LibDem MP Greg Mulholland is doing little to dampen speculation he is running for leader of his party. He’s twanking any mention of his ambitions and being coy with the press:
So it was a surprise to see him dining with Tim Farron late last night in that really good curry place on Rochester Row, SW1.
Could we be about to see a Farron/Mulholland ticket?
Guido was particularly pleased to hear of another guest at last night’s ‘Poppadom Plot’: Lembit.
Is everyone’s favourite LibDem back in the game?
Spare a thought this morning for the plight of Labour’s zero hours letter writers. Among the names of 100 “people from all walks of life”, cobbled together by the party in response to the 100 business leaders backing the Tories, were hard-done-by Manchester students John-jo Pierce and Rory Somerville. This is their sob story:
“We come from all walks of life, this is what Britain looks like. We believe that the fundamental choice at this election is: who does this country work for? Does it work only for those at the very top or does it work for working people – those trying to make ends meet, working in British businesses across the country to create wealth and support their families?”
Here are John-jo (right) and Rory (left) showing “what Britain looks like” and how they are just “trying to make ends meet”:
These were the safe for work, family friendly pictures, from the civilised start of the evening…
Farage’s pub landlord writes to his paper of choice:
As a Guardian reader for over 50 years and a Downe resident for over 20 years, including eight years as landlord of the Queen’s Head, I find your article (Big trouble in middle England, G2, 24 March) disappointing, to say the least. This was in no way a political demonstration but an ill-disciplined, attention-seeking rabble with no thought of other people’s safety or enjoyment. They booked the George & Dragon under false pretences for larger numbers and purposes than it is suitable for, thereby ruining normal customers’ afternoon enjoyment.
A large number of families use this pub and the Queen’s Head for a peaceful Sunday lunch and social gatherings. Young children with their parents (including the Farage children) were terrified by these events. Mr Farage remained calm during these so-called demonstrations and certainly had no minders, heavies or aides with him. Your correspondent omits the fact that the driver of the hired coach refused to transport the rabble back to Bromley, worried about their behaviour and no doubt his safety. Also, the article does not take into consideration the damage caused to the business and reputation of these well-run pubs. I’m not, of course, going to stop buying or reading the Guardian, but hope for a return to more balanced and objective reporting.
As Brendon O’Neil says in today’s Speccie:
“It seems that for the Guardian, a person’s right to privacy is dependent upon whether he’s a nice, right-on, Hacked Off celeb like Coogan — one of Us — or a horrid, EU-opposing, boozing-and-smoking bad guy like Farage: one of Them.”
It’s all go down under. In a wide-ranging pre-election intervention, the cast of Geordie Shore, MTV’s Newcastle-based genitourinary gorefest, have had their say on the party leaders. True blue Charlotte Crosby brings the PM some positive news, at last:
“I’d s**k off David Cameron”
One way to shut him up…
Or are they celebrating?
Labour MP Simon Danczuk is full of his usual glowing praise for his leader in a Staggers interview:
“I ask Danczuk what he thought of Miliband apologising in June 2014 for agreeing to be pictured holding a World Cup issue of the Sun. It was a picture that infuriated people in Liverpool, where the newspaper has experienced a boycott ever since it’s ill judged and controversial coverage of the Hillsborough disaster in 1989.
“Harriet Harman came out and said he [Miliband] was right to pose with the Sun newspaper and he was right to apologise for posing with the Sun newspaper,” says Danczuk. “And it’s that sort of double speak from politicians: how could he be right on both counts? That turns people off politics. So when somebody hears a politician say that, you know what they think, if you pardon the language: ‘what a f**king knob’. That’s the reality of it.”
Not only do the public hear Miliband and think ‘what a f**king knob’, they also would rather go for a beer with Dave, apparently:
“You get it on the doorstep. If we’re having a straight conversation about this, he [Miliband] has an image of being more of a toff than David Cameron. That’s how the public see it. And what they mean by that is that he’s seen as more aloof. They’d prefer to go for a pint with David Cameron than they would with Ed Miliband, that’s the reality of it.”
Guido can’t think why…
Of course, we all know who Simon would prefer to have a beer with:
Guido hears that David Axelrod came under attack at a heated meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party last night, where tempers frayed over the “disastrous direction” of Labour’s election campaign. Labour MPs sobbing into their bitter late into the night in Strangers, as reality dawned on them…
Apparently things got really gloomy when Scotland was discussed, but it was the general campaign that was the main cause for concern. “It’s said we are paying for all these experts but it’s clearly not working” sums up the general thrust of the complaints, and demands were made for more control of the party’s messaging and strategy to given to elected MPs rather than leader’s pets and expensive – yet absent -American consultants. Wishful thinking…
Fresh from wowing everyone with his CV, Ed was asked about his teenage night-time exploits in his first selfie-stick interview*:
Sky: What were you like when you were 18? What were your interests? What were you up to?
EM: I cared a lot about… er… the world. I was actually living in America for a time working in the media, just before going to university. I was actually an intern. I was also interested in British politics and global issues and what was happening in the world.
Sky: What did you do on a night out though? What were you interested in?
EM: What did I do on a night out? I did some things that most teenagers did, I drank a bit too much, you know, um, but I grew up in a household where you were told to care about the world…
Did he really drink too much, or did he just read about it on the internet?
*David Cameron refused to do a selfie-interview because, a CCHQ source says. “it is twattish”. Correct.
UPDATE: A reader writes:
If Ed Milliband was living in New York when he was 18, as he said in the interview, and drank a bit to much he was breaking the law as the minimum age at which you drink alcohol is 21, and has been since 1985. Miliband would have been there in 1987 when he was 18. He could have consumed alcohol bought by a parent. Perhaps wild teenage nights in the town with dad!
The final pint was poured at the O’Reilly’s pub in Kentish Town last night, which is being re-branded as some sort of awful hipster dive. With locals gathering to mourn, one person was conspicuous by his absence. The local Labour candidate.
Presumably a bit rough and ready for Sir Keir.
Though in Damian’s defence it was 9:38pm…
Senior LibDem Don Foster, MP for Bath for the past 23 years, clearly thinks he can do the job in his sleep. The chain-smoking chief whip has been struggling to stay awake even during Cabinet meetings. As revealed in yesterday’s Sun, Tory ministers have been unable to hide their giggles as the 67-year-old dozes off, out of sight from his leader Nick Clegg but in full view of the Prime Minister. Gambling coalition cabinet colleagues have opened a book, taking bets on how long into the Tuesday morning meeting the old dear’s eyelids will start to droop. Sounds like a dream job.
Green leader Natalie Bennett hesitated just a little too long under the forensic questioning of LBC’s Duncan Barkes this lunchtime:
DB: “Are you a drug user?”
NB: “Um, er, I… have a glass of wine most evenings…”
Natalie revealed she used to smoke dope but insisted she doesn’t “dabble” any more. Could have fooled anyone who has read her manifesto…
Another year, another tube strike on the cards. The RMT union are balloting members on Monday and could be launching industrial action as early as 17 February. This time the militants are upset that one their comrades was fired for turning up to work boozed up. All out… on the lash!
It seems as good a time as any to remind downtrodden London commuters that we don’t actually need drivers. By Guido’s arithmetic there are at least 63 fully automated subway train systems in world, including Dockland’s Light Railway which has been happily driver free since its construction.
So why isn’t the rest of tube network automated? Well, much of it kind of is; the Jubilee, Victoria and Central lines are all semi-automatic. The ‘drivers’ literally have to press two buttons at the same time once and the train drives itself. Not bad for £50,000 a year, and no wonder they think they can do it drunk.
The RMT’s stranglehold over the Underground is so great that even though Boris’ soon to be delivered 250 new trains are capable of running on auto, they will have drivers until the 2020s.
Robots don’t strike.
The FT profile a known party animal:
“One former ally recalls being served glasses with minuscule quantities of wine from a half-empty bottle at the Miliband home: “It was like receiving communion,” he says. On the few occasions Mr Miliband attends a social event, he is usually armed with briefing notes on the guests…”
It’s going to be a late sitting tonight on tedious end of term legislation – which means a bumper night for parliament’s bars:
From: Government Whips Admin Unit (HOC)
Sent: 15 December 2014 13:19
Subject: Todays Business
Given 2 UQs and the 90 minute statutory instrument as the first business, there is now a very good chance of sitting beyond midnight tonight, although unlikely later than 1am.
And given the late hour of the sitting MPs will get a free taxi home on the taxpayer after a night of solid subsidised drinking… Happy Christmas!
“Labour will tackle scandal of cancer patients denied life-saving treatment” screams the press machine this morning. “Labour will create a new annual Cancer Treatments Fund to improve access not just to the latest drugs but also to the latest forms of radiotherapy and surgery that are too often not available for thousands of people with cancer.” Worthy stuff.[…] Read the rest