Why the Sam Hill will Israel lead the enquiry into the flotilla deaths?

If there is one thing that has got me absolutely fuming mad about the Flotilla deaths, it is the assumption, apparently at the behest of the US, that Israel will lead the enquiry into it.

Polite words fail me. It is a disgusting disgrace. Barack Obama should be damn well ashamed of himself.

The incident happened in international waters, for goodness sake.

Surely it comes under the auspices of the United Nationas Convention on the law of the sea? Therefore the UN should commission the enquiry board.

I’m with Turkey on this one. Isn’t it strange? Israel has turned its biggest ally in the region into its biggest enemy! What utter clots the Israelis are!

UPDATE: Amnesty International have called for an international enquiry into the incident.

Did a moment of hubris lead to David Laws' downfall?

Guido floats a number of conspiracy theories about “Whodunnit?” – i.e. who pointed the Telegraph in the direction of their bootleg CD and its unredacted details on David Laws (if they didn’t just follow their own leads, of course). (I certainly don’t buy the Cable and Hughes theories, by the way).

One theory pivots around the moment when David Laws revealed the contents of the letter left for him the Treasury by Liam Byrne (“there’s no money left”). Hindsight is a wonderful thing. But that note was a private one and it was a joke. OK, it was a great political move by Laws to reveal it – it fitted the narrative etc etc. But imagine if you were on the wrong end of that revelation. The words “smug” and “smartalec” may only characterise the mild end of what emitted from your lips when you witnessed it. It is quite possible that efforts to search past records were redoubled following that moment.

A cabinet minister for just 17 days – is this a record?

Well no, actually. Patrick Wintour of the Guardian says:

It is thought the shortest cabinet career was that of George Nugent Temple Grenville, who was foreign secretary for three days in 1783 before resigning after a dispute over whether or not there should be an immediate dissolution of parliament.

In terms of ministers generally, unless someone else knows differently, the record seems to be two days, held by Derek Foster as related by Wikipedia:

..when Labour won the 1997 election, Foster was appointed to the relatively junior role of Parliamentary Secretary in the Cabinet Office, under David Clark. After giving the matter further thought, Foster stood down from the government after just two days

The way back for David Laws

From the Guardian:

David Laws could play an informal role in advising Danny Alexander – who replaced him in the Treasury after Laws’ resignation over revelations about his expenses – in the run up to the June budget, Downing Street has confirmed.

This is very good news. I hope such a role will demonstrate to David Laws how highly he is thought of and help persuade him not to leave politics. There is a very good chance that the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner will find David Laws innocent of any wrong-doing. Iain Dale explains such a scenario:

It’s amazing how many people have already tried David Laws and found him guilty. I wonder how many of them have actually read page 66 of the Green Book, which states…

“Partner means one of a couple, whether of the same sex or of the opposite sex (the other being a Member) who although not married to each other or civil partners are living together and treat each other as spouses.”

The clue is in the final five words. And that, ladies and gentlemen is why it ought to be difficult for the Standards Commissioner to do anything other than clear David Laws. Neither he nor Jamie Lundie thought of the other, or treated the other, as a spouse.

This view is given further back-up from David Laws’ own recent message to his constituents:

James never used the parliamentary entitlement to travel for partners, and he is not covered by the parliamentary pension scheme or any financial entitlement that would result from formal recognition of “partnership”. That is why I thought it would be all right for him to be treated as just a friend, when actually we were much more than that.

I think David Laws’ message to his constituents was particularly dignified. I am sure he will get enormous support from the good people of Yeovil. I am sure he will bounce back as a stronger person from all this. I very much hope he decides to stay in politics. I suspect he will.

Telegraph banged to rights by Iain Dale

Well it tickled me. Eat your heart out Benedict Brogan.

New LibDem MP in Expenses Revelation
Iain Dale 11:21 PM

The world of politics was left reeling last night after the Daily Telegram uncovered the astonishing revelation that Liberal Democrat Minister Tarquin Boothby has an overdue library book at Ashby-de-la-Zouche town library. Mr Boothby immediately issued a statement explaining that he was unable to return the book due to the inordinate time it takes to write a Focus leaflet urgent parliamentary business. He went on: “I shall of course take immediate steps to return the book and will in future reorganise my affairs to ensure that this sort of error of judgment can never happen again.”

But Westminster insiders doubted whether Mr Boothby’s ministerial career could survive this latest revelation. Only last year the Telegramm revealed Mr Boothy’s April milk bill was paid four days late. Conservative blogger Tim Dale described his situation as “tenuous” and predicted that the coalition might collapse. But Libdem blogger Stephen Pack thought it probable that Mr Booth could survive the revelations. “He’s made a minor error of judgement which is certainly no worse than Tory and Labour MPs. At least he hasn’t moved in with his boyfriend though, so things are looking up.”

Danny Alexander is 94.