Down Under, they've forgotten the difference between the Brownites and the Blairites

John McTernan was only peripherally part of the Brown Government. Under Labour, Tony and Gordon both had their own camps - as he knows better than most


Make sure you know your Blairite from your Brownie

The same argument is raging on opposite sides of the globe – how much of the cost of escaping from recession should be paid by the wealthy? Nick Clegg has felt the full force of the fury of the Daily Mail for suggesting that the “top 10 per cent” must pay an increased share of tax. “Clegg: Soak the Middle Class” was yesterday’s front-page headline. “This is simply oppressive, offensive and utterly indefensible,” declared that paper’s intrepid columnist, Melanie Phillips.

Meanwhile, in Australia, Prime Minister Julia Gillard has been accused by the opposition leader, Tony Abbott, of engaging in “class war” with middle earners. Yesterday, Mr Abbott named the political adviser who is supposedly masterminding this strategy. He is John McTernan, a former Downing Street political adviser, who moved to Australia to work for Ms Gillard in 2011.

“He was part of the Brown government in Britain, and the Brown government basically played the class-war card as hard as it could, every day up until its defeat,” Mr Abbott told the Sydney radio station 2GB. “It seems that ever since he has arrived that has been the practice of the Gillard government, to play the class war card, to attack so-called billionaires.”

Mr Abbott has missed a nuance of British politics. McTernan was only peripherally “part of the Brown government”. He moved from Downing Street to the Scottish Office as soon as Gordon Brown became Prime Minister. He was a Blairite, not a Brownie. Here in the UK, we do not usually associate Blairites with class war against the rich.


Chief Whip’s apology very poorly placed

The instant before Andrew Mitchell delivered his second apology early yesterday for abusing a police officer at the Downing Street gate, the camera showed him getting out of his chauffeur-driven car to speak to the waiting hacks in Whitehall. Where the car halted, the road is very clearly marked in large letters “Bus Stop”. As many motorists know to their cost, stopping at a bus stop, especially in London, can mean a £60 fine or worse. Somebody should investigate.


So hard to get a round of golf

“Would you have a man who behaves like Mr Mitchell in your golf club – No!” said a reader’s letter in yesterday’s Daily Telegraph.

You might be living  in the wrong place

Tim Leunig, chief economist at the liberal CentreForum think-tank, found fame in the summer of 2008 as the “barmy boffin” who suggested that the solution to unemployment in Northern cities was to clear out residents.

“If we really want to give people in Liverpool, Sunderland and so on the opportunities that people in most parts of the South-east take for granted, we need to let many of them move to the South-east,” he wrote.

Dr Leunig is starting a new job in two weeks as policy adviser to the Education Secretary, Michael Gove. So, if you live in Liverpool and cannot find a decent school for your child, do not be surprised if Mr Gove tells you it is your own fault for not living in Letchworth.


Think before criticising Ukip

A lively moment at the UK Independence Party’s conference last weekend was when its leader, Nigel Farage, walked on stage to the sound of “Killing in the Name”, by Rage Against the Machine, blaring through the loudspeakers. But the reaction from Rage’s guitarist, Tim Morello, was, well, rage against Ukip. “Stop using ‘KILLING IN THE NAME’ for ur racist/rightwing rallies. We are against everything u stand for. STOP. IT” he tweeted.

Ukip provoked a similar reaction this time last year from the Burnley-based band Chumbawamba by making similar use of their song “Tubthumping”. The band put out a statement saying: “Nigel Farage is an arse. His party is made up of bigots and its policies are racist.” But it has since broken up, prompting Farage to reply to Morello, via Twitter: “Remember what happened to Chumbawamba shortly after they moaned at Ukip?” Touché.

React Now

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SAP Data Migration Consultant

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client, a FTSE 100 organisation are u...

Programme Support, Coms, Bristol, £300-350p/d

£300 - £350 per day + competitive: Orgtel: My client, a leading bank, is curre...

Linux Systems Administrator

£33000 per annum + pension, 25 days holiday: Ashdown Group: A highly successfu...

(Junior) IT Systems Administrator / Infrastructure Analyst

£28000 - £32000 per annum + pension, 25 days holiday: Ashdown Group: A highly ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
A wedding cake with statuettes of two men is seen during the demonstration  

Cakegate leaves a funny taste. Is this really the way for gay campaigners to fight for tolerance?

Janet Street-Porter
Spectators photograph the Tour de France riders as they make their way through the Yorkshire countryside  

Line the streets for a cycling race? You might just as well watch a swarm of wasps

Howard Jacobson
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice