Gavin Maclure's Musings

My take on politics locally, nationally and internationally


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The irony of Cameron’s EU speech

The EU wants more of your money

Pro-EU: Ben Gummer MP

Despite the MP for Ipswich adding his name (as reported by Ipswich Spy) to a pro-European salvo dispatched a few days before David Cameron’s historical speech, Ben Gummer, ironically, might win a few votes off the back of the PM’s promise to give the British people an In-Out referendum on our membership of the European Union.

That’s if he doesn’t draw attention to his opposing letter and rabidly pro-European views…can he rein himself in?

But then Ben Gummer is a canny political operator as we saw with his anti-immigration leaflet during the 2010 General Election. If needs must, eh Ben?

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Will Cameron be able to deliver his EU Referendum promise?

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Finally: David Cameron delivering his long-awaited speech this morning

This morning was one of those seismic historical moments which changed Britain’s political trajectory.

Britain’s relationship with Europe changed irreversibly with Prime Minister David Cameron’s long-awaited speech on our relationship with and within the EU. That does not mean Berlin, Paris, Madrid or Rome were surprised but it does mean the semantic cartwheels and ambiguous description of where the UK’s position is in the European Union are over.

Britain’s view, through David Cameron’s big speech this morning at Bloomberg in Central London, has been made clear: we want to negotiate repatriation of a number of powers from the EU, which we will then put to the British people in an “In or Out” Referendum. If the British people like what they see after the negotiation, they’ll vote to stay in the EU; if they don’t, the United Kingdom will exit the European Union entirely – no Norway model, full exit. The choice will be made by 2017.

BUT. And it’s a big BUT.

The Conservative Party needs to win the General Election in 2015. Mr Cameron’s speech today has certainly improved their chances. But the EU is not the only issue which causes disaffected Tory activists to defect to UKIP. The Coalition Government’s continued policy of uncontrolled immigration, a lacklustre handling of the economy which may mean Britain is heading for a triple-dip recession, and still no plan from Cameron & Clegg on how to get the banks lending to small-business owners and prospective house buyers are, actually, further up the priority list for UKIP-minded people than the European Union.

There’s also another factor at play. As soon as David Cameron had finished describing his vision for the EU and offering an “In or Out” referendum, his yellow peril sidekick, Nick Clegg, was sniping at the sidelines that the PM was not “acting in the national interest” over Europe. This weight around Mr Cameron’s ankle will continue to cause immense harm to the Tories’ prospects of winning a majority at the next General Election – that and the most powerful indicator of electoral success: the economy. George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, has merely snipped at the Government department budgets when there should be wholesale slashing and burning of wasteful bureaucracy and pointless quangos to cut down on how much Government the taxpayer is forced to buy each month out of their decreased or stagnate wages. Above all, it is the state of an elector’s finances which will decide how they vote in May 2015. “It’s the economy, stupid”, as a former US president once said.

Credit where credit is due: David Cameron has done well today. He has grasped the nettle whilst confusing the hell out of Labour, which can only be good for Conservative prospects. I personally would like to see an “In or Out” EU Referendum before 2015 but let’s be under no false pretences: this can’t happen. The Liberal Democrats would not stand for it and would implode the Government and then there would be no majority to get the Referendum legislation through parliament. This post-2015 promise from Cameron is the only way of placating his Tory backbenchers and bringing some UKIP defectors back to the Tory fold. But will it be enough to give him the keys to No.10 in his own right. You know what? I’m not sure it is.


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Last year’s predictions: how did I do? And 2013 predictions

Well, I got three out of my five predictions right.

At the beginning of 2012 I forecast the following:

1. One Eurozone country at least will leave the Euro and, shock horror, it won’t lead to the end of the world but instead that country’s exports will rocket.  I got this wrong. Greece is still hanging on to the Eurozone helped by billions of Euros from German taxpayers. How long will this charade go on to save the embarrassment of Angela Merkel and José Barroso? Greece WILL leave the Eurozone eventually, it’s just a matter of when. Other Southern European countries will then follow.

2. Boris will win a second term as Mayor of London. I got this right. Well done Boris but may he never win the Conservative Party leadership!
3. The Olympics will be a success but paranoid security requirements will cause chaos in and around London (if you work in London and can work from home from July to September then do so!). The Opening Ceremony will be a bit embarrassing compared to Beijing but, hey, I guess that is the price you pay when you cannot force thousands of acrobats to train 18 hours a day, seven days a week (without pay) in preparation. I got this a third right. The Olympic Games were a success; in fact, they were more than a success: they were the best ever Games in the Modern Olympiad. I was wrong about the security: it worked miles better than any airport and the guards were polite (rather than acting like jailers at Belmarsh). The transport system also worked because hundreds of thousands of Londoners left the Capital for the entire period of the Olympics and Paralympic Games. I was very wrong about the Opening Ceremony: it was the best show I have ever watched. Danny Boyle should have been knighted for managing to encapsulate Britain’s glorious past so perfectly. It is a disgrace he did not get any New Year’s Honour. UPDATE: it has been reported, Mr Boyle turned down a knighthood to stay as “a man of the people”.
4. Obama will hold on to the Presidency, just! As we all know, he won. But he leads a divided America. Half the United States population did not vote for Barack Obama.
5. Ed Miliband will still be Labour leader by the end of the year (which will be great for the Conservatives). In fact, it was a good year for Ed Miliband. He has cleverly shored up his core vote before moving his tanks on to the Conservative lawns with his talk on “One Nation”. The Labour leader will desperately be hoping the British public will forget he and and his sidekick Ed Balls were on the bridge at the time of the financial meltdown in 2008.

I’ve had a think about my predictions for 2013 (six this year!). Let’s see how I get on:

1. One main prediction for this year is it will be pretty boring. But after the sporting and patriotic events of 2012, a change is as good as a rest. That’s not to say we won’t get a little excited about the Royal birth in the Summer. Hey, I’ll toss a coin and predict the baby will be a girl.

2. Both Coalition parties – Conservatives and Liberal Democrats – will perform very badly in the England County Council elections in May. Cameron and co. will put it down to “mid-term blues”. I will put it down to another nail in the coffin for the Conservatives’ chances of winning the General Election in 2015: Opposition and a leadership contest will be that bit closer for the Tories. On the yellow peril front, the sharks will start circling around Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg but he’ll be safe in 2013.

3. UKIP’s stock will continue to rise. The party will do well in the County Elections. Nigel Farage’s troops won’t necessarily win many seats but they will deny the Conservatives a bundle. This will be another milestone on their journey to European Elections victory in 2014.

4. The economy will hardly grow this year. The only thing which will change is more debt will be added to the already huge pile, which currently stands at over £1 Trillion!

5. Andrew Mitchell will return to Government (probably not until the year-end) and serving police officers will be charged with misconduct in a public office.

6. Chris Huhne will escape a jail sentence when the charge against him is watered down.

Happy New Year.


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The Left want to abolish our free press

Envy of the world: British press
Why is anyone surprised the Liberal Democrats and the Labour Party want to bring in state regulation of the media in the UK? For my international friends who consume news which hasn’t been preoccupied with Hugh Grant’s case for privacy or Steve Coogan’s protestations about the press writing stories about his latest girlfriend, unless of course he is trying to sell comedy show tickets that is, our illustrious prime minister in an attempt to distract the public from his own cosy relationships with news editors and proprietors decided eighteen month ago to have a judge-led inquiry into media ethics.
Anti-free press: Lord Justice Leveson
Well the said inquiry has now reported. And low and behold a member of the liberal judiciary – Sir Brian Leveson – decided state regulation of the media would be a good idea. Just as I suppose it is a good idea in Zimbabwe, Syria and Russia? Hmmm.
The biggest cheerleaders for Lord Justice Leveson’s recommendation are the Left. Naturally. Don’t people realise the core ideology of both Labour and the Liberal Democrats is the suppression of the masses so they, the elite, can lord over them. Just like Stalin. Just like Hitler. Both men of the Left.  
Now, I wouldn’t go as far as to say Nick Clegg should be compared to mass killers of history: he wouldn’t be capable of such organisation and leadership. No, but Nick Clegg is a socialist, who loves to keep the masses in their place, feed them welfare benefits with a little note telling the poor beggars who to vote for if they want the handouts to keep on coming. Clegg is the same as Labour leader Ed Miliband except Miliband and his political father, Gordon Brown, didn’t even try to hide their sinister ideology.
So, it is quite natural for them to want to suppress the press: it is an extension of their command and control of the people. It will make it even easier to ensure the public hear only what the liberal elite want them to hear. It all helps to keep you and I in our place whilst the “politburo” gets on with the business of power.
As you will have gathered I am wholly against Leveson’s recommendation that a “independent” regulator is set up and is “underpinned” by legislation. That’s a fancy way of saying the state should control the media. What was the point of Britain going to war twice and bringing down communism if we now have idiot politicians agreeing with such a dangerous recommendation from a not so bright judge? Got to be a bit careful haven’t I? In a couple of years time writing the last sentence might get me thrown into prison!
Privacy on his terms: British actor Hugh Grant
This is the reality of the Leveson Report. Politicians who are in bed with those poor little celebrities who want to be able to use the press when they have a book to sell but want them to go away when they are getting up to immoral activities are being pressurised by these same people into shutting down the free press in this country, a press which has been free for hundreds of years. This is how far our political system has sunk.
It was good to see David Cameron say he was against state regulation of the media because only the Government can table legislation in the House of Commons. But he has his hands tied as he is in Coalition with a political party who came eighth in a Westminster election last week: the last Party that happened to was the SDP and they were wound up shortly afterwards. So, the Liberal Democrats who have crashed out of the political mainstream are going to be able to dictate the law of the land?
Worried: Can Cameron prevent state regulation of the media?
If Cameron lets these yellow peril pygmies ruin our democracy by removing one of its core pillars – a free press – we are no better than Syria or Zimbabwe. 
We are living in dangerous times. Only true leadership and a party which stands up for Britain will save us. Which party is this? Considering the Conservatives came behind Ukip at the Westminster by-election in Rotherham last week, the public are not so sure.


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The Left show who the real fascists are

Fostering row: Labour run Rotherham Council

The Labour Party in Rotherham didn’t so much shoot themselves in the foot today as put a pistol to their temple and blow their brains out. Ed Miliband couldn’t move quick enough to the nearest TV camera to disown his own Party at Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council. I haven’t seen such a rush to head off the incoming missile since Yasser Arafat sped to the nearest hospital to give his blood to the United States on 9/11.

In case you’ve missed the furore, Labour controlled Rotherham Council’s Director of Children and Young People’s Services, Joyce Thacker, ordered the removal of three children from their foster parents because of their membership of the UK Independence Party. This is not tabloid hyperbole. It is 100% true.

The ugly head of the Left in this country, who have been trying to destroy (and in many communities have succeeded) the traditional family for the past forty years forgot the first rule of running an oppressive regime: don’t make it too obvious you are running an oppressive regime.

The UK may be a democracy but let’s face it, as Winston Churchill said, it’s the least worst political system there is. Up and down the country we are run by hyper-politically correct fascists (otherwise known as Labour-run local government Councils) who wouldn’t be out of place in the higher echelons of the Stasi in East Berlin during the Cold War.

If you think I am exaggerating, let me repeat what a Labour council did in West Yorkshire, England: they had three children removed from their foster parents because they were members of a legal mainstream political party which doesn’t share the views of the Labour Party.

Mainstream: Ukip Leader Nigel Farage

The leader of Ukip, Nigel Farage, said it was “political prejudice of the very worst kind”. As politicians of all parties piled into attack this loony Left decision, including Labour leader Ed Miliband who said “being a member of a political party like Ukip should not be a bar to fostering children”, Rotherham Council started to backtrack in a very unapologetic way. The Council said they were still right to remove the ethnic minority children but they would allow the husband and wife to carry on fostering but only “white children” would be placed with them. It is if we are back in the 1930s when fascism was rife or perhaps fascism was defeated in Europe but then it was reborn in the Labour Party?

Indefensible: Rotherham Council’s Joyce Thacker

Joyce Thacker popped up on Radio 4’s Today programme to defend her decision and said Ukip didn’t agree with multiculturalism. Well, she should read a newspaper other than The Guardian every now and again because even Prime Minister David Cameron thinks multiculturalism is a failed policy which creates segregation not integration.

And talking of Dave, he moved this evening to retract his own comment from 2006 that Ukip were “closet racists”. We really are entering a new world of politics aren’t we.

Ukip could not buy publicity like this. The coming days will see their membership boosted.


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The EU wants more of your money

EUSSR: You and I are being asked to give Brussels more money

I know – I am bit late to the party but I felt the need to at least say something about Wednesday’s vote on the EU budget in the House of Commons on Wednesday evening.

First off, I am not a sensationalist blogger unlike some of the mainstream newspapers who carefully forgot to mention Wednesday’s vote was not binding and was not even a vote on the EU budget at all. It was actually a “take note” vote on a report on the upcoming EU budget negotiations, with the catchy title Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020The report was tabled by the Government for the House of Commons to note the report but Conservative backbenchers took the opportunity to make a point about the profligacy of the EU and basically the corruption endemic in Brussels and Strasbourg by tabling an amendment to the report calling for a cut in the EU budget. The amendment was laid down by Tory MP Mark Reckless MP. Labour then duly backed the Conservative rebels as a text-book case of political opportunism.

In all, 53 Conseratives rebelled against the Government, and with Labour MPs voting with the amendment as well, the Government was defeated by 13 votes. Like I said, this was not a binding vote and therefore David Cameron and George Osborne can choose to ignore it but if they have the slightest political instinct they won’t.

53 rebels is a large swathe of the Tory Party and this will have worried Downing Street considerably. In fact, it would be fair to say the Government is in big trouble over it’s stance on Europe. The Prime Minister now needs to come back from the EU budget negotiations in Brussels later this month with some red meat for his restless backbenchers. He can’t veto the EU budget or the remaining 25 EU nations will just ignore the UK and instead of freezing the budget (plus 2% to keep up with inflation) they will increase it along with the UK’s contribution. This is just how corrupt and undemocratic the EU is. The sooner we leave the EU the better.

There is no way the Conservative parliamentary party, and for that matter the Labour Party, are going to allow any more money or power going over to Brussels – at least whilst this Coalition Government is in office.

Rebel: Mark Reckless MP

Let’s be sensible though. Labour haven’t suddenly become Eurosceptic – they would have abolished Britain as a sovereign state if they could have got away with it during their disastrous years in power from 1997-2010.  On Wednesday, they only backed Conservative MP Mark Reckless’ motion by traipsing through the No lobby with many Tory MPs to humiliate the Government and they will continue to do so as long as David Cameron and Nick Clegg are still in power. However, once Labour get back into power, which is likely in 2015, albeit in coalition with the Liberal Democrats, they will be back to their Europhile selves and will start the print run of cash to Brussels once again. Remember this when you come to vote in 2015.

I believe the Conservative rebels were speaking for the majority of the country. Brits are fed up with meddling from the EU. High energy prices are as a result of EU Co2 targets, 70% of our laws are made in Brussels, and dubious jurisdictions in far flung corners of Europe can have a British citizen arrested and extradited at the drop of a hat by deploying the European arrest warrant (police beatings are still part of the interview technique in some European states). To name but three.

The United Kingdom pumps £10 billion a year into EU coffers. Each MEP has the use of their own limo, they have special lanes at airports and for their cars on the roads of Brussels and Strasbourg, and the EU accounts haven’t been signed off for decades because so much money has gone missing. The EU parliament is a democratic front but our elected MEPs don’t even make the 70% of laws imposed on the UK: an unelected Commission does that – the same Commission Peter Mandelson once was a member of after he resigned from Blair’s Government for the SECOND time. A fiction writer couldn’t even make this up. Dictatorships are more democratic than the EU.

The UK economy may have its face out of the mud come the General Election in 2015 but she will still be on her knees. The best thing the Conservative Party can do is highlight the meddling and damage the EU does to our sovereign state during the election campaign, explaining how Labour gave back the rebate Margaret Thatcher won and how even more powers were ceded to Brussels by Gordon Brown sneaking into Portugal to sign the Lisbon Treaty. This campaigning strategy may be the only chance the Tories have of being returned to power.

Europhile: Ben Gummer MP

My MP, Ben Gummer, told Ipswich Spy after Wednesday night’s vote: “Very sad that the Conservative Party continues to do this to itself”. Sad, I’m delighted. At least some MPs represent the real views of the British public. Those on the Tory Far-Left, including Ben Gummer and Ken Clarke (I seriously can’t think of any more), think Europe is an unimportant topic. It is probably the most important topic there is in British politics today. Basically Britain is run by the EU – 70% of our laws are made in Brussels. In the 1990s, the Maastricht rebels were more concerned about British identity; identity politics is very important but the economy is even more important. Back in the 1990s, the European single market along with the US market WERE the economic powerhouses of the world. Not any more they aren’t. Europe and the US are very sick economies indeed. But in 2012, it is the economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China (the so called BRIC countries) which are booming. Can the UK form a trade treaty with any one of these nations unilaterally? No. Only the EU can form a trading agreement. We have given away our sovereign power to trade with anyone we like to unelected bureaucrats in Brussels.

Therefore, frankly, Europe matters. It matters to every aspect of our lives: energy prices (which are going up because of make-believe EU Co2 emission targets), the right to a fair trial and humane treatment by police (which is not guaranteed because of the EU arrest warrant), jobs (Britain is banned for signing a unilateral trade agreement), and even the weeds growing in the pavement outside your house during the spring and summer are there because the EU has banned your council from spraying weed killer on them!

Like I said, the EU is the only topic in town. It will probably decide the next General Election.

Pretty important, eh?


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Time to bust open the Energy Cartel

Profiteering: Electricity and gas prices are going up

Just as the Arctic blast arrives and we find ourselves reaching for the thermostat, the ominous white envelope  lands on the doormat. I wonder what that could be.

Ah, yes, it’s your “friendly” energy company. With all six energy firms trying to scrape every bit of profit off the bottom of the barrel, they ONLY ever spend money on writing to you when they are telling you your bills are going UP. Anything else: go online or wait three hours for a call centre agent to pick up the phone.

And so it happened this weekend when I received said letter from nPower telling me my electricity was going up by 18% and my gas was going up by 16%. But it’s not their fault you see. nPower even had three stock excuses for ramming my energy bill up by NINE TIMES inflation. The first one is the real killer:

“It’s costing us more in taxes and obligations to carry out government environmental and social schemes”

Pointless: the reason your energy bills are going up

What “government environmental” means is wind farms. The energy companies are being forced by law to invest in “renewable” energy, i.e. wind turbines that don’t turn because of a lack of wind or they turn too fast because it is too windy and therefore have to be switched off unless they break.

So instead of adding more energy to the network, wind farms add next to nothing and instead cost you and I more in additional electricity charges. This is all to meet EU-imposed Co2 emissions targets for non-existent anthropogenic global warming. This may be the wet dream of politicians like Tim Yeo and John Selwyn Gummer who are raking in cash from their various directorships of “green economy” companies but for us mere mortals all it means is a higher energy bill each month so our political elite can keep dining in Brussels. In fact, temperatures haven’t risen since 1997 and the last few winters have been perishing with the Met Office predicting another particular cold one this year.

On top of pointless green policies, which reek of a money-making exercise for the enlightened elite bordering on corruption, it is becoming clearer the big six UK energy firms may be in cahoots with each other. In other words, they may be operating a cartel. No real competition exists. Each firm puts up their charges by the same amount. If you switch, you might get an introductory bonus in the form of “cashback” but you will soon be dragged back into a punishing rate with the only option being to go through another painful switching process if you want to save a few pounds. Not worth the effort and the big six know this.

Of course, if any energy firm talks to another about their prices, they would be committing an offence under the Competition Act 1998. People can go to jail for breaking this law. My question is why are we seeing so little enforcement from the government regulator, Ofgem? Surely there is enough anecdotal evidence of wrongdoing. Ofgem did in fact start an enquiry into profiteering two years ago but since then they have gone very quiet.

Well the tipping point is coming as David Cameron saw when he quipped in the House of Commons energy firms will be compelled to give customers “the lowest tariff”. The PM then quickly backtracked when he realised the government hadn’t actually worked up a policy yet. But in any case, does he really think bills will come down if the big six are forced to offer the lowest tariff. All these profiteering firms will do is dump the majority of their price plans and offer one tariff at the highest charge they can with all six energy firms conveniently offering the same price: a big fat high price!

What we need is real competition. The market needs to be opened up to tens of more firms to dilute the influence the big six have. Currently, no free market exists and it is just another case of capitalism only working for the few, not the many.


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The Conservative Party fightback against the Cameroons has begun

I am not attending the Conservative Party conference for the third year running. I foresaw disaster coming over the horizon in Manchester in 2009, which was proven correct in May 2010 when David Cameron jumped into bed with Nick Clegg and formed a Conservative-Liberal Democrats Coalition Government. Funnily enough, I have since become reluctant to part with £1000 to have to listen to vacuous Cabinet minister speeches in an expensive city like Birmingham. The fact the conference is even in Birmingham, not Bournemouth, sums up the contempt the Cameroon metropolitan-elite have for the ordinary party member.

Cameron had hoodwinked his Party in 2005 into believing he was “one of them” and he just needed to talk about hugging hoodies and spending quality time with huskies to make people like the Conservative Party again. All well and good when Blair had just won a massive third majority earlier in the year.

But then came the economic meltdown in 2008 – largely caused by Gordon Brown’s reckless public sector spending and encouragement of personal debt to prop up the economy – and all bets should have been off. Cameron should have immediately ditched the “sharing the proceeds of growth” ludicrous strategy and realised the country in 2008 was not the same country in 2005. The public had woken with the biggest hangover since the Great Depression of the 1930s and were very anxious indeed.

So, what did David Cameron and George Osborne do. They continued on with their “detoxification” of the Tory brand, banging on about non-existent anthropogenic climate change and something (which no one has ever understood) called the Big Society. Was it so much of a surprise we LOST the General Election in 2010?

The electorate were ready again for a centre-right Conservative Party on the side of strivers. On the side of the vast majority who rely on public services (i.e. they are not in Cameron’s Chipping Norton set who always go private) but still want to see efficiency in our NHS and competence in our teachers. But Cameron and his campaign “guru”, Steve Hilton, failed to spot what ordinary activists had seen years before. And the party hierarchy slept walk in to a fourth successive DEFEAT in 2010.

David Cameron could have done the decent thing and stopped, formed a Minority Government, and after a re-think of campaign strategy, gone to the country again in October 2010 with the policies the public were crying out for: economic reform (especially in the bloated public sector), a serious crackdown on unskilled immigration, welfare reform and a huge shake-up of education. I believe if Cameron had done this we would have had the working majority we needed come the Autumn of 2010.

But what did our illustrious leader do. He didn’t stop for a millisecond: Cameron could see the door of No.10, if only he dropped the rest of his principles. Which he duly did. And as dark fell on 7 May 2010, he slipped into Downing Street with his Eton schoolboy grin and met his only objective: to become Prime Minister.

Well, today the fightback begins in earnest to reclaim OUR Conservative Party. Conservative Home – backed by Lord Ashcroft’s money and his passion for a Conservative victory – launches a plan to win the first Conservative Majority since 1992. It feels like an Opposition campaign. Hmmm, perhaps it is?

There is something missing though: a real Conservative leader.

It pains me to say this but despite Conservative Home’s excellent campaign, the Conservative Party will be defeated in 2015. But then the groundwork for a successful Conservative Party will have been laid. We will just need a new Conservative Leader to take it to the electorate in 2020. That leader must come from the 2010 intake.
Who will it be?


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Cameron reshuffles the pack

One thing that struck me about today’s Cabinet reshuffle is the deliberate drama played out by the Prime Minister of the day. In a parliamentary democracy, the PM doesn’t really have much power. Unlike the President of the United States, he can’t even go to war without some jumped-up backbencher from Nowheresville North having a vote on it. But when it comes to deciding who has a Government job or not, the Prime Minister has real power – his word is final.

However, today’s reshuffle took the best part of a day to complete. It’s not as if ministers who got sacked only found out today. They knew yesterday or even before. But we still had to see grinning winners like Theresa Villiers and Jeremy Hunt traipsing up Downing Street to “find out” what David Cameron wanted to see them about. I suppose a bit of drama is necessary: who was it that said politics is showbusiness for ugly people?
Anyway, down to business. This is the make-up of the new Coalition Cabinet:
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury and Minister for the Civil Service –The Rt Hon David Cameron MP
Deputy Prime Minister, Lord President of the Council – The Rt Hon Nick Clegg MP
Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs – The Rt Hon William Hague MP
Chancellor of the Exchequer – The Rt Hon George Osborne MP
Chief Secretary to the Treasury – The Rt Hon Danny Alexander MP
Lord Chancellor, Secretary of State for Justice – The Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP
Secretary of State for the Home Department; and Minister for Women and Equalities – The Rt Hon Theresa May MP
Secretary of State for Defence – The Rt Hon Philip Hammond MP
Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills – The Rt Hon Dr Vincent Cable MP
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions – The Rt Hon Iain Duncan Smith MP
Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change – The Rt Hon Edward Davey MP
Secretary of State for Health – The Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP
Secretary of State for Education – The Rt Hon Michael Gove MP
Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government – The Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP
Secretary of State for Transport – The Rt Hon Patrick McLoughlin MP
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs – The Rt Hon Owen Paterson MP
Secretary of State for International Development – The Rt Hon Justine Greening MP
Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport – The Rt Hon Maria Miller MP
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland – The Rt Hon Theresa Villiers MP
Secretary of State for Scotland – The Rt Hon Michael Moore MP
Secretary of State for Wales – The Rt Hon David Jones MP
Minister without Portfolio – The Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP
Minister without Portfolio – The Rt Hon Ken Clarke QC MP
Leader of the House of Lords, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster – The Rt Hon Lord Strathclyde
Leader of the House of Commons, Lord Privy Seal – The Rt Hon Andrew Lansley MP
Minister for the Cabinet Office, Paymaster General – The Rt Hon Francis Maude MP
Attorney General – The Rt Hon Dominic Grieve QC MP
Solicitor General – The Rt Hon Oliver Heald MP
Chief Whip (Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury) – The Rt Hon Andrew Mitchell
The Liberal Democrats have been left in place. Outside of the Cabinet, David Laws has risen from the political dead and becomes an Education Minister, which looks likely to be cover for doing fix-its jobs for Clegg and Cameron across Government. As Harry Cole from the Guido Fawkes blog said, some MPs didn’t spend two years on the backbenchers after fiddling their expenses, they spent time at Her Majesty’s Pleasure. But, hey, if you’re liked by the top brass, you get a pass!
Andrew Lansley has been sacked as Health Secretary and, strangely, Jeremy Hunt, who was Rupert Murdoch’s mole in the UK Government during his botched takeover of BSkyB, wasn’t sacked for corruption, he was promoted today to laud over the NHS. What does the guy need to do to get sacked? In Hunt’s case, it may be what he knows that is keeping him in the Government and in a very senior position at that.
The Government’s position on airport expansion was partially revealed today by the side-ways shift for Justine Greening who moves from Transport to International Development. Miss Greening is adamantly opposed to a third runway at Heathrow and has campaigning heavily on the subject in her constituency, Putney, which sits in the flight-path for Heathrow. Now she’s gone, the Government is likely to seriously look at the third runway option again, which in my view is the wrong approach, as I’ve written here.
A notable move is that of Ken Clarke who has been sacked from Justice and given a non-job as “Minister Without Portfolio”, which means he can attend Cabinet. To do what, I don’t know. But Ken’s seen it all before so no doubt he can offer pearls of wisdom to the public school boys around the the Cabinet table. Frankly, he is probably the only person in Government who has a clue about economics but dumping Osborne was never an option for Cameron, however many British people boo him at a global event.
A major change in the organisation of the Conservative Party was made today in that the hapless Baroness Warsi was given the boot and was replaced by über-moderniser and Cameroon loyalist Michael Green Grant Shapps. I’m not sure that will go down very well with the grassroots. Warsi was dreadful as Party Chairman but she was from the same mould as Hunt, Cameron and Shapps. Cameron’s Government doesn’t reflect the Conservative Party membership or the country and having a Government-man like Shapps telling the members in not so unsubtle terms that we are the reason why the General Election was lost in 2010 is really not going to go down well amongst the voluntary party. Let’s hope he doesn’t equate UKIP to the BNP!
A number of the 2010 Conservative intake have been given jobs today including former GMTV presenter Esther McVey, who becomes Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Work and Pensions (the lowest rung on the Government ladder), and Anna Soubry who will join Jeremy Hunt’s team at Health, also as a Parliamentary Under Secretary of State.
Osborne’s former bodyguard Chloe Smith moves from the treasury to take a few bullets for Francis Maude in the Cabinet Office, where he is pretending to slim down the Civil Service. Sajid Javid replaces Miss Smith becoming the new Economic Secretary to the Treasury.
At the time of writing, it is not known if Ipswich MP Ben Gummer has received a call from Downing Street.


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Ben Gummer should know better

Ben Gummer’s latest missive to the Morning Ipswich Star (not on Star website but is available here) was not his finest hour. I cede to no one in my admiration for Sir Danny Boyle’s opening ceremony, which was frankly the best artistic production I have ever seen. It was, and this is not too strong a word, a masterpiece and he should be duly honoured by Her Majesty for this service to his country. 
I won’t bang on about the Opening Ceremony too much (I have written a full review here) but I do have to take umbrage with the MP for Ipswich, who could only say the most obvious thing any politician would say – post-Aidan Burley tweet – about the ceremony, choosing deliberately to concentrate on the last third of the show:

“..what came through clearly was the pride we have in the diversity of our country – both in our different nations and in the multiplicity of the people who call themselves British and name Britain their home.”

Really, is that the best a Cambridge double-starred first historian could say about the three-hour spectacular tour of British history and the massive contribution we have made to the world? 
How could historian Mr Gummer not say anything about Isambard Kingdom Brunel and Boyle’s genius depiction of the Industrial Revolution, which brought mechanisation and great wealth to Britain and then the rest of the world? How, with the biggest research and development centre in Europe on Ipswich’s doorstep, could Ipswich’s MP not mention that the Opening Ceremony celebrated how the World Wide Web was invented by a Brit, with Sir Tim Berners-Lee taking a bow in the Olympics Stadium and to the one billion people watching world-wide?
Yes, the Olympic Games were about sport but to brush aside the extraordinary geopolitical event, which London 2012 was, is at best naive and at worst very cynical (if he thinks Ipswich people don’t get politics!).
Mr Gummer says: 

“These Olympics have not so much celebrated the Olympic movement, or Britain, or buildings, but pure competitive endeavour, which is what it should all be about.”

You are kidding, Mr Gummer? Equestrian was deliberately moved by Lord Coe – a politician of the grandest order if there ever was one – from Windsor Great Park (a perfect natural habitat) with a shack called Windsor Castle as a backdrop to Greenwich Park in built-up South London. Why? Because it offered  a superb backdrop of the economic powerhouse of Great Britain across the river: the skyscrapers of Canary Wharf, with television pictures beamed across the globe. Now that’s soft political power or hard political power, whichever it is.
I am disappointed in Ben Gummer for segwaying in his piece from stock praise – rightly – for the diversity we have in the UK to racism. That is the classic rhetoric of the Left. Mr Gummer wrote the below when describing a dispute in a restaurant between a customer and a waiter over the bill (something which takes place thousands of times up and down the country every day):

“Frankly, I doubt that they [the customer] would have behaved like that had the waiter been white.  So we butted in and suggested they be more polite.

Speaking to the waiter afterwards, he said that although he was born and bred in Britain, worked hard in Britain and contributed to Britain, the way some people treated him made him doubt whether everyone accepted that fact.  He was making a subtle point and we all knew what he meant.

How sad that should still be the case.  We should take Danny Boyle’s idyll as an injunction as much as a pat on the back.”

Ben Gummer really should have taken a step back before writing this. It is quite possible that the disagreement the customer had about their bill would have still taken place if the waiter was white. Unpleasant people can be unpleasant regardless of race: some people just don’t know how to behave respectfully to people of the same or different colour. Perhaps, Mr Gummer should remember this before he starts firing off allegations of racism?
If Mr Gummer’s final paragraph in his article was an attempt to link the legitimate opinions many have on multiculturalism (including Prime minister David Cameron) and diversity with a non-subtle allegation of racism then this is quite disturbing to hear from a a representative in Her Majesty’s Parliament. This only serves to stir up tensions and is divisive and those in positions of influence should steer clear of such rhetoric.
My wife and I had a wonderful time when we visited the Games to watch the Mens’ Trampoline: we were all mixing together – irrespective of nationality, race or creed – and helping each other out as we navigated through the transport system, security and the Olympic arena. The London 2012 Olympic Games were such a positive and inspiring time and it’s a shame the MP for Ipswich has used his article to put a negative gloss on this once-in-a-lifetime event.
Mr Gummer should not let his left-wing prejudices cloud his highly intelligent mind like this. And if they do, he should not write them down. We all have off days and I am sure the Ben Gummer I selected back in 2007 will resume normal service again soon.