Daily catch-up: EU news, and other reasons to be cheerful

Your guide to British miserablism and other possible reactions to current events

1. Only the British could complain about being richer than they thought they were. The recent growth of the UK economy compared with the slowdown of the eurozone means we have to pay more to the EU's budget. Because the Commission is run by Jean-Claude Juncker (above), for whom David Cameron refused to vote, this has gone down badly.

2. Similarly, only British commentators, most of whom have long urged political parties to open up their selection procedures and run open primary elections to choose parliamentary candidates, could describe 5,700 votes cast to choose the Conservative candidate in Rochester as a humiliating failure. That is 10 or 20 times as many people as usually take part in party selections, even if it is fewer than took part in primaries in Totnes, Reading and elsewhere, which were arranged over rather longer periods.

Especially as in this case people were being asked to choose the losing Conservative candidate. Still, Kelly Tolhurst will probably win in the end. I think that, although Mark Reckless will win the by-election for UKIP, she will win the seat back for the Tories at the general election next year.

3. This was fun to watch. Michael White of The Guardian up against Paul Staines of the Guido Fawkes Establishment Blog on BBC2 Daily Politics (starts at 37:12). A re-run of a clash between the two on Newsnight seven years ago. Staines is a good journalist and an even better publicist, but I agree with White on the arguments.

4. A good blog post yesterday by Alastair Campbell on why he was fed up with politics and why talking to young people about mental illness made him hopeful again.

5. You may have noticed that I like Twitter. I enjoyed Generic Name's definition of it the other day:

"Twitter is basically talking to yourself and hoping people join in."

There ought to be a dictionary of apparently innocent phrases that have a special meaning on Twitter. Mark Pack, a Lib Dem blogger yesterday accused Stephen Tall, a fellow Lib Dem, of writing a "thought-provoking argument ... about heading for the centre ground of politics".

Stephen Tall thought this was using "thought-provoking" in its special Twitter sense: "I disagree in too many ways to fit in one tweet."

6. And finally, thanks to Chris Heaton-Harris for this:

"A ventriloquist walks into a gar."

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