Tag Archives: Mark Steel

Sharp as Mark Steel: Watch the comic’s observations on the Presidents Club dinner

Nadhim Zahawi: The Minister for Families who attended a men-only dinner event.

Read the excerpt that follows if you like, but please click the link at the end and watch the video of Mark Frost’s thought’s about the outrage over the Presidents Club dinner.

The saddest part about this Presidents Club dinner that caused such trouble is it must have been the dullest evening possible. Because every guest who’s been asked says they left early and therefore didn’t see a thing. The event must have been an absolute disaster, completely deserted by 20 past eight.

Some businesspeople and columnists have dismissed the complaints that hostesses were groped and grabbed, saying, “They must have known what sort of event they were attending.” This makes it a strange and magical evening in which the women should have known all along what sort of things would happen, while the men doing the things that were happening had no idea any of these things were happening.

One ex-Presidents Club guest, cabinet member Nadhim Zahawi, said this week that he will “never attend a men-only function, ever”. This seems fair enough – he clearly didn’t notice this was a men-only function. He must have been sat at his table, thinking, “There’s something that links all these guests here but I can’t put my finger on it. Maybe we’re all Chinese. Or Sagittarians.”

But there may be a more fundamental reason why the Presidents Club will be missed. Insisting that women should be absent, except for nameless figures, chosen and decorated to the demand of men, then prodded and squeezed at will, was a bold move by our business community to show to the people of Isis that our cultures are not as far apart as we sometimes imagine. It was an attempt by British business to seek a dialogue with the jihadists, and now their work is in ruins. I hope the feminists are pleased with themselves.

Source: ‘I hope the feminists are proud of themselves. The Presidents Club was clearly all part of a clever plan and now it’s ruined’


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Labour will discount leader election votes AFTER they’ve been cast – won’t that encourage vote-RIGGING?

The right-wing Labour leadership has put itself in a proper dilemma, thanks to the candidacy – and popularity – of Jeremy Corbyn.

Look at the denial of comedian Mark Steel’s application to become a Labour supporter – and vote for Corbyn – because he does not “support Labour values” – this is a man who wrote newspaper articles in favour of Labour, doorstepped members of the public to encourage them to vote Labour, and actually voted Labour himself.

It seems that, because he admitted he’d vote for the Green Party’s Caroline Lucas if he was in her Brighton Pavilion constituency, he’s out. That’s a comment in favour of a person, not a party.

Is his endorsement of Ms Lucas then really the reason he got the boot? Or is it because he supports Mr Corbyn now?

That is the question that will be worrying many dedicated Labour supporters who have signed up in good faith, in order to do the same.

Now, the Labour leadership has said it will remove “infiltrators'” votes, even after they have been cast. The Daily Mirror reports:

The party will carry on vetting people right up until the September 10 voting deadline to stop ‘stooges’ and ‘entryists’ taking over the race.

Insiders say that means they will tell independent vote-counters to strip out individual ballots if they suspect foul play – for example if a Tory stooge mocks Labour by posting their paper on Twitter.

This plan is wide-open to abuse. What’s to stop right-wingers, neoliberals, Blairites (or whatever else you want to call them) from looking at votes, thinking, “These people voted for Corbyn – they’re disqualified”, and finding a reason for the decision later?

Conversely, there is nothing to stop Corbyn-supporting voters from making that accusation right now. The decision brings the election into disrepute.

The decision has been attacked by the Electoral Reform Society campaign group – which partly owns the company running the election – as it said Labour should delay sending out ballot papers for a few days.

This would have been a better choice – and it counts against Labour’s leaders that they did not support it.

The current system of weeding out members of other parties is working perfectly well. This Writer took part in the process, here in Mid Wales, and managed to identify Conservatives and Greens who were trying to skew the process.

I also recognised the names of many genuine Labour supporters who will certainly vote for Jeremy Corbyn. Their applications have been accepted and their votes will be counted.

By the time the count takes place, though, will the entire process have been discredited beyond redemption?

I am seriously considering writing a letter to Labour’s general secretary, Iain McNichol, about this issue. Perhaps other Labour members, of long-standing in the party, may wish to do the same.

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Clegg’s pledges – what are they worth?

[Image: The Independent]

[Image: The Independent]

We laugh because it’s funny and we laugh because it’s true.

Vox Political reader Simon Kirk pointed out this little gem from comedian Mark Steel, writing in The Independent.

At a time when the Liberal Democrats are desperately trying to claw back some credibility, he make the excellent point that, after the betrayals of the last few years, it is unrealistic to expect anyone to believe anything Nick Clegg and his yellow friends say in the future.

Worse still, there is evidence that teams representing the Tories and Liberal Democrats negotiated what would be in a coalition agreement before the May 2010 election – the document mentioned in The Guardian‘s article is dated March 16, 2010 – and abolishing student tuition fees, a principle Liberal Democrat pledge, was not part of the agreement.

In other words, Clegg campaigned for two months ahead of the election with a promise that he knew he was going to break. Apparently you can get the full details in a book entitled Five Days To Power by Rob Wilson, Conservative MP for Reading East.

The article states: “George Osborne, who had long feared the Tories would struggle to win an overall parliamentary majority, persuaded David Cameron to allow him to form the Tories’ own secret coalition negotiating team two weeks before the election. The Tory leader demanded total secrecy and asked only to be given the barest details for fear that he would blurt it out ‘unplanned in an interview’.” (Thanks go to Vox Political commenter ‘Florence’ for these details)

With hindsight, we know that Cameron had other matters he needed to keep secret, such as the fact that he was claiming he would protect the public National Health Service, when in fact his colleague Andrew Lansley had been working on a plan to privatise it for many years. Lansley had also been sworn to secrecy.

So both Coalition parties have a proven track record of dishonesty in the run-up to the 2010 election and there is no reason to believe the Liberal Democrats have changed now. In fact, as Mark Steel points out, Clegg has even gone on record, saying “we have to be grown-up” to excuse himself.

In response, Mr Steel asserts: “If the grown-up way is to ignore everything you said to get elected, why bother having an election campaign at all? For the televised debates at the next election, Clegg might as well bring in a guinea-pig, and when he’s asked about his plans for defence, he can ask David Dimbleby, “Would you like to stroke Oscar?”

Other possible campaigning choices listed in the article include “learning to play the piccolo or building a canoe” because “it’s like a junkie telling you how this time the £200 he wants off you really will be paid back on Thursday. The carefully costed details don’t determine your decision so much as how last week he robbed your kids’ teddies and sold them for £12”.

So much for the Liberal Democrats. If you ever feel close to being persuaded by their arguments, just have another look at Mark Steel’s article to refresh your memory.

Nowadays, a laugh is the only thing they’re good for.

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