A new section of the blog whereupon we kick the tyres on the stories of the week and work out what lessons we can learn.
Labour ‘Dodgy Dossier’ Launch
Labour are rather keen on launching dossiers, aren’t they? As if their intelligence dossier on Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction hadn’t been a clusterbang enough, Alistair Darling decided to launch a document detailing what he described as a £38bn ‘Credibility Gap’ in tory finance plans. What he didn’t mention was what the rest of us think is the Labour Party’s £178bn credibility gap, known as the actual projected budget deficit. David Cameron called it junk.
Conservative Draft Manifesto Launch
David Cameron did some exciting launching on Monday 4 January as well, launching a poster campaign at the same time as his draft manifesto, based on an enormous picture of David Cameron’s face and the promise to cut the deficit and not the NHS. The posters are a bit hardcore massive, and we haven’t yet discovered whether or not they’ve been airbrushed.
Iris Robinson is accused of two deadly sins, five breaches of Local Authority codes of conduct, at least two breaches of parliamentary standards and a crime against taste and decency. On the plus side, she did almost make Peter Robinson cry.
Wife of Northern Ireland’s First Minister Iris Robinson, who announced a few weeks ago she would step down from politics citing depression, was this week at the centre of a storm relating to an extra-marital affair which had led to an attempt on her own life. Or so we thought.
In fact, when Peter Robinson made the announcement relating to the decision he had made to confirm his wife’s infidelity but stay in his position, he left more questions open than answered. The confirmation soon came that the BBC was running a very secret and very special Spotlight current affairs programme about something much more serious.
That more serious thing was not the fact that the chap Iris had been having it away with was a 19 year old entrepreneur, though that was mildly amusing. The more serious thing was that Iris appears to have ‘borrowed’ or been given £50,000 to help fund her lover’s business interests, supported his application to become the tenant of a council-run and funded facility within the local authority within which she was an Alderman and never once declared any of the donations or her conflict of interest to Castlereagh Borough Council, The Register of Members Interests for Parliament or The Northern Ireland Assembly. From her text messages, we think she had run it past God. The devil is not, however, in the buttermilk, but rather in the detail. Demanding the cash back from young Mr McCambley (now 19 to her more advanced 60 years) she demanded £5,000 in cash. Oops. Can Peter Robinson survive, without having referred her case to the standards authorities, as he had a clear duty to do? Jeff Peel doesn’t think so.
Hoon and Hewitt run the worst coup ever
‘I haven’t spoken to any member of the cabinet’ is not the sort of line one uses when trying to inspire confidence in one’s backbench colleagues and spur them on to regicide and rebellion. But that’s the line Geoff ‘Hoon’ Hoon and Patricia ‘Hoon’ Hewitt decided to use when running the worst coordinated operation since the defence of the Reichstag. Other lines one might not want to use are, when asked ‘Do you want to get rid of Gordon Brown’, the response ‘Well, now, that’s a decision for the Parliamentary Labour Party’ and, when put up against an in-form Dark Lord Peter Mandelson, it’s best not to mumble incoherently about how people would make their own decisions.
It turned what was actually a good day on an okay week for Gordon Brown, where he performed well at Prime Minister’s Questions, and turned it into a godawful hell for Labour. The one thing the British people like less than Gordon Brown is a divided political party, and this really didn’t need to hapen. It’s better for a political party to be divided but keep quiet about it than for two of your more disgruntled former VIPs to open their stupid mouths and eliminate all doubt. We learned that in 1995.