Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Another LibDem Scandal, Another Warning Letter Ignored

Last time David Ward hit the headlines for his comments about “the Jews”, the Fink wrote this letter to Nick Clegg warning him “Mr Ward will make another offensive remark, probably worse than this one. It’s just a matter of time”.

November 29, 2013

Dear Deputy Prime Minister,

As I hope you know by now, I have great respect for you. I believe it took substantial courage and imagination to agree to the coalition deal and to see it through in the way that you have. So I write now in full confidence of your goodwill and your willingness and ability to do what is right. It’s about David Ward, your MP for Bradford East. You’ve got to do something and you need to get on with it.

At the beginning of the year, Mr Ward told Holocaust survivors like my mother that they had failed to learn the lesson of experience. They should treat people better and they don’t. He kept pressing this opinion, and talking about Jews, until you felt that you needed to withdraw the party whip. However, as a compromise, the whip was taken away from him only while the House wasn’t sitting. I was a bit disappointed by this, but I saw the problem. You didn’t want a huge party row with him about Israel and you didn’t want to lose an MP. You thought perhaps that a warning would do.

Mr Ward will make another, probably worse, remark. It’s just a matter of time. Fair enough, I suppose. Not heroic, but fair enough. The point of my letter is to urge upon you the thought that this approach, however reasonable you thought it was, hasn’t worked. Mr Ward has now given himself of the opinion that the Board of Deputies is powerful and well financed. Your party has dismissed this as a flattering observation but I think we both know better than this. It is a classic and freighted description of a Jewish lobby that reflects Mr Ward’s view that, for financial reasons, Jews have acquired great power.

By themselves it would be easy to dismiss the comments, but the comments are not made by themselves. They form part of a pattern of remarks deeply offensive to Jews. I am sure you would never conclude that Jews don’t matter because there aren’t many of us and we don’t live where you need us. Or that Mr Ward’s constituents will support him, and Jewish feelings are collateral damage in his election campaign. But perhaps you think this a niche problem that will go away. This is an error.

Mr Ward will make another offensive remark, probably worse than this one. It’s just a matter of time. He will do it closer to an election, in a more highly charged atmosphere, and you will be put in a very difficult position. He may also tie his remarks closely to his view of Israel, making action just as necessary but more awkward. Your problem will be less the comments themselves than that you will be made to look weak. You will get stuck between the media on the one side and your local party organisation on the other. It will be very uncomfortable indeed.

I am not suggesting that acting even now is easy. The Board decided not to complain and you may feel it is difficult to act unilaterally. So I am sympathetic. Yet it is far better to make a choice now, while you are in control, while the decision to escalate is yours, than to leave it until later when it is likely to be more difficult. It is a mistake to contract this out to the Board, because your problem is not this incident. It is Mr Ward’s pattern of behaviour.

If these strategic thoughts don’t convince you, let me try something a bit more direct. Mr Ward’s comments are simply not acceptable. You didn’t go into politics, surely, to stand by someone saying that Jewish money makes them powerful. Or to compare Jews to Nazis. You can’t allow yourself to be responsible for that. And you don’t have to. Because, guess what, you are the leader.

Daniel Finkelstein

Once again, Clegg received a letter warning him that a prominent member of his party was behaving inappropriately, and was likely to re-offend. Once again, Clegg ignored the warnings…

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Clegg: I Am Not Sad

Despite concerns about his recent gloominess both privately among friends and publicly on LBC this morning, Nick Clegg insists he is “much more chirpy” than others have suggested. A worried caller phoned into Call Clegg this morning:

Caller: “I felt so sorry for you yesterday in the House of Commons. I watched it.”

Clegg: “I kept a sphinx-like expressionless demeanour.”

Caller: “If you were on your own, I would vote for you.”

Nick Ferrari: “Why did you feel sorry for Mr Clegg, just out of interest?”

Caller: “Well he looks so sad, he’s tried his hardest and he’s a lovely, lovely person, but…”

Clegg: “Claire I am here! You talk as if I’m not here. Helloooo!”

Ferrari: “It’s like he’s dead! Oh I’m gonna miss him, he was a good man.”

Clegg: “Well thank you for the sympathy Claire, but I’m actually much more chirpy than you imply.”

Glad to hear it…

Monday, June 16, 2014

Family Friend: Clegg in “Really Bad Place”

Boris says that it’s Blair who “surely needs professional psychiatric help”, but others are genuinely worried about another politician. While the Deputy Prime Minister has been a bit gloomy over the last few years, family friends of the Cleggs are increasingly concerned by how low he has been since this month’s national drubbing at the polls. Those pictures of him looking drained and almost teary were authentic.

“He’s in a really bad place,” says one friend of Miriam. It has not gone unnoticed that Mrs Clegg made a rare appearance this week at Nick’s side during his fight-back speech on Monday. Normally Ms. Gonzalez makes a big deal out of the fact she is a successful career woman and the main breadwinner, steering clear from the day-to-day traditional duties of a party leader’s wife. “He’s sound. Even Nick’s greatest critics would struggle to argue he isn’t the most resilient individual”, Clegg’s spokesman assures us somewhat unconvincingly…

UPDATE: 

Monday, May 26, 2014

Where’s Cleggy?

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No sign of Britain’s biggest loser. Nick Clegg is said to be holed up in the Cabinet Office doing a ring round. Crying?

Friday, April 25, 2014

Coalition Memorial Coin

2-sides-coalition

With some LibDems calling for their party to split from the Tories sooner rather than later Labour have minted a new coin (on leaflets anyway) featuring the heads of the coalition parties. Guido suspects that some of the few remaining coalicious types would really like to mint this coin as a memento…

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Minister Has to Ask Permission to Oppose Scrapping Clegg

A leaked letter shows that Chloe Smith, the Minister for Political and Constitutional Reform has had to ask for clearance to oppose a member of her own party’s attempts to abolish the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and allocate his (limited) responsibilities to other departments. Andrew Lansley must at least be tempted to deny permission…

Monday, July 29, 2013

Rich’s Monday Morning View

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Miriam Clegg is Friends With Nigella

According to LibDemVoice, Clegg’s wife Miriam Gonzalez Durantez and Nigella are friends. They knew each other before they did this video for The Stylist in 2011. Miriam wears the trousers in Chez Clegg and Guido suspects that Nick was on the receiving end of more than fleeting spousal abuse for his less than trenchant line on Saatchi’s throttling of her friend…

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Clegg Could Be Called to Give Evidence in Handycock Case

As Sky News’ Amber Elliott points out, the LibDems’ own rules say that “during the course of the Disciplinary Procedure, the person being complained against may be suspended from membership of the Party”. This is expected to happen later today. Fresh from the Rennard scandal, Clegg cannot be seen to dither on this one, though it’s too late for that. These allegations have been circulating for years and Clegg’s office were notified about them directly, as Guido revealed in February.

So why so keen to act all of a sudden?

Well a source familiar with the High Court action against the MP suggests that “LibDem leaders, past and present, could well be called to give evidence” in the upcoming civil case. Why Clegg ignored this dossier, and why the Leader of Portsmouth Council dismissed the allegations as “political” might well be of interest to the judge. Would give a new meaning to Call Clegg…

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

WATCH: Politician Sport Fails

Guido thinks everyone needs cheering up a little. Here’s one way of comparing recent PMs…


Seen Elsewhere

Sunday Sport Style Guide | Popbitch
Tory MP’s Love of Astrology | BBC
No.10 Shouldn’t Get Excited at Growth Figures | Mark Wallace
Feminist Lobby Killing Meritocracy | Kathy Gyngell
David Ward is a C**t | Iain Dale
Britain Should Follow Kansas’s Tax Cutting | Jeremy Warner
Dave’s Chums Who Made Millions From Putin | Mail
Now Osborne Must Cut Taxes | Mail
Britain’s Recovery Outstrips the World | Times
Ruffley Could Be Suspended From Commons | Telegraph
Ruffley Loses Confidence of Constituency | Guardian


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Westbourne-Change-Opinion Guido-hot-button (1)


New Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has big ambitions in his first meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu today:

“I came to bring this conflict to an end.”



Flight Watch says:

Russia Today is a cauldron of bullsh*t. The only people that take it seriously are deluded conspiracy theorists. Other RT journos have resigned citing the same reasons.

It’s about as believable as Press TV, KCNA of North Korea or the Daily Mirror.


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