Posts Tagged ‘plebs’

George Osborne whiling away his time watching films is the weirdest thing about #traingate

22/10/2012, 07:00:26 AM

by Jonathan Todd

George Osborne’s journey south on Friday enlivened the afternoon and made a bad week even worse for his party. Most attention has focused on his unwillingness to travel pleb class and allegedly to pay the full fare for the standard that he thinks he requires.

All of which strikes me as ill-considered. But it’s the watching films on a train journey on a Friday afternoon that strikes me as profoundly odd and a touch troubling. It makes me worry about the man and our politics.

So, he wants to travel first class?

That doesn’t look good these days. The leader of the opposition was informed a few weeks ago on the Thick of It: “It is career suicide. You may as well shit in the aisle.”

I travel quite frequently on the same west coast mainline as Osborne. I manage to work in standard class. The main barrier is the unreliability of Virgin’s wi-fi but it is perfectly possible to put a shift in before pulling in at Euston.

That said, as much as few politicians would admit it, I imagine there is something in Gyles Brandreth’s view that politicians of Osborne’s standing only meet people who are right and people who have problems, eager to put them right and share their problems. Such people would be a hindrance to work. But, these days, even those in first class are likely to consider themselves to have problems and to be eager to share with the chancellor their thoughts on putting right our moribund economy.

Overall, then, a politician in first class is as attractive as shit in the aisle and may not add to the politician’s productivity.


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Andrew Mitchell will go on Thursday

15/10/2012, 07:00:17 AM

That’s the consensus Uncut hears swirling around the ranks of senior Tories. Post-conference, the denouement of #gategate has acquired a new lethal inevitability. Hopes of a firebreak, with conference season giving space for the furore to subside, have been decisively dashed.

As members of parliament return to Westminster, Ministers and MPs who have fanned out over the weekend for media interviews are all reporting back the same message to the Tory whips: this problem is not going away.

These interviews were meant to have been an opportunity for the Tories to build on David Cameron’s speech and set the agenda before the start of the Autumn session. But, on every single occasion the questioning returned to Andrew Mitchell’s position.

It not only dragged the MPs back into territory that the Tories have been trying to escape, but also presents a uniquely difficult question to answer.

There’s no defending Mitchell’s conduct. His absence from Birmingham, despite being the Tories’ only Birmingham MP, was stark. The agreed line to take that he apologised and the police personnel involved have accepted the apology leaves too many unanswered questions:  what did he actually say? Why are the police federation calling for him to go? How long will this drag on?

The critical day is now Wednesday. PMQs will be dominated by Andrew Mitchell, who will then face the judgement of the Tories backbench 1922 committee later that day when it meets.


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