End of a very long and tragic era at midnight tonight


At midnight tonight it is officially the end of Operation Banner.

…Doesn’t sound earth-shattering until you realise that “Operation Banner” is the army’s longest ever deployment – in Northern Ireland. It’s gone on for 38 years!

But now it’s over. Hallejujah!

"Headteacher ruins Harry Potter book for pupils by reading out last page"

This is fascinating. It’s a Daily Mail story – so watch it! Political correctness alert. Or indeed, in this case, political incorrectness alert.

The headteacher of St John’s Church of England primary school in Midsomer Norton, Somerset read out an excerpt from the last Harry Potter book to the children at the last assembly of term.

The Daily Mail say she read out the last page so that she gave away the ending.

Now you might think – what was she thinking about?

However, the school say that the excerpt was brief and chosen carefully by the staff to reflect the end of term situation – i.e. the theme of saying goodbye. They also insist that the passage didn’t give away the ending.

The Mail then get some rent-an-expert to say that this “beggars belief”…huff…puff…etc…etc…continued on page 97.

Zane Lowe appearance on Today!

Hip and happening Radio One DJ Zane Lowe will be appearing on Today tomorrow morning. Weird or what? (It’s the silly season – they had a piece on Country and Western music this morning.)

Any road up, I know this because this evening on his show Zane started to introduce the first remix that Bob Dylan has ever had done of any of his tracks and then said words to the effect of: “I am appearing tomorrow on Radio Four about this – on the show – is it called Today?”

Yes, Zane, dear. It is called “Today”. I know that because it has been a celebrated radio programme on the BBC for nigh on fifty years. Books have been written about it.

Anyway, he seemed quite excited to be appearing on what he called his “first high brow show”.

The remix is of “Blonde on blonde” and is by Mark Ronson. It sounds great.

Poll on key leadership attributes: Ming moves up in public perception

There are some extremely encouraging personal poll ratings for Ming Campbell in the Populus poll for the Times carried out between 27th and 29th July.

It seems that the recent few weeks have had a positive effect on the public’s perception of Ming in key areas:

All figures in percentage points compared to last month’s poll

Percentage of public thinking Ming Campbell is:

STRONG – UP 8

CHARISMATIC – UP 3

CARES ABOUT THE PROBLEMS OF ORDINARY PEOPLE – UP 12

LIKEABLE – UP 11

MORE HONEST THAN MOST POLITICIANS – UP 7

STICKS TO WHAT HE BELIEVES IN, DOESN’T GIVE IN TO PRESSURE – UP 12

42% of the public think David Cameron is “all spin and no substance”. Only 24% of people think that of Ming, and that’s down 2 points.

And yes, I know the LibDems have gone down 3 points generally, and that Ming is behind on some criteria compared to Brown and/or Cameron, but give the man a break!

"Headteacher ruins Harry Potter book for pupils by reading out last page"

This is fascinating. It’s a Daily Mail story – so watch it! Political correctness alert. Or indeed, in this case, political incorrectness alert.

The headteacher of St John’s Church of England primary school in Midsomer Norton, Somerset read out an excerpt from the last Harry Potter book to the children at the last assembly of term.

The Daily Mail say she read out the last page so that she gave away the ending.

Now you might think – what was she thinking about?

However, the school say that the excerpt was brief and chosen carefully by the staff to reflect the end of term situation – i.e. the theme of saying goodbye. They also insist that the passage didn’t give away the ending.

The Mail then get some rent-an-expert to say that this “beggars belief”…huff…puff…etc…etc…continued on page 97.

Zane Lowe appearance on Today!

Hip and happening Radio One DJ Zane Lowe will be appearing on Today tomorrow morning. Weird or what? (It’s the silly season – they had a piece on Country and Western music this morning.)

Any road up, I know this because this evening on his show Zane started to introduce the first remix that Bob Dylan has ever had done of any of his tracks and then said words to the effect of: “I am appearing tomorrow on Radio Four about this – on the show – is it called Today?”

Yes, Zane, dear. It is called “Today”. I know that because it has been a celebrated radio programme on the BBC for nigh on fifty years. Books have been written about it.

Anyway, he seemed quite excited to be appearing on what he called his “first high brow show”.

The remix is of “Blonde on blonde” and is by Mark Ronson. It sounds great.

Poll on key leadership attributes: Ming moves up in public perception

There are some extremely encouraging personal poll ratings for Ming Campbell in the Populus poll for the Times carried out between 27th and 29th July.

It seems that the recent few weeks have had a positive effect on the public’s perception of Ming in key areas:

All figures in percentage points compared to last month’s poll

Percentage of public thinking Ming Campbell is:

STRONG – UP 8

CHARISMATIC – UP 3

CARES ABOUT THE PROBLEMS OF ORDINARY PEOPLE – UP 12

LIKEABLE – UP 11

MORE HONEST THAN MOST POLITICIANS – UP 7

STICKS TO WHAT HE BELIEVES IN, DOESN’T GIVE IN TO PRESSURE – UP 12

42% of the public think David Cameron is “all spin and no substance”. Only 24% of people think that of Ming, and that’s down 2 points.

And yes, I know the LibDems have gone down 3 points generally, and that Ming is behind on some criteria compared to Brown and/or Cameron, but give the man a break!

Who made the decision to put "David Cameron’s Conservatives" on the Ealing Southall ballot paper? – The plot thickens

Radio Four’s World at One interviewed one Mrs Gabrielle Joyce, Deputy Chairman of Ealing Southall Conservative Association. She said she had no involvement with the decision to put “David Cameron’s Conservatives” on the Ealing Southall by-election ballot paper.

She also said she knew of no-one in the local association who was involved in the decision and said that this wasn’t unusual in by-elections when the Tory HQ tend to takeover.

The Tory leader of the local council and several Tory councillors also denied to the BBC that they were involved in the decision.

So it seems that when David Cameron said on Today this morning that the decision to put his name on the ballot paper was “taken locally” what he actually means is that Grant Shapps took the decision while he was sitting in Ealing.

Cameron stirs up the Tory party even more

David Cameron’s decision to “go negative” on his critics in the Tory party is relatively mad. He is stirring up the hornet’s nest which is the Conservative party, even more than it was stirred up in the first place.

Virtually the whole of BBC Radio Four’s World at One was devoted to chronicling the woes of the Mr Cameron’s party.

A spokesman for David Cameron was reported as accusing Ali Miraj of “blackmail” in allegedly asking for a peerage in return for not criticising Cameron.

Miraj, in return, accused Cameron of conducting a “smear campaign” against him, rather than addressing the concerns he raised. He accused Cameron of a “lack of integrity” and “complete lack of judgment”.

Francis Elliot in The Times comments that Ali Miraj is not a mirage:

The attempt to cast him as a nobody overlooks the fact that the City businessman sits on not one but two of the six policy groups that were set up by David Cameron to advise him on the next manifesto.