People often say (rightly) there is not enough candour, and not enough humour, in politics. Why did Boris Johnson rise as he did? In part because of candour and a rare sense of humour. Why is someone like Dennis Skinner a living Labour legend – and one of the few MPs who came to hear GB’s last words as leader at Party HQ last week btw? – because of his candour and his humour.
So what have we learned about the new Treasury Chief Secretary, Lib Dem (sic) David Laws? That he doesn’t get candour and humour, which is why instead of taking the one-line note from his outgoing Labour predecessor Liam Byrne – which said there was no money left – in the spirit in which it was intended, he used it to grease even further up to new boss George Osborne (who, I suspect, will have been less impressed by Laws’ stunt than Laws.)
Liam Byrne probably assumed his shadow Philip Hammond, with whom he will have established some kind of relationship, was going to be taking over in the Treasury Number 2 job if the Tories won. It is usual for ministers to leave some kind of personal and private note to their incoming successors. It is not unusual, especially after all the harsh things said in an election campaign, for such letters to err on the light side.
What poor Liam cannot have realised is that the Coalition we helped bring about by stopping the Tories from winning a majority would have someone quite as humourless as Laws in its midst.
I don’t know the man so I may be doing him a great disservice. He may be a real bring-the-house-down merchant once he shakes off the politicospeak , the oddly scrunched-up forehead and the over-groomedness which is all I have ever really noticed about him until now.
But there is something close to nauseating about the speed with which he has moved from arguing during the election campaign that we should not be bringing forward planned cuts to the public sector until we get proper growth in the private sector going, to his position now, that he got it all wrong and Boy George was right all along.
Facing both ways is something of a Lib Dem speciality, but Laws is clearly a master of it. Even as he is nodding along in appreciation of the Osborne axe-polishing (at least George believes in it) he is sending out emails to worried Lib Dems saying that he is there to keep an eye on things, and put a brake on Osborne’s excesses. It is the first sign that he is finding the rigours of government – where you have to make decisions and explain them rather than apologise for them – more difficult than he expected.
He will always put ‘social justice’ at the heart of any decisions he makes, he tells his Lib Dem colleagues. Well let’s see how that squares with the cuts coming down the track for children, the disabled and the homeless, and let’s see how Lib Dem voters feel when they realised that is what their much desired hung parliament is bringing.
My hunch is that when the pressures from within the Lib Dem party mount, as the reality of difficult decisions bites, some of the new ministers will find it too much to bear – Vince Cable is top of my list of predicted resigners – – and will peel back to the comfort of Oppostional criticism.
Laws has two big advantages. He is clearly perfectly at ease facing two ways. And he is close to being a Tory already. Indeed my other half, who knows more about policy than I do, says he is to the right of the Tories in some areas of public services policy.
Whatever course he chooses, though, he will find life in government a lot easier if he can get a sense of humour from somewhere.
The kind that can see the funny side when, in the same breath, George Osborne says cutting quangoes will be at the heart of their cuts plans; and announces the new Office for Budget Responsbility (er … quango) to help him.
Meanwhile, nice to see one of the storylines from Yes Minister emerging as a central plank of the Tory strategy. You know the one – we spent the whole campaign saying the public finances would be a mess, and hey, they’re actually less of a mess than we said, but we will say they’re a bigger mess, and that means we can hopefully persuade people that the planned tax rises we had denied we would make are really Labour’s tax rises not ours.
If they are Labour tax rises, bring back Darling, I say!
And where’s Clegg and all his mania gone? I warned him he should get a department or disappear without trace. Buy hey, he and William Hague are sharing Chevening … aw sweet!
It has been the great Liberal cry down the years, the thing they have fought and marched for … What do we want? Country houses. When do we want them? Now!
*** Buy The Blair Years online and raise cash for Labour http://www.alastaircampbell.org/bookshop.php.
But Alistair, when the Government is borrowing a quarter of what it spending cuts will have to be made. The electorate knew this. Labour knew this. Laws is trying to ease the ground ahead for the difficult decisions to come, the decisions that Labour irresponsibly ducked over the past two years. As for the scrunched-up forehead comment, cripes there have been enough Labour misnisters over the years who have have issues with their appearance. I thought you siad it was the media who trivialises politcs? Aren’t you just as bad with this nasty little post?
At any other time that note left for David Laws would have been pretty funny. In today’s financial climate,however, with 2 million people unemployed,a global money crisis, etc..not so funny.
To Laws’ credit, he refused to distribute copies of the letter and show the original to Paxo on Newsnight last night.
Watched Laws on Newsnight last night. Couldn’t take my eyes off his eyebrows…like ski slopes..
no need for the cartoonists to caricature this face….
Seriously, he’s a Tory in all but name and seems to be looking forward to the cuts…. certainly not apologetic.
Great points Alastair, especially on the quango that was set up immediately, I predicted several tax hikes stating that the books were far worse than expected and this would mean nothing in their manifesto being delivered but front line services cut, then the inheritance tax hike coming in quietly.
All good news for labour, regroup, new leader then head to the election in a year (?) refreshed and ready. Lib Dem loyalists will be torn, tactical voters will vote Labour meaning a greater Labour vote and hopefully a return to power before the Osbourne (I wouldn’t trust with my wallet let alone the country’s) disaster takes hold.
As much as I believe Alastair Darling did the best job he could under difficult circumstances, I don’t remember him ever displaying a sense of humour. Not a partisan thing so much as a departmental thing. I think the last person at the treasury I can remember who liked a laugh was Clarke!
To my mind tribalism is the scourge of British politics, and this is an irritating example of it. I hope that Labour people in general are not going to spend the next few years badmouthing the Lib Dems at every opportunity, because it is perfectly possible that the results of a general election in 2015 will favour a coalition between Labour and the Lib Dems. The experience of many other advanced democracies seems to be that pluralist politics is more mature than adversarial two-party politics. Hopefully, we can all grow up a bit in this country.
For the record, I was struck, when watching David Laws showing his new office to Paxo last night, by his reluctance to make any capital out of Liam Byrne’s rather ill-advised letter. I can imagine that a Michael Portillo in his pomp would have shown Paxo, and us, the letter in all its flippancy and insisted that this showed how cavalier Labour was with the country’s finances. I found myself wondering why Laws was so discreet, and (only) three possibilities occurred to me: that this is a new, more mature politics, which eschews cheap point-scoring; that Laws is (still) a progressive and as such is reluctant to do down another progressive politician; and that he thinks, as I do, that maybe in a few years’ time he and his colleagues will have to work alongside the likes of Byrne just as today they have to work alongside Osborne & co. Alastair calls it two-facedness; I (and I am not a Lib Dem) would call it pragmatism, if not maturity.
It was quite nauseating to see how easily Laws was allowed by Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight (17.05.2010) to get away with this line that Labour ministers wilfully/deliberately /irresponsibly countermanded civil servants’ advice to go on some wild spending spree in the run-up to the election. That was repeated on any number of occasions and not once was it challenged. Where’s the evidence? Can he name a single spending decision which follows that pattern? I doubt it. I find it increasingly difficult to square Laws in power with some of the high-principled statements the LibDems were coming out with before the election.
Laws’ publishing of this private note is rather sad. As a Conservative I disagree with almost everything Alastair writes, but he is right that this was a private note from one minister to his successor. Making it public doesn’t seem honourable.
Alastair, it is sickening where this coalition is taking democracy. Clegg can kid his party that scrapping ID cards and reigning back speed cameras are all good old fashioned Liberal policies, but adopting the Tory manifesto and abstaining from votes you disagree on is hardly progress.
As for democracy?
– Making majorities super majorities in their favour? Check
– Scrapping Salisbury conventions? Check
– Appointing hundreds of peers against a commitment to lower cost in order to force their legislation through? Check
– Appointing the family (Gideon’s father in law) to influential positions to protect your needs further? Check
Clegg is demonstrating what we all knew would happen. Give the Wet Tories (I can’t bring myself to call them Liberals any longer) a sniff of power and they’ll revert to their privileged former self Tory roots.
Even that self-appointed bastion of Liberal values the Guardian seems to be reeling under the reality of this sham. Since the Coalition they’ve been claiming “we were right”. Getting a sense of their editorials and comment pieces, even they can’t hold the lie any longer. And I’m surprised (happily) that the Mail can’t hide it’s distate for this political stitch-up.
This will be the shortest political honeymoon imaginable.
That sickening Garden Party between D**e and Clegg is going to be looking even stupider after this next hatchet job budget.
I suspect your touchiness about Laws revealing Byrne’s note is that the note is far too near the truth – there is no money. And whether Laws has a sense of humour or not, I don’t know but I give him credit for having achieved something outside politics – more than you can say about most professional politicians.
And finally, any chance of dropping all this personal attack stuff? Trying talking policy; or in your parlance, play the ball not the man.
Right on Alastair !!!
Well Laws looks like a Tory, thinks like a Tory and quacks like a Tory, so he must be a Lib Dem with a ministerial car.
Assuming Laws has nothing better to do than to read this blog, he will be having a quiet chuckle at being accused of being humourless by top chuckle merchant Alastair Campbell.
One thing you’re right about – Vince Fireside-chats-with-Gordon will be the first to head for the lifeboat just at the sight of an iceberg, and God help any women and children who get in the way.
You are in danger of sounding bitter.
Cameron’s followed the basic number rule for any headline act putting a show together:
NEVER put a support act on your own bill that has the danger of being as good as your own headline act. And if there is no other option then put them so far down the bill that nobody gets to hear them anyways.
After Clegg’s assured and markedly-better-than-Cameron’s joint press conference with his new boss in the Rose Garden last week you can be rest assured that Cameron will not be trotting out his deputy for too many joint press conferences in the near future.
Doesn’t Clegg read his history books? Two words: Mo Mowlam.
Clegg is the Gareth Keenan of the new government to David Cameron’s David Brent.
What are the lyrics to that song again?
“I beg your pardon, I never promised you a rose garden.”
You’re going to have to get used to it Alastair, we lost. A tired and uninspired government with an even more tired and rudderless campaign, even a late rally can’t hide the fact that less than 3 out of 10 voted for us.
So carping from the sidelines is futile, the Byrne letter and the country house references just sound bitter, and not taking responsibility for many of the perils that now affect this country is just cowardly.
Labour needs to regroup, work out what it stands for, and put together a new top team of MPs to formulate policies for the 21st century. It was depressing to note that Labour’s ‘team’ of negotiators who met the Lib Dems included 2 unelected peers hell bent on clinging to power, rather than doing what’s best for the country. Not exactly progressive politics at work.
Gordon Brown did his best, but it wasn’t good enough. He left with dignity, and now it’s time for others to do the same.
I worked for David Laws in his Westminster office a few years back and I can testify that he is not humourless, I found witty, engaging and a very hard worker. I think his response to the note was more a result of him trying to show how seriously he takes his new role in government. He has worked hard for many years in opposition and was a constantly fighting for Liberal Democrat policies to be heard by the government in his various post in the Lib Dem shadow cabinet. Now he is in government I fully expect him to do the same and act in the national interest. I for one am very happy that he is in Government and can have a key role in stopping Osborne mucking everything up.
The first thing the Coalition could do in this new age of austerity for everyone, is scrap most of the grace and favour country seats. I am no Dave Spart but they really do represent the epitomy of privilege and aristocratic hegemony (despite the abiding image we all have of John Prescott playing croquet on the lawn).
They put leaders out of touch with ordinary people. They are archaic and seductive trappings of power that appear even more Caligula-like in the current economic climate and at a time of public outrage about the greed of some MPs.
In particular, why on God’s earth does Nick Clegg need Chevening, with its 115 rooms, even if it is a house-share with Hague? I rather think he won’t be entertaining some of the illegal immigrants he so quickly abandoned? All ideas welcome.
Oh Nick Clegg, whatever credibility you had left, has now gone, gone, gone.
Surprised (or am I)? at how many of the Lib Dems. ‘top brass’ are millionaire ex-investment bankers…
Gosh, forget sour grapes, you are really sounding bitter.
I personally don’t care for humour in politics. One of the reasons I felt sorry for Brown who was made to make those stupid video clips of him ‘smiling’. Candour, well I would say is far more needed in politics, especially after the ‘Taxi’ and ‘expences’ fiascos. Right up to the last minute Liam Byrne showed that NuLabour treated their position as Governors as a joke. That comment or ‘joke’ is a slap in the face to the electorate, and I for one am pleased that Laws shared it with us.
Dennis Skinner might be a bundle of fun to his Labour colleagues in the House ; to the public at large he comes across as a rather unpleasant person driven entirely by class hatred, and whose jokes aren’t as funny as he thinks they are.
Alistair you and some of the bloggers on here are starting to sound very bitter and becoming very boring. Accept Labour has lost and move on. Slagging off the coalition will get you no-where. Reading the comments on Labour List, I would be very surprised if you or the dark Lord will have much influence over future Labour plans. It would appear that the ground roots are angry with you both. Hopefully, this will mean Labour will look for a new face not tainted by the Blair/Brown sleaze and become a formidable opposition. I think most people (not diehard Labour ones) are prepared to give the coalition a chance. And I think you would be surprised how many people will believe that all the cuts and hardships ahead are because of Labour’s reckless spending of money that was not there in the first place. I don’t think they will have a hard time persuading people that they are clearing up Labour’s mess. Labour’s history of lies compared with a shiny new coalition government is no contest.
Another pot kettle ramble from comrade AC. Pravda would be proud. I am no longer a Labour voter – haven’t been since 2003 and the small matter of the rather dubious use of the words ‘beyond doubt’ – the evidence would suggest otherwise – would it not? However, Ed Milliband makes an important point – whilst being the first to acknowledge (at least in part) the failings of Nulab on the economy, the dishonesty over Iraq and the huge wastage of public funds on tick box/manger focussed public projects, he at least can see that if Labour is to reinvent itself it needs to distance itself from the very people that greatly damaged its reputation from the start of 97.
The amusing thing is that you don’t have the intelligence to understand that you are, along with the likes of Balls and Mandleson, one of Labours biggest liabilities. Whilst old crookedmouth continues to claim to speak for labour, with his humourless ‘I know best’ attitude, Labour will continue to flounder.
Keep up the egocentric rambling though – your lack of self perception is always amusing.
Ps – when are you going to admit you can’t answer Marr’s question on Iraq? Your ‘Poor me’ TV moment really was a quite disgraceful piece of childish self indulgence on your part.
Yes. Right now can’t see a sense of humour actually helping that much. The fact is Labour failed to get a majority and now we have a shambolic arrangement in place which will hopefully stumble very soon
Meantime it’s time to re group and take heart that 13000 new members have joined Labour in ten days. We will return.
Dear Mr Campbell,
Please do not forget us — you said you would recommend http://www.thinkpolitics.co.uk to your Twitter followers.
I agree with Jacqui R. Sell all these grace and favour houses and flats and put the money raised back into the economy. They represent a bygone age and have no place in the future. There should be no trappings of power for these or any future government ministers. MPs have fleeced us enough there should be no need for rewards like these.
The new Chancellor’s warnings about how the Greek situation might be replicated in the U.K. coincides with a story in the F.T. suggesting that exactly the opposite is true. British debt is highly valued by investors because they want to steer clear of euro debt associated with Greece.
According to the F.T., foreigners bought a record quantity of long term British gilts used to finance the British debt during the last quarter because they regarded both British debt instruments and U.S. bonds as a safe haven for their money !
Some 20.37 billion pounds worth of gilts were bought in the first quarter of 2010 by foreign investors. Foreigners now own just under 30 % of the gilts used to finance the British debt. They are not forced to buy it. They buy it because they see it as a good and safe investment.
The Chancellor ought to be backing Britain. Foreign investors do! (For further info see my blog http://www.Haroldchorneypoliticaleconomist.piczo.com)
Well said Alistair.
Sorry, AC disagree with you there…Even a child would have known that opponents would make political mileage out of this note…Given how cunning Osborne has shown himself to be in the campaign,there was no way he was letting go of this…Liam Bryne should have behaved more responsibly
do you think we will be in danger of one nation conservatism under cameron-clegg ? will the left of the lib-dems splinter off as things start to bite .
As usual the LibDems have more faces than the town hall clock, anyone involved in politics knows that. In a southern by election thay campaign to the right of the tories, up north to the left of Labour. They are shameless.
Your once thoughtful blog has turned into one bitter rant after another. Labour lost the election – accept it. Labour will only come back when it accepts it lost, tries to understand it and changes. It was reduced to it’s core vote at the election.
Your comments on David Laws are out of place. Surely someone in Liam Bryne’s shoes should realise that any note like this is going to be given to the press. What a silly thing to do. His excuse it was a joke is simply pathetic.
Do you have any plans to do a similar fundraising thing for your new diary? I’ll probably pre-order it on amazon for whatever discounted price they are selling it for, but I’d much rather pay full price for a signed version, especially if it meant helping to be the Tories.
It is now the 18th May and Labour is saying they cannot elect a new leader until September. Am I the only one to think this is just crazy and foolish? Why will it take four months to select a party leader. There is an urgent need for a strong opposition leader in Parliament (no offence to HH at all) – just someone to keep them on their toes, a leader not afraid to keep pointing out the hypocracy and looming failure of the Con-Dems.
Someone to whip up the rank and file libdems to demand better of Clegg – who was so hidden behind Cameron all through the camera shots today, that he is bound to develop a complex and asked to be moved. It will only be a matter of weeks before he gets fed up with media pscophants reporting the goings on of everybody else except him. But seriously, AC will you explain why labour needs so much time to elect a new leader? My money is on Ed balls or Ed Milliband btw – they are genuine and don’t come across as desparate for power as you know who.
Where is Nick Clegg? In the Commons introducing a historic political reform bill.
Lib Dems filling that vaccuum that TB and the Labour Party used to inhabit.
Still that seems to be the best assessment for most of the Lib’s actions.
To the people posting comments on here telling Alastair to stop speaking his mind because you think he’s flogging a dead horse, for goodness sake, it’s his blog. He can say what he likes. You don’t have to read it if it offends you! I’m sure he would welcome constructive criticism or substansive, supported, alternate views however.
As far as I’m concerned, Mr Laws making a bit of private communication, public, is a bit crass. What worries me more (as always) is the Media’s twisty, sensationalist way of reporting such trivia. Looking over someone’s shoulder as they read the Sun, this afternoon, I thought WW3 had broken out. I dread to think that readers of such quality information disemination take on board the panic inducing, crisis suggesting b%ll%cks they read. The cupboard isn’t bare. Unlike the Mediterranean-lining countries of this fine continent, we do tend to pay out taxes in the UK. (Apart from the nom-doms and other accountant-lined super rich of course). As another poster pointed out. Those with money to invest quite like our debt and see it as a nice little earner. The important thing, it seems quite obvious to me, is to keep those tax revenues flowing and to do that you need a healthy economy, not one that is being promoted by our new government as broken, broke and there for the butchering. Office for Budget Responsibilty? Are you having a laugh? Surely it’s not even good grammar!
And while you’ve got me going. The Media trying to make political mileage out of a mildly amusing, private little joke and expecting us to believe that the end of the world is nigh, is one thing. Is it really only me that notices how, after a year in Government (after 18 harrowing, damaging, welfare state destroying years of Tory government), everything that was wrong in the world was the fault of the new Labour administration whilst, after 2 weeks of The Coallition…. everything is the fault of the old Labour administration (and presumably will be for the next 5 years). It’s all so f3cking transparent and yet they seem to get away with it, over and over again.
Was it Richard Dawkins that came up with the idea of memes? In political Media speak, this means says something really false and crass about Labour on one hugely biased TV channel and watch it slowly become accepted dogma across the others, as uncritical,lazy competitors repeat the same phrasology, however much to a lesser degree, thoughout the next 24 hours until no one remembers the baselessness of the original statement. It’s so effective, it’s terrifying. Next time you wonder if you heard right, it’s probably because the latest Labour news report seems to contain a plethora of negative words and phrasology as if by rote. Then try to work out how that came about.
I have been a massive fan of your for years and would like to say yo were brilliant in the Adam Boulton interview, you wound him up to a tee – well done!
Can we see more of these style interviews, my area & regional manager once asked me ‘Who would you really like to having working for you if you could pick one person?’ I replied ‘Alastair Campbell’.
Keep up the great work!
There is nothing at all humorous in having brought the country to such a parlous economic state from which it will take decades to recover. Your tribal loyalty will never allow you to accept how damaging your government has been and that it ended in abject failure. The majority know the truth but also that they are going to have to pay the price for it. I suppose that was what Brown meant when he said there should be no rewards for failure.
Brian, and all you ignorant people who keep blaming the last government for the financial crises please do some research of what actually has happened rather than positing such uninformed garbage.
There has been a global systematic failure of the financial system that has led to the current situation.
If you want to point blame it should be attributed equally to all the worlds governments, however it is difficult to blame them as practically no one including Nobel prize winning economists foresaw this happening.
Finally the previous government led the world in stopping this turning into a great depression.
Finally WE ARE NOT ON OUR KNEES as a country, more garbage regurgitated from the press… read your history books to understand what happens when a country is on its knees. We won’t be as prosperous as we were for a while as with all economic downturns but of course things will turn around.
So if you want to make such statements, do your research, you know what they say…Prejudice is a great time saver. You can form opinions without having to get the facts.
It’s a law of nature that Labour governments always run out of other people’s money. Liam Byrne, however, was foolish enough to admit it. That at least is mildly amusing, though little comfort as we face the consequent service cuts and tax rises. Keep on complaining Alistair, because every time you do you remind the electorate of who got us into the current mess.
Well said, Laura!
I suggest you take your own advice and find out the facts of what your rotten government has done to this country instead of living in cloud-cuckoo-land.
You just don’t get it do you? A joke should be funny. Making a stupid remark about the dire state of the economy caused by 13 years of New Labour isn’t a laughing matter.
It may tickle you as you are one of a small clique of people that actually made a fortune out of the ruin you left behind you.
What a bitter unreconstructed Nu- Labour dinosaur you are, Alastair, you appear to be in total denial and unable to face up to the new reality. How sad that a man of your ability should be reduced to peddling fatuous excuses for your Party’s lamentable failures. Can you really not see that it is you,Mandelson,and Balls who need to shoulder the blame for your electoral diasaster not Brown, who was a mere puppet to your string-pulling?
As for those on here who think that all you have to do to regain power is regather under a new leader and wait for a few months before the coalition implodes,dream on…it ain’t going to happen …your future is in opposition only,so just get used to it.
Agreed… very well said Laura. I’m sick to the back teeth of reading predictable right wing rants. What on earth are they expecting from Alastair Campbell’s blog? Haven’t these people got better things to do?
PS Thanks for writing the Blog Alastair, your judgement is spot on and never less than insightful.
There is nothing wrong with ‘class war’. The Tories ( now aided by Clegg and Co ) have been waging war on the poor for centuries. They choose people from Eton, not the local comp. They want to give the rich ( ie themselves ) tax breaks. So lets not pretend we are a society at peace with itself. We are class ridden, and it is propagated by a rich and powerful elite. As for Laws he is almost certainly a man desperate for power and will do as his new master wish, although the outgoing Byrne never struck me as being anything more than a self satisfied yes man.
Thanks for the explanation,now I understand..AC’s blog is not to be taken seriously then,it’s only what we ranters should expect from him; please accept my humblest apologies.In future I will not react so angrily and will treat everything that he says as the joke he so obviously means it to be!
What I find really amusing is that not only did labour near near bankrupt this country, but they locked us in for decades to waste even more money on PFI projects. The number of New Labour chums who cashed in massively from those deals at the expense of the tax payer is a disgrace. Yeah, there’s no money, we’ve siphened it all off. Really funny.
New Labour – Institutionally Corrupt and Morally Bankrupt.
Agreed… very well said Laura. I’m sick to the back teeth of reading predictable right wing rants. What on earth are they expecting from Alastair Campbell’s blog?
Lol. Us right wing? Not sure if you realise Joe, but NuLabour moved so far right and authoritarian they made the Tories look like teddy bears. Who abolished the 10p tax band? I’m sure yu remember Wa;lter Wolfgang?
Interesting news re DC hijacking the 1922 committee. Channel 4 News are making a big deal of it – hardly anything on the BBC, The Independent, The Guardian and The Times. TB fought his battles well before winning in `97. Is DC overconfident? Even though the coalition tries to assert longevity, maybe bombs will detonate sooner than expected.
Knowing the scorched earth policy that Brown and co have perpetrated on us over the last 13 years I’m not surprised that David Laws had a sense of humour failure. Brown & co should be taken to the tower along with you and the Prince of Darkness and stuck there for good. You can add Bliar in too.
It does not really surprise me that NuLab are still obsessed with constantly putting down the Conservatives and firing cheap shots at the coalition government, they spent their entire campaign basically saying Conservatives nasty, vote Labour to keep them out. It did not work then, it will not work now but keep trying anyway. Have fun being the third party after the next election.
Very well said Laura, atleast AC lets the right whingers post comments on his blog, unlike the blog by the Tory Nick Robinson of the BBC where if you mention in your post that he is partial, the moderator rejects it.