Village People: Keep it clean
Saturday 12 March 2011
Claire Perry, Tory MP for Devizes, in Wiltshire, a former banker and adviser to George Osborne, has been billed as a high flier, but seems to suffer from occasional judgement wobbles in matters relating to sex.
Like when she was defending the abolition of "health in pregnancy" grants, which, at £190, represented a lot of money to the very poor. "Given that the families are in extreme poverty, should they be having children?" she huffed.
Last week, she posted a curious tweet: "Just signed the giant sausage at the Yes Yes Yes to British Pork campaign." Later she explained that the sausage was papier mache – "unfortunately".
Now the Wiltshire Gazette reports she has apologised to the Speaker, John Bercow, for what she was overheard saying about him in the Commons tea room, when she was smarting because she had been unable to speak in a debate. "What have I got to do to be called by the Speaker?" she is reported to have said. "Give him a blow job?"
Balls gets goosed
Being goosed by a stranger can be a nasty, tacky experience, but when the alleged offender is an 83-year-old woman, and the "victim" is Ed Balls, everybody laughs. Even the Shadow Chancellor seems to have enjoyed the picture of his close encounter with May Wilson during a visit to an Edinburgh community centre. "It was the highlight of my day!" he tweeted.
Justice is served
The best argument for keeping our unelected House of Lords – maybe the only argument – is that there are people in it who know what they are talking about. Under pressure to find quangos to abolish, someone in the Ministry of Justice came up with the idea of saving £6m a year by having the civil servants take over the work of the Youth Justice Board, which finds places for young offenders. This was ripped to pieces this week by their lordships.
"The flagrant abolition of a personal system, responsible and accountable for the care of vulnerable and impressionable young people ... [would be] nothing other than thoroughly irresponsible," said General Sir David Ramsbotham, former Chief Inspector of Prisons.
Even Lord (Tony) Newton, whom old hands remember as the man who survived eight turbulent years as Tory cabinet minister by never saying anything interesting, was moved to denounced the proposed abolition as "a heresy that flies in the face of all historical experience". Ministers have promised to think again.
Lords of technology
And the Lords are moving into the 21st century. This week, they discussed which types of electronic kit are permitted on the red benches. "Are we to understand that iPads will be alright but netbooks will not?" inquired Lord Higgins, aged 83. "I am not sure I completely know the definition of a netbook and how it is different," replied Lord Brabazon of Tara, 63. But at least he is willing to learn.
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