Saoirse!

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Guido is off back home to Ireland today, where he’ll be doing his bit for the only party of which he is a paid up member – the Progressive Democrats. (How a cynic like Guido came to be a paid up member is complicated and involves alcohol). The Irish general election is on May 24th. The PDs are the more ideological part of the governing coalition which over the last decade has made Ireland the high-growth, low tax, successful enterprise culture that it is today. They are fighting a strong threat from a rainbow coalition of Socialists, Greens and Gerry Adams’ gangsters.

The PDs are standing firmly on their anti-IRA, tax-cutting, free markets and free enterprise platform. Didn’t Britain once have a successful political party that stood for those values?

Incidentally Tony Blair, fresh from paying tribute to Sarkozy, appeared last night in Fianna Fáil’s party political broadcast backing Bertie Ahern. Fianna Fáil is the Irish equivalent of the Conservative party – so that is the second foreign centre-right political leader he has backed against their socialist opponents in as many weeks. The PDs are allied internationally with the LibDems, but as far as Guido can discover, no-one from Cowley Street is going to help the Irish liberal party. We will cope…




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John McDonnell tells the Gallery/Lobby lunch what the priest told him to do…

‘He persuaded me to do this. He said you need to soften your image. So do Mumsnet and do this…. I’m trying to soften my image.’

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