Andy McSmith's Diary: Straight up, Stewart Jackson is no fan of gay marriage – or tofu for that matter...
Stewart Jackson, Tory MP for Peterborough, is no fan of gay marriage, which he has described as a “constitutional outrage” and “a disgrace.” He has accused David Cameron of being “arrogant” for giving it legal recognition.
He is, by contrast, a most outspoken defender of heterosexual marriage. When Labour’s Catherine McKinnell introduced an amendment that would require the government to review the impact of tax breaks for married couples within six months, Mr Jackson was soon on his feet to denounce what he called “mischievous, disingenuous, mealy-mouthed, patronising leftie drivel – typical middle-class, tofu-munching Labour nonsense…”
With his next breath he turned on the Lib Dems for their failure to support marriage tax breaks. “It is awfully hard to dislike the Liberal Democrats but it is well worth the effort.”
Ms McKinnell denies eating tofu.
A hole new weather problem
The floods that covered the south and east of England during the winter and spring have receded, but their effects linger. Three revealing numbers cropped up today, two during exchanges in Parliament and one from a government press release.
The number of families still unable to return to their flooded homes is more than a thousand. The annual insurance premium for one small business that was hit by December’s tidal surge in Hull has jumped from £1,100 to £6,500. And there are 632 potholes in Harlow. The last figure was cited by the local MP, Robert Halfon. It was the Commons Leader, Andrew Lansley, who said the pot holes were caused by the rain.
“I am going to be spending a bit of time with my mother-in-law,” David Cameron said, when asked on Norfolk Radio how he would be spending Easter.
“I think I am spending Easter Day with Samantha’s family.”
That is actually not all he is doing over the Easter break, it was just the bit he wanted radio listeners to know about. On the same day, the Lanzarote Information website proudly announced that David, Samantha and the kids also have a trip to the Canary Islands planned.
Good Samaritan, top Tory David Cameron’s claim that Jesus pioneered the “Big Society” is the boldest example of Conservative scriptural revisionism we have heard for a long time, but I still prefer Margaret Thatcher reinterpretation of the story of the Good Samaritan as meaning if you get mugged, do not look to the police or the NHS to bring succour, look to the passer-by with the bulging wallet. “I wonder whether the State services would have done as much for the man who fell among thieves as the Good Samaritan did for him?” she said in a speech in 1978, later adding, during a TV interview: “No-one would remember the Good Samaritan if he’d only had good intentions; he had money as well.”
The voice of treason
“I am not sure if this was brave or foolish,” the journalist Valentine Low tweeted, as he posted a link to an interview he had given on New Zealand TV during the visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and baby George.
In it he is heard saying: “Why on earth do you think it’s appropriate to have someone from the other side of the planet as your head of state?... It’s absurd… I mean, George could grow up to be an awful human being, and then you’ll say ‘Oh my god, it’s awful, it’s terrible, why have we got lumbered with these losers representing our nation?’”
Valentine Low is the royal reporter for The Times.
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