Diary

ConHome Diary: The Consequences of Windrush & Spinning the Local Elections

20 Apr 2018 at 10:43

Back in 2006 the then Labour Home Secretary John Reid described his own department as “not fit for purpose”. Twelve years on very little seems to have changed. Even after eight years of Tory occupation, six of which were controlled by Theresa May, it is still the department which is most likely to embarrass the whole government. And so it was this week over the so-called Windrush children. It’s tempting to blame incompetent and cack-handed civil servants in this situation, and to an extent that is true in this scenario. However it is spun, though, in the end the buck has to stop with politicians, who can’t say they weren’t warned. Jeremy Corbyn even raised in in PMQs on 14 March. Didn’t someone bother to actually check what was going on? I know several Tory MPs who say they had also warned that something wasn’t right, but no one pick up the ball. Amber Rudd has always had a reputation as a safe pair of hands. Caroline Nokes made an impressive start in her job with a very feisty interview with Sarah Smith on the Sunday Politics, but both these ministers are now on probation. If they don’t sort out this situation and ensure that the Windrush children are treated properly and with respect, they will suffer the political consequences.
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As if most of us didn’t know it before, surely the last seven days have proved why Jeremy Corbyn would make a disastrous prime minister. As Theresa May pointed out, he would effectively give Russia a veto over our foreign policy. Even a dolt can see that if you commit to going through the United Nations in every aspect of your foreign policy, you give the Russians a de facto veto. Jeremy Corbyn denies he is a pacifist, yet has never been able to give a single example of where he thought military action was ever justified. I’d have more respect for him if he just came out and declared that he was a pacifist after all. At least that’s an intellectually sustainable position. Sort of.
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The Pound reached the dizzy heights of $1.43 this week, and EUR 1.16, the highest since the EU referendum. Just so you know, seeing as so many people seem to think it is still 20% lower.
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There are only 13 days to go until polling day in the local elections. Not that you’d know it. I haven’t seen any local activity at all, either where I live in Kent or in London. Maybe it’s different elsewhere, but I doubt it. The common consensus seems to be that the Conservatives are in for a drubbing in London, including the possibility of losing control of every single council they control already, including Westminster, K & C and Barnet. However, all is not bleak. Academics seem to think that there will be some gains in the Midlands. I wonder how many of us remember 1990, when the Tories had a terrible night but party chairman Ken Baker appeared the next morning with his characteristic beaming smile outside Central Office declaring the night had been a triumph given that against all odds his party had retained control of Westminster and Wandsworth. Amazingly h got away with it, albeit the prime minister resigned five months later. I can see Brandon Lewis learning from history…
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I’ve been trying to think of a more queasy sight than Emmanuel Macron trying to nose his way as far up Donald Trump’s arse as he can possibly get. And I’ve succeeded. Justin Trudeau dressing him and his family in Indian clothes during their visit to the country. Sick making. Trudeau and Macron are two peas from the same political pod. Ghastly show offs, but with little to show off beyond Colgate smiles and an ability to virtue-signal.
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On Tuesday I interviewed Neville Lawrence. Sunday will mark the 25th anniversary of his son Stephen’s murder. He told me that his rediscovered religious beliefs had given him the ability to forgive his son’s killers. He admitted that he had wanted revenge and was full of anger for a very long time. Who wouldn’t be? But he realised that anger was destructive. He also said he would meet his son’s killers if they wanted to see him. I will admit that I was nervous about doing this interview, but I had no need to be. Dr Lawrence is one of those people with an inner calmness and serenity that is so impressive, you just want to listen rather than interrupt with another question. I will be thinking of him and his family on Sunday.
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I made my debut on Question Time last night. As I’m writing this a few hours before the programme, let me tell you if I had a brick in my arse, I’d be shitting it. I’ve done ANY QUESTIONS quite a few times, but never Question Time. It’s always rankled in a way, but I have to say I am immensely looking forward to it. My only sorrow is that Diane Abbott has pulled out. Was it something I might have said…?

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