Posts Tagged ‘Uncle Vince’
One of our allotments gang stays well clear of our endless chatter about issues of the day. Jim retired some years ago, at which time he decided to discontinue watching TV news bulletins and to forsake all newspapers. I remember his insistence that they serve only to depress and his strategy seems to have worked since, unlike the rest of us, he always appears serene and unruffled, interested only in those things that he can directly affect. I was reminded of this last night when I tuned in for my daily dose of misery.
The Metropolitan police stand accused of accepting huge hand-outs from a private investigation company prepared to pay cash for inside information. Another story implied that million sof Olympic tickets are available from touts. The head of the UK border force warned that he cannot rule out four hour waits at airports during the Olympics. Three former executives of Rupert Murdoch’s newspapers, Messrs Myler, Crone and Hinton, have been referred to the Commons Standards and Privileges Committee, accused of misleading parliament. The IMF has demanded a Plan B to resolve our economic nightmare. The Lib Dems are dismayed at Tory plans to lock up hooligans.
The entire news seemed guaranteed to ensure that I hit the pillow feeling like a guy who has lost his winning lottery ticket. Even the piece revealing that Nick Clegg believes that our number one priority is gay marriages failed to encourage a feeling that those holding the reins of the runaway horses know excatly what they need to do as the cliff looms.
But the most worrying piece of all concerned dear old Uncle Vince Cable. During the election campaign he came across to many as the only honest bloke amongst the lot of them, and one who knew what had to be done. Later, when in office, he was the only one to spot what was going on with Murdoch. He ‘fingered’ Brooks, Cameron, Hunt and the rest long before the rest of us cottoned on.
Sadly from that day on he has been less than popular with the posh boys. And now the biggest donor to the Conservative party has accused him of being a socialist. One imagines Adrian Beecroft gathered around a candlelit long oak table with our dear leader and his cronies. Over the brandy he asks what can be done to rid us of this bald-headed pest. No chance of having our News Corp pals dig up a scandal for Uncle is too old for such diversions. Suddenly someone comes up with a wizard wheeze, lets ask the Daily Telgraph to brand him a socialist, after all the last real one was Aneurin Bevan and he ended up being very unpopular. And so it came to pass.
In fact the Daily Torygraph has gone even further. Today’s main headline reads ‘Socialist Cable not fit for office’. That makes him even worse than Bevan, who did at least dream up the once efficient NHS. And what is it that the nation’s favourite Uncle has done this time?
He has described a report from multi-millionaire Beecroft as “bonkers”. Which is exactly what it is since it includes, amongst other far-right ideas, the one of legislating for employers to fire workers at will without compensation. Even our dear leader realised that this is hardly a vote-winner and had the published version doctored to exclude the zaniest parts. Sadly for him someone leaked a copy of the original.
Mr Beecroft is living proof that if you pay enough you can command obedience from anyone on this earth. Since Uncle has resolutely refused to so much as meet him he is not happy, yesterday he complained that the Conservatives are “hugely held back by the Lib Dems”, and went on to ask why the hell Uncle Vince was Business Secretary.
For those who regard Vince Cable as second only to Stonehenge on the list of British treasures this is all rather alarming. As tensions about the unending cock-ups by the coalition mount attacks on his ancient frame will do likewise. How long will it be before his ancient structure begins to crumble? The fledgling PUV ( Preservation of Uncle Vince) society must step up its recruitment and funding before it is too late.
Honest politicians are becoming extinct and Uncle is past the point of breeding. Perhaps we should have him stuffed and placed in the foyer of the Natural History Museum as a reminder of what might have been! Chicken-keepers would come from all ends of the earth to pay homage to the greatest feather-ruffler of them all!
THOUGHT FOR TODAY; “When a man tells you he got rich by hard work, ask him whose.”….George Bernard Shaw
Our pin-up weather lady Eno said that today would see temperatures well below brass monkey levels. In reality it was somewhat warmer and wearing five pairs of underpants proved unnecessary, not to mention sweaty. So with the icicles staying on the shed rather than our noses we quite enjoyed this morning’s routine. Most days bring the same jobs but today the vaseline pot was out. At times of severe frost it is wise to cover chicken’s combs as a means of protection. They don’t seem to mind and if it works we might consider doing our own. Whatever we do we cannot possibly look as utterly daft as Vince Cable does this morning.
Two female reporters from The Daily Telegraph armed with a tape-recorder called to see him at his constituency surgery. They pretended to be constituents and proceeded to ask his views on the coalition. Uncle Vince is clearly pretty gullible, the only other person to fall for such a charade was Sven Goran Erikson! But we learn more than that Mr Cable is as daft as a brush, he is now revealed as someone who, is to say the least, rather devious.
He talked of being in the coalition as akin to being at war and went on to boast that he is prepared to use his ‘nuclear option’ to bring the whole thing crashing down. He revealed that behind the scenes the Tories and Lib Dems are fighting a ‘constant battle’ not least on the soft approach of Cameron’s pals to the banks. He also claimed that Cameron plans to scrap the winter fuel allowance for the elderly but had yielded over immigration. In Mr Cable’s judgement the coalition is travelling at too fast a speed on a wide range of reforms including the NHS. Many of them are ill-thought through. Now we all knew that but what we hadn’t realised was that madcap plans like those of Lansley are even opposed within the supposedly close-knit coalition.
Most dramatic of all was Mr Cable’s admission that he is fighting a war against Murdoch, the friend of Cameron. “We have declared war and we are going to win (to block his owning the vast majority of the UK media)” Uncle told the giggling reporters. Small wonder they were giggling for this was a real scoop to take back to the editor. For them Christmas bonus assured, for Uncle a caning by the Etonian head. In fact it all worked out rather well for Cameron who has switched the media portfolio to Jeremy Hunt, thus ensuring that he keeps his promise to Murdoch.
The coalition is clearly anything but close knit. Indeed everyone’s once favourite Uncle said that many of the government’s policy proposals are “dangerously out of control”. He likened what is happening to a “Maoist revolution comprising too many ideas and too little careful planning”. For good measure Mr Cable attacked the scrapping of child benefit for higher earners which was handled “in a rather cack-handed way”. And within hours other leading Lib Dem ministers had fallen foul of hidden mikes. Michael Moore, Ed Davey and Steve Webb all lambasted the decision to cut child benefit for higher-rate taxpayers and Moore described the tuitions fees decision as “the biggest, ugliest, most horrific thing of all”. He went on to say that “I signed a pledge. I’ve just committed the worst crime a politician can commit, now folk distrust us as a breed”. Moore added a punch line; “the Tory rightwingers hate us with a passion”
The moment the news broke that the two questioners were in fact reporters Uncle changed his approach somewhat. He “regrets the statements and is embarrassed by them”. He has “no intention of leaving the government and is proud of what it is achieving”. The problem with directly conflicting statements is that one of them must be untrue. Either way the person making them is telling lies.
What Cameron and his boy Clegg think of it all is plain, or I should say Cameron for what he thinks is what his lackey thinks. But it seems reasonable to assume that trust between the two parties has plummeted faster that the current temperatures. And it gives more credibility to rumours about schisms developing. I still suspect thet a poor result in the Oldham bye-election will bring the end of Clegg. But suddenly his replacement by Cable seems very unlikely to attract Tory support.
Many of us used to admire Vince Cable and saw him as a man of great self understanding, the cleverest and most honest of politicians. Sadly he now fails on all counts but it is hard to sympathise. Anyone daft enough to tell confidential stories to total strangers is hardly fit to be involved in governing the country!
Others will argue that the sooner he responds to Cameron’s public humiliation of him the sooner will come the restoration of at least some of the Lib Dem reputation for independence. Mr Miliband may need to sharpen up his act sooner that he imagined!
UNEMPLOYMENT IS THE KEY!
There are two theories about tackling the deficit. Osborne believes in massive front end cuts with additional employment provided by the private sector. Grumpy Gordon believes this to be dangerous in that it will spark more job losses and lead to lower retail sales. Who is right? The jury is still out but there are some worrying signs for the present chancellor.
A survey out today shows that a third of the 232 local authorities across the UK now have more than 1000 residents claiming jobseeker’s allowance. Pre-election the number was just 26! And total long-term unemployment has risen to 839,000, a 34% rise since the election and the highest level since February 1997. Across the country unemployed people outnumber vacancies by more than five to one.
By the Spring Osborne will be either humiliated or vindicated. It may be too early to forecast which but one cannot escape the view that a sudden burst in private sector jobs seems unlikely given the rise in VAT, power bills and all which must serve to restrict non-essential purchasing.
Perhaps we should ask the owners of Man City to consider a buy-out bid for UK plc?
YESTERDAY’S QUIZ ANSWERS; 1. Tsar Nicholas 11 2. Prince Charles
TODAY’S QUESTIONS; 1. Charles de Gaulle died in 1970. In 1940 he became the leader of which movement? 2. Which Nobel prize winner claimed that vitamin C could protect against the common cold?
I have never completely lost my infatuation with pantos. As a small boy I loved the annual treat just after Christmas and the various characters always played on my mind’s stage for months afterwards. There was always a mixture amongst the motley crew, some kindly and others ranging from loopy to plain evil. There was always a happy ending and an air of madness in the air as we walked out into the January gloom.
Yesterday the Beeb was kind enough to provide me with a mid-year panto, a treat hitherto unknown. The show was under the direction of Nick Robinson and told the story of five days that supposedly changed the face of British politics for ever. As with all panto endings that must be taken with a large pinch of salt on the chips, but it rounded the show off well.
And what a brillinat cast the producer had assembled for our delectation. The main star is always the one with the final laugh and King Cameron performed well. He reminded me of the school swat of many a panto. He was constantly earnest, full of self awareness and often boring but he meant well, which is more than could be said for Prince Nick who seemed a little low in the self understanding department and had led him a merry dance. Most pantos used to have a magician, often one in the style of Tommy Cooper in that their tricks were too clever for the naive King but invariably went wrong at the end.
The Prince’s tricks were often so complicated that even he lost the thread. So far as one could gather he held a meeting with the Labour Party gang and returned to the King to report that they had offered him a referendum on the electoral process. The King then offered him the same together with so many other gifts that the Prince began to wonder if it was his birthday and Christmas with Lady Gaga rolled into one. In true Tommy Cooper style it was then revealed that the gang hadn’t said anything of the sort. The Prince performed an even cleverer trick. Having based his election campaign on opposition to early cuts he opened the box to reveal that what he had really meant all along was masses of very early cuts and he even brought the offstage Governor of the Bank of England in as his witness although the good Banker denied ever having said what Nick said he said.
I think that’s right but must admit that at this stage my childhood nightmares about the Prince of Darkness had been rekindled. It was fortunate that the Beeb broadcast the show after the watershed hour of 9.00pm for small children would have hidden behind the sofa as Lord Mandelson played the part of principal villain so effectively. He was sinister and creepy and even the adults enjoyed booing. I never did work out whose side he was on but when he remarked that the King showed promise the latter’s teeth began to chatter.
There were of course a number of walk-on parts and one that caught the eye was Great Uncle Balls who could well have been the explanation for the Lib Dem brother’s -there were no ladies in this show -claim that the meetings they had with Labour as a prelude to joining the King were hostile in the extreme. Of course the joy of a good panto is that it leaves many things unexplained and it may be that Prince Nick whipped up the passion because the last thing he wanted was a serious offer of marriage that he would have to carry to his less than enthusiastic followers. In fact we met one of them. Uncle Vince Cable played a sad and lonely old man whose heart told him one thing and head another.
The big disappointment was the absence of Baron Grumpy Gordon. Being the only honest one amongst them he probably felt that the truth would spoil the show and make the other cast members look foolish, something they seemed well able to achieve without his help. We did get an insight into his relationship with young Prince Nick however. It was said that as the clock struck midnight Grumpy telephoned Uncle Vince. Why not Prince Nick? No explanation was forthcoming, pantos never include such comments as he hated the sight of him.
There was also a lovely gnome who scuttled around doing the King’s bidding. Little Billy Hague entranced the audience with his monotone drawl and winsome chuckle. During the five day bargaining he was everywhere. One minute talking to one lot, the next the other and pursued thorughout by a howling mob of reporters to whom he honestly repeated that he hadn’t a clue as to what was happening.
But sadly the Beeb allowed just one hour for this televisual feast and it was time to switch off. But not before the happy ending. Prince Nick had proved his ability to trick the king and all his men but, in true Tommy Cooper style, had forgotten a few important things. During the show he was seen telling someone that if he married the Tory King his members would desert him in droves. And now they have and he is a prisoner of the King. But happily he is a kind ruler and, always provided that Nick says not a word, he will do him no harm.
Clearly I should end by reporting that they all lived happily ever after and saved the kingdom. But on reflection I shall steal a line from a reader who tells me that they were simply re-arranging the deckchairs of the Titanic! Be that as it may the thought that this pantomime crew are running the country is a sobering one for they are scarcely the Manchester United of politics!
NEWS ON THIS FRIDAY; The front page of The Daily Telegraph has a huge picture of David Cameron hitting a tennis ball bowled by Kapil Dev for six. Clearly the news that by 2050 the UK will be the most densely populated country in Europe is of less importance for that is printed below our new cricketing ace and alongside the staggering news that men in New York are to allowed to wear their trousers low enough to expose their long-johns.
The Guardian has ignored the new cricket star to concentrate on its latest leak. This one features the hapless Gove whose inability to count must be a handicap for an Education Minister. It seems that when he said that more than 1000 schools had applied to become academies he actually meant 153.
Oh yes, and the remains of the world’s oldest shrimp has been found in a field near Gretna. Officials have denied that it bears a striking resemblance to Jimmy Saville.
There was also