Posts Tagged ‘Paddy Ashdown’

The Uncuts: 2018 political awards (part IV)

01/01/2019, 07:34:04 PM

Dunce of the Year: Karen Bradley

Easy one this, you might imagine. Throw a stick in Westminster and you’ll hit a suitable candidate. Ah, but there’s a subtlety here. There’s lots of incompetence around the place (and if that’s your thing then Chris Grayling is usually your man) but what about genuine idiocy? Proper full-fat political ignorance?

Step forward the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Karen Bradley.

Back in September, she told The House magazine that when she was appointed she “didn’t understand” that in Northern Ireland “people who are nationalists don’t vote for unionist parties and vice-versa.”

She added: “That is so incredibly different and it’s when you realise that, and you see that, that you can then start to understand some of the things that the politicians say and some of the rhetoric.”

In a tense year, she managed that rare feat of uniting the whole of Northern Ireland in a genuine ‘WTF’ moment. It begs the obvious question: What else doesn’t she know?

A close runner-up was Gavin Williamson, incongruously the Secretary of State for Defence.

Back in March, Field Marshall Chickenhawk told Russia to “go away and shut up” following the Salisbury Novichok attack. Asked if Britain and Russia were entering a new Cold War, he replied: “Relations ain’t good are they?”

The former fireplace salesman probably thinks a ‘firefight’ is when two customers lay claim on the same cut-price Aga in the January sale. Like Bradley, Williamson is a factotum of Theresa May, who likes her ministers thick and loyal.

Also taken into consideration, was the memorable contribution from Leader of the House, Andrea Ledsom, who, while referring to the new tenner, described Jane Austen as “one of our greatest living authors.” This generated some epic trolling from an unexpected quarter, with Waterstones tweeting: “We are currently moving all our Jane Austen stock from Classics into Greatest Living Authors.”

Decency that will be missed: Paddy Ashdown

What if Tony Blair had won in 1997 with a much smaller majority – or no majority at all? Would we have seen the Liberal Democrats under Paddy Ashdown in coalition with Labour?


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Sunday News Review

17/04/2011, 06:49:31 AM

Are Vince’s Coalition days numbered?

The Liberal Democrat Cabinet Minister is joining forces with Mr Miliband in a bid to win the May 5 referendum on changing Britain’s voting system. They will line up together at a Press conference in London, where they will issue a joint plea to scrap the first-past-the-post voting system to ‘make politics fairer’. The double act comes days after Business Secretary Mr Cable accused Mr Cameron of ‘inflammatory’ remarks over immigration, prompting calls for disciplinary action by some Tory MPs. And it is bound to lead to further claims that Mr Cable, who once worked for former Labour leader John Smith, has more in common with Labour than his Conservative colleagues in the Coalition. – Daily Mail

Business Secretary, Vince Cable, was “very unwise” and risked “inflaming” extremism. To listen to his detractors, you would think that Cameron was the Mr Benn of Westminster: on Monday, he was dressed up as Malcolm X; by Thursday, he had changed into the robes and pillow case of the Ku Klux Klan (Bullingdon branch). One hears him compared with Clare Short, a diminished figure who is better inside the tent than outside it, a novice at government who should be denied the martyrdom that part of him so obviously craves. All this, I think, reflects a cavalier approach to Cabinet collective responsibility and a failure to recognise its absolute necessity – especially in a Coalition government. – the Telegraph

Paddy hits out at the no campaign?

There is not a politician in the country who won’t tell you they want to improve politics. But as the conduct of the current referendum on adopting the alternative vote shows, judge them by their actions, not their words. I will be voting yes because I believe that changing to AV will substantially improve our democracy. I disagree with those advocating sticking to the current first-past-the-post system, but respect their right to their point of view. What I am perplexed and deeply disturbed by is that those running the no campaign haven’t once put forward a positive case for the current system and instead have spent their time lying about AV. I have seen principle-free machine politics in action many times and it is never a pretty sight. But this time really is different. – the Observer

Former Liberal Democrat leader Lord Ashdown has accused George Osborne of trying to “frighten” voters off changing the voting system. He said the chancellor and Conservative colleagues had resorted to “bizarre” and “tawdry” tactics. Voters will go to the polls in just under three weeks in a referendum on the Alternative Vote (AV) system. It comes as a survey suggests a significant hardening of public opinion against the switch. Mr Osborne sparked anger last week when he said it “stinks” that the main backer of the pro-AV camp was the Electoral Reform Society – whose commercial arm Electoral Reform Services Ltd (ERSL) runs election services. He claimed that it stood to benefit financially from a switch, something ERSL has denied. – BBC News

A very Royal conundrum

The Deputy Prime Minister said yesterday that the rules of royal succession could appear “a little old-fashioned” to most people and a change to the current arrangements was worth considering. But Nick Clegg stressed it would be a complex process that needed careful thought, with other Commonwealth countries on board, and that it could not be done overnight. He said the Prime Minister and himself were “sympathetic” to change and that it was worth looking again at the rules which dictate that the first-born son and not a daughter inherits the throne. The current arrangement means that if William and Kate were to have a daughter, followed by a son, the son would be in line to become king. – the Scotsman

Britain’s Government says it has begun the process of reviewing the ancient, discriminatory rules of royal succession, so that if Prince William and Kate Middleton’s first child was a baby girl she would eventually become queen. The current rule that puts boys ahead of their sisters “would strike most people as a little old-fashioned,” Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said overnight. It is just two weeks until the prince and Middleton get married at London’s Westminster Abbey, and Mr Clegg said many people may agree that the rules should be changed so that if the couple’s first child was a girl, she would eventually inherit the throne – even if she had a younger brother. “I think most people in this day and age would think it’s worth considering whether we change the rules so that baby girl could become the future monarch,” he said. “I think that would be in keeping with the changes that are happening with society as a whole.” – Fox News Australia

Lib Dems regrets

More than a third of people who voted Liberal Democrat in last year’s general election wish they had chosen differently, an Independent on Sunday poll shows. The finding underscores Nick Clegg’s unpopularity and alarm among his party’s grass roots at the political direction he has taken in the Tory-led coalition. While 54 per cent of Lib Dems are happy with their choice at the ballot box, 37 per cent, a significant proportion, have deserted Mr Clegg. In a local election campaign speech in Newcastle yesterday, Ed Miliband seized on the Deputy Prime Minister’s woes by appealing to Lib Dem voters to switch to Labour after a year of “broken promises” on the tuition fees, the NHS and VAT. – the Independent

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