Tag Archives: Cameron

Dyer does it again: EastEnders star calls for end of Eton boys running the UK

Danny Dyer: he’s holding a photo of “that melt” Oswald Mosley and his bunch of “fascist slags” the Black Shirts, during a brief documentary clip about the Battle of Cable Street.

It is time for working-class people to take over from Eton alumni – who have made it perfectly clear that they cannot run the UK properly.

That’s the opinion of Danny Dyer, the EastEnders actor and game show host who is himself descended from royalty, let’s remember.

On BBC Breakfast today (October 28), he said:

Dyer has form when it comes to criticising old Eton boys. Today he was commenting on Boris Johnson but he was particularly scathing about Johnson’s former Eton classmate David Cameron – a previous prime minister – not so long ago:

He makes a good point.

This Writer has long said that the inverse ratio between the quality of Eton’s reputation and that of its former pupils; I am glad to see this viewpoint being put to the wider audience that Dyer can command.

Sadly we will continue to be saddled with dimwitted toffs like Cameron and Johnson, as long as the UK Establishment continues to adhere to out-of-date, out-of-touch beliefs that more than 60 million people should have the courses of their lives dictated by an elite few who have absolutely no understand at all of the realities of life here.

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#DavidCameron says austerity made us better-prepared to tackle #Covid19. Phew, what a loony!

… and now we can add “the victims of Covid-19” because he dismantled the systems that had been in place to handle a pandemic infection of this kind. He has come out from under his rock to try to make you think he did some good. Don’t believe a word of it!

Can somebody please put David Cameron back in his box?

He turned up out of nowhere to criticise Boris Johnson for planning to break international law – something that Cameron himself did on a regular basis – and now he seems to think he can run around pronouncing judgements on all and sundry as if he still matters.

He wants us to think that his austerity policies made us better-prepared to tackle Covid-19, when in fact they crippled the UK’s response.

Worse still, he personally presided over the dismantling of all the contingency plans and teams that had been set up to cope with a pandemic disease of exactly this kind.

According to The Mirror:

Mr Cameron argues that cuts introduced when he came to power in 2010 did “fix the roof when the sun was shining”.

He added: “Covid-19 was the rainy day we had been saving for.

“Our actions meant that the next but one administration was able to offer an unprecedented package of measures to prop up the economy.

“I sat watching Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s press conferences thinking how vital it was that we had taken those difficult decisions when we did”

Experts… have said that budget cutbacks left parts of the Government – including the NHS, under prepared for the crisis.

Mr Cameron also rejected the idea that the UK was unprepared for a pandemic, claiming that as a PM the prospect of a disastrous event like a pandemic “is never far from your mind”.

He added: “I knew a pandemic would come one day, possibly sooner rather than later.

“That’s why I made it a ‘tier one risk’ at the National Security Council.

“We also established a sub-committee to deal with Threats, Hazards, Resilience and Contingencies.

“The accusation – which is partly accurate – is that subsequently not enough was done to prepare specifically for what followed.

“But this is what strategists mean when they talk about ‘known unknowns’.

What arrogant nonsense.

In fact, Cameron deliberately dismantled the UK’s capability of handling Covid-19 – as I pointed out back in March:

“The government has devised strategies to deal with such a threat. The problem is, they are all out of date.

“Oldest of them all is the guide to dealing with the fatalities of the pandemic,  last published in 2008. This has never been updated since the Conservatives took over responsibility for it.

“The last strategy written specifically to deal with pandemic flu was published in 2011 – the same year David Cameron’s Conservative-led Coalition government closed the dedicated government Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Team based in the Department of Health, which was tasked with tackling this type of crisis.

“It may explain much that the government’s UK Pandemic Influenza Communications Strategy, the crucial document for getting the right messages across to the public, was written in 2012 and is now wildly inaccurate in its assumptions about how and where people get their information.

“In October 2016, David Cameron’s now wholly-Conservative government carried out an exercise to estimate the impact of a hypothetical influenza pandemic on the United Kingdom. Exercise Cygnus showed that such a pandemic would cause the country’s health system to collapse, due to a lack of resources.

“The Chief Medical Officer of the time said that a lack of medical ventilators was a serious problem that should be rectified, but in 2017 this advice was ignored by the Department of Health under Jeremy Hunt – because it would cost too much. The government was committed to austerity policies, remember.”

That is the legacy of Cameron’s austerity.

It seems clear that he has only come back in a vain attempt to whitewash himself after the facts were publicised.

Don’t let him fool you.

Source: Austerity made UK better prepared to tackle Covid-19, David Cameron claims – Mirror Online

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David Cameron regularly broke international law when he was prime minister. Why the change of heart now?

 

Legacy: this spoof heritage plaque gives a very good summation of David Cameron’s role in the UK’s ongoing Brexit disaster. Why should we take any interest in his views now?

He’s saying the right thing – but for the wrong reasons, and it is still a grotesque act of hypocrisy.

I refer, of course, to former prime minister David Cameron, who regularly, during his time as prime minister of the UK, broke international law but is expressing concern at Boris Johnson doing the same now.

You don’t remember? Allow me to remind you that the United Nations ruled that Cameron’s government broke the law to deliberately harm people with disabilities.

And he broke international law to attack Libya too.

The UN launched its probe into “grave and systematic violations” of the human rights of people with disabilities in 2014, when Cameron was prime minister.

It reported in 2016 – after he had quit (and we’ll get into those details momentarily). The findings showed that austerity policies introduced by Cameron’s government had systematically violated the rights of people with disabilities.

That is an offence in national and international law. The Cameron government had already signalled an intent to repeal the Human Rights Act and withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights that the UK created, possibly in order to dodge this finding.

Boris Johnson’s renewed plan to cut human rights legislation out of the statute book signals that he intends to continue this illegal persecution of people with disabilities. Oh, did you think it was about nailing refugees who have been abusing the law to stay in the UK? Now you know better.

The attacks on Libya took place before Vox Political‘s time but I offer this as an example of commentary explaining why the Cameron government was breaking international law – and, indeed, human rights law – by participating.

So it seems out of character for Cameron to come back from the wilderness after four years and attack Boris Johnson for planning the same:

“Passing an Act of Parliament and then going on to break an international treaty obligation is the very, very last thing you should contemplate. It should be an absolute final resort, so I do have misgivings about what is being proposed,” he said.

It shouldn’t even be a last resort, as others have pointed out:

It is an entirely fabricated threat – indeed, it is one that Boris Johnson created himself. He came up with the EU Withdrawal Agreement that put a customs border in the middle of the Irish Sea. He campaigned for it in a general election and all his current Tory MPs did the same. And he signed it in January.

So it is nonsense for him to turn on us all now and say it is vital to change the terms of the agreement – and all his MPs should be opposing him, not just the few who have so far put their noses above the parapet.

And let’s not forget that Cameron is the man who is most directly responsible for the entire Brexit mess.

He launched the EU membership referendum – it was part of his election manifesto in 2015 – in an attempt to keep the Conservative Party from splitting.

He thought the vote would result in the UK remaining in the EU, silencing Eurosceptics in his party. He was wrong. The public narrowly voted to leave (admittedly on the basis of a stream of lies from Brexiteer campaigners including Boris Johnson). That has led us to where we are now.

And he didn’t even save his party from splitting. Some Tories quit voluntarily to join the ill-fated “Change UK – the Independent Group” or whatever it ended up calling itself. Others were forcibly thrown out by Boris Johnson when they refused to support his withdrawal agreement.

That’s the very agreement he is now saying is not acceptable, by the way.

So don’t let David Cameron’s words influence you.

He put the UK into this mess.

Source: Brexit: David Cameron joins all living former PMs in condemning Boris Johnson’s plan to break law | The Independent

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Court fees for small businesses and personal injury claimants to rise by 600 per cent

court

That’s right – 600 per cent.

People suing for debts or to recover compensation for personal injury may have to pay an up-front fee of £10,000 or more to have access to the courts after the House of Lords approved a statutory instrument implementing the price hike.

The government reckons it will bring an extra £120 million to the Treasury, with justice minister Lord Faulks arguing that the increase would not affect the majority of cases and was necessary to fund the court service.

But Lord Pannick, arguing against the change, warned it would do “inevitable and substantial damage to access to justice” and that it was “simply perverse for the government to dispute that many small businesses and many personal injury claimants are going to be unable to pay an upfront £10,000 fee as the price of access to the courts”.

He has pledged to continue the fight, hoping that the rise will be ruled unlawful by the courts. The Law Society has launched a judicial review against the fees increase, and the hike is unpopular across the legal profession.

Full details are in the New Law Journal.

Vox Political agrees with Pride’s Purge on the effect:

It seems in Cameron and Clegg’s Britain, justice is now only for the rich.

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What’s the point of a ‘Cameron’ job that can’t make work pay?

[Image: Eoin Clarke.]

[Image: Eoin Clarke.]

There are several reasons we should be sceptical about David Cameron’s pledge to make the UK a nation of ‘full employment’.

Firstly, his campaign poster has lied about his record so far. Why should anyone believe his claims about what he’ll do in the future?

Secondly, everybody knows that the Tories’ rubbish neoliberal ideology demands a large number of people have to be unemployed, in order to keep wages down – and Cameron very much wants the UK to remain a low-wage economy.

Thirdly, look at the jobs he has managed to create: zero hours contracts, part-time work, under-employment rife. If that’s his idea of what we need in order to create full employment, then he should be looking forward to his own P45 in May.

[Image: Eoin Clarke 9again).]

[Image: Eoin Clarke 9again).]

Or, as David Schneider put it on Twitter: “Cameron’s promise of full employment to guarantee everyone in the country a job that doesn’t pay enough for them to live off.”

The social media were quick to dismiss this latest nonsense from the PR genius behind “compassionate Conservatism”, “hug a hoodie” and “Green Tories” – remember those flops?

MagsNews on Twitter reported: “Cameron says everything’s wonderful in the jobs market! [Nine out of 10] new jobs are [full-time] jobs. ITV news asks why, if so, tax receipts are so low?!!”

And the Labour Press Team pointed out: “Tory record on jobs: more than 1.3 million people work part-time because they can’t get a full-time job. Tory record on jobs: 3.5 million people in work say they want extra hours. Tory record on jobs: 1.4 million zero-hours contracts in the economy.”

He doesn’t seem to realise what a diabolical mess he has made of the British jobs market – but don’t worry! Here’s a way to clarify matters for him:

Are you stuck in part-time work when you want to be earning full-time wages?

Have you been forced to accept a zero-hours contract, so you don’t know when you’ll be working but can’t claim benefits when you’re not?

Are you on a temporary contract, rather than in permanent work?

Are you earning less than the minimum wage – on a government work programme, for example – or are you earning less than a living wage in a full-time, part-time or zero-hours job?

If so, it’s time to stop calling it a job.

Call it a ‘Cameron’ instead.

“Hello, Bob – how’s it going?”

“Not bad. How about you? Did you get a job yet?”

“Meh. There’s nothing worthwhile to be had. All I got was a ‘Cameron’.”

Even then, he might not get the message.

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How Labour turned the tables on the Tory Thatcher tribute

In fact she'll get a military funeral, which is just as expensive and unwanted by the majority of Britons. What this image makes clear is just how badly wrong the current UK government's priorities have become.

In fact she’ll get a military funeral, which is just as expensive and unwanted by the majority of Britons. What this image makes clear is just how badly wrong the current UK government’s priorities have become.

Can anyone imagine the kind of row we would have seen this week if Labour had blocked the recall of Parliament to pay tribute to Margaret Thatcher?

It was well within Ed Miliband’s rights to put the mockers on it. Recalling Parliament is a move that has previously been reserved only for national emergencies, and past precedent states that tributes should have come when Parliament returned – as normal – next Monday. That was also the understanding of the Parliamentary officials charged with planning for the former Prime Minister’s death.

Did David Cameron really believe that the demise of his beloved ex-leader was a national emergency? Of course not. This was merely a chance to scrounge some more money off the taxpayer.

He turned the Blue Baroness into a cash cow.

According to the Daily Mirror, every MP returning to Westminster to take part in the debate could claim expenses totalling £3,750 each.

So, if all 650 MPs turned up, the cost to you and me would have been £2,437,500 – for a debate that could have happened next week, at no extra cost.

Was it a bribe, to get more Members to turn up? If so, it didn’t work very well. Sure, the government benches were packed with Tories, climbing over themselves to orate on how great Nanny was – but the Opposition benches were conspicuously empty. It seems 150 Labour MPs had better things to do.

We should all be grateful for that – it took the bill down to £1,875,000.

Should Labour have opposed the recall? The speaker, John Bercow, was reportedly – let’s say – less than enthusiastic about the matter, especially the way it was conducted: The request came in a telephone call from a mid-ranking 10 Downing Street staff member, rather than in writing, according to The Guardian. The Speaker had to remind the Prime Minister that he must follow protocol and it was only then that Cameron formalised his request in writing.

(Cameron seems to have a problem with following the rules. The first time he got up in Parliament as the Prime Minister, he appeared to forget that he must address his comments to the Speaker and put many of them directly to some of the Members opposite – until a few sharp comments from Mr Bercow put him back in his place.)

Bercow then sought a reaction from the Opposition, and it seems the decision not to oppose it was political, in order not to cause a row in which they were bound to be vilified for failing to show due respect.

Given the facts that street parties broke out in several major British cities on the day she died, while ‘Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead’ appeared at number 10 in the midweek charts, it seems unlikely that any Parliamentary party needs to lower itself in that way. The British people have spoken.

So Mr Miliband trotted out a speech about how the Blue Baroness was a woman of strong convictions who held to her ideals (even if he didn’t agree with them) or some such.

Then he sat down and listened, for hours, to the other speeches, including this from Glenda Jackson:

“We were told that everything I had been taught to regard as a vice – and I still regard them as vices – under Thatcherism, was in fact a virtue. Greed, selfishness, no care for the weaker… they were the way forward. We have heard much, and will continue to hear over the next week, of the barriers that were broken down by Thatcherism, the Establishment that was destroyed. What we actually saw – the word that has been circling around with stars around it, is that she created an ‘aspirational’ society. It ‘aspired’ for ‘things’… One of the former Prime Ministers, who himself had been elevated to the House of Lords, spoke about selling off the family silver, and people knowing under those years the price of everything and the value of nothing. What concerns me is that I am beginning to see possibly the re-emergence of that total traducing of what I regard as being the basic, spiritual nature of this country, where we do care about society, where we do believe in communities, where we do not leave people to walk by on the other side.”

And this, from David Anderson:

“She came to power promising to bring harmony where there was discord. In the mining communities up and down the country, she brought the opposite. She believed we were no longer any use to the nation because we were deemed to be uneconomic… because we insisted on running safe coal mines in this country. One of the great disgraces of this country today is we import over 50 million tonnes of coal a year from countries where men are killed, literally in the thousands, and we closed our industry that was the safest, the most technologically-advanced, in the world.

“The other area where the so-called economic justification falls down was the failure of Margaret Thatcher and her government to take into account the social cost… where no alternative employment was put forward for those people who were losing their jobs – and particularly for their children. The village where I lived had seen coal mining for almost two centuries. In a matter of months after closure, we were gripped by a wave of petty crime, burglary, car crime – mostly related to drugs. We have never recovered from it.

“We’ve seen the reaction of people whose frustration is heartfelt because they’ve lost their sense of place in society; they’ve been made to feel worthless; they’ve been cast aside like a pair of worn-out pit boots. They’ve seen their community fall apart. They’ve seen their children’s opportunities disappear. And they’ve not been listened to.

“Mrs Thatcher’s lack of empathy, her intransigence, her failure to see the other side, her refusal to even look at the other side, has left them bitter, and resentful, and hitting out in a way that is uncharacteristic of the miners in our community. Her accusation that the “enemy within” was in the mining areas of this country still rankles people. I wasn’t the “enemy within”… All we wanted was the right to work. We didn’t just want it for ourselves; we wanted it for our kids, and that was taken away.”

David Cameron wanted to pay his MPs huge amounts of money to come back and spend seven and a half hours – and remember, Winston Churchill only got 45 minutes after his death – singing the praises of the Blue Baroness – to the high heavens. He got what he wanted, and it is fair to say his Party members enjoyed telling their little stories.

But the contributions of Labour members like Glenda Jackson and David Anderson are the ones that will be remembered.

Why ‘Sam Cam’ has turned me off Comic Relief

Comic Relief should be about this - helping children across the world to have a better life through laughter-based events (these were with Ewan McGregor in Africa in 1999). It's not about giving more publicity to media-savvy politicians.

Comic Relief should be about this – helping children across the world to have a better life through laughter-based events (these were with Ewan McGregor in Africa in 1999). It’s not about giving more publicity to media-savvy politicians.

I hate to be a party pooper but the revelation that Samantha Cameron had donned a red wig and entered the Downing Street kitchen to raise cash for Comic Relief with a bit of baking filled this columnist with dismay.

It was a fake, cynical, publicity-minded set-up that deserved to be ridiculed rather than tolerated. It stank. And it did the comedy-based charity no credit whatsoever.

How many people rushed to their telephones to ask whether Mrs Cameron would get a segment in the telethon itself – so they would know when to switch off?

Did nobody stop to think that the sight of the Camerons’ fully-equipped contemporary kitchen, reported to have cost £25,000, might be offensive to those of us who can’t afford such luxuries as a Magimix blender (£299), a £130 toaster or a £895 dishwasher?

The real giveaway was the PR-speak that we’re supposed to believe came from the head of the Prime Minister’s appendage wife: “Baking is such a brilliant and easy way to raise money for Red Nose Day,” we are told she said, in exactly the formulaic way that PR people like to write such things. “I know the children are really looking forward to selling our cakes around the offices in Downing Street.”

To staff who had already been told they had to buy, one would imagine.

It’s bad enough that somebody thought David Cameron should be included in the video for this year’s charity single – entitled ‘One Way Or Another (Teenage Kicks) and performed by One Direction. Admittedly, Cameron likes kicking teenagers, and always in only One Direction – down.

Not a good advert for the cause.

It never could have been. The hypocrisy of the situation is staggering. Here we have the Prime Minister who has done more to increase poverty in the UK than anyone since Thatcher, posing as somebody who cares about the plight of the destitute.

It’s despicable and I won’t be having it on my television.

When will these politicians – along with their spouses and, in this case, the bosses of Comic Relief – realise that appearing on charity events is a bad idea? First they alienate everybody who disagrees with their political stance – more than three-quarters of the country, in Cameron’s case. Then they alienate everybody who despises hypocrisy (as explained above).

It isn’t worth it.

For the sake of balance, allow me to add: I hated it when Tony Blair did a turn, and at least his sketch had a certain amount of wit about it.

Britain’s worst idlers – the MPs who wrote Britannia Unchained

I have been saddened to learn of two events that will take place in the near future: The death of The Dandy, and the publication of Britannia Unchained.

The first needs little introduction to British readers; it’s the UK’s longest-running children’s humour comic, which will cease publication (in print form) towards the end of this year, on its 75th anniversary. The second appears to be an odious political tract scribbled by a cabal of ambitious right-wing Tory MPs, desperate to make a name for themselves by tarring British workers as “among the worst idlers in the world”.

The connection? Even at the end of its life, there is better and more useful information in The Dandy than there will be in Britannia Unchained.

The book’s authors, Priti Patel, Elizabeth Truss, Dominic Raab, Chris Skidmore, and Kwasi Kwarteng, all members of the Free Enterprise Group of Tory MPs, argue that British workers are “among the worst idlers in the world”, that the UK “rewards laziness” and “too many people in Britain prefer a lie-in to hard work”.

They say the UK needs to reward a culture of “graft, risk and effort” and “stop bailing out the reckless, avoiding all risk and rewarding laziness”.

Strong words – undermined completely by the authors’ own record of attendance at their place of work.

Chris Skidmore’s Parliamentary attendance record is just 88.1 per cent – and he’s the most diligent of the five. Kwasi Kwarteng weighs in at 87.6 per cent; Elizabeth Truss at 85.3 per cent; and Priti Patel at 81.8 per cent. Dominic Raab is the laziest of the lot, with Parliamentary attendance of just 79.1 per cent.

To put that in perspective, if I took more than a week’s sick leave per year from my last workplace, I would have been hauled up before the boss and serious questions asked about my future at the company. That’s a 97.9 per cent minimum requirement. Who are these slackers to tell me, or anyone else who does real work, that we are lazy?

Some have already suggested that these evil-minded hypocrites are just taking cheap shots at others, to make themselves look good for promotion in an autumn reshuffle. Maybe this is true, although David Cameron would be very unwise to do anything but distance himself from them and their dangerous ideas.

I think this is an attempt to deflect attention away from the way the Tory-led government has mismanaged the economy, and from its murderous treatment of the sick and disabled. As one commentator put it: “They get a token Asian, a token African, a token Jew, mix in the middle class/grammar school rubbish propaganda, and suddenly they are just ordinary people? No they are not; they are stooges for the ruling elite.”

Britain doesn’t reward laziness among its working class. What it rewards is failure by managers, directors of industry, financiers. These people continually increase their salaries and other remuneration while their share prices fall, their dividend payments are lacklustre and shareholder value is destroyed. What have they given shareholders over the past 10 years? How many industrial or commercial leaders have walked off with millions, leaving behind companies that were struggling, if not collapsing? Does the criticism in Britannia Unchained apply to senior executives and bankers?

Our MPs are as much to blame as big business. They vote themselves generous pay, pensions and extended vacations (five months per year). They never start work before 11am, never work weekends (or most Fridays, when they are supposed to be in their constituencies, if I recall correctly). They enjoy fringe benefits including subsidised bars, restaurants and gyms. They take part-time directorships in large companies which take up time they should be using to serve the public. Only a few years ago we discovered that large numbers of them were cheating on their expense claims. They take more than £32,000 in “Resettlement Grant” if we kick them out after one term – which, in my opinion, means all five authors of Britannia Unchained should be applying for it in 2015.

These are the people who most strongly represent the ‘something-for-nothing’ sense of entitlement the book decries.

Have any of them ever worked in a factory or carried out manual labour? I’ll answer that for you: With the exception of Elizabeth Truss, who did a few years as a management accountant at Shell/Cable and Wireless, none of them have ever done anything that could be called real work.

In fact, the people they accuse work very long hours – especially the self-employed. When I ran my own news website, I was busy for 12-14 hours a day (much to the distress of my girlfriend). Employees also work long hours, get less annual leave, earn less and pay more – in prices for consumer goods, taxes and hidden taxes – than most of Europe. Average monthly pay rates have now dropped so low that they are failing to cover workers’ costs, leading to borrowing and debt.

Are British workers really among the laziest in the world? Accurate information is hard to find but it seems likely we’re around 24th on the world league table. On a planet with more than 200 sovereign nations (204 attended the London Olympics), that’s not too shabby at all.

Interestingly, the European workers clocking on for the fewest hours are German. Those lazy Teutons! How dare they work so little and still have the powerhouse economy of the continent?

If so many are reluctant to get up in the morning, why are the morning commuter trains standing room only? Or have the Britannia Unchained crowd never used this form of travel?

It seems to me that Britannia Unchained is just another attempt by the Tory right to make us work harder for less pay. The Coalition is currently cutting the public sector and benefits to the bone, while failing to introduce policies that create useful employment, and trying to boost private sector jobs. The private sector has cut wages and pensions. The result is higher unemployment and benefits that cannot sustain living costs, creating a working-age population desperate for any kind of employment at all (even at the too-low wages already discussed).

And let’s remember that Conservatives want to remove employment laws to make it easier to dismiss employees. In other words, they want a workforce that will toil for a pittance, under threat of swift dismissal and the loss of what little they have.

Why do they think this will improve the UK’s performance?

We already work longer hours and have less protective legislation than in Europe (such as the European Time Directive). But we are less productive in terms of GDP than their French and German counterparts, who work fewer hours and are protected by the likes of the ETD.

France is more unionised than we are, yet its production per employee is higher.

The problem is poor management and bad leadership. Poor productivity is almost always due to poor investment and poor training. Workers are abused when they should be treated as an investment. They lose motivation and when managers get their decisions wrong, they blame the workers.

Working class people are sick of grafting for low pay and in poor working conditions, to be exploited by the types of people represented by the authors of Britannia Unchained.

Is it any wonder we feel de-motivated?

I started this article by linking The Dandy to Britannia Unchained, noting that one was coming to the end of its life in print while the other was about to be published for the first time. I’ll end by pointing out a quality they have in common.

The Dandy is closing because it represents ideas that are now tired and out-of-date. Britannia Unchained should never see publication – for the same reason.

The worm(tongue) turns – and not a moment too soon

I would like to apologise in advance to fans of JRR Tolkien’s epic fantasy Lord of the Rings for the content of this blog.

You see, it occurred to me today that – in Nick Clegg and David Cameron – we can see a real-life parallel with the relationship between Grima Wormtongue and Saruman, the evil wizard who plots to be a dark lord.

Can Clegg be compared to Wormtongue? I think he can. For much of LOTR, Grima spends his time telling the people of his country that the best policy is to put themselves at Saruman’s mercy and let him ride roughshod over them, their homes and their livelihoods – much as Clegg has advised us to let Cameron ruin the UK.

Can Cameron be compared to Saruman? I think he can. In LOTR, Saruman plots to be a Dark Lord, as powerful as Sauron (who, as everyone knows, is the principle villain of the piece, portrayed memorably in the film version by a flaming, computer-generated eyeball). However, it turns out that Saruman just doesn’t have the ability to be a successful Dark Lord. He’s bad – but he isn’t very good at it.

In reality, Cameron wanted to be the Prime Minister because he thought he’d be “good at it”. After two years, we can look at his back catalogue of failures and U-turns and see how wrong he was.

As the novel has it, Grima finally turns on Saruman and stabs him in the back, killing him – which brings me to this week’s events concerning House of Lords reform.

Clegg has long cherished the idea of delivering constitutional reforms to the British Parliamentary system. Deprived, by referendum, of the opportunity to change the voting system to the Alternative Vote (which would have improved his party’s chance of getting Parliamentary seats), he fell back on reform of the House of Lords – a scheme which, his party claimed, had nothing whatsoever to do with Cameron’s plans to change constituency boundaries, cutting the number of of seats in the Commons down to 600 (which would have improved HIS party’s chance of getting seats).

This week, that idea was dealt a fatal blow – more because Conservative backbenchers refused to support it in principle than because Labour took issue with the scheduling of the debate. Lords reform has been dropped.

In retaliation, Clegg has announced that he will be instructing his MPs not to support boundary changes when the vote takes place – stabbing Cameron in the back, just as Grima stabs Saruman.

And the parallel can be drawn closer still, because both incidents hinge on side-issues. In the book, Saruman is causing trouble in the heroes’ homeland, out of nothing but spite, when he is killed. In reality, the boundaries issue is about making it harder for Labour to win Parliamentary seats – a spiteful attempt, by the Conservatives, at punishment for being kept in Opposition for 13 years.

But will the wound prove fatal? Cameron was doing his best to play down its significance immediately after, claiming that both Coalition parties would continue to work together to rebuild the nation’s economy. That’ll be a hard slog, because it is under the Coalition that the economy has slipped back into a recession that has grown deeper with every month that passes – fuelled, as we saw demonstrated in the Workfare case (see the immediately preceding post), by Coalition policies.

Commentators have already suggested that one way out for Cameron would be if Scotland secedes from the Union. That would deliver a cut in the number of Parliamentary seats and an increased likelihood of Conservative victory, given the current state of voting intentions in the seats that remain. So it seems unlikely that the Conservatives will fight very hard to keep Scotland in the UK.

Even then, though, what will the voters do? We’ve had a little more than two years of the Coalition and already the vast majority of the population are feeling the pinch, while having to watch the Coalition’s leaders and their big-business friends getting their snouts in the trough.

Future developments could be stranger even than fantasy fiction.