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Showing posts with label Nick Clegg. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nick Clegg. Show all posts

Monday, 26 March 2012

Cash for access and influence–don’t forget the LibDems–the ‘squeaky clean’ party!

This is the party most distrusted by the electorate, reduced to a pathetic rump in Holyrood by the Scottish electorate last May, and who would be obliterated by the UK electorate if the Coalition fell tomorrow.

But they see themselves as squeaky clean …

This is the party that accepted “in good faith” a £2.4m donation from a convicted fraudster, Michael Brown, which they refused to repay to the people who had been defrauded when the facts became known because “the money was already spent”. (BBC report)

But they see themselves as squeaky clean …

Here they are at their conference in September 2011, allowing access for cash - £800 a head for lunch – with influential LibDem ministers to tobacco companies and God know who else. Here they are trying to prevent Channel Four News reporter Michael Crick from gaining access for truth.

Meanwhile, Tavish Scott bleated bitterly last year about how his party, not to mention his career, was blighted by the LibDem pact with the Tories. Tavish, throughout his feeble leadership of the Scottish LibDems conspicuously failed to distance himself from the UK party because of his pro-Union and virulently anti-SNP views. He now favours remaining in the UK for Orkney and Shetland - or UDI from an independent Scotland.

We have a LibDem, Danny Alexander as a member of the notorious Coalition sofa government cabal, the Quad, and Michael Moore, a LibDem, as Scottish Colonial Governor – and in Scotland, Willie Rennie

They are all – needless to say – deeply committed to remaining within the UK, and implacably hostile to their country’s independence …



"Yesterday’s Sunday Times report regarding Peter Cruddas is a matter of substantial public concern.

One important aspect is that Mr Cruddas is reported to have discussed the issue of Scottish independence with you, in somewhat pejorative terms. I would like to know directly from you the details of this discussion.

The paper reports that Mr Cruddas personally was a major donor to the “No to AV” campaign, reportedly funding the campaign to the tune of £1.2 million.

You will also have noted that Mr Cruddas was willing to discuss accepting political donations with persons purporting to represent an overseas wealth fund, which of course is prohibited by law from making a donation to a political party in the United Kingdom.

As you know, the Scottish Government’s proposals for a referendum on independence in autumn 2014 set out clear rules about donations to the campaigning groups for the referendum. These rules are based on established electoral law, and our consultation document proposes that they would be rigorously enforced by the Electoral Commission.

Given the revelations in the Sunday Times and subsequent resignation of Mr Cruddas, I am asking you to agree that there is now even more reason to ensure that the terms governing the conduct of the referendum are determined by the Scottish Parliament, and are not dictated by Westminster – a threat that was discussed by senior Conservative Party representatives as recently as last weekend at your Scottish Party conference.

You will realise the importance we attach to holding a referendum which is beyond reproach and free of the sort of impropriety which is so clearly pointed to in the Sunday Times report."

Monday, 5 March 2012

Nick Clegg and Isabel Fraser - Sunday Politics - 4th March 2012

This is an edit from a 12m clip to 9m or so. The essence of Clegg is maintained, but since he is guilty of the 'torrent of words' approach that many politicians adopt to bury the message - combined in his case with a soporific, monotonous delivery - I have cut some of the gooey filling.

With Isabel Fraser, there is never any escape from the essence of the argument. Clegg must have fervently wished there was ...

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Liberal? Democratic?–what does their future hold?

“Here is one man … selling Liberal opinions with his left hand and Conservative opinions with his right hand … That is an extraordinary spectacle …

“If such conduct were developed in private life or by politicians in public life every man and woman in the country would say ‘That is very double-faced. You cannot believe the two.’ …  He would be regarded as coming perilously near a rogue.”

These extracts from a 1922 speech come perilously near describing the behaviour of the Liberal Democrats in 2011. They were made by Winston Churchill, MP for Dundee, in a speech to constituents at Broughty Ferry. It was directed at one D.C. Thomson, the proprietor of twelve newspapers, who had been attacking him in print. (Oor Wullie and the Broons were still a long way off in 1922).

It didn’t do Churchill much good – he lost the election to a teetotal candidate, which must have been the ultimate insult to Winston, who could bend an elbow with the best of them.

I have a shameful confession to make at this point. I was a lifetime supporter - but never a member – of the Labour Party until Iraq, and then spent four years in a political vacuum until voting SNP in 2007. I then joined the SNP. But they were the second political party I had been a member of, because I joined the newly-formed Social Democratic Party – the forerunner of the LibDems – in March 1981, as a founder member. I was into the middle of a major strike in the Newcastle Breweries in Newcastle, and I joined in a mood of frustration with Labour and with organised labour, so to speak.

My membership lasted a matter of weeks, with question marks forming after attending my first branch meeting in Durham, then dealt a terminal blow to my choice by attending a meeting at which David Owen was the speaker. The entire feel was one of expediency, and of a middle-class group with zero understanding of working people, and precious little concern for them, except as voting fodder. I never in my wildest nightmare thought that the Labour Party, especially the Scottish Labour Party, would reach the same point. I was still locked in cognitive dissonance over Labour’s proclaimed values versus the sordid reality of Labour in power as I had experienced it in Glasgow throughout my life there up till 1974.

The future is now a bleak one for ordinary LibDem voters who mistakenly placed their trust in this party. The politicians they elected have traded integrity and values for ministerial salaries, cars, and the illusion of power, and by God, what a hollow illusion it has been!

They cannot bring the Coalition down because they would face electoral oblivion in a general election. They have taken the toxic shilling, and they must play the game out to the bitter end – bitter for the people of England, and deeply damaging for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – but not for Clegg and his team. If they can hold out for another three and a half years, the directorship, the consultancies and even the Lordships beckon – they’ll be OK.

So Clegg (already rich) and Huhne, and Hughes, and Cable, et al will be alright financially. The noble Lords Steele, Ashdown and Campbell, et al have already made their escape  to the unelected, undemocratic, lucrative  bolthole of the ermine. Only poor, bemused Danny Alexander, and the last Scottish Colonial Governor, Michael Moore, might have cause to regret flying too close to the Westminster flame

Of course, a membership revolt could change things, but LibDem grassroots members are not the revolting kind. But their leaders are utterly revolting, indeed truly disgusting in their betrayal of all that LibDems held dear, if indeed they ever held anything dear …

Thank God, Scotland had a choice, made it decisively, and now has an infinitely greater choice to prepare for, and to make equally decisively.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Particles, LibDems, urine and media-speak


The mysterious Clegg boson particle, the one that scientists think may be responsible for keeping the Tories alive, was detected in Westminster today. It bears a little understood relationship to the Cable particle, which was once thought to have certain characteristic principles. This hypothesis is now believed to be in doubt. Scientist are now looking at the older Ashdown particle to see if this offers any new insights. The Kennedy particle, a pale red shadow of its former self, can be found on media chat show studio sofas all over Britain, but it is no longer believed to have any momentum or significance, and accelerating it has proved an intractable problem.


Research into deliberate urine retention, as practised by the Prime Minister, David Cameron to sustain concentration in important meetings has now shown that the practice actually increases the possibility of serious mistakes of judgement, and induces a craven submission to expediency in the face of vociferous minorities. This may go some way to explaining recent unfortunate events in Europe. Being bitten by a British Bulldog while practising urine retention will produce completely foreseeable, unpleasant and damaging consequences.


Media journalists and presenters may be professional communicators but are frequently deficient in their grasp of English.

They may be paid to choose their words imaginatively and carefully but they are locked into tired, repetitive phraseology.

They may be political reporters and commentators but they are as cliché-ridden as sports journalists.

They may have the infinite richness of  English grammar, syntax and vocabulary from which to craft their introductions but are reduced to constant tedious use of the may be – but formulation.

I may be a “grumpy old git with a blog” – a recent and accurate description of me on Twitter – but I could avoid the repetitive and usually inaccurate use of may be –but quite easily if I had to write a few paragraphs on The English Language in media-speak

Wait a bloody minute – has the verbal plague begun to affect me to?

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

LibDems - the failed, bitter, vengeful UK party that attacks the SNP

This is the failed, discredited party that attacks the most successful party in Britain - the Scottish National Party.

It has five - yes, 5 - MSPs in the Scottish Parliament. It would be obliterated if a UK general election was called now. It has lied to the electorate. It has failed to deliver in Coalition. It is now Tory in all but name.

Its former Scottish leader, Tavish Scott, is now bitter, vengeful towards the SNP, and blames his own UK party for wrecking his political career. Well, they helped, Tavish, but you did a pretty good job of wrecking it yourself ....

And the Colonial Governor of Scotland, Michael Moore, a LibDem, attacks the SNP. the decisively elected government of Scotland, and in doing so, attacks the Scottish people.

Adjectives for LibDems - ineffectual, naive, expedient - and vicious in failure ...

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Cameron say Nadine Dorries is frustrated – much laughter in the House – meanwhile, the economy goes to hell …

Nadine Dorries at her right-wing primitive best - Cameron at his sexist, superficial, Old Etonian worst.

And our elected representatives find it all hugely funny. Bosom pals Cameron and Clegg - the Two C**** - giggle and slap each other on the back.

Meanwhile, the UK goes to hell in a handcart ...

Friday, 10 June 2011

When you’re in a hole, stop digging, Michael Moore

Colonial governors have tended to fall somewhere along a spectrum from amiable and bumbling to pompous but dangerous. It would probably be unfair to try to fit Scotland’s latest colonial governor, in these last days of empire, into that spectrum, although pompous and bumbling but not yet dangerous come to mind.

Moore strains for gravitas and achieves pomposity: he attempts clarity and attains incoherence. Last night, he was metaphorically hunted around the studio by a relentless Gordon Brewer, as Moore lurched around trying vainly to dodge the blows raining down on him.

The cause of his woes was his two referendums quote -his woefully ill-conceived attempt to make a decisive entrance into the great independence debate by firing a warning shot from the ramparts of unionism across the rampaging, upstart Scottish nationalist mob running around in triumph after their electoral victory. The result of this misconceived shot was to blow the hapless Moore backwards on to his arse, to the ill-concealed contempt of his masters and the delight and derision of peasants like me.

He deserved everything he got last night from Gordon Brewer, who ideally should have been masked, stripped to the waist, wielding red-hot pincers, his eyes glittering at the prospect of pulling bits off Moore. BBC Scotland should give more attention to its mise-en-scène.

Enough, enough - I’m ashamed of myself for enjoying this medieval spectacle.

And now for something completely different and unrelated – a bit of light relief from the politics …

I was always a fan of the Addams Family, both the books and the 1960s television series, and one of my favourite characters was Lurch. Here is Lurch attempting to dance.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

LibDems and Clegg in denial at Scottish Conference

After managing to avoid the demonstrators, Clegg manages to avoid the real issues, and gets a quaich for his pains. Party claims new members, but little evidence of them in the vacant seats in the hall.

If the Coalition survives, Clegg and his Westminster gang have four more years of ministerial salaries and cars. No such hope for Tavish's ragged band, facing meltdown on May 5th. Desperate to pretend that they are different from their benighted Westminster party bosses, they belatedly take the SNP position on tuition fees, promising to fund this by penalising Scotland's pensioners and the sick, by removing free bus travel and re-instituitng prescription charges.
The Westminster party, faced with the nightmare of a general election if they withdraw from coalition, are unlikely to show any courage or spirit. Only the membership can force withdrawal from the doomed alliance.

LibDems - face the truth - bring this poisoned coalition down now, and recover your self-respect and some shreds of LibDem values and principles.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Liberal to Labour–an appeal to disaffected LibDems by Ed Miliband

Echoes of Pope Benedict inviting disaffected Anglicans to join the Roman Catholic Church. Why not go the whole hog, Ed Miliband?

My suggested script, David – no charge …

ED MILIBAND:  Democrats - forget the heady days of 1981 and the SDP! Abandon the Liberals to their fate and return to the one true faith! Try to ignore what we've been up to since you've been away - our mortal sins have been washed away by confessing to the Iraq crime (some of us, anyway) - you can easily be forgiven for tuition fees - a venial sin, except in the minds of the youth of Britain, and what do they know?

If you can’t come back right now, keep in touch with Labour doctrine until you’re ready.


Why have you not confessed to wrecking the British economy and dismantling civil rights?

What about WMDs?

What about the fallen angel  - Blair?

What about the Prince of Darkness, Mandelson?

He’s still around, isn’t he?

What about the man who wrecked the economy, Gordon Brown? Isn’t he skulking in the wings, waiting to make his second coming? Is Kirkcaldy the Labour Limbo?

ED MILIBAND: You are in error, comrade- this is an example of, at best, distorted perception, at worse, false memory syndrome. You’ve been reading old newspapers. Once you recover your faith and accept the infallible authority of the Party, these doubts, these scruples, this heresy will be swept away. Join us in our collective amnesia – 13 years is as nothing to an institution as ancient as the Labour Party.

By the way, is there something I should know about Gordon Brown’s intentions? Is John Rentoul of The Independent trying to rehabilitate him as well as Blair? (What is Limbo, by the way? Something to do with dancing under a bar?)

Monday, 10 May 2010

John Reid tries to wreck LibLab pact negotiations

I listened with increasing incredulity to John Reid, former Labour Home Secretary and Cabinet Minister as he calmly rubbished the prospect of a LibLab pact and a rainbow coalition just after Gordon Brown, the Labour Prime Minister had already fallen on two of his swords – his premiership and his leadership of the Labour Party to permit negotiations to go ahead with Nick Clegg and his team to try and stop a Cameron-led Tory Government.


David Dimbleby’s loaded question was did John Reid think there was “a danger of a coalition of the losers …”?

Since Reid is too old a hand at responding to BBC inquisitors - however exalted - to be  gulled into an ill-considered expression of views, we must assume that every word was uttered with a purpose.

Reid opened with a token remark that Gordon Brown was “wise and dignified” in saying that he would step down, but this was immediately followed with a “but I’m afraid that I think it is a very bad mistake to contemplate and to propose – and I suppose, to entice – a LibLab coalition.”

Don’t hide your feelings John – say what you mean …

I think it is bad for the country. I think it will prove pretty disastrous for both parties in it – in fact, I think it’s bad for Gordon as well.”

He went on to say that such a coalition would be inherently unstable, since Labour and the LibDems have no overall majority and would be dependent on the votes of assorted “Scot nationalists” (sic)  – and the parties in Northern Ireland.

Reid went on in similar vein, coldly ignoring the fact that his fellow Scots - especially his fellow Labour voters - had just delivered a massive Niet to the Tories and to a Cameron government, having been specifically and repeatedly enjoined to do so in the Labour campaign by virtually every member of the Labour Cabinet. Scotland has just delivered a resounding  No to a Tory government, and after Gordon Brown dual sacrifice of his political career, with a finely judged negotiating strategy and the support of fellow Scots, could just achieve that outcome.

But John Reid has his eye fixed on the “national interest”. By this he means of course the UK, not the nation of his birth, and in this definition of the national interest at least, he is squarely in the camp of his fellow Unionist and Scot, Sir Menzies Campbell. But why not? After all, both of them have had glittering careers courtesy of the high road to England and the British Establishment.

With friends like Reid, Labour doesn’t need enemies.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

LibDems ready to press the self-destruct button …

Sir Menzies Campbell - Ming the Unionist - a very parfit gentil knight, a British establishment figure, waffles on about the national interest (by national, he doesn't mean the country of his birth, Scotland - he means the UK, the political entity that knighted him) dances around Jon Sopel's questions, but the reality of the present situation is all too clear - Nick Clegg is set to do a deal with Cameron, abandoning cherished LibDem principles along the way, and putting in power a Tory government that is anathema to Scottish voters.

If such a deal is done, the LibDems are dead as a political force, especially in Scotland. The feeble Tavish Scott is unlikely to stand up for the interests of Scots - after all, he rejected a coalition with the party he had most in common with - the SNP - because of his blinkered unionism.

There's still time not to press the self-destruct button, Nick ...

Thursday, 22 April 2010

The Daily Torygraph gets desperate over Clegg

Well, it was forecast and it had to happen after the Clegg Effect – the Tories say they are not getting desperate, but their media mouthpieces are.

Today’s headline in The Daily Telegraph -

Nick Clegg, the Lib Dem donors and payments into his private account

The headline typeface is only a little smaller than the masthead, the kind of thing normally reserved for the death of the Queen or the outbreak of World War III.

In the words of the old song, Nick’s fans, old and new, are singing Say It isn’t So! and Nick has duly responded to attempt to reassure them and minimise the damage. But there may be Blue Skies, then again it could be Here Comes That Rainy Day.

Sir Alistair Graham, former chairman of the committee of standards in public life has weighed with a rather odd comment - “Given that he’s been very holier than thou about these things, it would seem he has some explaining to do to the his party and the electorate …”

That sounds a bit like guilty until proven innocent, Sir Alistair, but surely you couldn’t have meant that? By “holier than thou” do you mean that he has pointed out the appalling scale of the corruption and greed - criminal in several cases - in the Labour Party and the Tory Party, beside which the LibDems minor antics (leaving aside the big fraudster donation) have been relatively minor?

I note that one of the alleged donors is Ian Wright of Diageo – the giant drinks company, with major facilities in Scotland – who may just be an individual LibDem supporter.

Now individuals and companies don’t donate to political parties unless they expect something in return. At the most altruistic level, they want to support a party whose social policies they agree with. At the normal commercial level – if the donations came, not from the individuals as a personal contribution, but from their company – then a commercial tradeoff, one way or another, is expected – access to government, influence over relevant policy, or just general rapport with the party’s business policies.

It is clear from the newly-minted LibDem manifesto that the booze companies have failed to stop Nick Clegg and his party from supporting minimum pricing for alcohol, or rather, they have failed to do it in England, but Scotland, as Tavish Scott tried to explain last night, is a different case. Now if only there were a broadsheet or a tabloid to lay out their biggest headline typeface to examine donations to Labour and the Tories by the alcohol companies and the supermarkets, especially the Scottish dimension of any such donations.

Nick must be relieved that tonight’s debate is about foreign policy, not domestic matters. But will Brown and Cameron be able to resist such a tempting low blow?

© Copyright Peter Curran 2010