White On Ming

The Guardian’s Michael White in this week’s Backbencher mailout;

Everyone is keeping a death-watch eye on Ming at the moment because he is doing persistently badly at PMQs. Did he do better? No. He asked about Dunblane, the school massacre of 10 years ago, and why hadn’t a national gun register been kept? Well, Mr Blair said handguns had been banned, just as he said later to other questioners worried about stabbing, after the London schoolboy’s murder last week, that steps had been taken.

Strange to say, Sir Ming Campbell, sticking to his script, regardless of the fact the question had already been asked, then said: three weeks ago the PM said the Home Office was fit for purpose, John Reid says it’s not. Who’s right? Which is it? Interesting here, Mr Blair is quite gentle with Ming Campbell, and went through it all quite kindly. It’s as if it suits him to keep him where he is, rather than cudgel him into the ground, as he did with Charles Kennedy and Paddy Ashdown.

White hits the bullseye, Blair is either showing his tender caring side for aged opponents or he wants to keep Ming in place and flatlining the Lib Dems for as long as possible.

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Quote of the Day

Writing in this week’s Spectator Diary, the former Chancellor and Evening Standard editor attempted to encapsulate how Boris operates…

“My children have the measure of our prime minister. A couple of years ago, my son and I went for a lovely Sunday lunch at his house in Oxfordshire — where he has a Kalashnikov mounted on the wall. Boris suggested we play a game. A tug of war, but with a difference. The rope is tied around your waist and the contest takes place across a swimming pool. If you lose you end up in the water, fully clothed.

That’s Johnson for you: fun, inventive but ruthless. I suspect his brother Jo had one ducking too many.”

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