DIARY: Corrida of the Chancellors, Kelly doubts, Irish Dave, Syntagma at 5, Annoyment
In the end, it was a bullfight characterized by one low blow by Vince Cable against the Tories’ alleged reliance on big business donations. He seemed to forget his own party’s involvement and Labour’s dismal track record.
Overall it became a sensible discussion between three civilized men about the state of the British economy and what needs to be done after the election on May 6. Channel 4 hosted the debate before a live studio audience.
The current Chancellor, Alistair Darling, displayed his experience of the job, plus some good humour and a few telling points. Vince Cable produced a string of rather flimsy ideas but had more of the applause from a supportive crowd. Against the odds, George Osborne came over both as the most likeable man, and the candidate with the best thought-out ideas.
In tonight’s genteel scrap, it was a lot closer than expected, but I thought George Osborne took it mainly because he was not expected to shine against two more experienced opponents.
The Leaders’ debates will not match the civility of this one, as Gordon Brown will seek to impose his “authority” and Nick Clegg his right to be there at all. On this showing, I expect David Cameron quietly to take the prize.
What was the “eye-opening claim” by Geoff Hoon about Dr David Kelly’s apparent suicide in the build up to Britain’s involvement in the Iraq War? Hoon was Defence Secretary during the war and would have had sight of all the documents. He would also have known about most word of mouth discussions, at least within the MoD.
This appears on page 369 of Andrew Rawnsley’s book The End of the Party concerning Tony Blair’s May 2006 reshuffle:
“Even more furious was Geoff Hoon, removed as Leader of the House after just a year in the job and deprived of his cabinet rank and salary [...] He was so angry that he wrote out a resignation statement. He planned to make a speech about the [David] Kelly affair that he told friends could trigger the instant downfall of the prime minister [Blair].”
LibDem MP, Norman Baker has pursued this matter for years and concludes that Kelly did not commit suicide but was murdered by Iraqi sources. Others whisper about “Grey Ghosts” from the Pentagon.
So what does Hoon know? After his recent fall from grace, shouldn’t the police haul him in and find out?
Via Simon Jeffery.
From this day forth I am not going to write a harsh word about David Cameron. The alternatives are too horrible to contemplate. Even home truths about the Tory campaign will be muted. It’s not exactly my style, but “Anyone but Brown” must be the slogan now.
So to get Syntagma’s Election Campaign underway, here are the opportunist Corrigan Brothers with “There’s no-one as Irish as Dave Cameron:
Gluttons for punishment will be aware of their previous effort: “There’s no one as Irish as Barack Obama”.
As for the future, I don’t suppose we’ll get, “There’s no-one as Irish as Robert Mugabe” during the next election in Zimbabwe. It does scan though.
Syntagma is five. We are very mature for our age.
It started as a simple, non-commercial blog on Google’s free Blogspot service. Six months later I switched it to a shared American server under the Syntagma Media domain it’s been on ever since. It then got caught up in the linking bonanza in the American tech blogosphere, which has all but evaporated in these muted days.
Now we have our own dedicated server in the US and involvements with specialist information online topping up the standard fare of content wrapped around with advertising. The newest incarnations have been Syntagma Books, soon to expand once we’ve solved a few quality problems with the first title, and a new series of local websites in the UK which, true to form, has had a few hiccups.
So here’s to the next five years. Given the state of the so-called world economy, it may be a matter of tacking against a stiff headwind.
Piece of cake.
Half-Annoyment of the Week
Rupert Murdoch’s proposed new charging regime for his online newspapers from June, is not as annoying as many of us thought.
We are informed that the charge will be £1 a day, or £2 a week for The Times and the Sunday Times. There will presumably be a similar set-up for the Sun and the News of the World.
Since almost no one is going to pay for news online, as it’s available free all over the internet and on the 24-hour news channels, the payments will be mainly for the commentariat.
As I only read a couple of commentators in the Sun and one in the NotW. I can’t see me going for that package. However, the Times deal is certainly worth a couple of quid a week. Can anyone do without Rachel Sylvester, Matthew Parris, William Rees-Mogg, Anatole Kaletsky (when not in a Brown study), Danny the Fink, Martin Ivens, Minette Marrin …? I could go on. However, I always buy the print version of the Sunday Times, so my handful of change will only deliver the daily rag. Even so, count me in Rupert, your fortune is safe.
PS: I note that all our papers and some political magazines are now available half-price for the Kindle DX, with its paper-like screen (no tired eyes) and near 10in read area. Currently, this is via the American Amazon site, so represents dollars converted to euros and then on to pounds — a snake pit of possible price inflation as the pound slithers down still further.
But when this technology comes to amazon.co.uk, it will surely be the ideal way to consume all the newspapers at half the current price, and from a wafer-thin device tucked away in one’s laptop case.
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