Anorak

Politicians | Anorak - Part 174

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Politicans and world leaders making news and in the news, and spouting hot air

Boris Johnson: Hedging His Bets

boris_joker.jpgBORIS Johnson’s website is back online. And he’s back in the papers. (Pic: Beau Bo D’Or)

The Indy writes that at the end of this month Johnson is “almost certain” to be unveiled as the Conservative candidate for next summer London mayoral elections.

The Indy says that Johnson will then be faced by the “gargantuan task” of overhauling Ken Livingstone. It will be hard.

Johnson will, of course, be his own worst enemy and ultimately fail, although with some style and a few laughs along the way.

And he has a problem before that sad day, at least one foreseen by the Indy. If Gordon Brown calls an election in the next few months, Johnson will be campaigning for London mayor while campaigning to retain his seat in Henley on election day.

His camp tells the paper: “It is a hypothetical question…We suggest you ask Gordon Brown to get off the fence and take a decision. Then come back to us.”

In the meanwhile, Boris can wonder if he can pass of Henley as West London and hear Ken’s camp respond: “Failure to answer this question shows he’s not taking London seriously.”

It’s going to be painful…

Posted: 26th, September 2007 | In: Politicians | Comments (2)


It Could Be EU: David Cameron Gives Two Fingers To Gordon Brown

david_cameron_policies.jpgDAVID Cameron is here to reassure the apathetic voter that when Prime Minister he will give you the EU Referendum you hanker for. (Pic: Beau Bo D’Or)

Looking at the Guardian’s news that Cameron’s compassionate Conservatives are 11 points in the polls behind Brown’s New Labour Revisited, the odds on him getting his way and Sun readers getting their vote are slim.

But Dave senses a campaign. Just like William Hague sensed one when as Tory leader he campaigned to Save The Pound. Hague lost. And we, er, kept the pound.

But Dave is unbowed. In a piece entitled “Dear Sun Readers” he says: “On Monday the Sun’s image of Gordon Brown sticking two fingers up to the British public was provocative. But it was right.”

Cameron says Brown is nothing like Churchill. Indeed not, as Norman ‘On Yer Bike’ Tebbit tells Sun readers, Brown is the “heir to Margaret Thatcher”.

“What a difference to Churchill,” says Cameron. Indeed. “When he made that salute, it inspired this country to wipe the scourge of fascism from Europe.”

Readers may well wonder if Cameron reads the Sun. Monday’s picture was of Brown offering the two-fingered salute, the eff off to one and all, particularly the French. Churchill, as far as we can recollect, offered a palm-forwards ‘V’ for Victory.

“Small wonder,” says Dave by way of conclusion to a piece that mentions online health care in America and online crime maps in small US towns, “that so many people don’t believe a word politicians ever say if they break their promises so casually.”

As Churchill once said: “History will be kind to me for I intend to write it”…

Posted: 26th, September 2007 | In: Politicians, Tabloids | Comments (4)


Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: No Homosexuals Please I’m Iranian

ahmadinejad-in-the-us.jpgDOES Mahmoud Ahmadinejad support a football team? It’s just that if he wants to appear likeable, he should get one. (Pic: Poldraw)

He could have joined Gordon Brown and said something about Jose Mourinho’s departure for Chelsea. They could have held hands, by “mutual consent”.

But Ahmadinejad failed. “The Evil has landed,” says The Daily News as Ahmadinejad arrives in New York. “Madman Iran Perez,” says the New York Post.

“People in Iran are very joyous, happy people, they’ve very free in expressing what they think,” Ahmadinejad tells the Guardian. Ahmadinejad says Iranian women are “the freest in the world”. The Guardian hears “laughter”. Perhaps there are female Iranian journalists in the press pack.

Land Of The Free

But should Ahmadinejad be anywhere but in the UN compound? “It’s a free country,” says Dana Perino, White House spokesman, of Ahmadinejad’s appearance at Columbia University. “We wish the same were true in Iran.”

But not that free. Ahmadinejad has been to the US twice before as Iran’s President. Only this time he wants to make friends. He wants to visit Ground Zero. But he isn’t allowed to.

The US is worried about what Ahmadinejad might do at the site of the twin towers? But what can he do but try to look caring and appeal to the US and the sure-to-be watching world that invading Iran would mean starting a fight with a little man who just wants to be loved. The man of peace.

Home Of The Brave

Wasn’t America once about optimism? Isn’t the hope that Ahmadinejad sees where the twin towers once stood, takes in the vibrant New York City and changes his ways? Or is fear the thing in America?

Here’s Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney showing that he can be toughest on Ahmadinejad by launching a radio ad in early primary states that repeats a call he made last week for the world body to indict the Iranian leader under the Genocide Convention.

Here’s the president of Columbia University, Lee Bollinger, introducing the President of Iran as a “petty, cruel dictator”. Says he: “When you come to a place like this, this makes you quite simply ridiculous. You are either brazenly provocative or astonishingly uneducated.”

Here’s Andrew Martin, senior at Columbia. He wasn’t to hear Ahmadinejad. He, too, wants to hear the Iranian president for himself: “I’d like to ask him about homosexuality in Iran; whether he believes what he believes about it and whether he believes it should be debated freely in his country.”

He asks his question. Says Ahmadinejad: “In Iran we don’t have homosexuality like in your country.”

And there is more laughter…

Posted: 25th, September 2007 | In: Politicians | Comments (7)


Gordon Brown’s Big Pitch: In Gord We Trust, The Papers’ View

gordo-poppins3.jpgGORDON Brown watch: Anorak’s on-the-hoof look at Gordon’s message to the masses. (Pic: Poldraw)

DAILY MIRROR front page: “SERIOUSLY GOOD GORD – Gordon Brown forged a powerful pact with the people yesterday.”

“Patriotic, passionate, packed with policy…the PM’s triumph.”

Pages 6 and 7: Brian Reade says “We’re in safe hands”.
Kevin Maguire says “Leader passes test”.

Pages 8 and 9: “GB’S GOT TALENT.” Says Gordon: “Every child has potential if they get the chance.” The potential to do what depends on policy and believing in Gordon.

“We must punish criminals and prevent crimes,” say Gordon. How to follow…

THE SUN front page: “NOT HIS FINEST HOUR.”

Brown’s no Winston Churchill. “A poignant 63-minute speech by Brown but just 12 seconds on the EU treaty” – did anyone besides the Sun notice?

Pages 4 and 5: “We fight them on the beaches. READERS WANT EU POLL.”

Pages 6 and 7: “BRITAIN’S GOT TALENT. PM vows: There’s no limit to what our people can do.” Hear that? Start campaigning for that EU Ref now!

Page 8: “If you respect and admire us all Gordon, give us the referendum you promised”

DAILY STAR page 2: “FANCY A DROP OF GORDON’S? Not now Mr Brown’s banning 24hr booze.”

THE INDEPENDENT page 3: “MR BROWN’S BIG PITCH.” A pun on Mr Brown’s big tent.

“The Prime Minister’s speech was full of stirring conviction but gave little away.”

Page 4: “Simon Carr’s sketch: “’This is who I am,’ he said more than once. Personal revelation. Tick the box. Then there were more boxes. Strength. Pride. United Kingdom. Countryside. The NHS, our island story. Tick, tick, tick, tick. Joy through work? Not this year; maybe after the election.”

Page 29: “Steve Richards writes under the headline: “With the utmost skill, Brown has distanced himself from Blair and reinvigorated Labour.”

THE TIMES front page: “Brown sets out stall for Middle England.”

Gordon Brown wants Tory voters to vote for him. He is stood before a blue backdrop. His tie is dark. So too his suit. “Populist initiatives aim for Tory country.”

Pages 6 and 7: “Initiatives, promises, policies, aspirations – and a definite feeling that we’d heard it all somewhere before.”

Page 7: Anne Treneman writes in her sketch: “It wasn’t a ‘me me me’ speech. It was a ‘me me me me me’ speech… This is who I am,’ he boomed as he embarked on an impressive slalom run of 12 sentences that all featured the vertical pronoun.”

Pages 8 and 9: “Sarah Brown speaks at a women’s reception. She says she plans to keep things “as normal as possible” for her family. He is not Tony. She is not Cherie.

DAILY TELEGRAPH front page: “Brown targets Tory heartlands.”

Page 4: “Brown takes on blue rinse to woo more Tories”.

DAILY MAIL pages 6 and 7: “Gordon steals Tories’ clothes.”
And: “He pays tribute to faith, family and, yes, Lady Thatcher”.

Quentin Letts writes his sketch under the headline: “So much hairspray, the ozone layer’s in danger.”

Page 9: “Peter Oborne says:” MORE TORY THAN DAVE WOULD EVER DARE TO BE.”

THE GUARDIAN front page: “I will not let Britain down.”

The paper keeps count of key phrases in Brown’s speech:

British/British – 80
Scotland – 2
I – 115
Tony Blair – 3
John Smeaton – 2
David Cameron – 0
Iraq – 1
Afghanistan – 1
Labour – 8
Conservative – 0

Page 9: Simon Hoggart in his sketch says that listening to Gordon Brown reminded him “of those dusty leaflets on sale in church porches in which children gaze up at Jesus, except that we were gazing up at Gordon.”

DAILY EXPRESS pages 6 and 7: “BROWN’S BORING BID TO TRICK THE VOTERS.”

The paper’s political editor notes that “in Mr Brown’s vision of history, anything that happened before he took over in Number 10 is conveniently wiped out”.

No little success then…

Posted: 25th, September 2007 | In: Politicians | Comments (5)


EU Referendum: Sun Gives Two Fingers To Gordon Brown And Faceless Bureaucrats

gordon-brown.gifNO Page 3 in the Sun today. The sombre news is that The EU Referendum is upon us, or at least it would be if Gordon Brown stuck to his promise.

Readers see a front cover of Brown sticking two fingers up to one and all. He is the antithesis of Winston Churchill.

Of course, given the level of apathy at election time, the feeling is that any referendum would be won and lost by the movements of party activists and those few librarians and Page 3 Girls who have read the EU Constitution and understood it.

The Sun says this constitution is “The greatest threat to our nation since World War 2”. For those readers who missed it the first time, Gordon Brown once again gives you a two-fingered salute, the sign English bowman once gave the French.

But Broon is a Scot and welcomes a “European Army”, “the EU Human Rights Charter”, “an EU foreign minister”, “less control over immigration and asylum”, an EU diplomatic service”, “an EU presidency” and “EU in charge of health and education”.

“Wake up Britain!” orders the Sun. It’s the call to arms. It’s the Reveillez. Alles Britishers raus!

Stop looking for the Taliban in the precinct, divert your gaze from binge drinking and drugs and see the real menace. And join the Sun’s cause.

“We don’t want a ..UNITED STATES OF EUROPE,” says the paper, not bothering with its own referendum before it speaks on behalf of the nation.

We don’t want to be the US? The United States, the richest country on Earth, the land of the free, home of the brave, where you can get burgers the size of your head and a car visible from space?

We don’t want that?

No, we do not. We want freedom. We do not want to be run by a bunch of self-serving, faceless, anodyne company men and women in suits.

We want to be run by Secretary of State for International Development, the Rt Hon Douglas Alexander MP, Leader of the House of Lords (and Lord President of the Council), the Rt Hon the Baroness Ashton of Upholland, Minister for Africa, Asia and UN

Sir Mark Malloch Brown and many, many more…

Pic: Hack

Posted: 24th, September 2007 | In: Politicians, Tabloids | Comments (2)


Alisher Usmanov: Boris Johnson On Free Speech

mr_usmanov.jpgALISHER Usmanov is chucking his weight around. See here.

The Russian oligarch has bought into Arsenal football club.

The Times notes:

“With Mr Putin due to stand down as President in March, Mr Usmanov’s involvement with Arsenal may be an insurance policy against any unexpected downturn in relations with his successor as president.”

As you know. Boris Johnson’s blog is also down. Mr Johnson hit out at the closure of his website, calling it “a serious erosion of free speech”.

“This is London, not Uzbekistan,” says he.

“It is unbelievable that a website can be wiped out on the say-so of some tycoon.

“We live in a world where internet communication is increasingly vital, and this is a serious erosion of free speech.”

Pic: Matt Buck

Join the protest. The list so far. As with Justin, please add your blog to comments if you want to be included.

And then copy and paste the list to your blog.

Curious Hamster, Pickled Politics, Harry’s Place, Tim Worstall, Dizzy, Iain Dale, Ten Percent, Blairwatch, Davide Simonetti, Earthquake Cove, Turbulent Cleric (who suggests dropping a line to the FA about Mr Usmanov), Mike Power, Jailhouse Lawyer, Suesam, Devil’s Kitchen, The Cartoonist, Falco, Casualty Monitor, Forever Expat, Arseblog, Drink-soaked Trots (and another), Pitch Invasion, Wonko’s World, Roll A Monkey, Caroline Hunt, Westminster Wisdom, Chris K, Anorak, Mediawatchwatch, Norfolk Blogger, Chris Paul, Indymedia (with a list of Craig Murray’s articles that are currently unavailable), Obsolete, Tom Watson, Cynical Chatter, Reactionary Snob, Mr Eugenides, Matthew Sinclair, The Select Society, Liberal England, Davblog, Peter Gasston Pitch Perfect, Adelaide Green Porridge Cafe, Lunartalks, Tygerland, The Crossed Pond, Our Kingdom, Big Daddy Merk, Daily Mail Watch, Graeme’s, Random Thoughts, Nosemonkey, Matt Wardman, Politics in the Zeros, Love and Garbage, The Huntsman, Conservative Party Reptile, Ellee Seymour, Sabretache, Not A Sheep, Bartholomew’s Notes on Religion, The People’s Republic Of Newport, Life, the Universe & Everything, Arsenal Transfer Rumour Mill, The Green Ribbon, Blood & Treasure, The Last Ditch, Areopagitica, Football in Finland, An Englishman’s Castle, Freeborn John, Eursoc, The Back Four, Rebellion Suck!, Ministry of Truth, ModernityBlog, Beau Bo D’Or, Scots and Independent, The Splund, Bill Cameron, Podnosh, Dodgeblogium, Moving Target, Serious Golmal, Goonerholic, The Spine, Zero Point Nine, Lenin’s Tomb, The Durruti Column, The Bristol Blogger, ArseNews, David Lindsay, Quaequam Blog!, On A Quiet Day…, Kathz’s Blog, England Expects, Theo Spark, Duncan Borrowman, Senn’s Blog, Katykins, Jewcy, Kevin Maguire, Stumbling and Mumbling, Famous for 15 megapixels, Ordovicius, Tom Morris, AOL Fanhouse, Doctor Vee, The Curmudgeonly, The Poor Mouth, 1820, Hangbitch, Crooked Timber, ArseNole, Identity Unknown, Liberty Alone, Amused Cynicism, Clairwil, The Lone Voice, Tampon Teabag, Unoriginalname38, Special/Blown It, The Remittance Man, 18 Doughty Street, Laban Tall, Martin Bright, Spy Blog The Exile, poons, Jangliss, Who Knows Where Thoughts Come From?, Imagined Community, A Pint of Unionist Lite, Poldraw, Disillusioned And Bored, Error Gorilla, Indigo Jo, Swiss Metablog, Kate Garnwen Truemors, Asn14, D-Notice, The Judge, Political Penguin, Miserable Old Fart, Jottings, fridgemagnet, Blah Blah Flowers, J. Arthur MacNumpty, Tony Hatfield, Grendel, Charlie Whitaker, Matt Buck, The Waendel Journal, Marginalized Action Dinosaur, SoccerLens, Toblog, John Brissenden East Lower, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Peter Black AM, Boing Boing, BLTP, Gunnerblog, LFB UK, Liberal Revolution, Wombles, Focus on Sodbury…, Follow The Money, Freedom and Whisky, Melting Man, PoliticalHackUK, Simon Says…, Daily EM, From The Barrel of a Gun, The Fourth Place, The Armchair News Blog, Journalist und Optimist, Bristol Indymedia, Dave Weeden, Up North John, Gizmonaut, Spin and Spinners, Marginalia, Arnique, Heather Yaxley, The Whiskey Priest, On The Beat, Paul Canning, Martin Stabe, Mat Bowles, Pigdogfucker, Rachel North, noodle , kerching (195).

Posted: 23rd, September 2007 | In: Back pages, Politicians | Comments (2)


Bloggerheads, Craig Murray, Bob Piper And Boris Johnson Downed By Alisher Usmanov

usmanov.jpgAS Tim Ireland tells me, his Bloggerheads site, and sites operated by Craig Murray, Bob Piper and Boris Johnson have been downed by Alisher Usmanov. Tim suggests the Arsenal fans might like to take the matter up in song.

Who’s Usmanov?

As the Guardian writes:

Arsenal’s newest shareholder, the Uzbek minerals billionaire Alisher Usmanov, continues to police discussion of his past and of his intentions for the Gunners after paying £75m for David Dein’s 14.58% share in the club.

Schillings, the lawyers acting for Usmanov, have been in touch with several independent Arsenal supporters’ websites and blogs warning them to remove postings referring to allegations made against him by Craig Murray, the former British ambassador to Uzbekistan.

And:

Usmanov was jailed under the old Soviet regime but says that he was a political prisoner who was then freed and granted a full pardon once Mikhail Gorbachev came to power as president. Schillings have warned the websites that repetition of Murray’s allegations were regarded as “false, indefensible and grossly defamatory”.

DavidT at Harry’s Place:

Bloggers cannot operate if they are bullied by rich plaintiffs. Defamation law in the United Kingdom is both farcical and unfair, and is in desperate need of fundamental reform. Errors on blogs can easily be remedied: particularly where they permit open commenting (a libel risk in itself) which allows postings to be criticised, facts corrected, and arguments opposed. I know what it is like to be at the receiving end of a well funded threat of defamation proceedings, and it is no fun at all. It is outrageous that the law of defamation should be used to break bloggers: like butterflies upon wheels.

Mr Eugenides writes:

And let’s be clear on this point; these blogs are down not because Usmanov has been libelled, but because he says he’s been libelled, and has a room full of paid monkeys sitting at typewriters firing off theatening letters to that effect.

I don’t give a shit about this character, or Arsenal FC (no offence to any Gooners out there); nor do I share all or even most of Tim Ireland or Craig Murray’s politics. But that’s far from the point. If you can be silenced for calling a businessman a crook, then you can be silenced for calling a politician a crook, too. Then it’s everyone’s problem.

This one will run and run. No need to watch this space; there’ll be plenty of other bloggers stepping up on this one. Oh, and Arsenal fans; if you’re not convinced yet, think what this guy is going to do to your web discussions.

Dave Warner notes:

It appears Schillings has fallen victim to something our pals at Techdirt like to call “The Streisand Effect.” Back in 2003, Barbra Streisand sued a photographer in an attempt to remove an aerial photo of her California home from the Internet, despite the fact that the photo was part of a publicly funded coastline erosion study and wasn’t even labeled as her home. As a result, photos of her house were published all over the web within days.

[…] for all their claims that Murray is libeling their client, Schillings has not actually sued Murray for libel. They have told anyone who will listen that Murray’s book, Murder at Samarkand, is defamatory against Usmanov, but it’s been out for more than a year, and they have never taken any legal action against Murray. Instead, they seem more focused on getting any mention of Murray and his allegations against Usmanov removed from the web — and as the Streisand Effect teaches us, that’s pretty much impossible.

If Murray’s goal was to make Usmanov look like a thug, then mission accomplished.

Schillings has a page on its website entitled: The internet attacker.

It states:

The Issues

Our client was the founder and CEO of a financial services company. An anonymous source created a website which accused our client of assault, various financial crimes and unethical behaviour. We suspected that the source was a disgruntled former business partner, based both in the USA and the UK, but we could not initially prove this.

The Solution

The internet is not lawless. All the laws that apply to traditional publications apply, plus new regulations have been created. In this instance we:
# applied to Court for a “Spartacus” order requiring the source to identify himself or his ISP and webhost to identify him; and
# contacted the host, ISP and various search engines advising them that even though the allegations had physically been posted in the US they were defamatory under UK law as they could be accessed here
# search engines and ISPs removed the material.

Once the source was outed and starved of the oxygen of publicity, he quickly settled to avoid a defamation claim.

Tim Worstall writes:

The internet attacker

The Issues

Our client was the founder and CEO of a Russian metals company. An Ambassador created a website which accused our client of assault, various financial crimes and unethical behaviour, including heroin trading and rape. We suspected that the source was disgruntled and while he had published such allegations in a freely available book we advised our client not to sue for defamation.

The Solution

The internet is not lawless. All the laws that apply to traditional publications apply, plus new regulations have been created. In this instance we:

# applied to Court for a “Spartacus” order requiring the source to identify himself or his ISP and webhost to identify him; and
# contacted the host, ISP and various search engines advising them that the allegations were defamatory under UK law, although no one had ever tried anything in court.
# search engines and ISPs removed the material.

Once the source was closed down we could invoice our client in the knowledge of a job well done. The reputation of Gospodin Usmanov is, due to our prompt and careful attention, still spotless.

Laudatory comments upon our actions can be seen across the internet. If your reputation is at stake from some chavvy little blogger, no doubt any of the following would be delighted to provide you with references as to the effectiveness of our services.

Posted: 20th, September 2007 | In: Back pages, Politicians | Comments (30)


Rudy Giuliani’s Smile Costs $2,300

guilianijpg.jpgRUDY Giuliani is in London. This is part of Rudy 2008. It is 2007. Rudy is a man with his eyes on the future.

As the Guardian reports, the man who would be the American President is at the Mandarin Oriental hotel.

You can meet him. Lunch in the same room as Mr Giuliani costs $1,000. If you want your picture taken with the man, the full package costs $2.300.

Your money will be viewed as a donation and in no way reflects the width of Mr Guiliani’s grin nor the quality of food on offer.

And there are many takers. The paper says there are an estimated 200,000 American living in the UK.

One of them speaks with the Guardian. Says Mimi Aye: “I’m socially liberal and fiscally conservative.”

Any doubts as to Ms Aye’s nationality are quickly dispersed as she falls into the trap of mistakenly believing British people speak the same language as Americans. She may as well be speaking Dutch, and very possibly is.

It’s eyes up from plates as Mr Giuliani mounts the rostrum. He is stood beside Winston Churchill’s granddaughter Celia Sandys. She calls him “Churchill in a baseball cap”.

This may resonate well among Americans. But it should be observed that Ms Sandys is not her grandfather, just as Jenna Bush (who was once arrested for using a fake ID) is not George Herbert Walker Bush, 41st President of the United States.

But the connection is made.

Posted: 20th, September 2007 | In: Politicians | Comments (3)


The Supermarket Years: Cherie Blair Gets Paid By The Word

cherie-blair.jpg CHERIE Blair is writing her autobiography. If she is paid by the word, the book could be one of the longest in history, rivalling Cherie Blair: The Trolley Dash Years for sheer girth. (Pic: Beau Bo D’Or)

The Times’ cartoonist picks up on the theme of money and sees Cherie typing her book out on a cash register.

Happily, a lid has been placed on the book’s budget, as the Mail reveals in “Cherie gets £1.5m for her memoirs”.

Encouragingly, the Mail says the book deal will help clear the Blair’s mortgage. Although should interest rates rise, Cherie may well have to save some content for later. It is thought that a full half percentage point rise will lead to the sequel Cherie Blair: The How I Extended Over The Garage Years.

And then there is the assertion by the Mirror and Independent that the book is worth just £1milion to Cherie, opening up the possibility of a book-on-tape version and an official DVD. Indeed, our advice would have been for Cherie to deliver her story in instalments, the first years at a discount with a free ring binder. The full story would run for as long as Cherie needs the income.

As for the story, the Mail says “revenge is a dish served piping hot”. But the Times wonder how much Cherie will reveal.

And if she will revels all should the job demand it?

Posted: 20th, September 2007 | In: Politicians | Comments (8)


Madeleine McCann: Justine McGuinness Speaks

2baby0001.jpgWHAT happens to an ex McCann family spokesperson?

If she’s Justine McGuinness she doesn’t write a book, rather she launches a political campaign.

Now billed in the Mirror as a “family friend” of the McCanns, McGuinness uses her knowledge to call for stricter controls on Europe’s borders.

McGuinness is a member of the Liberal Democrats, currently in conference in Brighton.

She tells the Mirror: “If we want to protect our youngsters we have to make sure that children cannot be moved out of Europe, as well as in.”

This will strike a chord with parents who are forced by law to equip under16s – including babies – with a passport. It cost £45. The baby must not be smiling.

But – get his – a picture of a baby might not be enough.

Says McGuinness: “I think you need border controls when people come into Europe and when people go out. We have to know when people leave our boundaries and we’ve got to know whether they are leaving with children.”

She says this “would have helped” in the case of Madeleine McCann. Only how it would have helped has yet to be established…

Posted: 19th, September 2007 | In: Madeleine McCann, Politicians | Comments (18)


Boris Johnson’s Education Action: The Words That Best Sum Up Britain’s MPs

hazel-blears.jpgTHE charity Education Action has put together a list of entries to find the country’s most-loved word. (We know – it’s ‘bollocks’.)

Efforts by the great and good include – and we have taken the liberty of translating what they mean to you, the voter:

Andrew Miller, MP for Ellesmere Port & Neston:
Axiomatic: ‘There cannot be another word with such a self-evident meaning!!’
Means: I do crosswords at the cricket.

Anne Milton, Shadow Minister for Health and MP for Guilford:
Yes: ‘Because it is associated with hope, agreement, consensus and happiness!’
Means: I am always positive. But not in a weird way; in a good way.

Bob Russell, MP for Colchester:
Smile: ‘Smile, and the whole world smiles with you; or so the saying goes. When you smile, then it encourages others to smile. So let’s have it for “smile”- the nation’s (the world’s!) favourite word!’
Means: I might be a) on anti-depressants; b) genuinely happy to see you; or c) channeling Tony Blair.

Boris Johnson, MP for Henley:
Carminative: ‘My suggestion is “carminative” which I regard as a splendid word and which means a spell – its effects being highly beneficial.’
Means: I am quirky, unepxcted and, dare it go unsaid, magic.

Caroline Spelman, MP for Meriden:
Thanks
Means: I am humble.

Denis MacShane, MP for Rotherham:
Hello: ‘A word that always starts off something new, different, good. If it is to be a nasty moment like going in front of the Head or seeing the dentist or being interrogated by John Humphries then it is “Good morning” which is formal and foretells something less cheerful than what follows Hello.’
Means: I talk to people in lifts.

Derek Wyatt, MP for Sittingborne & Sheppey:
Wow: ‘Continually surprised at how much I don’t know and how much I’m told every day about how much I don’t know.’
Means: Brilliant!

Elliot Morley, MP for Scunthorpe County:
Crepuscular: ‘It is a word that describes creatures active in the twilight of day and dusk. It’s a great word with great imagery of a favourite time of day.’
Means: The sun is past the yard arm.

George Galloway, MP for Bethnal Green and Bow:
Indefatigability
Means: I can laugh at myself; and you should join in.

Gisela Stuart, MP for Birmingham, Edgbaston:
Papagena: ‘Because it feels good to say the word out loud and whenever I say it – I hear the wonderful Music of Mozart’s Magic Flute….’
Means: I am called Gisela.

Gregory Knight, MP for East Yorkshire:
Iconoclast: ‘In politics, to get things done, you sometimes have to challenge cherished beliefs, and make people think – and realise – that the accepted way of doing things may not be right for today.’
Means: I will never be Prime Minister.

Hazel Blears, MP for Salford:
Fellowship: ‘I believe unequivocally in the word ‘fellowship’. It means to have a sense of belonging to one another in society, and for me, is shorthand for the concept that by doing things together we can achieve much more than if we were to do things alone.’
Means: I might look like a Hobbit but in a team I can be mighty. Oh yes. Mighty.

Jeff Ennis, MP for Barnsley East & Mexborough:
Growler: ‘My favourite word is GROWLER, but not in the traditional sense. A growler is a pork pie in Grimethorpe slang and I believe that is a very descriptive noun.’
Means: I am from oop north.

Jim Knight, Minister of State for Schools and MP for South Dorset:
Piquant: ‘I love cooking and food, especially if it is pungent and sharp, but as well as piquant food I love piquant wit and a piquant look.’
Means: I am not taking the piss. It really is piquant.

John Hemming, MP for Birmingham, Yardley:
Quintessence: ‘Because it can mean something is really good, (the ultimate good). It comes from the old air, fire, water, earth, four element system.
1. The pure, highly concentrated essence of a thing.
2. The purest or most typical instance: the quintessence of evil.
3. In ancient and medieval philosophy, the fifth and highest essence after the four elements of earth, air, fire, and water, thought to be the substance of the heavenly bodies and latent in all things.’
Means: Verbose.

Keith Vaz, MP for Leicester East:
Yes: ‘Because it is so positive.’
Means: See above.

Lembit Öpik, MP for Montgomeryshire
Azure: ‘Because it is a wonderfully sounding word and is an “alluring” shade of blue – which is reflected in the sound of the word.’
Means: Madame Cheeky, you do look good in that azure thong.

Madeleine Moon, MP for Bridgend:
Laughter: ‘Because without laughter the joy of life is diminished and friendships between different nations, cultures, religions and creeds are diminished.’
Means: Let’s all laugh at France.

Mark Pritchard, MP for the Wrekin:
Love
Means: Love me.

Meg Hillier, MP for Hackney South & Shoreditch:
Beamish: ‘as in Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky, “my beamish boy” which reminds me of my son.’
Means: Want to see a picture of my kids?

Menzies Campbell, Leader of the Liberal Democrats and MP for North East Fife:
Perseverance: ‘I am a great fan of the word Perseverance. As I have learnt in many different careers in my life – sport, the Bar and now politics – that we can achieve much through hard work and perseverance!’
Means: I am old.

Norman Baker, MP for Lewes:
Tangerine: ‘Lovely sound, quite musical.’
Means: Oranges are not the only fruit.

Peter Bottomley, MP for Worthing West:
Mississippi: ‘Our mother said there would always be people who knew more than us; she taught us to spell Mississippi because not many children knew how.’
Means: I saw Annie twice.

Philip Davies, MP for Shipley:
Freedom: ‘Because it encapsulates in one single word the essence of what I believe in as a politician. Freedom is the most precious thing we enjoy and I want to do everything I can to preserve our freedoms.’
Means: I once worked at Asda.

Robert Key, MP for Salisbury:
Idea: ‘Without an idea you can achieve nothing. To be incurious is to be the perfect victim – of greed, oppression, abuse and denial of freedom. The human soul transcends indifference and wickedness and ideas inspire the greatest leaders as well as the unknown soldiers for freedom.’
Means: What do you call a dear with one eye?

Pic: The Spine

Posted: 15th, September 2007 | In: Politicians | Comment


War On Terror: George Bush’s Victory Lite

george-bush-victory_lite.jpgQUOTE: “The principle guiding my decisions on troop levels in Iraq is ‘return on success.’” President Bush, speaking to the nation.

Figure of Speech: catachresis (cat-a-KREE-sis), the metaphor gone wild. From the Greek, meaning “misuse.”

Our goal in Iraq is no longer victory; the president didn’t use the word once last night. The goal now seems to be “success” (that word came up ten times). Frankly, that sounds to Figaro like second prize. But wait! Success isn’t really the prize at all. Un-surging Iraq will be a return on a successful investment. Our reward for sticking it out is a withdrawal to troop levels only slightly above last year’s.

Bush pulls off a rhetorical flip with a wildly inappropriate metaphor that turns an inevitable withdrawal into a bonus. We could use the same figure, called a catachresis, to transform the receding flood waters in New Orleans into a “return on success.” Heckuva rhetorical job, Mr. President!

Snappy Answer: “Is ‘return’ a pun?”

Figaro 

Posted: 15th, September 2007 | In: Politicians | Comment


Maggie Thatcher’s Back To The Fuchsia For Gordon Brown’s Tonic

gordon_brown_saatchi_policies.jpgNOT only is Margaret Thatcher alive but her spirit moves Gordon Brown. (Pic: Beau Bo D’Or)

No small thing that Maggie should meet Gordon Brown. The Times says this is one part of Brown’s “double whammy”, words echoing a Tory campaign.

Of course, Gordon Brown does not do spin. Brown does substance. He holidays in Dorset because he wants to. He cancels his holiday in Dorset because the Foot and Mouth outbreak is upon England and he has to sort it out.

Brown’s new advertising campaign, produced by Maggie’s old pals at Saatchi & Saatchi (“Labour Isn’t Working” – 1979) shows a sober looking Brown alongside the headline “Not flash, just Gordon”.

(By the same token, the LibDems’ Ming is about as merciless as blancmange.)

And here is Brown, a straight up kinda guy, shaking hands with Baroness Thatcher on the stops of number 10, once known as Maggie’s Den.

“Brown hijacks Maggie,” says the Express. “Brown has “twisted the knife into the Tories”. It is a “stunt”.

But Brown does not do stunts. “The Browns steal Tories’ thunder (and their ad agency, too),” says the Mail. Gordon is with Maggie and his wife, hereon known as Dennis.

This is a “propaganda coup” for Brown. It has “embarrassed the Tories”.

And Maggie seems oblivious to the games, dressed as she is in a red, or is it cerise (Mail) or fuchsia (Guardian) dress. As the Guardian’s lead picture revels, this dress matches Gordon’s tie. The pair appear to be working in harmony.

“Not since Di upstaged Charles has a lady’s lethal weapon been her wardrobe,” says the Guardian. So it is deliberate. Thatcher is a player. She plots all things, even down to her dress.

Thank goodness for Gordon, who plays it with a straight cricket bat (like his English sporting heroes).

Brown’s tie might just as easily be green or blue. It matters not to him…

Posted: 14th, September 2007 | In: Politicians | Comment


President Bush’ Syncrisis: Bring Home the Troops

bush_teller.jpgQUOTE: “When we begin to draw down troops from Iraq, it will be from a position of strength and success, not from a position of fear and failure.” President Bush, quoted in the New York Times.

Figure of Speech: syncrisis (SIN-crih-sis), the not- that- but- this figure. From the Greek, meaning “to compare.”

You might call the syncrisis the figure of black and white, which is why this bichromatic president uses it more than any other. Include a pair of balanced phrases and throw in a dash of alliteration — “strength and success” versus “fear and failure” — and you got yourself a first-class issue definer.

Snappy Answer: “This isn’t a plan for strength and success. It’s a plan for death and taxes.”

Figaro 

Posted: 11th, September 2007 | In: Politicians | Comment (1)


Boris Watch: Mind The Yawning Gap

boris-yawns.jpgBORIS Johnson is used to illustrate the Guardian’s article that yawning is contagious.

Researchers at the University of Leeds found that people most affected by “contagious yawning” are more empathetic and “have a more developed sense of social awareness”.

This should not be confused with their being suggestible and unable to think for themselves, no more human and free willed than one of Pavlov’s dogs.

Researchers noted that when a plant yawned 10 times, engineering students in the vicinity yawned, on average, 1.5 times while psychology students yawned 5.5 times.

Interestingly, the Times uses its picture of Boris in full gape to enliven the story that “Tories say supermarkets should charge for parking”.

The Conservatives presumably mean those out-of-town supermarkets surrounded by farmland and immersed in a disused cement quarry.

That for later. For now, Boris Johnson is on a Routemaster bus. Johnson says he will consider, if elected as London mayor, reintroducing the London buzzzz…

Sorry.

It’s just that it’s late in the afternoon and you wait all day for a yawning Boris and then two come along at once…

Posted: 11th, September 2007 | In: Politicians | Comments (6)


David Cameron’s Barmy Army: National Citizen Service

david_cameron.jpgIF David Cameron gets in to Number 10, every 16 year old in the land will be “expected” to devote their summer holiday to “patriotic” duties. (Pic: Beau Bo D’Or)

We talk not, of course, of the lads versus the Waiters XI on a Faliraki beach, nor of the Sixth forms annual invasion of Calais and Boulogne.

Cameron, who most likely survived CCF at his public school, stripping off his civilian uniform of a straw boater and tailed suit to wear junior-sized officer fatigues, says youngsters should partake of military training.

There is a war on. And having observed the Russian Nashi scouts training for death or glory in the words and Canadian nippers at Camp Okkuta preparing for war with live grenades (watch and learn), Britain cannot rest on her laurels.

Says Cameron: “This will make people feel proud about themselves and proud about their country”. Hurrah!

“North and south, black and white, rich and poor,” says Cameron, adopting Del Boy Trotter’s common touch, “They will be putting something back into the community”.

And that community is the one close to the Three Peaks, which Dave wants youngsters to climb.

“It will be a way of learning respect for our country and each other, just like national service was.”

The Sun salutes the initiative. “It will be lampooned by Labour as a six-week hug-in for hoodies,” says the paper. “…But hang on – not all youngsters are tearaways looking for someone to mug.”

Indeed not. Some have already found someone to mug. Other are already carrying live ammo for Queen and country. Young Camerons are on a jolly night out on Boujis.

“Mr Cameron has come up with an imaginative and optimistic idea,” readers learn.

What imagination indeed to get children into uniform. And as for optimism, adults will surely be hopeful that having climbed Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowden in 24 hours, the youth will be too patronised to pull on a hood let alone beat them to a technicolour pulp.

It will be just terrific. And so much better than the Cub Scouts, Boys Brigade, Sea Cadets and all other youth militia groups currently in vogue…

Posted: 6th, September 2007 | In: Politicians, Tabloids | Comment


Plenty Of Room Up Top On Boris Johnson’s Battle Bus

boris_johnson_haircut.gifBoris Watch – Anorak’s look at Boris Johnson, Tory candidate for London mayor. (Pic: Beau Bo D’Or)

DAILY TELEGRAPH: “Boris Why Londoners should vote for me.”

Boris Johnson uses his Telegraph column to outline his vision for the future, a vision, it should be noted, as seen through his trademark custard fringe.

“It is one of the most tragic sights of the London streets. There she is, exhausted, in high heels, weighed down at either hand with heavy shopping,” says Boris.

Boris observes “bus-driver sadism” as the woman, gasping and perspiring like Jane Eyre on the plantation, arrives at the bus door just in time to see the leering driver hiss it shut in her face.

A vote for Boris is a vote for busses waiting for you. A vote of Boris is a vote for sitting on the bus and waiting for the old crone to reach the doors. Boris will alter bus life forever.

Says Boris of the driver: “…They are simply paid to ply the route, and they are paid according to a formula that depends on the number of miles travelled during the day; and so the buses’ real incentive is to whizz around London as fast as possible with as few passengers as possible, and certainly not to linger for a straggler.”

They are not callous swine. They are just doing their jobs.

And of that bus. Boris is aboard.

Says he: “I have just driven a Routemaster bus for the first time, and everything about it is a joy: the riveted aluminium so redolent of Second World War aircraft, the indestructible floor of compressed rubber and cork; the way its flanks heave like a warhorse as it throbs into the life, the efficiency of its engine that can do 11mpg, as opposed to the 3mpg of its heavier successors.”

It’s a thing of beauty. Take her up, Blondie.

“Someone once said that ‘only a ghastly, dehumanised moron would get rid of the Routemaster’, and that someone, of course, was the man * who got rid of it.”

* Ken Livingstone (the overarching reason to vote for Boris).

DAILY MAIL: Keith Waterhouse tells us: “Here’s why I shall back Boris the Card.”

Never before has Waterhouse voted Tory. The peers of his youth believed thinking Tory a capital offence.

But in the London’s mayoral election, Waterhouse will be voting Tory. That’s assuming the other three Tory contenders for the post are turned down.

(In the Times, Boris’ three agonists are billed by Tim Hames as “Mr Neverheardofhim, Ms Neverheardofher and Mr Neverheardofhimeither”.)

Says Waterhouse: “Once or twice in recent years, when spotting a politician who shows signs of not having come from outer space, I have quoted the last paragraphs of Arnold Bennett’s The Card in which he chronicles the audacious rise and rise of Denry Machin to become the youngest mayor ever of the Five Towns.

‘And yet,’ demands one of his embittered rivals, ‘what’s he done? Has he ever done a day’s work in his life? What great cause is he identified with?’ ‘He’s identified,’ comes the reply, ‘with the great cause of cheering us all up.’”

THE TIMES: Tim Hames (see above) says Boris is Spike Milligan.

“For instance, when he was asked by an officer who found him lurking in an ‘inappropriate’ place ‘Milligan? What are you standing there for?’, he replies: ‘Everybody’s got to be standing somewhere, sir.’

“It can be on this logic alone that Boris Johnson is standing for Mayor of London.”

Boris Johnson is not Ken Livingstone.

Posted: 6th, September 2007 | In: Politicians | Comments (4)


It’s Been Emotional: Back To School For Hugs

seals.jpgIT’S back to school time. School children are dusting off iPods and polishing their trainers; teachers are dusting off the bongo drums and learning the value of hugs.

As the Telegraph says, happiness lessons are to be taught to all secondary school children, the Government is expected to announce today.

School days will be the happy days of a child’s life.

As readers learn (and do feel free to smile and even chuckle – it’s what Life Long Learning is all about): “Under the programme, following a concept known as the Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning (Seal), the children were encouraged to talk about their feelings in group assemblies or in one-to-one sessions with a teacher.”

As Mick Hume writes in the Times, “What does it matter if children cannot spell ‘emotional’, so long as they are in touch with their feelings?” Hold hands and discuss over a cup of warm milk.

A happy school force is a productive school force, goes the motto. And what they are producing in the learning factory is joy and goodwill.

Susan Hallam, who led the research for the Institute of Education, says: “Most of the effort in recent years has been on academic work. Seal gives teachers and pupils permission to think about things that are not academic.
It allows them to take time to consider how they think about themselves and others.”

Claps your hands. And honk your noses. Seal is a winner. And we are interested to see if seeking happiness from within will keep today’s children away from euphoria-inducing drugs and rave music. Look out for the school orchestra replacing the hate-filled recorder with yogic humming, lots of clapping and upper body swaying.

Posted: 5th, September 2007 | In: Broadsheets, Politicians | Comment (1)


Free Money For Readers When Tony Blair Resigns On…

blair.jpgWHEN will Tony Blair resign his post as Prime Minister?

Tony Blair will leave Downing Street “well before” the next general election, says Jack Straw.

The Sun reveals that Blair will step down as Labour leader on May 31 next year — exactly ten years and 30 days after becoming PM.

Geoff Hoon says: “Having set the outer limits of how long he is staying, that still leaves questions in the context of the elections in May. A lot of people will be asking if it makes sense to him to carry on through those elections.

Anorak’s hoodie in the Home Office tells us that Tony Blair will revels all on Wednesday May 9.

And you can win a £25 free on that day.

Anorak has partnered with Betfair to offer readers a £25 free bet. Open an account and Betfair will give you £25. Bet on Tony’s departure date and celebrate in style. Tax free!

Posted: 22nd, April 2007 | In: Politicians | Comments (2)


The Ice Man Cometh

‘ON this Budget day, when Gordon Brown will tell us how much he’s got and how he’ll be spending it, it’s useful to see where taxpayers’ money goes.

Antony Gormley

Some of the Treasury’s cash is spent on hospitals. Some is spent on schools. And some is spent on building an ice sculpture that, as the Times says, only a few polar bears will see.

As part of a project called Cape Farewell, which is intended to raise awareness of climate change, Arts Council England paid for artist Antony Gormley to make a life-sized figure from snow.

And there it is, stuck in the frozen wastes of the Arctic, just as the Turner-prize winning sculptor intended it to be.

But Gormley was not alone in his mission to make the world’s costliest snowman, and was accompanied on his trip aboard the Nooderlicht schooner by eleven other artists.

One of the group, the artist Rachael Whitbread, spent her time doing “a lot of walking”. The paper says that Whitbread was concentrating on the “sound and feel of her footsteps on the snow and ice”.

And, like her fellow artists, she’ll be featuring the work inspired by such musing next year – in the freezer section at Asda…

Compiled by Paul Sorene’

Posted: 16th, March 2005 | In: Politicians | Comment