Last year’s Conservative Party conference is memorable for more than one laugh out loud moment and this year could be the same.
In 2017 party leader and Prime Minister of the U.K. Mrs Theresa May had a coughing fit mid-speech. It lasted so long it appeared the words were sticking in her throat. Her political enemies noted that’s what happens when you tell lie after lie! The Tories wanted to show the country how organised they are and how safe the country is in their hands yet at one point the words behind May actually began to fall from the scenery.
Both of the above were quickly pounced on and generated a range of very funny memes. Spoof and satirical news websites had a ball but there was more to come.
Comedian Simon Brodkin, in character as Lee Nelson, managed to get past security and even mount the podium at one point to hand Mrs May a fake P.45 allegedly from the then Foreign Boris Johnson.
All the above hardly instilled any voter confidence in the Tories but what about the security element? FOr all the costly policing of the Tory Party conference a man was able to get up close to Mrs May with the obvious potential problems.
Still as they say a day is a long time in politics and here we are almost a year later with Jeremy Hunt Foreign Secretary and Dominic Raab the Conservative Brexit Secretary. Johnson resigned the role of Foreign Secretary during the summer but some political pundits still feel he has his sights set on party leader. David Davis Tory Brexit Secretary quit earlier.
Whatever else may happen at this year’s Tory Party conference one thing is certain - Mrs May will not get a smooth ride. Dissent may happen behind closed doors but Brexit is tearing the Tory Party apart.
Saturday Mrs May and her husband arrived in Birmingham where this year’s Tory Party conference will kick of Sunday but the conference was already headline news for all the wrong reasons.
Journalists discovered that an app designed for conference goers use had a glitch that revealed phone numbers and other personal details of members, even senior party members such as Boris Johnson.
The glitch has now been fixed but confidential data has already been breached. The advice to members is change phone numbers.
Incompetence, when it comes to the Tory Party conference, is now the norm.
Mrs May and her colleagues will spend the next couple of days name calling their political opponents and talking themselves up but the facts speak for themselves.
The Tory Party cannot organise a conference let along run the country properly.
Op-ed; Bumbling British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is many things but he is no diplomat.
Johnson is a former elected London mayor and was once tipped to lead the Tory government and replace David Cameron as our Prime Minister.
Reports that he was a successful London mayor may or may not be true; that will depend who you ask presumably.
But he is proving disastrous as Foreign Secretary.
This week he cancelled a trip to Russia following an alleged chemical attack on Syrians by unconfirmed forces; it could have been forces of Syrian leader Bashar Al Assad, so-called rebels or insurgents or foreign agents but that list goes on and on.
Johnson however was out manoeuvred by the American administration as their Secretary of State Rex Tillerson opted to go ahead with a visit to Russia.
Mr Johnson instead chose to push members of the G7 for further sanctions against Russia but other member countries refused to be sucked in.
He was left looking the fool once again, this time it was for his political ineptitude. Just how did Mr Johnson become a political high flier?
Boris as he is often referred to by the mainstream media has had something of a charmed political life. He has played the fool to perfection and the mainstream media guffawed along. Our earlier reports include;
March 2015 Johnson accused of Garden Bridge duplicity
Days before Christmas 2014 we reported what we called crackpot funding for a garden bridge over the Thames in London. The jury was out on the bridge especially the issue who would fund it as it would incur hefty ongoing maintenance costs. This week Mayor London Boris Johnson has put his large foot in his large mouth again and the Garden Bridge is back in the news. Appearing on his regular "Ask Boris LBC radio slot" he waffled but is accused of downright lies.As the Guardian puts it "The London mayor categorically denies public funds will be needed for the garden bridge, while pledging taxpayers’ money to prop it up behind closed doors." ........more
November 2015 - Boris Johnson West Bank Cancellations
Blonde Bombshell and London’s Tory mayor Boris Johnson has once again put his foot where his mouth should be. Johnson has cut short a trade visit to the West Bank after saying that advocates of a trade ban against Israel were a "bunch of corduroy-jacketed lefty academics who have no real standing in the matter and are unlikely to be influential on Britain.”He added "those who endorsed it were "foolish" and in a "very small minority." Social media reacted quickly. The majority of his meetings with Palestinian representatives and individuals were cancelled. He had become too big a security risk............ more
April 2016 Boris Johnson part Kenyan description of Pres. Obama
Mr Johnson or as some in the mainstream media like to call him, BoJo, has already shared his opinion that President Obama should not weigh into the UK EU in or out referendum calling it interference. That has since been spun any which way but loose as all camps try to gain political advantage. But Friday he overstepped the mark by using language that could be interpreted as racially offensive to and about President Obama. He opted to write a report for Murdoch's Sun publication which perhaps says it all. In that article he wrote about the removal of a bust of Churchill from the Oval Office noting "Some said it was a snub to Britain. Some said it was a symbol of the part-Kenyan President’s ancestral dislike of the British empire – of which Churchill had been such a fervent defender......more
Boris Johnson was appointed Foreign Secretary in 2016 by unelected Tory Prime Minister Theresa May. In less than one year both have proved to be an embarrassment.
Op-ed; Ukip's former Tory MP Douglas Carswell is quitting the party and hopes he will continue representing his constituency of Clacton without having to face a by-election.
He plans to stand as an independent but how independent will he really be?
He has already shown himself a die-hard Tory during his time with Ukip.
On the BBC news channel Saturday morning he stuck the knife in Ukip firmly and squarely.
He assessed Ukip as a one trick pony that is finished now that PM Theresa May is about to trigger Article 50.
In October 2014 we reported "Ukip and its party leader are celebrating Friday morning. The party secured its first seat in the Commons in Thursday's vote boosting the party's image and ego. Tory defector Douglas Carswell won Clacton in the South of England but was the electorate voting for their tried and tested old Tory MP or UKIP?"
Carswell was full of praise for unelected Tory PM Theresa May Saturday.
His words re Ukip "job done" obviously do not reflect his full view.
Carswell is hoping his constituents remain a one MP set of voters who are intrinsically right-wing but what about local Ukip supporters? If Carswell has his way they will not get a chance to elect a Ukip MP or one of any other political colour.
Is he so desperate to stay in politics and if so why?
Did Carswell discuss his resignation with Theresa May and other Tories? Was he hoping to simply cross the floor of the House and join his Tory chums? Such a move would trigger a by-election.
He did not discuss his imminent departure with his Ukip colleagues who found out he had quit along with his blog readers and the mainstream media.
Carswell posted his intention to resign on his blog saying;
It has been an extraordinary achievement. UKIP, my party, which was founded in 1993 in order to get Britain out of the European Union, has now achieved what we were established to do.
Later Saturday there are claims that Mr Carswell jumped before he was pushed and that he had been summoned to appear before Ukip bosses and answer questions Monday.
Finally thoughts from Twitter › owenjbennett
"As I revealed in #thebrexitclub Carswell joined Ukip to lessen Farage 's role in the EU ref. Job done, now he's off. Astonishing infiltration"
Labour party woes continue.
Backed into a corner Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said there would be a three-line whip when it comes to triggering Article 50.
Thursday shadow minister Tulip Siddiq resigned from the Labour frontbench telling Corbyn that she could not reconcile herself to the party’s three-line whip decision when it comes to the vote for triggering article 50.
And so on it goes.
Selfish divisive politics damaging the Labour Party and wrecking its chances of election success.
The Party hardly needs the biased negative press reporting it gets. Selfish individuals in the party, some on the fringes of the party, are happily doing all the necessary dirty work.
Ms Siddiq said Thursday in her resignation letter "I have always been clear – I do not represent Westminster in Hampstead and Kilburn, I represent Hampstead and Kilburn in Westminster. “I feel that the most effective place for me to counter Theresa May’s hard Brexit is from the backbenches.”
Ms Siddiq represents an area that voted overwhelmingly for the country to stay in the EU. She says she intends to represent her voters accordingly.
What would she have done had her constituents voted for BRexit we wonder?
But Stoke Central Labour Party have selected a man who wants the UK to stay in the EU as their representative in the upcoming election yet the constituency was the highest BRexit voting region of the UK.
Who is masterminding the latest internal battle in the Labour Party?
With former Labour PM Tony Blair interfering in British politics with a visit to the EU the Labour Party could be set to let down its party members and grassroot supporters once again.
Are these MPs working toward a remove Corbyn agenda once again?
Will Ms Siddiq been joined by others?
Watch this space. Updates as available.
Note - Ms Siddiq is one of the class of 2015
Opinion: Labour MP Tristram Hunt announced Friday he was quitting his job as MP for Stoke in Trent.
Jeremy Corbyn was gracious when he acknowledged Mr Hunt's equally gracious reisgnation letter but scratch the surface to probably see a whole different picture.
Hunt's timing is terrible but he has denied that his timing was meant to hit home.
But who is Mr Hunt and why was he an MP and a Labour Party one at that in the first place?
The first thing I came across when I looked online was information regarding the Victoria and Albert Museum in London where Hunt will be the new CEO on a big fat salary.
Their website says "Trustees. The Victoria and Albert Museum is governed by a board of trustees appointed by the Prime Minister."
Conspiracy theorists do your worst.
Theresa May had to sign of Tristram Hunt's appointment at the V and A and I imagine she did so with glee; well as much glee as Mrs May ever shows.
So I had a snoop around online to see how Mr Hunt ended up as Labour MP for Stoke on Trent. FIrst this from Wikipedia;
Tristram Julian William Hunt Labour Party politician, who served as the Member of Parliament for Stoke-on-Trent Central in Staffordshire since the 2010 general election. In January 2017 he announced he would leave the Commons in order to take up the post of Director of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. (born 31 May 1974) is a historian, broadcast journalist and former British Hunt is a lecturer in modern British History at Queen Mary University of London. He has written several books and in his work as a broadcaster has presented history programmes on television. He is a regular writer for The Guardian and The Observer.
So he is or was a relatively new MP; one from the dying days of old new Labour under Gordon Brown.
"On becoming Leader of the Labour Party on 25 September 2010, Miliband also became Leader of the Opposition. At 40, he was the youngest leader of the party ever."
But back to wikipedia and Tristram Hunt;
Hunt was born in Cambridge, the son of Julian, Baron Hunt of Chesterton, a meteorologist and leader of the Labour Group on Cambridge City Council in 1972–73, who was created a Labour Life Peer on the recommendation of Tony Blair in 2000. He was educated at University College School, an independent school in London.
So a good old down to earth working class lad from a good old working class background?
Of course such a background is not mandatory to be a Labour Party MP but it does help.
So finally I popped over to They Work For You to check out Tristam Hunt's registered interests and I was left reeling.
How the hell did he ever have time to work as an MP and represent his constituents?
ITV mainstream news Friday evening included a few interviews with a handful of Mr Hunt's comsituents. Whether it was selective or accurate reporting I cannot comment.
But those interviewed were not unhappy that Mr Hunt has resigned with some saying he hardly visited the area and was initially as they say parachuted in as the Labour Party candidate.
The conclusion is?
You make up your own mind but he was anti Corbyn and like a fish out of water as a Labour Party MP in my opinion.
He has selfishly triggered a by election at a tricky time for the Labour Party but at least he has finally done the decent thing and quit though for a huge pay rise.
That resignation is a mixed bag. Triggering a by-election in that particular constituency could be bad news for the Labour Party. It is an area financially reliant on the nuclear industry and therefore in some ways at odds with Corbyn's Labour Party policies though not official Labour Party policy at this time.
But at least Reed has finally realised what we all suspected that he was in the wrong job and wrong party as a Labour Party MP.
So where is dear Jamieson moving on to?
Why he is going to work for the nuclear industry.
Yes I hear you saying "I thought he already did?"
He has shown himself to be a self-servative in so many ways;
I imagine I speak for many when I say good riddance Jamie boy.
It is just a shame you ever went into politics.
On 12 September 2015, one minute into Jeremy Corbyn's acceptance speech as leader of the Labour Party, he publicly resigned as shadow Health Minister giving as his reason Corbyn's opposition to nuclear energy. On 21 December 2016, he announced his resignation as an MP from the end of January 2017, in order to take up a new role as Head of Development and Community Relations for Sellafield Ltd.
If you are interested you can read Mr Reed's reasons or excuses for quitting here at the Guardian.
Op-ed: Have you heard? The reward for getting sacked is an honour.
Since 2010 people in the UK have been expected to suck up austerity, tighten their belts as Social Security nets are weakened and in some cases removed and live in fear of "what next?" overseen until recently by Tory Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne.
Post the BRexit vote the Tory government began to implode, PM David Cameron quit and ran and George Osborne was sacked by our new unelected Tory PM Theresa May.
But if you foolishly believe Osborne et al live in the real world think again.
So what do you get when you are rubbish at your job and sacked?
In Mr Osborne's case "a prestigious honour recognising his political and public service!"
Osborne was awarded CH (Companion of Honour) and received the honour Friday.
There will of course also be whopping pension entitlements and more.
George does not need handouts but he will get them while others in desperate need are failed time and time again by an incompetent Tory government.
Take a look back at a few of our Osborne reports if you think that is harsh:
Osborne's country pile gets National Trust handout
George Osborne rebrands National Insurance
Rona Fairhead and George Osborne old pals
And Osborne and Cameron have prospered as voters have experienced financial pain.
Remember the now conveniently forgotten Panama Papers?
In July 2015 Channel 4 reported "Chancellor George Osborne’s family business made £6m in a property deal with a developer based in a tax haven, Paul McNamara and Guy Basnett investigate."
In October 2016 the Daily Mirror reported "George Osborne's family firm hasn't paid any corporation tax for the eighth year in a row."
George Osborne was honoured in Cameron's resignation honours list.
Yes, you may resign because you blew it and miscalculated, calling a costly EU referendum which blew up in your face, but you are still entitled to put together a resignation honour's list.
It is all about ENTITLEMENT for some.
A pat on the back of fat friends old and new?
Cameron and Osborne are old pals.
Many members of the traditional British establishment went to the same schools, networking and making connections that over time serve them well. That is as true as ever.
The British Honour's system has always been flawed but these days people see through its associated spin and hyperbole.
The system makes a mockery of us all.
Op-ed: Pensions in the UK have been protected by a triple lock but that looks set to be scrapped.
David Cameron's election promise was a committment to the triple-lock until 2020 at least.
BBC News claims "As a result of triple-lock policy, the state pension has risen by a relatively generous £1,100 since 2010, with an increase of 2.9% in April this year." Break that figure down and it is less than £200 a year; less in some cases. Much less than £3 a week.
But Cameron has gone and the government is now led by unelected PM Theresa May.
Younger people who may say "good" to news that the triple lock could end need to consider a few things not least that the state pension is a pittance in real terms and that for older retired people the pension is as good as it gets for the rest of their lives.
Getting old is a fact of life; the only alternative is dying young.
But when we are young it is hard to envisage yourself as an older person, frail, perhaps with no family, maybe still struggling to pay rent or doing OK financially until a long term husband, wife or partner dies or has to move into a residential care home.
It is all relative and many people will know at least a few older citizens who continue to work into very old age or seem to have an affluent lifestyle.
The reality is most pensioners are not wealthy.
The state pension is not a huge amount of money nor is it a state handout or a benefit.
Down many years people pay into the system, play by the unwritten rules, and toe the line hoping they are paying in for a little security in old age.
There are always some, like my parents who died aged 55, Dad, and 58, Mum, who are never able to claim their state pension.
Dad worked all his life, including military service during the second world war, but his pension entitlement ended with his death obviously, resulting in money going to the Treasury for use as they see fit.
Recent governments in the UK have made a complete hash of pensions; not the very generous pensions of politicians however.
It was decided to equalise retirement age and rather than bringing the age down for men, the age women can retire has been gradually increasing. Men also face a higher retirement age; how high depends on their age now.
Trust politicians to make it complicated and unfair
Check out WASPI women to understand the pension problems of women born in the 1950s. Check out the new flate rate pension to understand that it offers a two-tier pension system with people born before a certain date losing out.
The new flat rate pension is touted as a good thing and a fair system but it is not available to all.
The Pensions Reform Group
Frank Field, 74, is the veteran Labour MP who chairs the House of Commons work and pensions select committee.
Who is Frank Field?
In a report on immigration in 2006 the Guardian said "Devout Christian and fervent admirer of Lady Thatcher, the outspoken Labour MP has fanned further controversy, this time over immigration, but until his vision of a new Britain is achieved, he won't be silenced."
A strange sort of Labour politician.
Tony Blair also had an uncomfortable positive opinion about Maggie Thatcher.
That Guardian report had to this to say about Field back in 2006:
In his youth, he was a member of the Conservative party, but he was thrown out for opposing South Africa's apartheid system. Shortly after becoming the MP for Birkenhead in 1979, he took on Militant and threatened to stand as an independent if they attempted to deselect him. And then there are his views on the welfare state, which place him firmly in a category all of his own, certainly within Labour. Put most simply, he believes it degrades the very people it is meant to serve, that it creates a benefit-dependent, work-shy sub-class. 'It's our fault as politicians to have put temptation in front of people,' he has said. 'If the system pays people more on incapacity benefit [than jobseekers' allowance], it's human nature to claim the higher amount. We have to remove the incentive.' In short, Frank Field wants to sack the nanny from the nanny state.
From 1997 to 1998, Field served as the Minister of Welfare Reform, before leaving the Government, following differences with Prime Minister Tony Blair but in June 2015 Field was elected Chair of the Work and Pensions Select Committee.
Although this report is about pensions it seems fair to include information aout Mr Field who is chair of a committee recommending an end to the triple lock.
Percentage pay increases are always a mixed bag.
"State pension to rise 2.5% from April to £116 as 'triple lock' boosts pensioners' handout twice as fast as workers' pay. Pensioners will get a 2.5 per cent hike in their basic state pension from April to £115.95 a week - substantially more than either inflation or the average pay rises workers are getting.4 Dec 2014"
NOTE pensioners handout? NOTE increase to £116 a week!
Apparently such excessive pension rises are not sustainable.
But compare that to "Queen in line for £2.8m pay rise in 2017-18" a headline this week and one from February 2016 "MPs get pay rise of nearly £1,000 despite one per cent public sector wage caps." That increase took effect in April "nine months after they received a backdated 10 per cent pay rise from £67,060 to £74,000."
Should I trust Mr Field and his committee to sort out my pension?
According to Wikipedia:
Two nights before the Conservative Party leadership election in November 1990, he [Field] visited then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher at 10 Downing Street. He advised her that her time as Prime Minister was drawing to a close and that she should back John Major to take over the role. His reason for doing so was that he felt that her Conservative colleagues would not tell her straight that she could not win a leadership contest. Following this meeting, he was smuggled out of Downing Street's back door. Two days later Margaret Thatcher supported John Major for the post, and Major went on to be Prime Minister
Maintaining the status quo and helping the establishment is unappealing especially in a Labour MP. But he started out as a Tory and some things never change.
Having touted austerity and tried to make poorer and vulnerable people pay for the mistakes and mismanagement of others is the government about to move on to pensioners?
Many pensioners traditionally vote Tory. Most pensioners bother to engage with politics and vote. But generalisations are sloppy.
Either way hitting the incomes of pensioners is more divide and conquer and will fail to address core issues.
Will this also be blamed on BRexit?
British political scene
The next General Election in the UK may not be scheduled any time soon but the British political landscape is changing. With that in mind this blog will concentrate on the political scene but with a left wing perspective. Opinion pieces and news will bring you the stories that the MSM prefer to ignore.