West Berkshire LibDem candidates break the mould

We are used to seeing a good number of Conservative candidates described as a “local businessman”. Addresses such as Newbury’s exclusive Garden Close Lane, usually adorn the names of Tory candidates.

Well, this time, the list of West Berkshire Liberal Democrat candidates boosts a good number of “business people” and two people whose address is “Garden Close Lane”. Goodness me, there is even a double-barrelled name in the LibDem ranks. Whatever next?

US Army's spin "horrific" and "not true"

When the US Democrats took control of congress, I looked forward to a few interesting congressional hearings about the war on Iraq. I didn’t want flippant entertainment, I passionately believe that Bush and Blair should be tried for war crimes in The Hague. Congressional hearings are a good start in this direction.

My expectations have been exceeded from the start. The Democrats have brilliantly decided to begin with US Army “spin stories”. Two of the main ones were:

1. Pat Tillman, American football star, died heroically fighting the enemy.

2. Jessica Lynch “had been wounded by Iraqi gunfire but kept fighting until her ammunition ran out.”

It turned out, of course, that Tillman was killed by friendly fire and Lynch’s gun had jammed without her firing a shot.

The chickens have come home to roost. Pat Tillman’s brother has testified that the US Army’s spinning was “horrific”. Jessica Lynch has called the army’s story about her “not true”.

US Army’s spin "horrific" and "not true"

When the US Democrats took control of congress, I looked forward to a few interesting congressional hearings about the war on Iraq. I didn’t want flippant entertainment, I passionately believe that Bush and Blair should be tried for war crimes in The Hague. Congressional hearings are a good start in this direction.

My expectations have been exceeded from the start. The Democrats have brilliantly decided to begin with US Army “spin stories”. Two of the main ones were:

1. Pat Tillman, American football star, died heroically fighting the enemy.

2. Jessica Lynch “had been wounded by Iraqi gunfire but kept fighting until her ammunition ran out.”

It turned out, of course, that Tillman was killed by friendly fire and Lynch’s gun had jammed without her firing a shot.

The chickens have come home to roost. Pat Tillman’s brother has testified that the US Army’s spinning was “horrific”. Jessica Lynch has called the army’s story about her “not true”.

US Army's spin "horrific" and "not true"

When the US Democrats took control of congress, I looked forward to a few interesting congressional hearings about the war on Iraq. I didn’t want flippant entertainment, I passionately believe that Bush and Blair should be tried for war crimes in The Hague. Congressional hearings are a good start in this direction.

My expectations have been exceeded from the start. The Democrats have brilliantly decided to begin with US Army “spin stories”. Two of the main ones were:

1. Pat Tillman, American football star, died heroically fighting the enemy.

2. Jessica Lynch “had been wounded by Iraqi gunfire but kept fighting until her ammunition ran out.”

It turned out, of course, that Tillman was killed by friendly fire and Lynch’s gun had jammed without her firing a shot.

The chickens have come home to roost. Pat Tillman’s brother has testified that the US Army’s spinning was “horrific”. Jessica Lynch has called the army’s story about her “not true”.

Cameron's bullshit on "new politics"

David Cameron was in the Guardian yesterday banging on about embracing new politics by proposing that the Tories and LibDems stand Greg Dyke as a joint candidate for London Mayor. (You can read it here complete with a stackload of comments).

This typifies the shallowness of Cameron.

Firstly, it is only after exhausting a long list of hoped-for big names such as John Bird and Mike Read (yes, a really big name for us Seventies pop aficionados, trust me) that he has now given up and tried this wheeze. There was even a rumour at one point that the Tories might actually hold an internal election to find a candidate from amongst their members but this was put on ice.

Secondly, is Greg Dyke really a Martin Bell figure? We stood down, as did Labour, in favour of Martin Bell when he won against Neil Hamilton. But Martin Bell had a lot more credibility as a serious candidate and it was just a parliamentary seat, not one of the most powerful directly elected posts in the world. While Greg Dyke is quite a substantial figure in media management, why on earth is Cameron now saying that he is a sort of knight in shining armour, for whom the LibDems should have immediately stood down in order to show that we embrace “new politics”? Why in short, should we say to our members what Cameron is saying to his members in London: “Sorry, none of you are good enough to be our candidate, we are going to choose Roland Rat’s Dad instead”?

Why this fascination with celebrities or big names from fields other than politics? Ken Livingstone’s success is surely built on the fact that he has been plodding away at London local government for donkey’s years, not plucked from the ranks of some other field all of sudden to be a “flavour of the month”.

In the case of Dyke, Cameron seems to have fallen for him in the space of a meeting:

He told me how he’d run London well and stop Ken Livingstone’s endless council-tax rises.

Oh well, that’s all right then. Job Done. Forget about people who have actually got some first hand knowledge of how the capital is run. A man who is used to making telly programmes is bound to be able to do it better than them. And he talks in a sort of Cockneyish accent so he must be a natch for London Mayor. He’ll look good in a Pearly King suit. End of Mayor search. Look no further. Sod the Conservative and LibDem members who actually work in local government politics – why consult them? This is “new politics”, after all. The party leaders choose the candidate.

It doesn’t make any sense at all and is typical of the shallow rubbish which Cameron spouts.

Cameron’s bullshit on "new politics"

David Cameron was in the Guardian yesterday banging on about embracing new politics by proposing that the Tories and LibDems stand Greg Dyke as a joint candidate for London Mayor. (You can read it here complete with a stackload of comments).

This typifies the shallowness of Cameron.

Firstly, it is only after exhausting a long list of hoped-for big names such as John Bird and Mike Read (yes, a really big name for us Seventies pop aficionados, trust me) that he has now given up and tried this wheeze. There was even a rumour at one point that the Tories might actually hold an internal election to find a candidate from amongst their members but this was put on ice.

Secondly, is Greg Dyke really a Martin Bell figure? We stood down, as did Labour, in favour of Martin Bell when he won against Neil Hamilton. But Martin Bell had a lot more credibility as a serious candidate and it was just a parliamentary seat, not one of the most powerful directly elected posts in the world. While Greg Dyke is quite a substantial figure in media management, why on earth is Cameron now saying that he is a sort of knight in shining armour, for whom the LibDems should have immediately stood down in order to show that we embrace “new politics”? Why in short, should we say to our members what Cameron is saying to his members in London: “Sorry, none of you are good enough to be our candidate, we are going to choose Roland Rat’s Dad instead”?

Why this fascination with celebrities or big names from fields other than politics? Ken Livingstone’s success is surely built on the fact that he has been plodding away at London local government for donkey’s years, not plucked from the ranks of some other field all of sudden to be a “flavour of the month”.

In the case of Dyke, Cameron seems to have fallen for him in the space of a meeting:

He told me how he’d run London well and stop Ken Livingstone’s endless council-tax rises.

Oh well, that’s all right then. Job Done. Forget about people who have actually got some first hand knowledge of how the capital is run. A man who is used to making telly programmes is bound to be able to do it better than them. And he talks in a sort of Cockneyish accent so he must be a natch for London Mayor. He’ll look good in a Pearly King suit. End of Mayor search. Look no further. Sod the Conservative and LibDem members who actually work in local government politics – why consult them? This is “new politics”, after all. The party leaders choose the candidate.

It doesn’t make any sense at all and is typical of the shallow rubbish which Cameron spouts.

Diane Abbott gives kiss of death to "Play it again"

The last episode of “Play it again” has been dropped from BBC1 next Sunday following disastrous ratings for last Sunday’s episode featuring Diane Abbott learning to play the piano.

While this Abbott/piano episode was, I am told, a very worthy programme, it wasn’t a prime time contender. There are many worthy programmes broadcast by the BBC but that doesn’t mean they have to go out at prime time.

Only 2.2 million people, or 9% of the audience, watched Diane Abbott’s pianoforte efforts.

In contrast, I was among the 7.9 million who watched The Royal on ITV.

I got all this information from Media Guardian, which requires registration to read the stories.