Thursday, 29 April 2010

Angels on a pinhead

The Leaders Debates - groundbreaking, or a missed opportunity? A bit of both. The debates have energised the election but the format needs revisiting. The gaps between the debates have been weird in that parties have tried to carry on ‘politics as usual’ when it clearly isn’t. The daily press conference and photo op routine has become almost irrelevant. Women haven’t figured (apart from Mrs Gillian Duffy) and George Osborne (note to reader – could be next Chancellor) has disappeared from view.
Having visited several constituencies one thing is very clear. The majority of candidates who put themselves forward are either inadequate or downright odd. High calibre competent operators are thin on the ground. This brings into focus the selection process. At a time of crisis, it is not good enough to rely on machinations behind closed doors based on who knows what prejudices and score-settling. The American Primary system has much to commend it.
We cannot rely on parties to sort this out. Vested interests will prevail. Reform is needed more than ever.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Back From The Dead....

To Salford, to visit Imperial War Museum North to see the very impressive and moving Don McCullin photography exhibition. Then on to Oasis Academy, Media City in the constituency of the infamous Hazel Blears. The Academy hosting the event had the theme, ‘Issues affecting young people’ and had invited candidates from the 3 main parties to address questions. Several Independents (mainly from the ‘Hazel must go’ camp) were excluded but given a mention to appease them.

Her chief rival, Norman Owen, is the leader of the LibDem group on the local council. An ex-engineering manager, he came to life when discussing Tory policies during the eighties and problem estates. At other times he was toe-curlingly awful. Unprepared and rambling when discussing education issues posed by youngsters from the school, he did not inspire confidence. Matthew Sephton, the Tory candidate began well as he is a Primary teacher in Stockport so he had an advantage to begin with. This quickly dwindled as he tried to bring in Conservative policies and values.

The audience were slow to warm up despite being prepared by a ‘fantastic’ introduction by a fantastically enthusiastic rep from ‘Charities Parliament’ which as you would imagine, is a fantastic organisation doing fantastic things for society. You get the picture. He managed to cram at least seven ‘fantastic’s’ into his opening remarks. We were also given the opportunity to write questions and to wave White and Black pieces of paper at appropriate times. Black = disagree; White = agree.

Hazel Blears has a problem. Not only is she tainted by her behaviour with expenses, she is also damaged by what she did when she resigned from the Cabinet. She has disappeared off the radar for several months. She has the unfortunate demeanour of someone sucking sherbert lemons through her bottom when the others were speaking. Absorbing to watch but a real barrier to communication. Interestingly, this expression disappeared as the evening wore on.

It was fascinating to watch her in action. She is very, very good. Not a sentence I would have expected to write. She knows her stuff. She cares. She is enthusiastic and has drive and character. She is articulate and has the bottle to take her opponents on and gives far better than she gets. She thinks on her feet. At one point she absolutely kebabbed the Tory and left him looking like he wished he were somewhere else. On the whole she was very positively received.

The event was well organised and the panel managed to get through 13 questions in 80 minutes. The Black Sheets came into their own when a question was asked about a hung or ‘balanced’ parliament. Tory boy tried to tell us this was a very bad idea, only to be met with a forest of black sheets and laughter.

An oddity; one of the Independents had attended and asked a question from the floor, implying that 40 years of sex education was responsible for most of societies ills. I paraphrase but it was the only time all night that a questioner got the Black Sheet treatment.

150 mixed people in a school hall will not determine the outcome in Salford and Eccles. However if the runes from tonight mean anything it is this. Should Blears hold on to her seat then the rehabilitation process will have begun. She is streets ahead of Hatty Harperson and will make her way back onto the ‘A’ list.

You read it here first.

Another Hustings - another church

A good welcoming space and an anticipatory buzz as the start neared. It was High Peak’s seventh event. Other constituencies nearby have not had one. In some cases this may be understandable but is still concerning. There are issues of civil disorder in Oldham where Phil Woolas (Minister for Immigration) is standing in an area where the issue is inflammatory. The BNP are standing too and it is feasible that a public meeting could become an excuse for a major punch up. The fear of angry voters permeates much of the local engagement.
Tonight the minister in charge calmed us down with a prayer for the candidates including a request, “to listen with open minds,” and “to pray for good governance to be pre-eminent in our lives.” He also set out the ‘rules’ which basically meant sit still, clap politely and shut up. 
Then the bombshell that once again the questions submitted had been sent to the candidates before the meeting. Having experienced the deadening effect this had on Saturday’s event I expressed my concerns that passing on the questions took away the spontaneity and the chance to see how the candidates think on their feet. It then emerged that 3/7 of them had only seen the questions as they arrived!
Give the churches credit for at least trying. Where are the community groups, unions or local arts associations? And why, in a relative backwater, is there such a wish to control us and keep us calm and pacified? This fear seems to come from the organisers, not the candidates, although any evidence to the contrary would be welcome. And why do some of the churches seize the moment to promote their faith? Out of an audience of 150 I was told that there were about 20 from the hosting church. There were a number of people with eye-patches too giving a piratical slant to proceedings.
A different UKIP representative is on the platform tonight, who spoke coherently on some issues and another Independent with local form and bottle. The other, tiny, Independent has a vocal tic in that he inserts ‘by the way’ into every response and seems to feel that if he is given two minutes to speak, he must use all of it. Not a good idea. The Green continues to impress with his energy, delivery and commitment. The Tory favourite is better and shows a degree of passion as does the LibDem. The UKIP guy made the interesting point that despite claims to the contrary the Tory party were anti-change and implicitly endorsed voting LIbDem to help reform the electoral system. The Labour candidate is uncomfortable in this arena and struggles at times to articulate her thoughts. She admits as such in her closing remarks with commendable honesty.
Just how much engagement is actually going on in this election? The Greens said that 40% of their doorstop canvassing returns were genuine ‘don’t knows’/’not sure’. With the polls close and the three main parties not saying how they are going to save £40-50 billion, just what are voters going to decide on where to stick their X? 

Monday, 26 April 2010

If this is democracy, you can stick it where the sun don’t shine.

The case for reform of our electoral system is overwhelming yet hour after hour we hear vested interests defending the indefensible. The Observer had a series of diagrams making the case yesterday.

Under the present ‘first past the post’ system, the following scenarios are possible.

Equal share of vote = unequal seats
Conservative         30% of the popular vote  206 seats   (32% of seats)
Labour                  30%                                 315            (48%             )
LibDem                30%                                 100            (15%             )
Other                    10%                                   29            (  4%             )

Party with lowest share of the popular vote gets most seats
Conservative         33%                                257            (39% of seats )
Labour                  27%                                262            (40%              )
LibDem                30%                                102            (16%              )
Other                    10%                                  29             (  4%             )

This is beyond parody. Every time a party spokesmouth churns out the mantra, ‘first past the post produces strong government’ remember these figures. Even the Tories would balk at these scenarios – wouldn’t they?

Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society Dr Ken Ritchie said, “This campaign is looking less and less like an election and more like a game of roulette….. Uncertainty over who will get most support is natural and necessary in Britain’s staid elections. But uncertainty over how our antiquated system will decide who wins at Westminster is not. A system that can make the first last, and the last first, is simply unacceptable.

We need a system that can deliver the will of the people not by accident but by design. A change to the Single Transferable Vote system would give us a parliament that reflects the votes cast, and leave a majority of voters with the satisfaction that someone they supported is at Westminster to represent their views.”

STV is the preferred system of the politically neutral Electoral Reform Society. It is time we knew a lot more about it. 

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Cheese, Chalk and Stalin

What a day and what a difference. Battled through traffic jams and left a lovely morning outside to enter the world of the dementors. Those who know their Harry Potter will recognise them as the creatures that suck the life out of anyone nearby.

The first event of the day was again organised by a church – this time in Buxton. A spacious, cold venue with about 150 present, it quickly became clear that we were attending the ‘how not to run a hustings’ event. All the candidates had been sent the questions beforehand. What a colossal mistake. No spontaneity, barely any interaction between the candidates and a chairman who controlled proceedings very firmly. Reading prepared answers mostly very badly, was an unedifying spectacle and highlighted the lack of quality on offer. In addition it was made clear that we were to be passive observers. All the energy, dynamism and interest in the room sucked into an electoral black hole.

The Tory is the clear favourite for the seat and set his stall out on being locally born, locally living and locally active. He was a ‘local candidate for local people’ and should really be referred to as Royston. Unfortunately, despite being reminded twice to hold the microphone not so close as it brought distortion, Royston continued to dilute his message by sounding like fingernails on a blackboard.

The UKIP lady failed to turn up again and sent an odd replacement who is standing, “30 miles away.” He at least broke the boredom by giving wacky offerings, the odd provocative comment  - and dancing eyebrows! True! As others spoke, he performed a caterpillar dance above his nose.

The Green Party candidate was the best on offer by some way. The ex-banker Independent spoke in the clipped tones of Mr Fortescue-Brown from around 1950 and had views to match. The others were second rate and characterless.

The same pensioner who made the ‘bloody disgrace’ comment at a previous meeting, tried to speak as the meeting was drawing to close. The Vicar, yes, the Vicar, tried to intercept him and when challenged about this, said that such interventions were not allowed within the format of the meeting. Joe Stalin, eat your bleeding heart out. What a frightened, fearful, unconfident and deeply controlling anti-democratic bunch. The country is facing the deepest crisis since the Second World War and the good people of Buxton are to sit quietly and do as they are bid. Let the dementors do their worst.

Totally dispirited and wondering whether to bother, we went to Macclesfield, a neighbouring constituency to the High Peak. What a contrast. Six candidates on show in yet another church (why is no other organisation capable of hosting such a vital event?) A combination of pre-submitted questions – but not to the candidates - and ones from the floor.

But this time we had four candidates who you felt could represent Macclesfield with credit. From the off we had assurance, clarity, projection and passion. This safe Tory seat was formerly held by the odious Winterton. His replacement was forced onto the local association from Tory Central Office and he knew this had been unpopular with the locals. He had worked hard since his nomination to get under the skin of the area. Assured, competent and capable he will go on to higher things although he is a mormon. The Lib/Dem sounded uncannily like Dr David Starkey and revealed that he was, “An ordinary professor of particle physics at Manchester University.” Lively, witty and well briefed he more than held his own. Labour had a NHS consultant representing them and he too was first class. The Independent had a passion about the corruption in our national life and expressed himself with clarity and a degree of anger. He would be no pushover in Parliament unlike any of the pussycats of the High Peak who would be a whips dream.

To complete the platform we had an inadequate Green standing in for the candidate who was on a pre-arranged event and a wonderful UKIP rep. She had rung up UKIP to see who was standing in her area and been told no-one, so she stepped in and stood up for what she believed. Off- the- wall, rambly but occasionally perceptive, and frequently very, very funny.

Spookily, towards the end a pensioner stood up and wanted his say. This time we were asked if we were happy for him to say his piece – and so he did.

Well Done Macclesfield! Shame on you High Peak!

How the hell can there be such a difference in the calibre of candidates in neighbouring constituencies? Questions must be asked.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

The good burghers of Bramhall

Its politics in a church - the atmosphere before the start is muted. About a hundred mainly Christian elderly and apparently affluent electors gathered on a lovely sunny early spring evening in a Stockport suburb. Four candidates present, all suited, white males.

The hosting Minister begins with a couple of Bible readings and urges us, “To listen with respect” and “remember to vote for our community not ourselves.” It is all too civilised in the context of the last 12 months. The Chair for the evening is another Minister and all the questions were submitted beforehand.

The Tory has an advantage over the others as the event is taking place in the church he attends. Isn’t a Christian Conservative an oxymoron? He is a product of the ToryBoy haircut school and obviously groomed by the extra cash to make the most of his opportunities. The Labour candidate is from Scotland and is another practicing Christian, however from the more radical wing.

The LibDem is the current MP and he plays that card for all he is worth citing surgeries, meetings and Parliamentary questions whenever possible. The final player is an affable old cove who wandered in from the golf club to represent UKIP.

The Labour guy is head and shoulders above the rest but hasn’t got a cat in hells chance. The Tory loves his mum who is a brilliant nurse and he adores David Cameron’s community policies, which apparently will eradicate the debt and make us all better people. 

Being a religiously organised event there is an emphasis on faith matters. This grates after a while. Everything chugs along in a passive silence and even when the candidates disagree it is surprisingly soulless. Thoughtful but peripheral.

The only issue to light the Christian folks fire was the ‘highest council tax in Greater Manchester’ which half the audience blamed the MP for. The Tory did well on this point with the backing of his mates in the audience and it is the only time the LibDem is ruffled. The Labour candidate made the point that Bramhall is a wealthy place and could afford to subsidise needier areas. A message not welcomed by some of these affluent Christians though.

Interfaith initiatives were prominent. Jews and Muslims got several mentions; not a peep about the Roman Catholics. I wonder why?

We finished with a prayer for the candidates. A few of us did not join in – an indication of the nature of the audience. Overheard at the end, “I couldn’t understand a word that Scotsman said.” Shame that because his accent was not thick.

Reform? Trust? Troops out? Torture? Rendition? No mention. What was that about comforting the afflicted or afflicting the comfortable?

Friday, 23 April 2010

Attack Dogs

It has dawned on certain parts of the establishment that their cosy little world may be at risk. Note the coverage of Clegg in the media yesterday. Trawling through the dustbins of history for any little snippet that could be used as a stick to beat him with. They must be getting worried. ‘Clegg in Nazi slur’ being among the highlights. This from the Daily Mail, the paper that supported Fascism and the rise of Hitler in the 30's. 

Apply the same approach to Cameron. Put his record through the microscope but don’t expect to see the findings in the Tory media.

Steve Richards (Independent newspaper) speaking on the Today programme revealed that his editor Simon Kellner had a visitation this week from Rebekah Brooks (nee Wade) and James Murdoch for a ‘frank exchange of views’ about the stance taken by the Independent. And even supposedly neutral Adam Boulton had a go at Clegg during the second Leader's Debate breaching the rules on behalf of his master. 

The Murdoch media have backed the Conservatives. Remember, “It was the Sun what won it.”  It would not be good for their credibility for their chosen darlings to founder in the final strait. 

Expect more vitriolic garbage over the remaining days.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Democracy in action

The night of the second leaders debate. Thirty voters from the High Peak constituency left their tv screens to quiz their prospective candidates about Human Rights. The event was organised by Buxton Amnesty International. Four candidates attended (UKIP and one Independent were absent – the other Independent was present but not on the platform as he had only just declared himself a candidate). Hope all of that is clear.

The meeting typified Middle England at its best. Quiet, measured, thoughtful, respectful and with a quaker-like calm. It was also very warm.

The candidates were clearly at a disadvantage in that the audience were far more informed about most of the issues raised. To their credit whenever they did not know enough they admitted it. Issues such as abuses in the Niger Delta, Bhopal and the lack of access to legal services for trafficked women were all taken on board. One (literally) shocking issue emerged, namely that if someone is sectioned under the Mental Health Act, they could be given electro-convulsive therapy without their consent.

The Labour candidate had the more difficult position to defend. Under Labour, (illegal war, Rendition, Collusion with Torture, 42 days, Databases, ID Cards, treatment of asylum seekers) and in the name of ‘security,’ liberties eroded. She tried – but not very convincingly – to defend some of the issues. She is also following a Labour MP who stood down and who was a total party hack. To her credit she said she would defy her party and oppose renewing Trident, as she had been brought up in a CND family and had been taken to Aldermaston as a toddler.

The Tory admitted that his party would repeal the Human Rights Act and replace it with a Bill of Rights. Hmmm. He was also in favour of replacing Trident. The LibDem quoted from his own and his family experience whenever and wherever relevant and opposed Trident, the Green referred frequently to his party’s manifesto and also brought in personal experience very effectively.

Finally, there was a pensioner who was unaware that there was a theme to the evening. He brought the evening to a close with the revelation that he had received a 25p rise this year. “ And that’s not all – I’ve had a bloody letter giving 10p of that 25p to my wife! It’s a bloody disgrace.”
Yes it is, but the evening wasn’t.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Hustings? What hustings?

The principal reason for the return from Scotland is to engage with the Election. In particular, to raise the issue of Parliamentary reform, as often as possible, in a variety of forums.  Reports from meetings attended will feature in this blog.
Have trawled the internet to try to find out when and where election hustings meetings are being held. It is a thankless task. As yet there is not a lot of information and what there is exists on some obscure websites.

Macclesfield have not had such an event for 40 years. However, now that the odious Winterton has left the scene there are a series of meetings scheduled. The local electorate have the chance to see the man who Tory Central Office sent them. He was a ‘Special Advisor” to the treasury and clearly well established in the Westminster bubble.

In some constituencies there will not be an occasion where the public can see all their candidates at one event. The Tatton constituency had their meeting before the election race began. As George Osborne is the sitting MP he will not be available. He will spend his time instead no doubt whizzing around the country going from ‘photo op’ to ‘visit’ via the odd tv interview. At each photo op he will meet specially briefed Tory activists who will cheer and look eternally grateful for a glimpse of the heavenly body who has deigned to descend from his lofty perch to walk among them.

Its sick bag time again.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Hello Trees

Hello Trees
Journeying back south it was interesting to see the amount of fields and trees that support the Conservative Party. All of my life I have loved the countryside. To see fine upstanding trees, many hundreds of years old that are real wonders of nature, besmirched by tawdry posters is upsetting. That they are for a party who are anything but fine and upstanding adds insult to injury.  

Checklist follow up
Please feel free to copy and use the Candidate Checklist (posted below) to help you decide which to vote for. Should you remain unconvinced by any of your candidates remember you can always register your disgust by writing ‘None of the Above’ on your ballot paper. Alternatively you could opt to write RON (Re-Open Nominations).

Friday, 16 April 2010

Candidate Checklist

Please feel free to use this to assess the merit or otherwise of the candidates in your constituency. Careful reading of campaign literature will reveal some information but a face-to-face discussion would be more enlightening and informative.

  The candidate
Supports complete transparency regarding their expenses.

Supports the practice of having no other paid employment while an MP.

Will put the needs of the country above the needs of their party.

Will put the needs of their constituents above the needs of their party.

Supports the ‘recall’ proposal.

Supports an elected second chamber.

Understands that the reputation of Parliament is very low – and will do all they can to reconnect with voters.

Supports the wide-ranging and thorough reform of Parliament and the House of  Commons.

Supports the urgent introduction of a fairer voting system

Is not, and has never been, a member of the ‘political class’  

Agrees that the use of anti-terrorist laws to restrict 
the right of protest is an attack on civil liberties?


Thursday, 15 April 2010

Kings of Spin

A few years ago, England spinner Ashley Giles was awarded a testimonial by Warwickshire County Cricket Club in recognition of his service. He ordered thousands of commemorative mugs to help with the proceeds. Unfortunately the makers misunderstood the order and captioned the mugs, ‘Ashley Giles, King of Spain.’

The same maker would make a fortune putting the correct caption on photos of each of our leaders. All we get is spin, spin and more spin.

Look at the personnel involved. For the Tories we have Andy Coulson, ex editor of the News of the World. He was editor when hundreds of phones were bugged. He was also named as the person responsible for one of the worst cases of bullying. The victim received a record payout. Coulson is now Communications Director for the Conservatives i.e. a King of Spin.

For Labour, m’Lord Mandelson (who wears a £21K wristwatch) and the returning Prince of Darkness Alistair Campbell. Their infamy goes before them. A right pair of spinners.

The LibDems have their team too including Danny Alexander who is officially ‘Chief of Staff’ aka Spinner.

So plenty of Spinners. And plenty of mugs who let them get away with it.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Illegal Aid

Brown, Cameron and to a lesser extent Clegg, all want to talk about their own chosen issues. And then what happens? The ‘Elephant in the Election’ comes bounding in and reminds those with short-term memories what they have been missing. And each time the elephant arrives, it brings with it even more staggering news of just how shameless these ‘allegedly’ venal, skuldugerous and execrable MPs are.
A news report in The Times sets out the basics.
“Three former Labour MPs accused of fiddling their parliamentary expenses have won taxpayer money to help pay their legal bills just weeks before the introduction of “means testing”.
David Chaytor, Elliot Morley and Jim Devine are accused of stealing almost £60,000 in allowances through false mortgage claims, rent claims and invoiced services.
They have been told they are eligible for legal aid to fund their defences which includes the argument that they are protected from prosecution by the ancient right of parliamentary privilege.
The former MPs’ total legal bill is expected to reach tens of thousands of points (sic) but could reach six figures if they continue their legal appeal all the way to the Supreme Court.
Lord Hanningfield, a Tory peer who is also accused of fraudulently claiming expenses, has not applied for legal aid.”
So there you have it. This one will run and run.
Is it any co-incidence that their next court appearance is scheduled for May 6th?

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Marginal Seats

The following little gem emerged when listening to the radio today. Under our ‘first past the post’ system there are about 150 marginal seats that are considered vital targets by all parties. All it takes to change a government in the UK is for 200,000 people across those seats to change their minds in a similar direction. The voters in the remaining 500 seats may as well stay at home.

All the money, energy, personal appearances and canvassing will be concentrated on those 150 seats.

What a farce. It is little wonder that so many people are disengaged and disenchanted when their vote counts for very little. The last Labour Government had a majority of over 60 with just over 21% of the electorate’s support.

Safe seats are the home of the party apparatchik, the party crawler, the arrogant, the lobby fodder and the out of touch MPs.

A proper democratic election (insert preferred system here) where every vote counts would help reduce some of our worst excesses and engage voters in a more meaningful way. 

Monday, 12 April 2010

Planet Peculiar

What a strange world this is. Our politicians keep having a pop at each other about ‘efficiency savings’, which to everyone else means cuts and job losses. The numbers involved in our debt are huge - £160+ billion a year to service the debt. That is like paying off the interest on a mortgage but it does nothing to reduce the overall debt, which is in the trillions. All we hear about are £6 billion here and £2 billion there. Doesn’t even begin to tackle the problem. We are in danger of becoming another Greece.
They are not being honest with us. That the remnants of the ‘Rotten Parliament’ are less than straight should not be a surprise to any of us. They seem wilfully to want to exclude us from their plans. Photo opportunities here, Leaders wives there, bullshit everywhere.
We need and should demand complete honesty and settle for nothing less. We should prick their balloons. [This last sentence is suitable for spoonering]

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Anyone for Reform?

Is there anyone out there still unsure that reform of our democratic system is necessary?  Take a look at the ‘Dissolution Honours List,’ compiled by the Prime Minister at the end of a Parliament. Party Leaders nominate retiring MPs for positions in the House of Lords. There they will join ex-Speaker Martin who used all his powers to try to suppress the expenses scandal. They will also enjoy extremely lax expenses rules – far more so than the old Commons ones.

And who are the ‘glitterati’ that are among those expected to grace the ermine? According to the Mail on Sunday, “Mr Brown is expected to reward Labour MPs Sion Simon and Jeff Ennis. Ex-Minister Mr Simon stood down in Birmingham Erdington - allowing Harriet Harman’s husband Jack Dromey to find a safe seat. In 2006 Mr Simon was forced to apologise after featuring in a spoof of the Tory leader’s WebCameron site in which he masqueraded as ‘Dave’ and invited people to sleep with his wife.
Mr Ennis’s surprise resignation in Barnsley has paved the way for former No10 spin doctor Michael Dugher to enter the Commons.”

So here we have political nonentities being rewarded so that the party’s elite will get safe seats. This is the way the political class keeps control. Safe seats are really bad for democracy.

“Mr Cameron will also run into criticism over plans to include Mr Ancram and Mr Gummer, despite their expenses scandals. Former Conservative Party chairman Mr Ancram was forced to repay more than £6,000 in second-home expenses. He claimed £98 to service his swimming pool boiler, £159 for repairs to a tractor and £72 for servicing a boiler in a cottage attached to his second home. Ex-Cabinet Minister Mr Gummer had to return nearly £30,000 - including £612 for repairing a lawnmower.
Sir Michael Spicer, outgoing chairman of the Tories’ 1922 backbench committee, is also thought to be off to the Lords despite an expenses record which included claiming for a ‘helipad’. He said it was a ‘family joke’.” (ibid).

Cameron’s claims about reform are 99% bullshit. He sounds sincere and is quick to condemn government inaction but his deeds are revealing. In addition to the above he has blocked much needed reform in the Commons.

John Prescott is set to receive a peerage along with Ex-Home Secretary John Reid, the former hard-drinking, hard-smoking Scot who was Tony Blair’s feared bruiser through most of the New Labour reign. This is the man who successfully used his powers to block an investigation into his bullying activities in his constituency. John Prescott will abandon his reputation as a class warrior because apparently his wife Pauline fancies being ‘Lady Pauline.’ What role models and what ideals.

Let us hope that these representatives of the ‘Rotten Parliament’ do not get to enjoy their unearned privileges for too long.