Brian Binley, MP for Northampton South – who joined the Conservative Party at around the time Harold Macmillan took over the leadership – has shared some thoughts with readers of his blog ahead of George Osborne’s Autumn Statement.
“I’d love to hear him announce that the Government will be gathering up its Green Energy policies, chucking them in the nearest skip and setting light to them in an enormous bonfire…but I’m not optimistic,” he wrote. “The Prime Minister has demonstrated time and again he’s committed to the Coalition, whatever the apparent price. The country comes second in his list of priorities to keeping a happy marriage with Clegg and company.” Not one of David Cameron’s biggest fans, I think it can be safely said.
Beware the Croat hordes
On the subject of strange Tories, that anti-EU crusader David Nuttall was in full voice on Tuesday evening, claiming to speak for “millions” as he warned of an “influx” of new migrants to the UK if Croatia is admitted to the EU. Membership will eventually make it easier for Croats to come to this country, should they want to, but there is not much evidence they do. The total number of Croats who entered the UK during 2011, under current rules, was 115.
The same debate produced a howling misrepresentation of 20th-century history from the normally learned Tory eccentric, Jacob Rees-Mogg. He compared the EU to the former state of Yugoslavia, of which Croatia was a component, and which disintegrated amid terrible violence 20 years ago. Rees-Mogg seemed to think that was the fault of Yugoslavia’s former communist dictator, Josip Tito, who was Croat.
“Tito enforced a false nation that people did not want,” he said. “If we squeeze people into a situation they do not like, it will end unpleasantly.” The second part of that statement may be true, but it is wrong to blame Yugoslavia’s existence on Tito, who came to power when the Nazi occupation ended in 1944. Yugoslavia, like Iraq, was dreamt up by the leaders of the winning side from the First World War, such as Lloyd George.
Commons toilets are taking the pee
People think MPs live comfortably in the Commons, but life is getting harder, to judge by Twitter. “Cutbacks in the MP-only male toilets in the Palace. No more hand towels. We’ll be having to bring in our own loo paper next!” the Tory MP Michael Fabricant complained yesterday – which was nothing compared with the sufferings of the Labour MP Ben Bradshaw and his staff. He bewailed: “Urine seems to be pouring through the ceiling into my Commons office!” The authorities blame a broken pipe.
It’s all gone quiet from Gordon
There is a little anniversary that might pass us by in all today’s excitement about the Leveson Report, so I will flag it up early. On 30 November 2011, Gordon Brown led off a debate in Parliament’s Westminster Hall on radiation in Dalgety Bay, in his Kirkcaldy constituency. He has not delivered a speech in Parliament since.
Your starter for ten – where’s India from?
Twitter and some of the tabloids have gone crazy about a contestant on University Challenge, a classics student from New College, Oxford, named India Lenon who is knowledgeable and photogenic. No details of her background are given, but a correspondent notes that the Debrett’s entry on Barnaby Lenon, former headmaster of Harrow, states he has a daughter named India, born in 1989. Might they be related?