Newsnight: The questions from the panel were a disgrace. Gavin Esler repeated the inflammatory word 'swamped' in relation to immigration three or four times with the obvious intent of trying to get David Cameron to repeat it. The panel repeatedly mentioned Mr. and Mrs. Cameron's wealth - indicating that this meant he was unfit to comment on poverty/low income families. Hunter was also amazed at Mr. Esler asking if Cameron thought he was competent for the job; that is for the electorate to decide, not Esler. Did you notice how the lighting crew felt the need to leave David Cameron in half shadow whilst the panel were bathed in light? Surely this wasn't a Newsnight ploy to make him look bad/shadowy? Can you imagine Brown recieving such treatment?
Hunter has made an official complaint to the Beeb and urges his loyal readers to do likewise. On day one of us taking office we should privatise the BBC. Most of it's staff would be able to find work quite easily: campaigning at Labour Party HQ or scribbling for the Guardian!
Hunter is giving some serious thought to writing a book, following the publication of Serve a Liberal Helping, a Lib Dem cook book by Camden Lib Dems. Hunter's book would probably be called "Serve a Liberal Helping of Hypocrisy" (thanks to Colin for the suggestive title!). The book would be complete with cartoons. Any good cartoonists out there? Iain, if you're reading, any advice on how I can get a book published? Meanwhile, Hunter would appreciate some more material - click here to contribute.
Hunter's favourite suggestion to date has come from Tom:
"Featherstone Chicken – the picture in the book shows something luscious, juicy and fresh. In reality, you end up with a dried-up, leathery old bird!"
Dim Lebs in Highgate have been lobbying the Council to impose a CPZ around Highgate tube station. You didn't have to be Einstein to say that this would lead to parking problems in nearby roads. This is precisely what has happened to roads such as Claremont and Stanhope. Now they, unsurprisingly, want their own CPZ. But Crouch End's two Dim Leb councillors (the third one, Aitken, is in hiding) haven't told their residents that the parking problems are a direct result of their colleagues in Highgate calling for the Council to quickly implement the CPZ around to station...
Has Featherstone not got a clue as to what's happening in her own back yard?
Campaigning to be the Dim Lebs' GLA candidate for Enfield-Haringey, Cllr. Monica Whyte makes the bizarre claim, "we know that the Tories are extinct in Haringey and cannot win this GLA seat". Come again, Cllr. Whyte?
The result from the 2004 GLA election was as follows -
Lib Dems: 19,720
Had UKIP not stood, Conservatives probably would have won by about 5,000 votes. We have selected high-profile local councillor, Cllr. Matthew Laban, who is working hard to win this seat.
It's certainly a two-horse race, but the Lib Dems are out of it. Just who is Cllr. Whyte trying to kid? And as for Conservatives being "extinct" in Haringey, well that's just wishful thinking on her part but Conservatives are here, campaigning on the issues that matter to people and are making good progress.
Update: I understand that Cllr. Whyte has been fast-tracked to become a Lib Dem PPC –yet another example of a Lib Dem using Haringey as a stepping stone for Westminster!
Camden Lib Dems have put together a new cookbook, Serve a Liberal Helping. Hunter couldn't resist putting together a Lib Dem menu. Hopefully, this will be included in their next book.
Soup of the day (stirred by Mark Pack)
Smoked Kippers in a whiskey coulis (served by Charles Kennedy)
Iced vanilla buns served with lashings of chocolate sauce
(served by Mark Oaten)
(served by Charles Kennedy)
'Crusty Old Git'
(recommended by our Head Chef, Ming Campbell)
What would you suggest?
Hunter could understand if Euro-sceptics wanted a referendum on Britain's membership of the EU itself, but not on the revised Treaty. If you're in a club, you can't pick and chose the rules. If they want to resign from the club, then that is another matter.
Both Margaret Thatcher and John Major handed an enormous amount of powers (through Maastricht and Single European Act) to Europe's institutions. A referendum wasn't needed then and isn't needed now.
If Cameron and Hague continue to bang on about Europe, then we're doomed. Stick to the top two issues that matter to people: crime and the NHS.
When Hunter read that UKIP, the Conservatives and RMT have opportunistically joined forces to demand a referendum, Hunter's stomach turned. Talk about unlikely bedfellows! It’s worth noting that the RMT oppose the Treaty because it isn’t a Socialist one…
Hats off to Michael Evans, the Catholic Bishop of East Anglia, for condemning Amnesty International's decision to support abortion. Hunter first read the story in yesterday's Daily Telegraph but was reminded about it when reading a post on Norfolk Blogger.
There is no 'right' to an abortion, but there is a right to life - if that isn't a basic human right then I don't know what is!
Abortions are sometimes necessary when the mother or baby's life is at risk. This is not disputed by Hunter or his fellow pro-lifers. In fact, prior to David Steele's Abortion Act (1967) abortion was available to women under those circumstances. But the truth is that over 95% of abortions are carried out when there's no risk to the mother's immediate health.
AI does fantastic work, but Hunter has no choice but to cancel his monthly direct debit. When they ditch the policy and return to their senses, Hunter will start to donate again.
Yes, CCHQ seems to have made a dog's breakfast of naming A&E and maternity units under threat from closure. There are, of course, many closures but CCHQ got the names mixed up. Some gap-toothed flunkey really has made a fool out of David Cameron and Andrew Lansley, the Shadow Health Secretary. But, thankfully, this was a one off. To think the Dim Lebs have been mocking us over at Lib Dem Voice beggars belief. The Lib Dems invented opportunism and hypocrisy. Let's focus on how Lib Dems campaign, especially in by-elections:
1. Claim the local hospital/library/post office/school (delete as appropriate) is "going to close"
2. Campaign to 'save' it
3. Get the Chief Executive/Librarian/Post Master, Head Teacher to say the local hospital/library/post office/school is "safe" and won't "close"
4. Deliver Focuses saying the local hospital/library/post office/school (delete as appropriate) has been "saved" - and claim the credit
5. Er, that's it
Although CCHQ needs to be a bit more professional when dealing with the media, we are not the party that scares and misleads people.
Residents and us politicos have universally condemned the closure of the Waterstone’s bookshop in Wood Green High Road. It came as a real blow to the area which many thought of as being on the 'up'. During Hunter's lunch break, I walked the length of the High Road. There are two McDonald's, two KFCs and countless pound stores (a new store has just opened next to BHS). So, if you fancy a portion of fries, a Zinger burger and 4 toilet rolls for £1, Wood Green is the place to be. If you fancy a good book, then charge your Oyster card up, jump on the Piccadilly line and head into Town!
The BBC seems obsessed with reporting on Gaza. Indeed, only this evening their flagship programme, Panorama, reported on it. Hunter carries no torch for Israel, although supports its right to exist and proportionately defend itself from aggression. Israel will have more respect, and friends, when it treats Palestinians more fairly, supports a two-state solution in words and deeds and generally complies with UN resolutions.
But Israel’s poor human rights record is small fry compared to that of China, North Korea and Zimbabwe (to name just three). It's high time the Beeb recognised this fact in its reporting.
In 2001, the Lib Dems' Matthew Green won the Ludlow seat in Shropshire from the Conservatives. This was a shock to many people, not least the Lib Dems.
But, in 2005, Philip Dunne won the seat back for the Conservatives. Shortly after the 2001 election, Green wrote a booklet on how he won. Asked how he managed to win in 2005, Dunne apparently said, “I read his booklet”. Asked how he would avoid losing next time he said, “I won’t write a booklet”.
Hat tip: Jake, a poster, on http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/
That was what we were told when Bill's last column was due to appear in the Daily Telegraph. None of us could imagine that Bill was heading for the skies above. We thought he would go on and on. Although Hunter never met him, Lord Deedes was a gentleman - one could see that from his style of writing. He was a kind, gentle, loyal and intelligent 'old school' Tory. Thousands of people will miss him, despite not having met him. And many regarded him as a friend, too. As soon as his family ask for people to donate to Bill's favourite charities, Hunter will oblige. In today's Telegraph, a reader wrote a strange but funny letter, which, Im'm sure, would have made Bill smile:
Sir - In celebration of the life and work of Lord Deedes and in dedication to his memory, I should like to announce that I have today become a member of the Conservative Party.
D.V. Knox-Richards, Liverpool
Hunter yesterday purchased a large meaty pizza from Morrison's in Wood Green. It was delicious - for just £2.99! Can anyone beat that? When Hunter lived in Highgate, we had a party but were too lazy to prepare food for our guests, so we ordered about 10 pizzas from a shop (which is still there) on the Archway Road. The bill came to over £100. I know were I'll be going for my next party...
Hunter was doing a spot of canvassing the other day and met a charming woman of West Indian origin. "Which Party would you be likely to support if an election were held tomorrow?” Hunter enquired. Voter: "Either UKIP or the Lib Dems. I really don't think we should be in Europe, so perhaps the Lib Dems?” Incredible, isn't it? Needless to say, Hunter said that all sensible Euro-sceptics should vote Conservative.
Moments later, I handed a voter a leaflet which mentions our Party's desire to end global poverty. Voter: "Yeah, I agree. I was in Spain last year and I couldn’t bleedin' believe it! Their cats were as skinny as rakes!" You can't say much to that, can you?
Do you have any funny canvassing tales to share with us?
Hunter's mission to dislodge David Lammy, MP, received a tiny boost today when the lead article in the 'Spy' column of today's Daily Telegraph mocked the MP and Culture Minster, whose duties include promoting books, for not having a single bookshop in his Tottenham constituency. So the closure of Waterstone’s in Wood Green comes as a real blow to Tottenham residents.
Lammy responded by saying that there are bookshops in Tottenham. This comes as news to Hunter. There's a tiny cafe in Tottenham High Road with a couple of books on sale but they're all in Turkish! This is Tottenham, Mr Lammy, not Turkey. Maybe if Lammy were in Tottenham a little more often, he would be better informed?
Hunter has also set up a group on Facebook called 'Don't Re-Elect David Lammy as Tottenham's MP', which is open to people of all parties and none but think Tottenham deserves better than the hapless Lammy.
Brian Coleman, Barnet and Camden's Conservative GLA Member, has complained to the BBC after Konnie Huq, a Blue Peter presenter, appeared alongside Ken Livingstone at a press conference.
She appeared at an event to promote cycling despite the Corporation telling her agent she should not take part.
Brian, quite rightly, said the Labour Mayor had turned the event into a "political rant", breaking BBC impartiality rules. Ms Huq's agent, Jonathan Shalit, said she had attended "with goodwill", but the BBC has apologised for allowing her to attend, and her work contract has now been re-written.
Livingstone's spokesman denied there had been a "political rant", adding: "There was no party political element to Konnie Huq's involvement in the launch."
Well, let's look at the facts: Konnie first interviewed Neil Kinncock at the age of 14 for Newsround, was given special access to interview Tony Blair at 10 Downing street and her older sister, Dr Rupa, was shortlisted as Labour's parliamentary candidate in Bethnal Green and Bow. The Huq family is Labour - through and through! It shouldn't surprise anyone that she supported a fellow lefty in Red Ken! But who was Jonathan Shalit trying to kid?
A London Liberal Democrat councillor in charge of cutting down on boozing has sparked fury after being caught drink-driving.
The incident, where Cllr Capstick was 'shopped' to the police by “stunned” members of the AA after her car broke down, has only just come to light: Lib Dems tried to keep the matter out of the public view. So much for 'open government', which they claim to be supportive of.
Opposition councillors are, understandably, cross at being kept in the dark.
Labour group leader Peter John fumed: "I'm absolutely gobsmacked. Denise Capstick has put other people's lives at risk by driving on the road while unfit through alcohol.
"All councillors have a duty to maintain standards in their personal and public lives, and she has fallen well below the standards expected of her.
"I think she should consider her position, not just as executive member for health but also as a councillor."
Rather pathetically, Cllr. Stanton, the Lib Dems Leader of Southwark Council where Captisck is a councillor, said: "It never crossed my mind to sack her… she has my full support to continue in the job”.
Can you imagine the fuss if she was a Conservative councillor? Old Mark Packaging, over at Dim Leb Voice, would be having a field day...
Hunter is on the front page of one of his local rags this week, The Haringey Independent.
Hizb ut-Tahrir, the Islamic Fascist organisation, recently hired Alexandra Palace for a conference. Hunter told the newspaper that "war mongers are not welcome in Haringey" and blasted Ally Pally bosses for giving them permission to use the venue.
Hunter also stood up for democrats, gays, Jews and women. Read more here.
A gentle reminder to let you know that you have four days from today (Saturday) to vote for your favourite blogs. Iain Dale wants to hear from you NOW.
Iain would like at least 10 nominations but would prefer 20 and, as an incentive, he is offering £100 of political dvds in a draw for those who participate. Email him at email@example.com
Please list them in order - your #1 choice is worth 20 points.
If you've already voted and included Hunter, then thank you.
Over the last two weeks, some of Hunter's Conservative colleagues have been in touch to say that this blog is either slavishly pro-Cameron or disloyal to the cause.
What's your view?
Hunter is, for the record, independent-minded, does not have strings to pull and will not be bullied by anyone into silence!
Hunter agrees with Mark Oaten when he says that one of the advantages of quitting politics is that you get a chance to say what you really think. But, in doing so, Oaten has confirmed what we all feared: the Lib Dems are the criminals' friend.
Oaten, their former Affairs spokesman, said that all prisons should be abolished. And many of his colleagues agree with him, too! Rather patronisingly, Oaten accuses prisoners of either being illiterate, junkies or mentally ill. Hunter doesn't dispute the fact that a large number of prisoners are illiterate, drug and alcohol-dependent and suffer from mental health problems. But not all of them do. Some are just opportunists who want to 'get rich quick' and don't care what or whom they harm.
Sure, spend more money on drug rehabilitation, educational and care units and (as Conservatives will do) but keep our prisons open. Prison, mostly, works!
Interestingly, David Rose, an investigative journalist, said: "What Mark Oaten is arguing for is a massive increase in state power" - because critics argue that far from being an ultra-liberal solution to crime, Oaten's proposals would lead to the creation of an authoritarian, Big Brother state in which bureaucrats would have the final say over who is locked up - and for how long.
So, there you have it: the Lib Dem are not just a party that believes in big government but they're dangerous, too.
Over at Lib Dem Voice, that odious little creep Mark Packaging has been far too busy labelling Conservative employees as liars to mention the result of yesterday's by-election in Tower Hamlets - a borough the Lib Dems used to run until 1994!
Hunter is happy to report on the Shadwell result: Respect retained the seat on 1,512 over the equally odious Michael Keith (Labour) who polled 1412, Conservatives third (as before) on 476 and Lib Dems on a paultry 98 votes (or 2%). God works in mysterious ways, clearly.
Whilst the Brown Broadcasting Corporation, aka the BBC, is focussing on some kid who has switched from Conservatives to Labour in a remote part of Wales, Hunter is pleased to inform readers that a respected former Lib Dem councillor has joined the Conservatives.
Havard Hughes carried the Lib Dem torch in Brent when it was unfashionable to do so. He also sat on the London Region Executive of the Lib Dems and, more recently, acted as secretary to Camden Lib Dems.
Yes, some people have left the Conservatives to join Labour and NeeCap. They were, mostly, political and social rejects who crave attention. But the truth is that the Conservatives are making 'net gains' in the defections war. And our gains are our opponents’ losses - i.e. we're taking in respected and sane individuals and the loons are departing...
Hat tip: Suz Blog
Guess who's back?
On July 14, he posted on his blog, "NJC is going on an extended leave until I can mend my fractured relations with the local Liberal Democrats. I will have to grovel to them and lay low for a while, so I will not be posting here for the time being"
Hunter, needless to say, is delighted at the news. A new blog is a new opportunity to embarrass the Lib Dems.
UPDATE: Blog #3 has now been closed. Hunter looks forward to blog #4...
Blogging guru Iain Dale is asking people to nominate their favourite political bloggers for his new book, the 2007 Guide to Political Blogging in the UK.
Iain would like at least 10 nominations but would prefer 20 and, as an incentive, he is offering £100 of political dvds in a draw for those who participate.
So if you like this blog, vote for it. If you don't, tell me what I can do to improve it. Click on the link to Iain's blog (above) or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
The closing date is Wednesday, 15th August 2007.