Pop Pickers Guide to This Week in Politics

23 01 2011

This time last week the Labour Party was still basking in the glow of a, not insignificant, majority at the Oldham by-election or at least congratulating themselves on avoiding another potential banana skin. All the right noises were being made, there’s a long way to go etc. but Labour under Ed Geeky Miliband’s leadership was up and running – so to speak.

Pinocchio’s ‘Conservative’ Democrats were consoling themselves, for coming second, by pointing to an increased percentage of the vote (+0.3%) which obviously shows, that contrary to popular opinion (or at least the opinion polls), their supporters are not disillusioned and deserting in droves?

Meanwhile the True Blue Tories, who finished a poor third, were going through a well-worn, it’s a typical by-election result and Oldham is Labour heartland so what do you expect? routine, while Lord Snooty was doing a good impersonation of a broken record, congratulating himself on being the first Conservative PM since Super Mac  to do a bit of door stepping during the run up to a by-election.

This, of course, demonstrates that his party were taking it seriously and there was absolutely no truth in the nasty rumour that he was acting as an undercover agent and actively urging Tory supporters to vote tactically in a bid to save his Coalition buddies from embarrassment!   

But a week is a long time in politics, or so they say…

So,  pop pickers , here’s my guide to the Top Ten political releases of the week:


10:          ‘Stand by my Man’, by Sally Bercow.

SB stoutly defends the sartorial elegance of the Commons Speaker, husband John, following assertions from his predecessor, Lady Boothroyd, that it is not good for Parliament when he refuses to uphold traditions and wear the official uniform of the post. ‘Don’t call my husband scruffy,’ retaliated SB; handbags at twenty paces!  Get off  your soap box Betty. You’ve had your day – move on!

9:            ‘Leader of the Pack’, by Ed Miliband.

The opposition leader warns unions planning to disrupt  the Royal Wedding weekend that it will only end in tears, alienating the public and marking a return to the heroic failures of the 1980s. Like it or not Ed, the ‘80s are back in vogue. But I do agree – don’t spoil the nation’s big day. After all we need as much feel good factor we can get at the moment. Hold fire till after the honeymoon!     

8:            ‘Lying Eyes’ by Lord Goldsmith.

The artist formerly known as the Attorney General claims  exPM Tony Blair contradicted his legal advice and may have misled Parliament over the legality of going to war in Iraq. Not too many people will be surprised by this revelation. The Chilcot Inquiry runs on and on and on. They must be on good expenses, dragging it out like this!

7:            ‘Revolution’ by David Cameron. 

Lord Snooty, the self-styled heir to Blair (I would drop that tag line if I was him), claims he will succeed where TB failed! This is with reference to Blair’s apparent delay in implementing the radical reforms he wanted to make in Health and Education, after coming into power in 1997, until he eventually became hamstrung by the unions.

It won’t happen to DC. Well, considering he didn’t win the election and is being propped up by self-serving puppet Cleggers and his turncoats, he’s certainly not hanging around in implementing his own master plan.  

Revolution not evolution at a time when the NHS has shorter waiting lists and higher levels of customer satisfaction (due to the actions of the previous government) than for many years, strikes me as unnecessary. If this is all about privatisation through the back door, you tamper with the nation’s sacred cow at your peril. I fear it may be a case of the proverbial, act in haste repent at leisure.

6:            ‘Wastin’ My Time’ by the House of Lords Singers.

Unelected peers taking part in an all night sleep over in the Lords entertain themselves with ‘bored’ games, helping themselves to complimentary wine and nibbles, and taking turns for a nap on camp beds before finishing off with a full English breakfast.

This was all part of the filibustering process aimed at timing out the Coalition’s bill for a planned referendum, in May, which lumps together voting reform and the redrawing of constituency boundaries.

It could only happen in this country that a group of Labour dinosaurs are able to behave in this obstructive manner! However you can’t blame them, they’re only playing the game. Like so many things the Coalition are trying to rush this bill through without allowing time for due scrutiny. But, having said that, the sooner we get an elected second chamber the better!      

5:            ‘It’s Over’ by Alan Johnson (the Singing Postman).  

AJ departs following  marriage related problems. He might not have been the greatest Shadow Chancellor of all time and he once self deprecatingly quipped that he needed to, ‘Pick up a primer – Economics for Beginners,’ but the affable, former postman, who has worked his way up the political ladder brought a lot to the party and is a face of Labour that appeals to many. Hopefully it won’t be long before we see him back on the front bench.

4:            ‘Eye to Eye’ by Ed Miliband and Ed Balls.

With barely a pause for breath, Geeky  elevates Ed Balls to Shadow Chancellor, following the departure of AJ. That Geeky had the balls to act swiftly and make this appointment says a lot for the way he is growing into the job and gaining confidence as party leader.

There is no doubt that Ed B has the economic credentials, (ok – as well as the baggage), and the political savoir faire to mount a formidable challenge to the Chancellor, ‘Ozzy’ Osborne, and the Coaltion’s stringent economic recovery plan.

If Ed Miliband can rein in his Shadow Chancellor and retain control of the party, without their relationship descending the well-worn path trodden by T&G (no – not Toni & Guy) then it could prove a winning partnership.  Are two Eds better than one?   I’m cautiously optimistic!

3:            Doing the Turkey Trot’ by David Cameron and Rebekah Brooks.

It is revealed that shortly after removing Business Secretary, Vince ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ Cable, from his responsibility of ruling on News Corporation’s bid to take full control of BSkyB,  DC was tucking into a turkey at a private dinner party hosted by the chief executive of News International, Rebekah Brooks .

VC was famously lured, by a pretty face, into announcing he was ‘declaring war’ on NC’s chairman Rupert Murdoch so he clearly had to be withdrawn from the case.  Given Murdoch’s backing for DC’s party, this wining and dining with Ms Brooks (who, incidentally, also has a pretty face) seems a tad indiscrete, despite Downing Street’s announcement that the PM has no personal involvement in whether the take over is referred to the Competition Commission.     

2:            ‘Love Letters Straight from My Heart’  (‘B’ side: The Long & Winding Road) by Tony Blair and George W  Bush.

As promised, Blair makes a return journey to the Chilcot Inquiry to answer questions about Lord Goldsmith’s assertions (see 8). There has been a lot of speculation about the content of ‘love letters’, crisscrossing  the Atlantic between TB and GWB, prior to the decision to invade Iraq, but as it’s a Public Inquiry, they can’t of course be  made public!

That ruling clearly serves nobody’s best interests because the public will obviously presume the worst! TB, at his most sincere, drew almost verbatim from a passage in his autobiography, A Journey, in a belated effort to state some sort of remorse for the deaths suffered in Iraq.

Needless to say it didn’t go down well and there were boos from the gallery. It’s not fashionable to confesss to being a one time Blairite, but I think history will eventually show him to have been a  great British PM. However he got it wrong regarding Iraq and this expression of remorse was too little too late.

1:            ‘Second Hand News’ (from his album ‘Rumours’)by Andy Coulson.

The Government’s communications director, stands down amidst growing controversy over the News of the World hacking scandal. AC, its former editor resigned from his current position yesterday. Coulson, having famously been given a second chance by DC,  stepped down from his former post following the conviction of its royal correspondent for illegal phone hacking.

He maintains he was not aware of any widespread hacking culture at the Sunday tabloid and continues to protest that he is innocent of any illegal journalistic activity. So why has hasn’t he stuck it out and weathered the storm? I’m sure all will be revealed in the fullness of time. There is no smoke without fire.

More worrying, is DC’s obvious dependence on his spin doctor. He is quoted as saying that when he decided against following one of Coulson’s recommendations he couldn’t sleep at night.

What does that tell us about the PM and how the country is being run? Obviously it’s all about selling a story – just hand the top  job over to the editor of a national newspaper!




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