Village people: 21/11/2009


The plot thickens


*Yesterday, we learnt that the Tory MP David Curry has resigned the chairmanship of the Parliamentary Standards Committee because he has been claiming for a second home that he rarely uses because his wife allegedly would not let him because that was where she suspected he had conducted an affair.

You couldn't make it up, could you? Or maybe you could, if your name was Armando Iannucci. Aficionados will recall the plot-line of episode three of the first series of The Thick of It. The minister, Dan Miller, was terrified of exposure because his wife had chucked him out of the house where he claimed he was living. What was it that Oscar Wilde said about life imitating art?

Country roots

*Although the position of Elizabeth Truss, below, as Tory candidate for South West Norfolk is now secure, the lovely phrase "Turnip Taliban", applied to the sort of Conservative Party member who thinks a four-year-old affair makes a woman unfit to be an MP, will linger on. It was created by a Mail on Sunday headline writer after the paper's political editor, Simon Walters, had been told by an unnamed East Anglian Tory MP: "These turnip heads make the Taliban look progressive."

Red card in Sheffield

*Two weeks ago, Sheffield Tories made a bold choice of candidate to run against the Liberal Democrat leader, Nick Clegg, in Sheffield Hallam. He was Daniel Gage, son of a former Sheffield United full-back. This week, he was summoned to the regional party office, told that his local party had lost confidence in him, and was handed a pre-written letter of resignation. His offence was that he had been dropped from a local parish council for not going to meetings, although to judge by a post he has written for the website ConservativeHome, he was a very busy councillor. "I got the impression that they did not like the fact that I'm 24," he said. "They said I would need a lot of media training." Sheffield Hallam was a Tory seat until 1997. Today, there are no Tory MPs or city councillors in the whole of Sheffield.

Making a hash of it

*But here is some good news from Norfolk. After the Government sacked Professor David Nutt, the drugs adviser who thinks cannabis is less dangerous than alcohol, Chloe Smith, the newest and youngest Tory MP, asked for statistics on how many people in Norfolk had died from, or been hospitalised for, using cannabis each year since 1997.

The answer fills a page of Hansard but can be summarised in a word: none. Not one. Either they don't ever get stoned in Norfolk, or they do it very, very carefully.

Red faces at Fox News

*Should you be thinking of rushing out to buy Going Rogue, the memoirs of Sarah Palin, pin-up of the American right, do be careful. There is another book out this week, Going Rouge, with Sarah Palin's picture on the cover. It is a collection of essays by left-wing writers seeking to undermine the certainties that make up the Palin world-view. The publisher is an Englishman, Colin Robinson, who used to run Verso. Fox News has had to apologise for displaying the wrong book. So, all you anti-abortion creationists out there who confuse Iran with Iraq, don't be misled into buying Going Rouge. You won't like it.

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