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Showing posts from October, 2020


In among the various examples of David Cameron being a pillock in her hugely entertaining diaries , which caused a minor furore a few weeks back, the otherwise spectacularly un self-aware Sasha Swire made one hugely telling and perceptive point, described here in Rachel Cooke's excellent Guardian  interview  Following a Downing Street Christmas party in 2011, for instance, she notes that the closeness of Cameron’s circle is “unprecedented… a very particular, narrow tribe of Britain and their hangers-on”. It’s “enough to repulse the ordinary man" This sense of Government by chumocracy was one of the less edifying aspects of the already pretty ropy Cameron years. An idea of a few good pals lording it up at each other's houses and doing a spot of Governing when it suited them haunted the back of a fag packet policies of that intellectually threadbare period (in the book, Dave boasts of "winning a war" in Libya, conflating it with the great day he's just had on t

The Free School Meals Own Goal

As you're doubtless aware, HMG scored a fairly spectacular own-goal this week, with the decision not to extend free school meals (FSM) over the half-term holiday. The idea, advanced to tremendous effect by Marcus Rashford, was to ensure that no children go hungry when they're not in school. No one could argue with that, right? If we can all agree on one thing, it's that we're pretty anti-starving kids, right? And at a cost of a mere 20 million quid, which is chump change to a government which has wasted billions on Track and Trace that doesn't work, and hundreds of millions in contracts to their mates for PPE that doesn't work, it was a pretty cheap bit of good publicity. Well, as it turns out, there's a sizable element of the Tory party (and the wider populace, we'll get to them in a minute) which is pretty pro-starving kids. You may have seen the speech by Brendan Clarke-Smith, the Conservative member for Bassetlaw, in which he spoke about not wanting

My life as a semi-reformed reply guy

While not being much of a one for resolutions, as the state of my liver, waistline and career will testify, I have, of late, been trying very hard to stick to one promise that I made myself, a fair time ago. I have been trying very hard not to be a reply guy. You know the ones, the ones who can't see anything without rushing to reply, convinced that what the world needs now is not, as Dionne Warwick would have had it, love, sweet love, but a great steaming bowlful of their opinion. (and why yes, I am aware of the irony of espousing this position on a blog, the very epitome of an opinion piece, but the crucial difference is that if you're reading this then you're probably doing so through choice) I'll freely admit to being loudly opinionated, as anyone with even a passing acquaintance with this blog or my various social media will be aware. Stridently so, at times, maybe even obnoxiously so. But what I'm trying, very hard, to do, is keep those opinions off other peop