Politicans and world leaders making news and in the news, and spouting hot air
THERE’S an interesting little tactic that Labour MPs are trying to use in the House of Commons these days. To ask questions about how much a department is spending on this or that and then when they get the answer they can chunter along about how poor widows are being thrown out of their homes over the bedroom tax so that Tory Ministers can spend £x on whatever it is they just asked about.
You know, Yah! Boo! The Tories and only Labour looks out for the working stiff.
This is a tactic that has just received some blowback as the answer given to the question, well, how much has Eric Pickles been spending on catering (given his size this would add another level of joy to the chuntering) was, well, a whole hell of a lot less than Labouir did when they were in power.
MARIA Miller has written an open letter to the people of Basingstoke, Hampshire:
“The last 16 months have been difficult. As you know, I have been working hard for Basingstoke and also doing my job as a Cabinet minister. During this time, I have been subject to an intense Parliamentary inquiry looking at extensive personal details of my family life, as a result of allegations made by a Labour MP.
“That committee has now published its report and I have accepted their findings in full. I have unreservedly apologised for the way I handled and apporached [sic] the inquiry.
“And I am pleased that the committee has fully dismissed all of the allegations made against me. Separately, I have already apologised and repaid an over-claim of my expenses, having myself drawn the committee’s attention to the matter immediately I was aware of it.
“I have always sought to do the best job that I can in representing the people of Basingstoke in Westminster. I am devastated that this has happened, and that I have let you down.
“I can only hope that over time the focus will once again by on Basingstoke.”
IN 1865, Seth Kinman (1815-1888), the California Hunter and Trapper, gave US President Andrew Johnson a GRIZZLY-BAR CHAIR.
MARIA Miller is the Tory MP and Culture Secretary. She is involved in discussions over the future of press regulation. She wants more of it. She is just one of the cross-party elite (and you can include artists in this illiberal group) who like free speech but want to insert a “but” after it. She wants limits on freedom.
Mrs Miller’s in trouble over her expense.
Kathryn Hudson, the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner looked at Miller’s expenses. She did the sums and found that Mrs Miller’s claims for mortgage interest payments exceeded her allowance by £44,000. Mrs Hudson made her report. Mrs Miller issued a 75-word apology. Miller agreed to repay £5,800 in over-claimed allowances and apologised for her “attitude” to the official inquiry.
FLASHBACK to April 10 2004: The ‘Bin Laden Determined To Strike In US’ Memo:
NIGEL Farage has achieved nothing in his time as Ukip leader other than promote himself. His mission is to gift the two biggest parties an identity and sense of purpose. His comments, such as a recent sense of pride in having “taken a third of the BNP’s support”, seducing those bigots “frustrated” and “upset” by their changing communities, serve to demolish the once feared BNP and make Ukip wholly unelectable.
If Farage leaves, perhaps under a scandal, what then for Ukip?
Nothing. The party will disintegrate.
FLASHBACK to November 14 1987:
West German Minister for Economic Cooperation, Hans Klein, right, dances with Elke Koska, wife and muse of German conceptual artist HA Schult, at the annual federal press ball on Friday, November 14, 1987 at the Beethoven Hall in Bonn, Germany.
It’s cracking photo.
And it’s her we’re looking at, isn’t. It;’ what she hoped we’d do. Here’s Elke in 2009:
This is her husband and his work:
And here’s Hans Klein. We were looking at Elke’s gigantic hair and HA’s zany art. But it’s Hans who turns out to be the one to watch:
If you spot a recurring theme, do say:
Hans Klein, the old charmer, died on December 2 1996.
A trained journalist, a diplomat, press officer of the Olympic Games in Munich, close friend of Franz Josef Strauss and development minister. He became Helmut Kohl’s government spokesman in April 1989. It was job he called: “The worst suicide mission to which I have ever gotten myself into.” After the Berlin Wall carbon let his chancellery minister Rudolf Seiter inform the media. ”
We need more charmers like him in politics.
“I DISCOVERED rap from a young age,” says David Palmer, 25, who performs under the name Dave In Charge. He’s the grandson of Monroe and Susette Palmer, now life peers Lord and Lady Palmer of Childs Hill, Barnet, London.
The nebbishy looking rapper who recorded his song from his parent’s The Vale, Golders Green crib and the video on the mean paths of Hampstead Heath, goes on:
WHEN Nick Clegg took the Yellow corner and Nigel Farage the purple one, LBC radio realised it had a fight on its hands, the likes of which we have not seen since chocolate teapot fought a glass hammer. To the winner the glory of being the second least likely leader of a mainstream political party to be Prime Minister.
Michael Fabriant, the Tory MP with the made-for-TV hair (and please note his twitter profile photo), nailed Clegg with:
@Mike_FabricantNick Clegg claimed ‘3 million jobs depend on EU membership’. That was a back-of-the-envelope figure invented by Tony Blair. Not factual
Nick Clegg claimed ‘3 million jobs depend on EU membership’. That was a back-of-the-envelope figure invented by Tony Blair. Not factual
— Michael Fabricant (@Mike_Fabricant) March 27, 2014
VLADIMIR Putin, scourge of gays, is now a homosexual act prevention device.
It’s not yet Government issues in Russia, but give it time…
But do use the enema before serving:
THAT’S what the newspapers are reporting this morning, that Osborne has stung the big internet companies like Amazon and Apple by changing the rules on VAT rates. Although it’s not actually Osborne who has done this, it’s the EU:
Multinational companies such as Amazon and Apple will be forced to add VAT to all UK downloads including music, film, smartphone games and e-books from January 2015 in a move that may drive up the cost of music tracks from 99p to £1.19.
The move forms part of the Government’s “international efforts to develop tough, new global tax rules,” George Osborne said in his Budget address last week. From next year, download services will be subject to VAT in the country where the consumer is located.
According to the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), the change will attract an extra £300m in VAT revenues in the first year.
YOU’D think that people would have worked out about these internet things by now but apparently there are none so dumb as politicians:
Shortly after the Twitter ban came into effect around midnight, the micro-blogging company tweeted instructions to users in Turkey on how to circumvent it using text messaging services in Turkish and English. Turkish tweeters were quick to share other methods of tiptoeing around the ban, using “virtual private networks” (VPN) – which allow internet users to connect to the web undetected – or changing the domain name settings on computers and mobile devices to conceal their geographic whereabouts.
Some large Turkish news websites also published step-by-step instructions on how to change DNS settings.
On Friday morning, Turkey woke up to lively birdsong: according to the alternative online news site Zete.com, almost 2.5m tweets – or 17,000 tweets a minute – have been posted from Turkey since the Twitter ban went into effect, thus setting new records for Twitter use in the country.
The ban came from the Prime Minister, pissed off that people were disagreeing with him in public. One of the first people to breach the ban on using Twitter was the Turkish President.
We might have to start saying that there’s a Turkish variant of the Streisand Effect.
The Streisand effect is the phenomenon whereby an attempt to hide, remove, or censor a piece of information has the unintended consequence of publicizing the information more widely, usually facilitated by the Internet.
SO. There was the Happy Monday’s dancer Mark ‘Bez’ Berry kicking off his campaign to run for Parliament by joining the Barton Moss anti-fracking site, Manchester.
Bez, famous for winning Celebrity Big Brother, playing the maracas whilst white-and-not-drunk-in-a-Spanish-pub and being the subject of the line “Everyone thinks Bez has about two pounds of coke up his nose all the time and he’s on about eight E’s”, aims to “stir things up” in the Commons. His manifesto is concise:
“If you want to do something about things you’ve got to get into the corridors of power and take them on. If you’re voting for me, you’re voting as a protest about what’s happening in the world at the moment.”
It all seems impossible until you realise that the politician in Bez’s sights is the Labour MP Hazel Blears, a woman whose twin political ambitions are to be more irritating than Harriet Harman and to make Ed Balls look self-conscious. She’s half-way there.
Bez might just win…
THIS is the plaque Tony Benn placed illegally in a broom cupboard in Parliament, in memory of suffragette Emily Davison:
Photo: Murderer William Rutherford Benn, Great-Uncle of Politician Tony Benn And Margaret Rutherford’s Dad
FLASHBACK to 14/09/1983:
William Rutherford Benn, great-uncle of politician Tony Benn and father of the actress, the late Margaret Rutherford. A graphic account of how Tony Benn’s ancestor murdered his own father, twice attempted suicide, and years later died in an asylum is recorded in a new book to be published by W.H. Allen. The story is related in great detail in “Y Tony Benn- The Making of a Politician”, by Alfred Browne, Weekend Editor of Press Association.
William Rutherford Benn murdered his father, the Reverend Julius Benn, a Congregational church minister, by bludgeoning him to death with a Worcester Spode chamberpot.
FLASHBACK to 19/06/57.
Tony Benn decorating the Labour Party offices at St. George, Bristol.
LEADER of Camden Council @Sarah_Hayward’s excellent one word response to a question about twitter use.
Councillor Paul Braithwaite (LD):
Given the gravity of the role of Leader of Camden Council, will the Leader consider creating a separate Twitter account for matters relating to Camden as separate from reporting on her personal interests in Arsenal, the X Factor, restaurants and dishes she’s enjoyed and B-movies she watches on TV, which represents circa 80% of her 21,800 tweets?
Sarah Hayward (Lab):
THIS is excellent news really, that the CIA has been spying on the people in the Senate over in the US. OK, in one sense it’s a bit naughty as the CIA isn’t supposed to ever do anything domestically. And the Yanks also tend to frown a bit on one part of the Executive part of government trying to interfere with a part of the Legislative side of government. They’re supposed to be quite different. But this can still be seen as cheering news:
A bitter dispute between the CIA and the U.S. Senate committee that oversees it burst into the open on Tuesday when the committee chairwoman accused the agency of spying on Congress and possibly breaking the law.
Veteran Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein said the CIA had searched computers used by committee staffers examining CIA documents when researching the agency’s counter-terrorism operations and its use of harsh interrogation methods such as simulated drowning or “waterboarding.”
Failed political photo-ops
DAVID Cameron is facing ridicule once again. His latest gaffe was to tweet a picture of himself looking serious and statesmanlike while having a serious statesmanlike phone call with Barak Obama. The problem, aside from the typically patronising pomposity of the gesture, was that he looked singularly un-statesmanlike. In fact, he resembled nothing do much as a perplexed pudding.
Of course, he has plenty of competition in the failed phot-op stakes.
Here’s George Osborne, Chancellor and Chelsea fan, in ‘man of the people’ pose, manfully working late while snacking on a burger and fries. His tweet backfired when said burger was identified as coming from posh nosh joint Byron.
Oh, hello! Talking of burgers…
Hey presto – instant ridicule. What a Gummer.
But frankfurters are even more risky. Republican Presidential nominee Michele Bachmann has been dubbed Palin 2.0 thanks to her numerous factual and logical gaffes. On this occasion, however, she was guilty of nothing more than innocent naivety, and chomped on a corn dog in full view of the press without considering the consequences.
Best to stick with a beer. In Nigel Farrage’s case almost literally so, as he clings to his pint prop as tenaciously as Tony Blair clung to his ubiquitous ‘ordinary guy’ coffee mug. Asked about it, he replied: ‘I’ll tell you something. I work an 18 hour day most days and I think I’m entitled at lunchtime to a pint.’
William Hague famously claimed to have regularly drunk 14 pints a day as a schoolboy, and he wasn’t averse to being pictured pint-pot in hand. But his most risible moment was this fashion faux pas which was intended to make him look cool, but didn’t.
Even without the banana, David Miliband achieves the extraordinary feat of making his brother look normal.
But what the hell – normal’s overrated, right? Just ask Francois Hollande. Actually don’t ask him, as he appears to be a bit sensitive about it. In fact, two French press agencies even took the unusual step of withdrawing this unflattering portrait of the French president.
Ask former US Congressman Chris Lee instead. Or better still, just admire this picture of himself that he utilised in the services of his reply to a sex ad on Craigslist.
Of course anyone can have an off-day. But for one man, it happened to be Groundhog Day.
In the end, you just have to laugh along and rise above it.
IN 1978, there was an infestation of mice in Jimmy Carter’s White House: