Gavin Maclure's Musings

My take on politics locally, nationally and internationally


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Nigel Farage to stand in Thanet South

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UKIP Leader Nigel Farage set to fight Thanet South

Just as the news on Boris was no surpise, the UKIP leader is poised to seek to enter the House of Commons in May 2015 as the MP for Thanet South in Kent. Nigel Farage is on the party’s shortlist for the seat making it a near certainty he will be selected.

A poll financed by Lord Ashcroft last month for the constituency showed Ukip on 33%, the Conservatives on 29% and Labour on 29%.


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Whilst the cat’s away…

It's a go: Boris will become a Conservative MP again in May 2015

It’s a go: Boris will become a Conservative MP again in May 2015

The Prime Minister is on holiday (in Portugal again, wearing his holiday uniform of navy shirt and brown loafers) so Boris thought it would be a good time to announce his intention to stand for Parliament at the General Election next May.

In typical Boris buffoonery style, he announced during his Europe speech at Bloomberg this morning he would be trying to get selected and elected to the Mother of all Parliaments next year. He made it out as if he might not even find a seat. In reality, Boris will be selected for a very safe seat and will be elected to Westminster with a stonking majority.

Word is, submarine Osborne is stirring below the water…


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Happy Easter!

The Cross

As a Christian, I always enjoy this time of year. Perhaps, “enjoy” is the wrong word, especially for two thirds of the Triduum, as people of the Christian faith will understand, but I find it spiritually uplifting, far more than Christmas. There is good reason for this: Easter is by far the most important time in the Church’s ecclesiastical calendar as it commemorates then celebrates what Christianity really is: following Christ, the Son of God and God made Incarnate, who loved us so much He died for us in the most horrific manner possible. I do not say this to shock and scare; as my parish priest said on Good Friday, it is the fact we are human and therefore suffer that we can look to the Cross for comfort from God. As God, through his only Son, knows exactly what it is like to suffer as a human being, be it through the daily stresses and strains of life or through illness and sickness. And as Father Hugh said on Friday, when no ones cares about you, turn to God as He always cares and loves us, shown to us through Jesus Christ, his only Son, hanging on the Cross, the centre of the Christian faith.

Happy Easter to you all!


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Dave finally comes round to my way of thinking

Now Coalition is bad David Cameron says

Now Coalition is bad David Cameron says

Well, well, the Conservative Party leader, David Cameron, has today “made it known” to the Daily Telegraph he now doesn’t want to enter into a second Coalition Government should the Tories fail to secure a majority in next year’s General Election and will commit to this in the Conservative Party manifesto for 2015.

I’m delighted Mr Cameron should say this. I never wanted the Conservatives to enter into a Coalition in the first place back in 2010. It was a grubby deal done for the sole purpose of David Cameron being able to tick off “been Prime Minister” on his to-do list – and, of course, so smirky Nick Clegg could slip into power via the back door. The Lib Dem leader actually LOST seats in the 2010 General Election but Mr Clegg still ended up as Deputy Prime Minister.

But I wouldn’t trust David Cameron. His views blow like the wind, just like a certain Mr Bliar’s did. Whatever the focus groups want, Mr Cameron will slot straight in behind. It seems the general public don’t like Coalition Governments much, with a poll by Ipsos MORI last month showing that 65 per cent of voters believe that a second hung parliament would be bad for Britain. This is hardly surprising as our entire political system, endorsed by the Great British electorate over centuries, is deliberately geared so we don’t end up with coalitions, like our European cousins are so fond of. The reason we ended up in this blue-yellow mish mash in Westminster is because the electorate still hadn’t fully warmed to the Conservative Party – borne out by the fact the Labour Party had imploded and still David Cameron wasn’t able to win a majority.

This is a shrewd move by the Prime Minister. He knows many of his Tory backbenchers hate having to share a bed with the yellow peril and thousands of his party members and activists are demotivated by the ease at which David Cameron brokered a deal with Nick Clegg. By painting a stark choice between either a Conservative Government or a Labour Government at the 2015 election, this may well help persuade Tories who have defected to UKIP over the last couple of years to come back to the fold to ensure Ed Miliband doesn’t end up with the keys to 10 Downing Street.

Not all so-called Conservatives were demotivated by their party forming a coalition with the Liberal Democrats. Apart from the obvious examples on the Tory frontbench like Michael Gove and George Osborne, many from the voluntary party were strong advocates of David Cameron’s decision to form a Coalition Government. I found this deeply suspicious and it helped me understand the difference between a true-blue Tory and those just along for the power-trip. But I expect these Coalition apparatchiks will, just like the change in direction of the wind, soon be flag wavers against forming Coalition Governments. The problem for them this time is we now know who they are.

Since I joined the Conservative Party in 2003, my goal has been for the Tories to form a majority Government. We lost a fourth general election in a row in 2010 (the Coalition apparatchiks said we won – what planet are they on?). I really hope the Conservative Party wins a majority in 2015.


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Staff Cuts are Not the Problem at the Environment AgencyWhistleblower: “Management Just Want to Expand Kingdom”

I couldn’t put it better myself. The EA is a quango pure and simple, set up and managed by New Labour to pay the mortgages of Blairites who have no understanding of the countryside as they don’t represent them.

Send the Army in. Scrap the EA and devolve it’s powers and resources to the regions.


Pope Francis named Time Person of the Year 2013

Pope Francis kisses a man suffering from boils in Saint Peter's Square during his General Audience in November

Pope Francis kisses a disfigured man in Saint Peter’s Square during his General Audience in November

His Holiness, Pope Francis, has been named by Time magazine as their Person of the Year 2013.

Although not meant to be seen as an award – in previous years “winners” have been Joseph Stalin and Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini – it is still a recognition of political global power and the recipients affect on millions of lives.

Pope Francis is now one of the most widely recognised faces on the planet and one of the most powerful political figures on Earth as the leader of 1.3 billion Catholics across the globe.

Time magazine’s managing editor, Nancy Gibbs, in naming Pope Francis as their person of the year 2013 said:

“Rarely has a new player on the world stage captured so much attention so quickly – young and old, faithful and cynical – as Pope Francis.”

Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Cardinal and Archbishop of Buenos Aires, was elected by the Papal Conclave to the head of the Catholic Church in March this year and his first words summed up how he would approach the pontificat when he simply said “Pray for me”. The Pope called himself Francis after the humble saint and immediately demonstrated to the world he would be changing the course of the Roman Catholic Church from one of in-fighting at the top back to the the raison d’être of the Church’s existence: to focus on and care for the poor – just as St Francis of Assisi had done. The Pope shunned the papal apartment, washed the feet of prisoners on Maundy Thursday, and embraced a man with a deformed face, pictured above, in St Peter’s Square.

Pope Francis in St Peter's Square, Rome, 5th July 2013

Pope Francis in St Peter’s Square, Rome, 5th July 2013

I was lucky enough to be able to attend a General Audience with Pope Francis in July of this year. Before offering prayers and his blessing he toured St Peter’s Square – with little security – to greet 90,000 pilgrims in boiling 40 degree heat.

Pope Francis may not have the ultimate charisma of Pope John Paul II but he does have his ability to reach out past the ornate surrounding of the Holy See and communicate with Catholics and non-Catholics across the world. Although he has only been in post for less than ten months, Pope Francis has managed to re-connect the laymen and women to the Catholic Church once again: the lapsed have started returning to weekly Sunday Mass, over 3 million young people packed Copacabana Beach in Brazil to attend Mass presided over by him, and the pontiff, in line with the Vatican’s historic usage of modern technology, has surpassed 10 million followers on Twitter and is second only to US President Barack Obama for the world leaders with the highest number.

His Holiness’ commitment to the poor and rebuffing of ermine and papal apartments must also be driven through the Curia, the Church’s power base in Rome and governing body run by the elite Cardinals. It is said Pope Benedict XVI no longer had the strength to deal with the in-fighting, and, frankly, corruption within the Curia, which led to his resignation in February this year. Pope Francis’ no-nonsense approach and better management skills may lead to the reform he desires.

But at this moment, Pope Francis, is recognised for getting a grip on a 2,000 year old institution badly damaged by child abuse scandals and has changed the tone from a Church widely thought of as uncaring and corrupt to one of projecting a message of compassion and care for the poor. That is no mean feat and he is rightly recognised as one of the greatest contributors to the year 2013.