The diplomatic equivalent of standing at the side of a pub car park shouting “just leave it maaate, it’s not worth it…”
The Sketch Team spent the morning drowning kittens to train for PMQs. Piteous sights and sounds we beheld, quite wither-wringing. On a positive note, we got through the carnage of Ed Miliband’s performance without a tear.
How the Tory dogs leapt on him. Tore at him. The noise (so chamber reporters said) has never been noisier. Cameron was on his best form for years and made a very decent joke.
“Bill someone,” Ed Balls had said last night on Newsnight, when asked to name a Labour business backer. “Bill,” Balls said. Bill who? It turned out to be Bill the chairman of Labour’s Small Business Task Force. Balls had just been having dinner with him, not an hour before the interview. Small business significance in the Labour cosmology can be determined by the fact that his name had escaped the shadow chancellor. Bill, Bill someone.
Cameron was laughing at him (and to be fair Balls was laughing back), “Bill someone! It’s not a person, it’s Labour’s policy!”
Several Labour MPs committed hari-kiri on the spot.
Research shows that with 100 days to go, the Tories are still short a whopping 97 candidates. Almost a sixth of all seats…
Even if you subtract Northern Ireland, there are still 79 candidate-less seats with just a couple of months to go.
Number crunching by Peter Botting and Anthony Gearing can be found here.
There are some surprisingly marginal seats still looking for Tory representation…
UPDATE: Hold the front page… Guido is informed it’s actually 95 seats. CCHQ’s very own top spinner Richard Holden was recently selected in Preston…
UPDATE II: 5 unwinnable Scottish seats have also selected. Panic over…
UPDATE III: CCHQ claim it is only 40 odd seats that have no candidate. They have yet to send over the numbers and they seem to be missing from their own Conservatives.com website…
No explanation to how he fell for this prankster though:
David Cameron is in full on gush mode:
“I am deeply saddened to hear of the death of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, His Majesty King Abdullah bin Abd Al Aziz Al Saud. He will be remembered for his long years of service to the Kingdom, for his commitment to peace and for strengthening understanding between faiths. My thoughts and prayers are with the Saudi Royal Family and the people of the Kingdom at this sad time. I sincerely hope that the long and deep ties between our two Kingdoms will continue and that we can continue to work together to strengthen peace and prosperity in the world.”
So anyway, here are the Saudis cutting off a woman’s head in the street last week:
Meanwhile Saudi blogger Raif Badawi faces another 950 lashes as soon as his initial 50 have healed enough.
“Leon Brittan was a dedicated and fiercely intelligent public servant. As a central figurein Margaret Thatcher’s government, he helped her transform our country for the better by giving distinguished service as Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Home Secretary and Secretary of State for Trade and Industry. He went on to play a leading role at the European Commission where he did so much to promote free trade in Europe and across the world. More recently, he made an active contribution to the House of Lords. My thoughts are with Leon’s family and friends at this sad time.”
He would have been fully briefed before giving this statement…
UPDATE: It took Clegg four hours to release his statement:
“Leon was one of the most intelligent figures in modern British public life.
When I worked for Leon in Brussels almost 20 years ago, his forensic understanding of detailed issues combined with his passionate belief in internationalism was evident to everyone.
His courage in sticking up for his pro-European views, despite huge pressure to the contrary, never wavered.
His intellectual curiosity about politics; the arts; history; and literature was encyclopedic. Even as illness affected him badly in recent years, he kept up his lifelong habit of reading a constant flow of books on a huge range of subjects.
My heart goes out to Diana Brittan and Leon’s family at this very sad time.”
The PM just popped up on Capital Xtra for a particuarly cringeworthy interview. The last three minutes are golden as “Dave” fails a test to see if he’s as cool as Obama. Guido managed to record a copy before it […]