the co-chairs.

    The co-chairs of the Annual Meeting 2008 give their perspectives on the theme of the meeting and the issues at the fore of the agenda.

    • Tony Blair, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (1997-2007); Member of the Foundation Board; Co-Chair of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2008
    • James Dimon, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, JPMorgan Chase & Co., USA; Co-Chair of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2008
    • K. V. Kamath, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, ICICI Bank, India; Co-Chair of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2008
    • Henry A. Kissinger, Chairman, Kissinger Associates, USA; Co-Chair of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2008
    • Indra K. Nooyi, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, PepsiCo, USA; Co-Chair of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2008
    • David J. O’Reilly, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Chevron, USA; Co-Chair of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2008
    • Wang Jianzhou, Chairman and Chief Executive, China Mobile Communications Corporation, People’s Republic of China; Co-Chair of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2008

    Chaired by

    • Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum

    This link takes you to ALL the video webcasts, podcasts and vodcasts for the week’s sessions.

    Middle East Peace Process Video

    Davos – Forbes video network website covering the World Economic Forum at Davos.

    Mr Blair has asked the American presidential candidates to beware protectionism, especially if there is an upcoming recession.


    DAVOS, Switzerland — Tony Blair cautioned U.S. presidential candidates not to lock themselves into damaging protectionist or isolationist policies they could have a tough time walking away from once in office.

    In an interview with The Wall Street Journal yesterday at the World Economic Forum here, the former British prime minister expressed concern that a suddenly more gloomy outlook for the global economy could lead the U.S. and other nations to close themselves off.

    “I understand all the protectionist pressures in the U.S.,” Mr. Blair said. “On the other hand, I think it would be extremely unfortunate if people bolt themselves in positions that become difficult to extract themselves from, because the reality in the world is that we’re going to have to open up world trade, not close it down.”

    An excellent link with loads of interviews with Davos participants.

    Faith and Modernisation Video

    Postscript – interesting snippets:

    This Aug 2007 Congress bill in the US to establish the National Commission on the Prevention of Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism.

    On Andrew Marr’s Radio 4 programme Start the Week this morning, Martin Amis was discussing his new book The Second Plane, and his thoughts on jihadism, islamicist fundamentalism, the “fraud of multi-culturalism”, and the west’s seeming liberal suicidal tendency (this emboldened last are MY words, not Amis’s, though I understand that he too subscribes to this opinion).It’s good to know that there ARE some journalists out there in this great (dis)United Kingdom who are no longer afraid to use good old common sense.Taken from the Start The Week page:The novelist MARTIN AMIS has been the focus of much controversy over his journalism in the aftermath of 9/11. He is not, he declares, Islamophobic, but is instead “Islamismophobic” or anti-Islamist. He explains his views and argues that Western liberals have given in to ‘moral equivalence’ on the issue of terrorism. The Second Plane: September 11: 2001-2007, a collection of essays and short stories, is published by Jonathan Cape.In the year that marks the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the lawyer, campaigner and UN Special Rapporteur, ASMA JAHANGIR, warns of the attacks on these rights by nations using the pretext of the ‘war against terror.’ Recently released from house arrest in Pakistan, she argues that targeting Muslims in anti-terrorism measures is counter-productive and that intolerance cannot be wiped out by intolerant behaviour by governments. Asma Jahangir will be giving an Oxford Amnesty Lecture on Wednesday 30 January and a talk on the subject of human rights at the University of York on Thursday 31 January.Click to listen.

    Amis’s contribution is at the start.


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