Gavin Maclure's Musings

My take on politics locally, nationally and internationally


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It’s time Miller went

 

Time to go: Cabinet minister leaves the House of Commons after her 32-second apology on Thursday for fiddling her expenses

Time to go: Cabinet minister leaves the House of Commons after her 32-second apology on Thursday for fiddling her expenses

The word which launched itself out of the radio when I heard the news of Cabinet minister Maria Miller’s apology to the House of Commons on Thursday was “attitude”. From that, read sheer arrogance, thinly-veiled threats by Mrs Miller to the Standards Commissioner and by her special advisor to journalists reporting on the investigation, and rank intransigence.

For the word “attitude” to be deliberately used in the Standards Committee’s written judgement – considered a very strong and somewhat “impolite” word by the Westminster elite – demonstrates just how pompous and arrogant Culture Secretary Maria Miller must be to deal with. No wonder David Cameron likes her so much.

But back to the facts of Maria Miller’s expenses claims. Parliament’s independent standards commissioner, a post created after the expenses scandal rocked Westminster in 2009, Kathryn Hudson, found the Culture Secretary had incorrectly designated an expensive property in south-west London as her ‘second home’ and then over-claimed £45,000 for mortgage payments at the taxpayer’s expense. Mrs Miller was in fact housing her parents in the ‘second home’ and from all accounts was spending more nights herself in the property than her designated ‘main home’ in her Basingstoke constituency. Parliamentary rules specifically state using taxpayer’s money to pay for the housing of relatives is strictly forbidden. Frankly, Maria Miller was committing fraud, a crime which some MPs have been sent to prison for.

Mrs Hudson’s report then had to pass to a committee of MPs – the Standards Committee – who decided to water down the findings and declared the Culture Secretary only needed to pay back £5,800 to the taxpayer and apologise for her “attitude” towards the inquiry. It had taken Kathryn Hudson’s team 14 months to unravel Mrs Miller’s £90,000 expenses claim, whilst being obstructed by the Culture Secretary at every turn, but only 32-seconds for the Cabinet minister to issue her reply to the findings.

During her apology (read from the backbenchers in the House of Commons despite Maria Miller being a front bench Cabinet secretary – one of those parliamentary quirks I guess!) she was flanked by the Chief Whip, Sir George Young, and her predecessor at the Culture, Media and Sport department, Jeremy Hunt, who had galloped from the front bench to assume his loyal position. Loyalty to the prime minister that is.

You see you don’t get this sort of senior support whilst being forced to “apologise to the House” (i.e. to the country) unless the big man in Number 10 wants the offender to stick around. Maria Miller is only one of three ministers in David Cameron’s cabinet and he has a bit of a reputation for being anti-woman, according to private polling and of course egged on by a smirking Ed Miliband. It really wouldn’t do for one of his female standard bearers to be given the chop.

Today, the Tories had their Spring Conference – in central London again, thus ensuring ordinary Conservatives were kept away by sheer expense (no pun intended) – and the Cameroon Tories were out in force saying to the 24-hour news channels how “wooonderful” Maria Miller is and how her constituents “just love her”. If you look closely as the Cameroons were being interviewed you can see David Cameron dart into the venue behind them. Job done.

Back in the real-world and real Tory shires, the verdict is somewhat more to the point. Tonight a Survation poll has found 82% of Conservative voters say Maria Miller should resign from cabinet and 66% say she should resign as an MP. Interestingly, 73% of the public as a whole say the apology Mrs Miller gave to the House of Commons was not enough.

David Cameron has yet again gone against his own members (and the public) in favour of a select elite who now run the Conservative Party. Perhaps he will pay attention to Survation’s voting intention figures which see the Conservatives slump to 29 points with UKIP – after Nigel Farage sunk Clegg on Wednesday – up 4 points to 20%.

It’s Miller time – to go!


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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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Yeo de-selected

De-selected: Tim Yeo MP

De-selected: Tim Yeo MP

South Suffolk Conservative MP Tim Yeo has been de-selected and will now not stand for the Tories in the 2015 General Election.

As reported a few weeks ago, Tim Yeo faced a re-selection vote by the entire Conservative Party membership of his South Suffolk constituency association after the Executive committee voted to de-select him back in November.

The results were counted today at the Party’s London HQ and it was confirmed Mr Yeo had lost the confidence of South Suffolk members. He will now not stand again as their parliamentary candidate and as it is highly unlikely he will seek selection in another constituency his political career is over.

Speaking after the vote was announced Mr Yeo said:

“It has been a privilege to serve as MP for South Suffolk since 1983. I will continue to work for all my constituents until the General Election next year.

“I am immensely grateful to all those Conservative Party members who voted for me to continue as their MP. I now ask them all to campaign for my successor with the same loyalty and dedication they have shown to me.

“I will give my full and unqualified support to whoever is chosen as the candidate here in South Suffolk. I wish him or her every success.”

Turnout in the membership vote was 82% but Conservative Party HQ will not release a breakdown of the figures. Suffolk Suffolk Tories will now start the process to select a new candidate to represent the Conservative Party at the next General Election, which is just over a year away. Local commentators are calling for an Open Primary but this may not go down so well in a traditional rural seat. Whichever selection model is chosen, the decision needs to be quick to ensure the candidate can get stuck into campaigning as soon as possible as the seat is not as safe as it once was. The Labour candidate, Jane Basham, is already out of the blocks and has been canvassing support for months. There could be an even bigger upset here come May 2015.

Today’s news comes after another Conservative, Anne McIntosh, was de-selected by the members of her Yorkshire constituency on Friday.

Tim Yeo’s de-selection is not just a blow to him (although his lucrative business interests boosted by his parliamentary position will undoubtedly soften his fall) but is also embarrassing to the Tory leader, David Cameron. The PM personally backed Mr Yeo during his fight to hang on to South Suffolk – the membership then duly told Mr Cameron what they thought of his man.

Conservative Associations are no longer a reflection of the parliamentary party but more a representation of the true blue Tory who a lot of time find themselves disagreeing with their own party’s policies – such as gay marriage and more wind farms – forced on them by the metropolitan elite in Westminster. Many Tory MPs (especially the new intake of 2010) are canny at being able to play both hands: charming their members and agreeing with Conservative values in the constituency but once safely back in Westminster keeping the leadership onside by voting for policies which the same members never campaigned for. The problem with Tim Yeo is he was useless at the former and South Suffolk finally lost patience.


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Last year’s predictions: how did I do? And 2014 predictions

good-bye-2013-and-welcome-2014

This time last year I predicted the following:

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. We certainly got a little excited but I was wrong on the sex front. It was a boy!

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.  Correct. The governing parties did appallingly in the County Council elections, especially the Tories who were pushed into third and fourth place in some divisions by Ukip. Nigel Farage’s party captured one in four of the votes cast in the England County Council elections, winning 150 seats. To reflect his democratic mandate, the Ukip leader was immediately elevated to being on a par with the mainstream political parties on TV news interviews and programmes such as the BBC’s Question Time. Because of Nick Clegg’s reneging on the Coalition Agreement back in August 2012 by refusing to back boundary changes, the Tories immediately lost 20 seats at the next General Election. It’s not exactly in keeping with this post, but in 2015, David Cameron will become the first Conservative Party leader to lose two General Elections in a row. I was correct again on Nick Clegg: he survived to be annihilated another day.

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.  Half correct. Ukip’s stock certainly did rise (see above) but they won a lot of seats for a local government election: 150 in total!

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!  Correct. The economy did grow but by less than 1% and this has only occurred because of the growth of assets (houses, national infrastructure etc). The meagre growth in the economy is still not being felt in the country with people still poorer in real terms compared to before the crash of 2008. This is mainly because inflation is still rising faster than the growth in wages. Debt certainly is still increasing. £600bn will be borrowed between 2010 – 2015 to pay primarily for the bloated welfare state which is still exceedingly generous (you’d have to earn £35,000 to take home the capped handout of £26,000, which of course is tax free).

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.  Half correct. A police officer was indeed charged with misconduct in public officer over allegations he sent an email to Mr Mitchell’s deputy John Randall falsely claiming he had seen what happened in Downing Street in 2011. However, Mr Mitchell was not returned to Government by David Cameron.

6. Chris Huhne will escape a jail sentence when the charge against him is watered down.  Wrong. Chris Huhne pled guilty to perverting the course of justice and was sent down for eight months but was out after two (go figure!).

And this is what I predict for 2014:

1. Ukip will win the European Elections in the UK.

2. The Coalition Government will stay together despite constant carping from the likes of Vince Cable.

3. Scotland will vote ‘No’ in the Independence referendum.

4. There will be a royal engagement: either Prince Harry will get engaged or the Duke of York and Sarah Ferguson will get engaged (again!).

5. Thousands of Romanians and Bulgarians will travel to the UK.

6. As much as I would like to be proved wrong, England won’t make it through the group stage at the Brazil World Cup.

 

Let’s see how I get on in a year’s time!


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What is the test of a free energy market working?

You can forget power on Christmas Day, energy firms told "customers"

You can forget power on Christmas Day, energy firms told “customers”

UPDATE: Conservative Environment Secretary, Owen Paterson, has also voiced his concerns over the unacceptable delay in returning power to thousands of customers cut off by stormy weather just before Christmas with many left without power on Christmas Day and onwards.

Mr Paterson said power companies had “let their customers down badly” and UK Power Networks CEO Basil Scarsella said his company “could and should have done more” to restore power.

Perhaps I wasn’t being such a Red Gav after all?

————

Hmm, perhaps it’s an ability to keep the lights on when there is a bit of a breeze?

My inner socialist has come out again this morning. Just been watching a Sky News report on those still without power since before Christmas.

Customers, yes customers, have been left on hold for three hours by the electricity firms when they have called to find out when they can expect to have the lights turned back on. And still, five days on, thousands of homes are without power. Why were there not representatives from Southern Electric on the ground with mobile canteens to feed people and give them hot drinks?

Impotent: David Cameron pretends he can actually do something about the continuing power cuts in Kent

Impotent: David Cameron pretends he can actually do something about the continuing power cuts in Kent

This is the problem with privatised utilities – they literally can do almost anything they like. David Cameron was in Kent yesterday listening to the woes of voters; he came across as completely impotent on the issue – because he is! The Prime Minister has no power (no pun intended) to tell the energy firms to pull their fingers out and get men on the ground.

For electricity companies to turn round to customers, yes customers again, and say if you don’t get your power back on by 23:59 on Christmas Eve then you will *not* have power on Christmas Day is a disgrace. They have just put our electricity bills up by over 100% in many cases and this is how they treat their so-called customers.

If they were nationalised, I suspect things will have been resolved by now or there would be a mutiny on the streets. At least David Cameron is visible unlike the faceless fat cats of Southern Electric who no doubt are tucked up warm in their mansion far away from the plebs they pretend to “serve”.


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UK PM blocks Romanians and Bulgarians from claiming benefits (well, for 3 months)

EU Reform: UK Prime Minister David Cameron

EU Reform: UK Prime Minister David Cameron

Firstly, apologies for the recent drought in posts.

David Cameron today, most likely prompted by his Aussie political strategist Lynton Crosby, announced today tougher controls over access to our welfare system by Romanians and Bulgarians (and anyone else wanting to emigrate to Great Britain).

At the end of this year, the transitional controls which have prevented free movement by Romanians and Bulgarians through the EU since their accession in 2007 will come to an end. From 1st January 2014, it will be legal for any Romanian or Bulgarian to come to the UK, whether they have a job or not.

The Prime Minister told the Financial Times:

“On January 1, the people of Romania and Bulgaria will have the same right to work in the UK as other EU citizens. I know many people are deeply concerned about the impact that could have on our country. I share those concerns.”

He added:

“We are changing the rules so that no one can come to this country and expect to get out of work benefits immediately; we will not pay them for the first three months. If after three months an EU national needs benefits – we will no longer pay these indefinitely. They will only be able to claim for a maximum of six months unless they can prove they have a genuine prospect of employment.”

This sparked an angry response from EU Employment Commissioner Laszlo Andor who told the Today programme – the BBC’s flagship breakfast news radio programme – Mr Cameron risked “presenting the UK as a kind of nasty country in the European Union”. Cue cries of joy in Downing Street: the EU had just very helpfully boosted the Conservative Party’s message that it is getting tough on EU dominance over our sovereignty.

David Cameron also told the FT:

“The EU of today is very different from the EU of 30 years ago. We need to face the fact that free movement has become a trigger for vast population movements caused by huge disparities in income.”

The PM said he wanted the EU to reform the concept of free movement across the continent adding:

“And we need to do the same with welfare. For example, free movement should not be about exporting child benefit – I want to work with our European partners to address this.”

Mr Cameron then told the British people:

“The EU needs to change if it is to regain the trust of its peoples. I look forward to working with other countries who also want reform – and to putting the choice about our future in Europe in a referendum. If I am prime minister after the next election, the British people will have their say.”

And this is where it all falls apart. The problem is, because of his stupid policies on gay marriage, a softly-softly approach to welfare reform which still allows people to take home £26,000 tax free in benefits, and no action on immigration, Dave won’t be in a position to offer an EU referendum, as he will lose the General Election.


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Scrap the BBC Tax

BBC HR chief Lucy Adams

BBC HR chief Lucy Adams

Not content with paying the top bosses in the BBC six-figure payoffs and taking home over £300,000 a year herself, former HR director Lucy Adams is now using licence fee payers’ money to launch legal action against the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) after they complained in August about her HR department using “bullying as a means of control“. Adams instructed lawyers and her senior colleagues authorised her legal bill to be paid by the public. Charming.

Lucy Adams has said she is leaving the corporation in March next year to “try something new”. She was severely criticised by MPs when she appeared in front of the Public Accounts Committee during the BBC executive pay scandal with a member of the panel, Conservative Stewart Jackson MP, saying she “presided over” a culture of “corporate fraud and cronyism”.

Is this what we pay the licence fee for? As another junket for the boss class? It is immoral enough when private sector corporations have one rule for themselves and another for the workforce when it comes to pay and expenses but to have a massive national organisation like the BBC act in the same way with taxpayers’ money is beyond reproach.

More than ten per cent of all court cases in this country are for TV licence non-payments. Whilst Lucy Adams and her cronies have their snouts at the licence fee trough, single mothers are dragged in front of a judge because they couldn’t scrape together the £145.50 demanded by law to pay the legal fees of HR directors and payoffs to Director-Generals, one of whom only did the job for 54 days before being booted out!

It’s time to not just cut the BBC tax but scrap it altogether. State broadcasters are from an era when television had to be provided by the taxpayer as there weren’t any other capable broadcasters able to entertain the masses. Now with a zillion channels to choose from and a global market of television companies (look at the massive success of America’s HBO!) the BBC really is redundant and, frankly, quite sinister: aren’t State broadcasters now just the preserve of countries with tin-pot dictators who use it to spout communist loony lefty claptrap?

If David Cameron had some gumption, he would go into the next election promising to scrap the hated licence fee. Come on Dave, what are you waiting for?


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A living wage should not just be the goal of the Left

Labour leader Ed Miliband: He's not as stupid as he looks

Labour leader Ed Miliband: He’s not as stupid as he looks

I know it is fashionable to laugh at Red Ed and patronisingly say he’s not that smart when it comes to economics. Except, he is VERY smart and was the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s right-hand man when he worked alongside Gordon Brown before 2008.

It would be very trivial to suggest either Gordon Brown or Ed Miliband are stupid. Misguided, yes, and certainly socialists but they also have the requisite skills to create a socialist economy just not a free-market economy.

But I think it has come to a point in the year 2013, where the debate between socialism and free-market economics is becoming redundant, just like the old Left versus Right arguments. I am a strident believer in capitalism, which is the foundation for free-markets, but in my view capitalism, in the UK at least, is broken and no longer serves the masses. We need reform. When Margaret Thatcher unleashed the power of the market during her reign in the 1980s it was abundantly clear socialism and 90% income tax rates were strangling ordinary workers financially and something had to be done.

But once the blue touchpaper was lit it was very difficult to stop the subsequent chain reactions. Between 1985 and 2000 the good times were there for all to enjoy: privatised utilities gave shares to the masses (unlike the Royal Mail sale where most were locked out because of the £750 threshold), people were lifted out of the dirt (literally) in manual labour jobs and allowed to become bankers, IT consultants, small business owners because of mass deregulation and low taxes brought about by Thatcher’s chancellors. The babyboomer generation fell smack bang right in the middle of the economic boom and they have done extremely well. As I am reminded when I see the new Range Rover parked outside my house as a babyboomer tends to his cash-buy terrace house a few doors down in preparation for renting it out!

But the wily boss class spotted an opportunity to get even richer and took control of the “free” market and since 2000, if not before in the 1990s, ordinary workers wages have been pushed down year-on-year. This does not just affect the unskilled and semi-skilled, but professionals in engineering, law and IT. Millions of people working in our biggest businesses haven’t had an above inflation pay rise for almost 15 years whereas the boss class have seen their salaries rocket, with it now unheard of for a CEO not to take home at least £1 Million in cash each year – before bonus, share options and their pension.

The money is there. It’s just now all funnelled to the top. This is why I scratch my head when I hear the boss class say with a dreaded look on their face that if they are forced to pay their employees a living wage, prices will need to go up. I’m not convinced anymore when there is such a gulf in wages between the top and the bottom of an organisation. There is clearly money about but perhaps greed has got the better of those at the top.

In the seventh largest economy on Earth, surely the private sector who create this wealth can afford to pay all employees enough so they don’t have to choose between eating and heating each winter? I will be accused of being economically illiterate. So be it. But when there is such disparity of wealth in one of the world’s richest countries, you have to question everything. When Labour brought in the Minimum Wage, the boss class said the world would end – except it didn’t. Labour’s Living Wage isn’t even as half as radical as the Minimum Wage with a tax break being offered to businesses who pay it.

Of course, this new policy from Labour is massively tinged with political campaigning but that’s the result of a democracy and rightly so. I even suspect Dave will be desperately trying to find his own living wage policy pretty soon…


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Sir John Major calls time on the big six energy firms

Former UK Prime Minister Sir John Major

Former UK Prime Minister Sir John Major

The last Conservative prime minister to win a general election (and to win big, with the greatest number of popular votes ever recorded) has entered into the national debate on the energy market crisis by calling for a windfall tax on the big six firms.

Sir John ably describes the Conservatives are in favour of the private market (quite right!) but when it goes wrong real Conservatives will not stand-by and see people suffer as a result.

It’s a great pity David Cameron does not think the same, pithy saying in response to Sir John’s speech it was an “interesting contribution” but the government has no plans to impose a tax. Then again, Mr Cameron’s not really a Tory is he?

A combination of Labour-imposed green taxes (i.e. Ed Miliband’s Climate Change Act of 2008) and Corporatism which centres around greed and profiteering has led to British people paying £1,500* a year to heat and light their homes.

I said at the time of the banking crisis, Northern Rock should have been sent to the wall just as President George W. Bush did to Lehman Brothers. It would have been a deterrent punishment used widely in the justice system to keep the masses in check. Some, mainly rich businessmen and equally rich politicians, said it would have destroyed the world. No it wouldn’t have! The Government would have protected savers at the cost of shareholders or there would have been a revolution.

Another winning Tory, Margaret Thatcher, believed in Capitalism for the many not Corporatism for the few. Now is the time for today’s Government to show some leadership: We’ve had enough. Send a signal to the failed energy market and punish the big six by imposing a windfall tax on them in the Autumn Statement in December.

 

*nPower yesterday put up their dual-fuel prices by 10.4% taking an average bill to £1,500


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Boring, bland politicians – no wonder we’d rather talk about knitwear!

Follow my lead: David Cameron keeping warm in his jumper

Follow my lead: David Cameron keeping warm in his jumper

I was chatting to a fellow politico online earlier about the BBC’s Question Time and he was suggesting it was biased (shock, horror!). I countered by saying it wasn’t the production that was bias but more the fact the three main parties are all the same – you could hardly put a cigarette paper between Labour’s Tristram Hunt (yes, he is Labour even with a Tory name like that!) and Mark Harper (what a dull dull politician if there ever was one!). And then the producers need to fill out the panel with people who can actually string a sentence together so they book, on the whole, media types or celebrities and they are nearly always left-wing, which is hardly surprising considering they collect their dime in an industry which has always been stacked full of lovies and right-on metrosexuals! Every now and again a right-winger from the media world turns up such as TV historian David Starkey or former Sun editor Kelvin MacKenzie. I have also been in the audience when they record Question Time and there are fair few right-wingers but they don’t tend to speak up for fear of being stigmatised, especially when the panel is generally to the Left, Cameroon Tories included!

So what has politics descended to when there aren’t any ideological differences – in fact, there isn’t any ideology at all. Yep, that’s right – jumpers! I kid you not. For my international friends, a jumper is – in the American-English parlance – a pullover sweater (or sweader, as they say on the other side of the pond!). Something bizarre happened in the journalists’ briefing in the heart of Government this morning – also known as the Downing Street Lobby – when the Prime Minister’s spokesman said it would be a good idea for all those people out there feeling the cold, but unable to pay the cartel-level energy prices, to jolly well put on a nice jumper. Cue the Labour Party leader’s team descending to Twitter and the hacks falling over themselves to tell a good jumper yarn.

The best write-up of Jumper-gate (yep, it had to get it’s own “-gate”!) has to be Guido Fawkes who has been delving in the picture archive. One of the best ones has to be master of the political dark arts, Lord Mandelson.

Peter Mandelson

Former Labour minister Peter Mandelson

I have just received a note from David Cameron entitled “Help us to finish the job”. It is full of vacuous phrases like “Let’s never lose sight of what we’re fighting for: a recovery that all hardworking people can share in. Good, decent, well-paid jobs.” I don’t normally comment on these CCHQ missives but when I actually SEE the Government fighting for “decent well-paid jobs” I’ll start to parrot the rhetoric. That is just not true. Much of the unemployment decrease is down to people being forced into part time jobs and those who kept their jobs during the Great Recession (caused by Labour) have had to endure pay decreases to keep those jobs. And this does not even take into account the fact prices are outstripping wages month after month. Now, I’m a Tory member (still) but even I can’t swallow falsehoods of this kind.

One of the arts of political rhetoric is to at least be on the right track if tackled by your opponents. How on earth could this Coalition Government claim to be fighting for “good, decent well-paid jobs”?There is zero evidence of this – all around us prices are rising above wages, the Government’s goal seems to be to keep people off the dole come what may, even if it means Britons working for a pittance, which many are now enduring! I’m not blaming the Government for this per se, but saying they are trying to do something about it is ridiculous! I’d love to hear what my fellow right-wing readers think of this.