Hunter's three questions on David Abraham

Many questions are being asked about what Labour did and didn't know about the illegal Abraham donations (totalling over £600,000!)

Hunter would like to know the answers to these three questions:

1. Did John Mendelson previously kick David Abrahams out of Labour Friends of Israel for "wrong-doings"(as has been reported). If so, why?

2. Why did David Abrahams have to stand down as the Labour candidate for Richmond shortly before the 1992 General Election?

3. Just how many names does David Abraham have?


Why the Lib Dem leadership contest should be cancelled

Hunter has just watched PMQs. Vince Cable, the acting Lib Dem leader, was the star of the show with his line: "Hasn't the Prime Minister transformed himself from Stalin to Mr Bean?" Wonderful! Hell would have to freeze over before the Lib Dems took Hunter's advice, but they really ought to cancel the leadership contest and keep Vince. Sadly, they seem hell bent on supporting either Tweedledee or Tweedledum.

The only reasons to keep Northern Rock in business:

To keep Newcastle and surrounding areas voting Labour
To keep shareholders happy and hope they vote Labour
To keep depositers happy so they might vote Labour
To eep the banking industry upright so somebody votes Labour

Any other reason is waffle!

Lib Dem MEP joins Conservatives

When challenged as to why their parliamentary party, despite their rhetoric, had no BME members, Lib Dems would always point to the sole elected parliamentarian in the European Parliament, Sajjad Karim. They would also fall over themselves to stress how wonderful he was and how lucky they were to have him in their ranks.

Well, Sajjad becomes the first senior Lib Dem to join David Cameron's Conservatives.

Said Sajjad:

Two years ago David Cameron described himself as a Liberal Conservative and
that's very much how I see myself. But I needed to be convinced that he could
change his party and now I am. David Cameron's recent speech on immigration was
incredibly impressive - sensible, rational and positive. It persuaded me that he
is a leader who has changed his party and will change this country. I'm afraid
that the Liberal Democrats have lost their way and are no longer a serious force
in politics. I'm here to serve the people of the North West and I think I can
only do that now as a Conservative. I'm sure I will not be the last politician
to reach the same conclusion. It's David Cameron and the Conservatives who are
now setting the political agenda in Britain. Only the Conservatives are capable
of putting right Labour's continued failure.

Locally, Mash Joy joined us from Haringey Lib Dems and several others are expected to follow his lead.

Hunter welcomes Sajjad and Mash into the fold.

If you're a liberal and value democracy, you should be in Cameron's Conservatives...

UPDATE: The Chairman of the Ethnic Minority Lib Dems, Cllr. Meral Ece, has just left the following comment on Lib Dem Voice:

I am extremely saddened by this news. Saj was a very effective MEP, and the only BME elected parliamentarian in the Liberal Democrats.I believe he was the only incumbant MEP to come in second position, and unfortunately, the only ethnic minority.
If anyone is in any doubt- we have a crisis in our continuing democratic deficit in this area.

Former Haringey councillor passes away

Hunter notes with sadness that Lucy Arnold, a former Labour councillor for Bowes ward, has passed away. I don't know if this was recent or not as no date was given in the Births, Marriages and Deaths page of the Tottenham Journal. She can't have been very old. Hunter sends his condolences to Ron Blanchard, her husband (also a former Haringey councillor) and to other members of her family at this sad time.

Tottenham Conservatives' end-of-year dinner

Tottenham Conservatives had a get-together at a local Turkish restaurant in West Green ward this week. Over 30 local members joined us for an excellent dinner and to hear a rousing speech from our parliamentary speaker, Graham Stuart MP. Thankfully, a considerable amount of money was raised to pay for local Conservative campaigning. (Contrary to the belief of deluded socialists, the vast majority of Conservative campaigning is paid for by local fundraising - not by Lord Ashcroft, who gives Tottenham nothing and gives far less to the Tories than Labour receive from their fatcat Union bosses).

Back to Tottenham: as I looked at our assembled company, it occurred to me how much our party has changed over the years: of 30 guests, there were twelve gay men, two lesbians, one transsexual, one Mauritian, one Pakistani, one Iranian and one Ugandan. Wouldn't David Cameron have been pleased with us!?

The restaurant owners also managed to squeeze in two other couples as well as we Tories on the night. The first couple were only too happy to hear that they might be disturbed by a 20-minute speech from our guest speaker, even giving us the thumbs up. The other couple, mind you, were po-faced Guardianista queens from Muswell Hill, and were not amused! Tough, they were warned and could have gone elsewhere. I really think we rocked the foundations of their small little world when we confronted them with the fact that not all brown people and sexual minorities are on the political Left. But then Guardian readers only ever talk to other Guardian readers - and imagine that anyone to the right of Polly Toynbee must be part of some Daily Mail conspiracy.

Gideon Bull selected for Romford?

News has just reached Hunter that Gideon Bull, a local councillor whom Hunter has fought at two elections, has been selected as the Labour Party candidate for the true-blue seat of Romford, which is represented by my old friend Andrew Rosindell.

Andrew's share of the vote will be above 70% whenever Broon has the bottle to call an election. Gideon will be well and truly slaughtered. Why would Romford voters want an MP who doesn't live in the area and is a member of one of the worst councils anywhere in Britain, namely Haringey?

Hunter assumes Gideon will be making Romford his new home and looks forward to contesting the by-election.

23:54 UPDATE: Gideon informs me that he has not been selected, that he's just applied and there has been no hustings. However, Hunter's source tells me the opposite!

It's civil war in the Lib Dems

Hunter caught the last few minutes of Thursday's Question Time, staring Nick Clegg and Chris Huhne. Surprisingly, it was left to Huhne to defend the government's decision to renew Trident. Clegg sounded as if he had been harangued the night before by Bruce Kent of the CND. Many people wrongly assumed that he was the "sensible" one of the two contenders. Clegg was weak, weak, weak - and reminded Hunter how Tony Blair used those words to taunt John Major back in the mid nineties.

Today, Hunter watched the Politics Show where it was revealed that somebody in Huhne's office published a document called "Calamity Clegg". Clegg's campaign team have lodged an official complaint with the party's chief whip

Conservatives, over a year ago, had our own leadership contest: the candidates were civil to each other (as were their supporters), policies were discussed in a calm and civilised fashion and our support rocketed.

The Lib Dems had a wonderful opportunity to raise their profile and support during these last weeks. They have wasted it. Even on Lib Dem Voice, the normally subdued blog for Lib Dem members and supporters, civil war has broken out. Here are some examples (taken from LDV):

"When attending the hustings event in Leeds, Huhne challenged Clegg on School Vouchers, and Clegg adamantly denied he was in favour.

Huhne is coming across as the school bully, not doing himself any favours!"
- Tom

"I think all of this stuff from Chris is slightly pointless. If Nick says that he doesn’t believe something then why on earth won’t Chris believe him?" - Rob Blackie

"Not sure how to react to the Calamity Clegg stuff, that looks poor but Huhne obviously didn’t know anything about it. OTOH, Clegg looked flustered, Huhne hectoring. Not good for either" - MatGB

"I’ve found both unedifying on that: Chris with a nasty edge, and Nick repeating the same carefully prepared soundbite rather than dealing with what he actually said to the Scotsman. And, having said Chris was coming over as nasty, at least he’s open about it: I notice Chris said Nick would be a good leader and Nick wriggled out of saying anything positive about Chris" - Alex Wilcock

"The tone of this debate is very off-putting. The message is not getting across. A great opportunity lost"
- David

"I thought Huhne’s bullying and hectoring was shocking. Well done to Nick for trying (despite being constantly talked over) to stick to talking about issues that really matter to voters" - Matthew

"The only winners of that shambles were Brown & Cameron!" - Hywel Morgan

"Blimey - didn’t fall asleep watching this one. Chris made a right mess of it" - Ruth Bright

"Well, am in disbelief. We needed that particular exchange like a hole in the head! It will have done us no good at all with the public at large - cue more media comments about ‘nasty party’.

At the start of the contest, I favoured Nick but had wavered of late because he had seemed a bit lacklustre and Chris seemed to want it more. Now, he seems to want it too much? Anyway, ‘Calamity Clegg’ briefing v bad, whether Chris knew of it or it just came out of his campaign office. He might get over it, but probably shouldn’t. The least that can be said is that it’s not our job to produce yet more amusing nicknames about our own for The Sun.

I thought Nick - when he could get a sentence out - reacted as best he could, he’s obviously exasperated by the way he’s being opposed, but tried not to show it too much. Still, it must be frustrating to keep having to refute what your opponent says you’re saying, rather than getting to talk about your own ideas, and he deserves some credit for not getting all aggressive back (which really would have made a great news story…both candidates at each others’ throats…)

The best that can be said is that it’s helped me decide, if only for the wrong reasons.

Much more importantly, how do we go forward from here?"
- John in Penarth

"Shit, I’ve only just woken up" - Laurence Boyce

"Vince Cable, in his capacity as acting leader, needs to have a quiet word with Chris, especially, and Nick to tell them to cool it. That was unedifying spectacle and as a declared Huhne supporter I am now worried that if wins he will not be able to deliver a united party" - RMC

"Terrible - but not as bad as the head-to-head spat just shown on the South West segment - it descended into a terrible school ground argument.

Just what the party didn’t need down here.

I’m all for a bit of oomph in our leadership contest but that was just plain silly. My vote is undecided again"
- Member in the South West

"well as a member I am finding it increasingly difficult to choose between Clegg and Huhne. I think Huhne performs well but today’s show and his campaign has shown him to be rude and aggressive. Clegg is good at performing pre-written soundbites and speeches but not good at speaking out of script. He comes across as wishy washy at times. So I have no idea who to vote for" - Chris

"It would be interesting to find out who wrote the Calamity Clegg document, was it an MP?

It’s a bit rich for Chris to say that he isn’t aware of everything that comes from his campaign team"
- Cheltenham Robin

The BBC's Guto Harri has summoned it up quite well on his blog, observing: "It is striking - within a party that's generally regarded as nice - how nasty the Liberal Democrats are quietly capable of being."

Remembrance Sunday at the Tottenham Cenotaph

Hunter had the honour on Sunday of representing the Conservative Party at the wreath-laying ceremony in Tottenham. Here in Haringey, we have three ceremonies: in Hornsey (where we Conservatives were represented by the dashing Nicola Bates), the main Civic ceremony at Wood Green (represented by Eyvind Andresen) and the one here in Tottenham, which I always attend.

Readers of this blog do not need a history lesson from me on world wars I or II , suffice to say, this is always a moving occasion, uniting all faiths and races and means a great deal to all who take part.

Remembrance Sunday is also notably one of the few days of the year when local politicians put aside their differences and play nicely - especially at the reception afterwards hosted by the Royal British Legion which is always good for sharing some choice gossip

David Lammy MP said ‘Hello’ and wondered why I wasn’t being friendly. Told him I was miffed that he hadn’t joined my Facebook Group yet. I don't think he appreciates my online attempts to get him to spend more time with his family. Hunter noted that, after the service, Lammy disappeared sharpish instead of having a sausage roll at the Legion with the other politicos - perhaps he had to go off for another interview with June Sarpong?

Wayne Hoban, Lib Dem councillor for Alexandra Ward and former Tottenham ppc shook my hand - and then said “I don’t know why I'm doing this – you’ve been so mean about me on your blog”. Oops! What could I say other than ‘politics is politics’ (feeble I know!). I couldn’t resist asking him whether the rumours about him are true: Is he really on the verge of quitting Haringey Council in the New Year? (another Haringey Lib Dem with ‘the runs’). Poor Wayne looked gobsmacked for all of 20 seconds before saying, “ I couldn’t possibly comment”. You heard it here first, folks! The LibDems will miss him when he goes - he is one of their better councillors and has never been one of the fawning courtiers around Queen Lynne.

Emma Jones, councillor for Bruce Grove and Hunter’s favourite little eco-warrior, was also there to lay a wreath on behalf of the Labour Group. Emma has bravely turned vegan – a source of amusement to most of her Labour colleagues, it seems. Hunter kept an eye on her plate at the Legion and only spotted a few boiled potatoes and a couple of lettuce leaves. Poor girl, she'll waste away! A 'hat tip' and a large drink awaits the first person to file a report to me of Emma being seen eating cheese!

Brian Haley – councillor for St. Ann’s Ward and Cabinet Member Against Cars. Brian said Hunter now looks “quite regal” with my beard – I think he has noticed my growing resemblance to Edward VII (beard and waistline!). Perhaps Hunter should join Emma Jones on her vegan diet?

Sheila Peacock, former Mayor of Haringey, current councillor for Northumberland Park, and my old headmistress was very jolly, and cock-a-hoop that she has reported a Lib Dem councillor to the Standards Board. Hunter couldn’t resist pointing out to her that it must make a nice change reporting somebody to the Standards Board, rather than herself being reported to it! Anyway, if she’s successful, this councillor won’t have a leg to stand on (nudge, nudge, wink, wink!)

Jim Cassins – soi disant ‘community leader' of South Tottenham was strangely missing. But others present explained his absence: this notorious star-f****er normally goes to the Civic ceremony in Wood Green 'cos the company's classier. This year, though, he boycotted the event because the church service has been axed. Hunter, naturally expected him to lay his wreath in Tottenham, but, alas, there isn’t enough illustrious flesh for him to press here.

David Schmitz - LibDem PPC for Tottenham laid the wreath for the Yellow Peril. Seems to me he is far to nice to be a FibDum _ Does he even know what they stand for? And, if he does, could he explain it to the rest of us?

N17 – who’d want to be anywhere else?

Now they ditch democracy!

We all know that the Lib Dems ceased to be liberal ages ago - but now it looks as though they have given up on democracy, too. Scores of paid-up Lib Dems members, including Norfolk Blogger, were not sent ballot papers so they could rank their MEP candidates. Now they claim to be disfranchised from the increasingly personalised 'contest' to elect a new Leader.

Sensible Lib Dems who believe in liberalism, democracy and integrity will find a warm welcome in David Cameron’s liberal Conservative Party...

Panicking in the middle of Crouch End

'Disgraced Aitken in key new Tory prisons role' screamed the headline in today's Observer.But don't worry, folks. This was not a reference to the serial party-switcher Ron Aitken, but to that fine upstanding Christian Jonathan Aitken - truly 'Beauty' to Ron's 'Beast'. Phew!

Darling Zippy dies

Hunter and Dr. James have lost another guinea pig, Zippy. The poor little devil was found dead in his cage early yesterday morning. It looked as though his death was quick and painless - probably of heart failure. His age was unknown as he and his brother, George, were rescued. Our guess is that he was about four.

Pippet is terribly lonely and lost and we're planning on getting him a new friend from Bobtails - which is an amazing rescue centre for bunnies and guineas based in Ewell, Surrey.

In the meantime, RIP little fella.

Where's Boris?

It was left to David Davis to call for the head of Sir Ian Blair over the murder of Charles de Menezes. Where was Boris Johnson, our Mayoral candidate? Boris should have been the one to lead calls for Blair to quit. Hunter notes his website is out of date, too.

Curiously, Boris found the time to submit his article to the Labourgraph on "Why I support Hillary Clinton".

Why Cllr. Catherine Harris isn't smelling of roses

Hunter last week received a text message to say that the Lib Dems' Cllr. Catherine Harris (Noel Park) had defected to the Labour Group on Haringey Council. Why anyone would want to help prop up this failing Labour administration is beyond me. If she really thought the Lib Dems lack vision (which they do) and that Haringey is a rotten Labour Council (which it is -- as she said in her press releases), she could have joined local Conservatives who are campaigning for real change.

Harris repeatedly attacked Labour's record, especially on housing. Were they her words or did she just put her name to a researcher’s press releases? Either way, she does not come out smelling of roses (no pun intended!)

As Lynda Jack said on Cllr. Matt Davies' blog, "...what has happened raises some key questions about the way we select candidates. Frankly better to have no candidate at all than to take a risk with someone with no history or evidence they are infact Lib Dem".

Given that she had missed so many full council meetings, despite Labour's tiny majority, could she have been a Labour 'plant' all along? Discuss!

Desperate Lynne gets nasty

Having failed to flog some life back into the dying horse of Chris Huhne's faltering bid for the LibDem leadership, desperate Lynne has now taken the gloves off and laid into her party's next leader, Nick Clegg on her blog.

In her blog she has accused Clegg of:
_ nicking Huhne's ideas and passing them off as his own (the Freedom Bill/ Great Repeal Act)
_ of only being comfortable talking about his own brief (home affairs)
_ of fasely implying that Huhne is a unilateralist on the nuclear issue
_ of interrupting and attacking Huhne in the debate
_ yet at the same time implies that he is lacking in substance and relies on his charm and 'touchy-feeliness' to win support, a mere 'boy' in comparison with 'Man Huhne'

Now we're all used to LibDems (Lynne in particular) trying to face both ways on every issue, but which is it this time, Lynne? Is Nick Clegg a touchy-feely, lightweight 'boy', all charm and no substance? Or is he a robust and combative debater, a skilful political operator adept in stealing others' ideas and dissing them to the voters? You can't have it both ways.

If Hunter were Clegg or one of his team, I'd be furious at this spiteful character assassination masquerading as a simple update on an election hustings. Place your bets now on Lynne getting the bullet on Day 1 of Clegg's leadership. (I'm off to Ladbrokes)