Sunday, 20 December 2009

Iraqi police, Najaf

Friday, 18 December 2009

Liberal Democrat Leader calls for tuition fees to be scrapped

Liberal Democrats to keep pledge to scrap tuition fees

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg has said the party will keep its pledge to scrap tuition fees despite earlier saying they might not be able to afford it.

Mr Clegg has previously expressed doubts over the feasibility of the party’s commitment; suggesting that abolishing "tuition fees would cost billions of pounds every year" and so "we need to be certain we can afford it before we make any promises". He was later forced to reverse his decision to remove the manifesto commitment owing to strong public dissent from senior figures, including the former leader Charles Kennedy.

Under the plans, which would not see tuition fees finally scrapped until the Parliament after next, fees would first be scrapped for final-year students, in the financial year 2010-11, at the cost of £511m. The overall cost of the policy over six years would be £7.5bn.

Vince Cable conceded that free tuition would be made possible through a reduction in numbers entering higher education.

Speaking to Jon Sopel on BBC’s Politics Show he said: "The issue about how you afford it, in a very tough environment for public spending, is it's a question of how many people actually go to university, so the question is whether you deal with it through fees or by restricting numbers and the latter has to be the way forward I'm afraid."

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Lord Mandelson wants to swap spinning for sowing

The Business Secretary said he longs to leave London and cultivate an old English garden where he can also look after chickens which would supply him with fresh eggs.

click here for Telegraph article

Peter Tatchell quits as Oxford East's Green candidate due to 'brain injuries from Mugabe and Moscow bashings'

The Greens currently have no MPs, although they are hoping their leader, Caroline Lucas, an MEP and their candidate in Brighton Pavilion, will become their first at the next election.

 click here for full Guardian article

Israeli organ donors to get transplant priority

Israel is to become the first country to give donor card carriers a legal right to priority treatment if they should require an organ transplant.

click here for full BBC article

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Tory lead cut to nine points in Guardian/ICM poll

After 12 months of unbroken Conservative dominance in the polls, the figures – showing the Tories on 40%, down two, Labour on 31%, up two, and the Liberal Democrats on 18% – are likely to intensify calls for Brown to go to the country on 25 March next year, rather than the 6 May polling day that most at Westminster have been expecting.

click here for full Guardian article

Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni 'cancels London visit over prosecution fears'

"The opposition chairwoman is proud of all her decisions regarding Operation Cast Lead," her office was quoted as saying. "The operation achieved its objectives to protect the citizens of Israel and to reinstate Israel's deterrence capability."

click here for the full Telegraph article

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Berlusconi attacked in Milan

BBC News video :-)

Former Tory peer calls Jewish climate campaigner 'Hitler Youth'

Viscount Monckton, 57, who was an economic adviser to the Thatcher government but joined UKIP earlier this week, has persistently called into question the science behind man-made climate change.

full Telegraph article here

Saturday, 12 December 2009

'Labour treats us like oddballs’ says Archbishop of Canterbury

Dr Rowan 'Dingbat' Williams told The Daily Telegraph: “The trouble with a lot of Government initiatives about faith is that they assume it is a problem, it’s an eccentricity, it’s practised by oddities, foreigners and minorities.


Friday, 4 December 2009

Squeaker Bercow's trouble and strife

She looks like a lap-dancer and it is now plain she has behaved much like one. Oh well. At least one can now report that in her Young Conservative days she was known as 'Sally the Alley'.
Quentin Letts

Mail Online

Sally Bercow reveals past full of binge-drinking and one-night stands

John Bercow, the Commons Speaker, has been criticised by MPs after his wife gave an extraordinary interview to launch herself as a Labour politician. Sally Bercow, 40, described her battle with drink and fondness for one-night stands in her twenties, and criticised David Cameron as a “merchant of spin”. MPs reacted with astonishment, pointing out that Mrs Bercow lives in Speaker’s House at taxpayers’ expense and questioning whether this compromised the Speaker’s independence. Mr Bercow was a Tory MP before becoming Speaker, but was elected with support of Labour MPs.

In the interview published today [3rd December 2009], Mrs Bercow said that she wanted to get rid of “skeletons” from her past before standing as a Labour councillor in Pimlico, central London, in a bid to become an MP at the next election. She said: “I was a big binge drinker in my twenties. I started drinking at Oxford, being a party girl, and it got out of control. I got a grip for a while, but in the mid-Nineties I was working in advertising and I would drink wine at lunch then go out and drink a bottle in the evening, most evenings really. I had no stop button.” Asked whether this was as excessive as she had implied, she added: “Well, OK. It was sometimes more like two bottles, except I promised John I wouldn’t say that. Have I mucked it up already?”

She became teetotal in 2000 after realising that she had put herself in danger. “I was an argumentative, stroppy drunk, picking arguments with my bosses over stupid things. Plus I’d lose my judgment and put myself in danger. I’d fall asleep on the Tube and end up in Epping or Heathrow. And I’d get into unlicensed minicabs in the early hours. All the things we’d tell our daughters not to do.”

Mrs Bercow also confessed to casual sexual encounters because of alcohol. “They weren’t romantic. They were more like flings. I wasn’t looking for love. But it’s true that I would end up sometimes at a bar and someone would send a drink over, and I’d think, ‘Why not?’ and we’d go home together. I liked the excitement of not knowing how a night was going to end. It was all very ladette — work hard, play hard. I want to run for Parliament as a Labour candidate so this has all got to come out and I’d rather tell it myself,” she told the London Evening Standard.

Mrs Bercow has been criticised recently for the way that she presented her qualifications on her CV, but she denied any intention to mislead. She also rebuffed criticism of her spending on a redecoration of Speaker’s House that she said was necessary because the dark red upset her autistic son, Oliver, 5, one of their three children. She suggested that David Cameron was a fake. “He favours the interests of the few over the mainstream majority. I do think the Tory party is for the privileged few and what it stands for isn’t in the interests of most ordinary people.” She also said that Mr Cameron could send his children to private school because there was no “real commitment” to state education.

Mr Cameron did not support Mr Bercow’s candidacy but a spokesman refused to be drawn on the issue and said that the party was supportive of the office of Speaker. Mrs Bercow may not send her children to grammar schools in her husband’s Buckinghamshire constituency because she opposes selection. She revealed that after dating Mr Bercow for six months “he dumped me for being too argumentative. But you have to remember that he was a right-wing headbanger at the time. He’s much more rounded and moderate now, and he’s rethought a lot.” Asked how it might work if she was an MP while her husband was Speaker, she said: “He’d be so tough on me though. I’d never get a question when he was in the chair. I’d have to wait till the deputy speaker was in.”

Nadine Dorries, a Tory MP who opposed Mr Bercow’s selection as Speaker, said: “We desperately need to restore authority and respect to Parliament. What this interview has done is remove any painstaking progress Parliament has made and reduced the Speaker and his office to that of a laughing stock. How can we ask the people to trust us, when the man who holds us to account has such poor judgment that he allowed his wife to give such an appalling, self-obsessed interview?” [Bit fucking rich - Ed].

The Times Online, 3rd December 2009

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Toll bridge bought for over £1m

The Swinford toll bridge was built across the River Thames at Eynsham in 1767 and is governed by its own Act of Parliament.

BBC News  article

Mandelson declares war on Murdoch

In his strongest attacks on News Corp since the Sun abandoned its support for Labour hours after Gordon Brown's party conference speech, the business secretary accused the company of imperilling the traditions of British broadcasting.

The Guardian

Mandelson wanted EU foreign secretary post

BBC News

He told Radio 4's Today programme that he was committed to the government but "in other circumstances I would have liked to have done that job".

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

President Obama to set out Afghan troop strategy

oh! that would be helpful, dear.
BBC News