Reflecting on a week of frantic activity for the Mayor of London, one has to ask for how much longer the country can conceivably muddle on without firm hand steering the ship of state?
Never more menacing to David Cameron than when casting himself against type as his most loyal supporter, Boris took space in the Sun on Sunday to praise the PM’s desire to outlaw strikes like the one which recently inconvenienced Tube travellers.
Boris reports that his plans to upgrade the Underground have survived the wickedly undemocratic industrial vandalism, which squeezed the capital’s very windpipe “even though 70 per cent of the union membership actually DID NOT VOTE for the strike”.
Again, we see the rigid intellectual consistency of a man re-elected mayor in 2012 even though 83 per cent of eligible Londoners actually DID NOT VOTE for him as first choice: not long after positing in print that we stand on the brink of a new Ice Age, Boris pledges to introduce air conditioning throughout the Underground system “even on the deepest lines”.
Abandoning the struggle to make any sense of that, we now turn to his own most vocal cheerleader. In the Mail on Sunday, Nadine Dorries cites Boris’s determination to curtail the right to strike as one among many reasons why her idol should be gifted a safe London seat before next May’s general election, preparatory to joining Mr Cameron on the campaign trail to form the most convincing electioneering double act since the Brown-Blair ice cream war of 2005.
“When Boris speaks,” Nadine observes, “people listen.” Indeed, indeed. Well, perhaps not all people.
Either Nadine failed to listen to his reiterated promise not to return to the Commons before the election, or she did listen, but chooses to treat it with all the reverence his solemn vows tend to deserve. Whether he will welcome Nadine’s confirmation of her implacable enmity for self-entitled posh boys is hard to call. There is that faint chance that the future leadership contender with best cause to relish Nadine’s words was Theresa May.
‘Friends of Maria Miller’ rally to her expenses cause
Nadine ended her clarion call for the prince across the water’s return with an inspiring “Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of the party” – and while that quote feels as outdated as a teaching aid for touch typists, it remains oddly relevant in the present Conservative front-bench context.
Elsewhere in the Mail on Sunday, indeed, we read that the dearth of female Cabinet ministers could soon become even more embarrassing.
Maria Miller, the Secretary for Culture, Media and Sport, may be close to losing her job over the seemingly flawed logic that once guided her thinking as to which, for expenses purposes, constituted her first and second homes. A report by the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner, Kathryn Hudson, is said to criticise Ms Miller, and a ferocious rearguard by Tories on the Standards Committee to weaken its findings has begun. Frankly, all the time, cost and anguish was unnecessary.
Those described as “friends of Ms Miller” declare “we’ve always been very clear that Maria’s expenses are entirely above board”. If they’ve always been very clear about that, you wonder by what precepts of natural justice an enquiry was considered necessary in the first place.
Scouser Nadine outrun by Red Rum in Greats table
Returning to Anfield-born Nadine, we find gravely upsetting news for her in a Liverpool Evening Echo readers’ poll to discover the 100 Greatest Merseysiders of All Time. Inexplicably, the MP for Mid-Beds fails to make the cut. The only consolation is that she did not feature in the previous poll, and was thus spared the indignity of Cherie Blair, who drops out after being ranked number 72 in 2003.
In further shock news, Ken Dodd drops from the top spot to No 4, though the scouser who deserves even more sympathy than the squire of Knotty Ash is William Ewart Gladstone. The four-times elected Liberal Prime Minister slides to 20th, three spots below Red Rum.
Mad Mel takes on those fools at the Met Office
Enjoying a long overdue renaissance as a world authority on science, Melanie Phillips contemplates the renewed discussion about whether there might just be something in what she dismissively styles as “climate change” after all. The clue is in the quote marks.
In a long yet typically riveting blog, Mad Mel decisively concludes that it is all bunk.
What she prefers to know without inverted commas as Anthropogenic Global Warming – a diversionary tactic on the lines of translating Creationism to “intelligent design”, and every inch as devilishly cunning – is “a magical theory”; and the likes of the Met Office’s Dame Julia Slingo and others who bring no more than decades of intense study to the debate are fools.
I parapharase slightly, so do read the whole thing for yourselves if the fancy takes you. But isn’t it marvellous to find MM remounting the scientific expert horse after her triumph in peddling the imaginary link between the MMR triple jab that caused so much suffering in measles epidemics?
Latin declension for pillion tots – how middle class
A delicious vignette of middle-class tiger parenting, finally, from my stroll to buy the newspapers yesterday morning. Cycling purposefully towards Shepherds Bush Green was a youngish mother with a daughter of no more than 18 months in the baby seat behind her.
“Amo, amas, amat,” she trilled engagingly. “Come on, darling, say it with me. Amo, amas, amat.” Cycling meets pre-nursery school Latin on the London roads… Whatever the post-mayoral future holds for Boris, he can at least be very proud of that.
‘When Boris speaks, people listen,’ Nadine observes. Well, perhaps not all people