Tag Archives: michael howard

War with Spain over Gibraltar?

 

Normally I try to switch off on holiday. I am in the Canary Islands with my family. When I switched on my Twitter feed I nearly choked on my cafe con leche after reading Lord Howard’s comments about Gibraltar.

Today was the 35th Anniversary of the start of the Falklands war and should have been a day to remember the dead and learn from the past. Yet instead Lord Howard used an interview on a Sunday politics program to remind people of what Thatcher did in 1982 and support a similar reaction in relation to Gibraltar.

This was wrong at so many levels. As my wife who is from Argentina said, how can someone of his experience make a comparison between the military junta of Argentina in 1982 and the democratically elected government of Mariano Rajoy.

Secondly, we want to set up trade deals with the EU and other Latin American countries. Does Lord Howard think that being the class room bully  will help us to enter this wonderful global world we are told by Brexiteers was created on June 24, 2016 ?

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 35 Comments

Jack Straw to be part of Freedom of Information review

Nicholas Winterton, Cyril Smith (1928-2010) and Jack Straw, Members of Parliament for the textile towns Macclesfield, Rochdale and Blackburn respectively, stand outside 10 Downing Street in London on 10th June 1980.

Over the weekend the Cabinet Office announced a review of the Freedom of Information Act. Now it is always sensible to check any act that promotes civil liberties against actual practice. But alarm bells started ringing when the members of the review panel were revealed.

Chief among them is Jack Straw, who brought in the Act in 2000 as Home Secretary. But he is now saying that “inquiries about ministerial communications and the formulation of government policy should not be allowed any more”. I’m sure I am not alone in thinking that the secrecy surrounding the development of government policies, especially the role of lobbyists, was precisely why we needed freedom of information. He has also said that citizens should be charged for FoI requests. Interestingly ‘a Labour source’ has distanced the party from his appointment, saying that Straw is acting in a personal capacity, and not representing the party, and that “If the government were genuinely interested in improving the workings of the act, it should have chosen a more balanced panel.”

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 21 Comments

Opinion: Debating AV with the Evening Standard

Last Wednesday saw one of the few debates on the issue of AV that are taking place in the run-up to the referendum. Vince Cable paired up with Ken Livingstone to speak for the Yes side, and for the No position Lord Michael Howard teamed up with Olympic Gold Medallist and prominent Labour supporter Martin Cross (with a very humorous Clive Anderson in the Chair).

After Vince opened the debate with a brief overview of the issue, Lord Howard made a good and impassioned speech. However, there seemed to be a contradiction in what he said which thankfully Clive Anderson picked …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 16 Comments

Thanks Jack: Tory right finds a friend in Labour

Justice Secretary Ken Clarke is calling for cuts in Britain’s prison population, following the agenda set by the Lib Dems and previously opposed by both the Conservatives and Labour.

Those Labour activists still clinging desperately onto the idea that the Lib Dems are mere cheerleaders in the coalition are going to have to twist themselves into yet more contortions – or simply  ignore the facts – as they continue to push their line.

As Jack Straw writes in The Mail:

has allowed his government’s penal policy to be dictated not by his own common sense but by Justice Secretary Kenneth

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 18 Comments

YouTube ‘cos we want to: Tory leaders special

Welcome to this latest instalment of our new LDV feature rounding up some of the best/worst/most curious political videos doing the rounds.

How could I not start with David ‘Veer are yur papeers?’ Cameron’s indulgence in a bit of outdated xeno-stereotyping. I find it hard to get worked-up by it – and it certainly doesn’t qualify as racist. It’s just not very Prime Ministerial, is it?

Speaking of not very Prime Ministerial, let’s remind ourselves of one of the prime reasons the Tories are so relieved to have Mr Cameron as their leader: Iain Duncan Smith, here in full oratorical flow ‘turning up the volume’:

Posted in YouTube | Also tagged , , and | 10 Comments

Quick’s marching orders: too harsh, or just right?

Bob Quick, “Britain’s most senior anti-terrorism officer” as he’s known to every paper, has resigned after he was photographed yesterday outside Number 10 holding an outline briefing on an on-going counter-terrorism operation inadvertently exposing the names of several senior officers, locations and details about the nature of the overseas threat.

It prompts two questions in my mind.

First, are we holding public figures in senior office to the right standard?

No-one is suggesting Bob Quick deliberately leaked the briefing. Clearly he’d just been reading it in the car in preparation for a meeting, and didn’t think to put it back in …

Posted in News and Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 8 Comments
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