The Diary: Businessman Binley rounds on Cameron and the yes men

 

David Cameron has "surrounded himself with yes men and insulated himself from any viewpoint but his own," says Brian Binley, a Tory MP sufficiently well thought of by fellow MPs to have been re-elected unopposed last month as one of the officers of the influential 1922 Committee.

When Tory MPs have a go at Cameron, it is usually because he is not right-wing enough, but Mr Binley has a different gripe. He was in business most of his life, becoming MP for Northampton South at an age when many men are looking towards retirement. His complaint is that Parliament is stuffed with two many career politicians who have never done anything much in any other field of endeavour – including David Cameron, whose sole experience outside politics was four years running Carlton TV's media office.

"Aside from a stint in PR the Prime Minister has no real experience of business or the world beyond politics and that's clearly had a negative impact on his selection of people," Mr Binley says. "As someone who has spent most of his life in business I know the importance of taking on board ideas which might contradict your own instincts ... but that's something the Prime Minister and those around him seem unable to understand."

Boris's deputy learns on the beat

Someone who foresaw these problems was Stephen Greenhalgh, a Tory councillor from west London, who remarked, prior to the election, of "his mates" in the shadow cabinet that "they haven't run a piss-up in a brewery". Councillor Greenhalgh acquired important responsibilities last month when Boris Johnson made him deputy mayor in charge of London's police. But his first appearance before members of the London Assembly was made so disastrous by his combination of swagger and total inability to answer questions that the recording threatens to be an internet sensation. Boris Johnson is standing by his deputy, saying he will become better when he has been in the job a bit longer.

Herd the one about Cherie's goats?

Should you happen to be near Westminster Bridge this afternoon, you will be able to see Cherie Blair herding goats. The stunt is being organised by the Loomba Foundation, of which Mrs Blair is honorary president, to draw attention to the plight of widows in Asia and Africa. For many of the world's widows, a goat is a symbol of prosperity and a bulwark against starvation. Raj Loomba, the Loomba chairman and Freeman of the City, is exercising an ancient right of any freeman to herd livestock over the bridge. Mrs Blair is a barrister. I tried in vain to find out how much she knows about herding goats. I suspect that hiring a nanny to look after the kids is about the extent of it.

Baron Cormack backs the bishops

The headline in Thursday's Independent – "The Lords will provide: Bishops paid up to £27,000 for attending Parliament" – was not well received in the Upper House. "We deplore the indiscriminate attacks on the bishops," that grand old Tory, Sir Patrick Cormack, left, now Baron Cormack of Enville in the County of Staffordshire, told his fellow peers. "We appreciate their presence, believe that they perform valuable duties and we do not expect them to sleep on the Embankment." That has told us.

The enigma of the Ministerial Code?

Today is the centenary of the mathematical genius Alan Turing the man who shortened the war by breaking the Germans' Enigma code, and whom an ungrateful nation drove to suicide because he was gay. There is no posthumous pardon for him, despite a petition on the Downing Street website signed by 34,000 people. But Manchester MP John Leech tabled a Commons motion yesterday paying tribute to a "Manchester war hero", while the Dutch have found a truly fitting way to honour him. They have built a Lego model of the Turing Machine, the precursor of the modern computer .

If only someone of Turing's genius was alive now to work out how to break the Ministerial Code. Jeremy Hunt tried and tried, but it seems to be impossible.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: HR Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are in need of a HR Manage...

h2 Recruit Ltd: Business Development Manager - HR Consultancy - £65,000 OTE

£35000 - £40000 per annum + £65,000 OTE: h2 Recruit Ltd: London, Birmingham, M...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas