Entries in the comments…
Entries in the comments…
Theresa May’s grammar schools speech was as much about defining her premiership as anything else. If eagle-eyed photographer Steve Back hadn’t snapped those secret government papers outlining the return of grammars, today’s speech would not have been made until conference. Senior Tories watching noted one key line:
“It will mean recalibrating how we approach policy development to ensure that everything we do as government helps to give a fair chance to those who are just getting by”
This is tanks-on-Labour’s-lawn rhetoric, but the PM is deadly serious about revamping how policy is formulated across Whitehall. Over the last few weeks ministers and civil servants have grown frustrated at Downing Street’s insistence that every single policy must have a “making the country work for everyone” angle. Policies and announcements that have nothing to do with May’s theme of meritocracy are being delayed or shunned until ministers can think of a way to make a link. In some departments, announcements and updates on old projects where the money has already been spent are being held back. As with Brexit, the government is actually getting work done, they just aren’t telling the public about it…
So far the pro-grammar lobby seems to consist of Trumptards and UKIP. Come on one-nation Tories let’s hear you defend educational apartheid?
— Paul Mason (@paulmasonnews) September 9, 2016
Formerly impartial BBC economics expert turned top Corbynista Paul Mason is handling the grammar schools debate with his usual calm and reasoned approach. In the interests of accuracy Paul should have written “Trumptards”, UKIP, a majority of the British public, and Seumas Milne…
Today’s Guardian reveals Unite bunged Len McCluskey £400,000 to help him buy a central London flat in February. So where has Red Len been living it up with his members’ money? This is the luxury apartment block where Unite generously decided to help Len buy, described as “stunning“, “stylish” and “superb” by estate agents.
The plush flats in the contemporary block are all kitted out like the one in these show apartment photos. Wood flooring, an open plan fitted kitchen and floor-to-ceiling windows. Len has a “sought after” two bedder. The views aren’t bad either:
Nothing’s too good for the workers…
One of several moments during last night’s Labour leadership Question Time that Owen Smith was booed by the audience:
Dimbleby: “Unless I misunderstood you, you said you would like to see Labour going into the next election saying: our party policy is to go back into the EU.”
Dimbleby: “To ignore the Brexit vote?”
It’s like he’s trying to prove he could destroy Labour faster than Corbyn…
Colchester MP Will Quince singing Bring Him Home from Les Mis, the song that made the career of Alfie Boe. And here he is belting out Nessun Dorma at a charity gig three years ago:
We’ll find out next year if he made it through…
In July Juncker appointed hardline Britain-basher Michel Barnier as his chief Brexit negotiator, today the Conference of Presidents has named Guy Verhofstadt as his counterpart. What can we expect from Farage’s old bête noire? The week after the referendum result, Verhofstadt mused: “The rats are fleeing the sinking ship”. Though he also made some surprisingly sensible comments post-Brexit:
“Stop sleepwalking to a disaster. Either the EU will change, or it will die. The Council needs to recognise that citizens are not against Europe, but against this Europe.”
He was right about that…
Peter Jukes, the tin foil hatter behind conspiracy site Byline, has had a complaint to the press regulator about the Sunday Telegraph rejected. Jukes claimed Andrew Gilligan’s article exposing the murky truth about Byline was riddled with inaccuracies. His complaint to IPSO insisted it was wrong for the Telegraph to say he was Byline’s “manager”, wrong to say the site was funded by billionaires, wrong to say it had pushed the Westminster paedo ring conspiracy, wrong to say Jukes had been paid by Hacked Off, and wrong to say Byline worked with Hacked Off to promote the Whittingdale hooker story. Humiliatingly, IPSO rejected all of these complaints by Jukes. They ruled:
In other words, IPSO say Jukes’ complaint was itself inaccurate and misleading. Embarrassing.
Times hacks are used to their editorial conferences being a very Tory affair – true blue attendees have included Tory peer Danny Finkelstein, former Tory MP Matthew Parris and former Tory Tim Montgomerie to name but a few. It was nonetheless noted in the newsroom that having a sitting MP present crossed the line rather than blurred it. New book reviewer Michael Gove has been in the room at political conference this week. The Gover was told by the Commons Appointments committee that he must wait three months before he starts writing – that period has not yet elapsed – and he must not “draw on any privileged information available to you as a minister”. Good thing he’s not a gossip…
A co-conspirator calls Guido with shocking news:
“The Members Only gents on the Library corridor is ‘a crime scene’ and closed. Somebody has graffitied ‘Vaz loves man bum’ in a cubicle. They are cleaning it off.”
In the MPs-only posh toilets?
Jean-Claude Juncker is in hot water after issuing a potentially unlawful decree to EU commissioners ordering them not to negotiate with Britain. Juncker told them he was using a “Presidential order” to block talks, but embarrassingly the Commission was later forced to admit no such thing exists. This is the phrase that is giving Juncker a legal problem:
“I have forbidden Commissioners from holding discussions with representatives from the British Government — by Presidential order… I have told all the Directors-General that there cannot be any prior discussions with British representatives.”
He is now being taken to court for the “misleading, unlawful and harmful” ban on negotiations. The legal challenge is being crowdfunded here…
Jeremy Corbyn and members of his Shadow Cabinet are set to schmooze Big Pharma at Labour conference, despite attacking Owen Smith’s links to the pharmaceutical industry. Labour are offering representatives from the “pharmaceutical and health” industry a private reception, lunch and “roundtable discussions with politicians” for the price of £1,163. The “business forum” advert is accompanied by a photo of Corbyn addressing business representatives last year, suggesting the Labour leader will be meeting the drugs companies and would-be NHS privatisers himself. Red Tory…
Grant Tucker, Times Diarist and man about town, went to the GQ Awards (sponsored by Patron Tequila) – his Facebook update the next morning is self explanatory:
That moment when you wake up more hungover that you have ever been, notice something heavy in your pocket, check to see what it is, and then realise you’ve borrowed one of Team GB’s Olympic medals. I have some apologising to do.
Sadly how this story ended has not been revealed in The Times diary…
And so we’re back, but from where? Well Theresa May chose to spend the Summer recess hiking with her husband Philip in the Swiss Alps: an interesting choice for a holiday jaunt and a million miles away from her predecessor’s Cornish jollies. Such Alpine treks are rare amongst today’s political and intellectual elite, but were a mainstay of the nineteenth century intelligentsia, favoured by all from Shelley and Byron, to Freud, and of course Freiderich Nietzche.
It was to their snow capped peaks that the philosopher turned following a particularly hurtful separation from a once close companion to walk and ponder, returning in 1882 with the revolutionary proclamation that “God is Dead”. For her efforts pondering a rather more significant separation the PM has brought back the similarly pithy declaration that “Brexit means Brexit”. We can only hope that the similarities end there as a few years later Freiderich wound up in a loony bin with neurosyphilitic brain damage after going a bit heavy on the prostitutes. Such a fate is of course quite unlikely to befall modern politicians… Continue reading
Ken Livingstone on anti-semitism row: you can’t say “telling the truth can bring the Labour party into disrepute” https://t.co/yUH5zWnfGn
— Sky News (@SkyNews) September 7, 2016
Ken talking about Hitler is becoming a daily occurrence. He also says he would consider a return to front-line politics if Jezza wants him back…[…]