Thursday, May 25, 2006

Security dossier "mislaid"

A folder listing (it actually suggested attack scenarios) ways to assasinate the Prime Minister and other members of the Cabinet was "left in a hotel", reports the Times.

Included were "secret" plans to protect Tony Blair from an al Qaida-style terrorist attack.

I know they're supposed to be facing a back-bench rebellion but this is a bit drastic, isn't it?

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

It's an ID thing

So this taxi driver, big guy, Congolese, is waiting for a client at the BBC in Shepherds Bush when a studio manager bustles up to him.

"Guy Kewney?" he asks.

"Yes," confirms our driver.

Guy Kewney is actually the fare he's supposed to pick up, but he's arrived too early.

He is then whisked away, fitted up with a microphone and placed in front of a camera to be interviewed by the luscious Karen Bowerman about the implications for Apple Computer after their High Court victory against Apple Corps.

Meanwhile the real Guy Kewney, little wiry guy, white, pale skin, wispy boffin beard, watches it on a monitor in reception...

Read the story

Watch video clip

Monday, May 08, 2006

The drowning man

At his monthly news conference today, Tony blair refused to name a date for a leadership handover, but guaranteed an orderly transition.

The term "mutually exclusive" springs to mind.

However, Mr Blair's administration hasn't allowed a lack of linguistic logic to become a clog on policy in the past, as the Iraqi situation testifies.

"To state a timetable now," he said, "would simply paralyse the proper working of government."

Excuse me?

He referred to Labour's implicit defeat in last week's local council elections as a "distraction" from "the necessary changes", which the party under his leadership is making for Britain.

Is this man reading the papers?

Has he forgotten the arguments his father in law, playing the part of a certain "Scouse Git" in the sitcom "Til Death Do Us Part", had with his in-law "Alf Garnett"?

Has he even seen it?

Does he even care?

Give it up, sir.

Blair soldiers on in the face of unrest

Jock 'n' Roll

A Scottish Executive website claims that Rock 'n' Roll was invented by Scots immigrants to the New World in the 18th century.

From Nashville to Govan

Also... Read this from 2000

The Scottish Play

North of the border the Scottish Labour Party leadership, amidst fears that the departure row will threaten the Holyrood election campaign, is refusing to back Blair.

Scottish parliamentary and local elections are due next May, and internal polling data leaked last week pointed to a possible loss of up to 12 seats.

On BBC's The Politics Show yesterday Justice Minister Cathy Jamieson dissociated the Scottish party from the Westminster leadership crisis.

"When we go into the elections for Holyrood and local government we should be going into those elections laying out what Labour has done for the people of Scotland," she said.

The electorate does not expect to see in-fighting within the Labour Party over the next year, she added.

Read Louise Gray and James Kirkup in The Scotsman

A summer coup?

How many MPs does it take to change a Prime Minister?

No it's not a new twist on an old joke but a serious (for Tony Blair at any rate) question.

Neither is it a retorical one; the answer is 71.

That's the number of backbenchers required to sign a letter to the party's national executive demanding a "clear timetable and procedure for the election of a new Labour Party leader, no later than the end of the current parliamentary session".

So far at least 50 of the gentlemen in question have agreed to sign.

Read Patrick Wintour's article in Guardian Politics

Thursday, May 04, 2006


If England wins the world cup will all her other problems go away?

Black Thursday?

Britain went to the polls today in the local mid-term elections.

Labour is up against a resurgent Conservative Party and stands to lose ground to far right groups like the BNP, with violent crime by foreigners close to the top of the electoral issues list.

Mick Green, 50, wearing an England football shirt, said he voted for the BNP:

"I've voted Labour all my life but I won't now. I'm fed up with Labour and the Liberals."

All eyes on Barking and the BNP

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

If you can smell fish that's probably what it is...

It should have come as no surprise to anyone that John Prescott was engaged in a bit of the "extra-marital".

Who could blame him?

It's my guess that in the appropriate stakes he had something to prove.

History shows that less than physically attractive politicians have often been prone.

When news of his indiscretion broke I - and I'm sure I wasn't alone - detected a distinct shadow overhead.

Was it a plane? Was it a train? Was it the truth?

No, of course not.

One possibility, which struck me at the time, was of that well known and oft-abused political fish, the Red Herring.

But I put the suspicion to the back of my mind: journalistic paranoia, I thought (or maybe wishful thinking?).

And then over the weekend Defence Secretary John Reid came within a hair's breadth of being busted for possession of class C drugs.

Again I had the impression of a political ruse badly executed.

Whatever the truth value of my idle thoughts, however, neither of these real or imagined attempts to distract the media (and the public) from Charles Clarke's "foreign rapists go free" fiasco have been effective.

I fear the proof will be in Thursday's local election pudding.

OK, I know: nothing's new under the sun and all this has happened before and will continue to happen.

That's politics, after all.

What really worries me though are all those protest votes, many of which, if the word on the street is anything to go by, will have BNP written all over them.

Meltdown Thursday?

Amidst rampant predictions of a Labour meltdown in the looming local elections, ministers have begun a major blitz of the regions in an attempt to limit the damage caused by last weeks scandals.

However, Charles Clarke today continues to resist urgent calls to update Parliament on efforts to track down upwards of 1000 foreign criminals wrongly released into the community.

And Deputy PM John Prescott returns to work after a bank holiday weekend of low-lying at his home in Hull. He faces calls for his resignation over his affair with former diary secretary Tracey Temple.

Read Peter Riddell's Commentary in The Times online