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Where is Jo Swinson when you need her?

By Angela Harbutt
January 13th, 2010 at 2:07 pm | 12 Comments | Posted in Liberal Democrats, UK Politics

Apologies to Jo if she did comment on it. But after all those mad cries for bans on airbrushing, I can’t find a single comment from her on “that David Cameron” picture. fake1












Is it terrible to fool a few silly women – but OK to deceive the whole electorate? It’s all nonsense as far as I am concerned. But some consistency would be nice. Maybe it’s just airbrushed WOMEN she objects to?

(Hat tip to Guido  (its his picture) who pointed out the glaring similarities between the over-airbrushed David Cameron and  Data from Star Trek.

UPDATE: As you will see from the comments posted – Jo Swinson has indeed commented on David Cameron’s airbrushing. Check out the comments ..but essentially Jo said the following at a House of Commons debate: Media Images (women and girls) on Jan 11thIndeed, it seems that some politicians are not immune to that vanity. The Minister may have seen the Conservative party’s new billboard featuring a picture of the Leader of the Opposition looking more than a little airbrushed. I know that he wanted to present the new face of the Conservative party, but had not realised that he meant it literally”.

Jo also tweeted on Jan 5th “something a bit fake about the new Tory poster – is it Dave’s message or just the airbrushing?

Not quite the same attack as that launched on Twiggy is it now Jo? But I was wrong to say that she had not commented quite clearly.

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A demand for a withdrawal from Afghanistan on the cards?

By Angela Harbutt
January 13th, 2010 at 1:43 pm | Comments Off on A demand for a withdrawal from Afghanistan on the cards? | Posted in Liberal Democrats, UK Politics

At PMQ’s today Nick Clegg questions were focused onthe Chilcot inquiry. Is this another sign that Nick is moving towards a demand for a full withdrawal from Afghanistan?

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New drugs Tsar appointed: “cannabis should be legalised”

By Angela Harbutt
January 13th, 2010 at 1:01 pm | 3 Comments | Posted in UK Politics

Today we have been told that Prof Les Iversen has replaced Prof David Nutt as the chairman of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) on an interim basis (12 month contract).

This is the same Prof Iversen who was quoted back in 2003 as saying…

“…There have been no deaths to date caused by the use of cannabis….Cannabis should be legalised not just decriminalised because it is comparatively less dangerous than legal drugs alcohol and tobacco”

In the wake of Professor Nutt’s sacking, (and five members of the panel resigning in protest at the sacking) Alan Johnson was forced to publicly confirm his commitment to the independence of Government advisers. Unfortunately, that’s not quite how it came across today. On radio 5 Live’s Victoria Derbyshire show earlier, the new Drugs Tsar (or dont we use that term anymore?) seemed to be pulling back from the sentiments he expressed back in 2003- siting that things “have changed” since 2003. Would that be his appointment to the chair…. and/or the Government sacking of his predecessor I wonder?

Meanwhile Professor Nutt has not let the grass grow under his feet (bad pun I know). He has now created a rival  “Independent Council on Drug Harms”. Somehow I dont think that the word “Independent” in the title is there by accident. The rival council will be joined by four of the five ex-ACMD members who resigned when Prof Nutt was sacked, and five members of the current ACMD. The professor said that his new group would provide independent scientific evidence about the effects of drugs, and that its “goal” was to supplant what the ACMD was doing. He certainly seems to have attracted an impressive line up and attracting five members from the current ACMD must be considered a coup.

For those of us seeking honesty from the scientific community this has to be a good thing. It will certainly concentrate the minds of the ACMD when making future recommendations. But overall this is a sad endictment on the Government and its treatment of its advisers that we have arrived at the position of having TWO panels tussling for power on the issue of drugs.

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Your song is ending Gordon

By Angela Harbutt
January 11th, 2010 at 6:32 pm | 2 Comments | Posted in Weird and Wonderful

doctor-whoSo,  now we all know that the outgoing Doctor has come out dissing David Cameron. In the most recent edition of Doctor Who magazine David Tennant admits to finding David Cameron a terrifying prospect” – this from the man that has laughed his way through fights with the likes of Cybermen, Daleks and the vashta nerada week in week out for the past few years!

Should we be surprised? Perhaps not. It has been perfectly clear to me that the Doctor has been going mad in recent episodes… the growing God complex that led him to believe that he could do pretty much what he wanted with impunity;  lost all his friends; ending up as johnny-no-mates  hanging around with the only other being left from “his world” who hates him and is even more insane than he is (and calls himself The Master). 

Doctor Who is Gordon Brown? Surely that just cant be. No I just wont have it! …. But it might explain why the Doctor thinks David Cameron is so “terrifying”. And we all know the Doctor trashed his own planet a while back…..the ill fitting suits… the Scottish origins….Lets hope Gordon can’t do that regeneration thing . Who knows who he might come back as.

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Clegg ups the ante – how will Cameron respond?

By Angela Harbutt
January 11th, 2010 at 12:55 pm | 9 Comments | Posted in Liberal Democrats, UK Politics

nick_clegg_leader_liberal_democratsNick Clegg today announced that he is scrapping some of the Liberal Democrats “big ticket” spending pledges in a move that looks designed to up the ante on David Cameron and Gordon Brown to finally speak out on where they will put the axe.”We have stripped away everything that is not essential because the country cannot afford it” he said.

The following have gone from the Lib Dem manifesto according to the leader :

The committment to providing free childcare to everybody

The committement to scrap tuition fees in one parliament. It will now be rolled out over six years – year group by year group – starting with final year students.

 The commitment to a new citizen’s pension. This will no longer be a firm commitment in the Lib Dem manifesto.

The committment to free personal care has also gone.

He reiterated his pledge to a whole list of things -most of which I have listed later.

Its not a perfect speech -I still struggle to see how the mansion tax is fair – but that – as the Lib Dems have argued in the past-  local tax is unfair (both based on the value of your property) – and the “rebalanced green economy” talk still comes across as wooly and pie-in-the sky stuff. (And for the life of me I cannot tell whether is was genius of gaff to criticise the Gina Ford books on babycare just hours before such an important speech).

But if his plan was to highlight David Cameron’s deception in NOT telling us where the axe will fall under the Tories – then he has probably achieved that.


Of course, some will argue that David Cameron can easily continue to evade this question – and plough his own furrow, ignoring the Lib Dem as an irrelevant side show. What’s different this time around are the leaders debates. Nick has been given the gift of being put on an equal footing with both Brown and Cameron on three separate programmes – where the partys (or at least their leaders) can and will be compared on a like-for-like basis. And whilst the chance of a hung parliament is still an outside chance at best, Cameron’s overtures to Lib Dem voters suggests he does at least count it as a possibility that Lib Dem voters will matter at the upcoming election.

The activists are expected to complain bitterly about the down-scaling of their beloved tuition fees policy. I would say to them “hold your fire”. Nick might just have caused the Tory party a headache or two they hoped to avoid. Let’s see how they respond.

And here’s the list of stuff that he reiterated today (none of this is new as far as I can tell)….

a 10% levy on banks profits as long as they are underwritten by the taxpayer;

no to the like-for-like replacement of Trident;

an end to tax credits to above average income families;

cancelling the Government’s Baby Bond scheme;

a £400 cap on all public sector pay increases;

closing of loopholes for the richest (whatever that might actually mean);

introduction of a tax on mansions;

no-one to pay income tax on the first £10,000 they earn;

reduction in the number of MPs by 150;

devolving power over the police and NHS to local communities;

changing the voting system to abolish safe seats;

giving constituents the right to sack corrupt MPs;

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