01 March 2010

Has there ever been a Monday like this?

The day starts off calmly enough.  Cameron gives a silly interview.  Brown takes himself off to Reading to make a little speech.  Just before he gets to his feet, Michael Ashcroft tells us what we already know.  Labour make a big fuss, kicking into the long grass that they have Ashcroft look-a-likes.  Meanwhile, Michael Gove makes speech.

Now, matters descend into farce.  Alan Johnson cancels a press conference due to “technical problems”.  Then, it is suddenly announced that Brown will miss PMQs this week due to the planned visit of Jacob Zuma.

Finally, when it is all too late, along comes Mike Smithson to suggest that Brown should get down to the Palace.

Andrew Sparrow is doing a wonderful job keeping track of it all.

Meanwhile, in the real world a BBC survey suggests that thousands of council workers will lose their jobs, with one expert saying the figure could be nearer 100,000.  Oh, nearly forgot, the pound has tumbled to a 10-month low due to the possibility of a hung parliament and the concerns about government debt.

What's in store for the afternoon?

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  1. I'm puzzled by the attack on Ashcroft.

    - It's too late in the day to make a difference, he's been propping up the marginals for ages.

    - This hangs on a hair-splitting interpretation of 'residence' versus 'domiciled'. If Ashcroft (and his financial and legal advisers) wanted to pay full taxes, they would have stated 'domiciled'. If the Appointments Commission or the Revenue were unhappy they would have said so a decade ago.

    - No-one supping a pint down the Voters' Arms really knows or cares who he is.

    - Labour are horrendously exposed on their own history of donations and peerages....they've got nondoms, Blair's tax arrangements are now open to question and cash for honours trumps it all - we all know they were at it!

    - Same for Lib Dems, taking cash from crooks and having to repay it.

    - Seeing Straw and the others wheeled out to put the boot in is somewhat unedifying... particularly as there is some doubt about whether Straw was acting in party or ministerial capacity when he has a day job to do (it is unclear what party role he has). Maybe FoI to the Justice Department might shed some light...

    - It completely drowns out any Labour attempt to put policies out there....Brown was speaking this morning....and this will annoy the Voters' Arms patrons.

    This stinks of Balls/Whelan/McBride....over the top, cack-handed, drive-by rather than stiletto or garotte...

  2. I couldn't agree more. It was a good day to concentrate on other things and I am glad I did.

  3. I've got the Rawnsley book...fascinating reading.

  4. You are you step ahead of me, but that isn't difficult.

  5. Tories back up to 7 on YouGov and at 5 on ComRes. Probably the end of the jitters and hopefully DC now has a grip. I think these things are cyclical, or pendulum-like (is there a decent adjective, maybe pendular, not pendulous as that sounds pornographic) and that the Tories will probably swing back up towards the 40s.

    I suspect that Labour will regret the Ashcroft furore. This would have been better on Friday, to obscure Brown's Chilcot appearance, and does little other than to muddy the dirty waters even further. They shouldn't overshadow Brown's utterances - or waste Alan Johnson's or Jack Straw's time - with such trivia.

    Will Balls, McBride or Whelan be seeing the Headmaster with a copy of The Wealth of Nations (or Rawnsley's tome) down the back of their shorts for a Nokia-thrashing??