August 31, 2010

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August 31st, 2010 15:30

Loose-talking Lib Dem ministers will be easy targets for a new Labour leadership

After the long summer recess, Parliament makes a stuttering return to business next Monday when the Commons return before adjourning again on Thursday 16 until October 11 for the party conference season. The House of Lords, taking a disdainful view of such events, stays on holiday until October 5. Quite when the Prime Minister returns from “paternity leave”… Read more
August 31st, 2010 15:30

Tony Blair's memoirs should remind Labour that he was popular while Gordon Brown is already forgotten

Labour's leadership ballot papers are being posted to Party members in the same week that Tony Blair's autobiography A Journey is published. These memoirs come hot on the heels of Peter Mandelson's book The Third Man. Lord Mandelson was in Edinburgh this weekend promoting his book, where – in line with his previously published opinions… Read more
August 31st, 2010 13:30

Barack Obama wouldn't get away with that Euro-wuss bike gear in Russia

Compare and contrast their holiday snaps: Russia’s “Prime Minister” (ie president) Vladimir Putin firing a crossbow at a whale, and President Barack Obama looking like a lamo on his bicycle in New England. Putin’s idea of “fun” seems to be sailing in a dingy in the storm-tossed waters off the Kamchatka Peninsula, which sounds like hell… Read more
August 31st, 2010 10:14

Labour chooses whether to go backwards or further backwards

There follows a sentence I never expected to write. Lord Mandelson is absolutely right. Of course, Labour would be heading for an "electoral cul-de-sac" if it elected Ed Miliband as leader. There can scarcely be any room for argument about this since it is precisely the selling point of Miliband Minor's campaign: ie Labour should abandon the "New" appendage and… Read more
August 31st, 2010 9:06

If you want to read a truly gripping memoir of addiction, try this

If you want to read a gripping addict's memoir, and you have not yet read this new book, then I strongly recommend Candia McWilliam's What to Look for in Winter: A Memoir in Blindness. The book deals with this Scottish novelist's failing eyesight, a result of blepherospasm, a condition which forces the eyelids shut. But… Read more
August 31st, 2010 7:11

Guess what Edward Heath's worst subject at school was

I’ve often wondered whether Britain would have joined the EEC but for Edward Heath. Our membership was the product of despair. We joined at our lowest ebb, in the days of the three-day week, double-digit inflation, constant strikes and power cuts. It’s hard to imagine the Marketeers carrying Parliament, let alone winning a referendum, ten… Read more
August 31st, 2010 2:43

Barack Obama has bowed before the UN over Arizona immigration law

There can be few sights more humiliating for the American people than that of a US president kowtowing to a foreign leader or to supranational institutions. Continental Europeans are used to this sort of thing after decades of dominance by unelected bureaucrats in Brussels, and have grudgingly accepted over time the gradual and undemocratic erosion… Read more
August 30th, 2010 14:53

NICE says Avastin is not 'cost-effective'. So why do cancer specialists disagree?

The latest ruling by NICE (National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence), using its own complex formula, is that the drug Avastin is not cost-effective and therefore cannot be prescribed for NHS patients with advanced bowel cancer, which has spread to other parts of the body. A ten month course of the drug costs £20,800 and, in NICE's estimation, would only… Read more
August 30th, 2010 14:04

How the BBC pretended to be balanced on 'climate change'. And failed, obviously.

I have just been listening to Uncertain Climate, the first in BBC "Environment Analyst" Roger Harrabin's two-part Radio 4 investigation into the politics of climate change. The announcer  introduced it as a programme "on an unusual aspect of global warming that you won't have heard in the news headlines". This was touching, but would only… Read more
August 30th, 2010 13:24

Another dog attack on a child: time for government action

The full details of the latest dog attack on a child have not yet been made public, but reports suggest that a ten year old girl was attacked by two Rottweilers as she cycled her dog along a public street. As usual, there will be calls for action, but there’s a big question that remains… Read more