Something for the Weekend: Here is the news

Good evening and welcome to this week’s Something for the Weekend. Allons-y…

There’ll be bluebirds over…

Tory MEP Den Dover has been back in the news again amid claims that he bought two BMWs using parliamentary expenses. He’d already been accused of channelling public money into a company run by his wife and daughter. Fellow Conservative MEP Giles Chichester has also been accused of paying hundreds of thousands of pounds of expenses to a family business.

Most important in this, of course, is that we get more of Den Dover in the news and the chance to hear his great name over and over again.

In the news

Following on from last week’s news about top secret documents being left on a train, annoying minister Hazel Blears has had a computer containing “restricted government information” stolen from her constituency office.

A United airline flight from Salt Lake City to Denver was cancelled after the pilot was left too upset to fly by an argument about his hat.

A hoaxer in British Columbia has been condemned for leaving a severed animal feet to be found in a shoe. The hoax follows a number of human feet found in the area.

An outbreak of teenage pregnancies at a school in Massachusetts has prompted concerns of a “pregnancy pact“.

Jonathan Fryer reports on research suggesting that gay men and straight women have symmetrical brains, which give them a worse sense of direction than straight men and lesbians.

Poor research” led Swiss TV to include the subtitles of the German national anthem’s obsolete first verse – “Deutschland, Deutschland ueber alles” – during coverage of Germany’s European Championship football match with Austria.


A few weeks ago, we reported Wolverhampton MP Rob Marris’s conditional caution for criminal damage. This week saw the annual House Magazine awards in which Mr Marris won the Backbencher of the Year Award – despite arguably not being a backbencher. He beat nominees including David Heath.

Opposition Politician of the Year was Vince Cable, for his “star turn as interim Liberal Democrat leader followed by prescient analysis on Northern Rock.” Also nominated was Dunfermline and West Fife MP Willie Rennie. David Steel was nominated in the Peer of the Year category for his work abroad.

There is a full list of winners on the House Magazine website.

David Davis update

So David Davis is no longer an MP, having taken the Chiltern Hundreds, which means that Chancellor of the Excequer Alistair Darling acceded to Davis’s request for the appointment. Pop fact: the last time a request like this was refused was in 1842. If you’re as fascinated as I am by this, you might like the read the House of Commons Information Office factsheet about the Chiltern Hundreds.

To return to the Commons, Davis will need to ask to be released from his new “office of profit under the Crown” (see the House of Commons Disqualification Act 1975). He’ll also need to win the Haltemprice and Howden by-election of course, which will be tricky: he’ll have to defeat several independent candidates, a Green, a Monster Raving Loony (“Mad Cow-Girl”) and Miss Great Britain, amongst others. A tall order, I’m sure you’ll agree.

Davis’s decision to force the by-election still seems a little strange given his support for 28-day detention – a position which he struggled to justify on Question Time this week when challenged by, of all people, UKIP’s Nigel Farage.

But then, maybe more telling is a quote from one of David Davis’s friends repeated by Fraser Nelson in The Spectator: “It wasn’t 42 days that did for David, but 42 Old Etonians.”

Photo of the week

Via the London Underground Tube Diary, this sign at Bank station:

Bank station sign

If you like funny pictures, you may enjoy spending hours browsing FAIL Blog.

Facebook groups of the week

The Facebook Forest sponsored by “will plant one tree for every 50 members of this group.”

Slash 42 days to 24 hours from spiked wants to roll back a swathe of authoritarian legislation.

NO TO MONTHLY CHARGE! FACEBOOK SHOULD BE FREE attempts to promote the inaccurate claim that Facebook plan to introduce a £2 monthly charge. I’m mentioning it in order to highlight that it’s not true – despite which, the group has nearly 80,000 members.

LIB DEMS – NO TO TUITION FEES – KEEP IT THAT WAY, although one-sided in name, does have some debate on the Wall, including contributions from our Shadow Innovation, Universities and Skills Secretary Stephen Williams.

And finally, there’s Labyrinth The Musical – THE CAMPAIGN.

Coming up

Nick Clegg will be making a major foreign policy at Chatham House tomorrow, and will also be on the Daily Politics. On Thursday, it’s polling day in Henley and Chris Huhne will be on Question Time on BBC One. Simon Hughes will be on Any Questions? on Radio 4 on Friday.

And finally

OK, pay attention, 007. Here’s viral video in action. Here are two videos. You need to start playing the second one when the countdown clock on the first gets to the 12 o’clock position. I recommend starting them both then pausing and rewinding to give them both a chance to load. (If you want to watch them side by side, as nature intended, go to the first one on YouTube and follow the instructions in the video.)

* Something for next weekend? Email us at [email protected]

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This entry was posted in Something for the Weekend.


  • One thing you may have missed:

    “Has there been a big falling-out between Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems’ chief strategist and legendary by-election guru, Lord Rennard?

    Westminster is awash with rumours that the pair have clashed damagingly about the future direction of the party”

    The article goes on to suggest unhappiness over Clegg’s lack of consultation (with “senior colleagues”, of course) over his decision not to contest Haltemprice and Howden, and over the strategy for the Henley by election.

  • Thanks. That completely sets my mind at rest.

  • Several MPs – and one member of the House of Lords – were transported around Crewe in … er, my Skoda.

    This was not a reflection of their standing in the party, but that my car – and my local knowledge – was (were) available when a lift was needed.

    Torygraph clutching at straws methinks?

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