It’s time to end this farce. Conservative MPs need to start writing more “Dear Sir Graham” letters

Philip Hammond, under any normal circumstances, would have been fired for going off-piste in Davos. But he knew he wasn’t going to be fired which explains why he said in his speech that there would only be “very modest” changes to relations between the EU and the UK after Brexit.

Boris Johnson’s public intervention on the NHS earlier this week should have got him into hot water, but it didn’t. We understand that some of his cabinet colleagues rebuked him as they were sitting around the cabinet table, but that was it. He was only saying what the rest of us were thinking – additional NHS funding plays well in marginal constituencies. It’s good politics and a few more billions of pounds should have a positive effect on outcomes, even in our dysfunctional healthcare system, desperately in need of reform, but which is never going to be reformed whilst May is in Number 10. It isn’t rocket science, but I am sure that there are many ministers sitting around the cabinet table who think it is.

Two of the most senior Government ministers have openly criticised Government policy because they can, although in all fairness to Boris, publicly calling for more NHS spending is different to attempting to change Government policy in a speech to the World Economic Forum. Continue reading “It’s time to end this farce. Conservative MPs need to start writing more “Dear Sir Graham” letters”

Time to go, Mrs. Saunders. We need someone competent at the top of the CPS

Yet another rape trial has collapsed. Once again, evidence was withheld. Yet despite this worrying situation, Alison Saunders, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), thinks the system is working fine. She doesn’t believe than innocent people are behind bars. She has even stated that because these trials are collapsing, it proves the system is working!

I almost wish – no I do wish – that she is charged with a serious crime that she did not commit. I hope that evidence is withheld – crucial evidence that would prove her innocence. Then, after all the stress and heartache she has endured, I hope that new evidence will come to light and will prove her innocence. I wonder how she would feel after a couple of years of hell? Would she still be saying that the system is hunky-dory because, in the end, she wasn’t sent to prison? Continue reading “Time to go, Mrs. Saunders. We need someone competent at the top of the CPS”

Attempted economic protectionism by Hull City Council will fail

When we think of economic protectionism we usually think of tariffs (taxes) imposed on imported goods to make them more expensive, or of businesses aggressively lobbying Government or the EU to construct barriers that will make it more difficult for others to enter the market place.

But protectionism does take other forms. Hull City Council is trying to protect the city centre from market forces by blocking the expansion of Kingswood Retail Park. Unsurprisingly, the owner of Princes Quay Shopping Centre and members of the city centre Business Improvement District (BID) agree. Jobs will be lost, they say, if Kingswood is allowed to expand. Robert Mellor, an independent planning inspector, agreed with them, but his is a pyrrhic victory.

Councils could, to a certain degree, get away with this type of policy in the past, but that was before the advent of online shopping. Continue reading “Attempted economic protectionism by Hull City Council will fail”

Labour MPs stick two fingers up to their Leave voting constituents

When MPs vote against a Bill at third reading in the House of Commons, they are attempting to press the nuclear button. A vote at third reading is the final vote. A vote against it is a vote to destroy the Bill. Oppositions, of course, regularly vote to destroy Bills that they dislike at third reading, however, when it comes to the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill which cleared its Commons stages yesterday, many of the Labour MPs who voted against were doing so in full opposition to the majority of their constituents wishes.

I am not saying that this Bill is perfect – I don’t think that any Bill that seeks to transfer powers back from the EU in such a short timescale ever could be. Many MPs are concerned that too much power will be transferred to the Government, however, those same MPs didn’t bat an eyelid when numerous powers were being transferred from the UK to Brussels. It is the worst type of hypocrisy. 

But this Bill is essential. If the opposition had won the day, we would have been in a complete mess. Even poorer, rushed legislation would have had to be enacted, or (which I am sure those MPs voting against really want) Brexit would have been delayed or even reversed if the delays went on long enough. Continue reading “Labour MPs stick two fingers up to their Leave voting constituents”

An omnishambles of a cabinet reshuffle once again paints May as weak and wobbly

If the Prime Minister had had a clear plan and had executed it properly, yesterday’s reshuffle would not have been the media disaster that it is this morning. It terms of personnel changes, her options were always going to be limited. In November and December, she lost three cabinet in ministers in quick succession, and yesterday a further three (Sir Patrick McLoughlin, James Brokenshire, and Justine Greening) left the Government. Sir Patrick was expected; James Brokenshire was a sad departure and I send my good wishes to him for a speedy recovery; and Justine Greening simply isn’t up to the job of a cabinet minister. I am sure that she is a nice person (I have never met her), but I have never regarded her as competent, nor is she a good media performer.

Removing the Chancellor was always going to be tricky. If she had fired him, he would have created more trouble for her on the backbenches. If she had tried to keep him in the cabinet, she would have had to offer him another senior position or he would have resigned. That would have meant moving Boris or Amber Rudd. But where to? And if Boris had left the Government, he would have been a thorn in May’s side.

It was all too complicated, and for a Prime Minister who already lacks authority, it was never going to happen. Continue reading “An omnishambles of a cabinet reshuffle once again paints May as weak and wobbly”