Tag Archives: tom watson

Jeremy Corbyn’s kinder, more caring politics in action #1 Tom Watson

Well that didn’t take long.

Barely 12 hours after I wrote last night that Jeremy Corbyn had given us something to throw back at any Labour nastiness, Corbyn’s own deputy Tom Watson took a right pop at us in his speech to Labour Conference.

From PoliticsHome:

I did go too far though when I compared the Lib Dems to a Banarama tribute band. Some people were angry, and I accept that I crossed the line. What I said was demeaning, unjustified and wrong. Siobhan, Sara, Keren – I should never have compared your tribute acts to that useless bunch of lying sellouts, the Lib Dems and I’m sorry.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 44 Comments

A cute cross-party christening

Tom Watson is Labour MP or West Bromwich and general scourge of the Murdoch empire, which is no bad thing. He’s pretty much with us when he talks about the need to tackle politicians’ deference to the media.

He’s an old friend and university sparring partner of long-standing Liberal Democrat Federal Executive and Federal Conference Committee member James Gurling and this weekend became godfather to Gurling’s incredibly cute 9 month old son.

Posted in News | Also tagged | 8 Comments

Miliband vs McCluskey: 2 points that strike me about the Labour/Unite row over alleged candidate selection rigging

Looking in from the outside, albeit as a former Labour member myself, two points strike me about the Labour/Unite row over the alleged attempt by the union to rig the selection of the party’s general election candidate in Falkirk.

The first is this:

How lucky is Ed Miliband in his opponent, Len McCluskey?

Yes, you read that right. Ed is lucky in Len. The reason why is simple: Len McCluskey has gone about his attempted putsch of Labour in an extraordinarily cack-handed manner.

If you wanted to set up a comedy caricature trade union boss, you’d make sure he had a salary of £122,000, had called for a general strike, have him make threats against prominent Labour ‘Blairites’, and then protest against the lefty New Statesman when it reports accurately what you’ve said.

If you wanted to be a smart trade union leader, however, you’d operate below-the-radar. You’d do things just the same: ensure your chosen candidate was elected Labour leader (however dubiously), line up your mate to head up the party’s election campaigns, and guarantee loyal union members are installed in as many key seats as possible.

But you’d do so sotto voce.

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

A trio of Tory / Liberal Democrat disagreements in government

Like London buses, Tory / Liberal Democrat disagreements are coming along all bunched together at the moment:

Energy Secretary Chris Huhne has criticised “climate sceptics” and others who he argues are decrying the UK’s potential for renewable power … His comments are being interpreted by some as a riposte to Chancellor George Osborne who is believed to be more sceptical about the investment needed. (BBC)

Vince Cable rejects proposal to abolish unfair dismissal laws: Business secretary said plan devised by strategist Steve Hilton was unnecessary and unlikely to improve labour market flexibility (The Guardian)

In order to safeguard the NHS, free at

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , , , and | 2 Comments

Opinion: Hackgate – Who do you trust?

5 Live Drive had a poll yesterday on “Who do you trust?”, particularly with Hackgate in mind.

Emerging, blinking, from two weeks of saturation “Breaking News”, answering that question is a good way to take stock of where we are.

Who do I trust?

Vince Cable is the first person who springs to mind. He (inadvertently publicly) “declared war on Mr Murdoch”. He was then forced to be “hors de combat”. He said “I think we are going to win” and we did. Murdoch is in retreat. Well done, Vince.

Tom Watson is the second person I trust as a result of this …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , and | 7 Comments

Julian Huppert MP calls for Digital Economy Act rethink

This week Julian Huppert tabled Early Day Motion 1913: Disconnection of Users from the Internet, which calls for a rethink on last year’s Digital Economy Act.

From the Register:

A Liberal Democrat MP is demanding a repeal of the Digital Economy Act having tabled an early day motion in Parliament yesterday, which so far has gained nine signatures from across the political spectrum.

Julian Huppert wants the UK government to debate the issue in the House of Commons. Signatories include Labour MPs Tom Watson and Eric Joyce as well as Tory backbencher Peter Bottomley.

The Lib Dem MP has made similar

Posted in News | Also tagged , , and | 2 Comments

PMQs: Pots, kettles, medians and Erskine May

Pity poor old Ken Clarke. When your own side are saying you are too old for the job, then you know things are bad. Phillip Hollobone (Con) asked at Prime Ministers’ Questions why magistrates have to retire at 70 years old while the man who appoints them, the Justice Secretary – Clarke, is 71 years old. With friends like that….

Posted in PMQs | Also tagged , , , , , , , and | 9 Comments

Why commission a report if you’re determined to ignore its conclusions?

Last August, the then Labour government commissioned a KPMG report into the future of NHS Direct (along with some other related NHS services). The report has been submitted to the current government, though not published.

So if Labour MPs and members were saying how the government must publish the KPMG report right away to see if it justifies the plans to migrate NHS Direct over to the planned 111 service, fair enough.

But for many in Labour to be demanding that the NHS Direct plans be abandoned without knowing the outcome of the KPMG report is tantamount to saying, “Who cares …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 14 Comments

Government websites to use Open Source “wherever possible”

In response to a question from Tom Watson, Government minister Francis Maude asserted that Government departmental websites should “wherever possible” use Open Source Software.  This is very significant change in emphasis from the previous government, which merely said that open source and proprietary solutions should both be considered on an equal footing.

The implication, if this policy is implemented, will be departments having to justify not using open source for their websites should they choose to go down the proprietary route.  We await seeing how this turns out in practice, since warm words from the cabinet office don’t necessarily translate …

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 16 Comments

Liberal Democrats back campaign to free our postcodes

Welcome news from the blog of Lynne Featherstone (who, apart from being a LibDem MP, is also chair of the party’s Technology Advisory Board):

We need postcodes to be owned by the public – not sold to the public. Postcodes are the basic pre-requisite for allowing services to be developed that support democratic accountability.

It’s an important issue because the Royal Mail’s decision to take a hard line in enforcing its legal rights means a range of useful public services – including ones to help unemployed people find jobs and to help residents hear about planning applications near them – have …

Posted in News and Party policy and internal matters | Also tagged , , , and | 10 Comments
Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarPeter Hirst 21st Apr - 2:16pm
    It makes sense to bring these assessments in-house so that some expertise is built up, the right decisions made and applicants are treated with respect...
  • User AvatarRichard Underhill 21st Apr - 2:16pm
    marcstevens: "Every day we’re treated to EU and migrant phobia … much of it lies and will be proved as such." Please see 'This Blessed...
  • User Avatarmatt 21st Apr - 2:03pm
    frankie Please will you stop making everything about brexit. This has nothing to do with brexit whatsoever. This is an issue that has been going...
  • User AvatarRob Parsons 21st Apr - 1:56pm
    @Joseph Bourke thank you :-)
  • User Avatarfrankie 21st Apr - 1:39pm
    Question is "What is the aim of Disablity payments, to maximise profit or to support the disabled?". If it to maximise profit the present system...
  • User AvatarJoseph Bourke 21st Apr - 12:59pm
    Thanks for that, Rob. It looks like you have been able to get a strong team of candidates together. Good luck to Lewes Liberal Democrats...