Village People: A natural Conservative leader
Saturday 02 July 2011
Jacob Rees-Mogg, Conservative MP for North East Somerset, is to the Conservative Party what Dennis Skinner is to the Labour Party. He is the voice of what makes his party unique.
David Cameron could have been a Liberal Democrat or even a Labour MP if he had gone to a slightly less expensive school, but Rees-Mogg could only ever be a Conservative.
Who else, in times of austerity and public spending cuts, would deliver a speech in favour of spending more, not less, on the Royal Family?
"We want a glamorous monarchy that befits the status of our nation. We are a great nation, a noble nation and a nation that has had power across the globe," he told the Commons. When I see the coronation coach being pulled through the streets of London, I want to see it being pulled by the finest horses that money can buy and I want to see it gilded with the finest gold that can be bought.
"I want Her Majesty to have as a jubilee present the finest window that can be funded by Members of Parliament. That is the status of monarchy that we want."
Why isn't this man leading the Conservative Party?
Civil Service drag feet on police bail
The oddest thing about the great police bail fiasco, which has required emergency legislation, is how long it took civil servants to tell their ministers that there was a problem. On 5 April, a judge refused an application to hold a murder suspect on remand because the man had spent several months on bail..
On 19 May, after the district judge's decision had been upheld in a high court, the police told Home Office officials that they had a big problem. There are 80,000 suspects out on bail. The chief constables and civil servants decided that emergency legislation was the answer, but did not tell any minister until Friday of last week, 24 June. On Thursday, while the Home Secretary Theresa May was in Spain, her deputy, Nick Herbert, had to inform MPs that a new law would have to be rushed through.
Why did it take civil servants six weeks to alert a minister, the Labour MP David Hanson asked. "I have answered questions about when it became clear that this case was of concern," Mr Herbert replied, displaying a politician's fondness for answering the question he would have preferred to have been asked.
Labouring over illegal entry
The Labour government had a "slack attitude to immigration", the Work and Pension Secretary Iain Duncan Smith said in his speech in Madrid yesterday. So should we blame Labour for the discovery of an illegal immigrant from Morocco aboard a Eurostar train that pulled into Euston? Not the fault of the Home Secretary, Theresa May, of course – though one could mention in passing that she was travelling on the same train.
Andrew Neil: a big honcho
An irate email has winged my way from Andrew Neil. Last week I mentioned that at a party to launch Mehdi Hasan's and James Macintyre's new biography of Ed Miliband, Mehdi described Neil as a man "who owns newspapers that slag off the BBC". Neil insists that I should have pointed that he does not own newspapers. He is a big honcho within the newspaper empire owned by the Barclays Brothers, but not a media mogul as such. I do hope no one out there was misled, and due apologies to Mr Neil for the distress I may have caused him by making him out to be richer and more important than he actually is.
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