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Showing posts from June 5, 2013

Dave sees red at Arrows 'axe'

/li> 17 comments A sense of humour can be a dangerous thing, David Cameron learned after teasing hacks on board his plane during his North Africa tour. Rebuking one paper for claiming the SAS faced the chop, he said: ‘It’s total rot. I suppose tomorrow there’ll be a headline Red Arrows To Be Scrapped and the day after, Trooping The Colour Abandoned.’ Sure enough, when he landed in the UK yesterday, one front page screamed: Red Arrows Face Axe. Sighed Dave: ‘I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.’ Dismayed: David Cameron's joke about the Red Arrows backfired, leaving him not knowing whether to laugh or cry *********************************************************************************************** Would-be Prime Minister Adam Afriyie, exposed for plotting to succeed David Cameron, is not the first Windsor Tory MP to be caught out by this newspaper. Ten years ago, his predecessor Michael Trend was forced to quit after we revealed how he fiddled £90,000 exp

Black dog: Try marriage guidance, boys

/li> 6 comments MP Mike Freer is at loggerheads with Hendon¿s Matthew Offord over gay marriage plans Two neighbouring North London Tory MPs have not spoken to each other for more than a year in a simmering feud over gay marriage. Finchley’s Mike Freer, who spoke emotionally in favour of the move in the Commons this week, citing his love for his male partner, is at loggerheads with Hendon’s Matthew Offord – a staunch opponent. Freer curtly refused to let Offord interrupt his speech – and when Offord  did stand to speak, he likened same-sex matrimony to ‘polygamy’. The pair used  to be friends – now they need mediation.   Sports Minister Hugh Robertson – happily married to wife Anna for ten years – is being ribbed by unreconstructed Conservative colleagues over his unenviable job of steering the same-sex marriage Bill on to the statute book. Says a friend: ‘The next MP to bowl up to him and shout, “Hello, Duckie” in a high, camp voice will probably get a thump.’   Uns

Black dog: Right image for the BBC, James?

/li> 1 comments Ex-Labour Cabinet Minister James Purnell is the BBC's new £300,000-a-year strategy chief Will ex-Labour Cabinet Minister James Purnell improve Auntie’s standards as the BBC’s new £300,000-a-year strategy chief? As an MP he was embroiled in a fake-photos scandal when his image was crudely inserted into a publicity shot after he turned up late to an event. Purnell claimed it was all a misunderstanding – but MPs who featured alongside him said they had discussed how the picture would be doctored. Weeks earlier, he had accused broadcasters of ‘forfeiting public trust’ with scandals over doctored footage and faked competitions.   There were embarrassed groans when Tory chairman Grant Shapps issued a rallying cry to MPs to join the election trail in Eastleigh, where disgraced Lib Dem Chris Huhne was forced to resign. ‘Unlike its former MP, our excellent candidate Maria Hutchings does not tell lies about herself or anyone else!’ yapped Shapps. Is this

Black Dog: Farage's bid to rock the vote

/li> 0 shares 22 comments As UKIP’s vote appears to be surging in the Eastleigh by-election, party leader Nigel Farage is trying every trick to maximise his advantage.  He has co-written a pop song, bizarrely based on one of his speeches to the European Parliament, and performed by a Portuguese rock outfit called ‘JOE x Ppl’ of all things. The dirge-like riff, released tomorrow, turns a Farage rant about the financial crisis into ‘music’.   At the Eastleigh by-election: UKIP Leader Nigel Farage knocks on doors Listening to it, Dog reached straight for the ear-muffs. Nigel had better hope the voters don’t do likewise.   Flamboyant ex-Tory MP Jerry Hayes, who returned to his old job as a lawyer after being kicked out by the voters,  reveals that it was he who persuaded Chris Huhne’s former wife Vicky Pryce to use the ‘marital coercion’ defence in their speeding points case. To his annoyance, Vicky then chose another barrister to defend her – a lucky escape, gi

BLACK DOG: Jibe blows up in Toby's face

/li> 0 shares 0 comments It was a tough ask for anyone involved in the Eastleigh by-election to top Labour candidate John O’Farrell’s crass remark that he wished Margaret Thatcher had died in the Brighton bomb. But Toby Perkins, the Labour MP who helped O’Farrell, came close. In a cack-handed tribute to by-election runners-up UKIP, rugby-playing Perkins said: ‘UKIP ran a chaotic, organic campaign but, like  Al Qaeda, it was effective.’ Minus the suicide bombers, he forgot to add. Thatcher joke: Ed Miliband visiting Eastleigh to meet John O' Farrell for the by-election For once, Boris Johnson did not use David Cameron’s by-election woes to rub his Tory rival’s nose in the dirt. Asked about the party’s defeat in Eastleigh, the London Mayor creased his blond brow and grunted: ‘Small earthquake in Chile, time to move on.’ Which may go down well with the PM, if less so with the small community of Chilean expatriates in Johnson’s London.   Claire and a case of

BLACK DOG: Huhne misses the key point

/li> 10 comments Chris Huhne wrote a guide for a university magazine The seeds of Chris Huhne’s downfall were sown 40 years ago when he was a scheming young Machiavelli at Oxford. The former Cabinet Minister – who will be sentenced tomorrow for the speeding points fiasco – wrote a guide to the black arts for a university magazine that advised would-be politicians to ‘stab’ their foes at every opportunity, join whichever party gave them the best chance of getting to the top, and to stay away from Westminster if they were a ‘nice guy who likes his mamma’. Dog has a new one: don’t display such ruthlessness if you have a vengeful Greek ex-wife.   David Cameron has evoked Chairman Mao’s Cultural Revolution to apologise to his MPs for the party-splitting row over gay marriage. The PM told backbenchers at a recent lunch that there would not be ‘any more cultural wars in the Conservative Party’ – a sign that he is in no hurry to push any more divisive social policy ideas. O

Black Dog: Hunt's so sorry for his Nazi jibe

/li> 2 comments Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt (pictured) bizarrely name-checked SS chief Heinrich Himmler while making a gag about Labour MP Michael Dugher Labour MP Michael Dugher is spitting blood over an ‘outrageously stupid’ Nazi-themed gag apparently aimed at him by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt. As Mr Dugher (and his guitar) waited to perform at an MPs’ talent show for charity last week, compere Mr Hunt bizarrely name-checked SS chief Heinrich Himmler – before immediately adding: ‘And  now here’s Michael Dugher!’ Friends of Mr Dugher, MP for Barnsley East in Yorkshire, say he is livid over the incident; the Health Secretary blames  a misunderstanding. Either way, Dog hears an apology will be on its way.   Ex-Tory Minister Gillian Shephard’s new book, which reveals how Maggie Thatcher used her sex appeal to woo Ronald Reagan and Francois Mitterrand, did not surprise defence chiefs. A veteran brass hat recalls Mrs T clinched a £30 billion fighter-aircraft deal with

BLACK DOG: Tories inflate their chances

/li> 4 shares 27 comments Asked about George Osborne's decision to let the Bank of England's new Governor, Canadian-born Mark Carney, pump more cash into the economy, one of the Chancellor's aides confided: 'It's simple: Carney's job is to turn on the printing presses and not turn them off until the recession is over.' A cynic's translation might be: Cause as much inflation as you want if it wins us the next Election – we don't give a damn what happens afterwards. David Cameron's obsession with The Smiths is such that he felt compelled to summon his best Morrissey impression and give a rendition of William, It Was Really Nothing at Downing Street. Inflate: Chancellor George Osborne, left, and new Bank of England governor Mark Carney, right The performance was for the benefit of ex-MP Louise Mensch's husband Peter – a rock manager who must have heard worse caterwauling in his time. 'It sounded as if he was

Black Dog: So that's why it's called the conko

/li> 2 comments Dog hopes David Miliband’s new employers, International Rescue Committee, don’t leave him stranded as they did when Labour overseas aid spokesman Ivan Lewis went to the Congo in Africa. An IRC boat ferrying him across Lake Kivu, known as an ‘exploding lake’ owing to sporadic volcanic gases, conked out, leaving Lewis adrift in the jungle as night fell. He had to be rescued by another boat. New career: Dog hopes that David Miliband's new employer don't leave him stranded as they did Labour overseas aid spokesman Ivan Lewis in the Congo  Tony Blair's former spin doctor, Alastair Campbell, has been asking friends in high places when the long awaited Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq War is to be published, Dog hears. Why so eager? Surely no one could criticise Campbell for his role in the bogus ‘45 minutes from doom’ dossier on Saddam’s weapons, the second ‘dodgy dossier’ crudely copied from out-of-date internet info or events prior to the death

BLACK DOG: A hip answer to grumpy Glenda: Could grumpy Left-wing MP need another operation?

/li> 27 comments The acidic tone struck by Left-wing MP Glenda Jackson during Commons ‘tributes’ to Baroness Thatcher shocked fellow MPs – it sounded as though the former actress had swallowed a bottle of balsamic vinegar. Labour elder statesman Barry Sheerman, who made the most pro-Maggie speech from his side, later observed: ‘People say Glenda lightened up a bit a couple of years ago when she had a hip op.’ To which a wag replied: ‘Maybe it’s time to get the other one done.’ Letting rip: Fellow MPs were shocked at Glenda Jackson's outburst against Margaret Thatcher   Former Shadow Home Secretary David Davis says he is the author of David Cameron’s best joke in his Thatcher tribute: ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day, but Mrs T wasn’t the foreman on that job.’   More... London's ring of steel: Preparations in full swing ahead of Baroness Thatcher's funeral as police get ready to launch biggest security operation since the Olympics Says Davis: ‘I wrote it

BLACK DOG: Maggie and Denis - reunited at at last

/li> 3 comments Margaret Thatcher believed she would be reunited with late husband Denis after her death, according to Baroness Anne Jenkin, a close friend of the former PM. At peace: Lady Thatcher shared a strong bond with her late husband Denis ‘She was a deeply religious woman and there is reason to believe she genuinely thought she would see Denis again in heaven,’ said Baroness Jenkin, wife of Tory MP Bernard Jenkin. ‘Theirs was a true love match and it would be nice to think it is true.’   Sneering Jeremy Paxman got both barrels when he observed to one of the brass hats who accompanied the cortege that ‘the military are a minority pursuit in this country now’. Major General Matthew Sykes, honorary colonel of the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery, fired back: ‘We may have reached the point where there are more people in the BBC than in the Armed Forces, but that doesn’t make it a minority pursuit.’ Touché!   Bewhiskered Rob puts Sally in the shade The barrel-c

Black dog: By Gove, Happy Birthday Ma'am

/li> 0 shares 8 comments Michael Gove came to the rescue when he took his children to St Mary Abbots Church in Kensington last Sunday.  Not one pinkie went up when trendy Reverend Gillean Craig said: ‘Hands up any children with a birthday so we can all sing Happy Birthday.’ The awkward silence was broken by the geeky chap in specs at the back. ‘It’s Her Majesty the Queen’s birthday today. Let’s sing the national anthem for her!’ Step forward the patriotic Education Secretary. Michael Gove struck a patriotic note when he encouraged the congregation to sing the national anthem in celebration of the Queen's birthday    The PM has aimed another jibe at multi-millionaire Tory MP Zac Goldsmith for leading a revolt over planning laws for home extensions. This newspaper revealed last week how indignant Cameron said of Goldsmith: ‘Who does that man think he’s accountable to? Now he has had another eruption, spluttering: ‘It’s all right for Zac – he’s got such a bi

BLACK DOG: 'Ugly' Gove's big attraction

/li> 0 comments Reports of Sarah Vine’s hilarious account of how her husband, Education Secretary Michael Gove, upset Mick Jagger by making jokes about his tackle after they stood next to each other at an Oxford University urinal missed the point, so to speak. When Gove asked for a lift back to London, the riled wrinkly rocker snarled: ‘In the f****** boot.’ But Dog gathers it may have been more out of envy than fury. One of Gove’s chums explains: ‘When people ask Sarah why she is married to a man who calls himself ugly, she smiles broadly and says, “It wasn’t his big heart that first attracted me.” ’ Big attraction: Sarah Vine, wife of Michael Gove, pictured, says it wasn't the Education Secretary's big heart that attracted her   How convenient for David Cameron’s blunt-speaking Aussie election guru Lynton Crosby that the Prime Minister is to ditch from next week’s Queen’s Speech plans for cigarettes to be sold in plain packaging. Lynton’s PR firm Crosby T

Black Dog: Party rivalry for Nad and Dave

/li> 0 comments The hostilities between David Cameron and Nadine Dorries – welcomed back into his party through gritted teeth by the  PM – will tomorrow spill out on to the  Tory cocktail party circuit. Barely minutes after David Davis had sent out his invitations to a ‘Welcome Back Nadine’ champagne reception, ambitious young Tories received an email making it clear that they were expected at a ‘vital’ No 10 campaign meeting at the same time. ‘We get the message,’ said one double-invitee. ‘If you want a job, ditch Nad.’ The hostilities between David Cameron and Nadine Dorries will tomorrow spill out on to the Tory cocktail party circuit  Since George Osborne hired former BBC producer Thea Rogers as an adviser, he has undergone an image overhaul: his fogeyish suits look sharper and his foppish quiff has been chopped.  But Ms Rogers, 30, who joined the Treasury last autumn, is also having an impact in other ways. ‘She is completely ferocious in meetings,’ says on

BLACK DOG: Skiing accident MP Graham Stuart a victim of power politics as officials reject expenses claim for electric wheelchair

/li> 5 shares 30 comments After the scandal of MPs claiming duck houses on the taxpayer, Commons expenses chiefs scrutinise every claim.  But spare a thought for Tory MP Graham Stuart, recovering from crippling injuries after a skiing accident. 'My doctor told them that to carry out my MPs' duties, I probably needed an electric wheelchair. The expenses officials said that since I only 'probably' needed an electric one, I'd have to make do with a manual one. I ask you?' Crippling: Tory MP Graham Stuart was told by expenses officials to make do with a manual wheelchair ******************************************************************************************************************** James Wharton, the 29-year-old Tory who won an MPs' ballot to get the chance to turn plans for an EU referendum into reality in 2017, should enjoy his moment in the sun. He is unlikely to be in Parliament when the historic plebiscite takes place: Teessid

Bayern Munich v Chelsea: Champions League final analysis

/li> 10 comments RAMPAGING RIBERY Playing right back for Chelsea will be the hardest job on the pitch and it is Roberto Di Matteo’s toughest decision whether to go for Jose Bosingwa or Paulo Ferreira to replace Branislav Ivanovic. Containing Franck Ribery is key for Chelsea. If the full back does a proper job on him, Ribery can drift inside looking for the ball and his attacking threat can get snarled up in midfield traffic. But if he stays wide, is given space and plenty of ball, Ribery can destroy defences. Wing wizards: Arjen Robben (left) and Franck Ribery will pose a danger That is why Di Matteo’s selection decision is crucial. I think he’ll go for Bosingwa because Ferreira lacks a bit of pace and, with two centre halves nursing injuries, Bosingwa could move seamlessy to replace one of themif he has to. THE CENTRAL ISSUE The absence of John Terry is a huge miss. Gary Cahill and David Luiz last started a Champions League match together away to Napoli, where Ashle

Brendan Rodgers will succeed at Liverpool: Jamie Redknapp

/li> 0 shares 32 comments I spent some time with Brendan Rodgers when I started my coaching badges at Chelsea. He was reserve-team manager then and I could see he had something about him. We have spoken since about his coaching methods and his football philosophy. This is it: ‘The other team can’t score against you if they haven’t got the ball.’ He wants his teams to pass in all areas. He has used a system that has worked in Spain, especially for Barcelona —  principally the two centre halves split, the full backs push on and the holding midfielder steps in and plays from there. Everyone is encouraged to get on the ball, take risks, pass it, keep it. Liverpool will be playing the tiki-taka style. High flier: Liverpool want Brendan Rodgers to continue the run of success he had as boss of Swansea He won’t change at Liverpool, but he will need time to implement his way of playing. The Liverpool crowd will be patient, because they love and understand th

England issues for France match - Jamie Redknapp

/li> 4 comments Young and free England’s key player is Ashley Young. Our two wide players will be running marathons trying to track back and support the defence and the two midfielders, Scott Parker and Steven Gerrard, will have to be disciplined. England will try to mirror Chelsea’s performance against Bayern Munich, so it’s crucial for Young to find pockets of space at the other end. He has had mixed success in that ‘Rooney role’ and finds it harder when the opposition play a midfield three, as France will, with a holding player to close the space. Key man: Ashley Young is England's most important player It’s a specialist’s position; when the ball comes your way, you have to decide whether to pop it off or control, turn and run. He’s quick but his natural game is not playing with his back to goal. The far left Cover: James Milner will have to be on his game France’s strong point is their left side of Patrice Evra and Franck Ribery. They will come down that

Euro 2012: England were outnumbered in midfield - Jamie Redknapp

/li> 17 comments I want to pick out the work rate of Steven Gerrard and Scott Parker, although I worry they had too much ground to cover. It's hard to play with two central midfielders in international football when most rivals, like France, play with three. France are a good team but not outstanding and the workload for these two England midfielders was too great. Grafters: England's two in the middle had to do the work of three men   That was a hard game for the pair, not because of a lack of fitness or because of a long season but because they were outnumbered. I wonder if Roy Hodgson will change it if England go deeper into the competition or at least get one of the forwards to lend more of a hand and drop back. Great Scott: Parker was replaced late in the game by Jordan Henderson He can be Ox-ceptional Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain can be a real weapon for England. I was a little frustrated with his contribution because there is so much more he