Doubless Alec Shelbrooke would rather not have had his job-shuffle in September headlined in the Telegraph as Alec Shelbrooke: Tory MP red faced after ‘Northern Island’ Twitter gaffe.
This is why, I should think, Shelbrooke – who was born in Kent, unsuccessfully stood for election in Wakefield in 2005 (Mary Creagh won – the Shadow Environment Secretary), and won Elmet and Rothwell as the first MP in a new constituency created by the Boundary Commission in 2010 by a margin of 8.1% (4,521 votes) is trying to make a name for himself in some way that doesn’t bring back “Northern Island” jibes. If only half the people who voted LibDem last time vote Labour next time, Shelbrooke will be ousted in 2015.
Which member of the Privy Council is best qualified to be Chancellor of the Exchequer? It is not, obviously, George Osborne, who famously doesn’t even have O-grade maths and who is driving the UK into double-dip recession because he has no notion about economics beyond “tax cuts for the rich=GOOD”.
Oddly enough in a Tory Cabinet, it’s actually a comprehensive-school kid from Wales.
Maria Lewis went to Brynteg Comprehensive School/Ysgol Gyfun Brynteg in Bridgend and took a BSc in Economics at the LSE. (When she married Iain Miller in 1990 she took his surname and has stood for election as Maria Miller ever since.) She isn’t a crony of Cameron from the Bullingdon Club (they don’t let girls in), she didn’t go to Oxbridge, she wasn’t privately educated, and she didn’t marry into the web of privilege: she will never be one of the Secret Seven. I imagine as a member of the Conservative Party since she was 19 she’s got used to that kind of thing.
Maria Miller has been MP for Basingstoke since 2005. As she was born in 1964 she’ll be aware that to David Cameron (born 1966), she has a useful life only to 2018, even if the Tories scrape a win in 2015: Caroline Spelman was sacked in the reshuffle for being too old at 54.
Secret Seven! The name evokes disdain or contempt among many readers who are otherwise ardent fans of Enid Blyton … for most of us the Secret Seven happens to be the least revered series in Blyton’s canon. Is this because the books were written for a younger set of readers? Could it be the smaller format? The perpetual scowl on the face of their highhanded leader, perhaps? –In Defence of the Secret Seven
Now the reshuffle’s over, the full Cabinet is thirty-two – sixteen a side, an unprecedented length for a Cabinet meeting as you can see from the table they use (screengrab off the news by Gaz Weetman):
Jeremy Hunt isn’t just an unscrupulous toerag – we knew that. He’s now Health Secretary, despite believing that:
- Homeopathy works*
That this House welcomes the positive contribution made to the health of the nation by the NHS homeopathic hospitals; notes that some six million people use complementary treatments each year; believes that complementary medicine has the potential to offer clinically-effective and cost-effective solutions to common health problems faced by NHS patients, including chronic difficult to treat conditions such as musculoskeletal and other chronic pain, eczema, depression, anxiety and insomnia, allergy, chronic fatigue and irritable bowel syndrome; expresses concern that NHS cuts are threatening the future of these hospitals; and calls on the Government actively to support these valuable national assets. (EDM 1240 in support of Homeopathic Hospitals, 2007, h/t Tom Chivers)
David Cameron has appointed Grant Shapps co-chairman of the Conservative Party in the latest Cabinet reshuffle.
The Tories have an image problem, you could say. George Osborne was booed tonight by 80,000 people at the Paralympic Games. The Conservatives are widely perceived as the party of arrogant posh boys who don’t know the price of a hot pasty or a pint of milk, headed by men who went to Eton and were members of the Bullingdon Club at Oxford, the government for millionaires by millionaires, the party of tax cuts for the rich and high unemployment, workfare, and lowered wages for everyone else, the coalition of broken promises and NHS privatisation. Indeed, they have an image problem.
The Chairman of the Conservative party is a Cabinet Minister when the Tories are in government, and runs the “party machine”: oversees Conservative Campaign Headquarters.
Grant Shapps is the Conservative MP for Welwyn Hatfield and was Minister of State for Housing & Local Government. Until Monday’s reshuffle. At about one this morning Huffington Post
has learned from senior government sources that Sayeeda Warsi has lost her job as Tory co-chairman and is replaced by Grant Shapps.
We have also been told that Sayeeda Warsi has been offered another seat at the Cabinet table. The role on offer at the time of writing is rumoured to be as a junior Foreign Office minister with a seat at the Cabinet table, a position she has not yet accepted.
Sayeeda Warsi is “not one of us“. She argued last Friday:
“If you look at the demographics, at where we need to be at the next election, we need more people in the North voting for us, more of what they call here ‘blue collar’ workers and I call the white working class. We need more people from urban areas voting for us, more people who are not white and more women.”
But if the Tory party were to believe they need to listen to a woman, who is moreover not white and who comes from a working class, immigrant background, how they have to change to appeal to voters – this would turn the whole ethos of the Tory party upside down.
No, what David Cameron and George Osborne are apt to think they need isn’t some kind of radical policy change: they need a campaign to change their image. They need a marketing man. Grant Shapps has an alternate career: he’s “Michael Green“.
On The Daily Income website, Grant Shapps looks like this:
In the last couple of days, David Cameron
threw his full support behind Mr Hunt insisting the Culture Secretary acted “wisely and fairly” and had given “a good account of himself” at the Leveson Inquiry.
Both David Cameron and Jeremy Hunt examined Hunt’s behaviour over the BSkyB bid, and Hunt decided
“I did think about my own position, but I had conducted the bid scrupulously, and I believed it was possible to demonstrate that, and I decided it wouldn’t be appropriate for me to go.”
Today, as it came out that Warsi had made a series of profitable “mistakes” when claiming MP expenses,
David Cameron has ordered an inquiry into whether Conservative Party co-chair Baroness Warsi breached the ministerial code when she was accompanied by a business partner on an official visit to Pakistan.
The Prime Minister called in Sir Alex Allan, his independent adviser on ministerial interests, to investigate after she admitted failing to disclose her business relationship with Abid Hussain.
Sayeeda Warsi has apologised, and says she understands she should have declared her share in a spice business (Ruperts Recipes) and made clear she had a business link with Hussain. There also appears to be some question about whether she claimed for rent that she wasn’t paying when she stayed in a friend’s flat in London when attending the House of Lords. All in all, an independent investigation seems appropriate.
But as both Cameron and Hunt had decided there had been no breach of the Ministerial Code in Hunt’s case, there was no need to refer Jeremy Hunt to the independent investigator Continue reading
“In brightest day, in blackest night, No evil shall escape my sight.
Let those who worship evil’s might, Beware my power… Green Lantern’s light!“
In July 1940, Alan Scott put on green tights, a red top, a purple cape with green lining, and a green glowy ring, and fought crime. (Origin story: “The Lantern… I’m still holding on to it! What a queer light! Funny, I suddenly feel dizzy… going to faint…”) He was the first Green Lantern, and some people might wonder how he wasn’t outed as gay sooner. Nearly seventy-two years later, Alan Scott finally gets to kiss his boyfriend for the first time.
We’re all supposed to be celebrating the sixty-year reign of Elizabeth II this weekend. Continue reading